Is Your Homepage Doing It’s Job?

Did you know that you have 8 seconds to capture your visitors’ attention? Since these seconds are so very important to drawing attention to what your business has to offer, how do you know your website’s homepage is truly doing it’s job?

If you are in doubt, or finding your conversion rates are not ideal, then you may want to look into ways you can give your homepage the update it needs. Windy City Web Designs suggests the following helpful tips to capture your visitors’ attention:

Ensure your navigation is easy to use. Choose a layout that is clutter-free and easy to navigate. Avoid too many images and icons, as well as long texts or banners.

Use images. Use high-quality and informational photos on your landing page. Avoid using too many photos since they can overwhelm the eye and low quality photos in order to maintain a professional appearance.

Include a call to action. Be sure to use “call to action” buttons. Keep in mind, however, that these buttons should not contain more than four words, as should be placed where it can be seen.

Keep content relative and simple. Keep your text simple and up-to-date. Be sure that your content is always current and resourceful to your users. Avoid using too much text as well, which can turn off and tune out users.

Include your contact information. Include your contact information, including your address. This will help your users when looking to contact you or looking for your location. Avoid making this pertinent information hard to find on your homepage.

Whether your homepage needs a little help, or your website needs a major update, contact Windy City Web Designs for help with any of your business’s website design and Internet marketing needs.

Mobile Search Stats On The Rise: Are You Ready?

The number of people using their mobile phones today to find businesses, services, and products, are at an all-time high. In fact, according to Smart Insights, 80% of Internet users own a smartphone and use it to access the Internet. With mobile search stats on the rise, this makes having both a mobile-friendly website and an effective mobile marketing plan essential to your business and your conversion rates.

Mobile Design

Mobile websites are designed to serve as an adapted version of your desktop website, in order to fit the mobile device that your user is using. There are many advantages to using a mobile site including benefits such as: user-friendly navigation, clean visual design, operates at a faster navigation speed, and instant mobile marketability by attracting both new and repeat customers.

Responsive Design

Responsive websites are developed by using a single website that automatically adjusts itself to fit any device that your user is using, based on the screen size and platform. Responsive web design uses code like HTML5, which provides benefits such as: more fluid grids, flexible images, and better screen resolution.

Mobile Marketing

Due to the increase in number of smartphone and tablet usage, not only is it important to have a mobile-friendly website, but it is as equally important that you have an effective SEO and digital marketing strategy, especially since most of your traffic will be through the use of a mobile device.

According to Marketing Land, by 2019, mobile advertising will represent 72% of all US digital ad spending, making advertising online to desktops a thing of the past, strictly focusing on marketing to mobile devices.

If you are interested in learning more about how Windy City Web Designs can help you optimize for mobile, as well as create a mobile marketing strategy specific for your business, then contact us fir more information today.

Your Website: How To Streamline Your Business

While you may know how to successfully run your business, do you know how to better your business practices by streamlining? If you answered no, here are some helpful tips to help you better streamline your business when it comes your website?

Managing Your Website

In today’s world, it is important that you have a website that helps to market your business, especially when growing your businesses. However, it is as equally important that you are not going without maintaining, caring for, or providing ample attention to your website, updating it regularly.

If this is an issue, it may be a good idea to invest in a managed hosting company to work for your business. Managed hosting gives you are variety of benefits, including: added security, higher speed, automatic updates, zero downtime, expert technical support, as well as backups performed daily.

Monitoring Your Website With Analytics

Google Analytics has become an extremely useful tool in monitoring the impact of your website, providing you with helpful information that can give you a better insight into where customers are coming from, when they are finding you, as well as what content is most relevant and driving traffic.

There are other things that website analytics tools can do to help monitor your website. From the ability to notify you of issues you may have with your site, such as broken links, and providing you with helpful tips to help you increase your traffic, these analytics tools enable you to make your website run more efficiently, allowing you to focus on your marketing efforts in order to help improve your online visibility.

Let Your Website Do The Work

Your website is a great tool, so use it. Your website is your main access point to your clients and customers, which is why it is important that you are offering them with the ability to access information about your products or services, which can keep them from needing to contact you directly for the very same information they can get directly off of your website, preventing them from getting frustrated and leaving, or worse, going to your competitor.

Many web design companies, like Windy City Web Designs, can provide you with effective, reliable, and customized websites, providing you with the tools necessary, including the ability to set up online purchasing and billing.

If you need help with managing or monitoring your website, or are interested in learning more about how your website can help to streamline your business, contact Windy City Web Designs today for more information.

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 is the appearance of the website, and how the customers are interacting 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 it’s easy.

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 website, which is 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 programs like HTML, CSS, PHP, and CGI. 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 is attractive, both the design and development must be sound. Colors, graphics, and content need to reflect the product, brand, or service that you are offering.

The jobs of designers and developers are starting to become more blurred, especially since more designers are starting to learn how to hand code, and more developers are paying close attention to design theories.

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.

Is Your Website Doing Its Job?

Designed to draw in visitors and provide them with the information they are looking for, quickly and easily, an effective website needs to be just that…effective. In order to ensure your website is doing its job, there are a few things you need to consider:

Make your logo meaningful and memorable. Your logo can say a lot about your company. It is sometime the first impression people have on your business. Make sure it is sleek and clean and if it has a tagline is easily read and is understandable as to what your business does or represents.

Make sure your navigation is user friendly. Create a navigation bar that is not cluttered and includes drop-down menus which include appropriate individual pages to help increase your SEO.

Make sure your website is clean and modern. Do not overcrowd your website and include too many options and items for people to choose from. Make sure pages do not have visual clutter that would draw the visitor’s eyes away from the most important part of the page. Also, it is critical that your website is modern and easy to use, otherwise, many visitors may find themselves leaving yours for another.

Look like a professional with your content and images. While adding your own content and pictures may seem like a good way to save money, it is important to consider using a professional to ensure your website looks professional, especially when it comes to its content and images. Professionally written content and high quality pictures can draw a user attention and increase there changes of purchasing or signing up.

Be responsive. Since most people access websites from their smartphone or other devices, such as tablets, it is important to ensure your website is responsive. If your website cannot be accessed by a visitors phone, laptop, or tablet, the likeliness of them leaving your website and not returning goes up.

If your website is no longer effective and doing its job, contact Windy City Web Designs for more information today.

Should You Add A Video To Your Website? The Pros And Cons Of Both

Are you thinking about adding a video to your website? While videos can have a variety of useful purposes and benefits, it may not be ideal for every website.

Before you post a video or several to your website, be sure to consider the following pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Videos are appealing to your audience. Many people prefer to watch videos, especially when it comes to avoiding having to read over reading content. If this is the case, when adding videos to your site, you open the potential to widen your audience, bringing in new visitors.
  • Videos can help your product or services to make sense. By explaining your product, services, or concepts with a video, will help your brand make more sense. By having a good amount of “how to” articles and videos showing what to do, you can really benefit from the format.
  • Videos allow you to be more interactive. Simply by showing your face, speaking to your users in a video, you are giving your audience the feeling of being on a more interactive and personable scale, developing and building a relationship with them.

Cons:

  • Videos require work, even before you start. Videos require time and effort, especially if you create a video that you want to appear more professional. From the setting, to the setup, to the script, you are putting in a lot of work, before you even start.
  • Videos take time to edit. Once you are finished creating a video, you are going to end up spending more time on editing in order to make it worth while.
  • Videos aren’t for everything. Not all products or services can be suited for a video. This is where it is best to understand if your business should just stick to a list of resources, detailed researches, and articles for your users.

For more information, or to see how we can help enhance your website, contact Windy City Web Designs.

Ensure Your Website Defines Your Business

Your business’s website can act as a virtual extension of your business. This is why it is important to ensure your website truly defines your business, setting you apart from your competition.

Here are some ways Windy City Web Designs can help ensure your business stands out from the rest:

Ensure your website design is attractive. Your website’s appearance, including your logo, color scheme, images, and fonts, are all setting the tone for who your business is and what it represents, which ultimately attracts your targeted audience.

Ensure your website is consistent. Everything on your website should serve a purpose. Being conscious of brand reinforcement will help strengthen your brand. If you simply try to market to a variety of people, or just anyone, the likeliness you will create a murky brand, making your entire business confusing to your audience.

Ensure you have a web presence. Having a website is the first step to gaining presence, but an advertising or Internet marketing campaign is essential step in the process. Be sure to integrate your social media accounts, which will extend your business messaging to a much larger audience, as well as get involved in community and industry events, which will help to give your business a presence not only online, but in your community.

Ensure your content is relevant. Understanding how your audience perceives your business is key to reaching current clients and potential clients. Helping you to do so is your website’s content. You should understand your business’s strong points and prove your business’s value to customers, only providing content that is relevant and meaningful.

If you are interested in learning more about how Windy City Web Designs can help build your business’s brand, create a custom website, or to get started on an effective Internet marketing campaign, contact us today.

Building Your Own Website Vs. Hiring A Web Design Company

A well laid out website can be helpful to potential clients and customers, building your business and taking it to another level, helping them pick your company over all the competition.

When it comes to making the decision to either build the website yourself, or contact a web design company to do so, it can be a difficult choice. However, once you review the pros and cons, you may find that hiring a professional may be the better choice.

Design

While there are many desktop and online applications that enable you to create websites quickly, some of these programs can be difficult to use or for use on a specific type of website, making them not ideal for your use. And since you are going to be producing a website with consumer-oriented tools, you must possess at least some type of experience in coding and programming.  If you need specific types of features, such as customer management solutions, shopping cart applications, or login abilities, then you might want to hire a professional web developer to do these things for you.

Shopping Carts

If you are planning to sell products online, or need a customer management system, implementing your website can be very time consuming, especially when you will want to ensure that every product has a description. This means that you have to design a new page or database entry for every product you are selling on your website.

Content

Meaningful content on your website not only attracts more visitors, but helps to make your website be found amongst the search engines. This means that writing articles or blogs for your site can require a substantial amount of time out of your daily schedule, which can take away the time necessary to running and growing your business.

Repairs And Maintenance 

A successful website requires more than just a name and great design. Once your website goes live, you will be required to make continuous maintenance checks, as well as updates in order to ensure your website is functioning properly and effectively. While it may be easy to create a website with today’s modern development software tools, these applications are not very useful if your site starts to have many problems.

Cost

The cost of creating a website on your own, compared to hiring a professional may be the major consideration in your decision. And while an experienced and professional website developers and designer may not be the cheapest option, it is a good idea to consider all of the time and effort creating a website requires, especially when an effective website may play an essential role in your business’s success.

For more information and to see how our professional designers at Windy City Web Designs can help create a customized website for your business, contact us today.

What To Look For In Your Designer

It can be hard to find the right designer for your web design and logo design needs, especially with all the people out there that claim to be the right designer for you and your needs. In order to help you choose the right designer, here are some things to look for:

They are experienced. When choosing your ideal design, it is important to hire someone who understands your needs, creating a design that is effective and attractive for your business. When an experienced designer has previous projects, you can get ideas on what skill level your designer is at, and what you should expect from them.

They have published work. Be sure to ask and see if your designer has any previous work that has been printed or published, checking them out so you can better understand their design style and level of experience. Ask for their portfolio, as well as any testimonials or recommendations they may have.

They are professional. Time management, attention to detail, strong communication skills, and trustworthiness are all vital in a designer’s level of professionalism. Another thing to look for is the way they handle your questions, and how long it takes them to respond, with customer service skills being an important factor in a designer’s professionalism.

They take an interest in your needs. It is important to look for someone who is curious and wants to learn more about your business and what your brand represents, asking a variety of questions in order to find out your wants and needs for your design, and ultimately for your business.

They are affordable. Since every business has different design needs, the best way to determine what the cost for your specific design will be is to get a customized quote. The service is usually quite evident on what you are going to get.

Windy City Web Designs is a full service web design, branding, and Internet marketing company. For more information and to get started on a customized website design, contact us today.