The Blog

 

27

Apr 2015

Should You Build Your Own Website?

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The do-it yourself sites online today can be save you money if you have the time and patience to learn the online tools to build your website, but is it effective? A well-built website is more than a bunch of pages put together. Google will rank your site based on many criteria that you need to know. You may build it, but will it be found? You may be wasting your time. A web designer understands the process of optimizing your site. You may build a site no one will find.

So do you hire a professional? What does a website cost? The average person doesn’t have a clue and large web development companies like it that way. If you’re not careful, you’ll overpay every step of the way from buying a domain name to design and hosting.

Many larger companies will not develop a site for less than $10,000. At Wagner Web Designs, Inc, we cater to the small business and have a comfortable niche in the marketplace since 2007.

“We meet directly with our clients and get a feel for what they want. We outsource projects if necessary while overseeing quality and design. We hire based on needs and solutions and are able to keep our overhead low and pass that savings on to the customer.”

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19

Mar 2011

The Top 10 Mistakes My Clients Make

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Learn from your mistakes. My mother always told me that.
Here is a list of the top mistakes business owners make when it comes to their website. Learn from others and improve yours!

  1. Not having an email associated with your business name.
    Aol, yahoo, hotmail: save it for your friends.
  2. Putting off creating your website. -P r o c r a s t i n a t i o n
    You’re missing out on a large population of Internet users who search for products/services/info online.
  3. Having no particular message for your site.
    Is your message getting across? Is there a call to action? Is it an online business tool? Make it work for your business or what’s the point?
  4. Keeping your site content fresh.
    Nothing is worse than old news. If a site doesn’t have anything new to say, what is my motivation to revisit?
  5. Not collecting Emails
    Marketing for a targeted audience? Communication with your clients? A must! (see #6)
  6. Not taking advantage of Email marketing campaigns
    The least expensive way to keep in touch with your clients and introduce new products & services.
  7. Test your online forms periodically.
    If you have forms on your site whether for info or products, test them occasionally. Send a message to yourself. Hosting companies make updates, browser window companies make security changes, all that can break a form. Don’t leave it up to your webmaster. Once they test it, their job is done. It’s your business.
  8. Not having a responsive site. A responsive site adapts to users device, whether a desktop, tablet or smartphone. Just because you don’t have a smart phone, your audience is looking for you on theirs. Google will not lower your ranking if your site is not mobile friendly..
  9. Not taking advantage of Web designer’s professional advice.
    He/she knows what works, what doesn’t, and can offer suggestions to enhance your site, and your marketability. These meetings are usually free. In the end, the site has to be seen, not just designed.
  10. Using a non-professional web designer.
    Many kids can put together a website nowadays. Most do not know the first thing about code for search engine placement, image optimization, and how to structure your site for optimum marketing.There are also dozens of sites that allow you to self-publish your content. But if you are not aware of the requirements needed for search engine optimization, see #9.

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19

Sep 2010

7 WAYS TO KILL A WEBSITE

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designyoursiteBrowsing various websites and navigating the web can often be a daunting and sometimes frustrating task as you sift through the mounds of garbage to find what you’re looking for. There are some excellent websites out there to be sure, but there are also a lot of dreadful ones too.

Creating and maintaining high-quality websites is more important today than ever. Higher quality equals more revenue and better searchablilty.

A bad website neglects to consider the site visitor’s experience in some fundamental ways. The following are my pet peeves when a website misses the mark.

The site is not adaptable to my device. A site not developed for a mobile phone is often skipped over for an easier to rea site. Now Google is demanding that your site comply. (or they will drop you)

Long, Text-Heavy and Blocky Paragraphs of Unbroken Text

I really have to be into a topic or desperately need to learn the information to trudge through big chunks of unbroken text. The trend is to use more images to capture your audience’s attention. Additionally, web users are impatient, so make your content easy to read and non-intimidating. Use images, titles, icons, sub-titles, small paragraphs, bullets and numbering.

Unchanging or Out-Dated Content
If I start reading content on a site and soon discover that the content refers to outdated information, I’m gone. My reasoning is that there’s got to be comparable information online that’s more current. If you keep your content fresh your site will attract repeat visitors. And repeat visitors are more likely to turn into customers.

Broken Links. It’s simple. Check your site and fix them. Or I will leave. One way to avoid broken links is to not link to magazine or newspaper articles. If they change their site, your content is lost. Make a copy and stick it on your site.

“Me, me, me!” instead of “You, you, you”
Sorry to tell you, but, no one cares about you, your company or your thoughts. What they do care about is what you can do for them. Sites that show pictures of the company building or tout their deep philosophy on the way business should be conducted really don’t bode well for keeping the interest of your site visitors.
Sites that speak directly to potential customers about how they can solve their problems, make their lives easier, safer, richer or more comfortable, have a much better chance of keeping their audience.

Inconsistent Navigation
Imagine sitting down at a restaurant and the waiter comes over to you and hands you five different menus, one for the appetizers, one for the soups and salads, one for the entrees, one for the desserts, and one for the drinks. Then imagine if each menu had a different format, layout and method for listing the items. I really don’t want to work that hard at picking out my dinner, I’m hungry and I just want a meal. Don’t make your visitors work hard by expecting them to re-learn your navigation system each time they enter another section of your site. They too are hungry; for useful information and they’re even more impatient.

Inconsistent Look & Feel
When the look & feel completely changes from one page to another in a website, I think I am visiting another site, another company, a partner or subsidiary. This screams poor planning and often results from tacking on new sections later after the original site was built. It may be tempting to stray from the original design if adding pages; you may currently have a better design. But wait till you do a complete next-generation re-design of the entire site before introducing a new look & feel. If not, lots of visitors will be scratching their heads with one hand and possibly clicking away with the other.

Have no Call to Action. Ive just read some great information on your site, but there is no prompting me to learn more, get more, keep in touch, etc. Give me a reason to contact you on every page.

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19

Jun 2008

When is it Time to Redesign Your Website?

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Designing your first website can be stressful. It requires you to really explore the core of your business in order to write the copy. You work with a designer and go through the process of creating a site that looks unique and explains your business. You end up investing a lot of time, energy and money. After all that, you’re finished and it’s time for the site to go live!
Wait; you’re not done! Websites need to stay current with your business plan and market trends. Some of these changes can be accomplished with simple updates to your site. But there’s only so far that patching and revising your current site can go. If your site is particularly outdated, or if it’s not working well for you, it’s probably time to consider a full-scale site redesign. Here are some tips to know when you should consider redesign:

Your Business Has Changed or Grown

If your business is no longer the same as it was when you designed your site, chances are that you should redesign your website to reflect that. If you’ve only had a few small changes, you might be able to just update your current website. But, if you’ve changed your business direction, refocused your objectives, decided to provide new products or services, or if your company has grown significantly, it will pay off to redesign your site. Reconsider how the changes to your business should be reflected or addressed in the structure, design and strategy behind your website.

Your Site is more than 4 years old.

Yikes! Is 4 really old? In today’s web market, significant changes have occurred in the technology of building sites, and the design. Mobile phones and tablets have driven this technology. If your site is not mobile friendly now, Google will penalize your ranking. Other signs of an outdated web site include: slow-loading graphics, old-style “framed” coding, any use of flash, little animated cartoon clip-art that run throughout the site, and text as images instead of in HTML. Having any of these on your site make you look ‘behind the times’. It can also make you look like you don’t care enough about your business or about technological advances to keep abreast of them. Keeping your company’s website looking contemporary will improve its credibility.

The Site Isn’t User-Friendly

Adding pages can be difficult if the site layout cannot accommodate menu bar changes. Restructuring your navigation could be another pressing reason to redesign your site. You want visitors to be able to easily find their way around your site and to be able to access all the information you have within a few clicks. Make your visitor’s experience on your site a lot easier.

sorryYou Apologize for the Site When Referencing It or Handing Out Your Business Cards

This happens to me all the time. Your site should be a source of pride. It should provide your clients and prospects an easy way to get a lot of information about your business. And, if you have to apologize for out-of-date information, broken images, poor design, difficult navigation or anything else on your site, it makes you look unprepared and unprofessional. Make sure your site is in top shape and looks impressive, so your clients believe your business is in good shape too.

You’re Not Getting Ranked Well in the Search Engines

Poor rankings in the Search Engines can be a result of bad design choices or coding on your site. Ask a professional web designer to take a quick look at your site; he or she should be able to tell you right away if there’s room for improvement.

It’s Not Bringing in inquiries and Helping You to Make Sales

A website can do a lot more than just impersonate your brochure – it can help you close sales, bring in new prospects and make your business easier to run. To bring in more inquiries and make more sales include the following when you redesign your site:

  • Calls to action to encourage your visitors to take specific actions – like purchasing something, contacting you, or signing up for a newsletter.
  • Forms, scripts, or programs to make your work flow more efficient – like contact forms, project estimating tools, e- newsletters, etc. These can help you keep in touch with your clients and prospects. You may be ready to include a shopping cart and accept credit cards on your site.

To get ideas for other ways that your site can help you improve your business, look at the other sites that you visit and note the functions they perform.

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