X Marks the Spot: Where to Put Contact Forms

Conversions, customers and contact forms go hand in hand (in hand). The worst thing you can do is to not show any contact information all. The next worst thing is to put your contact form in a bad spot that hinders user experience.

When it comes to contact forms, you have plenty of options and can even choose a combination:

Pop-ups: These can either be really effective or really annoying. Barging in on a visitor who has just landed is extremely distracting. It might even encourage them to leave. On the other hand, there are different options to choose from… such as, contact forms (or third party live chat windows) that slowly fade into the screen after a visitor has been on the page for X amount of time.

The advantage of this is that you can even review Analytics for time spent on page and adjust when the contact form pops up to retain more visitors.

Header: Having a contact form at the top of the page is helpful because it’s the most logical place people will look. At the same time, it is also taking up space for something else that could be more important. Make sure to keep in mind what language you use, as it’s one of the first things visitors will see if it’s at the top. (“Contact Us”, “Submit”, “Send” etc.)

Sidebar: Contact forms in this space are often smaller than in the header or on a page of its own. This is perfect for a simple, short contact form that requires minimal information. Perhaps, it’s just a small form for a Newsletter Signup or to request a free download. Even though these aren’t technically contact forms, they’re still helpful ways to provide useful information to relevant visitors.

Footer: Contact forms at the bottom of the page often serve as a reminder to visitors to make contact before leaving. It can be helpful or overly aggressive and cluttered, depending on your design. Like the sidebar contact form, make sure to keep it short and sweet if you’re just trying to capture some of those straying visitors.

Dropdown menus: Sometimes, contact (or evaluation) forms are rather lengthy or require space for open ended questions. In this case, you’ll want to to keep the form on a page of its own. It’s still important to have this information in an easy-to-find place in your drop down menu. You can also use a short footer or sidebar contact form if you still include something that’s visible on every single page.

There’s no one “best” place to put your contact form. You can test different forms on similar pages, use eye tracking studies, or even ask for feedback to find out what your customers like. What’s your personal preference on contact pages? Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about forms, conversions or SEO friendly web design.

Mobile Web Design Tips for 2013

This is definitely the year for mobile website optimization. With the newest gadgets like the Lumia, Note II and a whole lot more to come, it’s important to consider how your website will look on a mobile screen. As recently reported, about 25% of clicks come from mobile devices! Here are some mobile web design tips to take with you this year:

1) Make everything big – Text, photos, buttons, navigation, calls to action, white space, and more. This is certainly a good year to think big when it comes to your mobile website. Big is better than small and it’s certainly almost always true for a smaller screen, so don’t be shy about it.

2) Prioritize content – Your mobile site can’t possibly have everything that the desktop version has. Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr will serve as good practice for your content curation skills – this is where you’ll need to pick and choose the best content and arrange them in a way that’s pleasing to the eyes (as well as thumbs).

3) Follow typography trends – Pictures are great but if they’re too big or there are too many, it could slow your mobile website down… and that doesn’t include spotty cell phone coverage that’s thrown into the mix. Designers are gravitating towards using customized and stylized type. Who knew you could be so creative with just letters? Check out some trends here.

4) Utilize responsive web design – Wouldn’t it be great to have a flexible site that can shrink and grow depending on the device? When using the responsive web design approach, you don’t have to worry about making different versions of a site for specific devices.

5) Test for different screen sizes – If you’re not ready or able to take the responsive web design approach, testing your mobile website is crucial. There is no longer a “standard” size. Check out mobile device emulators like iPad Peek,  MobiReady, and ScreenFly.

Bad Web Design Pet Peeves

Outdated. Cluttered. Intrusive. Tacky. Hard-to-read. Confusing. Questionable. Unreliable.

These are all words that could be used to describe a bad web design. While effective design is based on different factors that are “objectionable”, there are some fundamental things to consider before creating your masterpiece.

Here are some of my top pet peeves when it comes to bad seo web design:

Auto-play anything: Auto-play videos suck. Auto-play music is annoying. The worst offenders are sites that have a little person that walks out onto your screen and starts talking! I’m not sure who started this trend, but it’s 2012 and it should die already. A small but prominent call to action box is necessary sometimes, but this is just too much. (I’ve seen my fair share working on different websites, but what do you as a consumer think? Are these ever really helpful?)

Long, ugly contact forms: When a customer wants to contact you, they want to fill out as little important information as possible and hear back from you as soon as possible. Requiring a lot of personal information is aesthetically unappealing and can make potential customers question your ulterior motives. For example, are you giving away something for free in exchange for some contact information? Or are you asking potential customers to leave their information behind to be contacted. Either way, requiring too much info will kill your design and make your business seem not as trustworthy (all dependent on your industry, of course). Remember, this is an online contact form… not a tax return!

No clear call to action: Umm… where am I supposed to click and what am I supposed to do? Your home page and important landing pages should have an easy to find call to action. Contact, newsletter signups, click to call, buy now, download now – these are all easy to follow call to actions that your website needs in order to be useful. Don’t go overboard by displaying too many at the same time. Your customers don’t want clutter and too many CTA buttons can make your site look spammy.

Unconventional design that doesn’t make sense: Nowadays, every small business wants their site too look unique and capture the attention of their visitors. But going too abstract can make you lose site of basic website structure that is necessary for any website. I’m talking about: not having a home button, no contact information available, utilizing too much white space, using contrasting background and text colors. There are basic practices when it comes to effective web design and they exist for a reason!

Having a creative and effective website design doesn’t mean that you have to confine yourself inside a box but there are some things that you have to keep your eye on. Any design annoyances that you care to share?

3 Things to Think About Before Launching a New Site

emarketed portfolioAs exciting a new website launch sounds, it requires a lot of time, research and communication on your part! You don’t have to limit yourself to just 3 questions, or these 3 specifically, but it will help to have a list that you can look to when thinking about your new site.

Do I need to integrate seo web design? – Search optimization isn’t something that just comes later, after the design and building process. Make sure that you understand the SEO capability of your site as it’s being built so that all the necessary elements can be added during or immediately after the design aspect is completed. Think of SEO as an ongoing campaign and not something that just done at the beginning of the website building process, such as the design.

Do you know your customers and what they want? – Do you know your target demographic? Once you’re able to answer this question, you’ll get a better idea of what content will best suit their needs. Remember, there are many trends such as QR codes and even certain social media sites. Will your customers even use these functions? Just because it exists doesn’t mean that you should use it. Case in point: QR codes have been spotted on the BACK of moving buses. Talk about a quick response!

What do I want my customers to do? Remember that your website has to have a point. Do you want to push calls, newsletter signups or contact form submissions? Make it clear so that customers know how to complete the action, but don’t be so pushy that they feel overwhelmed and leave. A good example is Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout blog. If anyone is familiar with it, it used to just be a marketing blog about different topics. Now, a re-vamp as focused the calls-to-action and has made users more familiar with Neil’s services and his other companies.

What type of website do I need? This depends entirely on your industry and business model. If you’re selling goods, an ecommerce store is the way to go. For services, information is key. Feel free to browse competitor sites or even look at our portfolio to see what kind of website will best suit your business.

Whatever questions you decide to use for pre-launch, remember to take that list back out and evaluate it post-launch. There are always things you can use to improve the customer experience and these seemingly simple questions can be the basis of marking your progress!

6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

web designThinking of hiring a Los Angeles web design company? Here are 7 questions to think about before you hire a web designer for your small business:

1) Can you show me websites you’ve worked on? – Ask to see a portfolio and find out whether they use templates or build web sites from scratch. Make sure to be clear as you’re describing what you’re looking for to make sure that they can meet your needs.

2) Can I get a quote? – Will your designer give you a quote based on a list of everything you want? Or will a number just magically appear out of thin air? It’s important to get down in writing exactly what you want and to make sure that the designer can make it happen. For example, if you have special accommodations, such as an online store or different types of contact/subscription forms.

3) How long will it take to complete the project? – Tied into question 3, your web designer should give you a basic timeline of how long it will take to create a new website design. Ask them to prepare a basic outline of what will be done on a regular basis to ensure that your website is created in a timely manner.

4) Are you familiar with any other forms internet marketing? – Nowadays, many web designers are also proficient in SEO. Having a search friendly web design means that the designer will create code that is easy to index and crawl. Many web design companies also work with SEO to ensure that your site will get maximum visibility.

5) How and when can I contact you? – Is your web designer or company easily reached? Would you rather talk to them on the phone, via email or meet face to face to discuss timelines? Many companies and individuals work in different ways, so make sure that you know what you’re getting into.

6) How is a new design layout going to help my small business? – Lastly, an effective web designer should be goal-oriented in helping your business succeed. What do you want from your new website? Here are a few things you might consider: increase web site traffic, reduce bounce rates, increase phone calls, increase sales, increase in inquiries or subscriptions.

Hiring someone or a company to create a new site for your business consists of more than just pretty graphics. This doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process, but make sure to have these questions (and more) ready as you find the answers you’re looking for.

SEO During the Website Redesign Process


In many ways, website redesign can be a lot like moving. There’s so much stuff to pack and rearrange that important things can get misplaced, lost or even left behind. And when you arrive at your new place, it can take a while for everything to be put back in it’s right place again.

If your business is ready for a new SEO web design makeover, here are 4 components that you CAN’T forget about:

1) Transferring tags and descriptions over – Sure, it’s time consuming but title/meta tags/descriptions, even alt tags for images, should reflect the content on each individual page. It’s considered bad SEO practice to have the same information reflected over and over on every page of your website.

2) 301 redirects – It may take awhile for Google to re-crawl your new site. In the meantime, your old URLS will show up in search engine page results. The most efficient way to make sure that this information is not lost is to create a 301 redirect from your old URL to new URL. This is simple for your webmaster to implement and will help preserve your search engine rankings.

3) Forgetting to link keywords – Transferring content from an old site to a new one often involves copy and pasting text. During the transfer, make sure that you don’t drop and URLS and make sure that they’re linking to the right working page.

4) Testing – Lastly, don’t forget the importance of testing before going live. This means checking links and overall usability before you go through with the complete site transfer.

Finally, even when your new website is completed it’s crucial to constantly review your SEO. The excitement of a brand new site may be overwhelming but remember that without the right SEO strategies, no one will be visiting!

Band Websites: Improving Bad Website Design

Ok, so your favorite band doesn’t suck but what about their website? After browsing some sites, I found that many artists, bands, labels are missing the point when it comes to good search engine friendly website design. Besides being esthetically unappealing or having a loop of the same blaring songs, these bad band sites also share other similarities:

Overdoing the Flash
Super long to load on slower internet connections and it can be really annoying. Yes, we’re looking at you, The Strokes (and tons of other bands). Your site may be fancy and look really cool, but it’s 100% flash dependent. Flash sites aren’t indexed by Google and you can’t add any keywords in your content. More popular bands are just lucky that they don’t need to rely on this as they’re already getting traffic from fans.
Instead: A little flash here and there is fine. You want to concentrate on engaging and informative keyword rich content. You should also put a little time into your link building strategy and incoming links.

Just Too Much
As an artist, you want to accurately convey your image to your fans. Because of this, many artists go overboard with too many pictures, too much text, too many widgets and just way too much clutter. Lady Gaga’s bio is an eyesore with a page full of CAPITALIZED white text on a black/grey background. Surely, no one will really care to read this except for the super fans.
Instead: Have a section that is short and sweet. New fans want to get straight to the facts. You might want to include a more detailed bio page or even include a video to accompany the reduced text.

Ignoring Your Fans
Many band sites that aren’t updated frequently are static and dead. With Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook, band members are finding it easier to update on the social media platforms. Don’t forget about your site! Fans want to stay in touch and just small updates here and there will make them feel special. NIN is especially known for their fan interaction. Their website features a members area, an extensive photo gallery and even an area where you can mix your favorite songs.
Instead: Use Analytics to see where your fans are spending the bulk of their time. Are they interested in your lyrics, merch, or media? Now that you know, integrate a blog, photo blog, or even your social media profiles to appeal to those likes. Even a simple band Q&A once in awhile will help your website from dying out.

These are just some of my peeves, any other tips for bad band websites?