What Do Users Look For in a Mobile Website Experience?

mobile-users Now that you’ve (hopefully) survived Google’s Mobilegeddon, it’s time to get back on track with your website’s mobile experience.

Why Mobile User Behavior Matter

When looking at the type of traffic coming to a website, it might be surprising to find out that mobile users will probably fall into the top 1 or 2 spots. Tablets, bigger smartphones, and even smart watches are making it more convenient for users to search from something other than a desktop computer or laptop. The downside is that while the engagement is there, mobile users can drastically differ in their behavior from the average desktop computer user.

Same Content, Different Behaviors

Typically, the duration on site of mobile users is lower than users using a desktop. Typically, there are also less page views and a higher bounce rate. You have to ask yourself WHY mobile user behavior is different when they are essentially looking at the same information as your normal, desktop website. Therein lies the problem. By the nature of the small screen, the user experience is never going to be the same as that of a desktop… no matter how seamless you try to make it.

The goal is to best adapt a mobile/responsive website so that the experience is logical and smooth. Knowing this, it’s understandable why Google stands against ranking websites that redirects all mobile results to a mobile home page. When it comes to designing for the user experience, it’s better to have no mobile redirects if you’re not going to have the results go to the actual page!

Give the Consumers What They Want

Nowadays, before you buy, you’re most likely to pull out your phone to search for reviews or compare prices. The convenience of smart phones have made customers more web savvy than ever. Whether you’re buying something as small as a drugstore lipstick (gotta check reviews first!) or making a big purchase on a car, your phone is your go to research tool. Check out how users start their research:
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Next, we look at conversion rates by device top. Notice how iPads surpass conversions on a desktop! Smartphones and iPhones are significantly lower but there is still room for growth.
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4 Header Web Design Trends That You Don’t Want to Miss Out On

The header of your website is a focal point and the first thing potential customers will see and the last thing they will remember about your business. Here are a few trends that are hot for 2015:

BIG, Bold Professional-Quality Images

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The idea is to create and use a modern image that’s so good that it seems like it could be stock photography. Using custom photos isn’t a new thing but the superb quality of professional grade images is what you want to aim for here. Bottom line, don’t use a huge, blown up picture of your office (or face!) unless it’s ready to be presented in such HD details!

Use of Subtle Videos in the Background

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Airbnb does a good job of using subtle (but powerful) video snippets in their website header. Videos enrich the user experience and integrating it seamlessly into the header or background is a no-brainer. To kick things up a notch, you can also expect to see these videos on responsive verisons of the website also.

Interactive Layouts

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If you look on top of the home page for Seattle’s Space Needle website, you’ll see “Scroll Up” and the user-experience doesn’t begin until that action begins. Further up, you’ll see a button for “Click Me”. As you may see, this innovative layout will only work for some but it’s interesting nonetheless!

Centering

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Centering images, text, navigation, videos and more. This is the recipe for a clean modern design AND it’s also perfect for responsive design. A center-centric header design translates across all different screen sizes and is also on point in terms of web design nowadays.

4 Signs Your Website Design is Ahead of Your Customers

There is much more to a good website design than looking cool. Having a great website design is awesome, but what if it’s too complicated or “sophisticated” for your clients and potential customers? When choosing a new website design, remember that function is just as important as the layout. Here are four signs that your website is just not working for your consumer base:

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Website Does Not Cater To Your Target Audience

Audience segmentation is an integral building block in a marketing plan. This is the process of dividing customers up into subgroups based on criteria such as: demographics, geographics, social behaviors and psychographics. This requires a business to think about customers in relation to what products/servces are being sold. Basically a website shouldn’t aim to be like Tesla if you’re selling a ‘smart car’, and vice versa.

This is difficult because sometimes, owners want their website to convey a feeling of something they like or find aesthetically pleasing. In real life, this may not translate so well for business. The bottom line is to again to design a website according to how customers would want it to be, not just based on personal likes.

Hard to Navigate

High brow design is not always the right option. Choosing unconventional navigation may seem unique and “out of the box” but there are reasons why the layout for website navigation are standardized – customers are used to seeing things in (or around) the same area across the websites they navigate. This means a Home button on the left or top and contact on the top or right. Scrolling options are usually found on the right hand side. Even though it may seem intuitive, don’t overlook a sleek design as your regular customers may not understand or be able to find what they’re looking for.

For example, Contact buttons and pages should be easy to find and have a call to action. Depending on your business and customers, having an icon of a phone may not easily convey “contact” or “call” and having a small button with lines is not enough to convey “menu” or “more options”.

Slow Loading

Don’t expect potential customers to have super fast internet or a super big monitor. Having complicated elements might be ahead of your main target audience, as well as what their equipment can handle. Websites that are image and Flash heavy look good, once the site is fully loaded. But on slow wifi or cell phone internet, this doesn’t fare well for a website. Customers don’t have time for a website to load, or for even portions of a website to load. Contact forms or other important parts of a website may be loading on Javascript, which if is slow loading will also deter customers. Every little thing counts when it comes to web page speed, even if it’s smaller things that you wouldn’t normally think of. Also, don’t forget how we recently discussed Google identifying Mobile-Friendly websites.

Website Is Not Converting

Is your website just sitting pretty? After a quick check that all the contact forms and web pages are working correctly, the next step is to think of why conversions aren’t taking place. There are many reasons why customers aren’t making contact. Besides the ones mentioned above, tere are a few more to consider:

1) Your website doesn’t display what is promised
2) Users are given too little/much information and want to go elsewhere
3) There are no strong calls to action
4) Users feel like your products/services are too cheap/expensive

If you haven’t already guessed, these are issues that can be dealt with in the design and structure of a website. Getting a potential customer to a website is the job for an SEO but what happens afterwards is just as crucial. Have questions about a new website design or help with one that isn’t working? Don’t hesitate to call Emarketed at 800-WEB-5421 today.

Should My Business Get a Custom Web Design or CMS Template Design?

Is it time for a website redesign? There are some important decisions to be made, such as, whether you want a completely custom design or a template design. There are many things to consider when thinking about what’s best for your business. Let’s take a look at what your different options are: webdesign-portfolio

Completely Custom Design

The advantage of having a completely custom website design is that it’s unique to your brand and business point of view. This is especially helpful in highly competitive fields. A custom design will be tailored to your needs and wants, and chances are, there will be no other site that looks exactly like yours. Having a custom website will help your business stand out and it will really be noticeable, especially when compared to competitors. A custom design will stand the test of time and you’ll be able to enjoy it for years to come, without worrying about it feeling outdated quickly. There are some downsides to having your website built from scratch. Since it will take a lot more time and effort than using a template, it will most likely cost a lot more and take longer to build. Especially, if we are talking about responsive website design. Keep this in mind if you’re looking to get a new site design by a certain deadline. Big, custom projects may take longer than expected, especially if you want elements changed and tweaked to your specific wants.

Template Design

There’s nothing wrong with having a template design or CMS website. These sites can look great and function easily, so that you can make changes as needed/wanted without any coding or programming experience. WordPress also has free and premium themes that are good, if not better than what you would imagine for a template design. Cost wise, template websites are usually significantly more cost effective than a completely custom designed website. Depending on your business needs, a template design may be too simple. It may not have the exact design or functional elements that you’re looking for, when compared with a custom website. Although a template design doesn’t mean that your site will look exactly like other sites that use the same layout or theme, it may not be enough to help your website be memorable.

Need Help With Building a Website?

Every business is unique and a website should help convey the right brand identity & message. When thinking about what you want your website to look and feel like, you’ll also need to consider budget and resources. Luckily, there is no one right answer and you can have a successful website with whichever option you choose. Take a look at our Portfolio above and contact us for a free consultation. We’ll be glad to help you start your brand new website or revamp your existing website.

How Does Good Design Help with SEO?

Building a website from scratch or redesigning an existing website requires that different elements work together. Believe it or not, web design plays a crucial role in your SEO plan. Here are three reasons why:

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1) Site Architecture

How your website is laid out is very important. When working together, the SEO strategy is to determine what pages are most important in the hierarchy. It’s design’s job to present that information in an attractive and easy-to-follow manner. If you have certain services or products that you would like to emphasize, web design helps make that section of your website stand out more. With SEO, you can help bring traffic to those desired areas.

2) Call to Action/Conversion

Without a clear call to action, visitors will likely just bounce from your website without looking at any other pages, making contact or anything at all. If there is no clear direction to call, contact, download, join, Like or subscribe, your website is pretty much useless. Good web design doesn’t necessarily directly impact your SEO efforts but it plans an important role in that – conversion. Where SEO gets potential customers to your website, it’s the design’s job to get them to stay and convert.

3) Site Speed

As responsive web design catches on and websites become bigger, better and more robust, their site speed also increases. Site speed is considered to be a top contender in search engine ranking factors. The purpose of effective web design is convey the proper brand message (including a call top action) but keeping a handle on it so that your website will load fast. Imagine that your website is ranking phenomenally and leading visitors to a beautifully designed website. The relationship can stop right there if it takes too long for your website to load. It’s a major no-no and something that both SEO and web design has to keep in mind.

Top Changes in Web Design in the Past 5 Years

Web design has come a long way from generic templates, scrolling marquee, and a reliance on Flash. When you think about it, web design has changed A LOT, just in the past 5 years. Let’s take a look at some elements that probably weren’t even on the horizon half a decade ago:

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Bigger Screen Size

Do you remember the screen size of your first smart phone? If you thought it was awesome then, look at the options today. Nowadays, the biggest smart phone screen size in the market us upwards of 7 inches! And computer screens are getting bigger too. Take a look at this comparison of monitor sizes from 1999 to 2012. We’ve gone from small to big and are heading towards huge. For web design, this means that there is more crucial space to play with and fill with important, relevant information. The area above the fold is increasing greatly.

Responsive Design

Of course, bigger and different screen sizes calls for responsive design. As this is fast becoming the industry standard, it was unheard of years ago, when it was just the standard to have a desktop and separate mobile version of your website. Responsive sites helps design work with SEO and improve user experience across all mobile devices.

User Testing

Gone are the days where you just put up a design and hope and guess that it will do ok. There are many user testing and heat map programs that can tell you what people think of specific elements of your website. Although these are just opinions of specific people, you can use the feedback to improve your design. Yes, maybe that phone number does need to be bigger and predominantly displayed because people can’t find it. No, maybe people don’t like pop-up contact forms as much as you think they would. Guess work is being taken out of effective web design as we can more accurately diagnose and fix problems.

Completion of Project

Maybe 5 years ago, you would be given a timeline of when your website would be completed and it would be the end. The site would stay like that as-is for maybe another 5 years until any changes were made. Nowadays, we understand that website maintenance is important, whether it’s to have on-going SEO on your site or to update any design elements that are needed to help with conversion. There shouldn’t be a set date on completion of your web design and it should change with your business as it’s needed.

The Future of Web Design

Time will tell what the future will hold for web design but it seems like “clean” and “simple” are making a comeback. As things that are old become new again, it’s exciting to be caught up in the ever changing world of web design.

3 More Reasons to Implement Responsive Design

Responsive web design should no longer be a foreign, far away concept. It’s something that your business can take advantage of today. While you debate the necessity of a responsive website, here are 3 more reasons to help you make up your mind:

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1) Get a Competitive Edge – Now that Google has removed Authorship pictures from search results, there are on-site factors that you have to work on to get noticed. Implementing a responsive web design is a huge first step in optimizing your website for mobile, laptop and desktop (and everything in between) all at once.

The idea of responsive web design is new enough that all your competitors probably don’t have it. They might still be fumbling with a clunky mobile site that doesn’t load properly on a screen sizes. Having a responsive web site will help your business stand out and stand out among the crowd as being innovative and tech/consumer-savvy.

2) Play by Google’s Rules – Not only does responsive web design get Google’s seal of approval, but they’re willing to go as far as penalizing websites for mobile and faulty redirects. For a while now, Google has been toying with the idea that it will showcase a note to users that they will be directed to a mobile website. This user experience isn’t ideal as you want the search and buy experience to be as seamless as possible. The idea of a separate mobile website is outdated and no longer efficient.

3) Streamline and Make Things Easier – With responsive web design, you’re dealing with one website and a single URL for each page of content. You don’t have to worry about mobile versions of this and duplicate versions of that… users will get ONE version of your site, no matter what device they’re using. Google also prefers responsive design for another reason, it makes their robots work less hard! Yes, even Googlebot has to crawl and index mobile versions of your website.

In the end, responsive web design makes it easier on your webmaster, customers and Google. It’s a win-win-win situation. It’s also a cost-effective solution that will last you years to come. A well-designed and easy-to-maintain responsive website will last your business years to come without feeling outdated quickly. It’s an investment but one that’s sure to be worth it. Call the Emarketed team at (877) 959-5322 for a free consultation on responsive website design.

In Case You Haven’t Realized… Page Speed Affects Conversions!

Page speed is often overlooked in website development. When a site is completed, it’s difficult to want to go back and see the things you can compress or adjust in order to speed your site up. Ideally, these things are considered during the design process, but sometimes, other factors, such as optimization and design take priority.

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Take a look at how Walmart suffers with a 3 second lag. Take a look at that sharp drop from 1 second to 3+ seconds! Getting customers to your site is the first obstacle and it’s a shame to have them leave quickly or not convert because of your slow page load speed. This is especially true for e-commerce and similar sites where users are ready and willing to complete a transaction versus searching for information in a text-heavy site.

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On the other hand, Firefox improved their average page load time and experienced an increase in downloads by 15.4%, which translates to 10 million additional downloads per year! Now this is an ideal to strive for.

Click here to view the whole infographic and get the whole scoop on the damage a slow website can do.

Rethinking Poor Conversions

On a topical level, the thought of a handful of seconds doesn’t seem too concerning. But it should make you think twice when you see the actual effects of it on conversion. Initially, there are a few things you should check for if you’re suffering a drop in conversions:

– Ease of website usability
– Page layout
– Organized site structure
– Simple contact information and contact forms with fewer fields
– Content that matches headings and titles
– Page speed

Simplifying Web Design and Preparing for Responsive Sites

Google provides Site Speed suggestions at the page level, which can be seen in Analytics. This is a good starting point for cleaning up messy code, compressing large images etc. You can pick and choose from easy fixes to problems that require more time and digging into.

The growing popularity of responsive websites leads to another dilemma. While they are more SEO friendly than having desktop, tablet and mobile versions of your website, the coding is more complex. This can unexpectedly increase a site’s page load time and decrease conversions. This is something to prepare for and with proper planning, you can have a responsive website that’s both fast and SEO friendly. If you have any questions or are looking for more information, don’t forget to view our portfolio here.

Web Design, SEO and Conversion Conflicts

Web design and SEO are two elements that go hand in hand. When they don’t work in sync, there will definitely be a problem, which can be seen in your conversions. Even though these are two separate departments, it’s important that they work together. This is important to keep in mind whether you’re working with an internet marketing company or doing it in-house:

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What looks “cool” doesn’t always convert – Part of having an impressive website means having something that looks current, usable and identifies with your brand. From a pure design standpoint, it’s a good bet that most designers wish that ranking factors solely had to do with graphics and style. Unfortunately, it does not. Quality content is still king.

This is why you often see “ugly” or old websites that rank well. Website authority and age count for a lot, but so does the content and information it provides. Web design should be built to accommodate your content. Your site’s design can look super sleek and impressive, but users won’t convert if they can’t find what they’re looking for.

Having good content isn’t good enough anymore – The SEO industry preaches quality content but your website will not succeed on writing alone. A good website design helps highlight the best information and attract more targeted customers. Many times, website design can grow into something that is more complicated than it should be. This is difficult when you have a fickle client. Remember to base all decisions on what would help a customer convert, rather than just pure aesthetic reasons or personal opinion. Just another reason to Meet

Meeting in the middle – It can get ugly when design takes an overwhelming grasp on a website. For most small businesses, you can’t purely depend on design for your website’s success. Even though on the surface, it might seem like the case because it’s the first thing people see. Before they read your content or browse your site, the site’s design leaves a lasting first impression.

The next part is where optimization does the job. A properly optimized and structure site ensures that users can browse seamlessly and find what they’re looking for. Both elements have to work together. One is seen as a science and the other as an art. But when you put them together, you get the best user experience and the highest website conversions.

Web Design Trends for 2014: Big, Bold and Unexpected

Design trends are always evolving. What’s old eventually becomes new again and what’s new quickly becomes old and trite. This year, we foresee a trend of big, bold and unexpected elements in web design. Take a look for yourself:

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Unexpected Type and Font

Helvetica? Please… there is much more variety out there. Introducing the idea of monospaced font type, where characters are all the same width. This is in contrast to traditional fonts that are all proportional to each other.

Something mundane as text, font size and color can certainly transform your website. Non traditional fonts will stand out among standard fonts and give your website a pop of personality. Handwritten, mismatched, matte and flat – the idea is to think outside the box, interesting, playful and yet professional.

Check this out: 20 Quirky Monospaced Fonts For Personal And Commercial Use

A Big Focus Encourages Scrolling and a Main Point of Focus

Gone are the days of 2, 3 or even 4 column design templates. Nothing says “cluttered” and “outdated” like a whole bunch of jumbled boxes on your screen. In a way, responsive design has forced designers to simplify. It has also forced designers to think about 3 different templates with 1 look: desktop, tablet and mobile. This works out to everyone’s advantage because responsive templates often point out one main area of focus.

This way, visitors are more likely to pay attention and scroll for more information. They aren’t confused or looking for more, but reading and focusing on the one point that’s in front of them… much needed in today’s world of technological distractions!

Check this out: Unorthodox Layouts: The Next Big Thing?

Bold Headers

You either hate them or love them but we can’t stress this one enough. Even at the tail end of last year, giant headers were making their way into the design world. A bold header leaves a lasting impression. A well thought out header is impressive because it combines the elements of being aesthetically pleasing, as well as completely functional. With a new, big and bold header, you can really incorporate all of the design trends mentioned above to your website home page.  And it also goes without saying that while bigger is better, you have to keep page speed and load time in mind with these giant headers.

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