Monday, December 26, 2016

For January 2017 - WordPress Specials!

For January 2017 we are offering special prices on our two best selling WordPress packages - the Basic Template Plan and the Basic Custom Plan!

For just $900 (you save $300) the Template Plan allows you to choose from 11 template and we will customize the template you choose with your logo, images, and copy.  This package includes social media integration, SEO, and more... full info here.

If you are looking for a custom WordPress site, our Custom Plan gives you a custom WordPress site for only $2400!  (Your savings on this package - $600)!  The site is totally designed, top to bottom, to meet your brand standards - no templates here!  This plan also includes social media integration, SEO, gallery/video pages, and more... to see all the package includes visit our WordPress page.

You can contact us online for more information.  But, if you are ready and would like an estimate for your project, please fill out this form.  Also feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.

If we can start your site in the first week of January, you could have your new site by the end of the month!

Parallax Effect on New Website

As I look back on the blogs from 2016, I realize there are way too many blogs on marketing issues and not enough blogs on coding, cool effects, functionality, and apps.  So, I'm going to close out 2016 with this blog on the parallax effect developed for a new site I'm working on.

If you are unaware of the what the 'parallax effect' is you can visit the proof-of-concept page I did for the new client at  The parallax effect is when you create an effect where the page content (the words) scroll by faster than the background images.

Not only is this effect pretty neat, it has the ability to build emotional awareness of your brand (by drawing attention to the background images) at the same time it is being very informative (through the content).  Additionally, it encourages the visitor to continue scrolling to the bottom of the screen - something that is important if you have more information to present than can fit above the 'fold.'  (The fold is considered the bottom of the visible area when the site is loaded in the browser.  'Under/Below the fold' is what becomes visible when you begin scrolling down).

This is a cool, fun effect that when used properly can really enhance your website.  Check out my implementation for "Fitness-365" by clicking here.  And please let me know what you think in the comments.

Special Note: this proof-of-concept is NOT responsive yet.  So, viewing on small screens may not offer the full effect.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lenovo's New Yoga Book

image from '' article
Wow, I have to say this is the first tablet I've been excited about in... well, ever.  Input includes stylus, virtual keyboard (attached) and ink on paper!  Linked here is a very good article about the device, including a video.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September Special

We have been busy!  August was non-stop fun around here - cool client project, our own inspired creations... just no time for new thing and so, (as you may have noticed) no August special.

Now we are wrapping up projects and ready to take on new challenges in September - so bring us your ideas!

But what's the September special?  I don't know... I've thought quite a bit about it and I'm just not sure what to offer.  So, this month you choose the special!

You can choose from any special we've offered so far this year OR choose a service that has not had a special associated with it yet this year and get a 25% discount.

If you have an idea for a website, web app or mobile app tell us about it and we will give you a free bid for developing that site/app.  Then you can apply any special to it.  And consultations are always free!

Be sure to visit our site for more about our services, read testimonials, and see our portfolio.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Google Will Penalize Sites with Popup Ads in 2017

In mid-August Google announced that they would begin penalizing sites that used popup ads (what they call “intrusive interstitials”) beginning in January, 2017.

If you own or manage a WordPress site that uses one of the 1000s of plugins that creates automatic popups, you MUST be aware of this. Your site’s ranking will be effected by these new rules/algorithms. (Non-WordPress sites will also be effected).

Google has identified three kinds of popups they will begin penalizing sites for using/displaying.
  • First are popups that cover the main content of the page when a user arrives at that page by clicking on a link from a search result. This includes popups that are immediate, show up as the user scrolls down the page, or popups that show up as you try to navigate away from the page.
  • Popups that are ‘stand-alone’ and must be dismissed before the content can be viewed. You know, those annoying popups that cover the whole page and have a countdown timer forcing you to view the ad.
  • And finally, popup ads that act/look like they are the above-the-fold content of the page. These are the ads that take up the entire viewable area of the window and slide away quickly as you begin to scroll.

Examples of these popups will include promotions, membership offers, newsletter signups, coupons, and advertisements.

Exceptions to these rules will be popups that cover legal information – like those messages on sites originating in Europe that warn you that cookies are in use, login popups, and verification popups – think age verification on alcohol websites.

Why is Google doing this? Well, Google has been pushing for more mobile friendly sites for a while now. Last year they updated their search algorithms to favor sites that were mobile friendly – basically ranking mobile friendly sites above their ‘peers’ that were not responsive/mobile friendly. Popups that cover content are (annoying, yes) not considered mobile friendly.
Need help or want more info?  Please feel free to contact us at:

Monday, July 11, 2016

July Special - This One's Big!

We are going all out this month!  Contract for a web application and get a mobile version for free!

There are tons of stats out there showing that most web traffic originates on mobile devices today.  An effective mobile strategy involves more than just a mobile friendly website.  And mobile applications are not just for large companies anymore. Look around, more and more small, local businesses are developing their own mobile applications - sign shops, spas, coffee shops, bakeries, auto repair shops and more have realized the benefits of an app.

What are the benefits? There are many, but just to scrap the surface...
  1. Build brand recognition.
  2. Improve customer engagement.
  3. Increase customer loyalty.
  4. Direct communication with customers.
This month, get these benefits free when you contract for a website with an app or a web application that we add to your current site.

Please contact us for more information:
Visit our website:
Comment here.
Call: 407-259-2856

Restrictions may apply, contact us for full details.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June Special

For June 2016 ALL SERVICES are 25% OFF!  Yes, custom websites, WordPress sites, mobile applications, SEO/Analytics packages - EVERY SERVICE 25% OFF through June!*

How it works:
1) Contact us for a quote.  Tell us what you need - DO NOT tell us that you know about this special.

2) We will send you a quote for your review.

3) If you would like to proceed with your project, give us the promo code JUNE2016 and we will take 25% off the quoted price.  (If you don't remember the code, it's really not a big deal, just tell us where you saw this post).

*Mix and match our services.  You will get 25% off everything.  This offer is not good for current projects, new projects only. 

Start Now!

QoftheWeek - What's Most Confusing About Website Builds

This week I'm wondering what confuses you most when it comes to having a website built (or rebuilt)? Is there a term, a phrase, or technology that you find confusing or maybe even a little scary? Please let me know what it is in the comment section.

Besides compiling all the answers as usual, I will also try to explain the confusing material.

Results from the last QoftheWeek: Have you ever used a DIY website builder? Well, believe it or not, this is the first question that we had NO answers for. Maybe those platforms are not as popular as the commercials would have us believe. Here's the link to that question, if you'd like to answer in now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Have You Heard of Google Spaces?

Today Google announced their new social app, “Spaces.” I'm usually not one to jump right out there and download the latest, 'greatest' app. But, this one seems to me to be very useful.

The idea behind this new app is to give you a place to communicate with your groups. You can share links, videos, photos, and messages. I've already created groups (or Spaces as Google calls them) for my softball team, biking team, and employee-client groups.

I have to say, so far I like it.

TheNextWeb has a post with info on how to get started with Spaces. Aside from the poor editing, the article is pretty good.  The author doesn't seem as sold on Spaces as I am though.

How do you see yourself using this kind of social app?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

QoftheWeek - Ever use a DIY Website Builder?

This week I'd like to know if you have ever used a do-it-yourself website builder like Wix or SquareSpace?  If so, are / were you happy with the site?  Did it perform well for you?

Please feel free to elaborate on your experience with a comment.  Whether your experience was good or bad, I'd like to hear why you felt that way.

Results from last week's question:
I did not get very many responses to the question.  There were a two people who said that they do believe color has an effect on productivity and mood. And I got a lot of 'like' clicks on the question. But, no one told me the color of their workspace and how it effected them.

If you would like to respond to last weeks question, please feel free.  The questions are really never closed.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

QoftheWeek - Color Effects

Well, I did say in the first QoftheWeek (Question of the Week) post that I probably would not
actually get around to having one question each week...

But, here is the second question in this series: Do you believe the colors in your work space make a difference on how you work? (If so, what is the color of your primary work space)?

I have read many times that the color of your work space (or any space) can effect the way you feel and your productivity.  For example, red is supposed to make you feel more aggressive, blue more calm, orange more social.  I would like to find out how many people really feel the color of their work space actually influences their mood/productivity.

As a reference:
  • Red accelerates the heart rate, giving you a jolt of energy. Your eye is instantly drawn to red, and it promotes physical activity and emotion.
  • Orange is a social color, encouraging interaction. It works well in meeting rooms or other social spaces, though it might not be the most productivity-inducing shade.
  • Yellow stimulates creativity and optimism. If you’re a designer or creative professional, this could be your workspace accent color.
  • Green behaves almost as a neutral for the human brain. It is calming, and also causes zero eye strain over long periods of time.
  • Blue is the most universally productive color. Calming and stable, it helps most people focus on intensive tasks.
  • Purple stimulates problem solving, despite not being a very popular color in workspace decor.
  • Rainbows make us happy, creative, energetic, productive unicorns. (Okay, fine, that last one is not backed up by science.)
Please provide your answers in the comments section.

Results from April 20 Question:
Q: "What was the last app you used on your phone or tablet that WAS NOT a social media app?"

60% of the responses were 'business apps.'  The most common business app was Basecamp.  Other popular apps: TimeTrack (or other time tracking apps), cloud storage apps like Dropbox and Google Drive, and email apps. Skype for business was also mentioned.

32% used their phone / tabled for sports apps with the ESPN app taking the majority share of responses.

The final 8% was a mix of 'utility' apps.  These included the camera and apps to customize pictures, Wi-Fi phone apps and other communication apps like Skype (used for family/friend communication), apps for maps and directions, and apps for watching TV and listening to music.

My Thoughts:
Honestly, I thought the TV / video / music apps would take the number one spot!  And I was surprised that sports apps took a whole 32%!  Finally, where was Slack?  I keep reading about how Slack has taken off.  But it was not mentioned even once (and Skype was).  My only guess there is that people consider Slack a social app and not a business / communications app.

Friday, April 29, 2016

May Special

In May we are offering 25% off the quoted price for all mobile applications.*

How it works:

1) contact us for a quote. Tell us about your mobile application idea – DO NOT tell us that you know about this special.

2) We will send you a quote for your review.

3) If you would like to proceed with your project, give us the promo code MAY2016 and we will take 25% off the quoted price we sent you. (If you don't remember the code, it's really not a big deal. Just tell us about this post and where you saw it).

Did you get a quote on your project earlier this year? You are not left out! Contact us about a quote we provided you January – April 2016 and we will extend this offer to you as well!

Contact us by phone at 407-259-2856 use the sales extension.
Or online at

*To take advantage of this offer, you must contract for your application in May, 2016. This offer is good for all quotes provided January through May, 2016. This offer is not good for projects in progress or already completed – sorry.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Question of the Week (Something New)

I spend a lot of time online looking at statistics... how often do people access sites on their
phone vs. a computer, % of sales online vs. brick-and-mortar, how many people drive red cars... blah, blah, blah.

Now, out of curiosity, I'm going to start something new, the QoftheW - "Question of the Week." (I might not actually get one out once a week). Please use the comment area to answer the question, if you want. You can make your answer as long or as short as you want.  Give it a little humor or be very serious.  Tell me why your are answering the way you are, or don't.  The whole thing is up to you and is meant to be fun, while also gathering a little data.

The week after each question is asked, I will post the results (if appropriate) for each question that I've posted across several social media sites and through email.

This weeks question: "What was the last app you used on your phone or tablet that WAS NOT a social media app (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?"

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Google Ranks Secure Sites Higher

Recently Google announced that they have begun giving preference to sites that use the HTTPS protocol – this is the secure version of the more common, HTTP. Google is doing this because the process of obtaining the security certificate to use HTTPS (an SSL Certificate, more on that later) involves some research and vetting of the company / person applying for it. (Although maybe it's because, secretly they invest in companies that supply the certs – where are all the conspiracy theorists*??)

This HTTP / HTTPS / SSL stuff might be causing some confusion. So, here is something that will help … at least I hope it helps.

HTTP and HTTPS, What are They?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It handles the formatting and transmission of data between the Web server and your browser. HTTPS is a secure version of HTTP – that's what the “S” means. This version of HTTP encrypts the data moving between your browser and the server.

What is SSL

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. This is a protocol that creates a unique key and uses it to encrypt and 'de-encrypt' information being sent between two computers. The encryption code is shared between only the sending and receiving machines, making it very hard for a third party (machine) to figure out what is being sent back and forth. This is why websites that gather and send payment information often implement SSL. (In some states, the use of SSL is required for sites that collect credit/debit card info, Social Security Numbers, or child information).

An SSL Certificate is a digital signature that says, “this owner and/or domain have been checked out.” Installing an SSL Certificate on your website is what gives you the “S” in HTTPS. Note that the HTTPS protocol can be forced on a website without a valid SSL Certificate. But, the major browsers will popup a nice big warning letting you know they can not verify the security. If you really trust the site, you can bypass this warning. But make sure you really trust it before entering any personal info!!

Getting a Certificate

You can purchase a Certificate directly from a company like Network Solutions, DigiCert or RapidSSL. But, I highly recommend that you ask your developer or hosting company for help. They may charge a little to get everything set up. But, this charge will be less painful than trying to get this all together yourself! Also, many hosting companies offer a service with includes the purchase of the certificate, installation of the certificate on your domain, and the changes that are required to go from the HTTP to the HTTPS protocol.

There are three different types of SSL Certificates. They involve different levels of research/investigation into your business and domain (none are intrusive and this research takes place behind the scenes, except for a few emails you might receive).

First is the Extended Validation Certificate. It checks the right of the applicant to use the domain that will be protected and the certifying company conducts a thorough and detailed vetting of the organization represented by the site.

Next is the Organization Validation Certificate. The authorizing company will check the right of the applicant to use the specific domain name and will also check into the organization represented by the domain or the company that owns the domain. This check is not as thorough as the check for the Extended Validation Certificate.

Finally, there is the Domain Validation Certificate. With this type of certificate, the applicant is checked to make sure they have the right to use the domain covered by the certificate.

All this information is available to your visitor / buyer when they click on the Secure Site Seal. **I highly recommend that you have your developer put this seal and link (provided by the authorization company) on your site in prominent locations, such as the home page, cart and checkout pages, or form pages that collect personal information or information about children.** If you are on a site where you are asked for any of this kind of information, you may want to click on the seal to see what kind of certificate the domain has.

Why So Many Different Prices?

Prices can very greatly for SSL Certificates. Factors effecting price:
  • the issuing company for the certificate.
  • what level of compensation you want if the data is stolen during transmission.
  • what the certification covers – a single domain, the domain and its sub-domains, or multiple domains.
  • the number of years you purchase the certificate for (most certification companies now allow you to purchase for multiple years).

Another things that may increase the price is the cost charged by your developer / host provider to install the certificate for you. If working with your developer / host provider, I recommend you ask for an itemized list including the cost of the certificate type, plus the cost of the 'add on' features, and the cost of their services and assistance.

Some Final Notes

Watch your site - when your certificate is installed and takes effect, there may be links to other pages, sites and images that are broken. Also, make sure your developer / host company sets up your site to automatically go to HTTPS even if someone types or uses a link that still has the HTTP protocol specified.

It is worth remembering that with the cost of an SSL Certificate, you are not only providing assurance to your visitors, you are protecting yourself / your business, and you are helping your Google search rankings!

It is my hope that this post helps you understand HTTPS and SSL. If you have questions, please feel free to comment here or ask questions on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any other social media site you came here from.  You may also ask questions using the contact form on our website.

*This line is a joke, please no comments about it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

10 Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring... A time for renewal. A time for new flowers, leaves, grass. A time for... yes, cleaning. Not your house or garage - well, maybe they need it too, but I'm talking about your website. Doing some 'Spring cleaning' on your website is not only a good idea, it is critical to search engine optimization and customer retention. Here are 10 tips to help you get started with your website Spring cleaning.

1) Clean up, optimize, and change images. It is important to keep images fresh. New images can rejuvenate a site – make it look new and different. Images grab attention and with new images you can grab the attention of even regular visitors to your site. Also, pictures can become dated – hair styles, cars, and furniture can show the age of an old site. And old images may give the impression of neglect.

Images should also be optimized to reduce load time – something that can really effect how fast your pages load.

While you are reviewing images, you should also work with your developer to review the 'alt' and 'title' tags used with each image. The values used with these tags can effect search engine results.

2) Figure out which pages are performing well and which are not. Using analytics, check to see which pages are getting the most hits per month and which are getting the least. Are those least visited pages necessary? Can they be re-purposed? If they are important, maybe reworking them (images and copy) will help to boost their visits. This can create a better user experience and boost your ratings with search engines.

If pages like your 'contact' page are not getting hits, try adding call-to-action buttons to other pages that encourage visitors to request more information.

3) Check for broken links. Broken links have a big negative effect on your search engine rankings. And they are really annoying to your human visitors. Pages may have been added or deleted from your site. Are you sure that all the navigation and reference links throughout your site were updated?

It's also important to check the links to external web pages. Are the links still good? And if the links do go somewhere, are you sure those pages are still relevant?

4) Have your developer check for old code. In the past few years there have been many changes to code that can speed up website loading and response times. Studies show that users begin to lose interest in about 13 seconds. Ask your developer if any of the code can be “minified.” (He / She should know what that means).

Images can slow down a site dramatically. In most cases, there is no need to have images load below the viewable area in the browser. There are a few new methods that will load the images only as the page is scrolled and they are needed.

5) Refresh the description for products and services. Your products and services may not have changed. But, the words and phrases people use to search for them may have. Review the descriptions you use for your products/services. Make sure they include the most used search words and phrases (those keyword and phrases you're always hearing about).

6) Evaluate your product offerings. Are there products or services that just don't sell online? You may consider removing them from the site to help streamline the website as a whole. Or you may consider reordering things on catalog listing pages, moving your best selling products to the top. Or highlighting the best selling services on your home page.

If these poor performing projects/services are your highest margin offerings and you would really like to push them, can changes to their descriptions and images make them more appealing? Consider special offers and call-to-action buttons on other areas of your site to highlight these products/services.

7) Can you improve navigation. As mentioned before, visitors begin to lose interest in about 13 seconds. If they can't find what they are looking for easily, they will quickly lose interest and leave. Your navigation system should be smartly thought out. Your most important links should be in the main menu (usually at the top of the page). If you have more links than can fit nicely in the main menu, consider a secondary menu in a sidebar or in the footer – both common areas to find larger menus.

Also, if you decide to use drop-down or popup menus off the main menu, pay attention to the number of items and their order. The most visited pages should be listed at the top. Likewise, list your best selling products or services in the most prominent places in your navigation system.

8) Review links to your social media pages. Marketing through social media content is more important than ever. Internet users are much more likely to follow you on social media than to visit your site. Make sure that visitors to your site know you have a presence on their favorite social media site(s). Place social media icons in an easy to find area of each page. Make sure the links are valid. Social media sites often change their APIs. Make sure your “like” and “share” links for those sites work correctly.

9) Review your “About Us,” FAQ, and “Contact Us” pages. Does your “About Us” page include the latest information about your staff and your company? Are all the questions and answers on your FAQ page still relevant? How about the information on your “Contact Us” page?

Making your business more personable is a proven way to impress and win over clients. Put some thought into what you say about your business and your staff on your “About Us” page. Replace 'cold facts and history' with a story-like presentation. Show friendly pictures of your staff at work.

Don't let the FAQ page become bloated. This slows down performance and makes it more difficult for users to find the information they need. Remove all Q and A's that are no longer relevant. If your list is still long, try some different presentation methods and search options to make it easier for the user to find what they are looking for.

Does your “Contact Us” page have the latest information on how to contact you? Are contact forms streamline and do they work? Are all the fields relevant? Visitors are more likely to use your form if it is short and does not ask for too much personal information.

10) Streamline checkout. If your site uses a shopping cart checkout or if you allow clients to pay online, make sure this process is as streamline and simple as possible. For example, if you ask for a fax number, remove it. In 2016, it's just not needed any more. If you have separate areas for billing and shipping addresses, there should be a simple way to auto-fill one after the information is entered in the other. If you already have a button or checkbox for this, make sure it works.

When making a purchase, users expect to have to provide more information. But, this process should be as easy and quick as possible. Your visitors may put things in their shopping cart and intent to purchase. But if your checkout process is frustrating or too long, they are likely to leave. Online users have come to expect 'easy and quick.' If your process is to frustrating and long, they will go to your competitors.

A few small changes, some review time, and some quick checks can revitalize your website and your visitors experience. It's worth a little 'spring cleaning' time!

If you have questions about any of these (or other) items, please feel free to comment here, contact us on Facebook, or visit our website - which might need a little Spring cleaning too!

And if you are looking for a fresh new website this Spring, check out our March WordPress Specials!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

March Specials

I've fallen behind on my blogs.  With all the absences (both planned and unplanned) in the office and the equipment upgrades we've been doing, there just hasn't been time for the "luxury" of social media and blogging.

But, things seem to be getting back to normal, so I'll be getting back to blogging this month!

I did want to post the March WordPress Specials here - we are only halfway through March.  So, there is still time to take advantage of these great deals!  For more information and to see demos, click here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Editable Tables

This week's post is about adding functionality to your website or web application.  Specifically, we are going to take a quick look at editable tables.

Tables are very useful when it comes to looking at information in an organized way.  They have an obvious layout which makes them easy to use - usually.  But, often with tables on websites, you get just a table.  You can not reorganize the table to better view the information you want.  And if information needs to be changed... forget it.

Well, not so fast!  With modern browsers, some JavaScript, and some PHP on the back-end, you CAN have sortable, re-organizable, editable tables right on your website - think "spreadsheet."  Yes, with the right developer creating the right code, you can even have the tables update and recalculate numbers.

The animation here shows a simple table of clients (made up).  The company name for one of the clients is being updated.

This is just a simple example for this blog post.  As mentioned above, the functionality of an editable table can be like a spreadsheet application.  Your website can be more than just a place to display information.  It can be an interactive, truly useful application.

If you have an idea for making your website more interactive and useful (for you and/or your visitors), please feel free to contact us at  You can also visit the Freelance I.T. Solutions website at :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bye-Bye Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10!

Microsoft is ending support for Internet Explorer versions 8 - 10 (aka, IE).  If you are in the tech industry or follow tech news, you probably already know this.  But, there are sure to be some who have not heard and more that don't know what to do about it.  (For those of us that develop websites and applications, this is good news)!

First, if you are using Windows 8.1 / RT 8.1 or above, you are okay.  If you are running Windows 8.0 or down (Windows RT, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP), you should update.

Internet Explorer 8-10 will still work when browsing the web, so why is it important to update?  The most important reason is security.  IE is pretty well known to be a security risk anyway.  But, as long as Microsoft was supporting it, they would patch problems when they were found.  That will no longer happen.  (And believe me, the bad guys are counting on you not updating for just that reason).  Also, as new features for browsing and using the web and web applications come along, you won't be able to take advantage of them, since many are depending on the software running 'in' your browser (like JavaScript).

So, how can your check your version and update if you need to?  The easiest thing to do is follow this link to Microsoft's browser download page.  It will let you know what version you are running and give you options for upgrading, if necessary.  If this link doesn't work, or you don't trust it, use these direction:
  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Tap or click on the Tools button - this may look like a little gear.
    1. If you don't have the Tool bar visible, click or tap on Help in the menu bar.
  3. Tap or click About Internet Explorer.
  4. Then select the Install New Versions Automatically checkbox and close the window.
Now Windows will update your version of Internet Explorer during your next auto-update.  (Depending on your settings, it may begin the update immediately).

For your own protection - you should update ASAP!

*Note: if you get the options to update/move to Edge, you should do it.  This is Microsoft's latest browser.  And it's much better than IE.

If you need any help, feel free to contact us on Facebook, Google+ or our website.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Launching a Killer Website

Your website should serve many functions and will probably have many parts. A website can mean so much to your business, it should be a serious undertaking – have a dream, plan, design and develop, and debug. While your website can be and do many things, it should have one primary goal. That goal might be to generate leads, sell products, educate visitors, establish your company as a solid leader in your industry – whatever it is, that goal should be the focus through the design and development of every part of the site. Below are four guiding principles that can assure you have a killer website!

(1) Create Pages that Engage Readers Quickly
According to a study by, the average first-time visitor to your site will judge your website in about two-tenths of a second! Within the next 2.5 seconds they will confirm that judgment. If it's negative, they're gone.

For many potential clients/customers, your website will be their first impression of your business. They should see a clean, organized site. Navigation should be easy to find and follow. And your site should be unique – a reflection of your brand. These strategies will help keep visitors on your site, retaining readers and possibly turning them into clients/customers.

  • Grab Attention with Large Images - It's no secret that images grab attention. A large, quality images will grab attention and quickly convey your message and your site's purpose. More companies are using large photographs or even page wide videos as homepage backgrounds.

  • Keep Text Short and to the Point - If is right, you have less than three seconds to grab your visitor's attention. Long paragraphs will only discourage them from reading further. Keep your message short and clear. Use bullet points if necessary, but don't have long lists. Have a clear call-to-action link or button - “get the demo,” “buy now,” “request a quote” “get our newsletter.” Your call-to-action will depend on the goal of your site or page. But, there should be one on every page and it should be prominent.
  • Be Smart with Colors - Color can increase brand recognition. Think about a Coke can. You probably will recognize the red can as Coke even without seeing the logo. And in the store you quickly recognize the difference between Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max just be the color of the cans/bottles. Large companies spend a lot of money on research before changing colors associated with their products. You should put some serious time and thought into your colors – what colors will be complementary and work well together? What colors will appeal to your target audience? Which colors complement the emotion you are trying to associate with your brand?
  • Use Flat Design – Specifically Flat Design 2.0 - Even if you don't know what 'flat design' is, you probably know what it looks like. Since the introduction of iOS 7, iPhones and iPads have been using a flat design. And Windows 8 through 10 all use a flat design. It is the absence of drop shadows, textures and gradients. and the use of easy to read fonts. The 2.0 version of flat design uses light shadows, highlights and layers to give elements a little bit of depth. Also, you might find some elements (buttons for example) that will use a slight gradient.

(2) Be Responsive
While I have heard (pretty good) arguments that some business types do not need mobile ready sites, the fact is that mobile use is rising every year. In 2014, mobile internet usage overtook desktop usage. A Yahoo study showed that consumers spent 47% more time on mobile devices in 2015 than in 2014. Facebook reports that more users access their site from mobile devices than from desktops.
This all means that potential clients/customers will likely browse your company website from a smartphone or tablet and your site should be ready. Visitors who encounter sites that are not mobile friendly will likely get frustrated and form a negative opinion of your company. When visitors leave your site quickly it can increase what is know as the 'bounce rate.' And this can effect your ranking with search engines.

Fortunately, there is something called Responsive Design which allows your site to adapt to the different screen sizes of different devices. Responsive design means one site can work for the desktop, tablet and smartphone. Make sure your new or revamped site uses responsive design.

(3) Your Website Should be the Center of Attention
It is a good idea to have a business account and page with the major social media sites – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. But your posts and status updates on these sites are just little pieces of your business – tiny morsels to wet the appetite of your potential clients/customers. Your social media posts should always point visitors to your website. This is where you will make the biggest impression.

Use your website to engage your visitors. Use blogs, photo galleries, videos, and forums to showcase projects, show your knowledge in your field, and provide customer service. Engage in real conversations with your visitors. Encourage clients/customers to share reviews or testimonials – consumers are more likely to shop on sites with personal recommendations.

All of this content and engagement will also improve SEO. Content provided by you and your clients is likely to contain keyword phrases that will help your search engine ranking. And search engines rank visitor-generated content high. Use forums, Q&A sessions, and service conversations to keep visitors on our site longer. Share links to other areas of your site as often as possible to get visitors to explore.

Your website is the most valuable piece of real estate your business has. You have full control over everything about it – use it wisely!

(4) Make It Flow
Easy site navigation was mentioned in (1) above. But, it's important enough to get its own number! If visitors can't find the information they need easily, they will leave your site. And the bad news is, they won't have the patients to look for long. You and your developer should put
serious thought into the flow of your site – which pages should get prime menu space? Which pages should be placed in dropdown or slideout menus? Which pages should be placed in secondary menus in sidebars or in the footer?

When considering how to best set up your site's navigation, consider your business type and your audience. Is there a structure that is standard for your business type – something your visitors will expect? Again, if your first-time visitors cannot find things where they expect, they won't look for long. There are other businesses that have the same products / services. If their sites are easier to navigate, they will likely capture the business. It is always important to remember, even if your site looks great, if the visitor can't find the info they are looking for, you've missed the bulls-eye.

Your website plays a significant role in building your business and your brand. Whether this is your first website or you are re-launching a site, you must spend the time and (yes) money to do it right. If not, you are missing out on the most influential marketing tool you have.

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