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Should 2018 be the year you update your website? Yes, it probably is.

2018 is around the corner and it’s time to look forward! In today’s world, it’s important for a business to have a user-friendly, mobile responsive website. The days of looking a company up in the phone book are behind us, and today people are looking you up on the internet. What will they see when they find you?

If your website hasn’t been redesigned within the past 2-3 years, it is considered out of date. Visitors tend to use companies with an updated site. Why? It shows that they are continuing to grow and want to keep up with their company to improve customer experience and service.

Cell phones, tablets, desktops, etc. How does your website look and respond to each of these devices? This is incredibly important today. 80% of internet users own a smartphone. That is a high percentage, and that means you need to be ready for them to visit your website from that phone. Mobile first web design is becoming a staple at Webfoot, and we strive to ensure user experience on all devices is smooth and friendly.

What is your business model? If your website has not changed in 5+ years, there is a strong chance that your website no longer reflects your business properly. Redesigning your website gives you the opportunity to give visitors a fresh take on who you are as a business and what you can offer your customers. A very important thing to consider is that your website is less about you, and more about your visitors and potential clients/customers. Build your website with them in mind.

Content is king, however, too much content will push your visitors away. Once someone lands on your website you only have a few seconds to capture their interest. Interesting bullet points and dynamic images need to be front and center. Consistency in design and content will keep users on your website longer improve your chances of that visit converting into business.

Lastly, consider security needs for your website. Any site is at risk and can be hacked. With that said, old sites have old code and that code is more susceptible to attack. Consider a screen door leading out to your backyard. When it’s new, the screen is strong and taut. You never worry about any bugs getting through and you are able to enjoy the fresh air worry free. After time, the screen weakens a bit and a small hole begins to develop. You notice little gnats making their way into the house so you put a patch over the little hole. One day, you notice a small cut in your screen and now mosquitoes and flys are getting into the house. You continue to patch the screen, but now it looks terrible and the patches don’t stay on very well and the holes keep growing.
This is your website. You can patch the site and hope that the bugs won’t get in, but unless you replace that screen, you’re going to continue to have issues. By redeveloping your site every few years, you are not guaranteed to keep all bugs out, but you are definitely making it more difficult for them to find their way in.

Let’s work together to start your companies year off strong. We, at Webfoot, look forward to working with you on your new site, and helping your business to grow.

 

Are You Aware of the Weight of Your Web Page?

do you know the weight of your websiteWithin web design, there is an understanding that you need to be aware of the potential weight of a web page before a site can go live. The heavier the page, the longer it takes to load leading to users becoming frustrated and having a negative experience that could ultimately stop them from coming back.

The actual average weight of a page has increased over the years, but this is seen as being in line with advances in technology and faster connections. Previously, the average weight was 1MB, but that has now gone up to 3MB, and there is every chance that it could rise further.

Of course, as this is the average, it does mean that there are websites out there that weigh more than this, but there is a pretty good chance that they will suffer from a high bounce rate, which is always a negative thing to deal with.

But then, why are they getting heavier? The answer is partly linked to design trends and people being capable of getting away with more when it comes to what they can put on individual pages. Take for example the explosion in use of video on the home page, and in particular with the header image. This is something that is now all over the Internet, but video is heavy even when it is parsed down as much as possible so that the loading experience is not hampered too much.

Also, people have a tendency to use more creative fonts that can also be heavier in weight, and then there are various plugins that bring in data from elsewhere and display it on your website. All of this makes a difference, but it often does so quietly and without anybody being aware of what is going on.

However, looking at the way in which pages are created, it is also interesting to note that the load times have stayed pretty static over the years. They have only increased ever so slightly and certainly nowhere near the increase of the average weight. Clearly, this is due to the way that technology has kept pace with these changes. If you cast your mind back to when you first came onto the Internet and compare it to how things are today, then you will see for your own self how this is something that has completely changed.

So, if technology has kept pace, then why is looking at the average weight of a page so important?

The answer is more obvious than you may think, and it is all to do with where this is all heading.

For some experts, there is the belief that it is going to increase further to at least 4MB within the next 18 months. There is the fear that technology will be squeezed and have to try to adapt to fit in with the changes as people demand more from websites and the information that they can access in an instant. People want speed. They do not want to hang around waiting for a website to load, so there is more emphasis on speed rather than power in technology, and that is where a problem can occur.

There is the real possibility that websites could almost outstrip the capabilities of technology to provide the user with a pleasant experience. There is every possibility that more people will become frustrated with a website and blame it on the technology when it is the actual website that is the problem.

What is required is a re-think about what should actually appear on a page and whether or not it does contribute to the overall experience. In the past, using Flash on websites was seen as being cool, but it had a negative impact on the way in which the site would load resulting in people walking away and Flash being disbanded in the near future. It was too heavy and it would still cause some problems today for some people.

That in itself is a lesson that we should remember or else we could repeat the same mistake, but this time it is connected to the need for more value for your money. Yes, you should always want to provide the user with everything they need on your site, but to do it in as fancy a way as possible is not going to be the wisest decision that you have ever made.

Fake Followers and How They are Destroying Marketing

When you venture onto any of the social media platforms and check out how many people are following different individuals or companies, you would think that everybody was popular. However, what you are seeing with your own eyes may not be as true or as accurate as you initially thought.

There is a huge market out there on the Internet that deals with fake followers, and while some companies or individuals feel that this is a great thing, it makes life difficult for those that are involved in marketing.

The problem is that these fake followers creates nothing more than a false picture of what is really going on. People that are then planning on using these marketers are being sold a false promise, and that has the impact of even stopping them from marketing themselves online because they do not get the returns that they were led to believe would happen.

But just how big is this problem? We said that it is a huge market, but it is only when you examine the estimated figures that you see that we have underestimated the entire thing. When you read that it is believed that there are over 80 million fake accounts on Facebook and over 20 million accounts of Twitter that have been created for this very purpose, then it should make you stop and think.

Also, just spend a moment working out how this is all going to work in your mind. How easy do you think it is to quickly obtain thousands of new followers in just a few hours if they were all going to be genuine? The answer to that is it is impossible to do, unless something else is going on behind the scenes.

So, if the problem is so big, then how can you avoid running into these difficulties? Well, it is actually easier than you think.

First, you just need to use your common sense. If someone is offering you thousands of followers who will then boost your presence and they are charging you some crazy low sum, then they are not going to be real people. You just don’t get people doing this kind of thing out of the goodness of their own heart.

Also, you can look at followers if you are planning on using influencer marketing where you ask them to post something about whatever you are doing to their followers. Look at who they have on their list. Do they have strange names, the egg logo, and basically no tweets? If so, then there is a very good chance that they have been created by a bot and are only there to effectively con people out of their money with no return.

Of course, the best way to avoid running into this problem is to avoid the entire concept of influencer marketing completely. Also, seek advice from marketing experts on how to boost your social media presence and to do so naturally because any other way is often going to be fraught with difficulties and challenges.

There are so many good marketing companies out there that can take your social media presence to a whole new level, and they do so via white hat methods that have been shown to get results for other people. They don’t need to cheat or con people to get results, and the best part is that you will have real people taking notice of you. These real people can actually do something in connection to whatever you are promoting as opposed to bots that just sit there stagnant.

Now, when you think about it all, what is going to be the best thing for you to spend your money on? The answer should in itself be pretty obvious because surely you would want to have the marketing plan that puts you in front of real people, and not those that have been artificially created?

With so much competition out there, it makes so much sense for you to go ahead and spend the time making sure that you get things correct from the very beginning. Your online presence is going to potentially suffer if you fail to do this, and nobody wants that to happen. If something appears to be too good to be true, then it usually is. Always get correct advice, and see the difference it makes.

graphic-design

Has Graphic Design Gone Backwards?

For a website to be successful, it relies on graphics. However, the very idea that graphic design has gone backwards somewhat is going to be rather disturbing for those individuals that are aware of the important role that it plays.

But then, is it even possible for ‘art’ to have gone backwards? Surely as long as the client is happy with what they see before them then everything else is also going to be absolutely fine?

Well, it certainly does not work that way every single time.

The problem is that graphic designers will often wish to experiment with their ideas and concepts. Now, that is the thing that pushes the industry along, but surely there has to be a line where the client and the Internet in general decides that enough is indeed enough?

Too often, the client that is having the website constructed will give the graphic designer too much space and power in deciding on what they produce. This is wrong because it can then get to a point whereby the client feels that so much work has been done that they effectively just ‘go along with it’ as they want their website to be live.

Once again, this is wrong.

You see, Internet trends tend to then force graphic design down a particular path. Social media plays a role as designers look at the kind of things that seem to catch the eye of individuals and then seek to apply those trends and concepts to their own ideas. Of course, this doesn’t always work as there is such a thing as thinking too far out of the box.

So why do we ask the question as to whether or not graphic design has gone backwards? Too often there is little interaction between client and designer whereas in the past this would have rarely been the case. There can, at times, be a feeling that they also need to throw designs out as quickly as possible as competition is so tough that the client could easily go elsewhere at any point.

Previously, there was an acceptance that quality designs took time to create. There was an entire process to be worked through from coming to terms with what the client was looking for, to coming up with the initial ideas, to finding out what the client thought of those ideas, to the final product.

In all seriousness, this would take weeks to work though on some occasions, but that length of time can often feel like professional suicide with the speed at which the web design and graphic design industry appears to be moving.

In other words, it is the pressure of competition and the desire to produce something that stands out mixed in with a willingness to push boundaries that has led to graphic design heading in reverse. It’s not to say that the designer no longer has pride in their work. That would be a crazy thing to try to argue.

However, there is perhaps a reluctance to invest as much time and energy into a design due to the pressure being applied almost from the outset. When you also add in that prices can often be driven downwards due to that increased competition, then when you are doing the same work as you did a decade ago and feel you are being paid the same; well are you going to invest as much time and effort?

The question now is what this means to the client and how to rectify the situation. Clearly, the role of the client is to give the designer the time and space to come up with something exceptional. You must communicate with the designer to let them know that you are open for ideas and interpretations, but that you are looking for specific ideas to be included. Obviously, you need to do your own research first and know what you want or else you are making life exceptionally difficult for yourself.

Perhaps then it is not the skill of the graphic designers that has gone backwards, but just a result of turmoil and pressure being applied from different angles. The need to squeeze prices down as low as possible coupled with clients sometimes having ideas that just cannot work without it looking crazy, due to them seeing something elsewhere, does not exactly help.

If space and time is provided, then there is no reason to doubt that something brilliant can be produced. It’s just a case of allowing that to happen.

ecommerce webfoot

5 Key Tips That Could Make Your E-Commerce Website a Success

E-commerce is hardly going to be going away, so it makes sense for anybody that is considering venturing into this particular world to have an idea as to some of the key things that can help you to swim rather than just sink. After all, there is so much competition out there that surely anything that can make even a modicum of difference is worth doing?

The mistake that people often make is they simply dive in with both feet without giving much thought about it. Clearly, this is the wrong thing to do and we would much rather that you give these tips some consideration first.

  1. Get Inspiration.

The first thing is to get inspired, and by this we mean look at e-commerce websites that you find to be appealing. It might be the way in which the products are displayed or the navigation. Perhaps it is the categories that appeal to you? No matter what it is, you need to spend some time contemplating what other people do with their e-commerce website and try to get inspiration from it for the sake of your own website.

  1. Consider Your E-Commerce Platform.

This is also more important than people realize in that you need to be sure that you use the correct e-commerce platform from the outset. By doing so, it should then mean that your entire website works smoothly and without any issues because that is going to be one huge thing that is capable of putting potential customers off spending money on your site. You also want to be sure that you are using something that is easy to update and change when required to do so as your prices may alter as will your products and you hardly want to rip the entire website out and start all over again every time this has to happen.

  1. Consider Your Payment Gateways.

You need to also spend some time thinking about payment gateways and being aware of the ones that work best for your website. Paypal tends to be the most popular out of the market leaders, but there are other options available. It can all depend on the e-commerce platform you plan on using along with the amount of business that you are conducting. Furthermore, you need to be aware of the currencies it can operate as well as making sure that you can actually get the money without running into too many problems.

  1. Don’t Launch Until You Have Tested the Website.

This might sound crazy to point out, but there are individuals that will try to put together their e-commerce website and then launch it in the hope of earning money as quickly as possible. The problem here is that they effectively do live testing, and that is pointless. Actually, it is even worse than pointless simply because if this kind of website is rushed, then it leads to broken links, issues with the cart, and a whole host of other things that will only serve the purpose of putting off potential customers.

  1. Stay Relevant.

Once again this may come across as being extremely basic advice, but it is astonishing how many companies allow their e-commerce website to just stay stuck in the past. It’s absolutely fine to keep the initial template the same, but ideas and concepts related to the world of design in this area are ever-changing. Being aware of the latest approaches can make a real difference to the way in which your website is viewed by your potential customers, and surely you want them to be as happy as possible? If displaying relatively few items on the front page is where it’s at right now, then maybe it’s a good idea to follow that concept? If large images displaying a few categories is the modern approach, then once again you may be better suited to adopt that particular strategy?

What we are saying here is that there are a whole host of things to take into account when it comes to operating your very own e-commerce website. There is so much more to it than simply adding some products to a program, getting some hosting, and then waiting for people to come. Would you do that with a physical store? Of course not, so why do it with this?

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