Monday, September 19, 2016
|The Preston Bus Station, built in 1969 in Lancashire, England, is known for its Brutalist architecture. Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images|
Friday, September 16, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Tags: web design
Monday, April 25, 2016
Photo-sharing social network, Instagram, is becoming overwhelmingly popular. With over 400 million active users, it is no wonder more brands are hopping aboard the IG train. While there are many , the question for web designers becomes: how can you integrate Instagram in web design? Here are six examples of brands that are doing it well.
The Embedded Instagram Feed
The primary way of integrating Instagram into web design is embedding a feed. Famedrop (@famedropofficial), a Montreal-based online clothing store, embeds a feed just below the fold on its home page. By having an Instagram theme that ties well with current products and web design colours, the integration is more unified.
The LookbookWhile also an Instagram feed, a simple IG page creates an entire webpage worth of content without having to create extra content. Vu Sunglass (@vusunglass) uses this technique as a lookbook-style page for their sunglasses. Listed as ‘Editorial’ rather than ‘Instagram feed’, there is little to no evidence that this quality content originates from their IG. The smooth integration subtly promotes e-commerce by linking the shown glasses when the thumbnail image is clicked.
The Sales FocusSimilar to Vu Sunglass’s Editorial page, White Fox Boutique (@whitefoxboutique) has created a page with distinct sales approach. Entitled ‘Shop our Instagram’, the purpose is clear before the user even arrives on the page. As the user clicks on the Instagram pictures, a list of links to the displayed products appears, leading them straight to the point of purchase.
With so many e-commerce brands active on the mobile app, Instagram could be more accommodating to these users. Instagram has begun to incorporate e-businesses into the platform with its relatively new endeavor, . However, it is rumoured that the costs of creating an IG advert are incredibly high – from $350,000 to $1 million per month! For smaller companies, these rates are simply not feasible. For these SME users, the social media platform has hinted at releasing easier ways to link to checkout pages online in the future, but given its mobile nativity, it will be a difficult undertaking.
The Hashtag FeedThrough our digital lifestyle, evangelist and word-of-mouth marketing are becoming hyper-active. This means customer involvement is increasingly vital for brands everywhere. Run Happy NYC (@runhappynyc), a community dedicated to the New York City Marathon’s 44th anniversary, created a hashtag (#runhappynyc) to get people to contribute content. Instagram posts and Tweets are combined into one feed, and displayed on the site’s home page. In doing this, users feel as though they are part of something bigger than themselves. Seeing yourself, or someone you are training with, featured on the homepage of a site like this gives viewers the warmfuzzies.
The E-Commerce PlatformWhile Instagram is not exactly optimized for e-commerce, despite recent efforts, other companies such as FourSixty and Like2Buy have created platforms to link Instagram and e-commerce businesses. Suja’s (@lovesuja) e-commerce site allows you to order cold pressed juices. While the products are very Instagrammable, there is currently no easy way of linking each post to their website. The only clickable link available on IG is in the profile description. Suja can use this one link to bring clients to their Like2Buy page, where they can easily view the beautiful photo content and, with one click, land on the product’s webpage. This makes for a much easier conversion to purchase, and the ease of use for clients makes the experience more enjoyable overall.
The Instagram BadgeSometimes the simplest integration is best. Particularly when your website is already impeccably designed with animations, such as digital production company Make Me Pulse (@makemepulse). The Instagram logo, found in the bottom left corner with other social media badges, is very basic. The white on the black background pops, but doesn’t distract from the websites authentic design and animated graphics.
Bonus – The Website on Instagram?!A little out of the box, Sandwich Creative (@sandwich_creative) has designed a technique to put your website and all its information on to Instagram. As the viewer scrolls down the IG page, the tiles transform into new pages. Although it is not a functional or clickable “website”, it would be ideal for organisations who use their current website to inform. It is technically the opposite of what is discussed above, as this is integrating web into Instagram, however it could mean some companies will not need a traditional website any longer.
With many other social platforms being integrated so well into web design, it is important that designers seek out methods to integrate Instagram, particularly those who’s target demographic aligns with the age of the most active Instagram users (16-34 years old). And with a variety of ways to integrate it, from subtle badges to entire pages of Instagram content, there is no longer any reason to avoid integrating this photo-sharing platform into your site.
(Courtesy of Vandelay)
We know that a website is the hub of all our marketing efforts. So it’s critical to maintain a website that is up-to-date and filled with valuable, quality content to attract, convince and convert visitors into leads and eventually into sales. But if you’re website is making any of these mistakes, you’re missing out on a tremendous amount of opportunity to generate leads and drive revenue.
Outdated Design/ArchitectureWhen is the last time you looked at your website? Like, really looked. If you don’t know the answer of the top of your head – you’re already making one of the biggest cardinal sins of having a website. Unlike the past when simply having a website was enough to outshine you from the outside competition, today websites have a self-life of about 2-3 years.
If you can’t remember the last time you considered the state of your website, the next question you need to ask yourself is when was the last time you spoke with your website vendor? If it’s been longer than you can remember, it’s time to do a quick check-in, or possible start the search for a new vendor.
Poor MessagingMany websites lack when it comes to their messaging. They are usually generic and stale, rather than appealing and convincing. Your messaging should be more about how you can solve a user’s problem, and less about how amazing you are. When your message is filled with self-proclaimed accolades, it gives visitors the impression that you only care about yourself. That doesn’t solve the problem that they are coming to you for and doesn’t show how you can help.
“Sell a happier life. Not a product.” – Kaleigh Moore
Successful website messaging should immediately resonate with your visitor and complement the design of your site. This requires using words that show empathy and evoke emotion.
No Contact Information or About MeWhen a first time user lands on your website, they are in search of two things: credibility & trust. Unfortunately, too many websites lack the thorough contact information visitors are in need of. This can make or break your next sale, especially if it was a hot lead that you were convinced you were going to close. If they can’t reach out to you with any questions, they are more than likely going to head over to a competitor who will answer those questions.
Even more, a website that lacks a descriptive and informative About Me page immediately decreases the credibility of your business – especially if your messaging is boosting all your accomplishments. Show your team members and allow them to show a more personal, human-like side in their bios and head shots.
No New ContentLike the previous three I’ve already mentioned, the fact that websites still aren’t keeping their content up-to-date seriously makes me cringe. There is absolutely no way that any company can find an industry update, an internal company update, or simply spruce up or refresh a previously page of cornerstone content. Incorporating a blog or news center is a great way to add consistent new content that will educate visitors and position you as a thought leader.
Slow Page Load TimesWith our users at the forefront of everything we do in our digital marketing tactics, their demands for a fast loading website are one we cannot ignore. Users don’t want to spend time waiting for your large images to load when they can head back to the search engine and find a site that loads quickly and provides all the information they need. That means you’ve just lost an interested prospect … the clock is ticking, is your site up to speed?
Not Mobile Friendly or ResponsiveAs of April 2015, responsive design is no longer a luxury for corporate websites. Google has now required it, as it is now a factor that determines whether or not your site will be visible in search engines. Beyond Google, 52 percent of users said they would be less likely to engage with a company if the mobile experience on their site was bad. Using a flexible CMS – such as WordPress – your web developer can ensure every piece of content published can be accessed and easily digested by readers regardless of the viewing device they prefer.
No Clear Calls-to-Action (CTAs)Once a user lands on your site and feels you can provide value to them, they need to know what the next steps are going to be in regards to doing business together. Depending on where they are in the buyer’s cycle, these next steps will differ and evolve as they continue to move each step. In the awareness stage, directing them to a relevant, educational piece of content such as your blog, white paper or case study will provide more information about the problem they are having. As they move down the funnel, the actions you want them to take will continue to change as well, which will require different types of content. These types of format may include testimonials, email campaigns, industry reports, etc. Even asking someone to share a piece of content is considered a CTA and also helps expand the visibility and lifespan of your content.
“People mimic, so run a test showing someone doing the thing you want your visitor to do – like signing up for a trial or tweeting your tweet” – Kaleigh Moore
The ultimate goal is to capture the lead through a form and nurture that lead until they are ready to contact a sales rep. None of this is possible with a clear set of CTA’s that your visitor can follow.
Partnering with the wrong vendor or relying on DIY solutions.Regardless of the avenue you take with your website, it can only be successful as the team supporting it. If you’re in need of a robust, attractive, compelling and cutting-edge website that stands out from your competitors, it is worth every penny as well as every bit of time it takes to complete it. A website can be built in a day, but it certainly shouldn’t be if you’re trying to gain a credible reputation on the web.
As you may be able to tell, many of these mistakes are minor. But when left unattended, these mistakes can leave disastrous problems that will not only decrease your credibility in your industry, but also decrease your quality and amount of leads and sales made at the end of the day.
(Courtesy of B2C)
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Some people will tell you that they know all the answers when it comes to designing, building, or fixing any company’s website. But ask two of them for their biggest tips, and you’ll get competing answers.
“Make it faster.”
“Use more keywords.”
“Add a blog.”
For years, marketing experts could not agree on a single set of to-do’s when it came to making your website the best website it could possibly be. But here’s the good news: times have changed.
Experts agree: usability is the most important thing for your website.
When you make your website more usable, you make it better. That’s a promise.
Great, you’re thinking, but how do I do that? Glad you asked.
- Make it faster – your site needs to load in an instant. Today’s users will simply go on to the next guy on the list if it doesn't load right away.
- Design it for mobile – for most companies, at least 50% of their traffic now comes from mobile phones and tablets. If you don’t have a mobile-compatible version of your site, you’re falling behind.
- Simplify the navigation – there must be a clearly defined set of steps someone will take when they get to any page on your site. Use the navigation to help them find it.
- Eliminate distractions – anything that is not absolutely vital needs to go. I don’t care who wants it there if it’s not serving a critical function, remove it.
- Clear and easy contact info – when in doubt, help your visitors get in touch with you. Phone numbers, email forms, and live chat options are all must-haves. Not only that, but they should be staring your visitors in the face when they first arrive and anytime they get lost.
If you do the five things above, you are setting yourself up for improved results. When people can use your website to find what they’re looking for, you’ve created the best possible version of your website.
(Courtesy of B2C)