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In 2019, Things Change: Why You Should Upgrade Your Business Web Design Quality in 2019

web design tips

Having a website is an essential part for every purposes or activities, especially for business purposes. A website helps consumers find what they are looking for and what they want to know about a business that is selling what they might need. A website can also help businesses be found easily by their target consumers which can increase the business’ brand awareness. However, building a basic website in this year of 2019 will get you nowhere. Why? That’s because building basic websites is not enough to attract customers because of the quality that doesn’t provide clear navigation to make it easier for the users. That’s why quality in a web design is the most important part for achieving your business goals and in this year of 2019, if you are a business owner who owns a website, maybe it’s time for you to upgrade your website design. Keep reading to find out why!

Users need easier navigation on your website

One thing we should learn from 2018 is that our mistake for neglecting navigation design on our business website, so don’t make the same mistake in 2019. Easier navigation on your website will help users find your products or services easily. Don’t forsake the easy use of navigation for the sake of cute design. Sure we need to create good looks and styles for your website, but if the design makes your website navigation difficult for users to use, then what’s the point in that if your customers can’t find and buy your products?

You need to think in users’ perspective

Sometimes we don’t understand people because we are not trying to be in their shoes. When it comes to having a website for business, it is important for you to have a website that provides what users need and want. For that reason, you should put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself: If I wanted to buy something, what would I search on Google? What kind of phrase would I use on Google? What kind of content that would help me find what I wanted to buy? When you outline those kinds of questions and think carefully of a plan to answer those questions, it will help you create a targeted, persona-centric website that attracts the right visitors, directs them to the right content and delights them with a seamless user experience.

Change the look, but not your business identity

Remember the time when Instagram logo used to be a simple camera with light and dark brown colours? After the update about 2 or 3 years ago, Instagram totally changed their look into a combination of gradient pink, yellow and a little bit of purple. They may have changed the look, but not their identity. The logo is still a camera, right? If you feel that the face of your business should be changed, then do it, but never change your identity and your purpose.

Why is it important?

Maybe many of you are already satisfied with your business website design. Maybe you think it is enough. However, as the years go by, things always change, if not for the better, for worse. When the time comes for worse, we have to be well-prepared for that. There will be times when new businesses in the same industry will appear and outstand. If we are not prepared and if we don’t upgrade our website’s quality, chances are, they will be ahead of you in the long run. The most important part to keep in mind is that while things change in the future, you have to be prepared so that your business can keep up and grow better. Learn new things and keep up with the trends, as well as adjust to changes and new things. That way, your business will look like as if it was brand new, not monotone.

Balancing Act: Finding the Equilibrium between Speed, Design and Content

development tips

Not many people know this, but I can be ridiculously indecisive. Back when I first planned my first solo trip a couple years ago, I could’ve sworn I spent more time browsing through hotels and places I planned to visit than the time I spent on my actual trip. I mean, I know that preparation is key when it comes to like, everything, but I think we can all agree that I’m being excessive when even after I booked the hotel room, I still spend time looking at other hotels to see if there are better alternatives.

It’s not so bad if I’m traveling with other people since I can leave any decision-making to them and just simply use my veto power on things that are questionable but when left to my own devices, I could spend days pondering on even the smallest decision. Decision-making is always tough, especially when you’re presented with two equally valid choices as things normally are when it comes to web development in which choosing between speed, design and/or content is a universal dilemma.

Striking the perfect website balance

Style over substance, form over function; similar debates have been raging for decades if not centuries and honestly, I don’t think we’ve ever come to a definite conclusion. Sure, people would like to say that they prioritize substance over style and function over form lest they be called superficial and perhaps this is my cynicism seeping through but I think people care much more about looks than they are willing to admit.

For example, I’m the kind of guy that literally judges a book by its cover. Whenever I’m itching for a new book to read, I walk into a bookstore and just browse through the shelves for books that look interesting. If it had a cute cover or blurbs that I found to be interesting, I’m probably going to pick it up. It hasn’t actually failed me yet, I’ve fallen in love with some genuinely good writers with this principle, notably David Nicholls and Nick Hornby, and I’m probably going to keep this up until all of the bookstores around me have been closed.

The moral of the story here is that people are hopelessly superficial; the only difference is to what degree. Looks then are undoubtedly important but when it comes to website, where attractive and eye-catching designs can sometimes get in the way of speed, reining in some of your design team’s ambition might be necessary. This is made more complicated by the fact that there’s still one other subject to be considered when we’re dealing with websites; content.

So yeah, it’s not exactly a question of style or substance but perhaps style and substance or speed? Things can be quite complicated, to say the least, and finding the ideal balance between all three could be tough. If you maximize on speed, you won’t have much room to play with design and content. Maximize speed and your website would be slow while lacking in content. Maximize content and your website will both be slow and unattractive. Although, depending on the purpose of your website, it might not be necessary for you to actually optimize for all three.

Properly using images and videos on your website

To start with, there are a lot of tools out there that would enable you to compress an image with little-to-no noticeable loss in quality for your website. Full size, high-res images are great but only include them if it’s a necessary component of your business. If it’s a yes on that question, use a separate image gallery so that those images wouldn’t have to be loaded together with the actual page.

For videos, you might want to consider embedding them from video sharing sites such as YouTube. Generally, you’d want to minimize third-party scripts as much as possible but because of the complexity in videos, you can offload the work to them while you focus on optimizing your website first. Additionally, make sure that embedded videos are loaded only when they’re requested by the user. A preview image for the video will be loaded first and only users who’ve clicked on the video will be able to see the actual video.

Other technical considerations

The practice of lazy loading, in which contents are loaded only when they’re scrolled into view, should be considered if you’re considering single-page websites. I’ve mentioned that web developers should minimize the use of third-party scripts and I would like to add plugins to that idea, especially when we’re talking about WordPress. For example, including your Twitter and Instagram feed on your website used to be novel but I now think that simply including links to your social media account would be enough.

One other change you might want to consider is dropping support for older browsers. Backward compatibility tends to require certain scripts and/or files, which would just add unnecessary bloat for other users. If you’re unsure, try checking what browser your visitors are using in Google Analytics. Adding in to that, it’s a good idea to just simply minimize the use of CSS and JavaScript in general and use them only when necessary.

When to optimize and when not to optimize

The question you might want to ask yourself is the purpose of your website. For example, a law or an accounting firm would probably see little need in the high-quality images and rich contents so a focus on speed would be preferable. On the other hand, any business working in visual design would need to up their game in the design front while blogs would want their content to be as rich and attractive as possible.

The first option would be easy but it’s the latter two that would be tricky since they still have to ensure that their websites would still load properly on those without a high-speed fiber-optic connection. As a compromise, try to create a landing page for SEO purposes that isn’t as heavy as the actual main page that would offer visitors a taste of your website but without the extra baggage. By taking this compromise, you could focus your speed optimization only on the landing page without sacrificing your rich content pages, which is the closest thing you could have to a win-win situation.

Managing Relations: 4 Ways SEO and PR Could Complement Each Other

SEO insight

It sounds incredibly silly for me to say this in 2̶0̶1̶8̶  2019, given how much of our lives have been shaped by the internet in the past two decades, but trying to manage your reputation online, both personal AND professional, is pretty much a near-impossible task. An innocent mistake or a gaffe could quickly land you a place in the headlines (and not in a good way) and would be screengrabbed and showed to you as a reminder just for the sake of it.

Navigating the digital landscape was never easy but I don’t think it has even been as hard as it is now, with the internet and social media platform acting as a forum for discussion, a bragging contest and a battlefield, sometimes all at the same time. Professionally speaking, companies have to be adept at using the internet for both marketing and PR purposes, and sometimes with the addition of customer service and sales as well. While increasing your online presence is something that’s been generally left to SEO services, SEO and PR actually has a number of shared goals that you can actually take advantage of.

Spreading the good word for your business

I used the word SEO here to make my point but technically, I’m referring to the practice of online marketing in general, which is getting increasingly intertwined with the practice of SEO. PPC ads, social media and e-mail marketing and other forms of online marketing are all important of course but PR, a way of boosting your presence without you being directly involved can be a more effective and organic tool in raising your profile.

It used to be that SEO was fairly technical but as Google and other search engine algorithms grow more sophisticated, more human so to speak, SEO practitioners had to figure out a way into making their efforts more organic. Instead of trying to appeal to lines of code, SEO is now more about appealing directly to people, which puts them more in line with PR, which mainly deals with the issue of public image.

Think of it as the Hillary Clinton dilemma. On paper, she’s a far more qualified candidate than Trump and had the presidential election been a completely objective contest, she should’ve won but it’s actual people who voted and human emotions are always unpredictable. It’s no longer enough to be objectively superior (SEO), you also have to try to alter how your business is perceived publicly (PR) and in the following, I’ll outline several different ways in which SEO and PR complement each other.

Links and quality mentions

It used to be that any kind of publicity would be good publicity and that might be okay if you’re some minor Instagram celebrity looking to put your name in the headlines in anyway possible but if you’re a legitimate business asking for potential customers to part with their money on your behalf, the only kind of good publicity you’d want is actual good publicity. SEO used to be solely concentrated on getting your business mentioned as often as possible, no matter where and how you’re mentioned but the landscape has changed so much since search engines were first launched and that simply won’t be enough anymore.

It’s at this point that SEO and PR could work with each other by identifying places that could give your company a much needed boost. Even a single mention in an influential blog or a local publication could bring you more traffic than hundreds of random spam links you posted across the internet. Focus instead of getting one quality shout-out instead of trying to spread your coverage as wide as possible; it’s about quality, not quantity.

Show off your credentials

Now, once you’ve garnered coverage or two from some of those influential publications mentioned above, it’s time to use them as a badge of honor. You know those film posters or book covers that have blurbs from notable publications written all over them? Follow their lead and include links to those mentions and/or coverage to increase your credibility. If you already have several customers, you can also use testimonials and/or shots of your products being used in public for the same purpose.

Managing your online reputation

Say your SEO efforts have proven to be successful and for a particular set of keywords, your website is now sitting near the top. The thing is, your brand recognition is still relatively low and that before a potential customer could commit to your products and/or services, they decide to look up your company only to find less-than-flattering reviews posted across crowd-sourced platforms such as Yelp, Zomato or even Facebook. What would you do then?

Poor customer experiences and reviews have a potential to go viral and this is also another area where PR could help with your SEO efforts. You can never fully control how your business is portrayed online but you still have an influence to a certain degree and when you’re hit with a particularly nasty review, try to reach out the offended party and work out a solution that could benefit the both of you. Big brands can handle several bad reviews but small businesses don’t have that kind of luxury.

Start a marketing and/or PR campaign

Did something good for your community in the past month? Have an ongoing promotional campaign that you feel can put you ahead of your competitors like this one hotel chain in Sweden that offered refunds for couples that divorced within a year of staying in one of their hotels? Show them off! Put them out on social media or wherever, see the news spread like wildfire and watch as your website’s server went down thanks to the heavy traffic.

PR campaigns like these take a little bit of work and it’s not something that you could very often but play your cards right and they can bring you a rise in traffic your typical SEO efforts won’t be able to produce in the same amount of time. With seasonal promotions such as Black Friday or similar deals, you’re sharing the spotlight with hundreds other businesses but with a PR campaign that’s unique to your business, you could at least have a head start before your competitors could figure out a way to take a page out of your playbook.