Website Design – Functionality Versus User Experience

A usable website offers a stellar user experience. Whether you run a company blog or a personal website, providing an intuitive layout with content that is easy to read and understand should be a top priority. Improving usability increases the number of people who navigate to multiple pages of your website, lowering your bounce rate. While there is no exhaustive list of best website design practices, the following tips will get you on your way to creating a website with a high level of usability.

Responsive design

Thanks to the rapid growth in mobile internet use, responsive web design has skyrocketed. A responsive design adjusts the website format automatically for a given device. This means that your website will function the way it should whether a user is on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Responsive designs are both useful and versatile, allowing for minimalist designs with no distracting elements. In order to deliver a fantastic user experience, you must keep your load times lightning fast. Design your site with the responsive layout in mind, avoiding useless absolute positioning, needlessly complex divs, and showy Flash and Javascript components.

Intuitive navigation

When users can’t find what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds, they leave the site. In many instances, they never come back. Develop a clear navigation structure with page elements arranged in a grid fashion. A random scattering of page elements may look artistic, but it’s often just more confusing. The hamburger menu, which is a button with three parallel horizontal lines, has gained widespread popularity in recent years. While somewhat controversial, its mainstream use has made the function easy to recognize. Hidden menus have also become quite popular, largely due to the fact that they are an ideal way to save screen space, which is critical for mobile friendly layouts.

Carefully selected photos and other visuals

A recent marketing test revealed that photos of real people out-performed their stock photo counterparts by 95 percent. Many companies opt to use stock photos because they’re inexpensive and readily available, saving time and money. Resist the temptation and use photos that are meaningful to your company. Selective use of charts and graphs can also be very effective. Consider replacing or reinforcing long blocks of text with charts or graphs to boost user engagement. The visuals that you use should always aid or support the text. If you don’t have a relevant image for a page, simply go without a visual to avoid distracting users from the content at hand with something meaningless.

Consistent text and colors

Using the same colors, fonts, text sizes, and element placements on each page creates a natural flow for your website. When users grow accustomed to seeing the same design elements for your company’s content, they’re more likely to recognize future content, such as Facebook advertisements, before they even see the name of the company. Most websites have three key page layouts: a homepage, a content page, and a form page. Using consistent elements within these layouts will help users navigate the site seamlessly.

As you structure your website design, keep the needs and desires of your intended audience at the forefront of your decisions. Many people get so caught up in their own needs and desires that they forget about the audience for their content. Balancing the user experience with the functionality of your website enables users to find the information that they need in a method that is straightforward and engaging for them.

PEL Web Design

Website Design, Website Development, population and launch are the foundation of every internet marketing strategy.  Successful accomplishment of these elements requires an understanding of a client’s targeted customer base personas, the website standards used by Google to evaluate and rank websites and how visitors interact with a given website experience.

PEL works with each client to achieve the client’s desired look and feel for their website.  The design phase is similar to an architectural design and drawing creation phase with no simultaneous construction.  Establishing the look and feel of a website is the critical first step in website design.  It ensures the client’s brand is adequately reflected and enhances the visitor’s experience after reaching the website.  The look and feel of a website is much more than color scheme, logos and tag-lines.  A successful look and feel includes these elements and the information layout on each web page that supports an organized representation of the structure of the client’s business.  This information layout, coupled with the client’s business structure, establishes the architectural structure of the website.  It establishes how the website will be evaluated by search engines (e.g., Google) and the viewer experience that best connects to the client’s goods and services.  The look and feel also captures the elements of the client’s business that are of special interest to the customer base being targeted by the website.  Identifying and capturing these special interest elements are key to encouraging visitor engagement with the website.  Every aspect of the client’s website, including the design, should reflect and connect with the persona(s) of the client’s targeted customer base.  As such, it is extremely important that the client identifies these personas and communicates them to PEL as early as possible in the website design phase.  All of the elements that go into designing the client’s website are unique to the client and the targeted audience.  This effort requires a great deal of input from the client that de-emphasizes their personal preferences and focuses more on the website user.

How good is your online presence?

Contact PEL TODAY!! We will gladly perform a free website and online marketing evaluation to let you know where you are and what we can do to improve your online presence and effectiveness. Contact Us via email or call (806) 680-2735.

Search Engine Optimization Is More Important Than Ever

Search engine optimization is more important than ever in today’s highly competitive online market. As of 2016, there are 966 million websites. Each year internet users complete approximately two trillion Google searches to locate content. Standing out from your competition doesn’t happen by chance. You must be intentional with your website creation and ongoing development to ensure optimal search engine practices.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of guidelines website owners must follow to optimize their sites for major search engines. Optimizing your site for search engines greatly increases the chances of improving your search engine ranking. SEO also significantly improves the quality of your website with faster load times, better navigation, and an overall improved user experience.

If you’re still not convinced SEO is worth the time and effort, consider the following benefits it offers.

Search engine optimization (SEO) improves click-through rate

Most search engine users are only going to click the top five results on the search engine results page (SERP). Optimizing your site for search engines increases your odds of securing one of these positions, generating a higher traffic volume and consequently, revenue stream for your business.

Search engine optimization (SEO) improves the general user experience

The end goal of SEO is to improve your search engine ranking. However, best SEO practices improve other aspects of your website as well, such as page load times and site navigation. These factors contribute positively to the user experience and overall usability of your site, which also drives more traffic.

Search engine optimization (SEO) increases user trust

Internet users trust the major search engines. Securing a top position on Google and Bing increases users’ trust in your business. Somewhere between 80-90% of consumers consult online reviews before making a purchase. Maintaining a high search engine position builds trust in your products and services and keeps consumers shopping with you instead of your competitors.

Search engine optimization (SEO) boosts user promotion

People who locate a website through a major search engine are more likely to promote it online. Securing a great search engine ranking increases user sharing on major social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is cost effective

SEO is one of the most cost effective online marketing strategies, and it offers a fairly solid return on investment (ROI). Social media marketing, purchasing leads for an email marketing program, and PPC advertising do work and may drive more social media traffic and revenue. However, all of these tactics cost money. SEO takes time but is essentially free and is a key strategy to use alongside other online marketing efforts.

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t going anywhere soon

Search engine optimization techniques work, and they aren’t going to stop working anytime soon. As long as you remain focused on providing the best user experience possible while implementing time-tested SEO tactics, you will achieve a higher search ranking and genuine organic traffic. While Google will continue to make regular changes to its algorithm, it’s highly unlikely SEO tactics will be rendered completely useless any time in the near future. Media searches, such as YouTube video searches, are fairly keyword dependent, further guaranteeing our continued dependence on SEO, even in a less text-based content internet.

Finally, search engine optimization is an ongoing process. It’s important to reassess your search engine optimization practices on a regular basis and make changes as needed. For example, once upon a time, mobile optimization wasn’t a priority. Now mobile internet use accounts for half, if not more, of all internet use. Not optimizing your site for mobile users compromises the mobile user experience and hurts your Google ranking.

Finding the right online marketing strategy for your company is an ongoing process. Staying on top of the latest trends and listening to the needs of your customers will allow you to adapt your marketing plan accordingly to maximize your revenue stream.

How good is your online presence?

Contact PEL TODAY!! We will gladly perform a free website and online marketing evaluation to let you know where you are and what we can do to improve your online presence and effectiveness. Contact Us via email or call (806) 680-2735.

Why Online Marketing is Essential for Small Business Success

For all businesses, both large and small, having a great online presence is key to generating brand awareness and gaining business success. Especially small businesses that may have a very niche market, online tools allow you to reach otherwise unreachable customers, generating a fan base that would be impossible without online marketing. Combining website optimization, internet ads, social media profiles and email marketing – nearly every type of online marketing tool is essential for small businesses to grow their brand and generate new customer traffic.

Online Marketing Through Small Business Websites

Do you have a business website? If the answer is no – it’s time to get one already. Although there are many do-it-yourself website builder sites, hiring a professional to set up your website for you is the safest and best bet to ensuring you are able to utilize all the online marketing tools available to you. Your online marketing professional will make sure your online content focuses on keywords that relate to your business and that search engine optimization “SEO” is set up correctly for your website. Having a website with great SEO allows potential customers to find you in their online searches for products or services that you offer. Your website is also essential for offering online products or “ecommerce.” Allow customers to easily purchase your products online so you reach people all over the country.

Internet Ads as an Online Marketing Tool

You’ve probably heard of “Adwords” or “Banner ads” or “Pop ups” and more. When searching for products or visiting your favorite websites (or even on your Facebook page) you’ll see these ads everywhere. Why not try placing your own advertisement online? Using social media, you can easily create ads within the channels that are most appropriate to your brand. Google makes it easy to advertise your website using specific “keywords” that suggest your business when specific people are searching for your type of product or service. If you don’t want to do it yourself, there are many Internet ad companies and agencies that you can work with you to get signed up for online marketing ads.

Social Media is Key to Online Marketing

Have you heard of brand awareness? Let people know about your brand on social media. Create social media profiles for your business on your favorite channels. For example, the “basic” business model includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But depending on your business type – other channels like YouTube, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+ may work better. Sign up for these social media sites for yourself and search around. Which one works best for your business? Using social media for business is easy and can be fun. Let people know about your brand and who your business is. Online users like to see “behind the scenes” and discover new things about their favorite products. Also, the great thing about social media is that it is FREE! (Except of course when you are running ads within your account).

Email Marketing is Still a Great Online Marketing Tool

It may have been around for a while… but email marketing is still proving to be an essential tool for online marketing. Generating a large email list of customers that are happy to receive your emails is a priceless business tool. Use your email list to notify subscribers about exclusive specials for your best customers. Direct users to your website and send out last minute deals to push products fast.

PEL Online Marketing

Online marketing is geared to the modern consumer who has learned to ignore most traditional marketing. Its lower cost and ease of implementation make digital marketing critical for business success today.

PEL online marketing employs all modern tools to connect your online marketing to the world.

PEL Online Marketing Strategy

PEL offers comprehensive and holistic online marketing services.  PEL online marketing works with each client to develop an effective online marketing strategy tailored for that client’s industry and focused on that client’s target audience.

PEL Website Design and Website Development

PEL combines an effective strategy coupled with a well designed and developed website for each client to ensure the best possible user experience.   This requires a sound website architectural structure as well as consideration for ease of use by each website visitor

PEL Website Content Writing and Website Content Editing

PEL understands that implementation of an effective online marketing strategy doesn’t stop with a well designed and developed website but that it requires highly relevant, engaging and original content on every website.  PEL works with each client to develop the website content through PEL website content writing services and website content editing services.

PEL Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

PEL recognizes that high quality content is only effective when it speaks to the needs, desires and pain points of a client’s intended audience.  Effective search engine optimization (SEO) is the primary tools for connecting the dots in this regard.  This is not the end all to high quality SEO.  In order to ensure the highest possible website performance, many other factors must be considered and implemented if a client’ website is to be truly optimized.

PEL Online Marketing Analysis

PEL performs detailed granular online marketing analysis to assess the effectiveness of each implemented online marketing strategy to identify strengths and weaknesses in order to continually adjust the strategy based on consumer behavior patterns.

PEL Social Media Marketing

PEL maximizes the use of social media marketing to connect and convert the client’s targeted audience based on where they spend their online time.

PEL PPC Marketing

PEL employs Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing when it is in the best interest of the client’s overall marketing strategy.

How good is your online presence?

Contact PEL TODAY!! We will gladly perform a free website and online marketing evaluation to let you know where you are and what we can do to improve your online presence and effectiveness. Contact Us via email or call (806) 680-2735.

The Five Elements Of Successful Online Marketing

Online marketing is critical for the future of modern businesses. It’s easy to get so caught up in the pressure of online marketing that you try anything and everything with no clear strategy. Establish marketing goals that will help you accomplish your larger goals for your business. Then implement the following elements in your marketing campaigns to improve their efficiency and overall success.

Identifying the right channels for effective online marketing

Not all online channels will be relevant for your brand or business. It’s better to use two online channels well then to use five or six channels poorly. Pay attention to the channels that are the best fit for your specific company as well as the preferences of your target audience. For example, Pinterest and Instagram are a great fit for businesses with a strong visual focus. You may be most comfortable creating Facebook content, but you get the highest engagement from your Snapchat blasts. Learning a few new tactics for reaching Snapchat users will be a much better use of your time.

Optimizing online marketing content for mobile devices

As of April 2016, there are more than 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide with more new users every day. By 2017, the smartphone user base is predicted to reach a staggering 4.77 billion. Just a few years ago, mobile-compatible was an appropriate frame of mind for online content. Now mobile optimization must be a top priority for every marketing campaign to reach a significant portion of your target audience. Make sure your mobile site is indexed, focus on mobile keyword research and content creation for every campaign, and fix mobile-related errors as quickly as possible.

Diversifying social media channel use to maximize your return for online marketing budgets

Maintaining a minimum of two social media channels ensures you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. You may have a large following on Twitter right now, but that audience could decrease drastically with little or no warning. Once you’ve identified the ideal channels for your business, schedule regular content for all of the channels to maintain a high level of interest and engagement. If you haven’t embraced live streaming yet, consider creating a Snapchat or Periscope channel or using the Instagram stories feature.

Using online marketing to talk to, not talk at, prospective customers

Traditional marketing talks, even screams, at consumers to buy products and use services. Modern consumers prefer to be in conversation with their favorite brands. Online marketing allows you to create dialogues with your customers. Conclude blog posts and social media posts with questions to encourage back and forth between your brand and target audiences as well as within the customer base.

Selecting the correct metrics to measure to evaluate success of your online marketing strategies

For any given online marketing strategy, there are key metrics that will determine the success of the strategy. For example, if your goal is to increase your number of blog readers, appropriate metrics might include post engagement rate, number of link clicks, and number of social shares. Choose metrics that are so straightforward that someone with no prior knowledge of your company could evaluate them with ease. A broad goal, such as “offer better customer support this quarter,” is impossible to evaluate. In comparison, the goal “double Instagram followers this quarter” is extremely easy to evaluate. When you review your numbers, consider how the figures are impacting your business as a whole. Finding the right online marketing strategy for your company is an ongoing process. Staying on top of the latest trends and listening to the needs of your customers will allow you to adapt your marketing plan accordingly to maximize your revenue stream.

PEL Online Marketing

Online marketing is geared to the modern consumer who has learned to ignore most traditional marketing. Its lower cost and ease of implementation make digital marketing critical for business success today. PEL online marketing employs all modern tools to connect your online marketing to the world. PEL online marketing services include: Online Marketing Strategy development; Website Design and Website Development with the a client’s intended audience in mind; Website Content Writing and Website Content Editing to ensure engaging original content is offered on a client’s website; Website Search Engine Optimization to ensure the highest possible website performance; Granular Website Analysis to determine the effectiveness of the client’s online marketing strategy and to identify improvement opportunities; Social Media Marketing to engage a client’s intended audience when and where they are active online; and Pay Per Click Advertising Marketing to supplement a client’s overall marketing plan when appropriate.

How good is your online presence?

Contact PEL TODAY!! We will gladly perform a free website and online marketing evaluation to let you know where you are and what we can do to improve your online presence and effectiveness. Contact Us via email or call (806) 680-2735.