Archive for category Design

Popups Don’t Have to be Annoying

Most everyone hates popups, right? I especially hate the “exit” popups, where you try to leave a page and instead get a popup asking me if I’m sure. Yes, I’m really really sure! Anyways, every once in awhile I run across a really nice website tool or feature and like to give some credit where it is due.

And that is a company called Layered Popups. Go to their website and scroll down a little bit to click on their examples. Sweet!

They have taken popups to the next level, and in a good way. Stunning designs, easy configuration and use. I’ve used them for a few months now and remain impressed. Cost is only $18.

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Which Test Won?

I do a lot of testing of webpages – pitting two versions of a page against each other in the attempt at raising its conversion rate (CR).  The idea is to find the winner, and then do the test again having a newer version of the page to increase the CR even more.

Anyways, there is a website called Which Test Won that shows actual tests people have run, and for fun lets you try and guess which version of the test won. Pretty interesting, and a good place to look for ideas on how to improve your own site.

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Making Graphics

I ran across a free vector drawing program that looked like it could rival the big boys.  So if you don’t want to purchase Adobe Illustrator, etc, this is the program for you!  And did I mention its free?

Download it yourself here: Inkscape

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Do you have a successful website?

One of the things I seem to do a lot is figuring out how to make a particular website more successful – which first begs the question of how do you define success?  Then more importantly is the question of what you do to get things turned around.  There are tons of helpful articles online that will help you get started (see below), I also have some other marketing articles posted that will help, and you will quickly notice that many are saying contradictory things to the point that you will get confused on how to proceed. No worries – remember that no single solution is right for everyone, and definitely not right for every website. Because if there was one single “best design” for a website, then they would all look the same.

Here is a basic list of things to get you going.

  1. First of all look at the level of web traffic – you may simply not be getting enough traffic to do anything with. If that is the problem, this needs fixed first.
  2. If you are getting web traffic, but no one is converting, then do a little detective work on what is ailing you and then take action:
    1. What is your bounce rate? If it is really high, then people are either coming to your site by mistake or your web design sucks.  Fix it!
    2. What is the page views per visit? If it is very low, then your web content needs fixed (assuming your website is set up with multiple webpages). If you have lots of people moving round your site but no one is converting, then your offer may need to be tweaked.
    3. What is the fall-off rate in your sign up form, or shopping cart?  If people are looking like they want to convert by clicking the sign up button, but no one converts, take a close look at your form or cart first. In my experience that will have the greatest impact on increasing CR.
  3. Basically you need to figure out what is going on – there are lots of statistics available to give you hints, so just narrow it down to the likely issues, and then address them!  Take action!  Usually it means for you do some of the things that the experts say you should, so take a look at some other articles in this blog, or do a little research online.  Below are some links that will help with ideas.  I would not take any single article from anyone and think it is gospel (even this one) – instead you want to find the “golden nuggets” in each.
  4. Lastly I would urge everyone to have some sort of testing program for their website.  If you put two different versions of your webpage up – the normal one you have (the control) and another different design – it will definitely give you improvement. Let the two run side by side and see which is better.  Once you have a winning design in the test – immediately take the winner and run it against a new alternative one, and just make it a continual process of improvement.  Something as simple as the button that gets clicked on the form can make a difference – you just need to keep testing.

Here are some links you might find helpful:

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Color Schemes

When talking about a website design, the color scheme is an important aspect to determine – more important than I think is given credit.  An easy way to get a good color scheme is to simply look at a successful website on the web, and see how they are doing it. Then you just “emulate” what they have done!  LOL

Another way, more personal and fun, is to use a tool like the Color Scheme Designer.  It allows you to set all the different variables, number of colors, the color hues, and much more.  It will even show you the color scheme in a webpage mockup, and then let you export the colors for future reference. Pretty slick, so much so that it is easy to spend an hour or two just playing around.

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Basic Website Design

So you need a website and your wondering about how best to design it.  Or maybe you are looking at your own website and thinking “Boy! My website sure looks like crap!” and so your wanting a redesign done. (I do that everytime I look at my own website, btw)  So what to do – should you go for a real pretty website?  Should it include lots of the latest flashy dohickys?  Or do you take the functional route?

Here is the point I make with my customers that I think is important enough to share with you – your website design should be determined by who your customers are, what it is they want, and what they are expecting to see.

  • Why are many of the most popular websites on the internet so plain looking? (Craig’s List and the Drudge Report)
  • Why does a bank, that just invested millions in a new website having all the fancy stuff on it, revert back to its former “more simple” version?
  • Why do car companies invest so heavily in their websites? (Mini-Cooper, Ford, etc)

If your website’s function is to give people online access to their bank account – it is a fact that they don’t want a bunch of BS to go with it.  Give them a big green button that says “click here to access your account” and they will be very happy. Same goes with the popular sites like Craig’s List. On the other hand if you are selling a 50 thousand dollar car, maybe it is a good idea to put lots of eye candy on the site.

So take that logic and apply it to your own situation; is your normal website visitor wanting some information quick and easy?  Are they looking to be sold to?  Find out more about your company, just to get directions?  Being able to address these type questions will tend to make the difference between a “good” website – and a “successful” one.

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