Category Archives: Responsive Design

Creating An Award-Winning Website

When creating a website, web design has five key tenets: content, appearance, usability, standards compliance and feature functionality. An award-winning site must be easy to navigate through, no bugs, visually-stunning, seamless to use, and must be filled with information that is worth consuming. Follow the 4 secrets below if you want to have an award-winning website:

  • Using White Space To Your Advantage: When your audiences view your site, the website should be user-friendly and sophisticated. Utilizing white space throughout your site can highlight key elements and make the content pop. Having a simply-designed website that has plenty of white space will make your audience want to stay and explore.
  • User-Friendly Homepage & Navigation:  Make sure your products/services are accessible on the homepage and ensure the navigation bar is intuitive and conspicuous to use on both mobile and desktop platforms. The 3-second rule is one way to test your website and to see if it’s top notch! Make sure all text is clear and easy to understand. Only show a few quality graphics on each page and content that will catch your readers’ attention.
  • Having Customer Reviews / Offers & Promotions: When having an e-commerce site it’s wise to have a few positive reviews your customers have left for you. You could also have a few specials going on, and have coupons/ promotions posted to your site. This gives your readers that extra incentive to take things to the next step in wanting to purchase a product from you.
  • Responsive Design: Having a responsive design allows you to have content to be viewed on any screen; this includes both desktops and mobile devices.

If you have questions on how you can have an award winning website, give Windy City Strategies a call!

Should You Consider Freshening Up Your Website?

Have you noticed less traffic to your website lately? Are your conversions just not where you want them to be? Then it may be time for you to consider freshening up of your website! By asking yourself these questions, you may be able to decide if it is time for you to consider a new look:

Is your website user-friendly? Whether you are on your desktop, or your mobile device, your website should be easy to use and navigate on any type of device. If your website is not responsive or mobile friendly, the more likely users are avoiding your website, visiting your competitors instead.

Does your website get your users’ attention? You only have 3-5 seconds to grab your users’ attention, so you better be using your website to your advantage. Is your website modern, attractive, and easy to navigate? If you answered no to any of these, then you may need to consider changing your homepage.

Does your website have too much going on? Whether it be videos, images, or content, by having too much on your website, you can overwhelm and turn away your users. Since the idea is to grab their attention and draw them in, be sure to keep things simple and unique to you and your business.

Does your website closely resemble your competitor’s? If your website isn’t original, or looks too much like others in the same industry, your customers are likely to not see you as offering them something no one else can. By showcasing your brand and making your website yours, you are not only standing out from your competitors, but you are making yourself much more memorable.

By asking yourself these questions, you can help determine if it is time for a new and improved website. Windy City Strategies has been specializing in customized websites and Internet marketing campaigns for more than 10 years. Contact us for more information today!

Stay One Step Ahead With These Internet Marketing Tips

The Internet Marketing world can be very competitive. This is why Windy City Strategies wants to help you stay one step ahead of the game with the following helpful tips:

Optimize your content. One of the best ways to draw people to your website, establishing authority, is simply by writing valuable and optimized content. This content typically consists of relevant information to your particular business, providing insight or entertainment to your targeted audience. This will not only allow your company to build a rapport with your clients and potential customers, but develop a loyal following as well.

Implement social media. It has been a common practice for many companies to draw in clientele through social networks like Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These social media outlets allow businesses to engage with their audience, providing helpful tips, offers, and information.

Be mobile friendly. Smartphones and tablets are everywhere these days, which means it is essential for your business to be optimized, especially when you want your business to rank higher on the search engines. By ensuring your website is designed to display well on mobile devices, you can capture your audience as quickly as possible, driving new business leads and sales.

 

Windy City Strategies is an industry leader in Internet marketing solutions. For more information or a free consultation, contact us today.

Maximize Your Website’s Design With These Tips

In order to ensure your website is helping to better your business, here are some helpful tips to ensure you are maximizing your website’s design:

  1. Make sure your website looks professional. In order to make sure your website is visually pleasing to your visitors, be sure to use neat layouts, uniformed navigation, as well as keep your text in colors and sizes that are easy to read, in a web friendly font.

  2. Make sure your website is responsive. It is necessary that your website displays and behaves properly on all major web browsers in various versions:  Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome and Safari, as well as adapts to the device that the user is trying to access your website from.

  3. Make sure your content is relevant. Be sure to optimize each page with include page titles and headings, use bullet points and shorter sentences when possible, as well as be sure to include relevant keywords on all pages.

  4. Make sure your visitors can contact you. Be sure that the contact phone number is in the header of all pages on the website. If you have multiple locations, each with a different phone number, have a clear ‘Contact Us’ section that is accessible from any page.

  5. Make sure your hyperlinks work. Be sure that all hyperlinks (both internal and external) are clearly visible and that they function correctly.

  6. Make sure you contact a professional. While building your own website may seem like the more affordable option, it is not always the case. By working with a professional designer, you can rest assured that your website is effective and successful.

Windy City Strategies is a full service web design and Internet marketing company dedicated to boosting your business. For more information, or to see how we can help your website and its online presence, contact us today.

Trends In Web Design We LOVE!

It’s important to make your website perfect when it comes to your business identity. The first clause of the having the perfect website would be to make sure it’s the perfect design that you want. This website is going to represent your business’s visual outlook, and having an eye soothing design that’s responsive is a must! The web world is changing everyday, and having a new trend is always a good thing to follow so your business is able to survive!

  1. One Page Website
    It’s been proven that one page long scrolling web site format is staying for a few more years. Users are so accustomed to vertical scrolling that it’s easy for the users to look at all the content in your site.
  2. Hidden Menu
    Embracing design for smaller screens has also affected how menus are displayed – and with space being at a premium, fly out, slide out and hidden menus are becoming more popular across the board. It’s all about bringing an app-like feel to an entire site.
  3. Flat Design Layout
    One design layout that most designers love the most is called Flat Design. This design is using objects that are flat in color and appearance. With mobile devices and responsive design, it’s hard to create textures that will work well across multiple devices. Flat design gives the feel of layers and depth but also flat colors, and again having that minimalist design.
  4. Parallax
    Parallax design and coding trend has been very popular! The definition of Parallax means two or more parallel objects that are moving at different speeds. Now with parallax scrolling technique it is used to break up the linear monotony of a website, which is by having various objects scrolling at different paces.
  5. Simplicity
    You want to make your site as simple as possible for your users. Take away unnecessary concepts and pages. Don’t overwhelm your viewers by giving them multiple choices. Focus more on the design then the content. Also it might be good for you to start using large visual headings so it attracts the readers’ eye more.

For more information about what trends are new this year for website designs, contact Windy City Strategies! You want to be able to give your users what they want; keeping things simple and easy to follow is key!

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Which Trend Is Better For Your Website, Responsive or Adaptive?

There has been an on going battle between having a responsive and adaptive web design. Trying to figure out which design will work best for you! This isn’t just an opinion, this requires the understanding of what makes these two types of styles different and then figuring out the pros and cons on why the mobile traffic is so important.

Having A Responsive Design 

The goal to having an responsive web design is to make sure your website is fully functional at any display size. This does require a fair amount of coding, and understanding the different sizes while having a clear image of how the scaling process will work. This is why you should leave it in the hands of a professional designer. 

Responsive design creates fluid layouts that can automatically scale in size to make all elements fit in any type of resolution. This may cause some of the photos that were originally floating to the left of the text to drop the space in between the two paragraphs, scales up the text while it’s scaling down the side of the column in which it’s being placed.

With having a responsive design, it’s the number one most standard favorite with all designers and the majority of businesses. Not just because it often takes less technical work than having an adaptive layout but it makes the website fully compatible with any resolution. With all the new smartphone and other mobile devices that come out every year the resolution only gets higher! Responsive design assures you that you do not have to update your site every time a new iPhone comes out. Having an Adaptive layout is a different story.

Having A Adaptive Design

Some entrepreneurs that have a decent amount of experience with web design may not fully be familiar with the terms and concepts of an adaptive web design, but it does have its share of benefits.

Adaptive layouts are designed for specific resolutions and display sizes depending on the browsing window you are looking at. With an adaptive layout it checks what the resolution of your browsing screen is and loads the code for that webpage in a different way in order to display properly for that resolution. It sounds like a lot of extra work right? Actually adaptive design offers a level of fine-tuning and control that responsive layouts can’t do. Also by having full control over the design at multiple resolutions you are able to ensure that your website is always going to display exactly how you want it too look.

A responsive layout generally performs better than adaptive. The experts do admit that in case of some complex web applications and fields that need to be fine-turned, adaptive is the better choice then responsive. When you are able to fine-tune and customize your site layout at any resolution you can be completely sure that your embedded app or complicated order form displays perfect for both mobile and desktop.

Why Mobile Does Matter

When it all comes down to choosing responsive or adaptive for your business, it really doesn’t matter, just as long as your website has a mobile friendly page. With roughly 3 out of 5 visitors who access your site through any mobile device, your company can’t afford to miss out on the mobile traffic any longer!

For more information on which type of layout you want to go with contact Windy City Strategies for more details!

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What Designers Need To Know, Before Moving Forward With Your Site

First tip to designing a website would be to communicate with your designer. We know more about what it is you want before we can start creating the site, but we aren’t mind readers.

  • Color Palette: Many clients seem to like the basic colors of blue, white, or green. Not every business has the luxury of accessing a branding specialist, so that’s why they normally chose those colors. Many new customers could possibly need a logo design, so typically when you create their logo, you can figure out what colors to use of their site.
  • Ideas From Other Websites: Our eyes are trained to see the same design all over the Internet, and when you come across different sites that you like, that’s when you need to write them down. For example. Many websites have a large image towards the top of the site or in the middle. It stretches across the screen so you can see the whole picture. They are also very responsive, clean design, and east to follow. Give your designer at least 5 to 6 different sites that you love, and sites that you don’t like. So they can determine what mockup to design and show you. You can even tell your designer that you liked a previous work from a client they had recently.
  • What’s Your Marketing Goal:  It’s important to know who your targeted audience is going to be. Your content, design, and pages are going to depend on who your audience is going to be. For example, teachers, doctors, photographers, graphic/web designers, or even catering for food. Once you figure out who your audience is, you can start to find out what your wanting in a website. If your business is working with professionals, you can choose a formal tone, and as for retailers can choose an informal design.
  • How People Will Find Your Site: Once your website is complete, your goal is to direct traffic towards your site. Let your designer know if you are want to advance and invest in social media integration. If you do not have traffic coming to your website, something is going wrong, and you don’t want to lose potential customers.

For more information about what designers need to know before designing your site, contact Windy City Web Strategies. They can talk with you more, and figure out what all needs to be done first, before moving forward with the design process.

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Quick Facts About CSS Layout

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, this is a language that defines how the HTML elements are going to be displayed. External style sheets are stored in the CSS layout and this also saves a lot work. When you start to add font colors to your layout, HTML is intended to define the content, CSS layout is the place you add all your font choices in certain sections of the layout, font colors, paddings, margins and etc.

CSS saves the web designers a lot of work, the style definitions are save in the external files, and with having that external file, and you can change the look of your site at any given time. When creating a website, you want your readers to be able to read right to left with no issues, to make it clear for the readers to follow.

When working in the CSS, the rule set consists of a declaration and selector. With the declaration block it contains one or more declarations that are separated by semicolons. Now with the selector it points to the HTML elements that you want to have in your style sheet. For example; the selector is h1 and the declaration is {color: pink; font-size: 14px;}

When creating the layout of declaration you can put each code on there own line so it’s more readable. For example;

P {

       Color: pink; 

       Text-align: left;

}

Now, when creating a CSS layout comments are used to explain your code and it may help you when you go back to edit the source code at a later time. The browsers ignore them, so that doesn’t show up when someone looks at your site from the front end. A CSS comment starts with a forward slash /* and then ends with a */. Example of adding a comment to the code would be;

P {

       Color: pink; 

         /* This is a single-line text comment*/

       Text-align: left;

}

Comments can also go on multiple lines and it doesn’t affect your code at all. When using comments they become very helpful, when you start to have issues with adding images or a graph you can make a note and come back to it later.

Creating a CSS is really easy once you get the hang of where things go and how to place it in the style sheet. Lynda.com and W3Schools are both very great places to look up tutorials on how you can create a great CSS layout, where it’s easy to read, easy to follow and your able to make comments.

For more information about CSS layout contact Windy City Strategies!

seo

Why Mobile Should Be First

All businesses should have a mobile site, because if you do not you risk the chance at losing potential customers. The mobile experience for a web application or site is designed and built once the desktop version is completed. Here are the reasons why web applicants should be designed for mobile first before the desktop version.

Why Mobile is Exploding! – The Internet has been assessable on our mobile devices for many years, but with today’s smarts phones they are driving a huge use of networked applications and content on the web. For example, take AT&T, which is the exclusive carrier for Apple’s iPhone, and they have seen a 4,932 percent increase in the mobile traffic data in the last three years! This is just the start.

Makes Your Focus – With mobile devices it requires software development teams to focus on the most important data and actions for the application. You need to prioritize! When the team designs the mobile first, the end result is an experienced focused on the key tasks that users want to accomplish without having the detours and general interface debris. This is good for business and good for user experience.

Extending Your Capabilities – World Wide Web has been built on a foundation of simple capabilities that are determine by what the web browsers are to support. Web developers are desperate to add innovative capabilities to this environment, and have pushed the limits of plug-ins, JavaScript and the web browsers themselves. This will enable rich activities and interactions online.

When you build a mobile first it allows yourself and the team to utilize the full palette of capabilities to create a rich context-aware applications instead of limiting themselves.

For more information about why you should create a mobile first contact Windy City Strategies!

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SEO Techniques You Should Think About

SEO techniques may sound a little funny for the New Year. But content and search engine optimization is still hand in hand. You wonder what’s the point of high quality writing that will probably just end up on page 25 of Google’s search results, and nobody is going to go that far into those pages. If your material isn’t worth the read, and doesn’t serve that purpose, your page rankings will not do you much good.

Being the online writer, the key to create quality content that people are going to want to read and for search engines to want to index it. If you do this right you are bound to feel successful on the web. Follow these next couple techniques to work into your digital marketing plan.

Using A Calendar — Planning is very important especially when you are the online marketer! This is why you need a content calendar, when creating this it enables you to plan and visualize the writing activity for the year. It will let you be able to plan around important dates, and maintain publishing consistency, which is very important for readers and SEO.

When creating this calendar it also forces you to research topics and your keywords. Since you’re the one writing all your headlines in advance, you have the view on your content, and it’s unlikely you will repeat yourself. If you do this correctly your pages and site will start to attract and retain more visitors then you had before.

Creating Outlines — Creating your detailed outlines for your blogs and articles in advanced it does save you time, effort and enables you to structure your content for better readability. Makes you think about the message that you are trying to convey in your SEO writing, and can help avoid you from fluffing.  Your outline will contain the three elements: a SEO headline that will pack a punch, a hierarchy keyword subheading, and the main message.

Writing To Your Viewers — A lot of business today are still churning out articles for search engines. Yes SEO really does matter, but finding you content and engaging with it are two different things. For example, a prospect runs a search and comes across your page, opens the page up, then reads the first two sentences and scans the rest of the page. SEO doesn’t buy your services, products or ideas the viewers do. If you have highly optimized content that is unpersuasive, incoherent or boring, your SEO writing is going to look like it was written for search bots. You want to write for your prospects, and optimize your content with good keywords when you are done.

Incorporating Keywords — Everyone in the business world should know the value of using keywords. What they don’t know is that how you use them can affect your rankings and user experiences. Looking at it from an SEO perspective, keywords are not as important as they use to be, but relevance, density and prominence do matter. The questions you need to be asking yourself are:

  1. Do you have main keyword(s) in your heading and at least one subheading that are close to the beginning as possible?
  2. Have you been able to maintain a safe keyword density?
  3. Have you incorporated LSI keywords or long tail phrases?

These are important questions to ask, so you can see what you are doing correctly and what you’re missing.

Using Pictures — This wouldn’t be considered a writing technique, but it can bring your SEO writing to life. Using images to complement your text can increase the likelihood that readers will read and engage with your content more. Everyone is naturally drawn to pictures. Picture quality is very important! If you have pour quality images this can potentially turn away readers and potential customers even. Using images can boost your SEO and if you do this correctly you can generate traffic and boost those rankings up.

For more information about SEO techniques contact Windy City Strategies!