Tag Archive for: Web Design

Your homepage is the face of your business. It is the first thing most visitors see when they visit your site for the first time and it is where you make your first impressions. If you already have a solid homepage with killer copy, that can be great news. But, there is a good chance your site is missing one of the several things users expect to see when they come to your site.

Having a homepage without critical features and elements is a bit like having a mouth full of broken, chipped, and missing teeth. No matter how hard you try to smile and make a good impression, a lot of people are going to be put off.

While dental work can be costly and painful, fixing up your homepage doesn’t have to be. HubSpot put together an infographic – seen below – detailing 12 features and elements that are absolutely critical to have on your homepage, and the majority are easy to implement without needing to call in the pros.


Google is making it easier for mobile users to fill out forms thanks to a new enhancement to its autocomplete attribute in Chrome, the company announced yesterday.

As in the past it is up to webmasters to make sure the forms on their sites are marked up with the autocomplete attribute, but it is an important step to take. Past analysis shows implementing autocomplete on your forms increases conversions and reduces cart abandonment.

Google also encourages sites to use the autocomplete attribute, citing increased completion rates and saying:

“Making websites friendly and easy to browse for users on mobile devices is very important. We hope to see many forms marked up with the “autocomplete” attribute in the future.”

The new enhanced autocomplete attribute allows you to easily label input element fields with common data categories like ‘name’ or ‘street-address’ without having to alter other aspects of your site. This way, Chrome is able to accurately fill-in each line when users tap on the field from their smartphone or tablet.

Google offered a sample form so you can see get an idea what the new markup code looks like. You can see how each field is marked up by going to this page and viewing the source.


Do you remember the very first time you ever got online? You might remember the lovely screeching tones of dial-up modems or possibly waiting ages for pages to load, but do you actually remember how the internet looked? (f you don’t, the web site for the movie Space Jam is the closest thing to hopping in a time machine you could ask for.

In an age when online style trends come and go with increasing frequency, it can be easy to forget just how far we’ve come. At the outset of the internet there was no “flat design” or “parallax scrolling.” There weren’t even any images!

In the 25 years since the launch of the World Wide Web we’ve come a long way. The way sites are designed and created has been altered completely to grant designers near infinite freedom with their own webpages, but time has also taught designers that less can be more.

In this infographic, AmeriCommerce explores the exciting history from 1990 to today. You’ll see all the old trends you used to love (and loathe), and you might even learn something new about the technological advances that have facilitated the advancement of the internet to where it is today.




Do you know the fastest way to lose potential customers on your website? You might think it would be by creating a page with poor usability, illegible text, or you could get creative and put offensive images on your front page. No matter your choice, there is something that can lose visitors before they even get the chance to see any of those options – long loading times.

Consumers simply don’t accept having to wait for what someone else can offer faster, and this is especially true online. The average consumer is willing to wait approximately five seconds before they become annoyed or frustrated with being forced to wait. If your site takes longer than that for the average user, it is practically guaranteed you are hemorrhaging visitors who aren’t willing to wait.

Long loading times also hurt your site and loses you visitors in a few less direct ways, most notably in rankings. While there are many things we don’t understand about Google’s ranking algorithm, we do know loading speed is one of the biggest factors in establishing your site’s perceived value and ranking.

So, how do you actually go about speeding up your website’s loading times and increasing its effectiveness? These five tips will help you get started:

  • Minimize on-page components. There are plenty of processes going on behind the scenes that can slow a site down. If you can combine style sheets or replace images with CSS, your site will be able to better load everything in a fast manner.
  • Compress large pages. Google has shown time and time again that sites with long-form content, videos, and shareable media are some of the best ways to rank higher, but all the extra content also means there is more to load. Try to compress your larger pages so they take up less space and consume less bandwidth when they load.
  • Use browser caching. Browser caching stores important elements from your site on a viewer’s hard drive in order to improve load times on repeat visits. A shocking number of webmasters forget to implement this tool, which can lead to slower load times for even your most loyal visitors.
  • Optimize visual content. The growing emphasis on visual content might have misled some website owners. If customers enjoy images, video, and graphics, why not fill your site with them? Unfortunately, too many improperly formatted graphics can cause a traffic jam and sluggish load speeds. Take the time to optimize visual content by limiting size, reformatting images into JPEG, and eliminating BMPs, GIFs, and TIFFs, and viewers will love you.
  • Eliminate unnecessary plugins. Particularly if you’re using WordPress, running multiple plugins contributes substantially to slower page load speeds. Though their convenience and ease of use make plugins an attractive option, using too many will cause your load speed to plummet and result in poor user experience. Remove any plugins you don’t absolutely need.

Google has been emphasizing the importance of mobile design and usability over the past year and now the search giant has added mobile usability reports to Webmaster Tools. Many believe this could be a sign that Google may be making mobile usability a ranking factor sooner rather than later.

The tool is intended to show whether your mobile site has any of the common usability issues that degrade a user’s mobile browsing experience.

Currently, the tool included specific errors for showing flash content on mobile (which can also result in a warning on mobile search results for your site), missing viewport meta-tag for mobile pages, improperly small fonts which are hard to read on mobile, fixed-width viewports, content not sized to viewport, and clickable links and buttons spaced too closely together.

John Mueller from Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst team based in Zurich said they “strongly recommend you take a look at these issues in Webmaster Tools.”

Of course, Mueller could simply be encouraging this because it improves user experience, but there is strong evidence to suggest Google will eventually make mobile user experience a ranking signal within search engine algorithms.

You can see an example of the reports below:

Mobile Usability Reports

Adobe Flash and mobile devices go together like oil and water. Since the release of the first iPhone it was clear that Flash, Adobe’s multimedia based web site technology, would not be coming to cell phones any time soon.

Years later, after the release of several generations of smartphones and the release of tablets, and it is even clearer that Flash is all but dead and will never be a part of the modern ‘device agnostic’ approach to web design. Unfortunately many webmasters still use it.

flash-serp-note-border-300x107That may not be the case for long, as Google has stepped up their fight against the technology. Google announced that starting today they will be warning mobile searchers when the search engine’s algorithms detect a web site is not supported on the device they are using due to Flash.

Rather than outright omit sites utilizing Flash from the search engine – which would garner heavy criticism – those using smartphones and tablets to search may see a warning that allows the user to attempt to view websites using Flash or to look for alternate search results.

The warning reads “Uses Flash. May not work on your device. Try anyway | Learn more.”

It seems pretty unlikely that many users will choose to press on knowing that the site likely won’t work for them.

In lieu of using Flash, Google highly recommends updating to HTML5 and upgrading sites to support that technology because it works in mobile devices and desktop browsers alike.

Google’s Keita Oda, Software Engineer, and Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst said, “fortunately, making websites that work on all modern devices is not that hard: websites can use HTML5 since it is universally supported, sometimes exclusively, by all devices.” Google simultaneously launched two new resources to help webmasters make the upgrade:

  • Web Fundamentals: a curated source for modern best practices.
  • Web Starter Kit: a starter framework supporting the Web Fundamentals best practices out of the box.

HTML5 has been called one of the most important web design languages in history, and some go so far as to call it nearly perfect. But, as you’ve probably guessed, a fair amount of that was hyperbole and overstatement. HTML5 has some great benefits, but there is no such thing as an ideal design language. This infographic, designed by Kony, breaks through the gimmicks and PR to examine the real pros and cons of HTML5, as well as the current and projected trends to come.

HTML5 Infographic

Frustrated WomanIf you don’t have a website for your small business, you are certainly missing out on potential business and growth for your company. But, some business owners are nervous about branching out and getting online because they are afraid to lose money on a venture they don’t entirely mistake.

It is a fair concern. There are countless thrown together websites that litter the web, neglected and forgotten by everyone except the bots search engines send out. But, that shouldn’t be enough to stop you from reaching out with your own company. The majority of sites that have gone unnoticed and cost their businesses money share a number of fatal flaws that will stop any traffic from trusting you or returning to your company’s site.

Today, we are going to discuss the most common mistakes that drag down websites that have the potential to engage and excite visitors, and how we can help brands turn their struggling website into a real platform to expand your customer base and engage with your audience in new ways.

Visual Mistakes

Hidden Contact Information: For smaller businesses a website serves as an entry point for customers. While your website should demonstrate your expertise and services, the most important thing on all of your site is your contact information. Far too often, this information is stuffed and hidden away at the bottom of the front page or an obscure tab. Instead, put the contact information front and center, or at least above the fold. Visitors should be able to contact you within seconds from the front page of your site.

Crowding the Page: In web design, less can certainly be more. Your front page shouldn’t look like a crowded advertisement you send out to local papers or a mishmash of information crowded into as little space as possible. With online design you never really run out of space, so don’t be afraid to let your site breathe and let the white space of the page shine through where it needs to. If your page gets too busy, ask yourself what is essential, and prioritize what information should be immediately visible when your page loads. Then build from there.

Dead Links: Nothing says “this website is not well maintained” to a customer like a site filled with links that no longer work. But, if you only work on your site from one computer or network, you might not ever know the links are broken. Regularly check your site from a different computer and check to make sure all the sites you are linking to are still up to date and don’t lead to pages that no longer exist.

Animated Logos: When you visit websites for highly respected brands or prominent companies, do you ever see logos that spin, flash, or shoot glitter? While Google’s animated “Doodles” are a popular feature of their site, the vast majority of successful sites put their animated logos out to pasture years ago. Just use your professional logo in the cleanest looking format you can.

Content Mistakes

Typos and Grammatical Errors: There should NEVER be grammatical errors or typos on your page, especially on your front page. Yet, I still see this all the time, and audiences notice. If you have to hire someone to proof read all copy you publish, do it. The bottom line is that visitors and readers automatically respect and trust you less when they notice errors on the digital face for your company.

Stale Content: One of the biggest ways to push away your audience is to appear out of date. If you have content that is just sitting there and is never udpated, visitors will start to wonder if you are still in operation, and if so, why did you leave your website and content to rot? Regularly publishing fresh content shows that your business is up-to-date, in touch with its customer base, and an expert in your field.

Outdated Calendars: The same problems with stale content are inherent in outdated calendars, but worse. If a visitor sees your online calendar hasn’t been updated since November of 2011, they will assume that is the last time your website was updated. Similarly, they will assume you have either neglected your site or gone out of business. If you don’t have enough events to fill a calendar, cut it. If not, then start updating the calendar with all your events so your audience can join in on the fun.

The Big Picture

Yes, there is plenty of room for failure online. But, with a little bit of wisdom and a skilled hand to guide you through the process, it is actually much easier to gain a bit of traction online than you probably think. But, you can’t use full measures. By waiting to get online you are just missing out on potential customers, but a poorly done website projects disinterest in your own business or a lack of professionalism that won’t attract any new faces. Most importantly, you won’t see any new sales with a site like that.

It appears we are currently in redesign season for most major search engines and social media platforms. Over the past month, Google and Bing have announced redesigns of their search results pages (Bing’s is still in testing, but has been confirmed). Meanwhile, Facebook rolled out the latest version of their site, and now Twitter has announced a new design for profile pages, complete with a slew of new features.

It seems obvious that one of the major motivators for the redesign was to improve organization of the site. Marketing Land recently conducted a study that found one of the biggest reasons for people to quit Twitter was the lack of sorting, filtering and media, which are all major focuses of the new layout.

Source: Marketing Land

Source: Marketing Land

The biggest and most notable change however, is the huge profile header that spans the full width of the screen. The huge header is easily the biggest visual change, but the most important updates all fall below. The new features allow users to pin Tweets to the top of the page, which is the first feature that allows users to break the chronological flow of their page ever. You can also filter the tweets you view by three categories:

  • Tweets
  • Tweets and Photos/Videos
  • Tweets & Replies

One of the last updates is a bit more subtle than the rest. Tweets with more engagement have gained more prominence on the screen as fonts get bigger based on activity. The Tweets getting the most attention get bigger, while less popular updates will continue to be shown at the normal font size.

Source: Marketing Land

Source: Marketing Land

The new profile design and functionality is currently limited to a small group of prominent users such as Weezer, Zac Efron, & Michelle Obama, but Twitter promises all users will have access in the “coming weeks.”