You Might Want to Switch Your Site to HTTPS…

It has recently been discussed over on the Moz Blog that just over 50% of page 1 Google search results are secure (HTTPS).  A year ago, they reported that it was only around 30%.  It was suspected that Google places a higher emphasis on sites which are secure, with their algorithms ranking these sites higher than their non-secured counterparts.  Google has actually denied this (as they often do about algorithmic changes!) but it does seem interesting that more and more sites are now taking on the HTTPS security front.

What about Google in future?

There could be a number of reasons why Google are resisting a boost for HTTPS sites at the moment – for example, there are a whole host of major player websites which are not HTTPS secured, and having a boost would affect these larger sites.  Who knows for the future though – definitely worth keeping an eye out for news about updates as the months go on.

Should you be bothered?

It could certainly be something to look at doing for your site. With more and more sites now displaying HTTPS, it makes sense to get your site up to the same standards, even if search engines may or may not take it into account!  Here at Web Design Moves, we always build sites with the correct SSL certification to enable security.  If you are unsure about whether your site is covered or not, or want to find out about configuring your SSL certificates correctly, get in touch with us and we can help you out.  There are always risks in site-wide changes, so it is best left to a web designer who knows what they are doing!  Be sure at a minimum that any pages which collect sensitve user data (such as payment details, contact details etc) are secure.

content

The Importance Of Fresh Content for Your Site

As web designers, we often hear our clients asking why they should make sure they update their blog regularly, or why they should put new items on their online shop as often as they can.  There are lots of reasons why having new stuff on your site; be it blog posts, items for sale or simply page content, is useful for your site in terms of SEO as well as visitor retention.  Here are our tips for making sure your content wins the game every time!

Fresh Content Means More Frequent Indexing

This is good news – of course it doesn’t mean higher indexing necessarily, but the more times search engines index your site, the more likely you have the opportunity to achieve higher rankings.  For example, if search engines can see that you haven’t updated your content in a while, they consider it to be less engaging, have a higher bounce rate and reduced search traffic.  If, on the other hand, you update your content regularly, you are likely to be more engaging with your viewers, have more up-to-date content (Google is loving this at the moment) and you are likely to experience a lower bounce rate.  Search engines like Google use robots to ‘crawl’ your site, indexing it according to it’s many algorithms.  The bots can see when content has been added, and if it has been a long time, they are less likely to scan as often.

More Content = More Keywords

In terms of SEO, it is important to ensure you cover as many keywords as you can, without coming across as being too heavy handed with your keywords!  The only way to do this without falling into the trap of “keyword stuffing” (an old fashioned, blackhat technique), is to have more words.  Each article you post can encorporate a different range of keywords so you end up hitting more of them in a broader sense.  This is a good way to increase your keyword use without overdoing it in one article and ending up being penalised.  It is always worth remembering that it is always the quality of the content which has the highest influence on your ranking, rather than the sheer volume of keywords.

Introducing fresh content is more likely to make you an “authority”…

Becoming an authority in Google’s eyes is basically a dream for any webmaster!  According to Moz, having almost constant posts is the best way to influence your authority and get your audience to see you as a useful website, as well as being good for your SEO.  Posting regularly means that people will begin to see you as a useful source of information and you are more likely to feature high on the rankings when your keywords are searched for.

If you want any assistance or advice when it comes to your website content, why not get in touch with our team here at Web Design Moves?  We can help you out with planning your content marketing strategy, or simply assist you with knowing how to structure your website to reflect your content in its best light.  Get in touch with the web design team today!

 

 

 

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Why We Will Always LOVE WordPress

WordPress is one of the most commonly used content management systems online today – there is a reason why so many people choose to use it…it is simply great!  We recommend many of our clients switch to a WordPress site (usually from either web builder such as Wix or other custom builds).  Here are our main reasons why we are in love with good old WordPress…

So Easy to Use!

Lots of people assume WordPress is simply a blogging platform, when in reality it is a really versatile, really easy and simple to use content management system.  It is flexible can can be used for pretty much any type of site.  It is really easy to get content up onto your pages and there are millions of plugins available to add functionality as well as attractive design features.

Endless Opportunities

As well as millions of plugins, there are also millions of themes which can bring a certain look to your site.  Whether you are after a specific photography theme, or perhaps a theme to suit a beauty salon, there are perfect themes for virtually all sites.  These themes can often be customised to suit your specific needs as well!

Search Engine Friendly

A true stroke of brilliance from WordPress is that it is fully search engine friendly.  It is essential for sites to be SEO friendly, as SEO (search engine optimisation) is the way you can help get your site seen by more people online.  There are special SEO plugins to help, as well as easy to adjust backend coding which can also be used.

Easy to Manage

WordPress makes it really easy to manage your site: updates can be done with a single button click and it notifies the user when there are changes or updates to be made.  There are also helpful auto backups which can really save your bacon if you make a mistake!

If you are interested in finding out more about our WordPress website design, or perhaps want to see some examples of our work, why not leave a comment below, or drop us a line!

business websites

9 Things Which Drive Customers Away from Your Business Websites

So it’s the start of another New Year, and an opportunity to take a look at our businesses and plan out our goals for another year.  One priority for many businesses is to get their website performing at it’s best so it can generate as many sales as possible.  Although your site might look great from your perspective, it is vital that you take a look through the eyes of your customers – the viewpoint which matters most!  After all, you aren’t selling to yourself.  Here we take a quick at the main things people hate about business websites.

1. Basic information is hard to find

It is so important that key details such as your business address, phone number, email address, business hours and even directions to your shop or office are available to find through the ‘about’ or ‘contact’ pages.  Customers aren’t interested in the history of your business, so make sure these points are clearly stated on your site in easy to find places!

2. Things are not in stock

Nothing is more annoying than finding the perfect item, only to try adding it to the basket and find it is out of stock.  If you have several items out of stock on a regular basis, customers will simply take their business elsewhere.  It is important that you have an e-commerce system which allows you to sync your inventory from your physical stores to your online shops so you know you are fully stocked up in all locations.  We can help you to establish a good e-commerce management system on your site, no problem!

3. No way to make an appointment

If you offer a service which takes bookings, an online appointment scheduler or management system allows potential customers to easily make a booking without needing to pick up the phone – it can also help you to be more organised, with automated reminders to help you out!

4. No links to social media

Lots of customers find it more convienient to follow your updates through social media like Facebook or Twitter rather than having to keep checking your website – especially if you post special offers, discounts and voucher codes often!  If you have a social media presence, make sure there is a visible link on your main website to all your accounts.

5. Automatic music and animations on the welcome page

This is SO ANNOYING! Nobody wants to hear music when they open a website, it does not set a mood, it merely infuriates people and makes them much more likely to close the page!  Don’t forget that today’s web users want information fast and efficiently, they don’t want to be held back by animations and music…

6. Slow load time

The more fancy effects you have on your site, the longer it will take to load.  The avereage user tends not to wait more than 3 seconds for a webpage to open, so if yours takes longer, you are likely to be losing custom.  On a related note, Google have recently announced that slow loading pages will officially be counted as “not mobile friendly”, which means your page may be seen in a negative light by Google.  To help speed up your site, compress any images down, ditch any music and animations, and go easy on the Flash.  You can always enlist a web designer to help you with this.

7. It’s hard to read

Dark backgrounds with bright white text, light backgrounds with light text and tiny fonts all make your site much harder to read.  Before launching the site, check with a few friends and family if they can easily read the text on your site – if they are struggling, have a look at the readability and make any fixes you need to.

8. Outdated content

You might not have the time to constantly update the site with new information, but at least try to get basic updates about sales, promotions, new merchandise and important news on your social media accounts.  The same applies to your blog – if you can’t update it often (ideally at least once per month), then don’t bother using it.  If a customer looks at your blog and sees the last update was 2+ years ago, they will likely wonder how recent the rest of the site is!

9. Not mobile optimised

Customers are using mobiles and tablets more often than ever before to search sites online.  Be proactive and ensure that your site is easy to read and navigate on mobile screens – if you want to check this out, contact us about our mobile and responsive design services!

So there you have it – a short list (!) of the main gripes people have with business websites.  If you have none of these issues, then you are likely to have a highly effective site which can engage and serve your customers efficiently.  If you aren’t sure about whether your site needs any tweaks, you can always contact us for a free website analysis, and we can explore the detailed ways you can improve your site and get the best from the web in 2017!

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A Closer Look: Magento

What is Magento All About?

Magento is essentially an open source e-commerce platform which a website can be built on. Around 1 in 4 online shops are built on Magento, so you know it must be good! It has everything required to allow your online business to work effectively regardless of what browser you’re using or what device you’re accessing the site from. There’s also a really helpful and active online community online where you can learn a few nifty tips and tricks to get you unstuck from any situation. Here at Web Design Moves, we have helped many businesses to develop their e-commerce site using Magento, and here’s why:

Why We Love Magento

One of the main reasons we choose to use Magento is because it is fully scalable to your needs and requirements. It doesn’t matter if you are a brand new shop with only a few items to sell, or a multinational business with a stock ranging into the thousands – it will work brilliantly.
It’s a pretty flexible platform, and you can tailor your user experience down to exactly how you want it. You want quick, easy navigation? Done. Simple and clear options? Done. Strong call to actions? Yep, done!

There’s a wide range of plugins available, as well as themes, which means your site can be completely unique and totally functional. All this in a straightforward and easy to customise package. The idea behind Magento is that anyone can use it, without necessarily requiring loads of complicated programming and developing experience or skill in order to run it. Of course, the intially set up is sometimes a bit complex, so we would always recommend choosing a good web developer and designer to help you get started, but once it is up and running, it is pretty easy to work your way around the backend of the site.

In our eyes, Magento offers everything you could need to set up and run a successful online business and we certainly recommend it for your next e-commerce web design project. Why not contact us today to find out more about how we can help you establish your own Magento site?

Why You Should Choose a Web Designer and Not DIY…

We often get asked why people should use a professional web design company rather than make a business site themselves with one of the Do It Yourself online site builders which are available.  Nowadays, there are a couple of options for building a site: you can either hire a web designer or agency, or use a DIY website builder.  Some people think having a custom designed website is expensive, but let’s look at the good reasons to consider hiring a professional to get your website set up.

The Advantages of Using a Professional Web Designer

  • A unique design – your website is created specifically for your business and you can discuss with your designer the exact way you want it to look.
  • SEO friendly! Through hiring a web designer/agency, it will be built so it is search engine friendly (crucial for being found on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing).
  • Scalable – put simply, the website will be adaptable for your business needs.  You can let your designer know what features or functionality you need now, and what you might need in future so the website can be created with the ability to add more at a later date.
  • Web design expertise – great web designers have the tools to make the right updates to pages of your site.  They can teach you best practice and help you to understand more too!
  • Fully test and Lauch – web designers test the site in different browsers and on multiple devices and can launch the website for you.
  • Marketing skills – web designers and agencies use marketing knowledge to promote your new website and get it seen by more people.

Why You Should Avoid DIY Site Builders

  • Not SEO friendly – most web builders are getting better in terms of SEO, however they use the same template time and time again, which means the website code is not ideal for search engines.  It’s not totally impossible to rank highly using a website builder, but it is much easier with a custom website, not only down to the code, but because web designers can optimise the website more effectively.
  • Poor analytics – older scripts used on the web builders often means that the site analytics are inaccurate.  Here at Web Design Moves, we use Google analytics to get accurate traffic and performance data.
  • No branding – without having your own domain name, using a URL of webbuildercompany.com/username doesn’t look great on business cards or to say over the phone!
  • Adverts – web builder sites often have built in adverts which can put customers off.
  • Lack of Support – the web builders often have little to no support available for users, or if they are available you need to pay additional costs
  • On-going costs and Hidden Fees – the web builder cost plans often cost around £30 per month and you keep paying forever until you decide to leave (and even then, you can’t take the site with you!).  Hiring a web designer means you pay a one off fee and there are no on-going costs to worry about!

Why do people bother with DIY web builders then?

Quite simply, because they don’t know any different!  Not everyone realises there are better alternatives available (not just better, but cheaper too).

Interested in hiring a professional web designer to create a new business website?  Contact Web Design Moves today and speak to a member of the team about your requirements!

mobile

Websites on the Move: Why You Should Optimise Your Site for Mobile

If you have a website which is not optmised for mobile, you are basically losing out on sales!  Research has been done into the area, and found that 57% of mobile users effectively leave the site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.  Also, 30% of people will leave a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t fully mobile optmised.

Knowing how important a website can be for small to medium sized businesses, it seems obvious to take the steps to ensure the website is mobile friendly and optimised to run properly.  Here are our main reasons for making sure your business website is fully mobile optimised.

  1. Mobile users act differently:  these users want information presented differently to those using desktop or laptop PCs.  They expect information to be delivered in short, easy to read bites.  Mobile purchases are often impluse buys and mobile users often spend more money per purchase than desktop users.  By making sure the path to purchasing is quick and easy, you allow users to rapidly purchase on the go.
  2. Mobile gets traffic: Apparently, over 1/4 of all web searches globally are conducted through mobile devices – hence mobile-friendly websites are in fact even more important than desktop versions.  Smartphone and tablet users often engage with sites while doing other things like watching TV or on their morning commute.  Google have even changed their search algorithms to reflect the increased mobile dependance.
  3. Brand engagement: people tend to prefer brands when they offer a good mobike exoperience and they are more likely to come back to your site at a later date on a desktop PC.  Multi-Screening counts for a large proportion of our web useage (where people switch between mobile and desktop devices).  If your website is tricky to navigate on mobile, customers are more likely to move onto a competitiors site.
  4. Increases in conversion: Desktop websites in mobile browsers don’t really convert visitors into buyers.  Often, links are hard to click, CTAs (calls to action) are obscured and contact pages are difficult to find.  CTAs must always be clear and easy to click, and contact information should be one of the first things you see.
  5. Reduce bounce rate: content which looks good on desktop might look terrible on small devices – visitors won’t stop for long if they have to zoom in constantly and struggle to read tiny type, or worse if it runs flash or things which require add-ons to display.  Engage visitors for longer by providing appropriate and intuitive user experiences.

The main things to ask yourself when checking your mobile site are:

Does it load quickly (preferably less than 3 seconds)

Does it draw the eye to key selling points?

Content easy to read?

Easy to navigate round?

Call to actions – are they easy to recognise?

User experience

Would you spend time on it if it wasn’t your own?

If you mostly answered no, then it is time to get in contact with a good agency to help you out with your website design!

Choosing a Great Web Design Company – Things To Look Out For

If you are looking at getting a website made, there are literally thousands of potential designers around online.  But the key question is, how do you go about choosing one?  We have a selection of ideas to help you make up your mind when searching in this jeavily saturated market.

  1. Check out their previous work – any good web designer worth their salt will have examples of their work available to look at either on their own website, or links to companies they have designed for.  Have a good look at these, as their prior work will be a good indication of the quality you can expect from them if they were to design a site for you.
  2. Talk to them!  Designing a website is not a simple case of just telling them to get on with it!  It is important to feel confident that you can contact your design company whenever you want to (within reason of course!) to discuss the progress of your site.  It’s also very important to have a good discussion about what you want to acheive with your site, because different aims will require different styles of site.
  3. Give as much information as possible.  Believe it or not, web designers are not experts in all fields – you’d be surprised at how many times designers are given a rough brief, but no information about what the company does or sells.  It is very hard to conjour up content for a site with no background info…
  4. Location – you might think you could just hire a company from anywhere seeing as the internet is global. Not necessarily true, or effective!  Your website design company should preferably be relatively local, since these guys will be more likely to understand the local needs, be able to market your company more locally and you’ll be able to meet with them if need be!
  5. Price – although web design is a tricky area to quote, as each project will require different skillsets and strategies, your designers should be able to offer a ballpark figure for your site to cost.  Even if it isn’t a final cost, having a rough idea of the costs involved will help you to make your choice.  We generally estimate that a small to medium sized business should expect to pay around £800-£2000 for a bespoke website.

Of course, we are going to blow our own trumpets, but you really can’t beat Web Design Moves for your next website – we have  experienced programmers and marketeers on hand to get your site up and running as well as highly visible on search engines.  Why not get in touch with the team today for a free quotation?