If Only My Website Had Responsive Design

It can be a dilemma.
  • You love your website
  • You are getting visitors to your site
  • It represents your brand perfectly
  • Your business is doing OK
What’s the problem? If you like everything about your site but it is not responsive in design, be prepared to make a change or pay the price in reduced traffic.
There are exceptions. If your site is visited exclusively by clients using a desktop, it may not matter. If your client base is broad and your new orders are triggered by existing customers, chances are they are only looking you up to check prices or submit a new transaction. In those cases, investment in a new site may not be worthwhile.

How do you know who accesses your site?

It’s easy within Google Analytics to see a breakdown of how clients are interacting with your website. The ‘Mobile’ overview breaks down the percentage (and actual session number) split between desktop vs mobile vs tablet. On the same screen, you can check the bounce rate – the percentage of people who clicked into the site and then didn’t explore further or clicked away. The lower the bounce rate, the better the chances that your visitor found your site engaging and interesting – good indicators when you are looking to promote your product or service.
 bounce rates1

Is the writing on the wall? (or in analytics?)

When you see a bounce rate that varies across devices then it can be an indicator that you are losing potential clients by not having a responsive site. What would that look like numerically? It may be a bounce rate of 50% from desktops and a bounce rate of 70% from mobile devices. If the sample size is large enough to make the data compelling, then chances are the experience viewers are having from mobile devices is offputting.
If in doubt, look at your site from a variety of devices and see how it appears when you use it. This is a good idea anyway so you can relate to the experience in a similar fashion to that of your customer.

Will things change?

Yes – the world of search engines and search habits are always evolving, however, the bad news in this scenario is that the swing is towards even more people searching from mobile devices so maybe it is a good time to make a change now.

Don’t want a new website design?

It’s not unusual to love your current site, after all, you probably helped design it, it serves a useful purpose, you’re familiar with it, it has evolved to be your perfect virtual storefront. Here’s the good news… there is no need to stress over a whole new website design and the costs which are typically incurred. If you like your content and don’t want changes made, the chances are it can be copied across to responsive design with minimal compromise. It might mean that some boxes appear bigger or smaller, there might be a slight shift in the overall aesthetic but a good designer will be able to lay out potential changes up front so you can decide if a switch is worthwhile.
It’s something to mull over as there are potential benefits to taking your current site over to responsive design without redesigning
  • it could be cheaper
  • it could be quicker than a redesign
  • it sets you up for the future with more and more people using mobile devices
  • there is no large investment of your time
  • website appeal will remain the same for desktop users but should improve for mobile users
If you love your site but it is not responsive, it may be time for an upgrade. You needn’t lose the features and design you like, it can be tweaked slightly to make it more friendly across all devices. If you’re looking for help with a new website or want to find out more about how a lack of responsive design may be affecting your online experience for clients, contact us today.

Website Design and Call to Action Buttons

Every marketing website is designed to provide pertinent information and to promote the products or services being offered. The ultimate aim of this online storefront is to convert interested site visitors into customers. The most obvious and easily measurable success is a direct ‘buy’ button on the site although for the companies which don’t have the desire or ability to process online payments or for businesses where sales are converted later in the process, just encouraging viewers to take that ‘next step’ is a positive move forwards in the right direction.

It may be ‘call now’ or ‘get directions’. All of these types of buttons are CTAs or Calls To Action.

 

Why have a CTA?

The purpose of a CTA is to keep the customer interaction with your website, steering the visit closer towards the next level – finding out more information, calling a sales representative, making a purchase etc. Without any Call To Action, your potential client could be more likely to leave your site and shop around.

 

A variation on the theme

If someone is wondering whether or not to buy, they may be more willing to click on a button that doesn’t commit immediately like ‘save for my wishlist’ or ‘save for later’. If the site is set up with this design feature, this action can enable the site to flag the saved item and remind the customer next time they login.

 

Think Color

Red buttons can scare customers away as it looks more like a warning than an invitation to make a purchase.

website design

 

Green is generally thought to be the most inviting (sending a subconscious ‘go’). Think carefully what color you want:

  • stand out
  • fit in with your overall site color scheme
  • contrast with the text so it is clear
  • when in doubt, scan around popular websites that you like to shop from and take their design as inspiration for your own unique design
  • try a few colors out and see which you prefer
  • ask colleagues for their opinions
  • if you are using a picture, make sure it is clear on all devices, not just laptops. Using a picture instead of text can overcome language barriers

The Details matter

The buttons themselves can look totally different with tiny style changes. As well as color, consider:

  • button size
  • round edges or straight
  • shadows

website design

Use CTAs sparingly

The more buttons and CTAs there are, the less eye catching they will be as they will take up too much of your online shopfront. This can also appear too pushy. One clever way to use your website design is to hover or float your call to action button as the page is scrolled. Beware that it doesn’t detract from the page text – especially on mobile handheld devices.

 

Statistics

Measure the click through rates and interactions with your CTA buttons. Over time if one button location or CTA message proves more popular (and therefore better at converting viewers into customers) then look at trimming away the less popular CTAs.

 

Final Thoughts

Call to Action are a tricky balance of tempting a customer to commit without being too overwhelming. If you need help with your website design and are looking to incorporate CTAs, Trulium has the experience to help take your online presence to the next level. For website design or website redesign, contact us today to get started.

Does my Website need a Responsive Design?

Despite everything you hear, the answer at the moment is a (hanging on by its fingertips) ‘no’. There are still a few instances where a website without responsive design could still meet your requirements. First things first, what are we talking about with ‘responsive design?’. We’re talking about a website which adapts and can be easily viewed and navigated from a desktop OR a mobile device like a tablet or a ‘phone. If you browse on your own mobile device, you may have stumbled across a site which seemed to have impossibly small text or the frame simply didn’t fit the graphics. Chances are that website did not have a responsive design. Does it matter? Maybe – there are a few instances when the investment in a new site can be questionable.

  • Viewers are only looking for contact information and all you need to display is a ‘phone number or an address
  • Nobody really visits your website because everyone ‘drops by’ or sales are exclusively by word of mouth or restricted to existing customers
  • Your business customers work standard office hours in an environment where employees all routinely use desktops
  • Your traffic is not being driven by social media links which are primarily accessed from mobile devices
  • It isn’t an important factor to the success of your business if you don’t rank well on search engine results pages

The trouble with painting all websites with the same brush is that every business is unique. If what you already have is working for you, then why invest in a new design? If your business is already thriving and shows no signs of slowing down, then having a responsive design for your website needn’t keep you awake at night! If you are wondering if it may be making a difference to your bottom line, then there is an easy way to see how traffic from varying devices ‘rate’ your site. Assuming you have a few pages at least and that you have content to read, google analytics shows you a breakdown of which devices your viewers are accessing your site from, the bounce rate (how many people who land on your site don’t interact further with your site), how many pages on average they view, and how long they spend on your site. There are no hard and fast rules because maybe 90% of people visiting your site get the information they need on that first page, but when you check the analytics and see a discrepancy between the engagement for viewers from a desktop and viewers from a mobile device, it might be time to find out more about responsive design.

be responsive and mobile readyThe undeniable truth is that the use of mobile devices shows no signs of slowing down. If you feel you can ‘get away with it for now’, re-assess every few months to make sure your business is not missing out on a mobile audience.

 

If you are ready to venture into the world with responsive design, our team at Trulium can help you plan a new site and transition to offer a better experience for viewers on mobile devices. Ready for a change? Contact us today!

Practical Hints and Tips for Website Content

Some advice on creating websites and website content is so academic, the nitty-gritty helpful tips are overlooked – so this is a common sense guide to setting off on the right path.

 

Only List Prices in One Place
It’s a slippery slope when you start listing prices across your site. Sooner or later, the inevitable will happen and you will update some – but not all – of the new prices. What’s the guessing that your next client finds the only one at the discounted rate and holds you to the bargain? Use links to track back to a master price list if required.
website content blog

 

Think Generic
If you can reuse content at some point in the future then think generic. Avoid mentioning current events or pinning down dates on a calendar. A good example would be a campaign designed for the Holidays. Choose your colors and style then rotate out the look when you’re ready. Next year at the same time, dig out your generic campaign and it will only need a minor revamp instead of a major rework.

 

Naming Conventions for Pages
The links are displayed at the top of the browser so keep them consistent and logical. They may follow your menu structure but plan ahead in case your menu structure changes, does the page name stand alone and make sense? This also helps with any optimization of your site – thinking ahead about the perfect page name will help later.

 

Naming Conventions for Images
When a picture is new and you can’t wait to showcase it, you’ll upload it immediately. Perhaps the name is a filename like DCS00345.jpg. Take a few extra seconds to rename the file first and adopt a naming convention that works for your business eg sunflower design fluffy pillow. In the future, whenever you need to find that great picture again, chances are you’ll search on at least part of the title and will find it. Spending too much time  thinking of how best to rename the images? Just stick to sunflower fluffy pillow1, sunflower fluffy pillow2 etc. They’ll still come up on the search and you won’t agonize over how many permutations of the words you can find.

 

Don’t Duplicate Content
Utilize internal links to other parts of your site. Not only does this ‘de-clutter’ the pages, you will only have one source of data to update with changes. If you want the same data displayed on multiple pages there are better coding solutions (eg widgets, headers, footers).

 

Open Links in a New Window
Especially if you are linking away from your site, make sure to select ‘open in new window’ so that if your viewer clicks and then looks around on the new site or gets distracted, your site is still open and they are reminded to continue on your page.
website content blog

 

Responsive Design
It’s not enough to use a responsive design template. Take the time to look at your site on a variety of mobile devices. Check out not only the layout, but the page load times and the ease of navigation.
Website Content

 

Organize your Source Data
When you start a folder and have maybe a few dozen files, it’s easy enough to see the screen and find what you need. As your number of source files grow, this can become a time burden. Start out with logical folders and subfolders then stick with your system. It is your own personal virtual filing cabinet. This also reduces the need to fit every keyword into a filename, if a picture is within the ‘summer’ folder the need to add ‘summer’ to the title is negated.

website content blog

Planning ahead is critical and can save you many hours in the long run. If you want help with a website design project or want to refresh the look of your site, contact us today at  info@trulium.com

5 Reasons to use Analytics

1. It’s Free

analytics blog demographicsWhen you’re talking about using analytics or not, it’s really a matter of why wouldn’t you at least collect the data? Even if you don’t have time to study the analytics now, you’re building a stockpile of statistics which can be studied in the future. There is no cost associated with collecting the data. The potential cost is in the time it takes to interpret and use the statistics to help your business. This may be your time or a professional you hire to analyze the data for you.

2. It’s not rocket science

Google AnalyticsIf you’ve never looked into your website’s analytics, you may think it holds tables of data which you would have to spend weeks trying to understand. The truth is that much of the data analysis is already done for you and is presented in a format which is simple to interpret and intuitive.

3. You can track changes

Google AnalyticsWhen you make a change to your website or run a marketing campaign, it is likely that you will see a change in traffic to your site or a change in the traffic flow within your site. By using analytics, you will see the impact of a change. For instance: if you launch a new design on your site, is it holding a visitor’s attention? Has your bounce rate changed or the average number of pages a new potential client looks at. Likewise, if you have launched a responsive design website, does the bounce rate for mobile devices and tablets drop as would be expected (as your site would have been difficult to read and navigate without the responsive design).

4. Get to know your customers

Google AnalyticsYou might think you already have a good idea who your customer base is, and that is probably true. Analytics brings concrete evidence of where they are, who they are,  when they are searching your site, how they are finding your site and the flow of traffic through your site. How does that help? Well, it could help to target a new promotion or it may point to a fundamental flaw in your site if a large proportion of your visitors are not finding the pages you are trying to promote. It’s also a great way to find out leads generated through your social media. If your return on investment is not as expected, it could be time to rethink your strategy.

5. Shape your future

Becoming an expert on your site performance gives you the confidence and tools to plan ahead. It also empowers you to persuade others within the company or outside that you can manage your business effectively. The data can be used to backup a case for

  • a business loan
  • renewing a business visa
  • expansion (or conversely – downsizing)
  • verifying your business model is working

If you’re ready to start analyzing and want some help with your site, contact us today  info@trulium.com

DIY website pitfalls

There are so many websites that it must be easy, right? If you’re looking to create your own website and take the DIY approach, there are some considerations to weigh. A website redesign can be just as big a project as a website design from scratch.

  • Time – creating your own website may be more time consuming than you thought. If you have prepped your content and know what you want your site to say, you’re off to a great start. It is rarely as easy as plugging in text though, plan on a steep learning curve and some frustration if you are looking to ‘go live’ within days.
  • Being found – Search Engine Optimization is a skill which takes time, experience, experimentation and analysis, it is also a moving target where what works today might not work next month. When building your website, SEO should be integral to your website design and forefront in your mind, not so that it drives the content of your site, but so that it reinforces the message you are sending out. If you want to be found with particular search strings, it’s not as easy as mentioning those key phrases in as many creative ways as you can think of.
  • Doing what appeals to you (and only you) – maybe you like a vibrant pink background, flashing lights or a soundtrack from the 1980’s. You have to forget about what you like to appeal to a general audience and there are serious studies on which colors are turn-offs and what palettes are more aesthetically pleasing. Being unique is not always good – it can scare people away and look unprofessional.
  • Cheap templates can look … cheap – if budget is your biggest consideration then a cheap template may serve its purpose, although it might take significant customization to make you stand out. If you are unable to customize it yourself, you’ll still need help.
  • It can’t do any harm to try – the only thing worse than not having any website is to have a terrible website. It can harm your brand and potentially not only draw in no new business, it can tarnish your reputation with partners.
  • Who can help down the line? You’re up and running, everything is great and then one day a client calls to say they can no longer see your site or the links don’t work …. do you have someone on hand who knows the history, took the backups (or coached you) who can help once you come to rely on your website.
  • website designBe responsive! – if your site is not friendly for clicks from a tablet or mobile phone, you’re not engaging so many potential clients. It’s not just the future, it’s the now.
  • You need to balance what you present with how long the screen will take to load. If it takes a few seconds to load big images and lots of links,  your audience may give up on waiting. There are tricks of the trade and there are compromises to be made, it takes experience to know where trade-offs are inevitable.

 

We are Website Design Experts

You are the expert in your business, if you don’t have the time or the inclination to become an expert in website design, let us help you with a plan. Contact us today  info@trulium.com

 

Exploring bounce rates

What is a bounce rate?

First things first, let’s clear up the definition of a bounce rate. When related to websites, the bounce rate is the statistic which tells you how many visitors click on your site and then leave without further exploring your site.

For example, 50 people visit the home page of your website on one particular day.  35 of them click around the site accessing menus like packages or pricing and the other 15 don’t look further on your site (it doesn’t matter if they go to another site or just stop the session there). The bounce rate is

15/50 X 100% = 30%

Your bounce rate can be found in the analytics for your site.

Need I worry about a high bounce rate?

 

This depends on what you want your site to achieve.  A very high bounce rate can actually be a good thing if you are attracting the visitors you want and they are getting all they need from just one page on your site.

Examples would include:

  • directions to your business – your page is clear enough to get people to your address
  • opening hours – a visitor is interested in your service and just needs to know when to visit
  • contact information

Obviously, the smaller the amount of content on the site, the more likely the design can cram valuable content into that first page that the visitor ‘lands on’ (usually the home page).

 

How can understanding bounce rates help me?

This is where the value of the statistics really kicks in. Instead of just knowing the figures, we can use them to help tweak the site. From the raw data, it is impossible to know why your visitor didn’t click on more pages:

  • the site was boring
  • your site took too long to load
  • your site content is poor and you are being presented in search engines when other sites would be more appropriate
  • it’s unclear how to navigate around the site
  • the site looks overwhelming with blocks of text
  • worst of all – the site wasn’t easily recognized as yours due to lack of branding or an inconsistent message so you did all the hard work in getting that engagement and then failed to capitalize
  • the website was hard to read, literally (this is especially relevant from tablets and mobile devices)
  • all the information required was gathered on the landing page

Analytics can help tackle the ‘responsive design’ issue easily – if your bounce rate is being influenced by poor interaction from tablets or phones.

Look at the data inside the section

Audience -> Mobile -> Overview

bounce rates

 

The first column will display how your visitors are accessing your site. In this case, nearly 47% use mobile devices, about 45% use desktops, and only 8% use tablets. Understanding this pattern will help you know if it is worth looking at the experience a mobile device user is having. If 90% plus of your clients are accessing your site from a desktop, it may be worth concentrating on them. This is highly unlikely and the trend towards mobile and away from desktops shows no sign of slowing.

bounce rates2

Following the data table along, look at ‘bounce rate’ as well as ‘pages per session’ and ‘average session duration’. If the visitors to your site are having trouble navigating your pages or reading your text, you would expect the bounce rate for those devices to be significantly higher than from a desktop. That would also translate into a lower number of pages viewed per session and a shorter session duration. In this example the site has the highest bounce rate from a desktop and the other values (between the two device types that make up over 91% of the traffic together) are very similar. The conclusion would be that this site is mobile friendly.

If you’re looking for help with your website, why not contact us today  info@trulium.com

Your Website – what first impression are you giving?

Over time it’s easy to become so familiar with your website that you lose sight of how it appears to a new visitor – a potential client clicking into your site for the first time. That first impression could be the difference between winning their business or losing them as they click into a competitor’s site.

What to avoid

  • excessive load times
  • be responsive and mobile readylimiting your audience by not being responsive – if your site can’t easily be viewed from a phone or tablet, your online visitor will find a site that is simple to navigate and read when it is convenient for them
  • error messages
  • outdated content
  • poor quality images
  • a confusing layout which makes the site (at least appear) difficult to navigate. This includes a page ‘heavy’ on text with no natural breaks or images. Nobody will read the entire page before they decide to find out more, they will jump between headings and scan the site to decide if they like it enough to keep looking
  • a generic site which hasn’t been branded – when a search pulls up your site and your potential customer clicks in, they scan the page to check they recognize a logo, location or slogan which reassures them they are on the business they thought they were

 

The next consideration is what first impression you would like to give. Are you trying to present information or encourage your visitor to explore your site?

If you are trying to draw clients literally to your place of business, consider maps and clear directions from major nearby cities.

First impressions count imageWhen your business is visual eg. florist, artist, designer, showcase your work so that a glance conveys your colors, style and design. Put your best images in the most prominent place as they are your ‘hook’ to spark more interest in exploring your site. Brand the image if necessary so that it is clear the image is your own and not a generic stock image. If you can’t choose or your product range is diverse, consider a scrolling gallery with 4 or 5 images which rotate.

Checklist

Imagine yourself in a potential client’s shoes (or ask someone you trust who is not familiar with your website for their opinion) and consider:

  • do the colors appeal
  • are my service or product clear to see
  • do I appear an expert in my field
  • does the site look professional and trustworthy
  • is any of the content out of date
  • do I have better images to represent my brand
  • is it clear how to contact the business
  • are the navigation menus intuitive
  • are there distractions drawing a client away from my content (eg excessive links or ads)
  • does the site reinforce the other branded material you are distributing? (business cards, shop front, advertising)
  • is there a link to social media so that it is easy to ‘follow’ you

 

first impressions countA website that looked great a few years ago may look tired to your audience today. If you are spending money on SEO (search Engine Optimization) to drive your site higher up the rankings, you need  positive first impressions to capitalize on your advantage and persuade prospects they have found exactly what they need as soon as they find your site.

 

If you’re ready to revisit the first impressions you are giving , contact us today  info@trulium.com

Ways to Prepare for Google Updates

Another update from Google is, at this point, par for the course. You expect to wake up every couple of weeks to news of updated Pandas and Penguins shining the way for new standards of SEO effectiveness everywhere. That means more steps to take to keep your business at the top of SERPS for your keywords, more research to help optimize your efforts, and more spiders crawling your site. At this point, do you even have any more hair to pull?

It’s not all bad. Google’s updates may be frequent and slightly inconvenient, but they’re customer-driven. The algorithm updates are essentially guiding you in the right direction, based on customer (i.e your leads) desires – which makes keeping up with Google the best way to reach those leads. So get some hair plugs and go with the flow!google-logo-Trulium-Sept

Four ways your business can prepare for those frequent Google updates:

Keep an Eye Out

Getting blindsided is a complete disaster, especially when it comes to search engine marketing. One week you’re feeling amazing at the top of the search results and then – BOOM – you’re suddenly all the way on the second page. How do you keep your page ranking when you don’t know when the algorithms change and what they want?

It’s like a blizzard coming right after you’ve locked your shovel away in confidence of a long Fall. Keep your walk clear by checking periodically for news on any Google Updates and what they might mean for your current SEO and search engine marketing practices. Thankfully, there’s usually a lot of hubbub around the unveiling of new updates from Google, so advanced warning is the least of your problems.

Be Flexible

Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on something that is inflexible and unable to undertake necessary changes at the drop of a hat. Google makes hundreds of updates a year with major updates taking place about every four months, making it virtually impossible to understand and keep up with every single change. Your website designer should be on his/her/their toes just as much as you.

Many SEO practices that once had prominence (keyword stuffing, for one) have either changed or been completely obliterated. That means that, while keeping an eye out, you have to be diligent and willing to adjust accordingly.

Be User-Friendly

It actually helps the user (a.k.a your lead) out to have spam-filled, hard to navigate sites filtered out of search results. Sites with terrible speeds, little to no usability on mobile devices, and low-quality content are irritating in general and need to be updated. Whether Google updated or not, chances are you wouldn’t get far with a glitchy site.

Google essentially cuts out the less customer-centric sites and gives better rankings to those who put time, effort, and thought into providing great user experience.  It’s like being forced to take care of yourself – you may not like it, but at least it helps you survive.

Remember – It’s All About Business

Google is not some huge enemy breathing down your neck. They’re a business trying to keep their consumers happy with the best experience possible. Keeping up with their updates means a world of success for your site, SERP rankings, and business.

Do yourself a favor and go with the flow.

Mobilegeddon- Why is Mobile such a Big Deal these days?

Your business needs to fit in the palm of your potential client’s hands. This is a mobile world filled with social networks, review sites, a whole lot of online searches and a savvier bunch of potential customers than ever before. These days, business is in the palm of your hand. Any business that isn’t ready to make itself accessible will be left behind in the age before smartphones. Your leads are looking, yes, but they have many options to choose from, and it is up to you to cross their path.

Mobile-friendly sites are just one step, but a huge one, to showing up on your consumer’s radar. Being mobile-friendly is imperative to your business in many ways, including:

Accessibility

We are in the world of now, now, now. Businesses are not exempt from this mindset. Statistics shows that your prospective clients are looking for services via their phones and tablets more than ever. This leaves a huge space for any business that does not have a mobile-friendly site. Sites that are not mobile-friendly show up horribly on phone screens, cutting off valuable information and tend to be impossible to navigate. This error could lead to a lost opportunity, over and over again.

Local Searches

When you are a small, local business, those local searches are worth their weight in gold. Many industries benefit from local exposure, especially those that cater to the direct area around them. Mobile-friendly sites promote local SEO, giving you an advantage when your particular area is searched.

Closing Deals

A great plus to going mobile is the close rate. A whopping nine out of ten searches conducted on mobile phones end in purchases. When a person searches for goods, services, or items on their phone they are usually already set to buy. This point alone should be enough to help you embrace the need for a mobile site, but we have one more.

Professionalism

Keeping up with the times keeps your business professional. Each generation has its particular way of checking a company for authenticity. With all the scams going around, many of your potential customers will be checking for a few key identifiers of shady work. In the 2010’s, a business is considered shaky and untrustworthy if it does not have:

–        a clean, easy to navigate website

–        some form of content on said website

–        forms of acceptable payment explicitly listed

–        a mobile-friendly platform

You do not want to be confused with scammers and thieves. Make sure you show the pride and professionalism your business emits by having a site that leaves no room for worries.

Mobile is, to put it plainly, the present. It is what people expect in this busy world where, at the slightest thought, goods are supposed to appear before them. This world belongs to the consumer, and your business depends on being up front and center when they are ready to buy.