Tag Archives: HTML

Mobile Responsive Web Design

Mobile Web Design: What it is and What it Means
By 2014, mobile Internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop Internet usage. For those not already on board with mobile web design, the train is now officially leaving the station. However, mobile design is not merely a matter of making objects smaller. Instead, mobile design calls for an entirely different philosophy and perspective. Some of these differences are obvious and some less so.

“Flavors” of Mobile Web Design
Two primary techniques comprise mobile web design in 2013, each with advantages and disadvantages. These techniques are discussed in detail below:

Responsive Web Design
A responsive design detects the user’s device type (desktop, mobile, tablet) and adjusts layout properties accordingly. Among the advantages of responsive web design is that only a single URL is necessary. Similarly, the look and feel of the site is the same regardless of device, an important aspect of building brand loyalty and recognition. On the other hand, a responsive web design is rarely optimized for mobile users. Because the HTML is the same for both the desktop and mobile instances of the site, the content is essentially the same as well. However, mobile users often have different expectations and needs. Slower performance and navigation are also potential drawbacks of responsive web design.

Understand the End User
It sounds like an oversimplification to say that mobile web users are different from desktop web users, but this one fact is probably the most important takeaway when designing for mobile platforms. Mobile users are predominantly goal-oriented. They’re looking for a restaurant, checking on a reservation, seeing what movies are playing, etc. Mobile users are “intentional”: Their browsing typically is purposeful. Good designers understand this and ensure that all design elements contribute to the site’s purpose.

Prioritize Functionality
Above all, a mobile site has to work. Slow response, broken links, a wonky interface and bugs will all deep-six the best intentions of any mobile developer. Designers have one chance to capture a visitor’s attention. On the desktop, a stunning layout and aesthetics alone can sometimes do the trick. For mobile web purposes, however, the site must be fast, easy and perform exactly as expected, every time.

Balancing Performance with Design
Despite the advances in Smartphone hardware, they are still relative lightweights compared to the most powerful desktop computers. Web designers have to be aware of the limitations of handheld and tablet devices. Too much code, too many bells and whistles and the mobile site will slog to a halt. Screen size is probably the most obvious limitation. The content present on a desktop site will never fit on a mobile site. For that reason, traditional menus and options simply don’t work. Designers have to be creative and selective. An example of this might be an air travel booking website. Whereas the desktop site will be a virtual library of information, pictures, calendars, etc., the mobile site might consist merely of flight schedules at the nearest airport. After all, most mobile users are checking on a flight with their smartphones, not booking one or investigating the tourist hotspots at their destination.

Because mobile users are on the move, bandwidth changes from one location to the next. Good mobile web design copes well with periods of weak data signal by not over-relying on dynamic content.

Concentrate on Branding
At the end of the day, branding and content are the cornerstones of any company. Mobile web design cannot neglect the identity of its parent organization. Mobile users frequently navigate directly to a specific site rather than searching, so name recognition is essential. Even if the brand already has strong market penetration, ensuring a quality experience for all mobile users will help maintain and build brand loyalty.

Will Desktops Be Left Behind?
The short answer is no. The more complicated answer is that no one can be sure of the evolution of web design 5 or 10 years from now. It’s possible that the best practices of mobile design will subsume desktop design, bringing simpler and more efficient interfaces to users everywhere. However, it’s hard to imagine the need for information-dense, substance-over-style design philosophies becoming obsolete.

What to do and What NOT to do in Website Design

The World Wide Web’s cyber strands stretch north, south, east, and west around the world wrapping over, under, and around the earth connecting websites like cobwebs connect abandoned corners of a room. Like its earthbound cousin, The World Wide Web is alive with spiders, word-spiders that are. These talented little arachnids ‘crawl’ the web’s cyber-strands on command every time someone orders a search.

Let’s say that you’ve decided to create a website. There’s never been a better time than now to find out how to put those talented little arachnids to work driving traffic to your site. Let’s find out what makes them crawl and how you can use them to attract internet traffic to your site.

When you first began designing your site for the internet you need lessons on keywords. That’s when you will discover that keywords are the search engine bait a website uses to get notices by websites around the globe. We’ve been hearing about keywords for years, but has anyone actually described what they are, where you can find them, and how they work? That lesson showed how keywords work and how to make them work for your website design clients.

Your number one focus before you begin creating your website, during the creation, even afterwards, will be keywords. They tell search engines what to look for when we surf the web, and let searchers link to your site when they search for your keywords.

Let’s explore keyword usage with a mock website. First decide what your website will be about. Why did you create your site, was it to sell a product or service or maybe create a cyber-mall for one-stop-shopping?
Now assume for the purpose of this discussion that your site will combine a couple of services to create a small cyber-mall in Seattle. Many people will resort to templates or easy-to-use websites that allow you to create your own site. While this may work for some people, the vast majority will need a site that is tailored to fit their needs. But, thanks to those sites you would not need any programming knowledge but that might hinder you as well.

What you need to do, in addition to getting a domain name, is find a web host. Web host provides the support you will need to build your site and every site must be hosted somewhere. The web host will give you email addresses, space for all of your website pages as well as other features. Many people will look to a third party company with help in creating their website design.

You need to create you web pages. If you know HTML or would like to learn HTML you can but if you do not want to deal with the hassle you could find a website design company online. For most people this is the best option. What you don’t want to do in website design is go into it with out a plan of action.

As an example, you decide to build a site to offer your neighbors the convenience of shopping for Seattle’s best personal and home services online. The key to increasing the traffic to your site will be the number of keywords you include as you build your site.

Who will visit your new site? Imagine going online to find the services your new website advertises. Which words would you use? Eldercare? Childcare? Babysitting? Lawn care? Yard Maintenance? Viola! Every one of these is a keyword for your site! Bonus! You’ve got your page titles too!

Say your site has six pages. Use the keywords we found above (Child care, Babysitting, Lawn Care, and Elder Care) in the navigation bar on each page and all of the keywords on your home page. Use all of your keywords on your home page. It’s the first thing your visitors see when your site comes up. Your visitors will use your home page to see what your site is about. Sprinkle your keywords throughout the copy to give search engines more keywords to work with.

Use keywords in the page titles and use the page titles on your navigation bar. Pepper them through the copy on every webpage. Make it easy for the spiders choose your site. That’s how you get on the search results first page and get your information in visitors’ hands in an instant. What a great incentive for visitors to come back to your site the next time they need child or elder care or lawn care services.

In the website we outlined above, you created a home page with links to your childcare and eldercare pages, and yet another to your lawn care page. You’ll also want an About Us page for bios and testimonials, and another (Contact Us) giving all the ways visitors can order your services, ask questions, or heaven forbid, complain.

If your website is six pages, you’ve used five keywords in the titles (5), another five in the navigation bar (multiplied by six since the navigation bar is on all six pages) (30). Now add an average of six keywords per page (36) giving us a total of 71 invitations to search engines to pick up on your site and put you on their first page.

The Pros and Cons of Using WordPress

When you have a business, it’s usually a good idea to also have a blog that goes with it. You need to make sure that you take the time to find the right blogging platform and create a blog that speaks to your level of knowledge and experience within your industry. If it’s not informative and interesting, after all, no one is going to read it. Of course, before you get to that you have to choose how to set up your blog. For most people, WordPress is the obvious choice. This is a painfully easy blogging tool that lets anyone create a blog, regardless of their skill level or knowledge of HTML and other development tools.

WordPress is the preferred choice for many businesses because it is ready as-is, or it can be customized with a variety of different plug-ins. If you’re considering this platform for your own blog, here are some of the pros and cons to keep in mind.

Pros:
-Wordpress is easy. If you can send an email, you can blog on this platform.

-There are a lot of plug-ins that can allow you complete customization of your blog without much effort at all.

-WordPress uses the same SEO benefits with pages and posts alike.

-Your WordPress page can have subpages, allowing you to better organize your content.

-If you outsource blogging, most bloggers can handle WordPress in their sleep.

Cons:
-There is a possibility of outgrowing this platform, even if it is rare.

-WordPress isn’t the ideal solution for e-commerce needs.

-If you are producing in-depth content, this isn’t the best tool available.

-This isn’t one of the more secure options out there.

All in all, WordPress works. Most people will tell you that, despite the few disadvantages, this blogging platform is ideal for your business blog. It doesn’t matter what you know about blogging or how much experience you have with creating anything online because WordPress makes it easy. A lot of companies, big and small, rely on this blog tool for their own blogging needs and find plenty of different benefits to doing so. Plug-ins allow you to change your blog into anything that you need it to be, making it a great starting point that can grow and change with your business.

It basically provides the perfect balance of everything that a business needs to be successful with blogging and creating ‘blog-ified’ websites that are more dynamic and interactive than traditional websites might be.

Key steps To building a successful website

Design
Design like art is subjective. But it’s safe to say that there are some golden rules you should always strive to follow. Keep it clean, simple and elegant.

Your visitors should not have to think about what your website is about, or worse, how to use it. They should intuitively grasp your message (strong and clear call to actions), as well as be able to navigate (clear menu architecture) within seconds upon landing on your web page. Study and internalize websites that are commonly held in high regard. Reflect on how and why they “work” and develop your designs and creative eye based on that. Always design appropriately to fit your target audience and industry.

Navigation and site architecture should not exclude search engine spiders. Minimize Flash to banners and graphic animations and avoid using Javascript menus. Always include a text link based sitemap so the entire site structure is accessible for the search engines.

Coding
Always ensure that your coding is clean and concise. Use 100% CSS whenever possible. Push the important stuff (content) as high up in the HTML code as possible. The repeated blocks (e.g. Left column menus, horizontal menus etc) should be kept as low in the HTML code. All CSS stylesheets and javascript should be kept externalized. For example, .

Meta Tags, Keywords, On-site SEO
Research your industry, competitors and tools thoroughly to compile a list of keywords for your website pages. I find Google’s Adwords Tool to be very useful in determining keyword traffic, competitiveness and relevancy. Be realistic about the keywords you want to target. It’s fine to try to go for top rankings in “real estate”, but unless you have a huge budget, you’d be in for a frustrating experience. Try to go for the low hanging fruit (e.g. “City+Real Estate”) initially, and then expand from there when you have a steady income stream from your site.

Once you have compile your target keywords, be sure to follow these basic on-site SEO rules.

Content
Quality content is key for a successful website. Content that is topical, compelling and well composed will always acquire links naturally over time. Research is vital for creating quality content. You don’t need to have insider information or doctorate’s degree in your field. The information is out there, you just need to be smart about how to piece it together. For example, you can compile information that has not been presented before. (Comparison of green widgets through a 10 year cycle).

Quality always trumps quantity. It is better to have 10 solid articles, than 100 mediocre ones.

Hosting
Always try to get a dedicated IP for your domain. And ALWAYS use a host company that is reputable (doesn’t host sites from undesirable industries) and has a solid up-time.

Link Building
If you can afford it, submit your site to Yahoo Directory and Business.com. Dmoz is also a highly recommended directory, however, getting listed in one of the main categories is next to impossible these days. Try to drill down to a smaller or localized category for a better chance of inclusion.

Nearly all keyword sector has an authority web hub or directory. Take the time to review their guidelines and submit your site.

As mentioned above, solid content will get you very far in terms of attracting free links. You can also develop a widget to share (e.g. Weather.com’s free weather widget tool) that contains a link back to your website.

Reciprocal or link exchanges, do not work as well as it once did. But that doesn’t mean you should totally avoid doing this. Research and contact sites that are “authoritative” or ranking well in your desired keywords, and ask for a link exchange. Your success rate will be low unfortunately, so I leave it up to you to decide the time vs reward ratio.

The basics of web design

When you are into web design either for a career or as a hobby there are some essential facts that you must remember if you want all of your websites to look great. Web design is something that is continually changing, but despite those changes you can create many a great website with a few simple rules. Of course, the rules that you work by may increase as you go or they may change a bit but this is a good starting place.

First, always remember that what you see is not what you get when you are designing a website. You cannot design a website and assume that the way you see it is the way that everyone else will see it. How a website appears is dependent upon what web browser you use, and you can bet that not everyone who views you website uses the same web browser as you. Remember with web design that you must keep everyone is mind, not just you and your web browser.

Another important element to get web design is HTML. Many web designers mistakenly assume that HTML is simply a page description language. The fact is that HTML is a structural markup language, meaning that you are creating the structure of a document not just creating a layout. Even if you think you understand HTML quite well you will be well served to go back and review some of the basic rules that apply to HTML to be sure that you are not using it wrong. So many web design specialists use HTML in the wrong way and it affects the overall appeal of their web site.

Web design is not the same thing as word processing even if you are putting content on the website. This is a sanity saving rule that you should follow because when you word process you have control over how the page appears. When you put content on a website you have a lot less control over how the content will appear because of differences in computers, computer settings, and web browsers. While you have some control over the layout of the content you simply have to put your faith in the ability of each browser to display your content to the best of its ability.

It’s also important to remember when you are into web design that graphics are not always better than simple links or content. Graphics can really make your web design pop, but you have to remember that an astonishing number of people simply do not like web graphics and will not utilize them. If you want to use graphics that is fine, but it is important in web design to also build web pages that can be navigated easily, with or without the use of graphics.

Along the same vein as using graphics in web design you should also be careful not to use too many gimmicks when you design a web page. While some of the gimmicks are really cool and fun to use, most web browsers would rather that you had a straight forward web set up that would allow them to use the website easily and in their own way. You can use some flashy gimmicks if you must, but remember that more isn’t necessarily better. When it comes to web design, simple is often better. Learn to temper the fun gimmicks with true usability.

Probably the most important rule of web design is to remember that original content makes a great website. You can have all of the flashy gimmicks and graphics that you want on a web page, but without original, quality content your web design will fall flat every time. It seems almost too easy when you look at web design in this manner, but it is true. The thing is that most of us make web design more difficult and complicated than it needs to be. If you have original content you will find that your web page does quite well and there is no need to add any of the extras to your already successful web design. When it comes to web design simple is almost always better.