Web Design vs. Web Development

Many people often confuse the terms web design and web development, using them interchangeably. While they sound alike, and sound like they mean the same thing, their meanings are actually very different from each other.

When making the decision to build or design your website, it is important to know the difference between the two.

What Is Web Design? 

Web design is the part of the website referred to as the “front end”, or the customer-facing part. This part of the website includes the appearance of the website and how the customers interact with it.

A good web designer will know how to put together all the principles of design in order to create a site that is not only appealing, but modern as well. Designers also understand the importance of usability and how to create a site that customers want to navigate through because of the site’s ease of use.

It is important to know the importance of keeping your customers interested in your product or services that you have to offer. If your site is boring, your customers will likely think so too. Be sure to keep your website updated and fresh.

What Is Web Development?

Web development is the part of the website that refers to the back-end of the site, or the programming and interactions side. A web developer focuses more on how a site works and how the customers get things done on the site.

A good web developer knows how to program and code with ubiquitous languages such as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), PHP (recursively known as PHP Hypertext Preprocessor), and CGI (Common Gateway Interface). Web developers also understand how the web forms work, ensuring they are able to keep your site running smoothly and effectively.

Web Design vs. Web Development

Both Web Designers and Web Developers need to work together to achieve one goal, creating an effective and modern website or app that attracts potential customers to your business.

In order for a website to function properly and be attractive at the same time, both the design and development must be sound. Colors, graphics, and content need to reflect the product, brand, or service that you are offering.

If you have any questions, or need help with your web design or web development needs, contact the professional designers and developers at Windy City Web Designs.

Helpful Tips When Creating Your Website

Creating the ideal website can be an intimidating process. From your logo design, to colors, to your content, your website must have all the right pieces in place in order to be effective. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when designing your perfect website:

Tip #1: Hire a professional web designer. Not only are web designers familiar with the right and wrong way to create a website, they are also experts in helping you to come up with the things your website will need in order to help your stand out for all the rest. Be sure to communicate regularly with your designer, as they will customize your site with your vision.

Tip #2: Know your audience. One of the most important things you will need to consider is who your targeted audience is going to be. A lot of the essential pieces in your website, like your content, design, and interior pages, are going to be dependant on who your audience is. For example, if your business is working with professionals, you may wish to have a more formal tone in their design, while certain retailers will require more of an informal design.

Tip #3: Get ideas from other websites. It is a good idea to search other websites that catch your eye, noting the things that you like or don’t like. For example, things like responsive websites, with clean and simple design, are easy for your visitors to use and follow. Simply by giving your designer a few different sites that you like, as well as sites that you don’t like, they can better determine what kind of website may be right for you.

Tip #4: Design the right logo. Something as simple as a logo can help to allow your website’s design to fall into place. With a logo, you will better be able to figure out the colors of your website, which can be a trying task in itself.

For more information and to see how Windy City Web Designs can create the ideal website for you and your business, contact us today!

Importance Of A Professional Website

Professional websites have become an intricate part in the success of today’s businesses. From selling your brand, to convenience, to high quality service, a website can do so much for you, your business, and your customers.

It Allows You To Showcase Your Brand

From medical practices, to retail, to service industries, no matter what type of business you run, a website is a great place to showcase your brand’s products or services. By including an image gallery, portfolio, testimonials, and blogs, you can demonstrate what makes your business unique, as well as why your products or services are the best compared to your competitors.

It Provides A Variety Of Conveniences

Providing essential information to your customers takes time. However, with a website, you can better provide the necessary information to your customers, all at their fingertips. With a website, your products and services are available to your customers indefinitely, which saves you time and money, as well as making it more convenient for your customers.

It Provides For A Better Customer Experience

Maybe you sell environmentally friendly products and would like to share tips on how to recycle, or perhaps you’re an accountant and want to give your clients advice on how to simplify their bookkeeping practices. By including a FAQ page, adding articles or uploading newsletters, you can not only answer all your customers’ questions, but you can provide them with critical and essential information, keeping them informed and up-to-date. What better way to provide them with value added service than by sharing information on your website.

If you are interested in the perfect website for your business’s needs, contact Windy City Web Designs today to get started.

How To Improve The Speed Of Your Website

It is a question that has had website owners asking for years, “how can I make my website run faster?” And there actually multiple ways to improve the speed of your website. After ruling out the main reasons why your website would be running slow: the server, the connection, and the client, its time to look at the design aspects. Making sure you have an optimized website will increase the chances of a viewer staying on your website longer. People don’t like waiting for a website to load and will leave if it is taking too long.

Images: The size of an image has a great impact on how fast or slow your website is performing. In order to get a faster website it is a good idea to compress the images that you put on your website and to remember to specify the image dimensions as well. Compressing these images will optimize your site, which will make it run at a faster speed.

Javascript: When running a javascript code on an HTML page it is important to remember where to put the code. Putting it in the wrong spot could increase the chances of your website to start running slower.  All javascript operations should be placed in the footer of your HTML page or just before the ending body tag. Doing this will allow your website to be displayed even if the javascript is still loading.

Using CSS3: Using an external style sheet can keep all of your code organized within your pages and can help your website run faster than if it was all coded in just HTML5.  Keeping all of your CSS code in one document will keep everything condensed and be easier to load for your server.

For more information regarding the speed of your website or if you need help with your website running at a faster speed, contact the professionals at Windy City Web Designs.

How To Drive More Traffic To Your Business’s Website

It’s easy to say that you have a cool looking website for your business, but if it isn’t effective and doing the job its supposed to be doing, you have invested your time and money for nothing. One way to make sure that this doesn’t happen to your company is to look into an Internet marketing package for your website. Windy City Web Designs provides search engine optimization options that will fit your budget and goals. Here are some ways we can increase the rankings of your website:

1.  Our goal is to make sure all of our clients have high conversion rates. This means your customers are visiting your website and filling out contact forms. We will track the data and use it to our advantage in order to increase your results.

2.   We have content writers on our team that can create original content for your website so it is not duplicate to anyone else’s. This will allow the search engines to find you easier, which can result in higher rankings.

3.  Utilizing SEO techniques such as adding targeted keywords for optimization and using search engine friendly URLs will increase your online visibility so you can attract new and current customers.

4.   Both internal and external link building will improve the traffic to your company’s website. Linking within your website will cause the search engines to pick up on those specific links.

Windy City Web Designs provides design, development, Internet marketing, and ecommerce services in the Chicagoland area including Barrington, Arlington Heights, Crystal Lake and Palatine. Our team can boost your business to the next level with our SEO services. Contact us today to learn more.

How to attract customers to your website

There’s no question about it, that trying to get customers to your website can be a challenge. Getting them to stay on your site or come back as a returning customer is an even harder quest.  Windy City Web Designs can help by giving a few pointers as to how to attract clients and customers to your website and leave them coming back for more.

Trust:  In order to get people to your site you have to build a bond with the client and give them a reason to trust you. Whether this means to present testimonials of others who have used your product or service, or to reveal some personal information about the company. Either option will work and by disclosing information about the company will remind the customer that it’s not just about the logo and the company, but it’s about the people who work for the company who make it successful.

Contact:  Getting customers to stay on your website may be a different story. Staying in contact with previous customers such as offering a sale or discount for being a member can be an incentive for them to return. Giving the customer a reason to come back to your site may eventually lead them to telling other friends about the product or service you offer.

Experience:  Leaving the customer wanting more is the way you want to end things with the customer until the next time they visit your site. One thing you don’t want to have happen is a customer who has had a bad experience. It’s easier for a customer to report a bad experience than it is for them to report a pleasant one. And it happens more often than not. Make sure they are happy with the product or service you provided them and that you give them a reason to come back. Unhappy customers are highly unlikely to return to a website that provided bad service, so it is important to take care of the customer.

Windy City Web Designs offers services to help draw attention to your website and use certain strategies in order to do this. Contact us for more information or for assistance in getting your website noticed.

How Website Design And Marketing Work Together

Having a professional designer create your website is an important aspect when deciding on either a new website or a redesign. While many think that it is okay to spend less money on the design and make up their loss by having successful marketing, it usually ends up hurting them more than helping.

A great design helps build your company a strong brand identity. Your brand, logo, and now your website all represent who you are as a company and you want your customers or clients to be able to see that. Having a brand that is memorable to your target audience is what you want and you want them to recognize it.

A website that has a great design will increase your marketing efforts by creating a website that will help you stand out from your competitors. Let them know that you are the one and only solution to their needs and give them reasons as to why you are the only company they should be using.

Using colors, fonts, and pictures are what can increase the chances of a customer from staying on your site from 30 seconds to 1-2 minutes. The goal is to increase the sales of your products and the longer a customer or client is on your website the more likely they are to purchase your product or service. According to statistics, 65% of people prefer visual over verbal designs. While creating your new site or redesign it is important to keep this factor in mind.

Windy City Web Designs has the most experienced web designers and web developers to create new websites, redesigns, logos, image ads and more. Visit our portfolio page to see some our award winning websites and other work that we have created.

Must Have Items For Your E-commerce Site

When building an e-commerce site, it is essential to have features that will allow for the ideal user experience. In order to ensure that this happens, here are some key components you must to consider including in your e-commerce site.

Calls To Action- The main focus of a call to action is to help guide the user to make a decision. Whether this be to find out more about your products or services, or to make a purchase, these are important to include on every page.

Go Mobile- Since more people do their shopping form their smartphones and tablets these days, it is important to have a mobile friendly design in order to provide these users the best possible experience and to keep them from leaving your site frustrated. Responsive web design is perhaps the easiest way to ensure that your website can be viewed across all types of devices without having to develop more than one site for each device.

Post Videos and Reviews- More people rely on visual things like videos and customer reviews to understand how a product works. Additionally providing content like videos and reviews can help increase your rankings amongst the search engines.

Be an Expert- By hosting educational videos or how to tutorials, you will be viewed as an expert in your industry. Another way to show your knowledge and gain trust from your users is to write a blog. Blogging also increases your chances of being viewed and found in search engines.

Go Social- Social media is such a huge way to spread who you are and what you do. By having accounts with Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, you are increasing your marketability and getting your brand out there, and guess what…it’s free!

Easy to Use Shopping Carts- Shopping cart abandonment happens more often than it should. Most of the time the reason is due to the difficulty viewing their items and checking out. From Magento to Shopify, there are so many different types of shopping carts to choose from, all depending on the needs of your business.

It is as equally important to add your contact information and your security certificates to your e-commerce site as well. Since there are so many options when it comes to building an ecommerce site out there, it is important to work with a designer who can help customize what is right for you.

Windy City Web Designs is Chicagoland’s leader in web design and Internet marketing. Contact us to get started on the perfect ecommerce solution that suits you and your business’ needs.

By Bjorn Torling

What Makes A Good Website?

An effective website isn’t just about design. It’s also about being able to find your product, engage your audience, and keep them coming back for more. In order to ensure you have a quality website, here are some basics you must follow.

Content- Content is an essential component when creating a good website. Since your visitors are there to find specific information, relevant content will provide them with the answers they are looking for. It is additionally important to also in order to include relevant keywords in your page titles, meta tags, and headings to increase your rankings in the search engines. It is also useful to update your content to keep people coming back. Remember, without good content, your website is essentially useless.

Navigation- By having a lack of well-structured pages or clear navigation tabs, visitors will more than likely get frustrated and leave your site. Ensure the information on your website is organized by adding things like sub-pages and drop-down bars. Make navigation as easy as possible for your visitors.

Design- Since lots of graphics can be over-stimulating to your Internet connection, and to your visitors, it’s important to remember to keep things simple. Since it is important to ensure your design is eye-catching, it is imperative to use color, animation, and/or pictures, but in moderation.

Credibility- Your visitors have the ability to view you as a professional in your industry. It is important to keep this in mind when you design your website. A professional looking website must include your business’ contact information, as well as who you are, what you do, and what your goal is. Additionally, by writing relevant blogs and using social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, can help to not only increase your credibility, but your traffic as well.

Developing an online presence is essential in order to keep up with your industry and your competition. By consulting with a professional web developer, like Windy City Web Designs, you can ensure your website will not only be user-friendly, but search engine friendly as well, taking your business to the next level.

By Bjorn Torling

Do You Need A Website Redesign?

Since it’s a new year, it’s time to think about a fresh start. I’m not talking about dieting or exercise, but getting a jump start on your business and becoming the best of the best in this technological based world. Now is as good a time as any to consider a website redesign, especially since your website is your greatest marketing tool. The following are the top reasons why you may need to consider a website makeover in order to keep up with your competition and stay on top.

Are you mobile friendly? In order to meet user’s demands, it is becoming more apparent that website need to be mobile friendly. Since the majority of your website’s visitors will do so from a smartphone or tablet, it is becoming more imperative to incorporate responsive or mobile web design on your website, all the while, still allowing other users the ability to visit from desktops and laptops.

Are you social media ready? Since word of mouth can sometimes be the best marketing for a business, it is imperative to be using a social media marketing strategy. This can easily be accomplished by including things like links to your social media pages, adding social sharing tools that enable your visitors to “like”, “share”, or “pin” your pages and products, and socially connect with others.

Are you user friendly? If your visitors can’t find what they are looking for, they will leave, and worse, wore than likely won’t come back. By having the information they are looking for like your product information, your contact information, and calls-to-action, will allow for maximized user experience and keep your customers satisfied and coming back.

Are you up-to-date? Not only is it important to keep your website fresh and modern, but it is also important to add new features to increase user experience. Things like blogs, e-commerce, and other features can cause an old website to not function properly. If you are looking to add any of these tools, it is essential to look at your website and consider redesign to create a more fluid website.

Are you wanting a new look? If you say yes to this, then a redesign is a must. Whether you are creating a new logo or rebranding your business, a redesign can help to boost your business and give you a second chance.

Redesigning your website can be a difficult task. By working with a professional web design team like Windy City Web Designs, we can ensure that we will create the website of your dreams. Not only will we work with you to create a website that is easy to navigate and attracts your visitors, but is search engine friendly and provides you with higher rankings and conversions as well.

By Bjorn Torling