You’re browsing the web, looking for some specific information and you come across a website which, from the preview in your search results, looks fairly promising. But when you open the page, the first thing you see is a large glittery pink hit counter on a dark background. All the text is in Comic Sans and the title of the website is in a scrolling marquee at the top. You’ll probably think one of two things: Either you’ve mysteriously traveled back in time to 2001, or this page is very obsolete. If you’re looking for a well informed and up to date source, you’ll probably go straight back to the search results before even reading the text or checking to see if you can find a recent date posted.
Whether or not they’re always accurate, using cues from our environment to draw conclusions saves us a lot of time. This means that when you’re designing your own website, whether from a template or from scratch, it’s important to give off the right impression. You want it to be clear at first glance that your site is sophisticated and cutting edge, even if your viewers can’t quite put their finger on where they got the idea.
To help you accomplish this, we’ve gathered a few of the trends that you should be aware of and see if you can implement when you set up your site. Don’t forget, the most important thing is that your site has well organized useful information but these extras can’t hurt.
First of all, make sure that your site will be easy to view on a mobile device. Often, this means using responsive layouts: making sure that your site can recognize and adapt to whatever device is displaying it. However, if you’re not a professional or are using a DIY design tool, this may not be an option. Instead, just make sure that your layout is as clean as possible. Neither your text nor graphics should be too small and fiddly, since small and fiddly are hard to see on a small smartphone screen. Even visitors who are using large desktop monitors will recognize the style and will know that you’re keeping up with the times.
In order to make a simple layout more efficient, many sites are getting creative with their navigation. Rather than using the more common drop down or list type menu, considering displaying different pages of your site in a slideshow style, or as multiple tabs.
Another trend that jives well with the minimalistic style and alternative navigations, is a new tendency to use large picture backgrounds. Instead of many small graphics illustrating different sections of text, a single large picture is used as the background and the content overlays it. A single large picture lets you make a powerful first impression on a homepage or landing page.
If you’re looking for something a little bit less subtle, let us remind you of social media badges. Any site that is active on social media has to be constantly updated with new content to be shared. That’s why putting badges to your social media accounts on your site can be a very good sign for new users.
Of course, the best way to get new traffic using social media badges is to actually use them. After all, your new site is going to be so hip and trendy, it’ll be worth spreading the word.
You may remember when a little less than a year ago, Google began offering free web hosting for small businesses. Google, who seem to be aiming for world domination, claimed to be all about the little guy. They may have been right in saying that small businesses needed a web presence if they were going to be able to compete with bigger players in their industries. And so Google tried to help out those mom-and-pop enterprises by offering free hosting and help with web design to the least tech-savvy business owners.
This wasn’t the beginning of a revolution, nor did it sweep up all the remaining hold outs. Small retailers and other businesses are still trickling onto the internet. And even for those who have been here for awhile, the spread of mobile internet access means that they have to continue learning how to make their web presence effective. And this all comes down to web design. Because the chances are good that small businesses also have small budgets, many of them turn to DIY web design programs. These can save you a ton of money and many provide beautifully designed templates and color schemes that mean you don’t have to be a professional designer to make your site look good. On the other hand, as with anything DIY, there’s nobody there to stop you from messing things up badly.
So before the holiday shopping begins, we thought we’d remind the small retailers out there of a few tips.
First of all, make it clear. That means that navigation should be simple and easy and each page should have a call to action making it obvious what the next step should be. Otherwise, the next step may be leaving your site. Make sure that you don’t play around with all of the web design programs layout tools at once or you’ll risk cluttering up your page. Remember the KISS system.
Otherwise, it’s all about the content, which a DIY web design program can’t help you with. The most important thing is making sure that your customers have a reason to come to your site: Whether it’s to check out the cool new products you’ve just gotten in or to read a new article in your blog. There’s only so far that web design can take you, it’s up to you to do the rest.
There are plenty of services out there that can help you to create your own website even if you’re not an expert programmer. They use simple drag-and-drop tools and have plug-ins to set up so that you can add all sorts of interesting features to your site automatically. One thing most of them won’t help you with, is going mobile.
As more and more people start using smartphones and tablets to access the internet throughout the day, it’s important for your site to keep up. These users are less likely to be just browsing and more likely to be looking specifically for the information you’ve got and so your goal should be to make that information easy to find.
However, setting up an ideal mobile site is a lot of work that requires a completely different design than the one you may already have laid out. If you’re using a DIY web design service then chances are good that it’s because you want to do things quickly and easily and so creating a mobile site isn’t really an option.
Instead, there are ways to make your regular website friendlier to mobile users and many of them will also help your desktop users. First of all, keep your content brief. The longer the blocks of text, the more people will have to scroll around to find it all if they’re using a screen that is only a few inches across. Instead, use short sentences in list form. Ideally with bullet points which can help to graphically organize your message.
Don’t be afraid of open space. Leaving white space around each section of text makes it easier to follow and harder for your users to accidentally click on buttons they didn’t mean to click on. It is harder to judge where you’re clicking when you’re using your finger instead of a tiny curser. In fact, try to avoid text links altogether. Instead, make buttons large and clear and well differentiated from other elements of your design. On the other hand, the fewer additional images you add, the better. These not only clutter your page but can make it load more slowly and on-the-go users are often impatient.
As you choose which web designer to use to design your new site, you may automatically model yourself after the websites that you’re most familiar with. Most sites use some sort of hierarchy on content: Either a menu broken down into topics and subtopics or a list organized chronologically (think Facebook or twitter) or by relevance (like a search results page). But starting with Pinterest, a new social media site, that is slowly changing.
Pinterest lets users create a bulletin-board-style screen, with blocks of content arranged in a grid across the page. Underneath each image is space to “like,” “repin” or comment and users can rearrange the pictures across the space of the board. This allows users to compare images side by side and get feedback on them. It works more like a museum, allowing viewers to browse the board for what they find interesting, rather than checking back over time until the most recent post is the one to catch their attention.
According to Mashable, this layout is becoming a popular trend. More and more sites are beginning to use it and not only for social media sharing. It’s a great way to display products and ideas, especially when you are trying to catch the attention of new users who may be browsing for the first time, rather than looking for specific information that they already know is there. Designers say that requests to “make it look like Pinterest” are becoming common.
Of course, don’t let yourself be limited by trends in web design and make sure that your site presents your content in the way that matches it best. However, don’t forget to get some inspiration. If it’s not Pinterest, it may be somewhere else. After you’ve done that and gotten an idea of how you site will best express what you want it to, you’ll have some guidelines for choosing the web design program that’s right for you. Then it’s the time to check out some web design reviews, pick one, and get started!
Today, every business needs a website. But if you’re a small business owner just starting out, hiring a web designer may not be an option. Fortunately, there are plenty of programs out there that offer simple, easy to use web design software that help you do it yourself. You don’t even have to be particularly artistic because they’ll provide you with templates to help you get started.
However, these templates are just the beginning and many of these programs give you a lot of flexibility. You want your website to be the best it can be, which means knowing how to take advantage of that. It all comes down to making your website user-friendly. That means that it should be nice to look at and easy to navigate.
We’ve collected the most basic tips from web-designers in cyber world to help you get the most from your site and avoid the mistakes that even the best web design software won’t stop you from making.
First of all, make sure that the menu is available and clearly visible on every page. The more links are accessible from any given page the more people are likely to click on them. Of course, be careful not to overwhelm the user and always keep things organized.
Some design programs have a lot of really neat tools and it can be tempting to try them all out at once. Resist the temptation. Keep in mind that the most readable text is still old fashioned black on white. The users are on your site because they want to know what you have to say. They don’t need to be distracted by too much visual stuff going on.
This brings us to the topic of images. Sure, sure, a picture is worth a thousand words. And a few small icons can add color to your site and make it easier to navigate but don’t go overboard. Make sure that whatever pictures you do add are consistent with the feel of the site. Try to stick to what will be useful and add to the content not just decorate it. Too many pictures can make a page take longer to load and the last thing you want is for potential users to lose patience before they’ve even seen your site.
A lot of web design programs offer some sort of professional design advice in addition to the do-it-yourself software. They also have tips and design guides to help you make the most of the tools they provide.
Designing your own site can be a lot of fun and its worth making sure that your users enjoy it as much as you do!
If you’ve seen the Joomla add-on on the side of your web hosting control but aren’t quite sure what it is, you’ve come to the right place. Joomla is an award-winning content management system (CMS) that enables users to manage content, photos, videos and any other type of web content imaginable. Joomla may sound a bit less serious than WordPress but the word is actually derived from the Swahili ‘Jumla’, meaning ‘all together’. A quick look into Joomla’s offerings, and you’ll see that this phrase truly encompasses exactly what Joomla is.
The advantages of Joomla may not be obvious to new users, but they are worth reviewing.
- Joomla is free and works well with shared web hosting packages, and this combination makes it possible to build powerhouse websites with an extremely reasonable operating budget.
- Joomla is ideal for businesses, non-profits and multi-media sites. This content management system is especially suited to sites hosting forums, newsrooms and other user-generated content.
- With over 6,000 extensions to choose from, Joomla makes it possible for websites to perform nearly any web-based action.
- Joomla is an open design platform that can be used by any design company, so if you use Joomla you won’t be obligated to stay with your web designer if the relationship sours or your budget changes over time.
- URLs created using Joomla don’t have any query strings, which makes them SEO friendly.
- Once installed, Joomla is relatively easy to maintain.
- It is easy to modify Joomla’s core system to reflect your specific needs and preferences.
On the other hand, the disadvantages of Joomla are often touted by nay-sayers are reasons to choose an alternate CMS. If you’re considering Joomla, you should be aware of the disadvantages so that you can make an informed decision on your own.
- Joomla is slightly more difficult to install and setup than other content management systems (such as WordPress), and may require professional assistance.
- Users looking for a straightforward blog site may still prefer the simplicity of WordPress over the more complex offerings of Joomla.
- Many users complain that Joomla has difficulty accommodating sites that receive more than 50,000 users per day.
- Users often complain that Joomla sites run more slowly than sites built with other content management systems.
Although it may be impossible to find a CMS that is entirely perfect, Joomla seems to come pretty close. If you’re starting a blog, you may still be better off with WordPress, but if you have your sites set on popular site or a multimedia presentation, Joomla may very well be a good option for you. Just make sure that you’re familiar enough with the technical aspects of building a website so that you’ll be able to maximize the building process. If not, you may want to hire someone to help and to teach you how to proceed independently. With a bit of technical know-how, you should have no trouble maintaining a successful Joomla website.
Are you a web designer or webmaster looking for a bit of extra revenue? Actually…aren’t we all looking for a bit of extra income? If you’re a web designer or webmaster, reseller hosting may be just what you’re looking for. Reseller hosting is an arrangement in which you purchase a large web hosting package from the web host of your choice, and you break down the storage, bandwidth and disk space into smaller chunks which can be sold to your clients. And, while reseller hosting may sound like a get-rich quick scheme, it isn’t – you’ll need a bit of technical knowledge and the ability to convince your clients that hosting through your company is a savvy decision. Read on to determine if reseller hosting is the logical next step for your small business.
Reseller Hosting for Webmasters
If you’re in the business of building websites, you’ve probably found that after the initial building of the site, a client becomes merely a sporadic source of income instead of a constant source of work. Reseller hosting will keep you connected to each client on a regular basis and will provide you with residual income long after the initial project is complete. Although your income from reseller hosting client won’t be significant, the combination of a few sales of hosting packages will provide noticeable results on your overall income.
In addition, if you’re a savvy businessperson, you’ll be able to sell parts of the web hosting account separately to your clients. Many of your clients, especially those who aren’t specifically web savvy, will be willing to pay you for reports that come standard with most web hosting packages, because it will prevent them from having to access the reports and analyze the data independently. Likewise, you can make even more money by selling additional site security packages, domain names or other add-ons with each web hosting package.
Reseller Hosting for Web Designers
As a web designer, you probably know about the basics of building a website, even if you’re not an expert webmaster. By taking your knowledge of what it takes to build a website, you’ll be able to explain to your clients why they need hosting services, and why buying them from you will be easier than buying a web hosting package directly from the hosting company. While you probably won’t be using the host directly, you can take advantage of this arrangement by having reselling hosting services that can directly benefit you, such as those with a site builder that you can use to easily edit your pages.
Choosing a Web Host for Resale
Many web hosts offer reseller programs that can enable you to make money easily while providing your clients with quality web hosting. Before you make a deal with a specific host, consider the pricing and packages that they offer as well as your projected needs. If for any reason you’re not able to sell part of the package, you’ll want to minimize your loss. On the other hand, if you’re able to sell more than you’d originally planned, you’ll want to be working with a web host that will be flexible enough to meet your needs.
Good luck with this new part of your business!
A web design service is a web design service…or is it? Wix, a relatively new do it yourself web design service, aims to prove that not all web design services are created equal. And while the service’s drag and drop site builder is great, one could argue that it’s not substantially different than other drag and drop editors. Wix’s extras, however, are what truly set this company apart. If you’re a smart consumer, you won’t purchase a web design service because of its extras alone…but if you’re savvy, you’ll realize that the addition of these perks to a rather sophisticated site builder make Wix a noble competitor in the running to become the best do it yourself web design service.
What makes Wix stand apart is that it looks like a web design company but acts like a web hosting provider. While hosting services such as iPage and Just Host offer free advertising credits, few (if any) web design services offer similar credits…until now. As a new partner of Network Solutions, Wix is now offering $50 in Facebook ad credits and $75 in Google AdWords credits. In addition, Network Solutions will be hosting any site created by Wix for free for one year.
Another benefit of the Wix premium plan is integration with Google Analytics, a feature that is not only rare in the world of web design, but is not especially common in most web hosting packages either. Google Analytics is a program designed and supported by Google that allows site owners to see who is coming to their site(s), where their visitors are coming from and what pages are getting the most traffic. It is a great way to learn about your user behavior so that you can maximize the success of your site. And, while it may be a free tool, having it integrated into the Wix package (and having support available to help) provides a dramatic advantage.
A final perk of Wix is that it makes it incredibly easy to create a Flash website. While many other web design services support Flash files or offer Flash templates, none offer the customization abilities that Wix offers. Although this is not a specifically new offering, it’s important to realize that if you want to create a Flash site Wix will offer unparalleled options.
There’s no uniform do it yourself web design service that will serve the needs of every webmaster or business owner. I am merely suggesting that if you’re looking for a reason to choose one from a handful of do it yourself web design companies it’s worth looking beyond the standard offerings to see how each service enhances their service. Because after all, being a smart consumer is about getting the best bang for your buck with a product or service that works – and Wix is clearly giving other web design companies a run for your money.
In these days of tight budgets and constant expenses, it’s normal to want to find free alternatives to paid services. Web hosting is one area in which there are several respectable free options – if you’re willing to compromise on certain aspects of your website. The question becomes, however, when it is necessary to pay for web hosting services and when is free hosting a viable option? Here are some things to consider when making this important decision.
- Do you want a custom domain? Many free hosting services require you to take their domain name onto yours. In other words, instead of having mysite.com, you’d have mysite.yolasite.com if you’re using Yola’s free hosting service and a similar extension if you’re using the free services offered by Wix, Network Solutions or one of the other dozens of free hosting providers available.
- Do you want an ad-free website? Many free websites impose placement of advertising on websites built through their platform. This may not bother you if you’re starting a family blog (or even a personal blog) or are just using the website to test out the features of the web host before committing. If you’re looking to create a professional web presence, however, you may not want irrelevant ads cluttering the design of your site.
- Do you need significant storage space or bandwidth? If you’re planning on hosting a site that contains video or audio files, you may need more storage space or bandwidth than most free web hosting service offer. Likewise, if you’re planning on having heavy traffic to your site or hosting a database for your site, you’ll need a significant amount of storage. Many free web hosting providers offer only 5-10 MB of storage, which is insufficient for sites that are more than just a few pages of text. If you’re looking to post your artistic portfolio, to sell items through a product database or to stream videos directly from your site, you may want to pay for a web hosting service such as FatCow which offers unlimited storage for a very reasonable monthly fee.
- Do you want a completely custom design? If you’re choosing free hosting services through a web design company that offers a free package you’ll likely be limited to specific design options instead of having the flexibility to choose from the full array of options. If you’re choosing a free hosting option through a hosting provider such as i6Networks you’ll probably have full customization abilities – if you have the technical prowess to design and build your own site (and if you don’t, you’ll need to pay a significant sum for this service).
- Do you plan to expand the scope of your site in the near future? If so, you’ll need to consider whether you’ll eventually outgrow your free hosting plan, and the expense that will be involved in transferring it to another web host, domain name or design. These fees can add up – so if you think you’ll need to pay them soon, you may end up saving more money by paying for web hosting straight from the outset.
- Do you want a search-engine-friendly site? Many free websites are not particularly search-engine-friendly and will not assist you in achieving natural web traffic. If you’re looking to expand your audience through search engines, you may want to consider a paid web hosting service that is located in your country so that you can better target the audience you’re looking for.
Although free stuff always sounds appealing, when it comes to free hosting it’s important to remember that saving money now may not actually save you money in the long run. However, the true benefit of using a free hosting package is because it allows you to test out the hosting service (and web design service when relevant) to see if you like it and whether you want to continue using this service in the long run.