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The Importance of Honest Feedback with the Design of Your Website

We previously discussed the relationship between client and designer and the way in which it directly influences the end result. However, we need to take things slightly further and look specifically at the importance of honest feedback when it comes to the design of your website.

There are a number of reasons as to why this is key and it does feed into the quality and strength of the relationship that does exist between client and designer. If there is a breakdown in communication between the two, then the chances of there being an end product that both are content with is going to diminish quite considerably.

So, let’s look more closely at the reasons as to why it is so important and also the difference it makes to the end result.

1. It Prevents Miscommunication.

The first reason is that feedback prevents the problem of miscommunication which has to be seen as one of the cardinal sins. If there is a lack of honesty with the thoughts from both parties, then each can have their own ideas of how things should progress and those ideas will never come together. A designer can be carrying on with what they feel is the correct approach and yet if the client is not honest enough to admit that things are not quite what they expected then the entire thing ends up being a mess.

2. It Allows the Designer to Get in the Mind of the Client.

For a designer to be able to produce the end result that the client wants it is important that they are able to effectively get inside the mind of the client. Nobody is a mind-reader and if there is no feedback at different stages of the process then how on earth is the designer going to be able to produce the kind of thing that the client was imagining in their own mind? The answer is that it becomes completely impossible to do this and you then have to deal with the issue of the client perhaps being taken aback by what they see and wondering why they have been unable to get the kind of website that they were hoping for.

3. It Stops Mistakes Becoming Bigger.

Mistakes are always going to happen and they can do so for a variety of reasons. However, it is the way in which they are dealt with as well as them being identified as early as possible that is going to make a real difference. If things are effectively nipped in the bud at the beginning, then it stands to reason that they are going to then be unable to effectively completely destroy the project. This is only possible when there is honest feedback from both sides when the time is required.

Of course mistakes can always happen as that is just part of being human, but the importance of giving feedback is such that people need to be made aware of the mistake before it becomes harder to rectify it. If one side keeps quiet, then the chances of this happening are only going to increase.

4. It Builds Trust Between the Parties Involved.

The final main reason as to why this is so important is connected to another key issue in the entire design process, the issue of trust. If there is no trust between the two parties then it makes it difficult for either side to feel that they can continue with either their ideas or the creation of the design itself. If the designer in particular becomes aware of the fact that the client will be honest in their thoughts throughout the process, then it gets to the point whereby the designer can relax in the knowledge that they can continue with what they are doing as they know that the other party would voice their opinion if anything was wrong.

As you can see, if there is a lack of honesty with the feedback throughout the design process then the chances of the finished design being a bit hit and miss is going to increase. By accepting that feedback is not always going to be a pleasant experience it will allow the client to get what they want which, at the end of the day, is the very reason as to why they decided to go to a designer in the first place.

The thing to remember is that feedback does not always have to be critical. It is just the opportunity for either party to discuss their thoughts and feelings without the other side getting upset or feel as if they are being attacked in any way. Healthy feedback allows for a healthy project and there has to be the understanding that both sides are open to comments and that they are not going to take things personally. After all, without feedback and discussions taking place where will the entire project lead?

Is Keyword Research Dead?

seo-keywordsAfter Google announced the Hummingbird update in 2013, it was believed by many that keyword research was no longer as prominent and important as it once was. Well, we just do not believe that this is the case. Instead, adequate keyword research is going to undoubtedly boost yourself in the search engines and it is just a case of being aware of how to do it correctly in order to get the best possible results.

The confusion has arisen because the Hummingbird update did not look at keywords and there was also a debate that voice activated search is also rendering them useless, but that is not always the case. What is rather happening is that keyword research is actually just as important today as it was prior to that Google update and we will show why that is the case.

Locating High Traffic Opportunities.

Having a website that receives no traffic is pointless. However, keyword research still has a major role to play in allowing you to unearth opportunities that are out there that also have high traffic levels. Now, this means you end up effectively playing the numbers game because if you are using keywords that get a lot of searches then you are gambling that you will be able to get a share of that particular traffic pie.

This is something that you will be unable to do without carrying out keyword research.

Dealing with Long Tail Keywords.

If you were of the opinion that long tail keywords that have little competition would be a waste of time, then think again. Instead, as long as it gets a reasonable amount of traffic then it is worth checking out.

Think of it this way. If there is no competition, then there is a better chance of you being able to get a higher percentage of that traffic and then hopefully convert it into paying customers or whatever it is that your website is about. If you optimize content for various long tail keywords of this ilk then it all adds up.

Once again, none of this would be possible without you carrying out keyword research.

Make Sure You Use the Correct Language.

This is a feature of keyword research that is often overlooked in that it allows you to determine if you are using the correct language in your content.

Now, by this we do not mean English, Spanish or whatever. Instead, we are talking about those key terms or words that people identify with whatever it is that your website is about.

Say for example your website is all about dogs. You want to make sure that your content contains various terms related to dogs and in a style that is attractive to those people that visit your site. By doing this, people are going to actually pay attention more to what you are saying and, of course, they will also find your website more easily because of the way in which you have used those keywords in your content.

The chances of you being able to do this effectively without keyword research are practically zero.

Boosting Your SERPs.

It is important to remember that it is not just with the content that you need to think about keyword research. Instead, you have to be aware of how you get the individual to actually click on your link in the search engine results pages in the first place.

For this, you have to think about your meta tags and meta description as both of those areas are going to be key. Your use of keywords has to entice the individuals into doing the action that you want, which is coming to your website. The important thing here is to not just try to optimize and do keyword research for your content, but also be aware of the main terms that are used in this instance as well. After all, if nobody clicks through, then it has all been pretty pointless.

Make life easier for yourself by studying other meta tags and descriptions, research the keywords, and then play around with them to see what gets the best response.

As with everything else above, this is not going to be possible without adequate keyword research.

Now, to be honest, we could go on and on about the benefits of keyword research and why you would be wrong to assume that the process, or art of research, is dead. Instead, it is very much alive and kicking and it could easily be argued that it is actually even more important than before with there generally being as much competition.

Perhaps the key thing to do here is to forget the theory that the Hummingbird update made keyword research obsolete and just focus on the simple fact that this is still something that you need to do and it would be in your best interest to have an expert help you out. After all, the potential future success of your website is at stake.

Why a Cheap Logo is Not Always the Best

brand-logoDuring the creation of your website, it is important that you also spend some time thinking about your logo. This is vital as your logo does form an integral part of your entire branding and indeed you only have to think about several of the big name companies to understand how their logo comes to represent not only the company name but also what people then associate with it.

If you just think of the Apple logo. It is distinctive and people see it and immediately start to think of certain things such as inventions, technology and so on. The same can be said with the Nike swoosh logo as you also then start to think about different terms that are related to how you perceive the Nike brand in general.

However, perhaps the key thing is that people see their logos and instantly know the name of the brand in question. The difficulty here is that we are not really saying that the same thing will happen to your logo, but we can certainly take aspects of this and apply it to your very own situation.

So, that being said, why exactly is a cheap logo not always the best solution?

The Reasons Against a Cheap Logo.

If you search online, you will come across numerous individuals or companies that claim they can design your logo for as little as $5 and, at first, this sounds like a bit of a bargain, but is it really?

The problem with the individuals that are offering a logo at that price is that you are going to end up with something that is not really unique. You see, they use programs and templates so they can just churn out logos without too much thought being put into it and that is not the way that you want to go about this.

It is essential that your logo really is unique to you and your company. Also, the individuals that create these logos do so in such a way that you are largely unable to alter the size as you see fit. It is important to remember that logos are going to be used not only on your website but also in different forms of marketing. Failing to have a logo designed that is capable of having its size adjusted without it then looking jagged or poorly designed just cannot be allowed to happen.

In addition, there is also the very important point that you do get less of a say in your logo when you pay so little for it and this does fall into the bracket of ‘you get what you pay for’ so do keep that in mind. Ideally, you should be able to sit down with the designer, think about the colors that are in your website and all of your marketing material. Think about the image that you wish to perceive when it comes to your business and then start to put the logo together.

When you are looking at paying so little, you are pretty much just going to be giving somebody your name and they will add it to a template and then give you the apparently finished article. Now, to be honest, the only thing we can say about this approach is that it sucks. No other term can actually do it as much justice but then when you are paying $5 or $10 then do you actually have any grounds for complaint?

The Correct Approach.

Granted we have just really painted a rather dull and negative picture of these cheap logos so it is only fair to now look at what is going to be the correct approach for you to take.

First, your logo should not be the first thing that you get designed as it should really be one of the final parts of the process due to the way in which it needs to fit in with the other designs and colors that have been used elsewhere. It is a lot easier to tie in the logo with the website design rather than the other way around as the website has to be the dominant factor.

Next, you need to sit down with the designer and work through what your aims and intentions are connected to not just your logo but your branding in general. This is something that you will not have the opportunity to do with the cheaper option and yet it can be so vital to your overall success.

The only problem here is that this is going to cost you money in order to get everything right from the outset. However, its value to your business and the way in which it makes you appear more professional does mean that this will be money well spent. Just remember to design everything else first and then look at the logo just to make sure that it all fits in together perfectly.

Dealing with Keyword Stuffing

When we examined our list of SEO terms that you should really know about, we mentioned the concept of keyword stuffing. We stated how this is something that you need to avoid at all costs or else Google will quite simply penalize your website and you will then see yourself just plummeting down the results pages. However, in order to avoid it, we understand that you need to have a better idea of what it is or else how can you take the appropriate action?

The History of Keyword Stuffing.

To really get to grips with the concept of keyword stuffing, we need to give you a short history lesson on SEO and the techniques or methods that used to be applied. In the past, it was all about the frequency of keywords and terms related to your keywords and if you had them mentioned a number of times then the search engines would pick up on it and you would be ranked better.

The problem here was that Google began to realize that people were just throwing in keywords without the text actually making sense. It was all just a ploy to rank higher and get people to their website in the first place.

Now, this was not exactly something that they wanted to be involved in as it meant that the end user was basically being duped into using a website that was just incapable of being a quality resource and was all about just getting people there in the first place. As a result, Google changed the algorithm so that it was no longer related to the number of times that you had a keyword on your page but how it was used. This forms the basis of the quality over quantity argument that transcends so much of SEO.

The Basics of Keyword Stuffing.

With keyword stuffing, the idea is pretty simple. You have the keywords related to your website, you have text, headings, image tags, and anything else and you try to include those keywords as often as possible.

Now, this is going to be very easy to do, but at the same time it is also going to really disrupt your website as it becomes very apparent to your visitors that all you are doing is trying to get those tags mentioned as many times as possible. The result is often a mess of a page with text that is almost impossible to understand so even when you were able to get people to your page it would often result in people just navigating away.

How to Avoid it and What to do.

The question that people now ask when it comes to SEO is still keyword related, but it is more about how you handle the keyword situation so that you do not fall foul of the Google terms and conditions.

To be honest, so much work has to go into the initial study of keywords so that the correct terms are targeted leading to the best possible outcome for your budget and target market. It is more connected to the ability to find easier to target terms with less competition and carefully weaving the terms into the fabric of the text so that it appears naturally and is also compelling. At the same time, the website should also provide value of some kind to the visitors.

It is important that you are able to step back and realize that it is the quality of what you say and the keywords that you use rather than the quantity. Google now promotes websites that offer quality experiences no matter what industry it is and any attempt to subvert their quest for providing quality links as being the best out there is something that has to be avoided.

In other words, to avoid keyword stuffing you need to think about these points or you could run into a number of difficulties in a short period of time.

  • Choose keywords and terms wisely.
  • Do not try to squeeze in as many as you think possible.
  • Make sure that they are used in a natural way rather than forced into the text.
  • Keep the keyword percentage low.
  • See keywords as just one piece of the SEO jigsaw rather than the main thing.

So, if you were of the opinion that just putting in as many keywords as possible would make a difference to how you are ranked on Google, then you would be correct in thinking that just it is not going to work out in the manner that you had hoped. Instead of ranking higher as a result, you are going to head in the opposite direction because it is all about careful placement of keywords, not overdoing it, and also just providing your visitors with something that is worthwhile.

The days of throwing countless backlinks or keywords at a website are now long gone and the Internet is better for it.

A More In-Depth Look at the Bounce Rate

Bounce RateWe have previously looked at a list of the most commonly used SEO terms that we feel you should be aware of and there have also been times in the past where we have studied a couple of the terms in their very own blog post. However, as the world of SEO is so vast and complicated, it does provide us with the opportunity to look at several of the others that do still play a role in the rather complex world of SEO.

Looking at the Bounce Rate Once Again.

In the other post we mentioned the concept of the bounce rate and this is certainly something that we need to investigate a bit further because of how important it is not only in an SEO way but also from the perspective of web design.

As we said, the bounce rate refers to the percentage of people that visit your website and then only checks out one page before leaving. From an SEO perspective, this is a major problem as it is then taken as meaning that your website is actually quite boring or else people would not just leave. In other words, it is best that you look closely at the design of your page to make sure that those visitors feel as if they have something to hang around for.

Now, there are a number of ways in which you can improve your bounce rate and yet we need to begin by thinking about one important thing, perhaps you are getting the wrong people to your website?

Yes, this is entirely possible and it makes a great deal of sense that if people are finding your website that do not really have any kind of an interest in what you are doing, then of course they are going to just click off almost immediately.

This can come down to the wrong type of SEO being done or the wrong keywords being used to draw people in so clearly changes have to be made.

However, there are a number of other methods that can be employed that should reduce this bounce rate quite considerably.

1. Provide clear navigation.

This is important because if people are struggling to find out how to move around your website then why would they then put themselves through that pressure of wondering where to go next? This only encourages people to just visit the one page simply because they do not understand how to move around. By providing clear navigation, rather than trying to be too clever, it reduces the chances of this happening.

2. The speed has a role to play.

People are seen as being less patient now when it comes to a website loading. In other words, if your site is slow then those visitors are not going to hang around too long before they are clicking to go elsewhere. We always appear to be in a rush so it is important to keep that in mind especially with the home page because if it is too complex and too heavy then it is best to change it.

3. Poor design is not a positive thing.

Perhaps due to the sheer choice of websites that are out there, people are now less likely to be willing to put up with a website that has a poor design. Now, we are not just talking about the layout but in actual fact we are referring to absolutely everything that then makes up the user experience. It is known that people make up their mind about your website within seconds of landing there so if their first impression is not positive, then what are they going to do? Obviously it is impossible for everybody to be happy with it, but if your bounce rate is far too high then perhaps a re-design is in order.

4. Consider mobile ready.

The final point that we are going to quickly discuss that can have an impact on your bounce rate is whether or not your site is actually mobile ready. Think about it for a moment. If your site is not going to work on smartphones or tablets then obviously people are going to just click off straight away. You should by all accounts have a responsive design in order to deal with this and if you do not, then we suggest that you change that immediately.

The point that we are trying to make here regarding the bounce rate is that it is all about that important first impression. You want people to be able to land on your home page, know what you are about and also where they have to go in order to get the answers to the questions that they are seeking. If they feel as if they have landed up against a rather plain and boring brick wall then they have no other option but to just leave without giving you the opportunity to convince them otherwise.

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