7 Features Your Homepage Should Have

Your homepage is a window into your business. Try to think of it as a shopwindow to your store. With that in mind, what do you want your customers and visitors to think when looking at it? Do you want them to find it visually appealing, know exactly what you are offering when they set their eyes on it and get a clear message from you as a potential supplier?

It takes less than a second for visitors to decide if they are interested to explore your website further and here are a few tips for you to get them to decide that they do!

Logo

The recommended position for your logo is the top left. By surrounding it with negative space (white space), you will make it stand out and be noticed. Given that logo is a representation of your business and offer, you want your visitors to remember it and mentally connect it with the information they read on your website.

Clear and Descriptive Headline

If the homepage is the most important part of your website, headline is the most important part of your homepage. You might want to place it above, below or within the hero shot and go with the KISS principle – kip it simple, stupid. Its main purpose is to tell your visitors who you are, how you can help them and to keep them interested.

Intuitive Navigation

Having landed on your homepage, your visitors will scan for general information and answers to their questions. The next thing they’ll do is try to find additional information and you want to make it as easy for them as possible. Having an intuitive navigation menu, you provide your visitors with a roadmap to your website. So, make it visible, make it simple and make it clear. This way you help your visitors quickly find the information they are looking for.

Contact Info

The purpose of contact info is to make it easy for your website visitors to get in touch with you. Having said that, it is not enough to have a separate ‘Contact us’ page, you also need to add your contact info to your homepage. A perfect place for it is header, footer or both.

Portfolio photos

It is great to have nice looking photos on your homepage but it is even better to have nice looking photos of your work. These photos need to be compelling and just a hint to what’s coming next when they click on the ‘Projects’ button in your navigation menu.

Footer

From my personal experience, the websites that kept me interested enough to scroll down to the footer area actually answered my initial questions, and they kept me interested to keep looking for more. That’s why having additional links, secondary calls to action and contact information is strongly recommended for the footer area. The most important elements of a footer are contact information, links, and social media icons. Additionally, social media icons act as social proof and thus help you build trust among potential customers.

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Keywords

Having come up with a perfect layout with the above listed features, as a final touch you need to work on the SEO aspect of your homepage (and other website pages too!). To make search engines like your website and drive more organic traffic, place relevant keywords in your meta description, title tag, headline, images and you are ready to go.

Summary

Specializing both in webdesign and digital marketing, we can not limit the list of features to the visual and functional ones only. We help our clients have a user-friendly website with intuitive navigation and always go an extra mile to make it SEO optimized. You can check out our work here.

 

5 Reasons to get your logo professionally designed

Logo Design

Your company logo represents you in so many different places it needs to look great! It needs to look professional and represent your companies ethos and ethics. You put a lot of time, effort and energy into your company, make sure your logo reflects that.

Why not just go for the cheap option?

We all know the saying ‘You get what you pay for’ and this is especially true when discussing logo design. Designers time is what you are paying for. The longer they spend on your logo design, the better the end product will turn out. It will be more original and this will help differentiate your company from your competitors.

A cheap price really only means a couple of things –

A designer new to the profession and at this stage inexperienced so their time is valued lower than their colleagues.

A designer aiming to churn out as many logo designs as possible in the shortest possible time to make the most profit.

 

5 Reasons to pay a professional a good fee

  • Experience & Skills – See above! You get what you pay for…
  • Reviews – Find a designer with great reviews and even better, previous logo designs you like!
  • Customer Service – It should be an easy process working with a talented designer to create your logo.
  • Efficient Service –  Your logo should be efficiently designed with any changes or amends done promptly.
  • Ongoing Partnership – Logo design should only be the first step in a prosperous relationship with your designer.

Example

Take a look at the professionally designed logo for this light aircraft engine overhaul/exchange facility based in the UK. The logo represents the company with its sleek design and bespoke typeface.

Summary

Your business deserves the best logo possible. It’s your shining beacon of brand awareness informing the world of your companies existence. Go to a professional and GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

 

Why Your Site Needs Off-Site SEO

Off-Site SEO

We all want to be number 1, right? Especially on Google for our website… In this post, we explore the ‘dark arts’ of off-site search engine optimisation (SEO) and why you need to use it for your website.

To raise the value of your website’s off-site SEO, you need other sites to link to your site, known as ‘backlinks’. That is then viewed with differing levels of importance by search engines according to certain criteria attached to the linking site. The three main values to remember are relevance, authority and trust.

These links can be created organically, requested by the site owner on other peoples sites or created by the site owner on another site they own. Google’s algorithm then uses ever-changing factors to help it rank these backlinks, including the popularity of the linking website, how recent the backlink was created & the authority of the domain of the linking page.

While backlinks are the most often used type of off-site search engine optimisation, pretty much anything off-site that mentions your website or brand can help. Social media marketing is a great example of this, make sure your socials are up to date and linking back to your site.

It’s possible to check where your backlinks have come from via SEO Site Check Up, I did this recently for a client upon request. I could see that the local building surveyors firm had received backlinks from previous clients, newspaper sites, Yell.com and local trade press outlets.

Off-Site SEO

In summary, although we are never quite sure how Google works… We believe that off-site SEO could account for up to half of the ranking values of your site. You could view these off-site links back to your site as a ‘thumbs up’ from a friend, the more trustworthy and reputable that friend is, Google will attach more credence to their actions.

What does your logo say about you?

A company’s logo is it’s symbol or “mark”. It’s used everywhere, from the website, promotional material to business cards and letterheads. The logo is an identifier of the company, which means it’s design is very important. It should be unique and memorable, so that the design will stand out and increase the chances of being recognised by consumers.

Take the ones below, recognise any?

Apple logo Nike logoStarbucks logoMcDonalds logo

These are some of the most recognisable logos in the world. What do they all have in common? Simplicity. Your logo should be minimal, not too busy and be a clear reflection of who the company are. Insolvency Practitioners, Connect Insolvency, are an example of a company who have created a logo that is simple yet effective.

Connect Insolvency logo

The colours pink, blue and green are used, which is the same colour scheme that is used throughout the website. This is not only eye-catching but helps to compliment the company’s branding. The image of the puzzle in the middle of the logo could be in reference to the word “Connect” again representing the brand in a way that can be easily remembered. 

The distinctive logo makes it more likely to be remembered by consumers. According to a study carried out by Siegel & Gale, the most memorable logos are 13% more likely to get the attention of the consumer. The study also suggests that the more times a consumer sees a logo, they start to build familiarity, increasing the likelihood of the consumer beginning to trust the company.

Blogging – is it worth it?

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Is keeping a blog worth it when it comes to your website? Blogging or running a news feed is a great way of attracting new visitors to your site as well as showing that you are active online. Not convinced? Here are a few advantages of having a blog on your site:

Advantages:

  • Boost SEO: Running a blog or news feed on you site can boost your website’s search engine rankings. The more content you publish and the more active you are online, this can drive more people to your site, generating an increase in online traffic and getting Google’s attention. However, it’s important to note that content should be relevant and of a certain standard of quality to maximise it’s effectiveness.
  • Customer experience: Keeps customers up-to-date with everything your business is doing such as your latest work and future plans to maintain a level of engagement. Alongside this, you can answer questions your customers may have or resolve any issues.
  • Brand personality: Showcase your brand’s values, beliefs and passions through the content you post on your blog. Linking an article to a local event or a news story can make your brand seem more personable and relatable to readers.
  • Social media: Your blog posts can also be posted on all social media channels which means you are keeping these platforms updated as well. It also increases the chances of attracting new audiences through sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Cost effective: It can cost very little if not nothing to run a blog or news feed. If you already have a website then adding a blog can be a cost effective way of promoting your site.

Check out Newcastle based, leading building and construction company, J3 Building Solutions who have incorporated a news feed into their site. The company use the feed to post content such as updates of the company, latest projects and construction news from the local area. This helps to keep their customers aware of what they’ve been up to and gives customers a reason to keep coming back to the site and checking for more updates. 

Each blog post offers the option to be shared onto social media pages as well as a Get In Touch button should any of the content be of interest to a visitor.

So, next time you’re considering writing a blog give it a go! 

Making the most of your website

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Having a website is all well and good. Everyone needs an online presence, but it isn’t enough to simply put some info online and hope for the best. Let’s have a look at the different ways you can make sure your website stands out and converts leads.

Eye tracking

One of the most useful types of research when it comes to web design is eye tracking technology.
This data shows us that people read in ‘F’ patterns, skimming through the text – only around 28% of the text is read. This is why a horizontal or left aligned menu is the most effective.

It also shows us that the top left corner gets people’s attention first, which is why logos are often placed there. Make sure your value proposition is in the right place to grab people’s attention like this supply chain finance company.

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Above the fold
Although most visitors to websites are used to scrolling to get the info they need these days it is still important to keep your key information above the fold. This means that the first thing anyone sees before they scroll or click is what you’re trying to get across to them. This web design company based in Newcastle brings in 90% of their work through the website and it’s easy to see why with such a clear value proposition.

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Video
One way of grabbing visitors to your site’s attention is through video. It’s an effective way of conveying information quickly and making it really easy for the viewer to grasp what it is that you offer especially when you’re dealing with complex subject matter like working capital and trade finance.

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Content is king

Readable, clear content is crucial to the success of a website. If the text contains spelling or grammatical errors then it tends to put people off, as it doesn’t look professional.

Photography

Professional photography that is unique to your business is best, as stock photography can be cheesy and put people off if it’s clearly fake. Consider hiring a photographer as they will bring out the best of your business and make your look slick online.

How to drive traffic to your website

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A question I get asked a lot is how do I drive more traffic to my website?

The answer is that like anything, you’ve got to work at it. There are a number of tactics that you can employ and you’ve got to find out what works for you. The more effort you put it, the more your traffic will grow.

Here are a few ways you can drive traffic to your site:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
This is the obvious one. The more highly you rank in Google for the relevant keywords to your business, the more people will be driven to your site through the search engine. There are a lot of things you can do to make Google like your site but ultimately it boils down to having readable, good quality content that people want to find like this drone surveying company.

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Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Paid-for Google listings are a quick way to get to the top of the search. Google Adwords has a keyword planner that you can use to find out which words you need to be ranking for and you can then create a custom advert which will display in the ‘Ads; section of Google. How high it shows depends on how much you’ve bid for the keywords against your competitors. Companies specialising in digital marketing can help guide you through the process.

Email marketing
Creating targeted email marketing campaigns using software like MailChimp is another way to drive traffic to your site, providing you have the email addresses of contacts/customers who you’d like to visit your site. Consider creating an ebulletin or eshot with links to relevant sections of your website and update content regularly.

PR
Has anything newsworthy happened at your business recently? Local press love a good news story, whether you’ve recently employed a new member of staff or moved to larger premises. There are online guides to writing a press release or get in touch with a PR agency to help. If the story gets placed online it will have the added benefit of helping with SEO.

Social Media
Social media is a great way to drive people to your website. Set up accounts and interact with people on social media. It’s not just about shouting about what you do though, make sure you ask questions, support other businesses and share good news and you’ll not only drive traffic to your website but you may even find that you enjoy it and meet some like minded people!

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Blogging
Updating content on your website is a good way to increase traffic, as it alerts Google to the fact that you’re keeping things fresh. You can also share blog posts on social media and in email marketing.

You could even guest blog on another website if you have expertise in a certain area! This is something that a drone mapping company did to great effect.

Marketing materials
There are many ways of getting your website across on marketing materials, and encouraging people to visit it. It goes without saying that your business cards, brochures, flyers, stationary etc should clearly display your web address.  You could even do something fun like a scratch card or fortune cookie that has your web address inside.

Follow these tips and you should see an increase in traffic to your site!

Five Examples Of Retro-fitted Responsive Design

You’ll find it written on the web a billion times, so you should already know that over 50% of the visitors to your website are using a mobile device, such as Apple iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S7.

Here’s five examples of websites which have had responsive design retro-fitted.

Pharmacy Seekers

A retro-fitted responsive layout for this website advertising pharmacies for sale.

Forklift Solutions

When a customer queries their non-responsive website this North East forklift truck hire company had a fluid layout retro-fitted.

Sleeky

This northeast web design website wasn’t retrofitted so to speak, rather the whole website was brought in line with the mobile layout.

Ruen Thai

This thai massage parlour had responsive design retro-fitted after a successful website launch.

SRU Insulation

This soundproofing wholesaler had their website retrofitted with responsive layouts after an unexpected customer outcry.

How to build a house

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Ever thought of building your own dream house? It may not be as hard as you think.

We all watch Grand Designs and wonder what our dream house would look like. Very few people actually go on to build their own house, but it may be within your grasp.

We’ve spoken to expert Newcastle builders J3, who work on a wide range of commercial and domestic projects to get their advice on how to go about things.

Follow their step by step guide and build your own house today!

Finding the perfect plot
It may seem like finding a needle in a haystack (or you may already have the perfect plot in mind!) If you’re struggling there are some great online resources such as Plotsearch that can help. Word of mouth is powerful too, so let people know that you’re looking to join their community and you never know what might turn up!

Securing finance
It’s obviously crucial that you have finance in place when you start a self build. Dedicated self build products are available through brokers like http://www.buildstore.co.uk/.

The payments are made in stages throughout the project, either in advance or in arrears depending on the product.

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Be realistic
Set a budget and stick to it! “We advise that you keep 10% back for contingency” advises Bryan Watson, Project Manager from J3 Solutions.  “Although we are mainly commercial builders in Newcastle upon Tyne we also work on high end self build projects and we always work with the client and their budget. It’s important that you keep some money aside and only use this for unexpected costs such as additional foundation work or unexpected delays.

Find a designer
Whether you decide to go down the architect route or the package route (where a company will design and build your house for you), make sure whoever you choose to work with understands you and your requirements.

Plan ahead
Getting planning permission is key, but doing your homework and getting in touch with your local planning office early will stand you in good stead. Most offer pre-application advice to help you to find whether or not your project is viable.

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Choose the best route
You may want to go with a package company who will manage the whole design and build process from start to finish. Alternatively you may want to go with an architect and main contractor or project manager. Some self buildersa chose to project manage themselves to save on cost, which can work well if you have the time and can offer the commitment required.

“We are experienced contractors and we know how to get a project completed in the most efficient way possible” says Bryan. “Our builders in Newcastle have experience of a wide variety of projects  and can guide self builders through every step of the way.”

Get approval
Before you get started it’s essential that you have consent, building control approval and any other specific permissions in place. Also make sure you get the right warranties and insurance in place to protect your (masssive!) investment.

Get building!
Now is the time to prepare your plot and get building! It’s an exciting time but make sure you don’t get carried away and stick to your schedule. If you need advice you can always speak to expert commercial builders in Newcastle for help.

The top five ways to improve the security of your business

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One of the most important things to consider when running a business with physical premises is how you are going to secure it and make it safe. There are many ways to do this, but here are our top five tips.

1. Strengthen your points of entry
Have a think about all the different ways that your property can be accessed – are they all secure? Suffice is to say that you need to make sure your entrance is secure. There are many door systems out there that provide secuirity such as aluminium facades, roller shutters and integrated sliding doors with reinforced safety glass.

Glazematic, one of the leading automatic doors companies Newcastle has to offer, provides fully integrated solutions that combine state-of-the-art design with world leading safety technology.

Gavin Winton, Managing Director suggests many companies don’t realise how important it is to have a safe door system.
“We see many companies in Newcastle and beyond who come to us for commercial automatic doors because their current system is just not up to scratch. It’s important to install systems that stand up to the elements, and the test of time.”

2. Secure the perimeter
If your premises are well guarded then it will deter any potential burglars. Security lighting, fencing and a secure car park all help but make sure that you don’t go overboard and make it look like a prison – potential customers will be put off!

3. Install alarms and cctv
Think about installing appropriate alarms for the building, and remember to change codes on a regular basis.
CCTV is useful in deterring criminals and also in catching them if the worst does happen and someone manages to break into your property.

4. Know your customers and staff
Background checks and gathering information on your staff can seem a bit intrusive, but it’s key that you know who is coming into your business every day and that they can be trusted.

Make sure that you get customers to sign in and out (where possible) so that you can make sure they are kosher too.

5. Secure your business online
It’s so important that you protect your business online too. Make sure you have installed antivirus and firewall and make sure that your site is regularly backed up.

Companies like Newcastle web design agency Sleeky offer hosting which includes daily backups and technical support, so you know if the worst happens you can get your site back up and running using backups.