Welcome to the buzzing world of digital presence, where your website is like your digital handshake. At Brian Hoff Web Design & Digital Marketing, we’re all about nailing that first impression with top-notch responsive web design. So, let’s chat about why this is a big deal for your business, especially if you’re around New Jersey.
What’s Responsive Web Design Anyway?
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is like having a magic wand that makes your website look awesome on any gadget – from a giant desktop screen to the smartphone in your pocket. It’s all about making sure your visitors get a smooth ride, no matter how they swing by your site.
If you’re on the hunt for a web design company in New Jersey or around, you’ve got some thinking to do. It’s not just about finding someone who can make your website look good – it’s about finding the right fit for your unique business. Let’s break it down, shall we?
Why User Experience (UX) is a Big Deal
First things first: UX is king. A clunky, hard-to-navigate website? Big no-no. We at Brian Hoff Web Design & Digital Marketing live by this rule. Take Sarah’s local boutique, for example. Once we spruced up her website with a UX-focused redesign, her customers loved sticking around longer, and her site stats soared.
Creating a high-quality, attractive website is a process that takes time and skill. The best web designers in the world have years of experience, and they share one thing in common – they prioritize constant learning as a way to keep up with a rapidly evolving and changing industry.
As the digital landscape changes, so do the best web design principles and practices. Industry standards are constantly evolving, and things that were important in the past just aren’t relevant anymore.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a short collection of things you need to know about web design, the user experience (UX), and how the two are related.
Why Is it Important to Prioritize the User Experience?
The UX is one of the most important considerations when designing a new website. If your site isn’t user friendly, people simply won’t want to visit it, and you will see high bounce rates and negative performance stats.
By prioritising the UX, it becomes increasingly easy to encourage visitors to stay and browse your website. At the end of the day, this should be your main goal. Not only will it result in more leads and a higher conversion rate, but things like high visitor retention times and low bounce rates are positively correlated with improved search engine rankings.
For web designers in Australia who wish to take their skills and use them to create a business, several decisions must be made as part of that process. Perhaps the most important, and the one that will define the legal status of their web design business, is what business structure they will use.
The choice will most likely be one of three legal business structures: sole trader, partnership, or company. Each has different characteristics and essential variations in its legal status, which web designers should be aware of. To that end, we have outlined the details of all three below.
Becoming a sole trader is the simplest business structure of the three options. Often referred to as sole proprietor, to become a sole trader, you must first obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN). Next, you need to register the name of your business, which can be your name or a business name that has not been previously used by another business.
Although having a separate bank account from your personal statement is not required, it is highly recommended as it allows you to track your business’s income and outgoings, especially when it comes time to finalize your accounts for tax purposes. Again, although not mandatory, you should also take out business insurance.
The reason for that previous suggestion is that as a sole trader, you are personally responsible for the unlimited liabilities of your business, including debts, meaning your personal assets could be at risk. Also, if someone takes legal action, it is you who the subject to any penalties, and again is where insurance can protect you.
One aspect of web design that all website designers and website creators need to be aware of, is changing trends. As each year, and even each season passes, advances in technology, software, web design tools and more importantly, the trends with regards to what internet users expect and want to see in a website, mean that what might have been deemed a great web design a few months ago, might not be seen as quite as great today.
From the outset, we have to emphasise that what we are talking about here is not simply adding every single new web design trend to any new website that is being created. Not only would that be technically impossible, but it would also produce a website that did not function, and would almost certainly be regarded by visitors as a train wreck.
Instead, what any new website design should have are the latest technologies and design elements that are required to make the website the best it can be. The adage ‘simple is best’ certainly applies to website design so there is no point in adding design elements to a website simply for the reasons that they exist or are seen as the latest fad on website design blogs.
Being able to design a great website, or even to be a business owner able to convey to your web designer what you want your website to achieve, almost certainly requires some knowledge of what web design features are current and popular. However, as with any activity that you might undertake to enhance your business, great website design relies as much on knowing what mistakes to avoid, as it does to know what actions to take.
Sadly, many a website design has proved to be a failure, despite having many positive design elements, because it also included elements that were definitely not needed nor desirable. This tends to happen when everyone is talking about some new web design fad or other short-term trends which might be popular. Whilst some might go on and actually prove to be positive web design features, there are others that are certainly not and definitely to be avoided.
To help you steer clear of those undesirable fads that are currently on the radar, here are 3 you must avoid when planning and designing a new website.
Web Design Fad To Avoid #1: Oversimplification
You will often hear the advice ‘simple is best’ with respect to the website and that rule of thumb is one that should be followed when possible. After all, an overcomplicated website is an immediate red flag to a visitor who will simply click away, thus our desire for simpler designs for websites.
One of the most creative and satisfying roles anyone can have in relation to business and the internet is a website designer. A website designer gives businesses an online presence that allows them to thrive.
To become a website designer requires many attributes so we are going to cover the main ones. However, you might be reading this and thinking ‘I am a business owner, I do not want to become a website designer’. If so, then you should still read on as when you are choosing a website designer for your business’s new website, you will have greater insights into what qualities your website designer should have.
#1: Understanding How The Online World Works
Being able to design a website that is effective requires more than technical skills, important as they are. You also need to have a sound understanding of the environment in which a website is going to operate, which obviously means the internet. Knowing what trends are occurring in how people browse the internet, what types of content are currently popular and other online habits will allow you to include design elements that complement these.
#2: Knowing Website Visual Design Theory
This points to a website designer’s need to know what design elements are, why they work, and how they can be made most effective. This draws upon the visual aspects of design, rather than the technical side, which we will come to. Nevertheless, it will require technical knowledge to be able to produce the visuals within a website, so you should now appreciate that there is a lot of crossovers of skills and knowledge within website design.
When this question gets asked, we actually think that is not the right question to ask. The reason for that is that simply ‘having a blog’ on your website will generate no benefits whatsoever if it is not done correctly.
There are both pros and cons in having a blog on your website, and despite what many business owners think, there is a lot more to a blog than just writing a few paragraphs every now and then. That might be ok for a private blog, but not one that is going to be associated with your business.
The first question that should be asked is ‘What purpose will a blog on your website serve?’. It can have many reasons to exist, and if it is going to be an exceptional blog then it will achieve several of them.
It should provide valuable and useful information that not only can be used by those who read it, but is so good, that they wish to visit your blog again to read more of it. Better than that is if they share your blogs posts by lining to them on their social media accounts.
On that note, it goes without saying that what you write should be as relevant as possible to your business. There no point in writing about your favourite ski resorts in Europe, if you are a local plumber. You’ll also need to add new content to your blog on a regular basis, and if your resources allow, several times a day if possible.
We don’t know why it’s been so long since we linked to The Old Master Himself, but here’s Seth Godin’s five rules for your about page. Thank you, Seth, for stamping out bland business-speak with stock photos.
Has anyone else noticed that all stock photo business people are light-skinned (even the Africans), in their late teens or early twenties, wearing an impossibly expensive suit in a scattered sloppy way like they slept in it, and live in milkworld? “Milkworld,” you know, is that white, shadowless void that’s the background to everything in business websites.