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Halifax doesn’t have any shortage of web design professionals. But this doesn’t mean that you should be quick to hire just anyone who offers to do your company website at a good price. You need to conduct adequate research before hiring a web design company in Halifax. Take time to understand what value they will bring in your business and whether their web design principles will help your brand achieve its goals. Below are a few things to consider when looking for a company to design your Halifax website.
Have they worked on similar websites before?
Though web design is a transferable skill, it’s better to get a designer who has some level of experience working for similar brands like your own. For instance, if you want a law website designed, ask the designer to show you similar law firms they’ve partnered with before. There are certain design elements and features that work best for specific industries and an experienced designer will be equipped with this knowledge.
What tools and technologies are they familiar with?
Choose a website design company that is able to create a professional site using the latest tools and technologies. In order to tell if the company is a good fit for your business, ask to view their portfolio. This will give you an idea of their capability. Ask more questions regarding the design used, tools and platforms they are most familiar with to find out if they are suitable for your company design needs.
Do they have a good track record?
Don’t just find out from the website design company because they’ll probably give you a positive response. Do some research on your own. Go through their portfolio and if you find certain websites of the company, visit them to find out if they run smoothly. Do the sites have a proper navigation. Do you like the look and feel? A good company will be ready to partner with you and make sure your concerns are addressed and all needs are met.
What are their core values?
Professional website design companies know how to deal with clients right from the start. They will never give you over-expectations or claim to complete the designs within a few hours. You’re almost always guaranteed a great-looking website without the hassle of having to follow up or calls not being responded. Professional web design companies will always keep clients on the loop. The entire project will be delivered as promised.
Do they take time to understand your business?
A proper website design is one that helps you achieve your business goals and objectives. Therefore, one important step that the web design company needs to take is to learn about your brand. What are your goals? How do you intend to use the website and what steps would you like visitors to take when they land on the pages? These are important questions for the designer to ask because it helps them to come up with proper web pages that reflect the brand’s vision.
Are you looking for a website for your Halifax business? Perhaps you’ve gotten numerous offers from friends or even your younger cousin who recently started learning website design. Should you trust just about anyone with your web design and development needs? Certainly not. It takes effort, skill, and experience to come up with a great website design. While it may be tempting to go the “free” or “cheaper” route, it’s certainly worthwhile partnering with a professional website design agency. Below are a few advantages of hiring a professional website design firm in Halifax.
Get access to all tools and resources
Web design agencies have invested in the latest tools and resources to make your web design project run as smoothly and successfully as possible. You may not get this from an individual or freelance. Plus, there’s only so much that one person can do.
Proper coding for a fully functional site
With a professional website design agency, you’re confident that your website will be properly coded to enhance its functionality. Coding errors can create serious user experience issues that take time and money to debug. You’re better of partnering with a professional design firm from the start if you want peace of mind that you’ll not have to deal with greater problems along the way.
Give your site a professional look and feel
While most people would go for the “free” website templates available online, we recommend a professionally designed website that perfectly represents your brand. Web visitors will form an impression about your business as soon as they visit the site. If the design looks poorly done and haphazard, most people will click away. A great website design is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. You can even increase your conversion rates by investing in a more professional-looking website.
Get the ongoing support you need
What happens if something goes wrong once the site is complete? Will the person who designed it be ready to offer ongoing support? This is often a challenge when you have a freelance or friend who offered to do your site for free. With a web design company, you get ongoing support for at least the first month once the design is complete. They can even help you to work on the important aspects of the website such as making sure the pages are indexed by search engines and making regular site updates. A single designer may not have the capacity to help you run the site as the needs of the brand change.
Create an amazing user experience
Web design agencies know one thing too well, great UX is a must. They take steps to learn how to improve user experience and offer their clients the best. Once you hire the services of a reputable web design firm in Halifax, be ready to get properly designed web pages that foster user engagement and conversions. The agency will listen to you, plus you have a team of designers and developers to choose from depending on their skill set.
Recently, there has been a serious drive for responsive web design and development. Many Halifax businesses are investing in sites and systems that are able to react to different screen sizes in order to give their web visitors the best browsing experience. Why all the fuss?
There are several reasons why everyone today is creating flexible and responsive web pages that are optimized for mobile devices. Firstly, the world is slowly shifting to mobile browsing. This means that more and more users prefer to browse the Internet using their mobile devices as opposed to desktops and laptop computers. As a result, businesses are making the right move to ensure their websites can be accessed across multiple devices and give users a seamless experience.
1. Maximize mobile audiences
One main reason to invest in a responsive Halifax website is because it will enable you to present your brand to tablet and mobile audiences which is so important if you’re looking to expand your reach. Most sites are experiencing more than 40% traffic from mobile devices so creating a responsive design is certainly a great way to enhance conversion rates.
2. Improve site experience for better conversions
With a responsive website design, you’re able to give all your users a consistent look and feel of your website. This will eventually have a positive impact on your conversion rates. Responsive design incorporates the use of simple navigation across devices and removes barriers like flash players which can impact on the performance and functionality of the website. Overall, it helps your web pages to convert better given that there’s a consistent look and feel.
3. Simplify reporting
When you have a single responsive site, you no longer need to track user journeys in different sites. You get to take advantage of tools like Google Analytics which gives you an opportunity to offer responsive reporting. This simply means you get a single report which is easier to analyze because you can see how much traffic is coming from mobile devices versus desktop and understand user behavior for each.
4. Enhance search visibility
Search engines like Google also prefer responsive web pages and rank them far better than sites that are not mobile friendly. Furthermore, creating a responsive site allows you to work on a single strategy that works across devices. In fact, Google features responsive sites more on localized search results. This means that if you want your Halifax website to beat your competitors locally in terms of search rankings, the first thing you need to do is make sure your web pages are responsive.
5. Best way to present content
We know the familiar term that content is king. This phrase, though cliché, will always remain true. As online users are looking for the best content, a responsive design enables website owners to present their content in the most effective way. Users can digest content that has been beautifully presented regardless of their screen sizes. Responsive web pages make it possible for web users to consume content on the move.
Coming up with a website that has a catchy design and provides users with a great browsing experience is far from easy. Any successful website design requires proper planning. With that said, we’ll show you how we conduct website design projects in a quick and effective manner.
Step 1: Meet with the client
Before you set out to create a website, the first step is to understand the brand. Who are you targeting? Who is a typical website user for that specific brand? What are they looking for when visiting your site? What USPs does the brand provide? The client will give a detailed description of their goals and objectives and enable you to plan the website design project with those in mind.
Step 2: Research and gather inspiration
As soon as you acquire some background information about the brand you’ll be designing for, the next important step is researching and gathering inspiration from similar brands. Find out what the leading brand in their industry is doing. Simply visit their website and get some important takeaways such as how they communicate their USPs, CTAs positioning and brand colors. Of course, the idea here is never to copy what’s being done out there. However, there are some industry best practices which you may never be aware of if you skip this step. Researching on what everyone else is doing also helps you to better understand the kind of customer you’re targeting with your design.
Step 3: Design
The next crucial step is the design process. Most designers will begin with a mock-up which simply provides an idea of what the resulting design will look like. Mock-ups are great because they enable designers to communicate the process to the client better and get started on the right path. However, you shouldn’t take too much time designing mockups because you’ll realize that you have to change a lot of things along the way. Take time to come up with a design that best fulfills your client requirements from the initial stage.
Step 4: Development
Development involves quite some coding so this is where you’ll put in a lot of work to ensure the website is fully functional and works for your target audience. With platforms like WordPress, you’ll only be required to do very minimal coding to customize the pages to a particular brand. The development process should be handled skillfully to avoid bugs and errors that may cause bigger problems in the future. It should also be done in stages so that the most important areas are not overlooked.
Step 5: Testing and launching
Finally, you’ll need to test the website before launching it. This testing stage is very crucial because it allows you to fine-tune the website design to suit your customer’s needs. You’ll need to look at the site’s form and function during the testing stage. This means factors such as site load speed, error pages, and redirects need to be looked at in more detail in this section. You’ll also want to have someone review the website content before launching just to ensure that the site is as engaging as it is attractive.
Coming up with a great website design takes skill, experience and a whole lot of creativity. Experience, in this case, comes in handy because you’re better placed to understand the customer’s journey and what elements on a web page would help improve conversions. While every designer has their own preference on the tools and technologies to use to build a great website design, there are certain fundamentals that they all keep in mind during the design process. We’ll take a look at these golden rules below.
Use color as a design element not for decorative purposes
First things first, what we all learn in design school is that color shouldn’t be used on a website for decoration. It is considered a very important design element that significantly impacts on user experience. The wrong choice of colors can cause a brand to experience low conversions on their site. Stick to a single color that supports your content and then choose other colors that will stand out and communicate specific information on the page. The best practice is to use a color swatch or a theme that has different colors. Choose colors that are complementary even in your images so that you can create a unified design.
Choose fonts wisely
Best practice is to use a maximum of 3 fonts – one heading font, another for the body copy and then for a call to action or other information you may want to stand out. With thousands of fonts to choose from, don’t be carried away by using fancy fonts that make it difficult for the web visitor to read your content and follow through. In fact, readability should be one of your top considerations when deciding on the font size, color, and type. A size that is at least 14px is recommended for body copy. If users are squinting to read your content, then you need to work on a better font.
Communicate visually when necessary
Images, icons, and videos are very effective communication tools that you can use to compliment your design. When choosing icons, think of what’s accepted universally since there are certain ones which people use such as the search icon and homepage icon. Users are already familiar with these icons so don’t make their job too difficult by using a different set of icons. When uploading images and video content, make sure you resize them and compress the files so that they don’t end up slowing down the website.
An effective website design needs to be free of clutter. This simply means that you should aim at creating a design that doesn’t have distracting elements that interfere with the customer journey. Although there are many new design elements being introduced every day, you shouldn’t incorporate each one of them on your site because some of these can bog down its performance, create clutter and turn off visitors.
With web design, following the rules most of the time doesn’t mean you’re playing it safe. It’s important to follow the best practices because they will help you to provide the best user experience.
Any smart marketer understands that the design of a web page will greatly affect the site’s conversion rates. If a site doesn’t look good or has a poor navigation system, it’s really hard to get people to convert. Whether you already have a site for your Halifax business or you’re planning on investing in one, take time to learn what elements in the design can impact your site’s conversion. We’ll focus on some areas you may want to improve on if you’d like to start seeing more conversions on your website.
Create effective landing pages
When running campaigns and driving traffic to your website, avoid driving users to the home page alone. Instead, drive your users to specific landing pages where they’ll find exactly what they are looking for. The landing pages should not only have a beautiful design but other important elements such as the placement of call to action buttons must be right so that you increase the chances of converting clients when they click on that link. Make sure landing pages load fast enough and avoid links that open new windows in the browser because they can interfere with the navigation process.
Understand the visitor journey
What happens when a web visitor lands on your site? What’s the first thing they notice or the first button most people click first on your site? This is something you can quickly tell by reviewing your Analytics data. Once you understand the customer journey, you’ll be in a better position to build more effective web pages that communicate directly to your target audience.
Are you giving users a great experience?
User experience is a key determinant of how well you’ll convert. If users don’t have an easy time navigating your site or don’t find quality and relevant content on your pages, you’ll miss out on potential conversions. One way to find out what customers think about your website is simply by asking them. You can have a small section or even a pop-up on the page before they click away that asks them how their browsing experience was or whether they found the content on your site useful. You may get very important insights from the people who matter most, which is your customers.
Test and evaluate
If your main aim of redesign is to increase conversions then you have no option but to try out a few things and see what works well for your users. A/B split testing is one way to ensure you’re heading in the right direction whenever you make changes on your site. Never make changes before measuring the performance. Use Google Analytics to better understand site performance and conversion rates. You can try interchanging the location of the CTAs and see if it makes a difference. Use pop-ups sparingly because too much can distract users and hinder conversions.
Proper branding is key
Strong branding techniques can really help you to enhance conversion rates online. Think of your USPs and make sure they are communicated clearly throughout the design. Customers will always connect with brands that they can trust. Brands that they understand what they stand for.
According to comScore, Canadians are some of the most engaged Internet users in the world, spending an average of 36.7 hours online per month, more than anyone else in the world. Canadian desktop users are also some of the most diverse in the world, viewing an average of 3,238 unique web pages each month.
With these statistics, it is clear you stand to gain greatly by taking your business online. There are, however, many websites that you will be competing with. You will only succeed if your website stands out. At Nova Solutions, we have years of experience making websites standout. Below are some of the White Hat strategies we use.
Pay attention to design elements (UX/UI)
The UI (User Interface) should have text, visuals, action buttons, and other tools that allow users to grasp their functionality. Despite the continued use of 3D elements, stick to flat UI or keep up with the times by using material design.
The UX (User Experience) should be such that users are engaged throughout their journey to increase conversion rates. Micro-interactions like transition effects and animations make devices more human-like. At Nova Solutions, our UX has the power to influence the behaviour and mood of the user.
Make use of white spaces
Just look at Google’s home page to see how effective white/negative space can be. White space allows people to focus on what is important, like the search box in Google’s home page. A properly used white space can be twice as important as the space that contains graphical elements. Note white space need not be white – you just have to leave the space blank in any colour.
Make your site social
According to statistics from Statista, the number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach 3.02 billion monthly by 2021. Join the bandwagon and use blogs, forums, photo-sharing platforms, business networks, social gaming, microblogs, social networking sites, and chat apps to your advantage. Use social media to inform, to entertain, to learn (for product development), to interact, to educate, and to encourage sharing.
Responsive web design
A responsive site is one that adapts to whichever device it is being viewed on. This greatly improves user experience in a world where more and more people are viewing web content on mobile devices. Responsive web design means you don’t have to create separate websites for desktops and mobile devices.
Work on your website’s ranking because the higher it ranks, the more traffic you will get. Most people do not go past the first search engine page when browsing. At Nova Solutions, we use different White Hat SEO tactics to increase ranking.
Well devised CTA
It is important you tell people what you want them to do – do not assume they know. An eye-catching, well devised CTA (call-to-action) will make your website stand out in a world where research shows 80% of pop-screens are closed even before readers go through the content.
Video customer testimonials
Use video customer testimonials not only to market yourself but also to make your site stand out. Visitors are used to text testimonials and so video testimonials will make them look twice.
When reviewing different web design companies Halifax, take time to find one that will play a significant role in helping your business achieve its goals. Whether you’re looking for a freshly designed site or a website redesign, hiring the right people will help you be a step closer to attaining your online marketing goals.
We know too well that there’s no shortage of web design companies in Halifax. There are so many options to choose from that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up settling for less. We’re here to make sure this doesn’t happen and that you find the right fit for your business. We’ll go over a few important questions to ask which will help you determine if the web design agency will help you reach your business goals.
1. Do you design custom websites from scratch or use premade templates?
If you’re looking for a unique look and certain functionality on your website, then you need to find a web design company that can custom design your site from scratch. On the other hand, if you want to save money and spend less time on design, go for a premade template. The web design company should understand your needs and have the capability to fulfill them.
2. Can you provide examples of recently designed websites?
When you go over the web design company’s portfolio, you’ll get a sense of how diverse they are in their design. For instance, if you want an ecommerce website designed, you may want to check which other ecommerce websites they’ve done before and whether this blends with your business style.
3. Can you review the existing website and identify areas of improvement?
Web design agencies that are really concerned about helping their clients grow will always perform an audit of their existing web pages and highlight areas of improvement which help them make better design decisions. If the agency goes ahead to analyze your site metrics, it’s a sign that they are willing and able to implement important design changes.
4. How will the project be managed?
Before the web design process begins, you need to have an idea of how the agency works and how well projects are managed in their firm. Will there be a specific manager to schedule tasks and ensure everything is running smoothly? Will you receive any progress reports throughout the cycle of the project? Knowing this will help you evaluate your choices based on who has the ability to deliver as promised.
5. Who will be working on my project and what are their qualifications?
It’s important to know the exact team that will be handling your website design. The team could consist of a graphic designer, a developer, and copywriter who will handle different aspects of the project. You can go ahead and ask for client references just to understand what they’ve done before and their level of skill areas of website design.
If you’ve been trying to decrease page load time with no luck, this article is for you. Faster loading pages not only improve user experience but also enhance overall site quality, performance and search rankings. In fact, the Internet users of today don’t have the patience for slow web pages. If you notice a high bounce rate or drop off rates, it could be that the slow loading pages have something to do with it. In fact, according to research, 75% of web shoppers will abandon a website if it fails to load within the first 3 seconds. Below are a few simple ways to improve site speed and ultimately performance.
Reduce HTTP requests
There are a number of plugins that are built for different website platforms to help in reducing the load of HTTP requests. The plugins prevent the site from loading some file types such as emojis and icons initially hence increasing the site speed.
Compress your site images and videos
Using images in the wrong format or failing to resize images without uploading on the site will slow down its servers. Images and videos also need to be compressed in different folders to make sure they don’t occupy as much space. PNG format is usually heavier than JPEG so you may also want to check the format of your images and consider converting them to something that’s more lightweight.
Make use of cacheable redirects
This is especially important for your landing pages. You can make the page a cacheable redirect. Make sure to target only mobile visitors. What happens is that the next time the web visitors try to load your site it gets on much faster because the files have been cached on the user’s browser.
Clean up your code
There are several unnecessary sections of your code that could be bogging down your website speed. For instance, get rid of comments, white spaces and empty elements in your code. This will not only decrease your page size but also speed up the site. There are tools designed to make this easier for you.
Fix broken links
Bad requests like 404/410 errors can really slow down the site. You need to avoid this by using an online broken link checker to keep track of your site’s performance. Images are usually the culprits that cause broken links. Make sure you have all your images uploaded on the servers to avoid this.
CSS at the top and JS at the bottom
This is a golden rule that most web designers in Halifax know of. The stylesheets of the documents should always be put at the bottom of the page. When put at the top of the page, users face a slow page load time because the elements have to be redrawn before the page is rendered by the browser.
There are other ways to speed up your website but you can try starting with the simple ones above which many people overlook. Your ultimate goal should be to run a fast website that will help you reach your business goals faster.
Is there any reason for your business website not to convert as much as it should? Why is it that customers are quickly bouncing off or spending a few seconds on your web pages? Perhaps it’s something to do with your web design. Site’s that have the right Call to Actions, properly structured shopping pages and detailed content perform best online. In this article, we’ll explain 5 important principles that can transform your Halifax web design.
1. Understand the difference between UI and UX
UI, which stands for User Interface is sometimes used interchangeable with UX (User Experience) but it doesn’t mean the same thing. User experience focuses more on the functionality of the website, that is how it works. User interface, on the other hand, focuses on the visual design which is the look and feel of the site. Be careful not to focus too much on the beauty of your business website and forget about how well it works. People may fall in love with a beautiful website, but it beats its purpose if it doesn’t communicate the brand message properly or help in boosting conversions.
2. Avoid too many navigational choices
One thing you need to avoid when designing a business website is offering users so many navigational options that it becomes confusing. You don’t want to make it too hard for the users to decide on your website and eventually they click away. Instead, show them a path that clearly lays out what you want them to do.
3. Proper content structure is key
How do customers move through your site? You need to take time to analyze your business website page by page and ensure that the most relevant content is placed strategically on the site. Ask people to test the prototype. This is key in making sure your user experience is top notch. Don’t annoy your potential customers by putting information all over the place making it hard for them to follow through.
4. Page load time matters
Have you ever wondered if your site load time can affect conversions? It certainly does. If your site pages take too long to load, your regular visitors will lose interest and quickly click away. Take advantage of online tools that help you improve your page load times by highlighting the Halifax web design elements that could be bogging down your site.
5. Consistency in style, colors, fonts and other design elements is important
Remember that your business website is a representation of your brand. Every page should be properly designed with elements that are consistent across the board. The colors, graphics, and layouts you choose throughout the site should be the same. Navigational menus should have different typography compared to what you’ve used on other areas of the site such as the body content and headlines. Consistency will really help in improving the site’s user experience and overall performance.
With that said, it’s time to do a quick audit of your current business web design and find out if you’ve followed the 5 main principles mentioned above.
Web Site Consultation Services
At Nova Solutions, we know that whether you are a one-person entrepreneurial venture, a Mom & Pop business, start up, established service provider or large growing company, you likely want great marketing services at affordable prices. Among the costlier needs you may have is a beautiful, well-built website. We can help you analyze how well your current site is performing, improve the functionality or offer you something completely new to meet your growing needs. Let us show you how you can do even better, then you decide what steps to take.
The Full Suite of Marketing Services
SEO, engaging content, PPC and social media management all compliment a well-designed website for a full 360-degree marketing solution. Do you only need one or two of these marketing services to add to your existing web presence? No problem. We’ll help you choose the individual services that best serve you and integrate with your existing initiatives. The company, brand and reputation that you have worked hard to build is important to us too. Let us show you what value we can add to your hard work.
Unfortunately, in the online marketplace, great products and services don’t always achieve the client reach they should. Don’t leave your marketing success to chance!
Call us today and learn how we can help you.