Tag: web design

28
Aug

Anatomy of the Web Design Vol. 1

The anatomical elements of a website vary depending on the needs of your business. Although every web design is different, their are three vital “organs” that ensure your website is functioning as a whole.

Your Home Page is Where the Heart Is

Considering your “Home” page may be the first interaction your customers or clients have with your business, it is imperative that you put your heart and soul into it. This is the area to not only attract your target audience with aesthetics, but present them with your vision and purpose.

A well designed and professional home page should have a clear focus. Too many times you see a cluttered or overwhelming page that has no direct purpose, so the solution is to have a clean design that is easy to navigate through, showcases your brand’s vision and offers a visually appealing first impression.

About Your Brand’s Internal Qualities

Although your “About” page may not seem like an important aspect of your website, it actually has a huge impact on the value customers place on your business. As a consumer we often look for validation in a company. Do they have experience or are they a qualified provider? These questions often help us determine if as a consumer we want to contact for further information or purchase a product.

So even though you might think this is a wasted page on your website, to your future customers this might be the element that helps them commit to your brand and services.

Contact for Assistance

A “Contact” page is the backbone of your website. The purpose of your site is to attract customers to contact for more information, hence the importance of a page dedicated to this function. An easy to use contact form is the best way to capture leads by email and open a conversation. One thing to keep in mind is to always include your business’s direct contact information, as some individuals like to have a personal interaction straight away instead of utilizing a web-based form.

The anatomy of a web design is simple. Your home page is the heart of the website, the about section serves as an internal function and your contact form is the backbone that’s sole purpose is to generate solid leads. With these core pages present, your website will be strong, healthy and ready to be an active source for your business.

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01
May

Ring the Alarm: Building a Brand (Through Beyonce Song Titles)

Every new business has to start somewhere. Knowing the amount of design and marketing work needed to create a successful venture can be overwhelming to a small business owner, which is why so many overlook the key elements that have now become a necessity in order to stay competitive. There is no need to be Jealous of your competitors, because starting from the ground up allows you to create an original vision with a sturdy foundation.

Listen, we’ve got you bae. Building a brand is a huge undertaking, but it also the start to your businesses successful future. This week we are going to break down which items are on your brand building checklist, and why they will be important down the road.

#1 Say My Name

Your domain name is no joke. When new businesses are throwing around names they hardly even consider if they can get a domain name that aligns. Even though the name you’ve chosen may be Irreplaceable, make sure a website domain is available or a similar variation will cohesively work.

Often small businesses will choose a website domain that may not include the name of their business, and find that customers have a difficult time finding them online. The closer your domain is to your actual business name, the easier your website will be found. Why is this important? The more individuals you drive to your website, the more opportunities you create to make them a customer. (Not to mention it will help your search engine rankings).

#2 If I Were a Brand

Brand development. This is the time to think about Me, Myself and I. Your branding elements should ultimately reflect the vision you have for your business. If you are an existing entity with a brand that falls flat don’t be afraid to Start Over.

Decide how you want to be perceived by customers? How your product or service is unique? And what style/personality traits you are looking to project? Once these questions are addressed you can give your designer the Green Light to develop a logo that represents who you are as a company, and what it is you are providing. The design and content created for your brand will serve as the structure for future marketing and aesthetics, and is why your branding needs to have a strong concept that will last over time.

#3 Flawless, Web Design

Since web design is one of the more costly branded aspects, small business owners tend to either leave it out of their plans altogether or go for the bare minimum to save. Your website may be one of the first interactions your customers have with your business, so it needs to be able to say Hello with a striking design and user-friendly experience.

By investing in a responsive web design that is aesthetically pleasing with easy navigation, you are creating an opportunity for your target audience to leave your website with a sound impression. So many individuals make purchasing decisions based on the quality of a website, so if it means spending a little more to ensure you receive a top of the line design and structure, than it is worth it.

#4 Crazy in Love with Content

In reading social media posts, blogs or resources on your website, your target demographic should be able to get a clear sense of your brand. Copy provides numerous opportunities to really reach out to potential or existing customers. By giving useful tips in social posts or sharing recent news through blogs your business is opening up the floor to create further discussion and interest, which could turn into a sale or lead.

Another reason why content is the Diva of your branding checklist is because it works to drive customers to your website. By adding new content regularly you are nurturing your website so it can be properly indexed by search engines like Google and Bing. In providing original, keyword friendly copy, your business will be optimized for increased search engine visibility making it easier for customers to find you and your products.

#5 Run the World

With the right domain, branding, web design and content you are situated to Blow your competitors away. A solid foundation for your business starts with building your brand and from there you can grow anywhere.

 

Beyonce Photo Credit: This image, which was originally posted to Flickr.com, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 03:30, 8 June 2010 (UTC) by Truu (talk).

21
Aug

Top 3 Components of a Killer Website

Having a website for your business is a necessity, but in order stay competitive your website needs to be more than the $99 template available from every web hosting company in the marketplace. Your online presence is dependent on a well designed and user friendly website that can be easily found through the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. We are going to highlight the three crucial components of a successful website below and if you find yourself noticing you are lacking in one or more of these areas give us a call so we can find a solution to get you back on track!

Design

This is often the element our clients consider first when asking for our assistance in developing a website for their business. Design can be broken down into to key areas in respect to website design, branding and user experience. When Sixth Gear designs a website for a client we are ensuring that the look, feel, colors, typography, etc. are cohesive with the rest of that client’s brand and in situations where the brand has not been developed yet we would approach the project from a different angle to help craft the brand before ever diving into the website side of the project. Secondly, when designing a website we are conscious of creating a positive user experience by using a hierarchy to highlight important topics and call-to-actions to help visitors transition to key areas of the website.

Content

There are so many sources out there claiming content is king, and we couldn’t agree more. Content is not only how your target audience gets to know you, but it assists in your overall website visibility. SEO is a term that every business owner likely associates with their website. Website content is what drives positive search engine rankingss and is why your content should be strategically crafted to included natural phrasing of keywords and phrases you are trying to rank positively for. In addition to making your content SEO friendly it needs to be enticing. The content on your website is the platform where customers get a sense of your brand. The tone and phrasing you use projects a persona and helps reinforce your business’s voice and engage readers.

Functionality

As we mentioned above, an easy to use website will do wonders for the time your customers spend on a page. Easily accessible content, company information and call-to-actions will make the user experience a pleasant one. Navigating a website should be effortless to the user, and is why the placement of information and search bars needs to be organized. A common reason customers click off of a website is due to it’s inability to direct a clear path to key information and is why a functional design will enhance the overall participation of website visitors.

Your website is the face of your business. The functionality, content and design are all factors in the success of your online presence. Web design is constantly evolving but the three elements mentioned today are classics when it comes to the foundation of a killer website.

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.