11/1/19

Double Your Site Traffic?

It is an awful lot to promise when you title your article "8 Web Design Tricks That Can Help Double Your Site Traffic."

The 8 tips (not really tricks) are all valid and putting them to use on a website should increase traffic. But they might not double it unless your numbers are very low or it's a brand new site.

Let's take a quick look at their list.

1. Optimize the site speed. Well, yeah. I read that if your website goes beyond the 4-second loading time mark, you have already lost about 25 percent of your prospective visitors. Ouch! Some of that speed depends on the user's connection and device, but you can decrease the data that is being transferred from the server to the browser by doing things like optimizing and minimizing the photos and other media on your site.

2. Design for small screens. Optimizing your site for mobile devices is crucial web design today. A beautiful website that is not mobile-ready viewed on a phone will look lousy. Your site has to adjust no matter what screen size or orientation is being used.

3. Put videos up on your site. Animations and GIFs create a higher demand, as well. But don't overdo it.

4. Simplify navigation.  Uh huh.

5. Proper placement of CTAs  If the term is unfamiliar, it means a Call to Action. You'll even find them on group pages on Facebook. They ask users to DO something and help you improve your conversion rates. "Experts" recommend that CTAs should be on every web page.

6. Consider the use of “white space” White space is not blank space. It is a visual element that creates a sense of balance. Crowded pages are confusing.

7. Take advantage of visual hierarchy.  That's the arrangement, color, size, and contrast of different visual elements that describe the importance and sequence of elements. When done well it allows users to see the “whole” and then lead them to different “parts” by using intuitive flow and different levels of priority.

8. Give Social Proof to Boost Your Customer’s Confidence The recommendation is to allow for testimonials and reviews. But that is not true for all types of sites.

10/1/19

Accessible Websites Are Good for All Users


I just finished a one-year project building online courses for a new virtual college program.  During this collaborative course development with faculty, we had requirements to adhere to the Federal Regulation definition for ADA and Section 508. We used the Quality Matters rubric standards which include accessibility requirements. We also followed the principles of Universal Design of Learning (UDL).

I suspect that many academic websites and online courses actually pay closer attention to accessibility than many mainstream websites. It is obvious that the Internet is important in our daily lives, and in many cases, it is even more important to people who are blind, visually impaired or handicapped in other ways. Many people rely on online for their news, sports, weather, financial transactions, travel plans and connections with friends via social media.

At one time, good accessibility design might have required not using some fancy designs or even creating alternative web pages or sites, but that's not really true now. The design work that makes web pages accessible generally makes the pages a better experience for any user.

People with slower Internet connections, those using devices such as cell phones or tablets that have smaller screens. and even people with mild vision problems (such as from old age) benefit from accessible design.

The www.afb.org website has many resources. But the most used resource available is the website of the Web Access Initiative (WAI), part of the World Wide Web Consortium. There you'll find guidelines for making web pages along with explanations, techniques. and content guidelines.

You will also find web accessibility information on the AFB website about:

9/2/19

Sure, You Can Have a DIY Website

Some photography website options from WordPress, including ones for beginners

If I was a more intense business person I wouldn't tell some potential clients that I think for what they want in a website they can do it themselves.

A do-it-yourself (DIY) website has definite advantages: you have complete control over your site; you can make it what you want it to be and obviously you save money.

Disadvantages? You are limited by your web knowledge, and the platform you use.

On that first item, you considered a web design pro because you probably don't know a lot about web design, HTML and the rest of the code and design world. But add in that second item - platforms - and you might have some help. All of the DIY sites out there (WordPress, Blogger, Wix etc.) are designed to help the amateur DIY person design a website. Most of these sites are free with options for premium features and designs.

Those DIY sites have built-in tools and help files, and there are lots of sites to help with the design. I stumbled on "Ten tips to make DIY websites look professional."

One article won't make you a designer but the tips are all valid.

In brief...
  1. Use a limited color palette to avoid overwhelming visitors
  2. Leave plenty of ‘white space’ to prevent cluttered pages and posts
  3. Choose a legible font to ensure readability
  4. Add high-quality personal photos to provide authenticity
  5. Include clear navigation and search functionality to help visitors find what they need
  6. Craft a well-written About page to build user trust and loyalty
  7. Incorporate Call to Action (CTA) buttons to boost your conversion rate.
  8. Keep your headers and footers consistent to build brand recognition
  9. Prioritize mobile responsiveness to reach more users
  10. Provide easy-to-use contact forms to help users get in touch
As the article concludes, saving money and taking control by designing your own site is a good idea - unless the website looks unprofessional and hurts your brand.

One last suggestion. You can go half and half on this deal. There are experienced designers (like me) who design sites using some of those DIY platforms. You get a good design and you can have the realistic option of then maintaining the site on your own. Best of both worlds.