Category

Website Design

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.

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.

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.

Website development: What’s your strategy?

By | Website Design

Great websites don’t just happen. They require a well thought out plan long before your website designer and developer even reach for the keypad. And while it’s easy to get lost in all the pretty and cool aesthetics, you firstly need to make sure your website is developed with your business goals in mind. This is where you need a little thing called strategy.

Like most businesses, your website is the hub of your marketing activity. Giving your website a good foundation will ensure you get the most out of your site. Neglecting to allocate time and resources to strategically plan your website is a crucial mistake many businesses make.

A clearly defined strategy ensures effective design and development, and will avoid any costly setbacks. So what does a website design strategy involve? We’ve broken done some of the steps you should include in your planning when designing a new website.

Define your goals

To put it simply – what are the main reasons you need to have a website? And how will this support your overall business strategy? The clearer you can be with setting your goals and measurable objectives, the more successful your site will be.

Zero in on your target audience

Focus on the customers that matter. Your website should be built around their needs and your content should reflect this. It’s easy to get bogged down talking about your products and/or services, but how do they provide a solution for your audience?

Brand considerations

Your site should reflect who you are. What kind of feelings do you want your site to convey? What are the key messages and USPs you want to articulate? How will you stand out from your competitors?

User centered design

You’ve defined your audience, now your website designer needs to consider how to design your site to ensure the best user experience. A good looking website is useless if it lacks substance and provides no value. Your site should be easy to navigate with engaging content and strong calls to action that drive your desired outcomes. Think about any business processes you could incorporate into the functionality of your site too.

Create realistic timeframes & budget

We’d all love to have a website created in the click of a finger, but if you want it done properly then don’t rush the process. Break up your website project in stages or sprints if required, and set realistic deadlines that you, and your website designers and website development team (whether internal or outsourced) can agree upon.

Outline your budget and resources dedicated to the project. Your budget will determine the level of functionality your website can offer, so it helps to know what is in and out of scope from the very start.

Measuring success

Tracking your results is critical to understanding whether your site is achieving its goals. Determine how you will measure your success and the process you intend to take.

Having a solid website strategy will ensure your project stays on track, but more importantly it will aid your online success.


 

Ready to start planning your website? Get in touch with Perth’s leading website design team today to get your digital road map moving in the right direction.

7 Quick Tips for Improving Your Website Conversions

By | Website Design

Been monitoring your website traffic lately? How much of it has actually resulted in conversions? One of the metrics digital marketers bang on about all the time is the number of visitors they attract to their site, but what good is that if those users aren’t doing what the website is intended for?

There are many things you could and should be doing to help increase your conversion rates. Having a solid digital strategy helps, and if you’re a time poor digital marketer or small business owner, you’ll definitely benefit from these quick and effective tips to boost your website conversions.

Play nice with your fields

Whether it’s email opt-ins or account sign ups the same rules apply: Include only the fields you absolutely need. Users don’t have time to be messing around with forms, so the fewer fields you include the better. Once you have the bare necessities, you can always ask users to share more information down the track. If you insist on including lots of fields, perhaps consider making them optional. Remember, you want to attract customers not send them away!

Review your headings

We’ve all heard it, your heading is what’s going to attract attention, so make sure you nail it. What you say in your headline will determine whether your visitors continue to read on or move on, so spend some time brainstorming heading ideas. Then run with your best pick.

Inspire action with your CTAs

How clear is your call to action? Tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do, simple as that. And if you’re using links, try driving action with buttons. They tend to be more visually appealing and easier to click on – especially when we’re talking about mobile users.

Image is everything

The reality is most people won’t buy something without seeing what it looks like. The images you display on your site is all your visitors have to go by, so having professional, high quality images will go a long way. Key takeaway: don’t skimp out on your images.

Utilise social proof

We all know how powerful word of mouth can be, and the next best thing is having testimonials or customer reviews on your site for all to see. Everything suddenly seems more credible when you have someone else boasting about your products or services, so get onto it!

Create a sense of urgency

If you run an e-commerce site you should highlight when your products are low in stock. Showing you only have 4 items left of a particular product, may catch the eye of the shopper who was on the cusp of making a purchase.

Open up your payment gateway

Give your customers as many payment options as possible. You can’t assume everyone wants to use the current method of payment you have available, so the more options you can provide the better the shopping experience for them.

To round it off, it definitely pays to always test your landing pages. Things like your heading, images, calls to action are a great start to helping you understand what resonates with your visitors.

Want to know how else you can improve your website conversions? Give our team a hola today and start turning those visitors into customers.

Part 2: Bringing home the bacon – how to attract quality website traffic

By | Website Design

Was it something you said? Or perhaps the way you look? You think your website design hits all the right spots because you’re now clearly getting the traffic, but why aren’t your visitors hanging around?

We’re an impatient bunch when it comes to consuming online content, and if you’re not making a quick impression when a user lands on your site, you can expect them to be gone within 60 seconds.

If you read Part 1 of our blog you’d now be full bottle on some of the ways to generate traffic to your website. That’s the easy part. Getting users to stay long enough to convert – now that’s the challenge!

There are many reasons why users don’t stick around, some more obvious than others. Poor website design, hard to understand content and difficult navigation are key factors (of which we’re happy to point out should you need some guidance). It’s a no brainer that if your website isn’t responsive these days or developed with user experience in mind, visits will fall short. But what about the less obvious reasons? Let’s get into them!

Unsecure site

Having a secure site means your website is safe in the eyes of the user and ensures all your data isn’t at risk from intruders. Websites displaying a ‘HTTPS’ in front of their URL tell your visitor your site is secure, and any information shared between them and your site is protected. Google now labels unsecured sites, to make it even more obvious to users. They also rate secure sites highly, so you’ll be doing your organic search ranking a favour too.

Regardless of whether you handle sensitive information, having a secure site is good practice and could mean the difference between a user staying or leaving your site.

Annoying pop ups

While it might serve a purpose for your marketing efforts, pop ups or excessive advertising on your site is enough to make visitors hit that back button. We all find it annoying at the best of times, so think about how much value this is providing your visitors before u venture down the pop up path.

Auto play on audio & video content

Not everyone wants to be welcomed with a video playing as soon as they enter your site. Yes video content is popular at the moment, but you should give users the option of when they consume it. Our tip – set your audio and video to off as a default, or at a minimum play the video on mute and give the user the option to turn on the volume. Having video content stream automatically can also impact the speed of your site.

Hard to find contact details

Sometimes all a user wants to do is contact you. If this information isn’t easy to find they might give up and go to your competitor’s site instead. Make sure your contact information is clear, and provide as many forms of contact as possible. Easy enough right?

Outdated content

If your content isn’t relevant for visitors they won’t be interested, and if they’re not interested they won’t stay. If you’re not updating your content regularly to remain relevant, you’re not giving users a reason to come back. Google also likes it when you keep your website content fresh, so not only are you keeping users engaged, you’re also keeping the search engines happy.

Slow page loading

Have you noticed how long it takes for your site to load? If you don’t know you better check. Users don’t want to be waiting forever for your site to appear, and in the digital world forever really means within 3 seconds. Do you really want this to be the reason why visitors are heading for the exit door?

 


 

Time for a website redesign? Get in touch with Perth’s specialist website designers at Cloud Cartel.