Monthly Archives: April 2017

Vacancy to create creative web designer

We’re an award-winning web agency who have been creating bespoke websites since 2001. We’re expanding and looking for someone to join our friendly and informal team. We have clients ranging from small local businesses to large corporates.

We’re recruiting a junior creative web designer to join our team in Salisbury.

Applicants must have a flair for design, experience with graphic design specifically for websites, and be familiar with wire framing and design mock-ups. Print-based graphic design is advantageous, but not a necessity.

From a web-perspective applicants must know HTML and CSS inside-out, and ideally have an understanding of JavaScript.

Crucially, applicants will be judged on their portfolio rather than their qualifications. So any successful applicant will likely have examples of websites and graphic design that they’ve built either commercially, or as part of their private portfolio. We’d also like to see, where available, the interim stages of a design (such as mock-ups and sketches).

Applicants must be able to code the front-end of websites from scratch, not relying on WordPress templates or equivalent, and this must be apparent in any examples given.

To some extent we can match the jobs to your skill set, but we’d want a candidate to design the front end of websites, help with branding, improve existing website designs, and implement this with front-end coding.

Benefits include flexible working hours, pension, full training, free tea/coffee, staff pool table, relaxed environment, and career progression as part of our friendly growing team. We also have a tiny office dog Flipper some days.

The position will be in the Barnack Business Park, Salisbury, SP1 2LP, walking distance from local shops, parks, and the city centre.

To apply please forward your CV and examples of your work to us via email.

If you can see yourself as a front-end creative web designer, then we look forward to your application.

6 Skills You Can Learn Online

I am so much in love with this era we are in — an era where there is so much information online for self-development. A focused and determined person can learn many skills online and use them to diversify his or her income. With all the advanced, digital technology in this world, no one should give excuses of not having one or two skills to remain relevant and competitive.

In the days of yore, skill acquisition and dissemination were limited to certain geographical locations because of the low level of technological know-how. However, the advent of sophisticated technology — which propelled the development of many apps, software and social media — has made skills and knowledge easily disseminated and accessible.

Related: 8 Free Training Tools That Will Help You Excel at Your Job

There are countless websites readily available for you to acquire valuable skills and knowledge for free or with little fee for a productive 2017. These skills are:

1. Web design and development.

Web design and development is a highly sought-after skill. This is because we are in a digital transformation age where every business — small, medium and large scale — is extremely interested in showcasing their products and services to the world through their websites.

There are lots of sites that can teach you how to design and develop a website. By acquiring these skills, one is adequately positioned to scramble for millions of small, medium and large scale businesses who are contemplating launching or updating their websites.

2. Statistical data analysis.

Statistical data analysis is another vital skill that is in high demand by companies, entrepreneurs and students. The knowledge of Mini-tab,  Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and E-view, just to name a few, makes a person highly desirable.

As a researcher, I have smiled all the way to the bank numerous times because I have some knowledge of statistical data analytical software. Most students in tertiary institutions need an expert data analyst — companies too, especially when sophisticated software is needed for forecasting market shares, profit and other vital results that will aid managerial decision making.

You can learn these data analytical tools online, and consult an expert for clarification should you encounter some difficulties trying to grasp the calculations and interpretation of results.

3. Fashion designing.

Humans are always in need of food, clothes and shelter. These are three basic necessities of life. Both rich and poor are in need of clothes. In our contemporary world where fashion is always a trending issue, everybody wants to look classic and beautiful. This has made fashion designers kings and queens in their profession.

There are sites that can teach you how to draw fashion or make fashion sketches, and there are lots of online videos that can teach you make dresses. The beauty of having this skill lies in the way customers flock around fashion designers within few hours of setting up an office.

Fashion designing is synonymous to a football match; there is never a dull moment from the blast of the whistle. What do I mean? Even at the apprentice stage, customers are already flocking around you.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Learn Online Today

4. Make-up.

Believe it or not, the makeup business is growing at an incredible rate. There are lots of online videos that can teach you the rudiment of make up. An interview with Ifeoma Agu, the CEO of Ivonmelda Makeova, shocked me. She is an expert in hairstyle but felt she needed a makeup skill to enhance her business growth.

However, since she couldn’t afford the training fees, she decided to download lots of YouTube videos on makeup. The rest is history. She is one of the most sought-after makeup artists in her state as a result of her quality service delivery. Remember, she learned this skill for free. You can do same.

5. Business research.

Many people want to venture into business while those who are already in business are seeking other businesses to invest in. Many companies and investors are actually seeking well-researched business ideas to invest in.

As a business researcher, you can work on your own terms. You decide whether to sell your business ideas or become a partner in the businesses. At the end of the day, you will be surprised to see that you are a co-owner of chains of businesses.

Acquiring this skill is not as difficult as you think. I am saying this because most people are indifferent when it comes to research. All you need is to be patient, focus and determined. Read online articles and journals or watch videos on business research. It’s also a good idea to consult an expert.

6. Own a blog.

You can actually learn how to create and run a blog online. By systematically following the step-by-step instructions on creating a blog, you’ll be acquiring the skill to create more blogs for prospective clients. You can create a blog for your web design and development business, statistical data analysis, fashion designing, makeup and business research businesses.

 

10 Websites That Can Make Your Business Fail

A website for your business is no longer a luxury — it’s a necessity. But, just because you invested in a website doesn’t mean that it’s effective in connecting with your customers and ultimately improving your sales. While there could be numerous reasons why your website isn’t effective, here are 10 of the most common explanations for website fails.

1. It’s not mobile friendly

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to most of us, but for the first time ever mobile and tablet usage surpassed desktop usage. As the mobile revolution continues to grow around the world, this trend toward “on the go digital,” will continue. In other words, internet consumption is moving away desktops and in to the portable devices territory. This means that your business’s website has to be optimized for mobile users.

Unfortunately, there are still lots of websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. This is just bad for business since it can lead to penalties from the Big G (Google), decrease conversation rates and deliver your customers a poor experience.

To make sure that your site is ready for mobile users, make sure that you use a responsive design, have large buttons and due your due-diligence on a/b testing, keep your layout simple and again, test it using tools like Google’s Search Console Mobile Friendly Test.

2. Contains too much jargon

I understand that you’re an expert in your field and that you want to demonstrate your knowledge and authority. But unless you’re talking to directly to your fellow industry experts, your average customer isn’t going to understand the technical language or industry jargon that you use to describe your business throughout your website.

Avoid the jargon and use simple and straight-forward language that your customers can easily understand.

3. Lacks content

Your customers have a problem. And they’re turning to your website to help them solve said-problem. That’s why your website needs to contain fresh and valuable content that answers real-life questions.

Remember, that doesn’t mean that they’re searching for your exact business. For example, our blog contains useful information for freelancers and small business owners. If a person is searching for advice on invoicing and processing payments, they could also land on our site because that’s the type of content we’ve been producing, as well.

In short, start a blog and keep writing awesome content. This will also help boost your SEO and content marketing efforts.

4. Hides essential information

Besides looking for information that will make their lives better, if customers are looking for your specific business, they want to easily locate information like:

  • The address of your business. If you have a brick and mortar business, include a map link.
  • Contact information, specifically a phone number and email address.
  • Social media plugins.
  • Hours, pricing and an “about us” page.

You’d be surprised at how many businesses still don’t have this information on their websites. And, if you’re like me, you may tend to stay from those types of businesses over security or legitimate concerns.

And, there’s really no excuse for forgetting this information. These additions are easy-to-integrate onto your site and usually free as well.

5. Loads too slowly

Customers expect a website to load quickly. In fact, 47 percent of consumers expect a website to load in just 2 seconds or less. And, that’s important to remember because an astounding 79 percent of shoppers who don’t enjoy their website experience less likely to ever return to that site again, nor buy from that site again.

You can test the speed of your site using tools like Pingdom and GTmetrix. These tools provide insights and advice on how to speed your site-up too.

6. Doesn’t have clear calls-to-action

You don’t want to leave your visitors in the dark by making them guess what you want them to do next on your site. So, give them clear instructions by creating a call to action button or hyperlinked text that is front and center.

HubSpot has 31 call-to-action examples that you should review if you need some inspiration. For instance, Dropbox has a blue “Sign up for free,” call-to-action button that stands out from the rest of the page.

Remember, without these buttons, your potential customers won’t move forward with the services or resources that you’re offering. When that happens, you won’t get those all-important business conversions.

7. It’s outdated

Webpages that are maintained and have a current design build trust and credibility. That doesn’t mean that you need to update your site every month. But, if it’s been years since you’ve had a major website design overhaul, then it’s time to find something more contemporary. The last thing that you want is to have a site that looks like a Geocities page from the late 90s.

8. It’s annoying and cluttered

Believe it or not, that are still businesses that insist on having websites that have music or videos play automatically once your enter the site. Even worse, these sites are also full of banner ads, bright colors and flashy text. These sites are just plain annoying and end-up slowing the page down because it’s so cluttered.

So, how many people are going to ever click on that site again at work — or anywhere else?

Keep in mind that a bulk of your visitors are browsing your site on mobile devices too. This means that you’re site should be clean and organized. Keep information to a minimum and use sub-headings, bullet lists and graphic elements so that visitors can digest this info in smaller chunks.

9. Shopping cart or payment platform is broken

Unless you’re relying on a third party payment gateway or shopping cart, then it’s your responsibility to frequently check to make sure that everything is working properly. You won’t be able to make a sale or receive a payment if your cart or payment processor is busted.

10. You don’t guide users to different pages

A lot of businesses send all their traffic to their website’s homepage, as opposed to relevant links that their customers actually want to land-on. This could be because service pages and other pages of the site are just an afterthought when designing a website. But, the fact of the matter is that the home page isn’t as important to general web traffic and the overall design.

Instead, start creating specific landing pages for the various types of potential customers you encounter and where they are in the sales funnel.

10 Steps to Create a Engaged Digital Experience

In order to be effective, websites need to be multifunctional in design. They need to be built like a house: protecting against the elements, providing a comfortable living space with ample storage, meeting basic needs, etc. Your website should be designed to improve user acquisition, lift engagement and help you retain customers.

It’s science and psychology combined with art. Your team should focus on several different elements to create an interactive experience that directly engages the target audience. Here are 10 steps to follow while refining the user’s online experience.

1. Focus on user types, not buyer personas

Buyer personas are primarily designed to align marketing messages and ad copy. To create the ideal user experience, you don’t need to know what “customer Lisa” specifically likes or what her pain points are. However, you do need to know the user types you’re targeting and how they browse and shop, which devices they use, and how they find and use your products. Create your experience around those user type segments rather than buyer personas.

2. Create simple experiences

Customers should feel engaged immediately. Keep your interface clean and simple and embrace white space. This invites them to explore your site on their own rather than forcing them to find what they’re looking for among cluttered designs with too many options vying for their attention.

3. Design like Fisher-Price

When you’re refining the user experience, aim for something that feels like you’re interacting with oversized Fisher-Price toys. This means creating large elements with simplified designs, clear copy that even a child could understand and actionable, concise directions (and calls-to-action).

This kind of experience works perfectly on any device, especially on mobile where larger elements make for easier navigation.

4. Design for limited real estate

Any time you’re creating a user experience, you should ask yourself if this is how you’d want it to function on mobile. How would it look on a smartphone versus a tablet? If you’re designing on a desktop, you have to carefully consider how it might translate in a mobile setting.

You can guarantee a better experience by designing for mobile users first, ensuring compatibility and a more engaging experience overall.

5. Don’t trust your feelings

Never assume that your user experience has reached perfection simply because you personally think it looks great and it did well when you put it through its paces in a test environment. How you or your team views the experience might be wildly different from a customer who sees it for the first time.

Always test the experience with outsiders. There are a number ofservices that test your user experience with actual consumers. Their comments, responses and activity are recorded during the interaction with your site and/or app so you can review feedback and make necessary changes.

6. Mix up your content

People are engaged in a variety of ways, and some respond better to certain types of content than others. Through testing, you can find the right balance between deeply engaging video or animations, images and written content on your product pages and blogs.

Continue to refine, diversify and test your content with audiences to see how variations in your content change engagement levels. You may discover that static images are less effective, but animation and live video win with your target audience.

7. Make the copy sing

You’d be hard-pressed to develop an engaging user experience that didn’t utilize copy in some way. Whether you use minimal copy or long-form content, you need to make sure it’s compelling and hooks the user to stay engaged.

Every word should serve a purpose by moving prospects through the experience toward a conversion.

8. Integrate social

Make it easy for your audience to promote products, contribute content (like reviews and thoughts) and interact with other customers within your funnel. Amazon does this through Q&A segments as well as comment sections. Social proof goes a long way toward improving engagement and conversions with prospective customers.

9. Personalize the experience

Make customers feel valuable by directly asking them for feedback while they’re on your site. Rather than slapping customers with an opt-in while they’re trying to leave, consider creating an exit intent survey that asks them to answer a couple short questions on the experience. Use these customer insights to further improve the UX of your site.

10. Offer customization

Customization in any form is a large part of personalizing the user experience to make it more engaging for each customer. This could involve allowing a user to customize the visual experience of the site (such as layout options and dashboard elements within an online community) to customizing the products they purchase. It allows the user to own their part of the experience with your brand, which will encourage them to return to “their space” in the future.