StormBiz Blog

Everything you need to know about website design, website hosting, graphic design, our website design courses and more...

Fastest Way to Ruin a New Web Site?

planning websitePlanning WebsiteI’ve been asked, “How do I design a successful Website?”

I often respond, “Do you know the fastest way to ruin a new Web site design?” As you might suspect, the answer is, “Lack of proper planning beforehand.”

Let's put it another way. In programming, there's an old axiom, which states: "The sooner you start your coding the longer it takes to finish."

Planning out your Website before you build it is essential. To borrow a technique from the film industry, I recommend that you create a storyboard, which is a type of a flow chart of your new Web site design. You don’t have to be an accomplished artist to draw out your idea, but it’s essential to create it on paper first.

On each piece of paper, the goal is to have room for an image at the top, plus space underneath for writing down information. As you might suspect, the first page to start with is your home (or welcome) page, which will typically have the most information as it will contain the page the people visit before they enter your site and as people go through your site, the will encounter more information (in tiers) as they go down.web design planningWeb Design PlanningTypically, the home page links to 5-15 pages below that, which we could refer to as Tier 2. Each of those pages links to another 5-15 pages, which you could call Tier 3

If you use all of these pages, you’ll wind up with an extensive Web site design, of at least 226 pages (including the home page).

It's during this process that all sorts of problems will crop up. But it's much easier to solve them on paper than in the middle of coding rather than when you are finished.. If you don’t, you might run into a major problem along the way that would require a “back to the drawing board” complete site re-design.

Working things out on paper will give you a much better idea of how things will work and how to fix problems. And, if you have knowledgeable friends, get a second opinion.

Once you've completed the on-paper process, and you or your web designer is satisfied with the results, you’re ready to translate it into code. Unless you or your programmer is a pro, I would recommend using a “template”. These are ready-made Web site design formats. You can choose from several templates by typing “template source” in most search engines. Many of them are free.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q: For a Website, do I have to employ a pro, or can I call the guidance counselor at my local high school and ask for the names of some computer whiz kids that I could call to help me out (for a fee)?

A: It really depends on what you want to do. If all you want is 1-2 pages , you can learn how to build the Web site yourself. If it’s an intensive site with many pages, I’d recommend student or a pro (if you have the budget).

website planningWebsite PlanningQ: I see a lot of photo-oriented web sites that have a black background. Is this the best color to use?

A: Not necessarily. It’s a matter of opinion and personal taste. White can work just as well. I don’t recommend the use of other colors as they can compete with your images.

Q: Is “Flash” or audio acceptable?

A: If you absolutely need Flash to demonstrate an animation, then by all means use it. If it’s for a fancy trick, I recommend leaving it out. It’s similar with sound. Unless it adds to your site, don’t use it. And if you do use sound, give users an option to turn it off. If you don’t, you’re likely to lose visitors.

If you would like a free quotation, or more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Continue reading
0
  923 Hits
923 Hits

What a Website Needs to Succeed!

designing websiteA Proven Formula for All Websites Designing a WebsiteEvery business needs a website. It is an absolute MUST! Nowadays, it’s like not being in the phone book. The In//ternet is a digitally-indexed database that is searchable. Whenever anyone wants to know more about anything, they look it up on the Internet, in their own time, 24/7, without the pressure of a sales person. With search engines, such as Gogle.com or Yahoo.com, the information they are looking for can be f/ound in seconds.

If you aren’t where people are looking, you CAN’T get the sale.

Even if you aren’t planning on selling anything online, you still need to have an Internet presence, telling your story and being a 24/7 sales person for you. The Internet is information. So, even if you just have an informational website, people can find out more about you, your company, what you have to offer, and why they should choose you over your competition. A website gives you the opportunity to get all of that across to your potential customer.

Following, are proven components of a website and why you will need them in yours.

A Home Page is the window into your website and should be short, sweat, and to the point. Statistically, it has been proven that you get about 3 seconds, once a person arrives at your website, to get them interested enough to click for more information. If you can get them to click, then you have them! If you try to give them all of the information at once, then you will lose them.

website pagesWebsite PagesSome websites try to give you their inventory on the home page, or write a story that scrolls forever. This is not good. A home page should not scroll. This is a big “No No”. When people get to a home page and see paragraphs, trust me, they go on to the next website. It needs graphics that represent the services, happy pictures, happy customers, and a quick sales pitch. Remember, people are lazy and won’t read large amounts of text, unless they have a need to. And included on the home page, needs to be quickly gotten across, why someone should use you over your competitor.

The About Us page sometimes gets left off, in favor of making the home page the About Us page. You will want to have an About Us page that explains in detail what you have to offer, your history, your mission statement, and a good reason that a potential customer should use buy from you over your competitor. This can be seen as the detailed version of the home page. However, it is a mistake to forgo the About Us page in exchange for a detailed home page. Again, this will just push people away who do not want to read all of the details to find out who you are and what you have to offer. This information should be available for those who wish to see more information after they are intrigued by the home page.

Design rules. For uniformity and good design, websites (any marketing piece) should have rules for graphic elements and text. For example, all headings should be the same size/style/color, etc. All subheads should have their own size/style/color, etc. This helps the eye make sense of what it is looking at. Guide your visitor with well-placed graphics and text.

navigation buttonsNavigation ButtonsMake sure that your website has good navigation, with buttons/links for all main sections of your website. And be sure to keep these navigation buttons/links visible on ANY page. There is nothing more frustrating than to not be able to find your way while browsing a website. People will leave before becoming too frustrated. Don’t let this happen on your website!

The constant, flashing email (or other) button/advertisement is a "No No" these days. In the old days, flashing and blinking graphics were used. As websites became more graphically sophisticated, these types of elements were not used any more. It can be annoying to see something flashing just off your vision, when you are trying to read the web page.

Text links at the bottom are rarely used any more. They were implemented back in the day of the text-based websites, when they were just starting out. This was for the dial-up users who had the option to turn off graphics for faster web page loading. When this happened, there were no links for navigation, unless a webmaster placed text links at the bottom. Nowadays, most people have broadband connections, and this just isn't necessary any more.

The biggest problem I see with websites these days is that a person has to read quite a bit to see what, exactly, a website is selling. When people show up at your website, you get about 3 seconds to peak their interest. Get it across very quickly, with icons/graphics/bullet points that are easy to understand. Tell them why they should choose you over your competition. And then tell them where to go to get started.

customer testimonialsCustomer TestimonialsAnother very important element is testimonials. More important than telling them why a potential customer should use your services over your competitions’, is a customer of yours saying the same thing. Not only is a testimonial someone who used your services, but they can say "how" you were able to help them. This gives new potential customers ideas on how your services will help “them”. Testimonials are also sales pitches from your happy customers, people just like them. They are people who were in the same position as they are right now and they got through it, so they can too. They also build credibility. When you are endorsed by other people, you have credibility and that you can do what you say you can do. And even though they may be saying the same thing that you are saying, it is coming from someone just like them, and not someone who is trying to sell them anything. They have nothing to gain by saying this. You do. So they need to hear from them. You absolutely MUST have endorsements for your business; otherwise, you are just blowing your own horn!

The next best thing to a testimonial page is an FAQ page. An FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page answers questions for your company 24/7, when you can't be at the phone to answer, and for people who would rather look over your information than speak to someone who might try to sell them something. FAQs also help to give scenarios of how they can be helped, by answering questions that other potential customers have asked, and they might not have thought of themselves. This gets them thinking and gives them answers in a risk-free environment. It is VERY important to have an FAQ working for you 24/7. It's like having a free sales person working for you around the clock, fielding all questions that might come up! It's a MUST-have for ANY website!

call to action iconsCall to Action IconsYour website should also have a clear "call to action". A lot of websites say that “we are here and we do this”, but You should sprinkle testimonials throughout, as well, leading them back to the full testimonials and then to the call to action, which should be placed on the testimonials page, as well. You could offer a FREE Consultation by calling right now… or click HERE now to email us 24/7 for a FREE Consultation… something that tells them where to go from here and a reason to get started right now and how.

There also needs to be graphics to help tell the story; high-end icons that help draw the eye to the item of interest, to get them to read it. Having a text-only page usually does not get read. People are lazy and will not usually read paragraphs of information in hopes of getting the information they are looking for. They would have to first be extremely interested before reading the “fine print”. And to get them interested, it should be broken up with graphics that represent each section. They will see the related graphic first, and then move to that area if interested. But to give them a page of information usually doesn't work.

You also need meta tags. This is very important to search engines. These are hidden key words and phrases that describe what you offer, but also your location, etc. Search engines rely heavily on key words and phrases in order to give your website as a result in a search done for your type of business. In fact, it is also good to have misspelled keywords that people might type in order to find you. Obviously, you won’t want to have misspelled words or phrases on your page, since this will give the wrong impression of who you are. With meta tags, misspelled words are hidden in the code of the website, but can be used to bring people to your website who may not be able to correctly spell some your services. Even putting your competitions’ names and products in your meta tags can help get traffic to your site, so that they can compare your products and services to your competitors’.

website articlesWebsite ArticlesAnother item that puts you high on the search engine results listing is having articles about your type of business, both on your website, and other websites that link back to yours for more information on the subject. Offering free information makes you an authority on the subject, not just someone trying to sell their wares. This plays heavily in search results, along with one-way links back to your website. When you get one-way links back to your site for more information, this gives you much credibility and definitely helps to make you an authority that other sites rely on. So when someone looks up your type of product or service for more information, obviously the search engine will give a site that has the most helpful and free information (and one that other sites rely on for more information on this subject) a higher rating and puts them higher on the search results list.

A FREE Tips & Tricks or Hints page is also a good way to get relevant traffic. People are always looking for How-To's and DIY information on all types of subjects. On my site I have FREE Tech Tips that get hits all the time, which pertain to my services. Again, a percentage of these hits click on my services. And the only way I got them there was because of the FREE How-To's that I offer. So, you have to entice people to your site, by offering more than your competitor's website. This is where these types of pages come in handy.

It is also good to have a Privacy Policy page. This shows integrity and also builds credibility and a higher ranking in the search engines. This is one item that search engines look for, in particular. Websites with a page dedicated to a Privacy Policy get a higher ranking and your site will show up higher in the search results.

more info buttonMore Info ButtonA Guarantee page is also a good idea. Again, this gives credibility and will give you an edge over your competitor, who may not offer a guarantee. A website that has a guarantee, but is hard to find, makes a potential customer feel like they have something to hide and may not purchase from that website. However, if you have an easy-to-find Guarantee that you put right in their face (whether you dedicate a page to it, or you put it right on the Home page), it eases potential customers into a buying position.

You may want to have a form that allows a customer to request more information about your product or service, and which also lets the customer type in their personal information and what they are looking for. This not only helps you by getting their contact information, it also helps by prompting the potential customer into thinking about other aspects. By doing it this way, you will also get all of the information needed to correctly quote a product or service more effectively, without having to make additional phone calls to the customer. The more common way of requesting information is just by posting an INFO email address and hope that the person requesting the info knows enough about what he is looking for to provide all of the info to get a good quote. This is not usually the case. Most of the time they need a form to fill out. In most cases, there is info that is left out. A form ensures that you get everything needed to quote the product or service accurately. And, also, by offering a form to request more info, leads will be generating 24-7 for you. All you have to do is the quote and give them a call. This reduces the need for cold-calling, and gives you an excuse to call and close the deal.

search engine optimizationSearch Engine OptimizationIf you incorporate all of the above pages, along with the “way” these pages should be shown, your website will have a higher ranking in the search engines, which puts your website higher in the search results, thus significantly increasing the traffic to your website!

The above categories aren't the only things you can do to increase traffic to your website. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) should also be done, as well as swapping links with relevant websites, and posting articles and links back to your website from online article and content websites.

Please contact us for a free quotation

Continue reading
0
  999 Hits
999 Hits

What to avoid to make your website design effective?

content is like waterContent is Like WaterThe effective design is the one which is maximum simplified and conformable to your users because they are your main purpose. This one, simply and clearly announcing what your website is about. This one, quickly offering the users exactly what they are expecting to see on your pages, without being troubled with insignificant information. The big mistake made by a lot of web designers is to project their activities from their own point of view, without thinking about the user.

Factors, damaging the website design effectiveness

Additional time needed for website downloading
Badly written content
Complex design, abundant in elements
Difficult navigation, incomprehensible for user
No validated program language

Additional time needed for website downloading

Your pages downloading time is extremely important. Your users will shut your website down very quickly if you make them wait because of your slow downloading pages. The other sites are just a mouse click away from them.

  • Not important if you are talking about graphics, multimedia, scripts, applets - be cautious about their location on your site. Don't insert them without judging their position, just because you or your designer had an idea about it. Design them small-sized, too.

Copywriting SkillsCpywriting SkillsBadly written content

The text that is ready for print has nothing to do with the text for the Web. According to Jacob Nielsen, Web usability guru, users have more difficulty in reading the information on computers than on printed editions. They would rather scan it than read it profoundly. Huge text blocks are unreadable and couldn't allow them to do it.

Means to make text more readable and effective could be effectuated by using:

  • separate paragraphs
  • titles
  • subtitles
  • indentations
  • bullets
  • bolds
  • hyperlinks
  • different fonts and sizes

web frameWeb FrameComplex design, abundant in elements

  • Don't complicate users work by complex and abundant design, making the website confusing in terms of its downloading and its appearance on their screens.
  • Avoid frames. They could seriously damage your website usability.
  • Having a site, made on FLASH you can't explain fast and clear to users what his content is about, what it would be useful for, what they could win, using your services, because only its downloading will take several minutes. If you insist however on including FLASH elements, much better variant is to insert them in a detached small file, with definite size, but inserting it, you have to possess some clear purpose. It refers much more to your home page, which is your website main portal.
  • Don't leave your pages without comprehensible title tags, clearly explaining what your page is about (title tag is the page title you see on the top of the browser).
  • Don't leave your site home page without text, explaining to your users who you are and what you are talking about on your site.

poor navigationPoor NavigationDifficult navigation, incomprehensible for user

  • Don't upset user with bad navigation, making him feel lost. He could enter your site by each of its pages, not only by the home page. If he/she enters by another one, he/she must understand what is his/her position on your site, where he/she could go by clicking the corresponding link.
  • Don't leave your site without a site map. The site map gives thr user the possibility to orientate quickly and easily on it.
  • Always put a link to the home page on each of your pages, plus the firm's name and logo, making them a link to the home page too.
  • Don't allow the existence of an orphaned page, where a user could feel lost.
  • Don't change the default color of the hyperlinks, because users are expecting to see them exactly that way. When a text is blue, the user is used to thinking it is a link, and if it is purple, that it is a visited link. The different colors from the default ones will throw them into confusion.
  • Don't make a text blue that is not a hyperlink. That will also confuse them.
  • Don't put a link that leads to the same page, only those that go to other page sections.

program codeProgram CodeNo validated program language

The code your site is written in is validated depending on browsers from different types and versions.

  • Incorrectly written program code will make your site users close it immediately due to its bad appearance in their browsers.
  • Correctly written code is the best way to ensure your pages are appearing correctly in as many browsers as possible.  It includes old versions and versions that will be published.

For a free quotation, or to discuss your requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Continue reading
1
  917 Hits
917 Hits

Why Do People Need Web Sites?

creative approachCreative Approach

The procedure requires a creative approach as well. The idea of the web site must be promptly thought over: not so much, but with zest! Not to overdo with the ideas – is key, because when a person enters the site, he needs to find first of all, what he is interested in.

Nowadays, Web design is in great request over the Internet. Web design lies not only in the creation of web pages but all the content and management is included.

But it doesn’t mean that a consumer’s role is “petty” here. No, in no way! A client, in his turn, must plainly decide for himself what he wants people to see on his future site, in order, to have solid and authoritative web pages and capture the visitors’ attention.

If the customer does in such a way – it will be in a great help for the web designer and the rest of the team. Cooperation and joining forces together are very important elements here, with an eye to avoid misunderstanding.

professional web designprofessional Web DesignThen the conception and technical tasks of the site are worked out on the basis of the People create web sites for different purposes: for big businesses, to sell or buy something, to advertise, for entertainment and chat, or just for themselves. The clients can host their sites on the free or paid servers as well. The difference between them, of course exists, while paid servers are more reliable and require fee (per month or year). But if a person is just a beginner in the sphere of web design, and wants to have his own site – he can make an attempt to allocate it on the free server. Though, here again, mostly, depends on the tasks and involvement of the client.

Having a web site is not so much the question of prestige, but is one more possibility to announce and advertise the business today. Many companies develop themselves with the help of web design: earn money, upgrade their image; it is a great advantage to find new partners, and to draw the clients’ attention and develop the business.

business successBusiness SuccessWeb sites are not only for the big businesses. Everybody who has some ideas, and wants to share them with others, in order to improve himself and his business, can get a place on a free server.

Web site is a “small miracle” on the Internet, which is targeted presentation of various information.

If you would like a free quotation, or more information, please do not hesitate to contact us

Continue reading
0
  1014 Hits
1014 Hits

Your Website Hurts My Eyes

man with smarting eyesMan With Smarting Eyes7 Reasons to Tone Down Your Advertising

So you're on the computer, as usual. Your eyes are smarting. Your back hurts. You want to jump in the car and sail down the highway with all the windows down and your hair flapping in the wind. But before you call it quits for the day, you have to look up just one more thing. Maybe it is web marketing, maybe you want to buy some artwork to hang in your office. Off to Google you go.

You type in the magic words, whatever they are, and watch as a list of websites flows down the page. You click on the first one, and it's an instant assault on your eyeballs. Ten glaring banners, flashing like Vegas at midnight. One of those annoying hover ads that follows you as you scroll and won't let you read anything until you click the corner. Some sparkly things "snowing" down the page. Frantic messages screaming things like BUY NOW! LAST CHANCE! INSTANT SUCCESS CAN BE YOURS. A picture of a grinning guy who reminds you of your creepy Uncle Lester.

You click away. Not today, not any day. You don't care what that guy is selling or even if he's giving something away, because his presentation is god-awful. Just when you thought you'd escaped the mayhem, a sneaky little window pops up: "WHY DID YOU LEAVE THIS SITE? Please fill out this quick survey!" Are they kidding? You consider typing something offensive in the "Leave Your Comment" box, but figure it will only encourage someone to spam you with unwanted offers.

email popupEmail PopupWe are all familiar with this web-surfing experience. It's downright unpleasant. What's your opinion of someone who pitches their company in such a loud and desperate manner? Do you believe all of their pie-in-the-sky promises? Do they strike you as a company run by people who are intelligent, honest and reliable? Are you going to whip out your credit card because they tell you to?

Of course you're not. Being the loudest, the brightest, the busiest and the boldest may attract attention, but it does not bring sales. That's something to remember when you're creating your own company website. What DOES attract and keep new customers coming back? A simple, tasteful web design. An easily navigable site. Copy that's crisp, clean, and interesting.

Here are 7 reasons to tone down your advertising:

1. Flash is just too flashy. A flash presentation can be creative and unique, but is it really needed for what you offer? Will that kooky winking clown-head in the corner really make the sale for you? Even if you find a really excellent designer, who can put together an incredible high-tech Flash feature, consider the harried web surfer. She's been clicking all day; do you really think she has the patience to stand for one more mini-movie?

too much advertising to enjoy surfingToo Many Adverts to Enjoy Surfing2. Too many messages cancel each other out. Ever try to read one of those pharmacy circulars when you're tired? All of those big red words emblazoned across the page. Headlines crammed in beside blown-out price points and cheap photography. It isn't easy! If you try to cram a whole bunch of words on your website, guess what? Not one of those messages is going to be read, let alone remembered. The eye doesn't know where to look! Try a visual whisper instead of a scream. Make your point as best you can, but take care to leave white space, so the eyes have a resting place where they can digest what you've said.

3. Movement is distracting. Think about the last time you visited a website with "magical stars" sprinkling down over the words. Were you able to read and understand it? Mind the weary web surfer; be kind to his eyes! You stand a much better chance of holding a customer's interest with words that aren't flying off the page, but rather, standing still in one spot, waiting quietly for someone to read them!

click mouseClick Mouse4. The mighty click is all-powerful. You know what it is to be that web hunter. The mouse is in your hand; you're in total control! Now think of that other person palming the mouse, surfing YOUR site. If your website is a frenzy of colour and confusion, all it takes is one CLICK and you're forgotten! Don't want them to click away? Here's how to make them stay. Keep it clean and simple!

5. Your empty promises are lost on the sceptical consumer. Think about your own web-surfing experiences. Did you believe that guy who told you he'd make you a millionaire, if you just SIGN UP TODAY? You're better off being honest and optimistic, than crazed and fanatical about what you can offer your customer.

6. Pop-ups are really annoying. Have you ever been so intrigued by a pop-up ad that you bought whatever they were raving about? My guess is no. Do you appreciate it when you're trying to get some work done on the computer and fifteen pop-up ads crowd your screen and overload your hard drive? I certainly don't! If you don't like such rude interruptions, then don't impose them on somebody else. I don't care how many times that marketing guru tells you it will improve your search engine ranking. Search engine stats might give you exposure, but click rates mean nothing if the customer's not buying.

7. No one reads really long sales letters. Ah, how brilliant of those copywriting experts to convince you that a six-page letter is going to bring in big bucks for your company. Especially if you're paying them by the hour or word! A two-page letter will do the same thing as a six-pager, and more. The 'more' being that it will hold your reader's interest the whole way through. Brevity is the key to great writing. If you can make a great argument in five words or less, you've got it all over the next guy. Keep that in mind before you put the Magna Carta on your web portal.

happy websurfingHappy WebsurfingWant to design and write website content that attracts and captivates? Want to bring your visitors back for seconds, thirds, fourths, and the ultimate purchase? Then keep the above "distractors" to a minimum. Really try to put yourself in the other person's shoes... the one who is searching the internet for what you have. Think about all of those things that prevent you from enjoying your web surfing experience, and then take care to remove them from your own company website! Offer tasteful, subtle design, eloquent headlines, and clear, informative copy. Be honest about what you sell and how it can make a difference for your potential customer. Speak softly, and watch the sales roll in.

For a free quotation, or more information, please contact us today

Continue reading
1
  1506 Hits
1506 Hits

Calendar

Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar

Latest Blogs

Reward Credit

Login/Register for credits