Category Archives: Web Design

WordPress Page Loading Speeds and Google Search

Building a blog site recently gave me this opportunity. After constructing a draft blog site using WordPress, I took the time to add it to my Google “Webmaster Toolbox” portfolio to see how Google perceived these pages from a loading speed perspective as opposed to my previously built custom websites and I was startled to see the results. First off, the Google search engine likes to see pages load in around 250 milliseconds or better. These custom sites built previously had no issues with this speed requirement. My primary one loaded on average at 175 milliseconds per page and the second at 186 milliseconds per page respectively.

Then I looked at the recently created WordPress blog site and it came in at a whopping 1,950 millisecond average load speed per page. This would be a totally unacceptable page load speed in Google’s eyes and this site would obviously be penalized in their search engine rankings as a result. Not to mention, people would often just give up waiting for the page to render and would go elsewhere instead, costing the site owner a potential sale. A real shame after doing the marketing work to bring them to your site in the first place.

This got me thinking about why this problem was occurring as I definitely want to improve on these averages with the WordPress site recently constructed so I went to an online tool that one can use to test your webpage load speeds and get some detailed analysis as to what is causing the slowness on the site’s pages. This tool by the way is provided by a company called Pingdom Tools who can be found on the Internet.

After researching my page load issues using the tool, I realized that my approximate 8-10 second load speeds were being caused by excessive imbedded JavaScript callouts to 3rd party plugins while my page was trying to load and thus, the loading of this external code into my page while the page itself was trying to load; was bringing my page load performance to its knees.

This led me to the Google Developers site to look for solutions to these problems and it actually did not surprise me to learn that the primary culprit causing the slowness of my page loading was that my pages were using a lot of “WordPress” plugins. In fact, just having fun with WordPress plugins, I had used them for everything and had as a result, activated about 26 of them on my site to provide all the features I wanted to have on my blog site pages – and several of these were activated to work with a WordPress “Theme” that I had purchased from a 3rd party vendor. The Google Developer site went on to say and I will directly quote a couple excerpts from their site here:

“Avoid Plugins: Plugins help the browser process special types of web content, such as Flash, Silverlight, and Java. Most mobile devices do not support plugins, and plugins are a leading cause of hangs, crashes, and security incidents in browsers that provide support. Due to these concerns, many desktop browsers restrict plugins.” They go on to say that “Most content that once required plugins can now be created using native web technologies, including content requiring first-class support for audio and video, advanced graphics, and presentation effects, network connections, local storage and file access.” Using these web platform features will help ensure that your rich content can be accessed on all devices.”

WordPress Page Loading Speeds Where Plugins

This strategy sound in business concept as it allows WordPress users to easily and quickly create some very nice looking websites where they can add website functionality and features even if they do not have very good coding skills, is still however, flawed architecturally as these plugins are enabled through the use of JavaScript callouts which need to pull in the full plug-in code for each 3rd party widget being used on a particular web-page each time that web page is loaded. This causes two things to occur on each page load that significantly reduces the speed of page loading:

First, you are not just loading the native programming logic to the web page that you built and that resides on your server only. You are forced to callout out to potentially dozens of external locations both on your server and on 3rd party servers in order to fully render your web-page which causes lag-time issues and time delays in loading the page.

Second, when you load the plugin, you have to load it as written by the 3rd party which often means that you are loading code that has a number of configurable options that you are note even using for the method in which you are using the plugin. This is a lot of extra programming code being loaded with each page rendering that you don’t need and it tends to make your web-page very “fat”, often putting the page into the 2-4 megabytes of code loading ranges whereas most custom coded pages are loading at under one megabyte of code. The fatness of these pages also impacts negatively on the speed of the web page rendering.
Google and browser manufacturers have already begun to penalize website owners for the use of JavaScript callouts on websites through certain strategies of their own. Browser manufacturers such as Chrome and Firefox for example, are limiting the enabling of some plugins on their platforms, mobile devices in most cases simply won’t run them, and Google penalizes you by not letting your site be found easily through their search engine. I tested the mobile device rejection of plugins with the draft WordPress site I had created by trying to load the page on my cellphone. After waiting over 40 seconds for the page to load, the device just rejected the load entirely, leaving me in limbo looking at a blank screen. This is why it is recommended to limit your use of plugins and eliminate them from your site over time if you can. Move to native coding strategies on you website wherever possible.

Creating Responsive Web Designs

When designing websites, we keep in mind the specifications required for mobile phones, tablets, laptops but we totally forget about the giant-sized desktop screens. Even though we like to think these giant-sized desktops have become obsolete, such is not the case.

There still exists many such people who rely on the bigger screens for website viewing but face problems for the not-so-developed responsive web design versions for desktops. Some of the issues are highlighted below:

Background images designed for smaller screens tend to leave extra space
Font size becomes tiny and can’t be read easily.
The body text columns are too wide making it tough to read.
Full-screen background problem
These and many other problems arise because developers and designers overlook the need for bigger resolution responsive web designing or perhaps concentrate more on designing websites to fit the smaller screens.

Background-image problem

The only solution for background-image problems to use a big full-screen image preferably pixelate or having no focal point along with a stylish font overlay and large sized radio buttons. But the problem is image distortion. Desktop screens come in varying resolutions ranging from 800*600 to 2560*1440 and even bigger. So while one keeps increasing image size, it may look appealing up to a specific resolution, but when it starts becoming pixelate and loses focal points, it’s advisable to adopt a better solution. So instead of increasing image size, why not utilize the extra space in some innovative way and enhance user experience on desktops?

Optimal readability experience

For optimum reading, the usual number of characters added per line can be from 65 to 75. Anything wider than that becomes difficult to read. One idea is to use centrally divided responsive web design layouts and column layouts. With the help of this, developers succeed in creating designs that keep the users glued to the site hungry to read more.

Centrally divided responsive web design layouts

A responsive web design layout having web pages vertically divided into two halves can solve the problem of extra space. Both the halves have different content in different color making the page interesting and intriguing. The design also helps users to identify their area of interest and sometimes the two halves can be scrolled independently or one maybe fixed and the other scrollable. It successfully utilizes the extra space in best way possible, adding more information and enhancing user experience on large desktops.

Conclusion

Developers must pay equal attention in creating responsive web designs for both mobile phones and larger desktops because even if it might seem that the whole world is using mobiles, it isn’t true.The role of designers and developers is to create unique responsive web design layouts that can give users impressive experiences irrespective of their choice of screen resolution.

Hiring Professional Web Design Companies

Planned and Strategic Approach

The professional companies that offer web design services have a well-organized team who is experienced in the practices of dressing your website with a professional look and features. This can be understood as implanting it with a motivation, appropriate messaging and organized arrangement of design and feature elements to assist you in attracting large traffic. Also professional web design companies understand the real value of lead conversion in your business. Therefore, they are skilled in adding the appropriate components which make easier to keep visitors long enough and convert them into valuable customers.

Compatibility with New Technologies

The web designs are often redefined. Today the websites must be flexible enough to become accustomed to these new changing demands and remain relevant in the market. A responsive web, minimalist design, browser-less content is some of the latest terminology that is being connected to Web Design. Companies offering professional web services are familiar with these evolutionary phrases and have the essential skill sets to easily revise your website in order to make it contextual.

The experience and expertise they use to improve your website using appropriate content, design and technology can benefit your business.

Create Quality Content

Content is king. Content is the voice of your business’s website. Therefore, it is very important to have quality and relevant content to draw the attention of your targets. A Specialized Web design Company is familiar with the need of carrying out relevant research for getting aware of your audience and their requirements. Web designing companies leverage their expertise and experience and make use of the right language, format, tone and style to develop relevant and quality content for the right audience.

Developing improper content will eventually result in poor user experience since the audience will be incapable of finding out the necessary information and thus make them move away. Hence, to sustain the interest of audiences, the correctness of content is very important.

Benefit SEO services

A fine design and helpful content are of no practical use if people can’t find you. Efficient SEO practices should be applied for reaping good traffic for your website. Companies offering professional web design services are skilled in creating successful SEO strategies which can assist you in marketing your website effectively. They carry out comprehensive research in recognizing the appropriate keywords and make use of them carefully within your content and get good rankings in the search result pages.

Less time-consuming

Hiring a professional web design company to develop your website can help you save a lot of your precious time, effort and money as well. Skilled professionals with an expert staff carry out all your work. With their experience and expertise, they can help you in achieving your goals and objectives in less time. They also keep updating you about the progress and performance of the website. And they are always there to clear your doubts and queries.

To Conclude

Creating a good looking website is not enough in today’s competitive business world. A technically advanced site with quality content, professional look and effective SEO strategies will help you achieve your goals and objectives.

Best of eCommerce Website Design Services

It also breaks you free from any geographical restrictions and lets even those market be accessed which your business could not earlier. You can in fact target a market as far as the U.S. even without investing a single penny.

In a sense, taking the business on the internet is akin to expanding its capabilities manifold and taking it close to an ever-expanding market to exploit. One simply can’t afford to ignore what can be a real game changer! You however will need a proper tool – a well-designed and technically superior eCommerce website – to make the maximum impact in the digital space. That website or online store or eCommerce store should be developed to take the world your business ethos.

Similarly, your store should have a unique design, something that lets customers relate to your business. An appealing theme often drives more customers to the website and helps convert them into leads. Fast load times is one of important ingredients of your eCommerce website as it boosts conversion rate even without annoying search engines and users. Your website should load in less than three seconds and if it does not, its chances will not be as bright as it should be.

More so, as searches from mobiles and smartphones have already outpaced those from desktops, your online store would gain a lot if it’s optimized for mobile. Every page on the website should have call-to-action to induce customers into buying. Having a secure payment gateway is one of the most important aspects of an eCommerce website. If customers don’t feel their payment to be safe from risks, they may never buy anything from your store or won’t return again even if they had done so once.

Make sure that your store is user-friendly and free from any payment-related risks. Besides, customer reviews are an integral part of an eCommerce store and your store should not be an exception. Having genuine reviews means you are sending out positive message and trying to win trust of the target audience. In overall, you need to leverage the best of eCommerce website design to lace you online store with right set of functions and features.

You should take care to hire only an experienced team of designers and developers to shape your vision into reality. In essence, you have to find from among the best of website designing companies to let your business objectives get realized without any troubles on the way. Without experts, your eCommerce store may not be able to get equipped with competencies and capabilities of desired level.

A Feature-Rich Online Banner Design Tool

The level of competition has grown a lot and any foothold is possible in the market only through sustained yet sophisticated effort. Without marketing the brand across digital media channels, you simply won’t move beyond a point. In a sense, your business needs advertising benefits and that too, on a constant basis.

Similarly, you need to leverage the potential of banner advertising and boost the brand awareness. The task is however easier said than done as banner advertising won’t be that easy to benefit from. It will require you to have charming, attractive and meaningful banner ads being posted across channels on the internet. As the purpose is to catch the attention of target audience, banner ads need to be created in a way to do the required job with ease.

It means, your banner ads won’t serve the purpose beyond a point unless they don’t stand out from the crowd. They have to be more impactful than those posted from competitors as only this can help your business get desired benefits. To get quality banner ads, your business should search and find a feature-rich online banner design tool. Such a tool is often designed to help businesses create banners of choice and get a big support to their marketing goals.

In addition, the tool helps businesses create multiple designs and then choose the one that meets their advertising needs in the most precise way. A good deal of time is also saved as it won’t take long in creating a perfect range of banner ads. Businesses can save a good deal of money as designers are not needed for the task.

A good-quality online design tool is often advanced and quality-driven and assists in creation of awesome designs. As the tool is PHP-coded, it delivers a great deal of responsiveness to those who want to create banner ads. Similarly, it supports multiple browsers and delivers access from any device of choice, be it smartphone, desktop or tablets. From adding texts to arches effects, from uploading images to rotating texts, from adding shapes to clip art, it allows all these features to complement marketing activities in the desired way.

More so, changing of background and saving of designs is also possible with the help of the design software. As a good quality product comes packed with a whole array of themes and templates, businesses can expect to get some great designs to market their brands in a superior way. In a sense, the software is developed in a way to meet modern marketing requirements of brands of any scale of magnitude. Your business can leverage it to reach its target audience and get the messages across in a clear and lucid way.

In overall, your business should not miss out benefiting from the big potential of the online design software. After all, banner ads can be really helpful in realizing marketing goals of varied nature.

Video Games and Choosing a Web Design Agency Have in Common

Making the decision to approach a web design agency is only the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more to choosing one. Think of it like a video game where you (the hero/heroine) have to find the treasure (the perfect web design agency).

Research, Research:

The first thing you need to do is research. You could think of it as choosing between two awesome games, when you can afford only one.

A few years ago there were only a handful of web designers out there. Now, there are hundreds, if not thousands claiming to be excellent web design agencies. Obviously, not all of them are trustworthy, and none can be taken upon face-value. You need to create a list of prospective web designers and web design agencies.

Referrals and Testimonials:

Try referrals – ask around. It’s what you do when you get stuck at a difficult level. You ask your friend how to get through. It’s like Super Mario and the Lava level. It takes ages to get through, but totally worth it in the end.

Similarly, ask your friends or co-workers if they know of any good agencies. You need to be able to verify that the names you are given are truly good ones. Ask for contact information of their former customers. Of course, these can be friends or family pretending to be customers. Make sure that you do a thorough check. You can ask to see samples of their work. This is like going online and checking for tutorials to get through that annoyingly difficult level.

Some would recommend looking for a web design agency which has done work for a public institution, public institutions, apparently, hire only the best.

Ask Questions- Intelligent Ones:

This will arise when you are in a gaming message board. You do not want to interact with amateurs who know nothing. You want the hard-core, die-hard fans to tell you how to succeed in the Legendary level of Halo. You want quick-fix cheat codes.

So, question them; make sure they know their stuff. You do not want to enter into a contract with someone who only claims to know stuff without much in the way of experience. After all, theoretical knowledge is a little different than actual hands-on work experience. Pitch your idea. Ask them for a timeline, a quote and so on. Tell them your expectations. If you seem to be gelling well together, then you’re good to go.

Online message boards can be creepy as heck. You never know who is going to IM you with what proposition. Just like that, if you think there is something shady about the web design agency, then go with your gut and get out while you can.

9 Surprising Reasons Mobile Friendly

Let me ask; is your website mobile ready?

Take a peek inside your Google Analytics and you may be surprised at the number of users viewing your website from mobile devices.

In a recent study, Shopify analyzed data from over 100,000 online stores using their ecommerce software and found that more than 50% of their traffic came from mobile devices.

Ignoring these mobile shoppers is a costly business mistake.

So unless you are ready to say ‘no’ to half your sales, you need to make fully optimizing your website for mobile use a top priority.

Review the items below to make sure your website is properly optimized for mobile use:

1) Speed. Mobile users are on the go and in a hurry. They have an urgent need for information fast. In fact, according to Google, people are 5-times more likely to leave your website if it loads too slowly; the goal is to have your website load in 3 seconds or less.

The Google PageSpeed Tester is a free tool to test your site to see how quickly it loads, and shows your load time for both mobile and desktop viewing. It’s a useful tool that can help you assess if your website needs some work.

If your website is too slow, there are many things you can do to improve the speed of your web pages. For example, you can optimize your images – your web developer can also optimize your HTML, Javascript, and CSS code to compress the file sizes and load times.

2) Simplify navigation. List your most important pages first. Make it easy for users to find what they need on the go.

Often times mobile users are distracted users. Many are multitasking while watching TV, at work, or out running errands, so they need to spot where to go and what to do easily.

Having image buttons or a complex drop-down navigation doesn’t work well for mobile use. Having a wide navigation bar that requires the user to scroll left to right is also a big no no. Either shorten the horizontal mobile navigation to the top 4-5 links or have vertical navigation for smaller devices instead.

3) Easy to spot Calls to Action. Many times mobile users want quick answers to make a decision and take action. You don’t want to make them hunt on the page to order, schedule an appointment, or click to see directions to your store. Make these items clearly visible.

4) Make content short and sweet. Since mobile users are viewing content on smaller screens, it’s important to simplify page copy to include the most important key points. The amount of words you can put “above the fold” without users having to scroll is very few.

Think about what on-the-go users want to know such as hours, directions, addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc. Put this information front and center.

Consider shortening product descriptions. Create shorter bios for staff on the mobile versions. Less is more when it comes to mobile-ready content.

5) Simplify the design. Remove popups. Don’t use flash. Use smaller images in your mobile design or allow your code to detect if it’s being viewed on a mobile device and resize them to fit the screen.

Make sure users don’t have to zoom in to navigate.

6) Use Clean Fonts. Use a simple, clean font that displays nicely on a small screen. Recommended fonts include: Arial, Helvetica, Courier, Georgia, Times New Roman, and Trebuchet MS.

7) Include Visual Cues. When people are clicking on their phone to navigate, sometimes it’s hard to see if they have clicked in the right place and if the page is loading.

Having a navigation button or link that changes color to indicate it has been clicked can make the experience more intuitive.

8) Test for Functionality. Make sure any website forms function on a mobile device. Have someone test your website on a mobile device to ensure it makes sense and that all links and calls to action function properly.

9) SEO Optimization. It’s not enough to optimize the desktop version of your site for search engines. It’s critical to make sure your mobile-friendly site is SEO optimized too.

If people are Googling “dentist in Vancouver” in need of an emergency tooth repair, you want them to have your site come up to the top of the list.

Graphic Designers and Make Your Visual Communication Powerful

This very same premise is leveraged in graphic designing as here, brand ideas and messages are conveyed in visual form. The purpose is to get the messages through in an easy manner so that target audience can relate to brands and seek some form of association. This is where the role of graphic designing and graphic designers come into play, since businesses need to build brand to grow and expand their base on the internet.

A graphic design company knows all what it takes to design different variety of visual messages. From logo to brochure to banner to newsletter to flyer to direct mailer – it can create messages to suit your business’ promotion needs perfectly. Such a company will have a team of designers at their helm who know how to make the best use of designing principles. They are aware of the hues and patterns of colour and they know which of them will suit brands and their ethos. These designers blend artistic imagination and scientific precision to create visual communications of the desired variety.

More so, these designers can help businesses form a long lasting relationship with their customers on the back of delivering right messages. They know what design would suit a business and they know what colour will be a right match for its logo. They are an artistic bunch and who better than they can understand customer preferences in the wake changing of times. More so, their designing is a genuine reflection of the changing aesthetic sensibilities of customers. So, they can be expected to help present your brand ideas and messages in a right form and manner to the world.

Businesses often hire graphic design experts for their understanding about the colours and their combinations. Apart from other designing elements, these experts have a great command over the required typography and this becomes one of major reasons of their being hired in the first place. These experts are responsible in bringing the best of graphic designing and helping businesses realize their visual communication goals in a timely and desired manner. They understand design and their best usages across digital platforms; they know what format, what medium and what tone to lace different types of visual communication messages with.

Quite clearly, graphic designing is something your business simply can’t afford to ignore as it will help in spreading ideas and messages further. With top designers, your business will get high-quality results with visual communications. It does not matter which industry your business belongs to, you all can benefit from graphic designing and realize your branding goals with ease. However, you should trust and hire only an experienced graphic designing company to get the best results for brand building endeavours. It’d be a mistake if you hired an inexperienced designer as this way, your message will not impact the way they should.

The Importance of Consistency and Speed for Your Website

The benefits of remaining consistent and coherent in a document include:

Communicating trust and dependability
Contributing to a unified brand and user experience
Contributing to simplicity plus inevitability of navigation (information scent)
For instance, if you decide to utilize drop shadow to give a special effect to the bullet points, it is important to utilize drop shadows in all bullet points. The colors of links should also remain consistent all through the website. Likewise, background colors plus typefaces should also remain unchanged all through the website.

Color coded pages should especially maintain consistency. Typefaces, as well as the alignment of the main text plus heading, special and background effects in graphics need to remain unchanged. Only their colors may change.

The downloading of a website needs to be quick

It has been realized that users lose interest rather quickly when it takes too long to download a website. Often, people misunderstand the concept of downloading time. Actually, there are two kinds of downloading time: human speed and machine speed.

Machine speed implies the real download time. It means that if we were to time the receptiveness of a server in bringing out all types of web documents like HTML pages, images and scripts, it is how the machine or any software would decide the real download time.

Here are the items inclusion of which could have an effect on machine speed:

Browser caching
Redirects
DNS lookups
Mixing images incorporating CSS sprites
Bad requests
CSS @import
Document write
Favoring asynchronous resources
Deferring parsing of JavaScript
Users are generally likely to focus more on machine speed than human speed. Users’ sensitivity to speed is more relevant for conversion, compared to machine speed.

Human speed implies the time perceived by humans for downloading. The information scent greatly influences the perceived download time. When the content on the webpage authenticates the users information scent, the waiting time is perceived to be low. On the other hand, when page content fails to authenticate users information scent, the waiting time is perceived to be long.

Here are the factors influencing the perceived download time:

Gender
Supposed time for waiting
Time online
User’s expectations
Economic factors
Outlook to delay (for example patient versus impatient people)
Type of job
Apprehension plus information about waiting period
The real as well as the perceived time for downloading is affected by animation. Of course, animation attracts visitors, though graphics plus coding are likely to slow downloads.

It is good to check the download time of pages beforehand. In case the download time of a page is quite short, and the inclusion of animation doesn’t unduly add to download time, only then you should consider adding animation.