Website Design Tips

An Effective Website: The Wrong Path

There is a saying: “before climbing a ladder, make sure the ground is solid and that you’re climbing the right wall.”  It seems straightforward, but many companies start climbing without asking the right question. They end up going down a path that is more complex than required. They also waste time and money. And worst of all, they will create an ineffective website.  So what’s the wrong question? Asking, “What do I need in a website?”  Tell the truth. Isn’t that the question you asked yourself? You let that question generate a list of “requirements” that you took to your web developer.  Most developers worth …

Web Design is really all about the Content (Reposted)

I originally posted this article 7 years ago. It is still key and still ignored by many organizations. There is a reason CONTENT management systems (CMS) have taken over the web. In fact over 25% of all new websites are now built with WordPress CMS. When a business owner hears that we specialize in WordPress websites, they begin asking questions. Does social marketing work, how do I get on the first page of Google, what’s new? Someone recently asked me what the most important thing about a website was. I naturally answered “content”. They just looked at me strangely. But THAT …

Call of the wild or of the season: “Can you help me with my template website?”

Ape at laptop

It used to be that we would get frantic calls: “My web designer has gone out of business … help!” The seasons have changed and the current call of the wild, from those business owners that like to live dangerously, seems to be like this:  “My free (or purchased) website theme isn’t working for me. Can you help me with it?” We don’t work with template themes (free or purchased) for a variety of reasons.  In the past, we have tried to work with themes that include excess code and plugins that cause security issues. Hacking to work around the …

Building accessible websites: What not to do

Chocolate Chips and cookies

And another call comes in. They all seem to be the same lately. Caller: Hi, I was referred to you by a mutual colleague. I /our agency recently built a website and it’s ready to launch. We discovered that we needed the site to conform to AA web accessibility standards. Can you check the site for us and tell me what would it take to make it comply?   Me: It’s always best to put the chocolate chips in the cookie before baking them (shout out to Billy Gregory for that gem). Caller: (nervous chuckle) Good analogy.   Me: Have …

Time to prepare your website now for voice searches

The iPhone launched in 2007. Since then it’s incredible how quickly mobile phones have become a part of our lives. So what’s next?  In the last year, technology related to speech recognition has had major breakthroughs. The accuracy keeps getting better and it will only improve. And as it does, more people will stop typing and simply ask their smart phones questions.   Apple just released a new Apple TV with voice search. Others will follow. Speak recognition technology in automobiles will improve as well. We will become more comfortable speaking than typing. Trends show it’s growing.    As a …

When is it time for a website redesign

Before and After Website Northern Rock Tops

We often get asked “How often should we re-design our website”? It’s not a simple question to answer. Rule of thumb: every 2 to 3 years Because building websites is our business, we see the trends and make recommendations for rebuilding. In general, you should redesign and rebuild your website every 2 – 3 years. It’s often tough to get around to working on your own projects i.e. the shoemaker has no shoes, and we understand this even with our own website. However, with a website being a key part of most businesses – for marketing, operations and communication – …

The WordPress time bomb that may ruin your day

Woman screaming

The call or email goes something like this:  “Help!  I’ve been hacked. My website has been down for over a day now. We are losing business!” We are starting to see what we predict will be a very bad trend that will affect a large number of the organizations that are buying WordPress websites. And those organizations have no idea …. until it’s too late. It’s not unusual for the average web designer to buy WordPress themes, customize them, and put them on cheap hosting. Everyone is proud of the new website.  It looks great. Your organization puts out an announcement, everyone compliments your …

Website Renovation: Landscaping Site Before and After

Brooktrail screenshot after

Have you ever seen those home makeover shows?  The ones that take a dated house and transform it? The lesson they teach is that you don’t need to build a home from scratch to improve your surroundings. Before Sometimes, all a website needs is a bit of a facelift to breathe new life in to it. A client had a simple website that was over 5 years old and showing its age. And, knowing Google will start to penalize rankings for websites that aren’t mobile friendly, it was a great time for a quick website renovation! After A mobile-friendly (responsive) …

Google Wants your Website to be Mobile Friendly

Responsive site on iPhone

One of the biggest changes in the last few years has been the increase in the use of mobile device use. Your google analytics can show you how much traffic is coming to your website through mobile device searches! Google wants everyones website to be “mobile friendly”.  How much? They say if your website is not mobile friendly, starting April they will penalize your website on their search engine when people visit your website from a mobile device. (Google article here) So, although your website can be seen on mobile devices, it may not mobile friendly in Google’s definition. So …

Fix mobile usability issues found on…

Do you have Google’s Webmaster Tools installed on your website? If you do and if your current website isn’t mobile friendly, Google is starting to send out notices with the words Fix mobile usability issues found on… suggesting you fix the issues. The notice will go something like this: “Google systems have tested 57 pages from your site and found that 100% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these 57 pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore …