Tag Archives: WOrdpress content management systems

Rid the World of Outdated Website Designs [with WordPress]

How to Rid the World of Outdated Websites

We are designers and marketers to the core. Bringing  outdated website designs into a fully functioning attractive website design gets our hearts pumping.  We know design, we know code, we know CSS, PHP and  java script and a few other web language tricks. What we are not are high priced write-from-scratch-mathematic-genius- coding-geeks.  Thank goodness, the majority of small business websites no longer need us to be code crunchers.

 The days of web developers holding small business customers hostage with inflated hourly fees over months and months of undelivered promises are in the past. When high end custom web programming is required or clean and simple small business website updates are needed, talented web programmers who are ethical, affordable and a pleasure to work with are just an email away.

Today, small businesses have a plethora of affordable options available when it comes to redesigning a website. Web design software, drag and drop content management systems, and even free website builders offer beautiful website designs at affordable rates. Redesigning outdated websites has never been easier.

Resources That Make Updating Your Website Easier

  • Local experts – a small business in Lansing can work with a a local website designer in Lansing area. You don’t have to go to a large design and development firm in Detroit, or Chicago.
  • Website Design Applications  – from Dreamweaver, to Joomla, to blogging systems, website development is easier and faster
  • CMS – content management systems, back end administration areas. With standard WYSIWYG editors these systems are as easy as Word or Facebook for adding posts
  • Responsive – websites can automatically detect the size of the monitor or device the web visitor is using and elements are scaled to fit. Not having to constantly scrolls makes for a more pleasant web experience on any device.
  • Standardized features – reduces the need for changes and troubleshooting features. A lot of code is Open Source and free to use.

wordpress responsive website packagesHow Do We Rid the World of Outdated Website Designs?

As web design software and systems flooded the market we researched and tested nearly every industry product. The solution we embraced is the WordPress platform.  There were many reasons the WordPress platform stood out to us. First and foremost WordPress gives us the ability to meet customer needs by customizing existing themes. Instead of building CMS or custom features for every project, a superior system was ready to plug and play. Thousands of dollars and hours were saved and small businesses gained new websites they can update easily themselves.

We also needed to be able to easily customize templates. WordPress themes are like builder white walls – they don’t fit everyones style and may have very little personality. Most often we may start with a WordPress template and by the time we incorporate customer branding elements and add-on features, even the template developer could have a hard time picking out their design. Web designers, like graphic designers, are rebels – we always need to be able to break the mold!

Benefits of WordPress Responsive Websites and Blogs

  • Small business owners and their staff can easily update website content. From website copy, to website photos, to adding new pages, and forms, staff with little to no website development or coding experience can update web information.
  • Small business websites benefit from increasing their search engine optimization with each update  made. Web spiders and bots travel the net devouring information. The newer the information the more likely your site will be indexed for search engines.
  • Plethora of WordPress design themes available. There are endless WordPress design themes that offer increased functionality, built in CMS, and appealing design for your websites. Because of the amount of themes developed they are touted as a do-it-yourself web design solution…not always so, my friend… more about that later.
  •  Wordpress plug-ins eliminate the need for custom coding, add increased functionality and offer cost savings to small businesses. WordPress plug-ins can be used for web features such as adding a real time calendar, a slideshow, a shopping cart,  a feed to automatically post content to your social media networks.  Some plug-ins are free, others have a one time fee and still others have a monthly or annual license fee.

Outdated web designs be gone with do-it-yourself website design

We’ve established WordPress website themes serve as good jump off points for outdated website designs. All of the basic coding is done for you and installing a theme can be quick. Plus WordPress themes can, theoretically, be installed by any level of user. However, most people without html coding knowledge might find this to be a slight stretch.

There are still some technical steps that need to be understood right out the gate. Choosing a website hosting company, managing the domain, transferring the DNS correctly, optimizing photos fro web, to name a few. There is often a need or desire for some form of customization to a site also. If you’re not familiar with web coding, installing a theme and applying special functionality to a standard WordPress website design can be a nightmare. A manufacturing company website and a professional speaker website could take weeks or even months to complete without basic knowledge of html and web development.

Also, keep in mind when you purchase a WordPress theme you are not purchasing a service. The theme developer doesn’t help you build your website – even it there may be questionable coding issues – in most cases you are buying as-is without technical support.

If you choose to design your own website, remember to look at website themes that are responsive. Responsive WordPress theme designs will load well on any size monitor and they offer mobile website readiness. Plus, Google searches now put  a precedence on mobile sites when returning mobile search inquiries. If you do not have a mobile or responsive website your site may not come up in mobile Google searches. Search our site to learn more about responsive website design in related blog posts.

Check out WordPress and learn how you can bring your outdated website into a contemporary, highly functioning marketing and sales tool. If you decide you prefer spending your time building your business, give us a call – remember, design is what gets our hearts pumping!

7 Chakras of a Connected Website – Keep your website updated

Having a website with a content management system (CMS) that is also a responsive website design is the best type of website for small businesses. CMS sites, like WordPress websites, allows you to keep your website updated even if you don’t know coding. CMS sites that are responsive can be updated easily and can be navigated smoothly on all devices. Contracting a local web design firm to create a responsive webiste with a content management system is the  smartest marketing investment a small business can make right now.

The main components and considerations of a website:

Websites are like hairstyles, you can pinpoint the decade or year they were created at first glance. Your brand image can quickly look outdated with the ever-changing technological advances in online marketing and digital communications these days.

Don’t be accused of having a mullet or big hair website. Update your outdated site to one that is easy to navigate and can be updated easily to keep it current and inspiring.

Responsive websites are the latest and greatest way to present your company web content professionally to people, even when they view it on various devices.  A responsive website will format to fit on a desktop computer monitor, laptop screen, tablet, or smart phone. Responsive website designs for small business are becoming the industry standard because they adapt to the users devices. Small businesses benefit because they eliminate the need for two separate sites; a stand-alone mobile website and a stand-alone desktop website that each require their own updates. Many responsive website designs utilize the widely accepted WordPress content management system (CMS). CMS allows for ease in updates by companies who want to update their site in-house but do not have staff who are trained in web development or coding.

1. Home Page

Typically the home page is the first page visitors will come to on your website. If a visitor enters in your domain name they will come to your home page first. Because your home is usually the first impression a visitor has of your website  your home page needs to be eye catching and hold attention. Contact information and site navigation should be easily identified.

When a visitor lands here they should have a clear understanding what your site is about right away. Consider how to add an interactive element like a video or slideshow to keep visitors on the page longer.

Questions to consider for your website home page design:

  1. How will the visitor know what your business is and what the website contains?
  2. What needs to be included in the main website navigation (products, services, shop, gallery, etc.)?
  3. What photos, graphics, or messages will be used in a photo slideshow that depict your product or service well? also link to website content on internal pages?
  4. Do you have photos for each category of your product or service that link to website content on internal pages?

2. Web Forms and Contact Forms

The web is 24/7, most businesses are not. Web contact forms can be your 24/7 administrative professional or sales representative. Visitors who don’t want to call or wait until you are open can fill out a form quickly, provide their contact information and
ask specific questions. The form will be waiting in the employee email that you designate to receive each online web form inquiry.

What Web Forms Will you Need?

  1. How many web forms do you need?Who will the web form be sent to (identify the email of the person who will receive
  2. Who will the web form be sent to (identify the email of the person who will receive
  3. the inquiry form in their email)?:
    Do you just need a contact form?
    Do you need a quick quote form or detailed quote form?:
  4. Do you need an order form?
  5. How about an application form for membership or employment?

3. Product / Services Page

Even if you only offer one product or service you should have a designated page for it. Customers shopping for your company online want to get as many answers as possible on their first
visit. Your product and services page should include photos, detailed information (preferably keyword enhanced!), how to order, possibly pricing, shopping cart, web inquiry form, and a direct way to contact someone.

Products and Services Page Content:

  1. How many products and services do you have?:
  2. Do you have various product or service categories to include? Get the list together
  3. Do you have photos, descriptions and/or prices for each? Share as much detail as possible!

4. Landing Pages

When you have a specific intent such as a product or service feature or giveaway, landing pages are ideal for getting action. Landing pages are a stripped down home page or product / service page with a clear call to action. Promoted through various media like direct mail, tv advertising, radio, magazine ads, email marketing
or online advertising they offer clear direction to the customer and opportunities to target tracking.

Landing Page Planning:

  1. Identify featured giveaway, contest, product or services for sale
  2. Are downloads or online purchases available or who will receive email inquiries?
  3. How will customers find your landing page?
  4. What media will you use to promote it?

5. Content Management System (CMS)

Websites that have an administrative back end access allow for easy website changes and updates for small businesses. Website changes can be made by people who don’t know code. This is a great service for small businesses to help keep your website updated and keep outsourcing costs down. Administrative roles can be set with varying levels of permission. Staff with access can add photos, articles, blog entries, videos, etc. as easily as they can in a word processing software. The main administrator can add or delete users and their level or access.

How will you keep your website updated?

  1. Who in your office will be in charge of updating?
  2. How many people will need to be trained in the CMS?
  3. How frequently will your website be updated?

6. Blog

A web log holds company information, news and updates that is tied to your company website. Blog entries help to provide informaiton to cusotmers and visitors to your website. If you offer valuable content visitors can subscribe to blog entries in an RSS feed or receive email alerts. Blogs also help bring your website up in search engines better than sites without blogs. You come up in searches better because search engines like it when you keep your website updated with frequent posts. The other reason is relevant content, search engine inquiries response is based on a websites relevant content. When you post information that is connected to your product or service in your blog the content will be of value to search engines and your site will be more apt to come up when inquiries are made that match your blog content.

Is Blogging in Your Futue?

  1. What types of blogs will you write?
  2. How frequently will you post new blogs?
  3. What categories should be included for searching blog content (general, product names, press, etc.)
  4. What are the primary keywords for the website

7. E-Commerce Portals / Member Access

If your website is going to serve as a shop for people to buy online there are a number of decisions to make right away as you are planning the site.

Specialty stores, publications, trade associations and other groups often have an area of the website where members can log on with a password or user name to gain access to specialized information.

Some of the questions to ask yourself when planning these types of websites:

  1. Will visitors pay online?
  2. With Paypal or another payment portal?
  3. Approximately how many products or product categories will you need to include?
  4. Have you considered what your shipping cost will be for each item?
  5. For password protected members, only areas on websites what content will be included?
  6. Who will manage the database of members?
  7. Are there dates when memberships will expire? How will the member be alerted to subscribe again?

You have your homework. Your test will be determining if people will find your website, if they find it easy to navigate, and visually appealing and if you keep your website updated with relevant content. If this all seems overwhelming to you contact us. We can provide consultations. We can help you organize your website content, determine navigation and of course build and design your website – whether you choose to keep your website updated or you would like us to help you with that marketing component as well, we’ll get you connected.