Category: Web Design

05
May

Our Love Affair with WordPress

At our core, we are designers and live for the creative side of the web design industry, which also happens to be the exact reason we develop almost exclusively on WordPress. Now if you’re not a graphic designer you may be thinking, well who cares what my website is built on I just need it to work. And although that is a valid opinion, WordPress does so much more than just sit there and look pretty. It is easy to use, responsive and gives our clients control over their website. At Sixth Gear, web design goes hand in hand with WordPress. It is the craft to our beer, the peanut butter to our jelly… well, you get the point.

SEO Friendly Right Out of the Box

As we have discussed numerous times, the key to every successful website is keyword rich content that is optimized for search engines. Search engine optimization tactics are constantly changing, but WordPress is always right there ready to adapt. There are many platforms that are not SEO friendly, making the websites built on them pretty much useless regardless of how great they look. When the idea of a website is to drive traffic and be visible when a potential customer is searching for a product or service you provide, the concept is taken away when your website does not work for you or gain you the search engine rankings you need to stay competitive. However, WordPress works for you 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year. WordPress makes it easy to set proper URL strings, alt tags on images and much more. Once you post a blog or add new content to your site, WordPress helps search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing index and crawl through those valuable pieces of keyword rich content. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Manage Your Website without a Degree in Computer Programming

As a web design agency going into the back end of a website to make some changes isn’t a thought that scares us, but as an individual who has zero experience, well, normally we wouldn’t wish that on our worst enemy, but WordPress takes this notion right our of the equation. With a simple login process and easy to use Dashboard, the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) stands by you and makes publishing and making minor editing simple without the need to ever look at a single line of HTML or CSS. With a layout walking you through each page with clear indications on how to post, WordPress has made content management accessible for any individual, giving you, your business and your website more freedom without having to go through a middleman.

Essentially Infinite Scalability

The greatest aspect of WordPress is you can never out grow it. It is adaptable and it grows with your business. Your responsive design can start off as a one-page blog and blossom into an eight-page fully customizable website with eCommerce and dedicated client side access. With every business plan, growth is usually the goal, the same works with your website and WordPress allots for that. With plug-ins, features and security updates WordPress takes your website to a new level and allows your business to expand on the web when you see fit. When it comes to your theme or layout, instead of rebuilding a new website, WordPress makes it simple to change. Your business will most likely go through appearance changes throughout time and now your website can reflect those changes without having to start from scratch everytime.

It’s easy to see why Sixth Gear has fallen in love over and over again with WordPress. With its key functionalities, ability to optimize content and easy-to-use content management system it’s no wonder more businesses are making the switch. Sixth Gear builds almost all of its websites on the WordPress platform, so we want you to share your thoughts on WordPress or platforms you have switched from and what you love most!

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17
Mar

That Web Design Is So Last Season

As a consumer we live by trends. What is in, what is out and what is to come. We know that trends apply to material items, but what about web design? This week we are going to submerge ourselves in this season’s web design trends that we love and hope you crave for your next website design or redesign.

Bigger is Better

On the rack this season is Sixth Gear’s favorite design trend, large background images. This is every photography lovers dream come true and Sixth Gear is guilty of indulging. Big beautiful photography is now sprouting up on websites everywhere. What’s the appeal you ask? The use of large images gives your business the opportunity to emulate what your brand provides to customers in a single image, no explanation needed. Aesthetically, large photographs draw attention which is key to attracting new customers, and when layered in with proper design elements this trend can take your website to a new level. Before this trend our Sixth Gear website was average, using only bright green accents on top of a straightforward black and white design. While the website was still aesthetically pleasing, it lacked the big punch that would help us stand out against our competition. However, after our redesign we are exactly where we want to be concept wise. The large photograph taken by Sixth Gear’s owner Corey, gives our brand and web design the clean look we’ve been waiting for. It’s simplistic tone represents what we like in terms of design and the blank canvas we have for every project. Our intention was for potential clients to view our website and not be overwhelmed by busy icons and useless verbiage, but instead view our site as a professional design firm that provides the information they need without the distractions.

Single Page and Parallax Web Designs

This is a beautiful trend that Sixth Gear has also adapted for our new website. The concept of single page web design is to have all pertinent information about your business on one page often using parallax scrolling sections and a fixed navigation. The concept of single page web designs is not new, but it has been changing into a more simplistic style that web designers and new website owners are falling in love with. Now you may be thinking, a one page website isn’t that a little lazy? And our answer is absolutely not; in fact it will do more for your business. When a consumer goes onto your website the chances of them seeing all of your information is slim. However with a single page layout the odds increase in your favor. Without having to click and load pages, single page layouts cut website discovery time in half, in turn increasing the chances that a customer will spend more time on your site viewing more of your product or service information. That’s what we call a win win and is why more of our web design clients are requesting to have this trend implemented into their design plan.

Don’t Forget the Type

The last item on our shopping list is typography! More and more websites are moving away from the standard fonts and pushing towards original and unconventional typefaces. When you start thinking outside the box and using multiple fonts in conjunction together there are a few important rules to follow in order to avoid a design disaster. Rule number one for us and our clients is to never have two or more really similar fonts next to one another, it’s the equivalent of wearing plaid on plaid, which is never okay. Rule number two, is being aware of size proportion. If our clients have two different fonts they are loving it is our job to make sure there is a hierarchy established, because having multiple fonts in the exact size can create unnecessary confusion about what text is most important. Our last rule is unifying fonts with style and color. Although we want to mix different fonts together it is important that everything looks balanced stylistically. Using fifteen different colors and fonts will be overwhelming to us, to you, and your customers. But in the end when using those three simple rules the typography trend is well worth the guidelines and will add an impressive and subtle element to your website.

Sometimes trends come and go. This is true, even for web design. However the trends mentioned today are aesthetically pleasing no matter what design year they are in. So here at Sixth Gear we consider them the new design classics and encourage you to ask us about these trends and see what we can do with your website wardrobe.

17
Jan

What the Heck is Responsive Web Design?

So all you hear lately in the web design industry is responsive design this and responsive design that. Which is great if you know what responsive design actually is, but for those of us who just nod our heads pretending to understand those eloquent words, this blog is a look into what responsive websites are and why it is now a necessity for every business with a website to have them.

In a nutshell responsive web design is a method of designing a single website to provide an optimal viewing experience on all devices, which means it’s easy to read and navigate through on smartphones, desktop computers, and tablets. Responsively designed websites adhere to a grid-based structure with different breakpoints so that as the size of the viewing area changes (i.e. from desktop to mobile), elements of the website resize and shift to maximize the available real estate on the screen. So here is the question, does it really matter if my site is responsive? Can’t you still see a non-responsive website on a phone or tablet? The answer is yes you can still see it, but you know when you have to zoom in or out to try and read the text, then you accidentally click on the wrong link and get so frustrated you just give up. Yeah, that’s what happens to your potential customers too with non-responsive websites. With 40% of web traffic taking place on mobile devices it’s becoming more important now then ever to make the transition over to a responsive website so that your potential customers won’t leave your site frustrated and they will be able to access your information effortlessly.

Now there are two types of design modules for creating a mobile friendly site, one is the above mentioned champion, responsive web design, and the second is the not so heroic “mobile template”. Why are mobile templates not on the foreground of web design? It has to do with it’s foundation. Mobile templates are built specifically for particular devices which can be problematic when dealing with the plethora of screen sizes on mobile devices, and that’s just one of the problems. The second significant issue is SEO. Search engines like Google prefer responsive designs to mobile templates. When Google indexes your website it is easier for it to comb through one responsive site as opposed to a separate desktop only site and a separate mobile site, making more sense?

It does for us. So when it comes down to creating a website, responsive design is pretty much the only way to go in our opinion. Every year more and more electronic devices are being produced which results in more consumers using them for their daily web browsing, and if they can’t view your information correctly then what’s the point of having a website in the first place. Sixth Gear only creates websites that utilize responsive web design. We want our clients to have their business completely visible regardless of what device your potential customers use. The way we see the industry heading, responsive web design is the only way to set your business up for success on the web both now and in the coming years. So if you haven’t already started making this transition, get on it before your consumers decide that its way too much effort to view what your business has to offer.