3 Easy Tips For Captivating Your Website Visitors

Are You Captivating Your Audience?

Maintaining a website can be as simple or intricate as you desire, all depending on your business goals and line of products/services. Generally, the more numerous or complex of product/service, the more robust the site will be.

But the real question is, no matter how large or small, is your website captivating visitors?

THAT is the key to success. Read on to discover three easy tips to reach your online audience with a great website!

3 Easy Tips For Captivating Your Website Visitors

 

Hover Effects

Have you ever noticed that some websites just seem more cool than others? Little features often make a big impact on the overall feeling of a website, adding a certain style associated with the business brand.

Buttons and/or images on a website can quickly become more interesting with a hovering effect. In the past, this effect might have been as simple as the button changing colors on mouse over. However, there are now a wide array of options including fading in or out, 3D and shadowing, or swiping motions. Text can also be given a makeover with certain hovering features such as changes in font color, size, or animation. Navigational links may also participate in the game with underlining, italics, colors, and even icons that appear.

Hover effects are a great way to help users quickly locate the mouse on the page. More importantly, hover effects also help users feel connected to the site in an intuitive, playful, and personal manner.

Tip: Check out the Lucky Fish main blog page to see an example of a hover effect where the images “light up” and zoom in upon mouse over.

Call to Action

In my 3 Website Mistakes to Avoid blog post, I mentioned the lack of call to action buttons or text. This important website component cannot be stressed enough. A call to action is VITAL for success.

Visually or textually telling website visitors what to do next is a subtle and necessary step to retention. Having a clear call to action significantly lowers bounce rates and improves conversions. Calls to action need not be complicated. Consider each page of your site and ask, “What do I want the customer to do next?” The answer may include anything that keeps the visitor engaged and advancing in the sales funnel process.

Calls to action may appear anywhere on the page, but each page needs at least one. For blog posts, this is often at the end of the text. For example, at the end of a blog article about a great food recipe, there may be a link to another recipe to complete the meal with a tasty side dish. These easy connections promote interaction. Another example would be a simple shopping cart button that says “Add to Cart” and encourages users to understand how to purchase the item.

Schedule routine website audits where you check each page for contemporary and meaningful calls to action.

Good Design

What makes a good design? Website design is really no different than any other type of design work, whether it be industrial, graphic, architectural, or landscape. The point of design is to find the best way to display something in a pleasing and understandable manner. Check out Dieter Rams design principles for a fine explanation which can be applied to website design.

Essentially, a well designed website will engage customers, make services and products easy to understand and easy to find, and promote an enjoyable experience on the site.

Is your site functioning on the principles of good design? Regular analytics review, customer or visitor surveys, and an experienced design team will all help to reveal the answer. Another option is to do an A/B split testing of certain design features to determine which website version is best.

Check out my eBook on digital marketing for a deeper understanding of how using a variety of internet marketing methods can help you captivate your audience.

5 Easy Tips for A Successful Website

When starting a small business there are many things that need your attention – finances, marketing, getting customers, taxes, etc. One area I think owners overlook is their website.  A good trend that I’m seeing from people today is that they seem to understand the importance of having a website for their business, but they lack the knowledge and confidence to make it better.

Tips for Successful WebsiteA website is the center of your marketing world. It’s a place where people can visit your business 24 hours/day to learn about the services you provide. Personally, I think that many people are afraid of technology and are unfamiliar with the terms used by website designers, so they don’t reach out and contact a website professional for the fear of getting confused (which can be embarrassing) or the fear of being “taken for their money”.  They then turn to GoDaddy or similar company and plunk down a couple hundred bucks and buy a very basic, generic, plain looking website.

Figuring, “Well, I have a website now. What’s next on the list?”

…Your website shouldn’t just exist…it should work for you!

Unfortunately, I believe that many people create/buy a website and then, much like a dealer at a blackjack table, wave their hands and forget about it. Would you buy a car and never get the oil changed or wash it?  Would you buy a house and never clean it?

With millions, upon millions, of websites available you need to stand above the crowd. Much like finding Waldo in a sea of people, you need your website to catch a visitor’s eye. Then, once they’re there, show them what your business can offer.

Here a few tips to start getting more from your website. (This list could be very, very long so I’m going to try not only focus on the most important tips, but tips that someone with little website knowledge could do.)

Tip 1

Clean and Simple

So many times I visit a website and it feels like I’m having an encyclopedia thrown in my face. So much information at one time. You would have to be “Johnny 5” to get through the information. ( 80’s reference…you may need to look it up.) Your website shouldn’t look like a Wikipedia page.

Your website should be very clean and easy to use.  It should feel like your living room – comfortable, relaxing and easy to move around. You should have a main navigation area listing your pages. Your content should be in a legible font, like Tahoma, Veranda and fonts without all the little curls (serifs). It’s hard because you are so close to your business you think every piece of information is important. Sit back and be objective. Think to yourself… “From an objective business perspective, what’s the most important thing that a visitor should learn about me or my business within the first minute or two?”

You can always add information in later. Think Clean and Simple.

Tip 2

Current Information

There is nothing worse than outdated information on a website. People will leave your website so quickly it will make your head spin. People want to feel like you care about your own website as much as you would care about their business. When I see a footer of a website that says “copyright 2010”, I have to wonder…do I really want to spend my hard earned money on this website?

Having current information on your site is good practice. To add new content, you might want to add a blog where you can post articles on topics you are interested in.

Tip 3

Basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is very important in website design. There are people who dedicate their lives to learning about how to make websites rank better in search engines. In layman’s terms, Search Engine Optimization is a way that your website ranks in search engines so people can find your website. Google, Bing and others weigh the information on your site and rank your site so people can find information that is useful. For instance, if you have a word bolded in your text, Google thinks… “this word must be important because it’s bolded”.  The same can be said if it links to a another website/web page.

Editing your text with some simple SEO techniques can actually help you rank higher without too much effort.

Let’s say you are selling hamburgers. You want to highlight the word hamburger without going crazy.

Here is a sample paragraph about hamburgers where I will illustrate some simple SEO techniques.

The History of the Hamburger  (H1 or H2 tag)

The hamburger most likely first appeared in the 19th or early 20th centuries.The modern hamburger was a product of the culinary needs of a society that was rapidly changing due to industrialization, and therefore, people had less time to prepare as well as to consume meals.

hamburgerAmericans contend that they were the first to combine two slices of bread and a steak of ground beef into a “hamburger sandwich”. Part of the controversy over the origin of the hamburger is because the two basic ingredients, bread and beef, were prepared and consumed separately for many years before their combination. Shortly after its creation, the hamburger was prepared with all of the now typically characteristic trimmings, including onions, lettuce, and sliced pickles.

During the 20th century, there were various controversies, including a nutritional controversy in the late 1990s. The burger is now readily identified within the United States, and a particular style of cuisine, namely fast food. Along with fried chicken and apple pie, the hamburger has become a culinary icon in the United States.

 Tip 4

Expressive Content – You are good at what you do, and you can help their business.

Not everyone is a super copywriter and that’s okay. Your website content should be written in an easy, conversation style. You don’t want your website to be a user manual … unless it is a user manual.

When writing content for your website, you need to let your visitor know how you are going to help them with their problem or make their life easier. For instance, we recently purchased a water fountain filter for our sink. Our water is good but doesn’t taste so good. The website we purchased our filter from told us how much we would enjoy our water if we bought their product. They solved a problem I had. It may sound simple, but always ask yourself when writing content, “If I was a visitor to my own website, would this language tell me how my problem will be fixed?”

Tip 5

Call to Action – What do You Want Me To Do?

A Call to Action button is a common term you might hear from a web designer. It’s usually a button/image that is large and colorful and links to something on your website you really want your visitor to do. You want the visitor to do something like get more information, look at something, or download something. For instance, if you were selling a book you might have a button that makes people want to click on the image to learn more.

Example image –

call-to-action-example

 

The only requirement for a Call To Action button is that is stands out from the content on your website.

 

Hopefully these simple tips will help you with your small business website.

Get Your Website Visitors to stay longer with Great Pictures

“A picture is worth 1000 words”….

I remember hearing that once, twice – or a million times!

As a web designer, I learned early on the importance of having good pictures on your website. Having professional looking images on your website will help set the tone and effectiveness of your site.

When a visitor comes to your website, they are usually there 3-5 seconds. In that amount of time they are judging whether your website is worth staying on or if they should leave. It’s pretty scary if you think about it. You have 3-5 seconds to grab their attention and get your message across. One way to get visitors to stay a little longer is to use professional looking images that will grab their attention while helping explain what you offer.

Young couple eating pizzaFor example, if you ran a pizza parlor, you should have professional looking pictures of your pizza large and easy to see right on your homepage. Although, wouldn’t it be better to have a great photo of a group of people actually enjoying your pizza? This would be a picture that would convey to the visitor..”look, we have good pizza and people are happier when eating our pizza”. In addition, pictures help add credibility to your business. Good images help build a trust between you and the prospective client. You don’t need to a have a large budget to have a website with good looking pictures.

 

3 Tips on Creating a Website with Great Pictures …

 1. Hire A Professional Photographer

If you are a professional business such as a law firm, dentist, doctor, etc., it’s very important to have a professional picture of yourself and your office. You don’t want to ask your buddy to come on down and bring his iPhone to takes some pictures – even if it’s his hobby. A visitor to your website might think, “If they don’t care enough to take a professional picture, how can they be trusted to care about my problem?”

 2. Stock Photography is Your Friend

There are many great stock photography websites out there to help you get wonderful images. They range in price from $1 – $100’s. The nice thing about stock photography is you can find an image just by searching a term. Photodune is my favorite stock photography website because I think they have the best balance of price and quality. Some stock photography is very poor quality, so you still have to be on guard, but you should be able to find a quality picture of what you are looking for fairly easily.

Let’s use Photodune to find an image of a dog. (The bottom of this post has some links to great stock photography websites.)

PhotoDune Website Screenshot –

Notice the search bar at the top right as well as navigation listing common categories. We are going to type “dogs” in the search bar.

photodune

Photodune screenshot looking for “dogs”

Well, we found a bunch of pictures of dogs. You can now scroll through all the pages looking for just the right image. Once you’ve found the image you want, just click on it.

photodune-dog

Photodune screenshot looking at buying options

Most, if not all, stock photography websites give you options to buy different sizes. If you are blogging the smallest size usually works well.

photodune-size

 

 3. Avoid Too Many Pictures on Your Website

Some people take the advice of using photography on their site to a new level and basically turn their website into a photo gallery. Remember, images are there to accentuate your website – not to be your sole source of content. If you have too many images, people gloss over and leave the site. Pictures are like a nice rug for your floor. A good rug can highlight a beautiful dinner table quite nicely, but having rugs laying all over your home would not have the same effect. You’re not going for a hodge podge collection, only something to highlight your already good content.

If you have a small business, I highly recommend getting a professional to take pictures of you, your restaurant, your office, your products, etc. Then use trusted stock photography to help fill in and enhance your website with great images.

Some Stock Photography Websites:

1.photodune.net

2.istockphoto.com

3.shutterstock.com

4.dreamstime.com

5.bigstockphoto.com

Is there such a thing as an easy, simple website?

I am a firm believer that when creating a website for a business you can never ask enough questions. In the past I have had clients who seem irratated with the process of answering questions and just want to get a site as fast as possible.

During these sessions when I’m asking questions about their future website I hear the phrase,  “I want a simple, easy website…You can create that really quick for me right?”

They are usually a business owner and don’t have the time to be bothered thinking about what it takes to create a site. They just heard that they need one. I can relate to that very easily, but if you were going to buy a home you would most likely be very detailed in what you were looking for. You might say I want at least 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, marble tile, etc. You wouldn’t say “Build me a house, I want to move in one week.”

 

Read more

5 Reasons Your small business needs a website

As I write this post I have a slight toothache. I decided to change dentist a few months back and I keep finding other things to do instead of searching out a new dentist. Now that the pain is creeping in I have to find a new dentist. The way people find a new dentist, doctor, eye doctor or any business for that matter has changed over the past 15 years.

As a thirty something I will begin my search on the web.  I will not pull the Yellow Book out of the junk drawer in the house. (Everyone has a junk drawer and at the bottom, anchoring the drawer is an old Yellow Pages.) I will not drive around looking for a dentist. I will not go to the yellow book website and search on their site. What I will do is type in my browser (Chrome)  “dentist + my location” and start the search.

Read more

Communication & Website Design

When asked about working with clients to create websites, I always stress the importance of good communication between the client and the designer. Whether the website is complicated or simple it is still important to have a good flow of communication.  That being said,  every client communicates differently. Some communicate too much, some not enough, and others not at all. As a designer you have to be able to adapt to these different types of clients. One way I do this is to adhere to a process that I am comfortable and that has worked for me in the past.

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How to Migrate Your Personal Facebook Profile to a Business Page

I just read this great little article telling people how to migrate their facebook profiles to a business profile. Facebook is changing so quickly sometimes articles like this can be really helpful to a small business owner.

Here is  a brief excerpt:

It wasn’t long, however, before a new use became apparent. It was (and is) a useful marketing tool and way of promoting yourself or your business online. Some have been able to incorporate it into a full image seller that can make up an entire profit-earning project on its own. But to do it, you have to take what was once a personal profile and convert it into a place representing your business interests.

To read the full article follow this link

http://freelancefolder.com/how-to-migrate-your-personal-facebook-profile-to-a-business-page/