Project: Travel Jab

Oneclick MS recently completed an exciting new project for Travel Jab, a ground-breaking new online directory of qualified travel vaccination practitioners. The objective was to design, develop, build and realise Travel Jab’s core IP, a dynamic and fully functioning website, which is essential to their entire operation!

Travel Jab exists to make finding and booking vaccinations when travelling incredibly easy. The challenge was creating an accessible and simple frontend so the user experience is as streamlined as possible, but at the same time developing a comprehensive backend that allows Travel Jab’s partners to accurately and fully showcase their various services.

Oneclick MS achieved this by putting search front and centre of the UX. As soon as you load the site, you are presented with an above-the-fold form to fill out your travel destination, date, and post code, or if you already know, the vaccinations you require. Hitting “enter” will then trawl the Travel Jab database for local practitioners. Travel Jab’s partners populate this directory themselves, through a product listings system built ground up by Oneclick MS.

To further enhance the UX, customers are then able to book appointments and pay for vaccinations there and then within the search results, which each Travel Jab partner can manage and integrate with their existing systems, allowing for real-time automated bookings and payments without the admin. The result is a smartly developed frontend that is in perfect sync with secure backend, and ready-to-scale as Travel Jab grows its database of partners.

If you’re looking for a results driven company to turn your ideas into IP, speak to Oneclick Media Services today. Call us on 020 8731 5266 or click here.

5 Ways To Use Google Analytics To Learn More About Your Customers

Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics tool in the world, with an estimated market share of 55%, and it exists for one sole purpose: to “turn insights into action.” More than just the official slogan for Google Analytics (GA), this describes exactly what GA does. It enables you to see insights into what your customers are doing on your website, and help inform your action plan to improve performance.

Yet very few webmasters ever dig into the vast amounts of features GA has to offer, and we at Oneclick Media Services often find clients are completely surprised when we show them a few neat tricks and tips. So with that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 5 incredibly useful ways you can start using Google Analytics right now to learn more about your customers and better plan the content and products you sell and promote on your website.

  1. Analyse your website’s audience

HOW: Left Hand Navigation Menu > Audience > Demographics / Interests / Geo

As a business, Google relies on smartly targeting adverts with the right audience, and through Google Analytics it shares some of this information with you. It is actually possible to see breakdowns of your website’s Google-cookied audience by demographics (age and gender), interests (including in-market / career segments) and location.

Reports like “In-Market Segments” (above, with an Organic Traffic filter) tell you what your audience does or is interested in.

In our experience, these reports are an accurate and smart way to plan the growth and development of your website and even the company as a whole around your customers. For example, if you are a company operating in say London and Birmingham, but you see very little traffic to your website comes from Birmingham, you may decide to do marketing activity in the area to improve this. The reports will then track changes in customer behaviour as a result of this activity, which is just one of thousands of potential applications for the data.

  1. See exactly how popular specific pages on your website are

HOW: Left Hand Navigation Menu > Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages

By default, this invaluable report will show you what the 10 most popular pages on your website are, including exact number of Pageviews, how long people are spending on these pages, and which pages helped contribute to the buying process of any ecommerce sales (if you have this set up). You can also see which pages cause your audience to leave your website under the % Exit column!

Through the search bar, you can type in specific URLs or keywords, and see how specific pages or categories of pages are doing with your audience. This is essential to know when planning new content to your website, as you can identify exactly what content works with your audience and what doesn’t.

If Article 1 gets 1,000 Pageviews and visitors spent 2 minutes reading it, but Article 2 only gets 100 Pageviews and visitors spending 10 seconds reading it, then you know your audience is reaching and engaging better with Article 1. You may then decide to write more articles like Article 1 or change how you approach Article 2’s topic in future.

  1. See where your best quality traffic comes from

HOW: Left Hand Navigation Menu > Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels

This report has one sole purpose – to tell you where your website traffic comes from. The most useful columns here are Sessions and Avg. Session Duration, which respectfully tells you how many site visits there were per traffic source and how long they spent on your site. The higher the number, the better, indicating where your best quality traffic comes from.

Quick tip – “Organic Search” refers to traffic that comes through search engines, and includes any SEO work you are doing to your site. Comparing this traffic source’s month-on-month figures will give you an indication if SEO is improving the visibility of your website.

  1. See if and how your traffic sources work together to convert your traffic

HOW: Left Hand Navigation Menu > Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Overview / Assisted Conversions / Top Conversion Paths

One of the more recent additions to GA is Multi-Channel Funnels, which are reports that allow you to see how different traffic sources work together to hook your customers in. For example, you may have a website visitor that first clicks on your website through a Facebook link, then leaves your website. Two months later he then comes back to your website through Google Search and then converts by filling out a callback form. Multi-Channel Funnels allows you to see this customer’s buying process, and after a few weeks of data collecting, the Top Conversion Paths report will tell you what channels result in the best conversions.

Multi-channel reports help you work out exactly which channels bring you business, and which don’t, helping you better plan your marketing time and budget.
  1. Anonymously see how your website stacks up against your competitors

HOW:  Left Hand Navigation Menu > Audience > Benchmarking > Channel

Last but not least is this fun and insightful report that (if enabled, which we recommend) tells you in numbers how your website and various traffic sources benchmark against your industry’s average scores. You unfortunately don’t get to see specific competitors, but this tool gives you a good idea whether your online marketing activity is above or below average. Any figures that have a red arrow indicate you are performing below average, so invest time or budget into improving these!


Not sure where to begin? Speak to our marketing team today. Call us on 020 8731 5266 or visit here.

Facebook Shareable Content

How To Make Your Content More Shareable On Facebook

The key to great content is getting it seen – and with nearly 2 billion users, Facebook is one of the most valuable platforms for getting your content out there. However, we’ve recently seen too many articles and videos being blindly posted without Facebook shareability in mind, so have put together this easy checklist!

  1. Know what your audience wants and plan your content

Your audience and potential customers aren’t interested in content that doesn’t inform or entertain their interests. Don’t waste time creating random, spur-of-the-moment content; research the needs and wants of your target audience, research what your competitors are doing (and what they aren’t!) and plan your content accordingly – be it an article, podcast or video!

  1. Create something you’d want to read, hear or watch yourself

Imagine yourself as your audience. Would you enjoy the piece of content you’ve just created or find it useful? If your answer is no, then DO NOT SHARE IT! That means something about your content isn’t right – evaluate what the problem is, and fix it. Be prepared to scrap it. You should always be 100% happy with any content you share, because bad content reflects bad on you and your business.

  1. Have a snappy title

Whether your content is a YouTube video or an article on your company blog, it is essential you title it well. Keep your titles simple and straight to the point, with a clear description of what it’s about. Take this article’s title for example.

  1. Customise your content’s Open Graph markups

Facebook has its own set of metadata markups it calls Open Graph. When you add these to your conttent, it helps Facebook (and sister social networks Instagram, Whatsapp and Messenger) see what your content is about, like whether it’s an article, video, audio, etc., who the author is, the language the content is in, and much more. These all help to make the user experience better, so your content is properly categorised and indexed.

Most video and audio platforms like YouTube and Soundcloud will automatically set-up Open Graph for you. For websites and blogs, you can install plugins that allow you to customise the Open Graph on individual pages.

For Facebook shareability, the most important Open Graph markups to have on your content are a shortened title for your content, a brief description of the article to persuade Facebook users to click on the link, and a custom image / thumbnail that illustrates your content.

  1. Index your content within Facebook

Every time you publish new content, you should index (“scrape”) the URL within Facebook to make sure it is properly seen by the platform. If it doesn’t scrape properly, this allows you to change your Open Graph markups until it looks right.

You can do all this here: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/

  1. Share out your content to your customers – and boost it to new ones!

Now that your content is ready to be shared… SHARE IT! Publish new articles, videos, images and more to your Facebook business page, and don’t be afraid to ask your page fans to share the content.

If you only have a small number of page fans, Facebook allows you to quickly boost your content to relevant audiences and expand your reach, at a reduced cost. You can reach up to 10,000 Facebook users for as little as £5, depending on your targeting, and these people not only engage with your content, they can become page fans and customers.


Need help getting started with your social media content? Speak to our marketing team. Call us on 020 8731 5266 or visit us here.

Beyond Search: 4 Other Google Products You Should Be Using For Your Business

With an 86% market share, Google is the UK’s most popular search engine, with google.co.uk acting as many users’ first port of call each and every time they go online. With that many users, it’s no wonder the word “Google” has become synonymous with “search”, and thousands of companies invest in search engine optimisation and Google AdWords to generate leads and customers for their business. However, Google is more than just a search engine, with an entire library of products that offer opportunities for any business to reach potential customers or stay competitive online.

Here are 4 Google Products you may or may not have considered using for your business, and what makes them worth investing time to set-up:

Google My Business

The most valuable Google product is first on our list. Combining Google Maps, Google+, Google Analytics and Google Reviews all into one tool, Google My Business is an online directory for local businesses to improve their presence online and provide customers with near real-time information like opening hours, busy periods, phone numbers, special offers and directions. Google My Business also has a profound effect on SEO rankings in your immediate local area.

Perhaps most usefully, businesses on Google My Business benefit from having Google actively try and collect reviews, images and feedback from customers in the real-world, when they physically visit your business and their smartphone triggers an alert. (Users that submit reviews and information about your business get rewarded with free Google products like extra Drive storage, making it a win-win for everyone!)

Google Alerts

Are you keeping an eye on your competitors or the latest developments in your industry? Because you can sure that others are keeping an eye on you! Google Alerts is an incredibly simple way to get a notification or email each and every time Google UK finds new content online about whatever you set it to look for. For example, if a competitor launches a brand new product, you can get an alert as soon as they start publicly talking about it online.

Google Customer Reviews

Separate from the similarly titled Google Reviews, Google Customer Reviews is the new customer feedback programme Google has begun rolling out in the UK. It replaces the Google Certified Shops programme, which you may have seen on various websites.

How it works: businesses with an ecommerce site add two bits of JavaScript code onto their website. Customers that complete a purchase on the website are then automatically asked by Google to leave a review of their purchasing experience (in return for free Google products or buyer protection).

Google Customer Reviews also scour the internet for independent 3rd party reviews of your business, and combines these with its own reviews. When your business receives over 150 positive reviews, it then receives a 4 to 5 star rating next to it whenever it’s mentioned on any Google product (including Gmail and YouTube).

Google News

Last but by no means least is Google News. You may already use this to get news updates or read articles about topics of interest. However, if your business has an active blog with strong content on it, it can also be used to help build the profile and awareness of your business. Make sure your blog is correctly marked up and submitted with the appropriate Google tags and keywords, and Google will index it within Google News. That means hot topic articles hosted on your site will be able to reach thousands (potentially millions) of eyeballs, bringing traffic to your website and business.

And if your website doesn’t have a blog, you can still benefit from Google News as it indexes press releases submitted through authorised publishers like PR Newsire or Accesswire. Write a press release about your latest product, awards, success stories or announcement, and include your company email and telephone information. This improves your companies visibility and can also generate leads if the press release lands in-front of the right person!


Not sure how to best use Google for your business? Speak to our marketing team. Call us on 020 8731 5266 or visit us here.

Why Websites Matters More Than Ever For Independent Hotels

With the rise of social media, online review sites and price comparison sites, it’s easy to think the role of an official website for a hotel has been somewhat diminished. After all, customers can readily access up to date information about a hotel from a Facebook page, they can see whether the hotel is any good or not from TripAdvisor reviews, and they can make a booking through Trivago. However, having a strong and well-designed official website still makes the biggest difference to any independent hotel’s online R.O.I., as we explain why:

Customers always seek out a website, and first impressions count.

It doesn’t matter whether a hotel has thousands of glowing 5/5 reviews or a special sale, new customers will almost always seek out the official website of a hotel they’re interested in, to try and verify its legitimacy before making a booking.

Your website is essentially your virtual shopfront. When a hotel doesn’t have an official website, or the website it does have isn’t up to scratch, it triggers a red flag and doubts over the quality of service they may receive at the hotel. For independent hotels that aren’t part of a recognisable chain (e.g. Hilton or Premier Inn), it’s vital to present your hotel in the best possible light to alleviate any concerns guests will receive a subpar service.

You have completely control over how you present your hotel.

Third-party websites follow strict layouts and forms, meaning you’re often restricted by what you can say and how you present your hotel to any potential guests. When it comes to your own website, the sky’s the limit. You can design a website that perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere of your hotel and highlights what makes your hotel great through interactive graphics and video.

One of our most recent hotel websites was for The Olde Bell, in Hurley, Berkshire, who approached us wanting a website that emphasised the countryside feel of their inn-like hotel and wedding venue. They wanted a charming site that was easy to navigate, and felt like an extension of the village aesthetic of the hotel.

We built the site with their ideal customers in mind – people looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, to somewhere with rural character. The homepage features an interactive video, emphasising the various features of the hotel and venue, and individual pages are clean with tidily laid out information and clear call-to-actions to book a room on every page. The website feels like a natural extension of the guest experience at the hotel, in a way that no third-party website or social channel could.

It is essential for Google.

Google has taken a firm stance against spammy affiliate websites and almost always prefers to lead its users to the official websites of hotels users search for. That is why Facebook or TripAdvisor pages seldom rank higher on a Google versus an official website. But if you don’t have a website that follows best practices, Google will favour affiliates over you, and that means you don’t have much control over potential guests’ first impressions.

One big change to modern web design is the introduction of rich snippets, which are bits of code placed on your website to help Google and other platforms better understand the content of your website. These snippets are how Google can highlight information about your hotel and its features in its search results, including room prices. Google is looking for these snippets on your website, and if you don’t have them, it means missed opportunities.

Finally, having your own website means you can build dedicated landing pages about specific services or events you can accommodate for at your hotel. These pages then index within Google and improve your online presence, as Google tries to serve its users the most relevant pages.

the olde bell google

A combination of rich snippets and landing pages means The Olde Bell controls the images and information presented to Google users, including hotel details, amenities information and room prices.

Having your own booking system leads to better margins.

Having your own booking system means you can convert website visitors into guests without needing to lead them away to third-party booking systems and paying referral fees or commission. This can make a substantial difference to any hotel’s bottom line, and justify the initial expense of building a new website.

parks-hotel-booking

The Park Hotel Teddington’s official website features a comprehensive booking system that offers customers the ability to full customise their stay at the hotel, at the lowest prices, making it the top way customers book their stay.

If you’re interested in building a new website for your hotel, get in touch here. Oneclick Media Services recently completed work on The Olde Bell and The Park Hotel Teddington, both independent hotels that have seen tremendous results through our tailored approach to web design.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Explained

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP for short) were the biggest and most adopted design trend in 2016, with hundreds of news and media outlets adopting the platform, and WordPress and other CMS platforms joining the project. However, AMP is still a mystery to many web users – and webmasters! In this article, we demystify the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, and answer whether you should (or shouldn’t) AMP-ify your website.

What is the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project?

Started by Google, Twitter and a handful of other partners in late 2015, the AMP project was set-up to establish a new open-source standard in mobile web design. Through a combination of stripped down HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and leveraging server caching, AMP pages are designed to be fast loading, so mobile users can access content as quickly as possible. This is because nearly 50% of web users bounce away from websites that take longer than 2 seconds to load.

What makes an AMP page different to a regular mobile web page?

AMP pages are designed for speed and readability; they are essentially lightweight versions of any given article on a website, where everything but the main content and a couple of ad slots are stripped away. This is because the AMP project restricts the number of HTML tags and functions that can be used on an AMP page, to ensure AMP pages load in under a second and follow a strict format.

Additionally, AMP pages load differently to regular web pages, where images and video content load on-the-fly as you scroll down a page. This, again, speeds up the delivery of content to users, so they don’t need to wait for the entire page to load before they can start reading.

amp-examplesAMP pages use stripped down HTML for a simplified layout that is similar across all AMP pages, except for the customised header.

Who is using AMP?

At first, AMP was almost exclusively used by news outlets like The Guardian and The Washington Post. However, the addition of more AMP features like video embedding and display advertising have opened the platform to more types of websites. In summer 2016, eBay announced it would be introducing AMP and since then Google has announced it will be pushing for more and more ecommerce sites to use the platform across Europe, America and Asia.

What are the benefits of having AMP pages?

There are two core benefits from AMP pages. Firstly, the user experience can be greatly improved, especially if your main website is slow loading or difficult to navigate. AMP pages are blisteringly fast versus even the most optimised landing pages, and as such, visitors can browse and access the information they want quicker.

The second benefit is just as significant – Google changed their search algorithm to prefer AMP pages over non-AMP pages. This means a web page with an AMP version of it is more likely to rank higher on Google (including Google News), even when on desktop. For news outlets this means more visitors, pageviews and ad revenue, and for ecommerces, this can mean quicker conversion times. For example, wired.com reported in 2016 that AMP led to a 25% increase in SEO visitors across their site and a 63% increase in ad clicks. Hearst saw a 29% increase in visits and 45% increase in ad clicks across their sites (including Cosmopolitan).

What are the problems of having AMP pages?

The biggest criticism levelled towards AMP is how visually homogenised AMP pages are. By stripping down web design to a basic set of HTML codes, many AMP pages look visually similar to one another (except for the branding and logos at the top of the page). It makes designing a unique user experience more difficult for web designers, however it is possible.

The limited interactivity also means many design elements we take for granted, like pop-ups, online forms, comment or chat features, and interactive visuals, are stripped away. You are also limited by the number and size of ads you can use on a page.

Is AMP suitable for my website?

If you are a news or media outlet with a regularly updated newsfeed/blog, then yes. The SEO benefits and improved ad revenues almost always outweigh any integration costs.

chicken-soup-amp
Users find AMP pages useful when they are looking for an exact bit of content, and Google will favour AMP pages over non-AMP. For example, BBC Good Food’s AMP page for roast chicken soup ranks top above older and more popular websites.

If you are an ecommerce, then you should begin considering adopting AMP for landing pages for your key products.

Who designs AMP pages?

We do. Speak to Oneclick Media Services about our AMP web design service. Call us on 020 8731 5266 or click here.

4 Web Design Trends To Look Out For In 2017

Website design and development is ever-changing. As people’s tastes and attitudes change, so do their expectations, wants and needs from a website. In our latest feature, we take a closer look at some of the trends we expect to see dominating web design for the rest of the year, and the influences behind them:

Minimal design

Whilst minimal design is not a new concept, its almost-accidental resurgence is a trend we see becoming common place in 2017, especially in the lifestyle and fashion industries. How? The rise of responsive web design gave way to brands ensuring their websites presented a cohesive visual aesthetic across all devices. Cue a scale back in text and graphic heavy homepages for the benefit of mobile and tablet users, and more emphasis placed on big splash images, spacious layouts and grid-style content boxes, which can easily scale or reposition themselves dependent on screen size.

hm-minimal
Fashion retailer H&M’s latest online incarnation follows minimal design to ensure users have the same familiar experience across all devices.

Real-life photos of real-life people

In 2017, expect to see more businesses using original photos and graphics as their core web and social media imagery. Consumer perception of stock photography has taken a major hit in recent years, with the advent of meme subcultures ridiculing bad stock images and their accompanying websites. As The Balance explains, people are now more aware of how stock images are produced, and perceive websites using stock as their core imagery as being unoriginal and without brand identity.

With smart phones cameras now having incredible 4k quality and hundreds of apps making graphics easy, businesses will now be able to take great real-life photos of their real-life customers using their products and services. Customers will better connect and engage with these visuals because they appear genuine. Stock images will still have a role to play in web design, particularly for landscape photography, but it will be less noticeable – and less meme-able!

AMP as the norm

The AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project took off in 2016, bringing speed and clarity to Google’s mobile users and seeing impressive results. Slate reports AMP led to a 44% increase in monthly unique visitors, with similar gains for many other news sites using the platform. More impressive are reports of Google’s recently-added ad formats delivering up to 65% increases in ad engagement versus non-AMP ads. By the end of 2017, expect most news and media outlets to switch-over to AMP, as Google AdWords/AdSense and partnered CMS platforms like WordPress promote its effectiveness.

Artificial intelligence as a CRM tool

As recently as 10 years ago, you would be hard pressed to convince even the most optimistic developer that artificial intelligence would become a norm in web design. The idea of a computer being able to effectively communicate and manage customer services was still something out of a science fiction movie. Yet, here we are.

Phenomenal advances in behavioural analysis and data processing make it possible for “chatbots” – software programmes that present themselves as customer service representatives on a website – to handle real-time customer queries. When a customer asks a question, the bots filter through thousands of pre-prepared responses. The bots then respond to the customer, with a unique tone of voice so the customer doesn’t feel like they’re talking to a robot. If a unique issue is presented, the chatbot will notify a real-life employee, then learning how that person responds to a matter for future reference.

Every Fortune 1000 company is expected to have some sort of chatbot functionality on their website, social media and apps in 2017, and the relatively low cost of integrating a chatbot (versus the expense of employing full-time staff members to manage online customer services) means this trend will trickle through to larger SMBs towards the end of the year.

ms-bank
M&S Bank was one of the first UK banks to introduce chatbot technology. “Hannah” even has her own distinct chatty personality.

Speak to Oneclick Media Services about our bespoke web design services. Call us on 020 8731 5266 or click here.

3 Reasons To Go Bespoke With Your Mobile App

Small Business Mobile Apps

Small business mobile apps are set to surge in adoption in 2017. If you haven’t already considered building your own mobile app, chances are your competitors have, with nearly 50% off all SMBs expected to have a mobile application in 2017.

Market forces have driven this shift. Customers expect the stores they shop at and services they use to have accompanying apps for their convenience, with ComScore reporting 85% of UK customers prefer using an app over a website when making purchasing decisions.

With this demand, the UK has seen a sharp rise in the number of off-the-shelf template-based app builders. These services offer a short-term cheaper alternative to bespoke mobile application development, where SMBs can build a mobile app using a templated design with pre-built functionality. Costs are kept low as thousands of companies essentially share the same template and features.

For some businesses, this approach to app development can make sense. For example, a small cleaning company that simply requires an app to list prices and book jobs, or a local Indian takeaway that simply takes orders. However, for many businesses template apps can be troublesome, and in some cases illegal, so consider the following when deciding on how to approach and build your app.

What You Need To Consider Before Using An Off-The-Shelf App Builder

Ownership and Intellectual Property

Despite having your logo on it and selling your products and services, in almost all cases you don’t own your off-the-shelf app. The company that designed the template or hosts the app builder does, and you are simply licensing it. Why does this matter? For some businesses, their app can become an integral part of their operation, but if they don’t own the rights to the app, it holds no asset value. This means should you want to sell your business, having the #1 app on the App Store will not increase the sale value of your business, as it isn’t your intellectual property.

Furthermore, should the app company hike up prices (if you use a subscription model to pay for the app and hosting), you may be forced to pay up as they can pull your app from market at any time, and they will not allow you to copy-paste your app or migrate it to another provider. Similarly, if the app company goes bust, your app can disappear without a trace along with your data and orders.

Unique Features and Functions

By their nature, a templated app means there are hundreds of other similar companies with the exact same app, simply masked with a different logo. Assess your customer base wisely; if your customers expect a unique user experience, you may only achieve that with a custom-built app that’s designed around the exact needs of your business and customers.

As a rule of thumb, should your business requires your app to feature any unique features and functions, go bespoke. It is costly adding custom development to an off-the-shelf app not designed for it, and given you would not own the rights to the app regardless of how many unique features you pay hundreds or thousands for, it would be a better investment building your own app from the ground up.

Data Protection and Security

Small business apps that manage private information and user data will need to ensure their app complies to all legal requirements in their industries. It may be difficult to guarantee this protection with an app owned by a 3rd party, as it is possible they can see all data coming in and out of the app.

App vulnerability is also an important factor to consider. With potentially thousands of businesses using the same template, it would only take one of these apps to be hacked to leave all of them vulnerable to attack – including yours! Bespoke app development provides small businesses with more control over the security of their app, and in some sectors like financial planning or accounting, it is a legal requirement.

If you’re not sure about how to approach your mobile app, or want to speak to Oneclick Media Services about our bespoke mobile application development services, call us on 020 8731 5266 or click here.

What You Need to Know Before Building Your Small Business Website

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Having a website for your small business is essential. However, keep in mind that “Bad sites – ones full of mistakes – are almost as damaging as having no site whatsoever.”

There are number of errors you can fall into when crafting your website. You could have a terrible design or overload your site with text. Or you could have poor CTA’s and keyword targeting, thereby failing to convert visitors.

Because of the many details you need to consider, as well as the potential pitfalls, creating your business’s website can be overwhelming. You have a lot to consider, from how you want to advertise your business to how much and what kind of content you want to publish.

The first decision you need to make is whether or not you want to design your site yourself or hire someone else. Your answer to this question will narrow down how you should proceed. So which option should you choose?

Make Sure That Saving Money Is Worth It

One of the biggest influences on your decision will likely be cost. The expense of building your own website is going to be rather high when it comes to the number of zeros on the bill. There is no question that you will get what you pay for, but what you pay for also depends on precisely what you want from your website. There is no such thing as “one size fits all.”

Perhaps you want to establish a website that is more on the complex side. Maybe you’re looking for page after page of displayable content, each with its own child pages that branch out and interact with other pages on your site.

In this case, you will probably want to contract outside help to keep your project from getting too crazy. It’s easy to start out with a simple task only to discover that it is a lot more involved than you originally thought.

For example, suppose that you have a few products that you’ve already built out. Let’s say that one of them is an eBook for marketing automation. It is filled with gated content for email opt-ins that will bring consumers through the conversion funnel.

However, because you have to widen your funnel on the front end, you will need a substantial and robust blog. Your blog will need enticing and interactive graphics. You might need polls, a Disqus plugin, and a standout share bar, as well as CTAs splashed throughout each of your blog posts.

While you might know how to market your product, you could lack experience in developing a robust and beautiful blog. And building your blog is key to your success, so you will need a team that has had previous experience with gated content projects. In this situation it is far better to hire outside help than to handle everything on your own.

When You’ll Want to Do It Yourself

On the other hand, you might want a simple and straightforward website with minimal fluff and pizzazz. In this case, it could benefit you to look into what it takes to construct your own website. If building your own site is the best option for you, doing so will save you time and money in the long run.

What’s more, crafting your own small website from scratch can give you the skills to eventually be able to create one that is bigger and more cutting-edge. Start small on your own, and keep building on your knowledge.

The truth is, web design is not that hard to learn. There are many courses out there, as well as shared knowledge online. What might be most helpful is a course on web design and creation that trains you in the Java language.

Java is one of the many languages that computer software understands, and it is also one of the most popular. C++ is another well-known coding language with which you might be familiar.

Once you are immersed in the lingo of computer and web-based commands, the overall concepts will click. Then you will be able to leap back and forth between different computer-based languages.

Taking courses in web design will not merely allow you to overcome obstacles that will certainly come your way. The courses will also give you ideas for your website that you would otherwise not have considered. Educating yourself in this way can be a great strategy for setting yourself up for success as you build your site.

Remember, Creating and Maintaining Websites Takes Time

If you do decide to take the leap and construct your website on your own, then you should know that it will take time. Rome was not built in a day, and your website will not be either.

Building an entire website from scratch is tough, but worth it in the end. If you take the proper first steps, such as receiving a Java certification and training, you will streamline the time you spend working on your site.

No Matter What, Have a Plan for Debugging Your Site

Whether or not you decide to build your website by yourself or with an experienced web designer, you need to think of your site as a living thing that, much like you, can get sick.

“Getting sick” takes the form of overloading and crashing. Sometimes websites garner too much traffic for the server to support, and all that stress can cause the server to overload and crash. Other times, your coding (or your designer’s coding) might have a lapse that causes the site to crash.

When these events happen—and they do more often than you think—you should have a solution that will enable you to get your site debugged. If you hired a firm, chances are they will jump on the problem immediately and take care of the issue for you. But if you built the site yourself, you should know what to do when it gets buggy.

There Is Pride in Creating Something Amazing from Scratch

There are website building platforms out there that allow you to get a free site simply by clicking a few times. But those platforms (such as WordPress or Wix) tend to be very limited in terms of what they permit you to do.

That is why having the ability to construct your very own site is such a great skill to have under your belt. You can fix any issues you might encounter on your own. You will save a ton of money in the long run, and you will also have the pride of crafting something amazing with your own two hands.

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Improve Your UX with These Easy Tips

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UX, or user experience, is moving to the forefront of considerations for modern web designers. A great user experience can make or break your company’s app or website. In fact, it can mean the difference between a visitor and a customer. In today’s digital world, businesses must ensure their apps and websites are easy to navigate. This way, users can focus on learning about and purchasing your company’s products or services, not on navigating the website.

You can take several steps to improve UX and boost conversions, so keep the following tips in mind when it comes time to overhaul your website. Something that seems as simple as easier site navigation can have tremendous effects on your conversion rate and profitability, so don’t discount the effects of stellar UX design.

Interactive Content

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Interactive content naturally leads to greater engagement. If you want visitors on your website to take the time to investigate what you have to offer fully, construct interactive elements that will capture their attention and motivate them to explore. You can provide several types of interactive content, such as:

Video games started moving from niche hobby to mainstream entertainment about 20 years ago, and since then, games have eclipsed major motion pictures in terms of industry value. Nearly everyone in the country plays some type of video game on a regular basis, from dedicated gamers with high-powered consoles to casual mobile game players. You can capture this popularity for your website through gamification, or the process of making a customer interaction like a video game. Some brands even have proprietary games made specifically for their websites.Video games encourage exploration and experimentation and are typically goal-oriented. You don’t have to go overboard and assume you need to create a fully fleshed-out video game just for your business. Keep it simple and fun, and your audience will enjoy a break from typical website offerings.

People in general like challenges, and quizzes offer them the opportunity to show what they know. You may even want to incentivize your visitors by offering a coupon if they successfully complete a quiz. This can be especially impactful if your brand is highly specialized or caters to a well-defined niche audience. Many brands offer loyalty or points-based rewards programs to regular customers. If your brand does this, consider offering a point bonus for completing quizzes.

Similar to quizzes, surveys will appeal to a well-defined audience. They are also fantastic tools for gaining customer insight. Use surveys to find out what your visitors like and don’t like about your website, and use what you learn to make future adjustments. Just like quizzes, you can incentivize visitors with discounts or other rewards for completing surveys. However, if you take the time to make these questionnaires fun and engaging, you leave a more lasting impression with the user.

Interactive content will make your site memorable. However, make sure you don’t cross the line into garish, awkward, or interactive content that isn’t appropriate for your brand. Games may not appeal to certain audiences, so look for new ways to reach your audience if this approach doesn’t sound like it would work for your brand.

Common-Sense Organization

Even the most creative and spontaneous people appreciate logic. When people visit your website, the main goal should be to allow them to find what they need easily and still draw their attention around various parts of your site organically. If a user can’t easily navigate your site or find what they need without complications, they will more than likely click away to a competitor. You can avoid this by organizing your site using common sense.

Common-sense organization extends to both visual appeal and usability. Visually, you should consider using a grid-based layout to organize the visual elements, graphics, text, and interactive areas on your site. Ideally, your site should be rich in content without being overwhelming or appearing cluttered. In terms of usability, visitors on your website should be able to navigate to the page they need easily without having to spend too much time hunting for it. Whatever the layout of your site, any typical visitor should be able to find exactly what he or she needs within seconds.

Personalization

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If your website uses any type of customer login system, personalization should be a natural choice for better UX. Personalized content is a great way to show visitors to your site that you pay attention to them and want to help them find what they need. You can personalize content by tailoring it to a user’s past purchases, page views, product reviews, comments, and other interactions on the website.

You’re probably familiar with many websites’ “Recommended for You” sections. These websites harvest your user data from past interactions to predict what will interest you most or have the most value to you. If you take the time to construct such a system, visitors to your website will appreciate having content ready just for them. This enhances overall UX by making the user feel more at ease, and most users enjoy feeling special.

Design for Multiple Screens

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Tech has evolved to what was science fiction a few decades ago. Today, people spend hundreds of dollars on new mobile devices and want to squeeze every bit of usability out of them. If you haven’t investigated or don’t understand responsive design, it’s time to rethink your UX. More people than ever are using mobile devices to browse the web, enjoy content, shop, and engage with others, so if you’re not capitalizing on mobile UX, you’re likely falling behind your competitors.

Responsive design describes web design that “responds” to the screen on which it is viewed. It’s vital to construct your site in such a way that visitors know what to expect when they connect with your brand, regardless of the device with which they do it. Your website should be consistent and deliver a great experience on any size or type of screen. For example, many new smartphones feature eye tracking, retina displays, and 4K resolution. If you don’t have content ready to make use of these features, customers aren’t going to be very impressed. Conversely, taking the time to design for a variety of devices will enable customers to get the most from engaging with your brand.

Guide Your Visitors

Lastly, guidance is crucial for great UX. Users are more tech-savvy today than ever before, so overt handholding isn’t necessary. Just make sure you offer some kind of wayfinding tool for your users. For example, you could configure your site to play a brief tutorial for first-time visitors. Pop-up graphics can highlight different areas of the screen the visitor can use to find what they need. Additionally, you need to account for legibility.

Screen layout is far more important than you may realize, and your site should guide visitors around your content following natural conventions. For example, people in the United States and much of the rest of the world are accustomed to reading from left to right. Organizing your content with this in mind will help guide your site’s visitors through your webpages in a natural way. When you neglect conventional legibility, users will likely find your website clunky or convoluted.

When you think about how you can boost engagement and increase conversions on your website, keep these UX tips in mind. Different brands are going to benefit from different changes, but remember the basics: Offer your visitors value and capture their attention, give them the tools they need to navigate what your site has to offer, and encourage interaction.

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