Posts

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.

How To Keep Your Website Fresh

Tips on Keeping Your Website Fresh!

The most engaging websites are those that draw in repeat visitors and retain them for an active and exploratory session.

Here are several easy-to-implement ideas to keep your website fresh and engaging.

Blog Posts

If you have a blog, be sure to maintain it with regular posts. These could be monthly, weekly, or daily depending on your goals and schedule availability. (Read this interesting article to see the surprising results one blogger experienced statistically and emotionally when he increased from weekly to daily blogging.)

If you haven’t yet started a blog, come up with a calendar for the next 3-6 months before publishing. This will help you avoid getting writer’s block and keep you motivated.

Here are a few ideas for simple blog posts that can add value content on a weekly basis:

  • Round-up of themed ideas/products relating to your industry. (Example: “15 Best Electronic Assembly Tools for 2015”)
  • Commentary on latest industry news bit. Provide basic advice with forecasts and your expert opinion.
  • Directions or video for unusual ways to use your product. Survey social media fans to get ideas.

Photos From Events

Did you recently host or attend an industry related event? Share photos! These photos may show the personality of your staff or retain a strict business appearance — you decide the tone of your business style. If you attend a conference, be sure to find out if photos are allowed before snapping away.

Create a basic photo album, but be sure to add descriptive headlines and notes to present an overall storyline. Share it on your social network with a link back to your site.

Slider Pics On Home Page

Most WordPress themes allow you to place a slider on your homepage. If it doesn’t, you can add a plugin like the Soliloquy slider plug-in, so you can add sliding images to your home page highlighting various new features, articles, products/services, and press releases. If you publish a new blog post, you should put up a new slider pic replacing the old blog post reference. Keep about 3-5 slider pics rotating. More than that will usually be less effective. Readers may need to see the same image rotate through twice for it to catch their attention.

Hire a designer or web developer to create a template to allow you to easily change out the text and photos on slider pics. This way you can always add new slider images as frequently as you may have need. One example of a sliding image feature can be seen on the LuckyFish Media home page.

Stay Inspired

One of the best things you can do to keep a creative outlook for your website is to visit others. Artists regularly use a similar practice to stay inspired, visiting galleries and museums to see refreshing imagery similar to or very unlike their own.

Take a few minutes each week to visit your competitor’s sites and your favorite industry sites. What new features do you see? In what ways have the graphics or images changed? What are they blogging about? Keep a notebook, tablet, or smartphone handy to jot a few notes. Put into practice your favorite ideas or present them to your web developer for consideration.

The Dos and Don’ts of Updating

Regularly review your site every 3-6 months to consider changes. This helps your website maintain more relevance with readers and with search engines algorithms. When updating your site, be sure to avoid certain website mistakes including outdated content, lack of calls to action, and/or inappropriate font text and size.

Need help keeping your WordPress site current with latest malware protection and plug-ins? Let LuckyFish Media handle your WordPress site updates!

3 Website Mistakes to Avoid

We’ve all come across ancient websites and nearly laughed aloud at the old style of graphics, simplicity of design, and often boring content. With ever-changing expectations for website design, how do you know if you site is making mistakes like these?

Take a look at these key website mistakes to avoid to be sure your website is ready for modern audiences.

1. Out-of-Date Content

Providing website visitors with out-of-date content is one of the worst pitfalls for marketing your company image and value.

For example, if a user clicks your “News” tab and finds that the latest piece of news is from 2013, he or she is going to believe your entire website may not have been updated for years. This calls into question everything about your business  — standards, product usefulness, dedication to the industry, and plain and simple professionalism.

Many websites avoid dating content at all. Others regularly date items such as blog posts, news releases, and more. The important key is to regularly review and edit your site. If you choose to share news articles featuring your company or product, do so regularly. If you don’t have anything fresh to share, maybe it’s best to remove that portion of the site.

2. Lacking Calls to Action

Do you know what feature distinguished Facebook from other social media sites in the early race to domination? It was the “Like” button. Before Facebook introduced the “Like” button in 2009, users had to textually comment to show interaction with a post. The “Like” button is a simple call to action, but gets highly responsive results. One study of the “Like” button suggests that the history of “Liking” goes much deeper than the history of Facebook. This goes to show that a well researched call to action is worth investigating.

Informing website visitors what to do next or providing an interactive way to communicate preferences greatly lowers bounce rates and improves conversions. These next-step suggestions are called “Calls to Action”. Calls to action may be an anchored text link, an image button link with text, or a sentence including a quick link. Examples of each style:

Take a look at each page of your website, are you lacking calls to action? If so, this is one crucial component of your website you’ve got to improve immediately!

Which call to action style should you choose? Actually, the best way to answer this question is through testing. Set-up an A/B split test to present two different calls to actions to your site visitors in equal shares. Monitor which call to action style gets retains more visitors and/or leads to conversions. This will provide the best insight to which strategy, wording, colors, etc. are best for your particular business needs.

3. Inappropriate Font Size and Type

Font size and type play an important role in the emotions a website evokes on its readers. And now is the time to consider making font changes since recent browser support changes have made more font options a reality.

In a study about fonts by Microsoft and MIT researchers, many important findings about font size and type were discovered. More aesthetically pleasing fonts result in a happier mood and greater reading engagement. Secondarily, the happier mood encourages better cognitive abilities post-reading. Essentially, what this means is that it’s important to consider the font on your website if you want to influence your visitors in a particular way.

Different fonts may also evoke certain cultural emotions. For example, Helvetica font is what is used by the US government on tax forms. This association may produce unwanted side effects in mood. On the other hand, scripted fonts produce more romantic feelings, but are not easy to read for large bodies of text. In general, San-serif fonts like Arial and Calibri appear more informal than Serif fonts such as Times New Roman. A knowledgeable website designer should be able to help you consider which font is best for your purposes and audience.

Font size is just as vital as the type. Too small a font may be difficult for many readers and come across as intentionally misleading (as in the case of the “fine print” on giveaways.) For years it has been noted that font size 12pt and above is ideal, however many contemporary websites are moving towards fonts 20pt and larger. One recent study on font size suggests that these large fonts produce positive emotional responses. Again, these positive emotional responses are crucial to the actions of your website visitors.

Did you find this article about website design informative and useful? Share it on Facebook!

How To Prioritize Changes For Your Website Redesign

Are you thinking about redesigning your website?

If you want your website to stay fresh and relevant you should periodically review and update your website.

This important component of your business’s identity is perhaps one of the most valuable considerations in today’s online society.
In the early days of the Internet, simply having a website was a major advantage. Now, everyone has a website and yours needs to be articulate and powerful.

When you’re ready to make changes to your website, you’ll likely need to prioritize each element. Due to budget or time restraints, not all changes may be made quickly.

Here are three points to help prioritize your list of changes for your website redesign.

1. Clean-up

As the years go by, many website owners haphazardly add more content, features, graphics, and menu bar items to their site. Take a good look at your site. What can you take away? Are there outdated menu items? Tired icons, photos, or graphics? Compare your site to a competitor’s. Consider ways to more efficiently display information to allow users to rapidly find what they’re looking for.

2. Call to Action

Example call to action

Example call to action

One of the simplest things you can do to encourage users to engage your content is to tell them what to do. This is called a “Call to Action” key phrase. Simple sentences like “Read more,” “Buy now,” and “Click here” have been proven to drive people to complete the action. This typically results in a purchase or continued browsing. Find ways to include these calls throughout your site.

3. Catchy Images

Out-of-date images are probably one of the first things visitors will notice about your site. Images can be quickly replaced with just a few clicks and will give your site an immediate overhaul with little work.

Think of this list as the three “C”s. Clean-up, Call to Action, and Catchy Images — these three elements will greatly improve the usability and user engagement of your site. This, in turn, will also promote more sales of your products and services.

On a personal note, once a year I go through my website from a client’s perspective. It helps me to eliminate information, update outdated images and to make sure my call to actions are clear.

If you are interested in getting a professional  review of  your website please contact me today. 

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

4 Keys to a Good Web Design

4 Keys to a Good Web Design

Building a new website or even re-designing your current one can often be a daunting and at times stressful process. That’s why it’s imperative to work alongside a web design company that you trust, have a good rapport with and have built an advantageous working relationship with. This will enable you to get the best out of your investment and be left with a great end product; a website that fulfils all of your criteria, as well as some of those more technical ones you may not have known about. Read more

Standing Out – Characteristics of a Professionally Designed Website

Standing Out – Characteristics of a Professionally Designed Website

With the rapid expansion of the internet, and the exponential increase in the number of websites in operation, with new ones coming up by the dozens on a daily basis, it is becoming important for business websites to stand apart. For that matter, it is equally important for personal websites to stay a cut above the internet fluff. A professionally designed website can prove immensely helpful in achieving the primary objective of any website, that is to attract visitors. For business websites, it is also important to convert these readers into customers.

Read more