Website Navigation

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Website Navigation – Get it Wrong and Your Website Will Suffer

Navigation is something that should not be overlooked, but that is often what actually happens especially when an individual seeks to make their own website using rather limited knowledge. However, poor navigation is one of the leading reasons as to why an individual will simply click away from a website that they feel is just like a maze that they cannot work around.

 

Now, there is actually more to a website and its navigation than just that one menu at the top because it is often the case that this is no longer enough. Instead, people are constantly looking for ways to move around a website especially after they read different points that are of interest. The last thing they want is to then go all the way up to the top because we are actually rather lazy about everything.

 

 

Make Sure Your Website is Organized.

 

Navigation only works well when your website is organized enough for the pages to then go ahead and flow from one to the other. However, you also need to remember that your navigation menu also has to be organized and that is where drop down navigation can work well.

 

With this, you need to be aware of categories where individuals will know what to expect when they move the cursor over that tab. For example, if you offer various services via your website then it would make sense for the main tab to announce that this is connected to what you have to offer followed by a drop down menu which effectively lists the different services.

 

At this point, people will then become aware that they can go ahead and click on a sub-tab to then learn more about that particular service. This helps them to navigate to get to the information that they are searching for which would also then make it more likely that they will, once again, do the actions that you are looking for them to do.

 

It Has to be Concise.

 

People just do not want to go ahead and spend a lot of time working their way through lists of categories to get themselves started. Being concise is important because if navigation appears to be too complicated then this is something that makes them navigate away.

 

There is a need to not only find the information but to do so as quickly as possible. It is also the case that as we use tablets and smartphones in order to access the Internet that these devices are just not that good at dealing with complex navigation menus. They do not work too well in offering you the ability to see all of the potential paths you can follow if you have categories followed by sub-categories and then even sub-sub-categories. That is why a search facility is going to prove to be easier for websites where there are a substantial number of pages to be included.

 

Remembering the Serial Position Effect.

 

The final point that we would like to mention here is that there is something within the realm of psychology called the serial position effect. Basically, this is where it is known that individuals will pay more attention to the beginning and end rather than anything in the middle. In other words, it would be wasted to put any navigation in the middle of a page or text as it would often be missed.

 

That is why we tend to put our navigation at the top of the page, but here is one piece of advice for you to incorporate. Why not also consider navigation at the bottom of individual aspects of the website?

 

By doing so, you provide people with further opportunities to go ahead and get to the information that they are seeking and do not for one second think that this is going to be purely for those websites that are selling products. It works for every single website.

 

In short, you have to spend more time getting to grips with the navigation around your website and make sure that each and every website visitor is able to get to the pages that they are looking for without having to go on a treasure hunt. Forget about one single menu bar as that is outdated. Instead, check that people can easily find whatever it is that they are looking for no matter where they are on each and every page. Not only will they spend longer on your website but they are more likely to then take the action that you want them to do.

 

The Continuing Boom of E-Commerce

Webfoot EcommerceIt is difficult to imagine this, but there are still some companies and individuals out there that have not bought into the concept of e-commerce. Now, they may very well have their reasons for this, but there can be little doubt that they are indeed the ones that will be missing out on a whole lot of business.

The e-commerce market is just not showing signs of slowing down. It even continued to grow while so many different industries were struggling for years due to the financial downturn. In truth, it made a number of people look at e-commerce as a potential way to increase their income. However, they failed to learn the appropriate language and approach to business leaving them scratching their heads as to how exactly they managed to fail.

But what if you are already involved in e-commerce? Are you satisfied with how things are going or would you prefer to understand the market better than you do at this moment in time? Well, we have a few important points that you may wish to dwell on for some time.

  1. People prefer technology to humans.
    • Studies have shown that people prefer to interact with technology on an e-commerce website over and above dealing with a sales person. This may be surreal to many, but at least 55% of consumers say that this is what they prefer. It may very well be time for you to invest in an automation service as that is going to help really convert more potential browsers into individuals that spend money.
  2. People hate shipping costs.
    • People have some different opinions when it comes shipping. While they are quite happy to go ahead and pay for express shipping, they do get put off if they discover that they are paying money for shipping that is going to take forever to get there. However, the best thing is when there is free shipping as that is always a winner in the eyes of most people. In all honesty, you should look at trying to include free shipping wherever possible simply because of the way in which it does attract more buyers.
  3. Detailed product information is absolutely key.
    • It has once again been shown by researchers that consumers are more likely to go ahead and purchase products if the information that is supplied with the listing is detailed and able to really help them to build their understanding of what they are about to spend money on. If you thought that it would be just the one line or a brief note, then you would be wrong. With there being so much choice out there it just means that people are aware that they have options. You need to provide them with what they are looking for and if that means adding in more content with your listings, then you best get used to adding in more information.
  4. Buy online, pick up in store.
    • If you have an actual retail outlet, then one area that is really increasing in popularity is the idea of people buying online and yet they then go ahead and pick up the item in the actual store. Of course, this is going to save you on delivery costs, but you do have to keep a close eye on your stock levels and deal with any order that you get online. If you have never thought about doing this up until now, then it is time to change because more and more offline stores are about to start doing this and it is best that you join them.
  5. Loyalty really does count.
    • The final point that we are going to mention is the importance of loyalty. However, the problem with this part is that only 40% of companies selling online are actually taking into account the importance of keeping those customers happy. People do like to be loyal to companies, but they have to be rewarded for it as a direct result. If you have never thought about a loyalty scheme, then our advice is to look at how to go about setting up one and there are certainly a number of options available online if you get the correct type of help.

The one thing that you must always remember is that the world of e-commerce is continually evolving. If you are involved in it, then you need to make sure that you keep up to date with what is going on because it can make a huge difference between making that sale and the person abandoning their shopping cart. Do not automatically assume that you know it all. Look and learn from others and see what you can incorporate into your very own e-commerce business. Your profits depend on it.

Incorporating SEO Into Your Blog Posts

If you either already operate a blog or are intending to do so, then you may forget about using SEO in order to boost each and every post that you write. However, if this is indeed the case, then you are not alone and the difference that it could make to the exposure that your posts would then receive is astonishing.

This becomes an even bigger problem when the blog part of your website is not even the main reason for it existing. People will tend to focus on other aspects of the website and all of their SEO work will go on the home page and even the ‘about us’ page. The blog is left alone, but then even if you are planning on changing how you approach it and incorporating some optimization, how do you do it? Well, it is all too easy to go wrong if you are not careful.

1. Focus on just one or two keywords.

The first thing to consider is that you should not overdo the keywords that you then focus on. Instead, it is best to look at concentrating on just one or two keywords and no more. You can then have slight variations in how they are included in your post so you can play around, but the actual core keywords should be limited.

Trying to include too many different keywords is only going to lead to your post looking rather disjointed and it will be difficult to keep it on track if your mind is pretty much entirely focused on trying to include those keywords.

2. Consider long-tail keywords.

One thing that has changed is that people are becoming better at searching using rather extended terms. This means that they really do know what they are looking for and they seek to get as precise an answer as possible. It used to be the case that people were often rather generic when they were searching.

From your perspective, you should take those one or two keywords that you have decided to focus on and look at the ways in which people are using them in order to carry out searches. It is then in your best interest to look at how to incorporate them into each and every blog post. Remember, this is going to really boost your organic search results for each and every topic that you are blogging about.

3. Remember the images.

A lot of people also include images when they are writing their blog posts, and if this is what you are doing then you should not miss them out when it comes to SEO. For this, you have to go ahead and make sure that the ALT Image tags are included since even that can boost the way in which people pick up your posts.

You must remember that search engines cannot really search for those images directly and they focus on using words as tags. If you do not do this, then they will not be able to pick up on them and you will then be missing out on some extra traffic.

4. You can include the meta tags.

If you are using the likes of WordPress, then you will have the option to include some plugins that help with SEO and you need to go ahead and use them to your advantage as often as possible. Yoast is certainly one of the most popular and this has been shown to help boost awareness of blog posts and yet the crazy thing is that a lot of individuals might install it, but they will then not bother actually doing it.

This is sheer madness because all you have to do is basically complete the different boxes that come with each page or post that you are creating and it pretty much does everything for you. Now, if it is that simple then why would you want to just not do it because of being lazy?

Blog posts are knowing to play an important role in the development of a website and increasing awareness of what you are all about. More and more businesses are being tempted into running a blog as a direct result of this and we are not just talking about major companies either. Anybody can do this and your blog posts do not even have to be that long. However, regularity is certainly important so even if you do one post every single week then you are going to benefit from it.

At the end of the day, drop that idea of just putting up a post and leaving it for anybody to find. You have to take the post to those people that will be most interested in what you are talking about and how are they going to find you in the sea of posts that are out there on the Internet if you do not give them what they are looking for.

The Future of E-Commerce Websites Over the Next 12 Months

Continuing the idea of what the next 12 months is going to entail for web design and
different aspects of Internet marketing, we are going to look at the kind of future that is predicted for e-commerce websites throughout 2017. This is clearly something that will be of interest to a number of people and we are not just talking about those that are looking at taking the leap into the e-commerce world. Instead, we are also thinking about those currently in the industry and who may wish to take advantage of the changes that are coming.

1. The Use of Chat Bots.

This is something that is really starting to appear and it is predicted that the use of chat bots is going to gain real momentum over the next 12 months. Basically, this means that a bot pops up on the screen and it becomes almost like a personal shopper for the visitor.

By interacting with the bot, it means that the customer is going to be in a better position to find the things that they are looking for and overall it will be making the entire shopping experience a bit more pleasant.

2. An Increase in Live Support.

This is different to the chat bot mentioned above as we are talking about an actual customer service representative rather than a bot. However, the idea is still the same in that the visitor is able to interact with someone from the website. This means they can deal with issues, orders, a whole host of things and that is why more websites are including software such as ZenDesk to make the entire process that bit easier.

This is something that can be easily implemented into your website and it is certainly one thing that you should give some serious consideration to. It has been shown in research that the average sale does increase as a direct result of this live support so the benefits of it do really outweigh the potential costs to you especially as it increases customer satisfaction.

3. Yet Another Increase in Mobile Usage.

Even though you will clearly be aware of the fact that mobile usage is always on the increase, it is known that there will be a huge push for it in 2017 with e-commerce. It is believed that the average person now goes to their smartphone more than 150 times a day and yet it is also understood that as little as 14% of e-commerce retailers are actually taking advantage of this.

With mobile usage, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of websites that allow forms to be filled in automatically or the use of mobile money wallets. These should be incorporated into your e-commerce website as early as possible as the push is really towards helping individuals to have a better all-round experience when it comes to shopping online via their smartphones.

4. Using a Prime Like Experience.

There is no doubt that Amazon really changed the game of shopping online when they introduced their Prime package. The fact that people get faster deliver and better customer service in general has led to a huge number of people signing up each month just to get these rewards.

However, the rest of the online world has been slightly slow in catching up with this and that is one area that is going to change in the forthcoming 12 months.

Expect websites to be looking at ways to speed up delivery times and also the returns procedure to be made a lot easier. This is especially true for apparel websites where the number of returns remains predictably high due to the fact that people need to try on the clothing before they know if they like it. If people are then of the opinion that returning items is easy, then they are more likely to complete purchases in the first place.

5. The Impact of Social Selling.

You know that social media has a huge impact on marketing and advertising, but there is going to be a real push towards social selling in 2017.

This is where websites are going to really link up with the likes of their Instagram page but where people are taken from the images they post directly to the items so they can buy them. Now, you might be sitting thinking that this has already been done, but so many companies have been lagging behind and just hope that people go from a profile to their website. This is what is changing and there are several services out there that will help such as Curalate and Soldsie.

The thing that you have to remember with e-commerce is that this is something that is worth a huge amount of money. The entire time there is a need to keep trying to simplify the sales process and making life so much easier for your visitors. Anything that can improve their shopping experience really should be welcomed with open arms throughout 2017.

Looking Forward to 2017 with Web Design Trends

2017-design-trendsIt can always be useful to look ahead in order to try to determine what the forthcoming web design trends are going to be in 2017. By doing this, it just provides you with a better sense of the kind of things that you may wish to include in your design, or even the things that your designer is going to end up recommending. Now, we are not saying that you should try to squeeze in as many different things as possible, but you should at least take some points into consideration.

1. Designed in Reverse.

It used to be the case that websites were designed with desktops or laptops in mind, but that is something that is changing. As it is now fair to say, and the statistics back this up, that mobile phones and tablets are the primary technology used to access the Internet, this is not what is happening.

In 2017, it is not just there being more of an emphasis on these devices, but rather the twist is that they are becoming the primary source of the design. In other words, websites are now going to tend to be designed for the mobile user and then the design is effectively scaled up so that it works on those devices with a bigger screen.

2. Avoiding the Use of Stock Images.

This could be a big change, but it seems that people have grown tired of seeing those stock images of people around the business table and anything else that is clearly just a stock image that has been bought and put onto a website. It is believed that this is now starting to put people off and they are no longer paying the kind of attention that they should have been and this is clearly bad for the site.

In 2017, there will be more of a focus on originality which means original images are being used in a design that are far more related to the company and brand itself rather than what they could just buy off the shelf, so to speak. This is regarded as making the website, and the company, far more authentic.

3. Big and Bold Typography.

Typography is something that is always changing when it comes to what is in vogue at any given time and 2017 is going to be no exception. For this, you can expect to see more use of type that is very large and playing a strong role on the screen. For some, the type is going to completely dominate a section of the page.

However, you can also expect this to be incorporated into more artistic fonts that correlate to what the website is all about and the overall feel that the company is trying to create. The main thing is that there is no need to be afraid of the size of the fonts being used and indeed you should be starting to really come across more websites like this shortly.

4. An Increase in Animation.

We mentioned earlier how there is a move away from stock images to more unique photography and at the same time we can also expect an increase in the number of animations that are generally going to be used on websites. Also, the way in which they are going to be used will differ.

The latest moves will often include animation being used for basically entertainment purposes as content loads. They can also be used to highlight key sections of websites and help to draw the eye of the individual to them. They may also be incorporated to help encourage some kind of interaction with the visitor.

5. A Better Use of Video.

Video has been used for a number of years, but it is predicted that as much as 78% of all Internet traffic is ultimately going to be video related by 2018. This means that websites are starting to move more towards using video than ever before and this is a trend that is going to continue in 2017.

Video can take the form of large background images or, alternatively, to highlight key points on different sections of the website. However, there also has to be the need to take into account that some video can be heavy, so at the same time it cannot be overused as it may slow down the loading time for some people.

There are of course a number of other changes that are going to occur with web design over the forthcoming 12 months. However, this has just given you some kind of an indication as to what you may expect to happen or, at the very least, the things that you should take into account for the development of your own website. There is no absolute need for you to go ahead and actually use them, but considering how it will give your site a fresh and modern look, then you can understand why it may very well be a good idea.

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