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Conversion Rate Optimization: Do Your Websites Have It?

Any website that has ever been created has been with the idea of the end user taking a certain action while on the website. Perhaps it’s buying a product, filling out a form, or calling a phone number. Whichever it is, the user is encouraged to take some sort of action. How well users take the desired action on a website is called conversion rate optimization. If you want someone to fill out a form on a site, how well does the site design actually encourage the user to fill out that form?

Many websites out there are designed with the thinking that they want a user to take a certain action, but there is nothing that encourages the user to take that desired action. This is important because while someone is on a website, you have their attention, so you better make the most of it. Don’t leave it up to the user to try and figure it out. Show them or even tell them what action you want them to take.

This is something that may seem foreign to some designers as they may just care about how things look, but if you want to take your abilities to the next level, then you should learn about conversion rate optimization. Here are 4 tips to help your conversation rates.

  • Run A/B Tests

One of the best ways to increase conversion rates on websites is to run tests, otherwise known as A/B tests. This means that you have 2 different options and split test them on users. For instance, you can run two different headlines and see which one works best in getting people to take the desired action you’re wanting. It could also be images, buttons, colors, or any element on a website. As the old saying goes, test, test, and re-test for the best results.

  • Write In Second Person

Let’s just be honest for a second. People care about themselves when it comes down to it. They don’t want to hear about “we” or “they,” but they want to hear words like “you” and “you’re”. Writing in this fashion also makes it easier to speak to a specific person’s emotions and helps make the experience more personable.

  • Be Clear

If you want to increase the conversion rate of your website, then you need to be clear about what action you want the reader to take. If you want them to fill out a form, then make it clear that you want them to fill out the form. If you want them to call a number, then make it clear you want them to call the number. Many people feel this seems pushy, but if you aren’t clear about what action you want them to take, then they will never take that action. Some people may not take the action because it seems pushy, but many more people will take the action because it’s clear what you want them to do.

  • Connect With The Reader

All the top conversion rate optimizers work great, but they work even better if you do one simple thing with the readers of a website – form a connection. The more personable the connection, the better. Some of the top converting websites come from blogs or websites that have spent a lot of time creating a relationship with the reader. If the reader feels a connection and feels that you really care about them, then they will be much more likely to take whatever action you are wanting them to take.

5 Examples Of Great Web Design

In my experience, one of the best ways to design a great looking website is to get inspiration from other websites out there. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so while this isn’t stealing or anything of that sort, it’s simply a way to inspire ideas and new design elements that you may have never thought of otherwise. It’s also a great way to kick start your designs if perhaps you tend to stay in one style and don’t seem to stray much from it. Below are 3 great examples of web design that may be a little different than what you’re used to, but should spark some great ideas.

1) Risen Church – www.risenchurch.com

Usually, when you think of a website for a church, you may think of pictures of old ladies playing the piano or just a basic site that is as bland as a piece of bread. The website of Risen Church is not your average website, especially for a church. If you’re looking to design a website for a service business or, of course, a church, then this site is a great inspiration.

2) Brick Fielder – www.brickfielder.co.uk/

If you are designing a website for an ecommerce store or just looking to sell items on a site, then this site is a great one to model it after. The goal of a website that sells goods is to showcase the things you are selling in a way that makes people want to buy. This site displays everything in a unique and “cool” way, while also explaining what each product does in a stylish way.

3) Christmas With Joy – http://christmaswithjoy.com/

This is a really cool site with a unique purpose. The site displays Christmas figures from around the world, from Santa Claus to Krampus (if you don’t know who that is, then you probably should keep it that way). You can pick a Christmas figure and send a Christmas greeting to a friend featuring that figure. The design elements really standout and could be used in various design elements of a website for any cause.

4) B14 – http://b14.dk/

Sometimes, simplicity is elegant, and this website is a great display of that. The site is black and white and has a great balance of white space, words, and images. If you are designing a personal blog or a portfolio type website, this would be a great website to draw some ideas from and spark some great ideas. The focus of this site is the words on the page and not images like many of the other sites on this list. Depending on your project, this could be something that stands out from the pack.

5) Landscape – http://thisislandscape.com/

If you are looking to create a portfolio website showcasing works, then this site is a really unique way of doing that. The homepage is mostly text but then you can go into each project and see each project more in depth from that point. Depending on your taste and how you wish to present a portfolio, this could be a great way to gain some ideas to do that.

3 Tips On How To Tell A Story With Graphic Design

The art of design, whether is be designing a website or creating a t shirt design, is really a method of storytelling. That’s how I’ve always looked at graphic design and I really think if you do too, it’ll change the way you work. When a business comes to you wanting a website built, what they are really telling you is that they want help in telling their story.

You may think that sounds a little frilly or Disney-like for your taste, but if you see yourself as the storyteller, then your designs will take on a sense of purpose and you’ll have happy clients singing your praises.

Below, I will illustrate three easy-to-implement strategies into your designs that will help you tell and shape a story for whatever you are designing.

1) Create A Personality

One of the easiest ways to tell a story is to have whatever you’re designing to have a personality. That personality could be anything from happy to edgy and everything in between. It really depends on the brand and culture you’re trying to create. If you look at the great companies out there, they are all telling one story or another. Apple, for instance, is telling a story that their products of ingenuity and simplistic designs will make your life a little bit better. Nike is telling a story that their products will help you perform at your best, no matter if you are a professional athlete or a weekend warrior.

2) Choose The Right Images

You’ve heard the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, the right picture is worth a thousand right words, while choosing the wrong picture is worth a thousand negative words. You want to choose images that help tell the story that you are wanting to tell. To go back to the example of Nike, they use images that show top level athletes performing at the peak of their sport while wearing Nike gear. You may not be selling Nike, but whatever it is your are trying to sell or portray, you should make sure that the images you choose further that story and add to it.

3) Connect With The User

The reason that storytelling is so effective when building a brand, website or anything else is because they help the user feel connected to the brand. When you’re creating the story with your designs, think about it from the end user experience. Sometimes, it’s really easy to get caught up in what we’re doing and think you know exactly what it is you’re conveying, but many times it’s much harder than it looks. Try to think and experience your story from the experience of someone who is viewing it for the very first time. Is your main goal accomplished with the experience? Do the images help convey the story? Do the colors make sense? And, does the overall feel of the design lead the user to feel part of the story? The answer may not always be a resounding “yes,” but the closer you can get to it, the better your designs and storytelling will be.

The User Interface Trends You Need to Follow in 2015

Every year, many aspects of the Internet keep adapting the needs of the user and if you build against these new principles, you’ll end up losing traffic. The reason is because the user must always come first when planning the design. If you make it too difficult for them to navigate, they won’t be able to the important content you want them to see. If your designs are clunky, then the chances that a user will leave you skyrocket. This is why it is so important to keep learning the new trends, which arise when it comes to page design. So here are some of the things you will need in order to please the user.

Minimalism is Still King 

Minimalistic design has been taking the tech world by storm but that makes sense because it’s the simplest way to appeal to the user. Clean icons tiled in a quick to access manner make a page more attractive. Having fancy graphics can only go so far and ultimately won’t matter if you can’t show where these graphics lead. So before you overstuff your page with features and buttons, think about how you can simplify it instead.

Animations are the Dukes

Ever since Internet speeds have become faster, designers have become more creative. Animations illustrate how the net responds to fluid movement designed to draw the eye to certain page elements. Objects on a page tend to stay static, but some designers have now taken the mouse cursor into account and have integrated rolling menus that expand into animations. It’s a great way to keep a user’s attention, and might even be the best way to create a more seamlessly transition process through different pages. Even a site about rice cooker reviews like this site can improve with a few animations attached to them.

Chunked Content

A few years back people started to assume that the shorter the content, the more views you get. While this is true, long form articles and features are starting to make a comeback through content chunking. The method of chunking involves cutting up a page into small segments accompanied by images or illustrations. Apparently, users have responded in a positive manner when they saw how posts were edited and placed on a long form page.

Focus

While it may be tempting to cram as much content on a page so that you can move traffic to other pages, it’s not an attractive feature nowadays. People what to know what they’re getting into as soon as they hit the home page so focus is the key to keeping attention in the right places. To do this, all you’ll have to do is to incorporate minimalism into the content and presentation of each page. Like how a site about an appliance reviews site found in http://www.homecentric.org will talk about rice cookers rather than spin you around in loops.

So there you have it; some user interaction trends that are sure to keep your site in the loop. However, the best way to keep in touch is to keep learning more trends.

How technology is making this world safer

It’s amazing how much technology helps us out. As a graphic designer, I come across the latest technological developments, and honestly, I’m always incredibly impressed by what I get to see. Take for example online safety. I recently designed some graphics for a service which allows anyone to quickly perform a background check online. This is a service which involved going to libraries and other public service buildings across the country, and spending hours going through all kinds of documents. This website literally lets you find out the personal details about anyone in the United States. All you need is their name, last known address, and a social security number helps but is not necessary.

This technological trend is becoming more and more important in our daily lives. Whether it is finding the nearest pizza shop on your phone or finding out whether your new neighbor has a criminal record you should know about. It’s insanely easy to do and absolutely necessary in my humble opinion.

I realize I’m a lot more technologically advanced and Internet aware than your average user, so to prove to myself and my readers that these kind of services are easy to use, I did some research. I found an honest BeenVerified.com review detailing that these background check services are so easy to use, a three year old could do it. I think that’s a slight exaggeration, but it does show that even though these things are incredibly advanced and complex, the interface is easy to use. I feel somewhat proud to have helped design the user interfaces of some of these application that make our modern lives so much easier and simpler.

Take for example online dating. You don’t need to leave the house to find a date these days. You don’t even have to gamble with love, as you know the details of the person you’re meeting. If that’s not enough, there are websites such as eharmony.com that calculate the probability of you falling in love. All you need to do is fill out a questionnaire, and the computer does the rest. This is complicated programming in the background, but all you see as the user are some nice looking button to press. To get back to the topic of safety, you could even perform an online background check on your online date. I personally always make sure the person I’m meeting for a date is who they say they are. Do they have arrest records or anything worrying in their past? It just makes sense to me.

This does lead us to the drawbacks of the safety trends online. All of this means that anyone can perform a background check on anyone at any time. This puts into question whether we are violating privacy. As a technology geek I don’t think so. Certain rights need to be sacrificed to ensure we’re advancing as a society, and this is one of them. Having your privacy invaded slightly when someone performs a criminal background check on you is a small price to pay for more safety.

Improve Customer Experience Through Visual Impact

Web design has drastically changed in the last decade. I still remember the days where any kind of web presence was OK and all you did was put a few photos and a bit of text on a page and you felt great for having an online presence. But just like in the world of software, user interaction has become increasingly important in web design.

And this has been further complicated with ever more web traffic being driven by mobile devices with small screens. This is where responsive design has become very important and latest indications from Google show that mobile friendly access will have an impact on a website’s search rankings, which is crucial for many businesses.

In this post I want to highlight some really important things that should be done by all web masters before any other changes are considered. I have put together practical examples based on a project I work on with baby stroller review site BabyWheels, and all of the advice can be easily implemented on any type of website.

During the initial analysis phase it was very clear that the website was not mobile friendly. This resulted in the first step of applying a completely new WordPress theme that was fully optimized for all types of mobile devices. A full review of site traffic analysis showed that 30% of all visitors were coming from mobile devices and bounce rate was as high as 80%. Within one week of making this first change the bounce rate had dropped to under 60%; that is a significant improvement for the users.

Next up we reviewed the image size for all pages on the site. It looked like page load times were quite high, and while there are plugins that can improve image load times, it is always best to upload an optimized image for each specific use.

While the website had reviews of all types of strollers, it looked like the pages for the double strollers were performing the worst. We quickly found that there was a set of 3 images that appeared several times that were over 1 MB in size. While it does not sound like much it adds up to some significant load delays.

People browsing or shopping for stuff no longer have the patience to wait for pages with load times over 6 seconds. This is one of the main contributing factors to bounce rates increasing. So, we took the images and resized them to what was needed. Then we further optimized them for web use and we ended up with images that were under 200k in size.

The important thing was that the images still looked great but they loaded so much faster. Overall we managed to reduce the page load times from over 6 seconds to 3.2 seconds, which is a huge achievement with such simple changes. The overall visual impact was improved and the usability became better for both mobile and desktop users. All this has been measurable in the traffic analytics, and ultimately in the conversion rates and monetary success.

How Technology Is Changing How You Buy A House

This article was written by Zach Riggs of Trusted Realtors of Missouri. He is a top notch real estate agent that specializes at homes for sale in Springfield, MO, you can click here to find more information about him.

Technology is changing the way we do things everyday. In many instances, it is literally upending entire industries. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it is also changing how business is done in the real estate market. With technology, people looking to buy or sell a home are more educated and well informed than ever before. Yet that’s not the entire story. Whether you are a prospective home buyer or a real estate agent, you should know just how technology is changing how you buy a house in today’s market.

The Mobile Revolution

In the (not so distant) past, people basically had 2 ways to access the real estate market. They could either directly get in touch with a real estate agent, or they could scour the ads in the local newspaper for homes that were for sale by owner. There wasn’t much outside of those 2 choices. Fast forward to today and potential home buyers are in the driver’s seat with the accessibility that the internet provides. There are a plethora of websites and apps out there that show all the available homes for sale in a given area. You can even narrow down the search for number of bedrooms, bathrooms, school districts, etc. You can literally go house hunting with your smartphone and see all the available homes for sale that just a few years ago you wouldn’t have had any access to. What this means for real estate agents is simple – agents are not the only form of information any longer. You should be working on your skills to find your clients exactly what they are looking for and get them a good price on a house.

Social Media Influence

Along with the rising popularity of smartphones changing the way that potential home buyers go about finding their ideal homes, social media is hurriedly gaining traction. Facebook has grown leaps and bounds for businesses in the last few years and the real estate market has benefited immensely from that growth. Since Facebook is all about being social, the real estate business has taken advantage of that word of mouth platform. If someone is happy about a home they purchased and loved their real estate agent, and that person posts pics and statuses about their experience, then all their friends will see that. More and more home buyers are actually following or “liking” local real estate agents to see the newest houses that they list, getting the information that way instead of more traditional routes.

Virtual Tours

Like everybody else in our busy world, potential home buyers have a lot going on and shorter attention spans. Due to this, there is a growing movement of narrowing down potential home choices by taking virtual tours, which is basically the ability to see a home through a series of pictures or video before actually touring it in person. This does require that realtors have this type of technology on their website, but with the growing trend toward this, more and more realtors are enabling this software. It’s a great time saver, as a potential home buyer can click around a couple of houses on a list to see if the house is something that they would even be interested in, instead of spending an entire day driving to a handful of houses.

The Best Cross Training Shoe Designs of 2015

I have a passion for shoe design, especially athletic shoes. During my school days I would often scan the classroom to see what shoes the other kids were wearing and take elements from them all to inspire my own creations.

During my lifetime I have often wondered: What makes the perfect shoe? This could be answered in many ways, and the answer would depend on whom you asked. For example, if you asked any shoe manufacturer, they would likely say the perfect shoe is the one that makes the most money.

If you asked an athlete, they would probably say the perfect shoe is one that allows for the best performance. If you asked a designer like me, then the answer would be: visual.

I recently noticed athletic shoes are being designed for multi-purpose tasks. This range of shoes is called cross trainers. These shoes are expected to perform well during a number of activities including running, weightlifting, skipping, rope climbing and gymnastic workouts.

To combine a multitude of requirements into one shoe calls for a huge design process, and here are my favorite CrossFit shoes.

The Nano

The Reebok Nano is now in its fourth generation. If you compare the first version to the last, you will find it difficult to see any similarities. The Nano 4 now has a tough synthetic material including HDP mesh and Kevlar fiber protection. These two aspects alone make the shoe lightweight, but strong enough for all the multitasking it will be required to perform during its lifetime.

The shoe is designed to be supportive, enabling the athlete to lift weights with a stable footing. The sole is made with a high-quality rubber for excellent indoor grip. The design of the shoe is unquestionably amazing with a focus on performance, but the visual appeal is somewhat lost and lacks character. Read the entire reebok nano 4.0 review here.

MX20v4

Another new development over the past three years has been the introduction of minimalist shoes. These shoes are designed to replicate a barefoot style of training that is popular with African distance runners.

The shoe has no heel-to-toe difference, giving the athlete a completely flat contact with the ground. This ensures the foot hits the ground in a natural way and strengthens the feet muscles.

After testing this shoe for a number of months it’s impressive and surprisingly durable considering the lack of materials used to construct the upper.

The design of the shoe has to be commended as a success, taking into consideration the combination of tasks users will require the shoe to perform, and I really do like the visual design.

Metcon 1

Nike has arrived late to the cross training party, unless you consider the Nike Free to be a contender. In 2015, Nike released the Metcon 1 shoe, hoping to take a slice of the CrossFit market.

Performance wise, the shoe is on par with the Nano 4 — but visually I feel the shoe is lacking personality. I think the Metcon 2 will visually look completely different, but every other aspect is excellent.

 

Fitness and Technology

Technology is always changing. The majority of the country did not have mobile phones 20 years ago. Nowadays, the majority of the population has some sort of mobile device. They even have certain technologies to help improve your health. There are so many different types on the market. Many of the ones that I use are for mobile phones. That does not mean they are all for your phone. They are just the ones that I prefer to use. I use many different types of fitness applications. I always have my phone with me. So this makes it very convenient and easy to use the mobile health apps. I am here to tell you about a few of my favorites. These apps can help you be healthier, get in shape, and track your exercise routine.

Nike Plus App

One of my favorite apps to use it the Nike plus app. This app is for anyone that enjoys running or walking. Nike plus uses the GPS feature that is built into the phone. It will track your jog or walk. You just turn the app on and press start. It makes it a lot easier when keeping up with your cardio. If you like to keep up with how many miles you run per week, then this app is a must. It also lets you listen to the music on your iPod. Even if you just like to walk, this is a great app for you.

Another great health app to have is a heart rate monitor. They have different ones on the market. This app will tell you your heart rate. I like to use this app after I do some interval training. It just makes it a lot easier to get my heart rate during a workout. It will also keep a log of every time you use it.

Organization

I love keeping track of everything I do. Keeping track of your workouts can be very helpful for your fitness goals. You can see if you have progressed or not. Anyone that is doing a weight program must have something similar to this. That is why I use a journal log app. Having it on your phone makes it easier to use. I said goodbye to the days of pen and paper. It is so easy to use this app.

Conclusion

Even if you are new to the fitness world. There is an app out there for you. You do not even have to have a gym membership. I have tried many of the at-home fitness apps. Most of these apps are just body weight exercises. It will have workouts and exercises preloaded on the app. So whenever you are ready to workout. All you have to do is run the app. My best friend works for Broadconnect Canada. He works from his house. He is in great shape and uses one of these apps.

There are so many different types of fitness apps out there. If you are trying to get in shape, eat better, or just track workouts. There is an app out there for you.