All Posts By

admin

7 homepage must haves for your website design

By | Website Design

Is your homepage the most important page of your site? It’s a debatable question. Although it’s usually the page that generates the most visits, more often it’s just an entry point leading the user to what they’re really after on your site. Regardless, your homepage website design still plays a vital role in telling your story.

Your homepage is like the equivalent of what a window shopper is to a retail store. These days not all of your visitors will enter your site via the homepage, but for the majority that do, first impressions count. You wouldn’t step foot into a store if it didn’t look appealing from the outside, and the same applies to your website home.

Your homepage should answer a few obvious questions like what your business is about, what can users do on your site and why should they be on your site. With less than 3 seconds to make it count, here are 7 homepage elements to consider when reviewing or creating your website design.

Guide the user journey

Your homepage needs to take into consideration your target audience and their preferences. Look at your analytics to see where your visitors spend the most time on your site, to understand which content is appealing to them. Then capture an easy pathway to those inner pages via your homepage.

What’s your promise?

How can your products or services solve their problems? Show the user you understand their challenges. You don’t need to offer a complete solution to their problem upfront, but your homepage should entice the user to find out how you can.

Make it visually appealing

Your website isn’t all about the looks, but a professionally designed website does help to draw attention and further establish your visual branding. Video content is highly effective and a great way to engage your audience and tell your story. And never underestimate the power of high quality images to enhance the appearance of your homepage.

Include a strong call to action

What action do you want out of your visitors? Having a strong call to action (CTA) helps guide the customer journey and the steps you would like them to take. It doesn’t need to result in an immediate conversion but it should lead them to this.

How to get in touch

Provide contact details on your homepage so visitors can reach out to you if they need to. Depending on the nature of your business, it may seem like a no brainer, but even if your business doesn’t need to generate leads through enquiries, it’s good practice to have a way for users to contact you.

The trust factor

If you can show visitors your business is credible and build on their trust, then you’re onto a winner. This can be as easy as including testimonials, logos of your clients or adding a sprinkle of social proof to your homepage.

Add dynamic content

Highlight your industry know-how with blog or social feeds. It’s an easy way to generate fresh content on your homepage and demonstrate that your business has a finger on the pulse and is a great source of information.

By having a solid homepage design, you’re telling visitors that there’s more to you than just your shopfront. So invite them in!  

 


 

Think your website homepage could do with a makeover? Contact the web design specialists at Cloud Cartel today for a free consultation.

5 Killer Web Design Tips That Will Make Your Life Easier

By | Website Design

A beautiful website is a labour of love. It’s surprisingly difficult to piece together good design elements to create something amazing and functional, so here are a couple of web design tips to help you ensure that your site ticks all the boxes.

Keeping your site free of clutter

Rarely does anyone skim through your entire website, reading every single word across its pages. People simply don’t have the time or patience for it, which is why it’s important to keep your website as brief and concise as possible. There are exceptions to this, such as if you’re writing blog posts and informative content pieces, but overall, the website itself should be rather brief and to the point.

Removing clutter helps keep the flow of your website smooth and means there’s less on screen for your audience to get frustrated looking at. They know what they want and you should lead them in those directions, not throw them into a labyrinth of links and paragraphs that they feel lost in.

Learn the importance of type design

Type design refers to typography designs. In short, it refers to the fonts that you use and where you use them. For instance, headlines are often bolded and you’ll typically pick a sans serif font because they’re easier to read and are nicer to look at when they’re enlarged. On the other hand, a serif font can be used for a more serious or formal appearance.

Font sizes are also an often misunderstood concept as well. Fonts should generally be larger than you think so they’re more easily read, especially on mobile devices, and you should try to avoid long paragraphs of text, instead opting for brief yet informative lines and bullet points.

Keep colour palettes in mind

Another important aspect of web design is to ensure you stick to a colour palette that works. Colours can complement each other, but they can also clash, creating some nasty contrasts that just don’t look nice to the eye.

Make sure there’s a contrast between the colour of your text and your background, but try to keep your overall design at a maximum of around 4 colours. This will prevent the colours from overwhelming your audience yet still give you some creative freedom.

Plan your navigation

Navigating a website should be painless and simple. You should be able to find what you need in just 2 to 3 clicks. Any more and you run the risk of upsetting your audience because it takes too much browsing to find what they need.

You should also have certain links, such as that to your contact information and social media accounts, visible on every page of your site for ease of access.

Responsive websites

Having your website respond to the device it’s being viewed of is important for both design and SEO. Search engines love websites that adapt to the size and orientation of the device it’s being viewed on, and it makes it much more pleasant to browse for your viewers.

A responsive website design relies on a lot of planning, but some website creation tools will automatically do this for you to a certain degree.

The Fundamentals – Creating The Perfect Brand Strategy

By | Branding

Planning is a given when it comes to starting up a business, but far too many people overlook just how crucial it is to have a brand strategy to accompany your business. It’s one of the most technical and challenging aspects to overcome, but it’s also one of the most important because it helps to define your brand, it gives your company a personality and it maps the road for the future of your growth.

Your brand’s identity is no doubt one of the most crucial components in your success, and it’s often described with a few components:

Your Mission – Without a mission, your company lacks a purpose that your audience can identify with. What do you intend to deliver? What do you want your audience to experience? These are the sorts of questions to ask when looking for your mission.

Being Consistent – A consistent business is one that sticks in the minds of consumers. If you’re not being a consistent business, then you’re not going to last and you’ll be outlived by your competitors.

Your Message – In addition to having a mission, you also need to give a message. Your message needs to connect with your audience and create an emotional connection so that your audience is more likely to go with your brand than another.

These four fundamentals will help you create the perfect branding strategy. With these points in mind, we can then move on to the next steps.

The importance of branding

Creating a strong brand is vital to help secure more customers. It’s the centre of attention and your business will flaunt it whenever promotions and marketing are involved. It will be the cumulation of all your research into your consumers as well as defining your own company, and eventually becomes the image that you want to portray to your audience.

Focusing on the right audience

A vital component in creating your brand strategy is focusing on the right audience. This is one of the basics of developing a brand strategy, but also a foundation of your business that needs to be determined early on. With this in mind, you can focus your resources and time on appealing to an audience that is more likely to convert into sales.

Determining your goals

Another important thing to keep in mind is your goals. Your brand strategy needs to consist of a number of different components, but they should all work towards your overall goal. What is it that you want to do with your company? How do you want to appear to your audience? And what kind of narrative do you want to set for your audience?

Realising your purpose

Throughout the process of creating a branding strategy, you’ll start to discover the kind of identity that you want to portray to your audience. You’ll realise that everything from the packaging materials you use to the appearance of your advertisements will speak volume about your purpose, and this will help you align our business goals and help create the ideal branding strategy.

10 Great Web Design Tips for Your Small Business Website

By | Website Design

No matter the size of your business, having a website is a crucial component that helps to grow your digital presence, but also makes it easier for people to find you and your services. So to help you out, we’ve put together 10 great web design tips for your small business website.

Focusing on SEO

Search engine optimisation is no doubt important for all websites, regardless of their size. Make sure you focus on being easily found by Google and researching white-hat methods of SEO to help boost your presence.

Settle your branding now

Whatever logo, colour schemes or slogans you plan to use, make sure you decide as early as possible so that you can incorporate them in your website without having to use ugly placeholders.

Responsive design

A website being “responsive” basically just refers to it being able to adapt to the device size and orientation. For instance, a website that looks great on a desktop computer must automatically scale down and look fantastic on mobile too.

Optimising performance

The last thing you want is for your website to be bogged down by a ludicrous amount of images and videos that automatically load when someone visits it. This results in slow load times and too much data usage for mobile devices, creating unnecessary problems that lead to a poor customer experience.

Original content

It’s crucial that you create content that’s actually relevant to your website. If you’re selling tech items, then make sure your blog actually talks about tech and not something completely different. If you’re a blog about art, then make sure it’s relevant to art and doesn’t drift off into another subject. This will help retain viewers and customers, but also help with SEO.

Staying simple

A minimalist design is good not only because it’s often cheaper and easier to make, but it creates a better experience for your audience since there’s less clutter on screen. Try use more images and less text, and keep paragraphs as concise as possible so your audience can skim through everything yet still get all the information they need.

Planning website navigation

You should plan your website navigation so that your audience never spends more than 2-4 clicks getting to where they need to. Important information like contact details and social media accounts should be visible on every page, and the navigation should be intuitive and simple to understand.

Capturing leads

It’s important to realise that your small website needs to capture people and convert leads. This means you should create landing pages, you should profile your ideal visitor so you can appeal to their tastes, and you should also keep them informed about all of your products, discounts and services.

Showcase products

No matter if you’re selling a service or a physical product, it’s important to describe it as best you can and also includes as many images as possible to help convert leads into sales.

Utilise social media

Make sure you have social media widgets so that your visitors can share information from your website. Be it a product, descriptions or even a blog post, make it easy for your visitors to spread your content.

Branding Basics: How to Create a Catchy Slogan for your Brand

By | Branding

We all know the phrases Redbull gives you wings, Nike’s Just Do It,  or M&M’s Melts in your mouth, not in your hands right? But what is it about these brands that make it so easy to recall? And more importantly how can you create something just as memorable for your own brand?

Your brand’s slogan is in many ways like a mini mission statement. It plays a part in defining your business and in some ways reflects your personality. Together with the visual representation of your logo, it’s what grabs a consumer’s attention and shapes your brand identity.

In order for your slogan to be memorable it needs to be meaningful. And after seeing or hearing it a few times, it will naturally reinforce recognition of your brand and stick in your customer’s mind.

Easy said than done right? Being creative isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, which is where we come in of course, but if you do want to get your creative juices flowing – here are some handy thought starters when developing the perfect slogan for your brand.

Keep it short and simple

Be catchy but don’t over complicate things. Saying everything you want in a few words is harder than you think, but the shorter your slogan the better it will sound, and it will ultimately be easier to remember. Take a look at some of the most popular slogans and you’ll see none are more than 10 words long.   

Differentiate yourself

What makes you stand out from your competitors? There’s no point saying something your competition can also back up. What is it about you that sets you apart?

Be positive

There’s no room for negative Nancy in your slogan, so keep the language upbeat to inject a good feeling about you. Remember your slogan will reflect your brand, so if you start off on a negative note what does that say about you?

Tug on the emotions

People become emotionally attached to products and it’s their emotions that will drive their desire for your brand. Keep the focus of your slogan on your audience and the benefits to them not your company. It will create a stronger brand association and consumers will be able to resonate with your brand more.

Timeless trumps trends

What’s popular now may not be in a year’s time, so while it may be tempting to choose language that is current, it’s not likely to be as effective over time. It goes back to the point about keeping it simple. It’s what the best brands do, and it’s why their slogans have stood the test of time.

To top it off, make sure your slogan represents your target audience and complements the rest of your branding, most importantly your logo.

Regardless of your industry or how big your business is, every brand can benefit from a catchy slogan.

 


 

Ready to start brainstorming ideas for your brand slogan? Let the creative time at Cloud Cartel give you a hand. Get in touch today for a free consultation.

10 Effective Ways to Keep Shoppers from Abandoning your Cart

By | Digital Marketing, Website Design

So close, yet so far. It’s the conversion that slipped through the shopping cart. Despite the popularity of online shopping, customers abandon their shopping carts all the time. If you run an ecommerce site you would know this all too well. Good news is, there are simple ways you can improve the shopping experience to help reduce cart abandonment.

There are many reasons why people abandon their shopping carts, some of which include:

  • Shipping costs are too high
  • Long estimated shipping time
  • Customers comparing prices against a competitor
  • Customers only browsing
  • Poor navigation/ shopping experience
  • Distracted by something else

Regardless of the reason, it’s a lost opportunity and with over 69% of shoppers abandoning their carts in 2017, it’s a growing problem for ecommerce sites big and small. To tackle the pain of shopping cart abandonment, here are 10 proven ways to lift your conversions.

Send targeted cart abandonment emails

One of the most effective ways to lure back customers is with a follow up email. Assuming you have already captured their email address, you can send a targeted email with the customer’s shopping cart and an enticing call to action or offer, to encourage them to complete their purchase.

Be transparent

Not everyone can offer free shipping, so if you can’t, make sure you are upfront about the potential shipping costs before customers get to the end of the checkout process. Something as simple as adding a shipping calculator to estimate costs before checkout, can help to reduce the shock of an unexpected ‘add on’ cost.

Make the shopping cart visible

Shoppers like to browse. Having a cart that is easily accessible and that saves your options makes it easier for customers to review their cart at a later date. Customers can also get distracted, so being able to see at a glance what items they have in their cart, can serve as a reminder that they haven’t completed their purchase yet.

Streamline your checkout

Make it as easy and quick as possible for customers to complete the checkout process. Provide guest checkout options rather than insisting they create an account upfront. You can easily ask customers to save their information for future purchases or to create an account once they have completed their purchase.

Create a sense of urgency

Displaying items low in stock is a great way to motivate customers to complete their purchase so they don’t miss out. If you are running a promotion, having a countdown timer displayed can indicate time is running out for customers to take advantage of your special offer.

Offer various payment options

Not everyone wants to pay for their purchase the same way, so the more options you provide the more customers you will be able to cater for – such as PayPal and Afterpay.

Highlight your security features

Shoppers want to know the site they are shopping on is secure, so having an SSL certificate is imperative to gain trust. Displaying security badges on your site also helps to instill confidence in customers, knowing their personal details won’t be compromised.

Enhance your visuals

Shopping online means you can’t physically touch what you’re buying, so having high quality images that showcase your products at different angles will help customers decide whether the product is right for them.

Provide easy assistance

Sometimes customers may have a question about a product or the checkout process.  This is where having live chat enabled on your site is handy for instant confirmation. If your business isn’t equipped or resourced to handle live chat, then a basic FAQ page that is easily accessible can do the trick too.

Run remarketing campaigns

Win back customers by advertising to them while they browse other sites. You can target them with dynamic ads showing the items they didn’t purchase. By staying in their purchase mindset you may be able to encourage them to return and checkout.

 


 

Don’t forget, Google Analytics is also a great tool to identify funnel leaks and areas of your site that could be improved, to facilitate a better shopping experience and conversion pathway.

Want to improve cart abandonment rates on your ecommerce website? Contact us today and we’ll recommend the best solution for your business.

Top 5 WordPress Plugins for your Business Website

By | Website Design

Your website never closes for business, which is why you should always be looking for ways
to improve your site and give your business the competitive edge.

If you’re running a WordPress site, you have over 56,000 plugins (which keeps on growing) at
your disposal to enhance the functionality and features of your website. And to add the icing
on the cake – most are free to use. Now that’s a win-win!

We’ve come across a lot of good – and bad plugins over the years, having designed and
developed a lot of WordPress websites for our clients. With so many plugins out there, where
do you start and what do you go with? We’ve collectively pulled together 5 of the most
popular WordPress plugins worth checking out.

 

1. Contact Form 7

Majority of websites will use a form of some sort for lead generation, and this plugin is
your ticket to producing simple and effective forms in a matter of minutes. The beauty
of this tool is it is so user friendly you don’t need any technical experience, and it
looks as professional as they come.

2. W3 Total Cache

Website speed is always a hot topic, and one way to improve how quickly your
website loads is through caching. This handy plugin will boost your overall website
performance by cutting down the loading time on your site. Yess!

3. Yoast SEO

We always recommend having a professional SEO strategy in place, but this tool is
great for maintaining your basic onsite SEO. You won’t become an SEO expert
overnight but you’ll definitely learn more about SEO in general, while optimising your
content for target keywords.

4. Redirection

Gone are the days when you need to request your website designer to create a
redirect for a landing page, because this plugin can do it for you! This tool can help
reduce errors on your site with easy to manage redirects and 404 errors.

5. Smush

Why spend all that time manually compressing high quality images for your site when
you can use the award winning Smush plugin instead. This tool will automatically
resize, compress and optimise your images in a flash.

 

There are heaps of more awesome plugins out there, to check out more head to the
WordPress site.

Need a hand deciding what WordPress plugins are right for your business
website? Our expert web designers can help. Give us a hola today!

SEO Fundamentals

Why a 404 page shouldn’t spell ‘dead end’ for your website visitors

By | Website Design

In an ideal digital world, visitors to your website would find what they want straight away with ease and not encounter any errors. The reality is, no matter how spick and span your website is, it will come across issues from time to time. And when this happens, you’ll want to make sure you have a dedicated 404 page to try and convince users to stay.

What is a 404 error page?

It’s what you land on when you try to access a page on a website that no longer exists. It’s one of the most common website errors users come across, and probably the most annoying. Especially if all they see is the standard ugly ‘Page not found’ default page that’s filled with unnecessary content and technical jargon.

What triggers a 404 page?

Broken links. And they will happen over time as products are removed, pages get moved or deleted. Some of the common ways users land on a 404 are:

  • They clicked on an external link to a page on your site that no longer works or was linked incorrectly
  • They clicked on an internal link on your site that no longer exists
  • The page moved to a new URL but the link wasn’t updated or redirected
  • The user mistyped the URL
  • Inserting a truncated link

Why should you care?

404 errors lead to bad user experiences. Aside from being frustrating and annoying, it’s the ultimate deal breaker for a visitor leaving your site. Unless you make it worth their while.

By giving your 404 page a little TLC, you can turn what is generally a dead end for visitors into an opportunity. A carefully crafted 404 error page has the ability to reduce your bounce rate and help increase your conversions.

Turning lost visitors into leads

Whether you like it or not, your error page is still a page on your site, so why not make it look like the rest of your site? Having a 404 page that reflects your brand will enhance the user experience and keep your visitors engaged, perhaps even make them forget about the page they were hoping to view!

When designing your 404 page, throw around some of these ideas with your website designer:

  • Replace the technical language you find on the default error pages with easy to understand language. Have fun with it too. Here’s some creative 404 page designs to give you inspiration.
  • Provide a solution. Include relevant links to give the user somewhere to go, such as your homepage, menu navigation, popular links, search bar, FAQs, posts with related keywords to the link etc.
  • Keep things simple and don’t give visitors too many options (stick with a single call to action).
    If possible, add an interactive element to your page.

Don’t make your 404 page the last page your visitors see! Crawl your site regularly to snag and fix any broken links that pop up, and make sure your back up error page does the job to keep visitors on your site.

Want a custom designed 404 page for your business website? Contact us today to get started.

5 tips to increase average spend time on your website

By | Website Design

How much do users love your website? You probably monitor the number of visits you get on a regular basis, but do you check how long they’re sticking around for? Visits don’t mean much if you don’t get the desired action you’re after, which is why you need to do everything you can to make them stay long enough and see it through.

Keeping tabs on the average spend time on your site is important because if it’s low, then it will increase the bounce rate of your site and ultimately impact your conversions. You can use Google Analytics to see how much time users spend on your site, and if it’s not looking great then it’s time you got to work to fix it.

Here are our top 5 tips to make your website experience more enjoyable for your visitors.

Polish your design

Review your site above the fold area in both mobile and desktop view. Is it easy to understand what you’re about and does it grab attention? Your most important message should be here. If it’s not, there’s less chance you’ll get users scrolling to read more.

Your site should be easy to look at, so if it’s too busy remove the clutter. Add high quality images that are engaging not cheesy stock photography. And make sure they’re optimised. High res images will impact your page loading speed, and a slow site will only encourage an early exit. If you’re unsure about how to improve your design then enlist the help of a specialist website designer like us!

Give your menu an overhaul

Take a look at your menu. Is it hard to navigate? You’ve established a path for users to follow, but if it doesn’t make any logical sense or the content is getting lost, then it’s time you revamped how your menu flows.

Make sure any categories and sub categories are clear and accurately reflect the content that sits on the page. Are all your navigation elements clickable? A user’s natural instinct is that they will be.

Tidy up your content

There’s a lot of things you can do to improve your content. From the quality and readability of your site, you should always be looking to make your content better. And the last thing you want is a site that’s difficult to read. You want to make sure it’s easy to scan, because let’s face it, that’s how most people read websites.

A few things that will make a difference is how you structure your content. Break up any long paragraphs with headings or bulleted lists, keep your sentences short, simplify what you’re saying (avoid jargon), and make sure your font size is big enough to read on mobile devices.

Enhance experiences with video

We all know video is an effective tool to engage and interact, and if you can capture a visitor’s attention with something of interest through video content, then you’ve already done the job to keep them on your site longer. 

Offer incentives

This is something a lot of bloggers and digital marketers use to generate leads. And it can be something as simple as sharing research findings or a whitepaper when they subscribe to your mailing list, sign up for an account or complete a survey. If the information you provide is useful, then you’ll also gain their trust as a subject matter expert.


Once you’ve made a few tweaks, review your analytics after some time again to see if the average time spent on your site has improved. The key is to never let your website go stale. Continually enhancing your site – be it through design or content will encourage visitors to return and stay longer.

Want to get your website up to scratch? Give us a hola at Cloud Cartel – Perth’s web design experts.

Time for a Refresh? Why you Should Update your Logo Design

By | Branding

Is your brand feeling a little stale? Getting tired of your look? Not attracting much attention? Then it might be time to consider a brand refresh.

Just like you would update your own look to stay on trend, so too should you maintain the look of your brand. One easy and impactful way to do this – without diving head first into a complete brand overhaul, is to review your logo design.

Your logo is the face of your business, it’s what gives a consumer instant recognition of who you are, and a glimpse into what you’re about. If you were to look at your logo right now what kind of impression do you think it gives? Is it sexy enough to attract attention from potential customers, and to maintain a sense of connection with your existing customer base? If you’re unsure, here are 5 signs your logo is in need of a facelift.

Your logo is out of touch

How long ago was it since you first had your logo designed? It may have looked cool once upon a time, but if it’s been a while or if it’s never been designed professionally, then your logo is showing its age. Little tweaks and adjustments to your existing logo can bring it back to life and make it current again.

Take Coca-Cola for example. As iconic and recognisable as the brand is, the Coca-Cola logo has evolved since it was originally developed in 1886, to keep it modern and in line with the company’s marketing campaigns. The essence of the logo has remained the same throughout its time (except for a bizarre swirly redesign in 1890), which goes to show you don’t have to make drastic changes to your logo in order to stay relevant.

Your logo doesn’t represent where your brand is now

Has your business evolved? Do you find yourself talking to new audiences or your personality shifting? Your logo is an important aspect of your brand identity, as it helps convey who you are. So if it’s not all gelling together you should definitely get a professional designer to zero in on your logo design.

Is your logo too complex?

It’s the simplest of logos that tend to be the most effective. If your logo is confusing to understand (remember most of us are visual people), and it’s full of different elements that just don’t seem to make any sense, scale it back. Get to the core of the nature of your business and make sure your logo reflects this. These days designers are placing more emphasis on how logos appear online, on apps and smartphones, which is why simplicity is key.

How does your logo fare across different platforms?

No doubt the way you market and advertise your business has changed over time. You’re probably investing more in digital marketing and finding new ways to attract and retain customers. Underpinning all of this is the use of your logo and how it looks across varying platforms.

If your logo was designed some time ago, it’s highly likely it didn’t take into account the various ways you may be applying it now. A logo redesign can take all of this into consideration and enhance the look of your logo for maximum appeal.

Are you competing with new players in the market?

Sometimes all it takes is a fresh new competitor to come in, rustle some feathers and make you look second rate. If that’s the case you need to step up your game and show them whose boss. A simple refresh can make you look good as new and create a lasting impression.

Whether it’s a minor logo refresh or a complete redesign, updating your logo is key to lifting brand awareness and staying relevant with today’s modern market. And if designed professionally, your logo will prove to have a longer shelf life than the time before.

Want us to throw some ideas around for your logo redesign? Get in touch with our team who can design a logo that works for you.