So, securing your website used to be as easy as SSL and now TLS.
But now it’s when we deliver your site as HTTPS as opposed to HTTP.
Well, that’s just another bunch of acronyms. In English, please?
Every Business Needs a Website, Right?
Of course, we are going to say that, aren’t we? We’ll tell you that you need funky business cards, glossy brochures, a nice prospectus, cool flyers, wicked posters, eye-catching bumper stickers, a shiny new website and some SEO and PPC services thrown in to boot, right?
Well, yes. We do all that. And more. We are Clever Marketing.
But we are not going to advise your business to do everything, especially if, in our experience, we can see it’s not an essential for you. Not every business will need brochures and flyers, posters and stickers.
However, every business needs a website, right? (more…)
Web Design Trends. 2017 is an exciting time for the web industry with technology and customer needs moving at pace. Of course, the digital landscape is continually changing so we all need to evolve with it to ensure we remain ahead of the curve. With this in mind, we take a look at the top five web design trends we think you should be looking out for in 2017.
Focusing on content is nothing new, after all, the old adage that content is king is still true. Content is an essential part of the marketing mix and your content marketing strategy enables your company to show they are experts in their field but more importantly drive web traffic. While social sharing, sign-ups and pop-ups remain a key way to drive leads, content will continue to be significant.
Similarly, animation is being used more regularly on websites these days. It’s of particular importance when there’s a need to show meaningful content or demonstrate how to do something. Video is a great way to communicate and it’s easily shareable across platforms such as YouTube. GIFs are also becoming more sophisticated so we anticipate an increase in these over the coming months also. However, don’t overuse GIFs: they are good up to a point but we don’t want to go back to the crazy GIFs of the late 1990s!
With content becoming more refined and ultimately more shareable, it’s likely we’ll see a rise in landing page design. Of course, all websites need a home page but there is a need to provide visitors with pages that are more targeted and best meet their search query. Content marketing is a great way to drive traffic to a website with tailored pages created to increase those conversions, feeding your social media output.
With so many users accessing web content via mobile and smartphones, there’s a need for navigation techniques that provide a good user experience (UX). Gone are the days of complicated navigation with the majority simplifying their content. Keeping navigation to a minimum also helps put the focus back on content, relevant to the visitor’s needs.
Creativity is all about showing a brand’s personality and more imaginative techniques may result in the end of flat designs. Shapes, lines and patterns certainly took off last year and it’s likely we’ll see this trend continue in 2017. Equally, basic heading styles are being replaced with more innovative options like overlapping text and images or bold typography. More experimentation is taking place and some are even going back to basics with simple, straightforward text. There’s also been an increase in illustrations and hand-drawn elements such as icons, fonts and graphics. Again this is bringing a unique look and feel to website content.
With the industry changing at such a quick pace, we cannot wait to see these (and other) web trends develop over the course of 2017. If you’d like to speak to someone about your website design, please contact Paul Mackenzie Ross at Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341 or feel free to fill in our contact form.
The New Year is all about re-evaluating and that means it’s the perfect time to refresh your website. A lot can change in the space of 12 months so it’s a great opportunity to ensure you’re attracting and retaining the right kind of customers.
January is an ideal time to review your website and how it’s performing so it’s in line with your business objectives. Here are our top tips to refresh your website so you can position yourself ahead of the competition. (more…)
Many features go into creating the best landing page design. Once you know who your target audience is, planning what features you need to include on your landing page is very straightforward.
Of course, visitors to your website will vary but your objective is to appeal to the majority of those you want to attract. We all know a landing page must have enticing copy, attention-grabbing imagery and a strong call to action, but what are the essential characteristics you need to incorporate to be head and shoulders above your competition?
When a company visits your website, do they get the same brand experience as they would across your other digital channels? What about offline – is the branding of your brochure or print campaign consistent with your online branding? Brands never want to be predictable but when it comes to marketing strategy, consistency really is essential.
It raises brand awareness giving your company a personality and identity. It reinforces your position in the marketplace, therefore driving authority. It helps attract new customers. An inconsistent message can create confusion and could be seen as a sign a company cannot be trusted. Companies are often time short so how can you ensure brand consistency internally and externally across all touch points all of the time?
The building blocks of a consistent brand identity include messaging, tone of voice and design guidelines. While these must be specific to your company, these are the main elements that should be considered.
A brand message should clearly define your positioning. Think about your logo and rules for using it with or without a tagline too. Consider how it will be applied and if you need different versions (ie; a logo with a transparent background might be a requirement). If your branding agency is designing a new brand identity, consider how it will translate across all touch points. Will one logo suffice or does it need to be scalable?
Brand design is not just about a logo, design guidelines are a fundamental part of the mix. Typically these should include a colour palette, font type and weight, photography and illustration styles as well as other visual elements. Consider how the colour palette will work online and offline, checking colour matches in programmes such as PowerPoint. It’s worthwhile including guidelines for your website (ie; banners, buttons, web fonts) and print (ie; specifications for the most used collateral). Your brand design agency can help with this.
As well as the look and feel, tonal values are just as important. Consider how your tone of voice will be applied on your website and in print but also across your social media channels. Think about the personality of your company, what kind of impression you want to give and how should you communicate. Cover off best practices like grammar, punctuation and spelling with your branding agency as well.
Once your brand guidelines have been finalised by your brand design agency, it’s worthwhile considering a cheat sheet featuring the most used elements too. It’s a great way to have a quick point of reference while ensuring brand consistency. Clear brand guidelines should provide everyone internally with a framework to implement activity across all channels.
If you require help with your brand identity or brand guidelines, feel free to contact us on 020 3146 4341 today.
A well thought through creative brief is where a successful project begins. It builds excitement around a forthcoming project and it’s the best way to inspire your graphic designer or graphic design agency.The outcome is more likely to result in a solution that’s interpreted the way you want it to be and within budget.
The outcome is more likely to result in a solution that’s interpreted the way you want it to be and within budget.
Depending on how well you know your graphic designer or graphic design company, briefings are most effective when conducted face-to-face. The information provided in your written brief forming the basis for discussion.
Regardless of whether you need a logo, a brochure or website design services, often sharing more information in a creative brief is more beneficial than not enough. But what are the essentials?
Here are Clever Marketing’s top 7 tips to get you started.
Imagine your graphic design agency has no knowledge of your business and what you do. Rather than assume what they might know, supply them with everything they need.
Thinking about where you are now, provide an overview of your business and your proposition. Consider the benefits of your products or services and your Unique Selling Points (USPs).
Within the marketplace, outline your positioning, your competitors and how your business is perceived. Depending on the scope of work, a SWOT analysis may also be beneficial.
Outline to your designer or graphic design company what you want to achieve from your project – lead generation, brand awareness or driving traffic may all be factors.
Think about what you want the call to action to be and how you’ll measure effectiveness.
You’ll then be able to set up your Key Performance Indicators to later guage how effective the campaign has been.
Once you know what your goals are, you can consider how to get there. What do you believe the scope of work is ie; a rebrand, collateral or a new website. If you’re unsure of all the elements, your graphic designer or design agency can help you. However, do outline exactly what you think needs to be done. It might be a 24-page brochure in full colour with an online version for your website for example.
Think about print quantities and who might do the printing – can your graphic designer or design agency organise this for you. Consider whether more than one version is required. For websites, think about the customer experience and how quickly visitors can get to the information they require. Consider the journey you want to take them on and how you’ll keep them there.
Think about your audience and what types of people you would most like to talk to.
Describe what they’re like professionally and personally including specific socio-economic classifications where relevant.
Does this audience know your business already or are they prospective clients?
Is there a need to design more than one version or create a separate page on a website?
Think about what will appeal to your target audience and why they should believe what you’re saying.
Before a new project commences, a budget must be agreed with your graphic design agency. The estimate should provide a detailed understanding of what’s included for the duration of the project. Payment terms should be agreed before work starts. Should the brief change once work has begun, additional costs can be incurred.
This is why it’s important to get the brief right from the outset. If printing is a requirement, this should be included in your budget along with any other extras like envelopes. For websites, consider how you’ll drive traffic to your new site. Do you require SEO services or social media support for example?
Think about the messaging, style and copy for the task in hand. What look and feel are you going for? Can you draft any outline copy? Take into account colours and fonts as well as examples of what you do and don’t like. Any mandatories and constraints should also feature.
Share your brand guidelines if you have them to maintain brand consistency. Always supply your logo as well as images you’d like to feature unless these are being sourced. Consider too the tone of voice that should be used to identify with your target audience. Existing collateral can be referred to as a style guide. For websites, also take into account the keywords you need to include.
Realistic timings are essential before commencement of any project. A timeline should be drawn up which include key stages from briefing to delivery. Actions should include who has responsibility for what and by when. Where the requirement includes printed collateral, print lead times should also be incorporated. The same applies to any internal sign off procedures.
Although this might sound like it’s a lot to think about, you will know much of it already. After all, you know your business better than anyone else. But by sticking to these steps, briefing your graphic design agency will be far more effective!
Briefing your graphic design agency is a really important starting point to every project, so getting it right from the beginning is key to a smooth and successful campaign. Once you’ve got your brief in place, give us a call on 020 3146 4341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss your next venture.
When it comes to designing or indeed re-designing your website, it’s easy to focus on the aesthetics. However there are a host of things to consider before forging ahead with your web design strategy – there’s the domain name, web hosting and technology to take into account with functionality, user experience and mobile friendliness just as important.
Clever Marketing takes a look at what to consider before undertaking a website design.
A domain name should reflect your brand and if it’s easy to spell your website has a higher chance of being discovered in search results too. Ultimately if prospective clients can find your website online, you’re more likely to generate new business.
On the technical side, think about the type of content management system you require. Also, will your website design be media-rich and require regular updates? Think about expertise and resource too, if this is available internally or whether you require a web design agency (Who can also do all your digital marketing too).
Also consider what you need from your hosting partner in the way of technical support, back ups and website security.
The objectives of your website design must align with your audience.
Think about the kind of visitors you want to attract and what makes you stand out from your competitors. Conduct a website review to understand the navigation and design of your competitors’ sites.
Also, note down any ideas and what these companies are doing that’s particularly interesting or innovative. This will help you understand how you compare and what you need to do to make your business website design really stand out.
When a prospective client lands on your website, it’s crucial the information they require is easy to locate. Consider how visitors will interact with your website and what the user journey might be.
How will they get back from each page, can they get home and are social media channels visible?
Keep the structure of your navigation simple and accessible from the top of the page. Remember to include a search box and call to action with contact details.
With more and more users accessing websites from tablets, smartphones and mobile devices, it’s essential your website design is mobile friendly.
Google now penalises websites with low search rankings that are not mobile-friendly too (See the article 54 days to be mobile friendly)
With a responsive website design, the content is automatically resized to fit the dimensions of a device. This also ensures you provide visitors with a consistent experience regardless of how they’re accessing your website.
An eye-catching website design that’s user-friendly is most likely to provide a positive user experience. Visitors need to focus on the content without being distracted by unnecessary graphics. Keep it simple by not using too many colours and keep the typeface consistent so it’s easy to read. Think about how you’re going to draw visitors in so they see the most important information.
While you’re considering the design, take into account the content requirements for each page. Credibility goes a long way so be concise and honest about what you do too. Make sure you think about how you can keep the site fresh with new content.
When it comes down to it, your website design must be created with your end user in mind. Consider the budget and resource required before starting a website design project, creating a timeline with realistic deadlines for each stage.
Websites are continually evolving so don’t forget it’s an ongoing process.
Considering a new website build? Get in touch with Clever Marketing, Woking’s premier digital marketing agency, today and see how we can help you with our web design service.
If you believed everything you read on the internet, you’d think that mobile phones are taking over the world.
In a way, though, they are – last year for the first time mobile traffic exceeded desktop traffic, reflecting the momentous shift that’s been happening in consumer browsing habits for some time now. Namely that we now use our mobiles for everything. Checking social media, browsing the news, shopping – our mobiles are never out of our hands.
And this is why brands with mobile optimised or responsive websites have been enjoying the spoils of higher traffic and increased conversion. A lot of companies are trailing behind when it comes to making their website pleasant and easy to use on mobile. Where does your website fall on the spectrum?
To help you make boost your mobile conversion rates, here are five ways to improve your mobile website.
First things first; is your website responsive, or do you have a mobile optimised version? If the answer to both of these questions is no, then don’t read the rest of this blogpost and get yourself a responsive website!
If you need help checking to see if your website is mobile friendly, visit Google’s Mobile-friendly test and enter the URL of the web page you need to test.
If you’re still relying on the desktop version of your site to carry you through, your conversions are likely to be suffering. The standard of mobile websites is so high these days that consumers have little to no patience with pinching, scrolling and squinting in order to just read content or perform an action. If your website acts this way, it’s likely to be slow to load and will also make you appear dated and old-fashioned in comparison to competitors.
We all have pretty high standards when it comes to mobile browsing these days, and will quickly lose interest and move on to something better if any process becomes too difficult or takes too long (our attention span is only getting shorter – we can only spend a few seconds on any one webpage now without giving up). Consider one click ordering and guest checkout options to encourage conversion.
Consumers will also be put off by payment forms which are too long. Keep questions rudimentary and also consider features such as a postcode finder and numerical calendar to make things as user-friendly as possible.
Put simply, you have a lot less space on a mobile screen than you do on a desktop, or even a tablet. There’s less room for distractions, such as pop-up ads or external links. Padding out your content with too many added extras will make your pages look cluttered and visually unappealing to a consumer.
In addition, if they’re too busy being distracted by ads and banners then they’re less likely to be doing that one thing you’ve brought them to your website to do: convert. Keep your mobile webpages as clean and simple as possible and only prioritise the most relevant content in order to see the highest conversion rates.
Are you noticing a theme emerging here? To be successful on mobile, you basically need to serve up a cleaner, more streamlined and simplified version of your website.
For starters, your navigation menu should be collapsed to allow a user to expand it and explore their options with one tap. Secondly, present them with only the most essential layers of navigation to prevent confusion and the possibility that they’ll get lost in your website and leave out of frustration. Bring your product pages to the forefront and reduce the number of clicks it takes them to reach the checkout.
We’ll say it again – mobile screens are (comparatively) small! To make sure a user doesn’t miss anything, (remember, they’re likely to be commuting, watching TV or chatting away to a friend at the same time) make your calls to action as big and as inviting as possible.
Don’t be afraid to use large or colourful buttons to draw attention. There’s a dual reasoning behind making your calls to action even more prominent than on desktop – users also need to be able to click them easily with one tap. Too small, and we’re back to that pinching and scrolling issue which leads to nothing but frustration – and a failed conversion.