Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Web Designers Have to Pull Teeth

I love everything about my job.

That was a lie.

There's one part of my job that I do not enjoy. It is not fun. It is the one thing I dread.

It's helping my clients provide/write the content for their website.

Getting the written web content from a client is like pulling teeth. Do dentists dread pulling teeth? Maybe they love it. I don't know.

It is very hard for web designers to get the content for a website from their client. I'm just being honest. Usually the client feels the same way about the content part of the website. They are too busy with other things in their business to take the time out of their schedule and write verbiage for their website.

Unless you are a professional writer, writing is probably not something that you do very often. It takes time and can be tedious. And it requires grammar. And spelling.

While writing and pulling teeth are not fun, here are a few ideas to make writing content for your website a little easier.

1. Examine your competition

Notice I did not say "Copy your competition". You want to stand out from your competition, and sound different. But if you're stuck in your writing, looking at what other people have said will help you. It may even give you an idea of what you DON'T want to talk about.

2. Write a practice draft

A lot of times people are afraid of writing and have a hard time getting started. Try just writing something with no intention of actually using it. Tell yourself you will throw it away as soon as you write it. Maybe you end up liking it and keeping it? Or maybe it's just a good start for when you're actually writing for real.

3. Make lists

Writing for a website shouldn't be blocks of paragraphs. Lists are the way to go. They are easier for the web user to scan quickly, which is what the web is all about.

Make lists of things your company is good at, lists of services you offer, lists of whatever you can think of. It may not need much if any explanation.

4. Ask your web designer for help

Many web designers have a lot of experience in writing content for websites. They may not know a lot about your business, but if you can provide them with your lists from #3, they may be able to take it from there.

Fresh Look Web Design often helps our clients with writing the content for their website. Sometimes if we have to do a lot of writing we will charge for it, and sometimes it's just a little editing and we do not charge. The benefit of finishing the website is incentive enough for us that we are motivated to help you!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why You Need a Mobile-Friendly Website

We all know that smartphones are on the rise. More and more people are searching through their phones and tablets. But how important is it to make sure your website is mobile-friendly?

It is actually VERY important to make sure your website has been optimized for mobile devices. Consider these 2 facts:

1. According to www.pewinternet.org, the most recent research says that 34% of cell phone users go online mostly with their cell phones, as opposed to using other devices like a desktop or laptop computer.

2. Google, the biggest player by far of the search engines, has said that they reward websites that have a mobile-friendly website when it comes to search engine ranking. In other words, if you don't have a mobile-friendly website, you will not be as high on the search engine rankings as you could.

It's easy to explain #1. We all know that people are relying more and more on smartphones and tablets.

But most people don't know about #2, Google rewarding mobile-friendly websites. It is very important to keep Google has happy as possible regarding your search engine optimization. That's what we will focus on here.

How do I know if my website is "mobile-friendly", according to Google?

Fortunately, Google has made it very easy to tell if your website has passed the test. They provide a free tool to check - https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

Just copy/paste your web address into the box, and Google will let you know if your website is mobile-friendly. They check if the text is too small, are links too close together, and is the mobile viewport set.

What if my website fails the test?

The good news is that it is fairly inexpensive to make a website mobile-friendly enough to pass Google's test, and get the SEO benefit. At Fresh Look we employ two different strategies, we will either create a mobile-only version of a website that is optimized, or we will create a different template for the website that smartphone users are directed to. Both ways are inexpensive, but effective in making your website user friendly as well as more optimized for the search engines.

The bottom line is that both human users and the search engines want to see a optimized mobile website. Check your phone to make sure that your website is easy to use, and check it at Google's mobile test link - https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly.

Let us know if you need any help creating a mobile friendly website at info@freshlookwebdesign.com or call us at 757-778-8973.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

How Do I Make My Important Information Stand Out?

Most websites hold a LOT of information. It's not always easy to separate what is most important with what is not. If you could only tell your web visitors one thing, what would it be? Do you know what that is?

And really it's not just one thing, but maybe two or three or more. But think about it for a minute: What is the most important thing you want your users to see?

For Fresh Look Web Design, it's really a combination of two things. We want our users to see our Website Portfolio, and we want them to contact us - either by call or our contact form.

There are lots of other things we want them to do also, but those two are the most important to us.

Once you know what's most important, we come to the title of this article. How do we make that important information stand out on our website?

We have 3 ways we like to do it.

1. In the regular navigation of the website

All your pages should be in the main navigation of your website. Put your important page where the rest of your pages are - usually in the menu across the top of the page. And your important page should not be a drop down item that appears underneath another category - it should be it's own category.

2. In a large graphic near the top of your home page

This large graphic is often referred to as a slider. Especially if it is part of a slideshow that "slides" back and forth between a couple different images.

Make sure that this graphic has a strong call-to-action statement that refers to your important page.

Also make sure that it links to a page that has the information that you want them to see.

3. Smaller buttons on the side or bottom of your website

A lot of websites will have a "rightmenu" or "leftmenu" on their website. On this side part of the website, you will often find some links, maybe the company's contact info, maybe a calendar or social media icons.

It also happens to be a great place to put a good call-to-action button which leads to your important information. Since it's on a side menu bar it should be a smaller than the slider image, but it's still important.

On the page you're on right now, you'll see the 3 ways users can get to our Portfolio page. We have a link in the top menu - "Portfolio", we have the large blue graphic across the top, and we have the yellow button on the right.

Remember, repetition is the key. You're not going to get in trouble for putting three links on your website that all go to the same information. You WANT your users to go there, so make sure they go there.

If you have any design questions about your website, ask us! We will be happy to lend you our expertise. Check out some of our articles to get more great ideas for your business website.