spunk

A great website is more than just a beautiful design. A lot of psychology has to go into your choice of color, layout, and content. While your designer may be able to deliver your attractive design, you’ll need to rely on other experts to improve your site’s impact.

Some experts insist that engagement is the key to online success. But this term is more than just a catch phrase. It’s a measurement of your site’s ability to interact with visitors in order to achieve your business objectives.

Without engagement, your site is doomed to failure. Good engagement captures your visitors in every aspect of the site especially in the areas of design, content, and functionality. Engage your visitors from the start and they’ll spend more time on the site, share your content, and return again and again to read your content and purchase your products.

Given below are three simple tactics that add spunk to your website :

Multiple Options Are Killing Your Sales

The first tip has everything to do with your site’s content. Give visitors too much option and it’s likely they’ll choose none at all. If you’re selling products, narrow your offerings down to 2-3 options, so visitors are not stuck trying to make a decision.

Just take a look at the numerous brands Amazon offers for specific items. Customers have to read through reviews in order to choose one. While this model may work for Amazon and eBay, too many options could lead to missed sales and the death of your business.  Streamlining your product line will not hamper your sales. It will make it easy for customers to make a decision and proceed to checkout.

Faces Are Powerful

Website visitors respond in a positive way to the faces of real people on a website – that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Use friendly faces on your website, and visitors will spend more exploring your site to find out what more about your products or the people behind them.

One study found the benefits of eye tracking that could work wonders for your sale. Get the “faces” to look directly at your products or call to action, and it will improve the chances of visitors recognizing what you want them to see on the site.

So take pictures of your employees or models, and make sure that they are angled to face a particular direction. Place the images in strategic locations and see how they create user engagement and boost sales.

What’s Your Story?

Why would visitors read through a 1000+ word blog post? What keeps them coming back for more? Blog posts with a personal angle are the ones that pull readers in. Find ways to share your anger, joy, pain, and other emotion with your readers and you’ll develop a loyal following. Don’t forget to tie your stories in with your business to keep your business blog on topic.

An attractive site design will only give your site so much mileage where your visitors are concerned. Webmasters sometimes overlook customer experience, conversions, and functionality. Focus on those areas and your site will be a go-to resource in your industry.

Know Your Guest Author:

Kurt Smith is a digital marketing consultant. He enjoys sharing his latest ideas and insights online. Visit the NextDayLenses.com and see how their website leads the way in terms of funneling customers.

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Guidelines to JOOMLA Website Design for CMS

With the help of a content managements system you can easily design and maintain your website. There are several open source content management systems in the market, but not all of them are user friendly. You should use Joomla CMS to design your business website.The CMS stands for the content management system. It is very important for the Joomla website design because this management system enables the website designers to make an attractive and powerful online tool for the people.A CMS website design solution will make anyone’s life easier whether you are a beginner or newbie when it comes to creating a website and maintaining it.

In this article we will have a look on some major features of Joomla CMS which make it a favorite tool for CMS website design.

Effective CMS:

Effective content management system is the core benefit of joomla website design. It allows the proper integration, processing as well as representation of data within the website.

User-friendly CMS:

CMS is user-friendly, allowing for easy web publication, content management and updates. Many CMS system are so user-friendly they require no technical knowledge.

Cost Effective Behavior:

Joomla’s cost effective behavior is the biggest reason to gain so much popularity in the world of online business. Because of this advantage lots of web developers and small business owners opt for Joomla development. You can hire a Joomla Developer at a reasonable price according to your needs and specifications.

Customized website template:

Joomla encourages you to customize the content your own way. It was designed for this purpose. There are literally thousands of Joomla templates available on the Internet and all can be customized to add your own content. The appearance of the site is done for you already, but with thousands of pre-designed sites to choose from, you are sure to find one that you like.
Easily updated website:

CMS is a precious gift for all those who want to update their website on a daily basis and do not want to call their website designer each time they require something updated on the website.However, it is installed by website designers but the best part is that it can be easily used by anyone who has little computer savy. Thus, no need to wait for your website designer for every small issue as a CMS based website design allows you to update your website whenever you want with little training.

When it comes to looking for a do-it-yourself, user friendly website design tool, Joomla offers the best options in the market with its dynamic content management system and various enhanced features which are extremely suitable for even first time website designers. So go ahead and learn to design website that contain the latest features by taking up a tutorial on Joomla right away.

Know Your Guest Author:

My name is Ambreen Sadiq. I am professional commenter and blog poster.My website link is http://www.buraq-technologies.com

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ecommerce

The virtual shopping world is like premier real estate, and many are trying to own their piece. While it is easy to access the tools and resources that can make this possible, the art of creating a digital store that will effectively allow the business to excel is of utmost importance to your success. Are you entertaining the thought of entering the world of ecommerce and therefore designing your first ecommerce website? There are many things you have to keep in mind. This article will help you to design your first ecommerce website and also mention software that you need in your new ecommerce business.

Create a Logo

Top brands use their logo to mark their products and distinguish them from their competitors’ as well as to make them easily identifiable to their customers. A logo is just as important to a startup as it is to an established store. Your online shoppers will view your logo as a symbol of reassurance. It should be clear and easily recognized. You may not have the financial resources to create a fashionable homepage similar to those of the more popular brand, but your page should at least reflect a logo that is well known or a mascot, a video or an attractive image. You can use free software such as that found on www.logomaker.com to create your logo.

Register a Domain Name

Your business’s domain name will play a very important role to your online success. It should be unique, short and easy to remember. Both the search engines and your customers will be using it to find you online and a long domain name will easily be ignored and forgotten. Spend quality time to create your domain name before you go ahead and purchase it. Once you have paid for a domain name you are stuck with it for a year or possible more based on the decision you make. NameSilo is a great source where you can register your domain name.

Select Your Web Hosting Service

There are a number of web hosts out there, but it is important that you select one that supports both PHP and MySQL databases. The backend language that will be used to operate your online store and the selection of the proper server settings are very important. Hostgator and Bluehost are good options for first timers.

Select Your Ecommerce Package

You can choose to build your online store with either a hosted solution or a licensed script. Hosted solutions take care of everything on the back end and your e-commerce scripts will be hosted on their server. This frees you of any programming or file uploading responsibilities. Your domain name will be used to redirect and give you a distinct URL. Hosted solutions are good for those who do not want to take on the direct responsibility of dealing with the security risks associated with online payments. Choices for hosted service include Yahoo! Merchant Solution, Shopify and BigCommerce.

A licensed script is easy to customize and is used by most online stores. It is available as both a free and an open source. You will have to handle the downloading and re-uploading of scripted files but it is an easy process. Magento and Zen Cart are popular online scripts.

These pointers are good starters for anyone who is thinking of creating their own ecommerce websites. They are basic steps which will help set the pace for future development of your business.

Know Your Guest Author:

Hugh Yearsley is a business software consultant. He shares his knowledge and insights on various software blogs. Visit Ordoro.com to learn about shipping label software solutions.

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web designThe stupendous growth of Internet has created a plethora of jobs, and the best part is, most of these jobs are doable from home, so we have seen a significant increase in the number of full time freelancers earning more than decent income while working from homes.

Every day, we see hundreds of different websites getting launched, and each new website brings more work for the freelancers. An average website will require work from at least three to four types of professionals, namely web designer/developer, content writer, and an SEO professional. If you are to choose any of these careers, you will surely be getting more than enough opportunities in near future, given that you are willing to do the needful.

Following is a step by step guide for those who are looking to choose web designing as a fulltime career.

Step One – Aptitude

  • Like any other job, web designing also requires a certain aptitude or mindset. You can learn the basics, and you can create reasonably good looking websites with Photoshop but having such run-of-the-mill skill-set is not going to take you very far.
  • You need to be at home with everything about colors, for instance the color combinations, contrast, color theory, different colors for different moods, the importance of white space in web designs, and the likes.
  • In the same way, you need to have the eye and imagination to come up with stellar “designs”. You should also be able to play with figures and images inventively.
  • Remember that even as a designer, you will have to learn a fair bit of coding like HTML or CSS. So, you should be ready for a steep learning curve because in the world of freelancing, your job is never secure.

Step Two – Learning

  • I know many professional designers or developers who’ve learnt the “art” solely with the help of online tutorials and manuals, and there’s no reason why you cannot do the same. The best part is most of these tutorials and lessons are available for free. Following are just some resources that you can use. For example w3schools.com, developphp.com, teamtreehouse.com, webdesign.tutsplus.com, etc.
  • But that’s just the tip of iceberg; there are literally hundreds of wonderful resources with all sorts of illustrations and videos to help you comprehend the ins and outs of web designing. While self-learning, you are bound to have some problems or queries; luckily you will get many forums and communities where veteran designers and other professionals will be more than happy to help you out.
  • Be realistic during your learning phase, start from the basics and take your time. Once you’ve picked up a tutorial, languages, or a program to become skilled at, don’t move to another one unless you have digested all the information comprehensively.
  • Don’t stop at just reading the tutorials, or going through some videos, practicing is the key to self-learning. For practicing, you should install a local server or purchase a domain name along with a cheap hosting package to hone your skills.

Step Three – Finding Work

  • No matter how skilled you are, getting your first few projects is going to be an uphill battle, because you don’t have some sample work or portfolio to boast. So, you shouldn’t mind accepting some projects at minimal rates just to get something on your portfolio. For quick response, you should try bidding at unrealistically low rate at freelance jobs portals like odesk.com or elance.com.
  • Many small businesses are looking to get a presence at World Wide Web but they don’t know from where they should be starting. Don’t rely solely on the job openings posted on web; use some inexpensive advertising mediums to reach out to local businesses like referrals, business cards, SMS marketing, etc.
  • Once you have got some projects that you can claim, you are ready to launch your own website and ideally a blog. Optimize it for the localized keywords instead of the generic ones. In addition to that, you need to be active on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.

About the Author:

Saba Mushtaq is a web designer writing for treehouse, an online resource offering html5 tutorial, JavaScript tutorial, and invaluable tips related to web designing or development.

 

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free widgetsOne of the most important features of a website is that it is interactive.  The increases in modern technology have created consumers who have to be engaged.  Media is constantly thinking up new ways to grab their attention with flashy ads, loud noises, and cool devices.  This leaves us with consumers who believe that the websites they visit have a duty to create excitement in their web experience.  Because of the push towards interactivity, widgets are extremely popular and there is no shortage of them.

Whether they are games, business applications, or informative widgets, they can add a little extra pizzazz to your website, drawing people in and keeping them there.  Here are a few great widgets that you can put on your website absolutely free.

Google is probably one of the best sources for free widgets.  Some may be less useful (Interactive Monkey, Angry Birds, Poke the Penguin – are you sensing the animal theme here?) while still entertaining, and others may be great for keeping on top of whatever it is that you want to keep on top of.

The five most popular free Google gadgets are:

Google Weather

This widget allows you to select your home city or any other cities you want in order to receive weather information.  The widget itself provides information about the current day as well as the following several days including expected high/low, current temperature, and weather conditions (sunny, rainy, cloudy, etc.)  You can find out what humidity levels are as well as the wind’s speed and direction.  Being able to select multiple cities allows you to see what’s going on around the country and around the world.

Date and Time

Similarly to Google Weather, with this widget you can choose multiple cities to find out what the date and time are in your area, or anywhere in the world.  You can select from a variety of formats to choose the one that you prefer best, whether it be standard time, military time, American date format, or European date format.  This works well for companies with locations around the world.

Google Calendar

This widget does more than just allow you to see what the date is, or to find out when your next paycheck will arrive.  You can input events, update your schedule, and even add things that you plan to do, in the hopes that having them posted online will give you the motivation to follow through.  For your business, you can let people know about important events that are coming up so they won’t miss out.

Facebook

This widget allows you to sync your Facebook account with your webpage to let your viewers know what’s going on in your social networks.  You can display enough to interest them in what you’re doing and give them reason to visit you on Facebook.  This is pretty handy, since the likelihood is that most of your customers will be on Facebook anyway.  Why not give them a reason to visit you?

Directions by Google Maps

This is a great widget to add to a business website.  You can let your customers know where your locations are and even provide personalized Google maps that give direction by car or on foot to all of your business locations.  Don’t miss out on business because no one can find you; this widget can make sure that your business is easily located.

About the Author:

Henry Nettleton understands that a powerful website and an effective ad agency is key in marketing any company.

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Importance of logo

This is a guest post by Mark on the importance of a Logo. You can read the guidelines for guest posting at our guest posting guidelines page.

The logo of a business is often the most recognizable aspects of the brand. The logo not only tells customers that the products are created by that brand but gives customers something that is a strong, immediate visual cue that represents that business. When a company doesn’t have a logo or has a weak and forgettable one, the name of the company is often easier to forget and may be judged as amateurish or even generic.

In every industry, having a company logo is expected as an important part of brand building and marketing.

Creating Trust

When customers look for a company to do business with or buy a product from, they want to have confidence that the company takes their business seriously and is there to stay. From food products to legal services, any product or service is largely sold through trust earned by the company. The logo of that company is a significant part of that trust. Without a logo, a business appears unprofessional and even unstable to a large segment of potential customers.

Customers remember a strong logo, allowing them to see the company as one that will endure. When they see the logo again later, they have a better sense of the stability of the company.

Building Your Brand

Trust and brand recognition are the two building blocks that create the foundation for a company’s growth. When customers see a logo, they not only remember what the company sells, they remember their own experiences with the company. Customer service and product satisfaction are important aspects of a business, and both of those aspects are immediately recalled when a past customer sees a logo. If you’ve put time, effort and money into creating positive customer experiences, you risk losing the memory of those experiences without a logo to place them firmly into the mind of the customer.

People remember what they see better than what they read and that is the principle behind creating a visual image to create memories in the public. A strong logo is often what customers most associate with a brand. Think of how you feel when you see the McDonalds arches or the round Starbucks logo. With these iconic symbols, these brands have created a cohesive following of people who recognize the logo and have an immediate reaction to it. In many ways, the logo is the one memorable visual representation of a brand. It is often the first thing that customers think of when they think of your company, making it vital to have a strong, professional logo.

Marketing Materials and a Strong Logo

Seeing a logo on a business’ sign is one way to keep the brand visible to customers. However, the logo’s representation of your brand doesn’t end there. Your stationary, brochures, door hangers, fliers, website, email signature and anything else that you use to market your business should feature it prominently. The marketing materials may be the first time your customers find out about your brand, and keeping the logo there is the best way for them to begin to associate it with your company. Once the association is made, customers will remember what you sell and remember you the next time they need it.

Having a visual representation is particularly important when your company’s name is long or simply unfamiliar to most people. The logo provides a visual shortcut to help customers remember it. It also keeps you separate from your competition in the minds of consumers. To ensure that your logo does this, the logo should be distinctive and original. The more distinctive and unique it is, the better customers will be able to differentiate it from the other logos they see each day. Then, when your marketing materials appear, they know immediately which company they’re from.

Changing Your Brand

When you revamp your company, either by changing its direction or simply by updating it in some way, changing your logo is a fast way to convey that to customers. Companies often unveil a change in their brand by unveiling a new logo. A logo leaves such a lasting impression that as soon as customers see a new version of one; they know that something within the company has changed.

About the Author:

Matt Jones frequently contributes on behalf of Icon ID, a nationally recognized signage display company Matt’s expertise lies in all things related to custom signage and sign design, and is enthusiastic about the impact signage and logos can have on your target demographic.

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user experienceWebsite design is a tricky subject to master, and keeping a user’s attention on the page is even trickier. The average computer user/ website visitor is a finicky creature. They like things that are easy to digest both visually and cognitively.

A website visitor likes websites that are aesthetically enjoyable, easy to understand, navigate or interact with and either informative, entertaining or highly functional (depending on the intention of the site).

The best, and most popular, websites on the internet have the aspects previously mentioned in common.

How to Ruin You Website’s User Experience -

The practices mentioned below are the practices you should AVOID when designing a website or, else these could ruin your website’s user experience.

Using too many “sign up” or “sign in” options.

Too many options will result in confusion, which then ultimately results in fewer visitors to your site.

Imposing a limit on the length of a visitor’s password.

When signing in, it is best to avoid limiting a password to a certain amount or type of characters, especially if there is no financial risk involved (i.e. someone couldn’t hack the account and cause financial troubles for the user). Again, simplicity is crucial and having to come up with too complicated of a password will result in fewer visitors to the website.

Sending confirmation e-mails.

Sure, some sites may need confirmation e-mails, but most do not. So be mindful of whether or not a confirmation e-mail in necessary for your website.

Using a confusing format.

Always keep in mind that the website needs to be user-friendly, so always try to keep in mind basic design principles, such as hierarchy of information and an easy-to-navigate home page that sticks to the basics and does not get too fancy.

Don’t get to know your visitors.

Just as a writer must always keep their audience mind, so too does a web designer. Become familiar with what your visitors likes, age, gender and race. All of those demographics will become useful in choosing the content and overall feel of the website.

Provide sub-par content.

Websites do not get popular just because they look pretty. In the end, the visitor is coming to your site looking for useful, engaging, unique and informative content.

Become stale.

In today’s modern age, in which a visitor’s attention span is ever-shrinking, freshness is the name of the game. A popular website must continuously update itself with a new look and new content.

Being boring.

Very few things will perturb a visitor more than a boring, uncreative website design. Even if the site has the greatest content available, a visitor will close the window at the drop of a dime if the design and ease of use of the website is not up to snuff. So try to be fun, imaginative and on the cutting edge of website design.

Ignore user feedback.

If a visitor takes the time to let you know what they liked or did not like about your website, you need to listen. The information gathered from user feedback forms will clue you into how to achieve some of the goals listed above. Keep in mind that detractors are generally more vocal than protractors, so don’t let the negativity effect your psyche. Understand that you’re going to receive more negative than positive feedback, correct for the issues and move forward.

Procrastinate.

The longer spent thinking instead of doing can put your website at a huge disadvantage. Taking action is the name of the game. If there’s a tweak that needs to be made or stale content that needs to be removed, don’t delay!

The ideas above are relatively common, but so too are the number of website designers or operators who ignore them. We get wrapped up in working on what we want to do and forget to bring it back to the basics and check to make sure we aren’t making common mistakes.

About the Author:

Jonathan Martin works principally as a Seattle Magento developer, but also assists clients with end to end website design and development. His years in the industry have taught him that the simple mistakes are often the most common.

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Web Designs

This is a guest post by SmartKathy on various types of web designs. You can check out the guidelines for guest posting at our write for us page.

It is of no doubt that websites are the need of the day for any business, be it a small one or an established one, as it helps to reach a wider audience globally, which no one would want to compromise on. There are many types of web design which are offered by the web design companies for various requirements, as they would differ from one firm to another.

Let’s look at some of the most popular web design types which are in use for a wide range of distinct requirements.

Static web design

This is probably one of the easiest types of web design as acknowledged, besides also being extremely useful over the rest.  It appears to be an easy way to display your services or information regarding your business to make your online presence felt.

They are mostly straight forward which includes easy downloading of images with simple navigation, which makes reviewing the site and finding information on the site an easy task. This type of web design is quick, along with being search engine friendly, which is why it is mostly preferred.

Dynamic web design

This aspect of web design is extremely beneficial when a site wants to include various functionalities, along with complex features. It is easily adaptable when compared to the other types of web design, which makes them very desirable.

The design of a dynamic site appears to be very different to that of the designing a static site.  This type of designing offers exclusive features, which are interactive, along with the addition of various useful plugins, besides also being successfully indexed by the search engines.

Flash web design

Those looking for creating a creative and interactive looking website would want to go for this type of web design. Due to these features it tends to have an impact on the users and the visitors, which successfully manages to attract them.

This has become one of the most favored and preferred platform all over the globe for animations and videos. However it is a known that these sites might not seem to be very friendly from an SEO point of view.

E-Commerce web design

These are for the ones looking to expand their retail store on the web or would like to start an online store and they are in great demand these days, as it proves to be a great platform. The main aim of these sites is to increase the sales of certain products, which in turn profitably helps in reducing the costs which are related to marketing, making it extremely cost-effective.

By using this design method, users are always open to the wider audience, around the clock, which successfully helps in getting more conversions than would have been otherwise.

The above mentioned ones are some of the types which are in demand. Every design type has its own benefits and drawbacks, hence it is essential to choose the one which best suits your requirements and not something which others follow. A professional web design Company from India can impressively aid with all your various requirements, as they possess the required expertise in order to take a Firm forward in their endeavors.

About the Author:

This post discusses about the various types of web designs which are present and are widely used and how a web design India Company can aid with all your web development requirements. Smartkathy also likes to write about the various web development trends and tools which surface every now and then in this world of internet.

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mobile friendly site

Is your website a mobile friendly site?

Nearly 90 percent of all consumers research a business online before they decide to support their products or services – that is an astonishing number. For business owners, this means that nothing is more important than their company’s website.

A website needs to be interesting and informative, and immediately capture the attention of your visitors to increase the likelihood of you doing business – but you already knew that. But did you know that your business’ website needs to be a mobile friendly site? What this means is that your website needs to be able to be pulled up quickly and still look nice on mobile phone browsers – a mobile friendly site.

How to make your website a mobile friendly site

While traditional smartphone and prepaid phone plans increase, the number of consumers who research or, look for businesses on mobile browsers is only continuing to rise. In fact, many believe that in the very near future, a majority of web browsing will be done through smartphone browsers, leaving unprepared businesses missing out on gaining a larger customer base. It is hence important that your websites be mobile friendly.

To make your website a more mobile friendly site, consider the following things:

Front and Center – look of a mobile friendly site

Mobile phone browsers are structured to focus on the center of a webpage when loading so make sure that the margins of your site isn’t focused on the right or, left. You want your site to be front and center as well with all important information centered as well.

Remove the Flash

Flash is on its way out as it is in the field of web design, yet many businesses still incorporate it onto their websites to capture attention. They need to stop. The more Flash you have on your website, the longer it takes to load – especially on a smartphone.

If a visitor has to wait for an extended period of time for your site to load, you can bet they are going to click the back button and move on to your competitor.

Relevant Information

Because you only have a few seconds to capture your audience, you want to make sure that all information they need is readily available. Make sure that they know who you are and what you have to offer immediately.

A Mobile Friendly Site is for impatient users

Internet users are notoriously impatient when it comes to dealing with webpages, however, smartphone browser users are even worse. If your webpage takes longer than usual to upload, they will click the back button. If they don’t immediately see the info they want, they will hit the back button.

To make sure that your business doesn’t get skipped over, make your business site mobile friendly site.

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