Tag Archives: web design

Softwate Update

The Great Homepage Experiment

Our website WebEden.co.uk has been around for 5 years now, and we’re constantly working on it. We add new content, create new services, add videos and update pages.

But WebEden.co.uk is by no means perfect. It feels a bit ‘old school’. The text is tiny. The website is built with the small screen size and browser in mind. In short, we think it needs an update.

The first step on updating our website is testing out some new design ideas. We’ve created a new version of our homepage. And we’re using a cool bit of technology from Google called Website Optimiser to test whether this new version of our homepage coverts better than the old one.

Here’s our current homepage:

And here’s our new alternative:

Half people trying to get our homepage are shown the original and half are shown the alternative. We get a report in Website Optimiser showing us which version works best. This is what it looks liike:

At the moment the alternative new version is beating the old one but it’s early days.

Once we’ve found out the best design we’re going to launch with a whole new site based on that design – that’ll be in the middle of January.

But as a customer of WebEden, and a seasoned website builder, which do you reckon is best? Leave us your design comments below!

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Archive

Website of the Week: Jelliltd.com

It’s Tuesday so it must be about time for another ‘Website of the Week’.

This time around we’ve got the cool and clean jelliltd.com. Some of you might recognise that name as back in December Jelliltd.com won the competition to design WebEden’s very own Twitter background.

Website Address:

www.jelliltd.com

When did you build your website?

Sept 2009

Why did you build a website?

To advertise my graphic & web design business.

What do you like best about your website?

The way it flows between pages and how compact it is.. minimal scrolling!! Pet peeve!! Enjoy the flash elements too :)

What is your best website building tip?

Push the boundaries! Play on the theme of business/purpose and use that to create a site which represents you fully.. it’s not about being black and white and sticking to the ‘norm’.. it’s the grey areas in between where u can have fun!

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Thanks Charli. If you want to be featured as our Website of the week, and get exposure to thousands of readers of the WebEden blog, visit the forum now!

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Archive

Website of the Week: lotsofinterviews.com

Those that are interested can submit to our ‘Website of the Week‘ on the forum. We’re picking the best websites and publishing them here on the WebEden blog.

This week by Robert Beck we’ve got the highly successful lotsofinterviews.com

Website Address:

www.LotsofInterviews.com

When did you build your website?

November 2008

Why did you build a website?

To be able to post my interviews with celebrities on the web in an easy way.

What do you like best about your website?

The clean and professional feel to it which makes it easy for my readers to use. I have had many comments stating this and am very proud to of achieved it.

What is your best website building tip?

Don’t be afraid to do something different. You want your site to stand out so experiment with it. It’s easy to make changes with the Webeden software so you can always change it again!

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Thanks to Robert. If you want to be featured as our Website of the week, and get exposure to thousands of readers of the WebEden blog, visit the forum now!

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Archive

Website of the Week: RobWatt.co.uk

Last week we asked you to submit to our ‘Website of the Week‘ on the forum. We’re picking the best websites and publishing them here on the WebEden blog.

First off, its Director Rob Watt and his highly impressive website RobWatt.co.uk

Website Address:
www.robwatt.co.uk

When did you build your website?

I started designing and building in late 2008 and made major changes in early 2009…

Why did you build a website?

I am a Director who wanted to build an online brand and a web portfolio seemed to be the best options. I have embedded my blog and twitter accounts into the site.

What do you like best about your website?

How easy it is to update and its capasity to be expanded.

What is your best website building tip?

Be Bold.
Try something new… Try and catch the attention of the reader… think outside of the box…

Be Specific.
Know who your audience is and then tailor the website to them; it can’t be all things to all people.

Be Clear.
Be clear on what you want to say. Once you have this in mind then you are able to focus all your design through this.

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Thanks to Rob for that. If you want to be featured as our Website of the week, and get exposure to thousands of readers of the WebEden blog, visit the forum now!

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Archive

Submit to our Website of the Week!

Are you chuffed with your WebEden website? Then we want to know about it!

Pop along to the WebEden Forum and tell us all about your website. We’ll choose the best and publish them here on the on the main WebEden blog, along with a few comments of our own!

Here’s what you need to include in your post:

Website Address: EG yourwebsitename.co.uk
When did you build your website?
Why did you build a website?
What do you like best about your website?
What is your best website building tip?

We’re looking forward to seeing all your entries!

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Softwate Update

Cheap Website Icons thanks to ICON FINDER

icon-finder-logo

You want to use icons on your website. You have a look at word and see what icons and clip Art came with your computer.

And what do you find? Not much of any use!

You then turn to the web, searching and scouring through the net trying to find the perfect icons for your web site. At best you only find a few icons in each set.

That’s where Icon Finder comes in.

Iconfinder provides high quality icons for web designers and developers in an easy and efficient way.

You can search through 147,174 icons or browse 417 icon sets – which ar constantly expanding.

This is a great place to find FREE icon packs for your website builder. It gives you the ability to search for a particular icon e.g. TWITTER. This will bring up hundreds of Twitter icons.

Once you have found the icon you were searching for you can then view the ICON PACK, this will give you all the icons that are designed in the same way.

So you can see all the icons for facebook, stumbleupon and RSS to name but a few.

This will make your site look more universal rather than having a Twitter logo designed one way and a Facebook logo designed another way.

Some packs do have licences which means you can use them for Personal Use only or you may have to provide a link back to the Author of the icons.

You can even download the .ico version of the image, so if you are using windows you can use them for folder images as alternatives to the standard folder symbol that you get.

Hey if you designed some Icons yourself then why not submit them and share them with the world? You could maybe even ask for a link back to your WebEden website!

Well if you decide to use any of these icons, let us know…

If you have any sites that offer the same or something similar then post a comment and help out your fellow designers.

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Softwate Update

New Website Templates launched

Due to popular demand we’ve added more templates into our website builder. These give you lots of new starting points for your website building journey!

Here are a few of my favourites

I don’t know about you but I find these new templates inspiring!

Don’t forget, you don’t need to use a template, you can always start with somethink blank.

Like the new designs? Any others out there that you’ve seen and you’d like us to have a go at? Leave us a comment below.

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Archive

From idea to business in 24 hours

Here’s an inspiring story from the world of ecommerce. It just shows you what the Internet can do for YOU (imagine poster with pointing finger etc.)

Last week some people set themselves a challenge to create an online business in 24 hours.

A group of young designers had a brainstorming session, sifted through the ideas they came up with, picked a winner and at 1 minute past midnight started working on their project.

The concept they had decided on was an online shop where you could shop by colour. Runner up ideas included DeathVolt – a website that stored usernames and passwords to be passed onto next of kin in the event of death; and ‘Lists’ – a site where you could create and share your top 10 lists of anything.

Developers grabbed some open source software and modified it to recognise colours in pictures. Others organised a feed from Tradedoubler.com that would aggregate products from a list of clothing retailers.

And did they manage to finish the job? You bet: They tested it by carrying out a colour search at 1 minute before midnight. The website went live just after.

The icing on the cake? The resultant website – DRHue.com, was then sold on Ebay for £3,100. Not bad for a days work!

A spokesman for design agency ‘Nonsense’ – who had been involved in the project – said that the idea behind the ’24-hour start up’ was to demonstrate to entrepreneurs how quickly ideas can be turned into reality online.

In actual fact, the founders were disappointed with the final sale price – they had hoped they’d get as much as £20k.

It does show what can be achieved when you have a clear idea of direction. WebEden allows you to build a website in a matter of minutes if not hours, meaning that you too take turn your ideas into virtual reality.

Have you managed to make your web project in a short timescale? Or have you laboured for months before your idea went live? Let us know about your experiences below.

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Softwate Update

10 Essentials for every Business Website

Here at WebEden we often get asked to have a look at customer websites and give our feedback on how they’re looking. We usually make comments on images, menus, fonts and layouts.

But often we find that business websites are lacking some of the essentials that every single one needs.

There are some basic questions that every business owner needs to ask themselves when putting their website together. These are questions like:

Why do I need a website?
What information do visitors need to know?
What will website visitors look for?
How can my website make a good impression, and make it easy for people to buy from me?

Here’s our checklist of essentials that we reckon every business website should include.

1. Contact details
The most important essential, but so often overlooked. Website visitors will often try to find your website so they can find your phone number or your physical address.

At a minimum you need address, phone number and email address. Make these details easy to find – think about making the ‘contact us’ page one of the most obvious. Put your phone number big and bold on every page – top right hand corner is most common.

2. Map
Having a map of where you are:
*adds a reassurance to your website visitors that you actually exist.
*makes it easy for them to find you.

Here’s a tutorial on how to add a Google map to your website.

3. A ‘contact us’ lead capture form
Many website visitors want to know more about your products and services, but won’t feel like giving you a call. This might be because it’s out of hours, they’re busy doing something else, or they don’t want direct contact. This means that you need a lead capture form.

Having a lead capture form also allows you to give them more information when it’s convenient for you,

4. Photos of you
This is great way to add reassurance about who your website visitors are dealing with. Having a photo jump-starts a personal relationship between you and your website visitors, and boosts the likelihood that the visitor will want to get in touch.

5. Newsletter Sign up
Many website visitors are in a ‘research’ phase of the buying cycle. They’re not ready to phone you or start buying just yet, but still want more information.

A newsletter allows you to start warming up your relationship before they’re ready to buy. Website visitors get the chance to ‘taste’ your service before they actually commit to buying.

As a consequence, a weekly or monthly newsletter can be the biggest source of new leads for your website.

6. Blog
A blog is a half way house between your website and a newsletter. It lets you add personality to your website, and starts an open conversation with your visitors. You can use it to showcase your knowledge & products.

Another real advantage of a blog is that it lets you add fresh content to your website, something that Google really likes to see.  This can help boost you up the search engine results pages for searches that are relevant to you. For further advice with SEO read our Search Engine Optimisation Guide.

7. Customer reviews and testimonials
One of the most convincing ways to sell your products is by having other customers recommend them. As we’ve mentioned in our Social Media Strategy posts, good customer reviews are an important way to boost sales.

I know that you’re hardly likely to publish reviews and testimonials that show you in a poor light. But if you can get some genuine comments from a real people, and they don’t mind you publishing their contact details, then those comments go a long way to reassure others that it’s a good idea to buy from you.

8. Email to a friend
One of the very first ‘social media’ applications, ’email to a friend’ is now often overlooked

The best way to convince someone to buy from you is by having someone else recommend your products. An ‘email to a friend’ links on your website does just this.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to add the ’email to a friend’ application.

9. Social book marking buttons
A more modern social media service, bookmarking buttons often run on the bottom or side of web pages accompanied with a message like ‘share this’, or ‘add this’.

Social bookmarks are public web pages where you list all the links to all your favourite websites. They are a way of saying ‘I like these websites’ to anyone who is interested. They are a great way for customers to endorse you. Popular social book marking services are called Digg, Stumbleupon, Delicious, and Furl.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to add social bookmarking buttons.

10. Twitter & Twitter feed
Twitter lets you have a public conversation with your customers or website visitors. It helps to add a human element to your website, and gives your website personality. Here’s a video tutorial on how to integrate your WebEden website with Facebook and Twitter.

Summary
Whilst is important to be concerned with design, colours, fonts, menus and layout, when building a website make sure you include these 10 essentials too.

Anything else you think is a ‘essential’ for your website? Leave us a comment below.

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Web Design

Turn browsers into buyers with the right buttons

We consistently discuss how to get more visitors to your website. We talk about using search engines, social networks, and of course there’s even offline advertising.

But all the website visitors in the world are pretty pointless if no-one buys anything (or takes any other desired action) once they get to your website.

Whilst there are hundreds of different design factors that can influence whether or not someone buys from you, an often overlooked factor is how and where and what type of ‘buy now’ buttons you use.

A ‘buy now’ or call-to-action button should act like a magnet, drawing the visitor’s eye. It should be clear, easy to find, and stand out even on a busy page. Varying how you use these on the page will hugely influence your website conversion rate. Here are a few things to think about when it comes to buttons:

1. Try different colours

There’s an easy rule to follow here: Use strong colours on important buttons, neutral colours on those less so.

One thing to be wary of though, don’t use too many different coloured buttons. You still need to keep to your brand colours otherwise your website can end up looking like carnival poster.

2. Try Varying the Size

Another very simple rule. Use a big button for important actions, small buttons for less important ones.

3. Try varying the shape

You can use shape to change the emphasis of the button, and also hint at its function:
Triangular buttons often contain links to more information.
Circular buttons, especially when small, usually perform a basic function such as closing a document or application.
Rectangular buttons are most commonly used for a call-to-action. Due to this consistency across web design, make sure your important buttons are rectangular. Use other shapes elsewhere.

4. Try to varying the Style

Although you want to stick to your website colours and style guidelines, you should still have enough flexibility to make quite big style changes.

A good and easy way to distinguish a call-to-action button is to make it a block of colour with the text in white. In the example below, both bits of text are the same size. You’re left in little doubt which is the call to action button.

Alternatively, you might like to try placing a symbol or an arrow next to your call to action button. This is what we do on the WebEden homepage to encourage people to start building a website

Last of all, don’t make your call-to-action buttons just text links without a highlighted background. Text links are almost always used to just offer more information.

5. Try to vary the placement

Where your button appears on the page will hugely influence how likely it is to be clicked.

In a page with lots of products make sure the buy now button is immediately next to the product that it is associated with. It should also be on the right, at the bottom corner of the product.

If you have a general page that with a general call to action, make sure that the button is on the right hand side, usually lower down the page.

If users have to scroll down the page, make sure you have a visible buy now button on the right hand side that they can see without scrolling. If you need to, repeat the button lower down the page too.

And that’s it

Varying the way your buttons look and how they appear on the page can hugely influence whether or not your website visitors will click on them. The only way to find out what works best for your website is to try out some different combinations.

Any comments or experiences about buttons you’d like to share? Leave us a comment below.

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