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WordPress

Would you believe that the WordPress system now runs over 28% of all websites on the Internet.

This huge statistic is down to the sheer flexibility and capability of the system.

It’s a full blogging software system that is free to use but the real strength in it is that you can create a custom WordPress installation in order to make a website.

If you know what your doing and have a good hosting solution behind you WordPress can be a powerful ally for your business when competing in today’s challenging market.

That said all systems have good and bad points and there are definitely some important things you need to consider when choosing WordPress as your website system.

While it does power over a quarter of the internet it has with its success drawn attention to the hacking world. The attacks on WordPress sites are constant and without proper protection and hosting your website could easily be overtaken and defaced or worse.

At Purple Cloud Solutions in Sutton Coldfield we provide full WordPress Web Design support and can further extend it’s functionality with our programming skills.

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Why is Web Design important?

We are now well into the digital age and nearly all businesses now operate at least in some way on the Internet, meaning it’s now an even bigger challenge to stay head of your competitors online.

It’s vital that you have great web design, smooth usability and clear call to actions to meet the high standards of today’s Internet.

Its widely accepted that when a person lands on a website they make a decision within 1 second whether to stay on that website or click the close button and head back to the search results.

The first impression that your website gives a visitor is the most important. If its a good impression it gives your business credibility and could ultimately be the deciding factor if someone calls you or not.

Depending on the kind of business you’re in, there are different types of websites that you could have built for you and it all depends on the nature of your business, your long term goals and the resources you have at your disposal.

Your website is your online shop window to the world. We see so many websites for businesses in Birmingham that have been poorly created and badly designed.

How your website looks and how it works will determine whether a potential customer takes the time to look around your site or leave and head over to your competitors instead.

Do your customers like your website?

Would you believe that back in April this year 2013 the World Wide Web turned 20 years old.

These days the Internet as we know it so accessible to everyone, whether it’s from a desktop computer, Apple Mac, iPads or iPhones etc it’s fair to say that your potential customers who are viewing your site right now are doing so from many different devices.

What you see ain’t what they see! (maybe)

Just because you load up your website on your own computer or ipad and it looks good, it doesn’t mean your customers are seeing the same thing. Mr Bob from wherever may be looking at your website through his 17inch old monitor using Internet Explorer 7 as his web browser and thinking this website is terrible and broken!? He may have a totally different view on your website than you sitting there on a 24 inch monitor using Google Chrome. the same applies across all mobile devices.

Why it really matters

Everyone will have at some point experienced a poor product or service. Online or offline. A poor customer or user experience can lead to feelings of confusion, frustration or even anger. Naturally people then associate those feelings and emotions with the product, service or brand that left them feeling that way and that then influences their lasting impression.

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou – poet, actress and civil rights activist.

A persons experience of using a product or service can have a massive effect on how likely they are to ever use it again.

This has always mattered online, it’s just businesses didn’t really take much notice of it back in the day however now it’s starting to have a big impact on their online success. This is because your website which used to be pretty much fine for the world to view on their desktop pcs at home now has to pass the test of iPhones, iPads, Mini iPads and all sorts of other mobile devices.

The fact is having a ‘website’ is much more than just having some text+images online shouting about your services. It really is your online high street shop window to the world so make sure it looks good no matter what device it’s viewed on. Be as sure as you can that every visitor to your website, every potential customer has a good experience when they visit your website or you risk losing them before they have even looked at your testimonials/prices/offers never to return.

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Making Your Website a Business Asset

Why Your Business Needs a Website in Today’s Market

There are still a lot of businesses out there without a website struggling along wondering why they are not getting the same amount of customers that they used to get. They have been advertising in the paper or on Yell and their customer base is just getting less and less.

Did the people vanish? No, they just look for products and services in a different place now. It’s called the Internet, more precise its called Google and Facebook. There are many other online places of course but in general thats where the people are. Consumers are also far more savvy than they used to be, they know how to use the internet to search for the best deals and like to really research products before buying. Its because its so fast and simple now to this thanks to the internet.

According from a study from Google….

50% of internet users have researched and compared products.
40% of offline buyers have conducted online research prior to purchase.

Lots and lots more consumers globally now also navigate around social media sites in search of profits reviews and user comments.

Now its all figures from some Google study and who knows really how true those figures are but regardless we know that one thing that is true is that most people now use the internet to buy things and look at stuff. So if you’re a business you need to have your things and stuff online so that the people of today can search for it, find it and buy it from you.

How do people find your products/services? Watch a quick video below:

They go onto Google and type something like “Product/Service in Town/City”

That’s how customers generally find you online.

If you’re a business to consumer business and your not visible for searches like that then you have a problem.

If your customers are actively searching online for your products and your competitors are showing up on Google or have more online visibility than you do then its an issue you really need to address.

Get a website and use:

  • Internet Marketing
  • Google Ads
  • Search Engine Optimisation

This will help you target and sell your products / services online.

When customers do finally arrive at your website make sure you don’t lose them straight away. Make sure your homepage is good enough to keep them on your site to navigate around and look at everything you have to offer. Its estimated a person will decide whether to stay on your site or leave in about 1-2 seconds of your website loading. A poor homepage will discourage users that your products/services are any good and they will most likely click back and go.

Home Page Content

This is your online shop window to the world, if your front page is not done correctly you risk losing your potential customers after all the hard work you have put in getting them to your website in the first place.

Good website design is very important but its not just about a really pretty website design, its also about making sure you have the right content on your homepage and throughout your website.

The following things your homepage should contain:

  • Clear info on who you are what you do
  • Contact info – tell your customers how to contact you
  • If you are a local business, tell them where you are – people buy local
  • Clear navigation with working links – basic stuff
  • Company logo is a decent place – build brand
  • Links to your social media pages – quick access to gains likes or followers

Ideas For Other Website Content

After the homepage, look at the other pages on the website. When adding content to your website make sure its two things. Relevant and Unique.

  • About Us Section – people like to see who’s behind the faceless online business
  • Our Team – show your customers the human side of your business
  • Products/Services – good images and descriptions of your products
  • Case Studies – success stories from your existing customers
  • Order/Book links – clear buy now buttons for your products
  • Contact Us/Location Map – make it easy for people to find you
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy Statement
  • Disclaimer

Blogging and How it Can Help Your Business

There are so many reasons a blog can massively help your business. The main ones i can think of right now are listed below. It is hard work but it definitely pays off. Google loves fresh content and there are many extra tricks you can do to leverage this in your favor to help you jump up the search rankings and create a quality blog site that your customers and potential customers will find really useful and admire.

  • Establish yourself as an expert
  • Great SEO benefits
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Broadens the range of your target audience
  • Keeps customers informed and interested
  • Improves communication with current customers
  • Increases customers loyalty and trust
  • Helps good quality link building

Few more ideas of content for you website:

  • Competitions
  • Discount codes
  • Special offers
  • “how to” videos

If you don’t have a website then get one 🙂

If you do have a website review your homepage and make sure you’re not missing anything that could be putting potential customers off.

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Halloween and Bonfire Night Social Icons for your Website

Hope you’re ready for Halloween and Bonfire night. Its my personal favourite time of year.

Here’s some really nice pumpkin images you can use on your websites this time of the year should you want to Trick or Tweet!

It contains 16 PNG icons 128×128 pixels in size for the social networks such as : Delicious, Digg, Facebook, Feedburner, Flickr, Gmail, RSS Feed, Stumbleupon and Twitter.

A Lot of websites these days update their website design during holiday periods, so when visitors go there it just kind of gives off that feel that the site is kept up to date, it looks nice and its just a cool thing to do. In this day and age now things like this are what make you stand out from your competitors, it really is worth doing.

So if you want to keep your website up to date by changing its look during certain times of the year, this little icon pack will really help and get people talking about your website.

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Short website checklist

As we get more and more work from customers that are totally fed up with their previous web designers we see websites that have some really important things missing from them which would give them that edge over their competitors.

Here’s a list of some of the major failures we see or don’t see on websites

1. High res images

The web is becoming more and more up to date in terms of look and design, and especially your products, they should be gleaming and really showing off what you have to offer. Old pixelated images are no good and just makes your site look cheap. Spend some money on decent images or take some good ones of your products with a camera or even iPhone. You don’t have to host them either if your worried about space, upload them to Facebook or something like flickr, you can always then bring them through onto your website.

2. A detailed “About Us” section

If your potential customer clicks to view your about page its because they want to know more about you or your company. So in short, tell them! and include… high res images! Unless you have an amazing reason not to, you should include info about the owners and all staff. Some people have great stories to tell as to how they got set up so why not tell it. People like to know the real people behind the business.

3. Maps or post code

Where are you located? If you have an office and a customer wants to find your office they would like to be able to find you on a map or using their sat nav. An online map means they can scroll, zoom in and out of, and print.

tip: Have the map open in a new browser window. Keeping users on your website and letting the map display in a big size in a new window. Keeping them trapped in a 200 by 100 pixel embedded box is very annoying.

4. Know how your website displays on a Smartphone

Its amazing how many business websites don’t have a website that is designed to work on a mobile phone and loads are not iPad compatible. Go check your site now 🙂

5. Flash, image-texts

It is not 1995. You should not be using flash EVER. Its just a no for like a million reasons and really gets me mad 🙂 There’s no reason i can even think of that you would want to use flash, the cool effects flash makes can now be done using other tools and software without making your website look and perform terrible.

6. Contact details

Listing all the people in the company makes it easy for potential customers to get straight to the person they need. So make it easy for them. Have your contact number throughout your website for yourself and all your departments. This will include your accounts department, who the press should contact and the bloke who orders the stationery etc. direct phone numbers and email addresses work best, amazingly we find a lot of people just don’t like using web forms though we have one on our site anyway :p

7. list all your products!

The times we hear, “yeah we actually offer that but didn’t put it on the website as we thought no one would be interested…” Your site should tell customers everything that you do. In plain English. Your site should list every product, every service. If a customer is looking for a specific service that you offer they should be able to find it in three clicks or fewer.

It’s not an exhaustive list i could go on forever but worth just flicking through your website and see how many of these things you have got right.