Should you make your site multi-lingual?

Posted on July 18th, 2014 by John Giaccotto

1155575_88318502As a business owner, it is important to look at the growth of non-English speakers in the United States. For example, there are now more than 37 million Spanish speakers in the United States today. According to Pew Research, this represents a 233 percent rise in Spanish speakers since 1980, when there were only 11 million. By 2020, the number of Spanish speakers is anticipated to be upwards of 41 million.

With this in mind, should you make your site multi-lingual? What is your target demographic? Certainly, there is a growing multi-lingual population within the United States. If you are interested in reaching this demographic, then you may want to at least consider it. Additionally, does your website attract visitors from around the world?

Discuss the traffic your website is currently receiving with your web and marketing professionals. Do you want to attract a larger, multi-lingual demographic to your website? If you do, then you will want to think about making your website multi-lingual. Whether it’s to attract multi-lingual citizens in the U.S. market or international customers, here are a few tips to help you start planning to make your website more accessible.

According to the research firm IDC, Internet users are 4 times more likely to make a purchase from a company that communicates in their language. In order to reach a multi-lingual demographic, you’ll need to replicate your current site in multiple languages. Your web designer will be able to discuss the intricacies of this process with you and provide you with different options for a multi-lingual website solution.

When putting together a multi-lingual web presence for your business, you’ll need to consider search engine optimization for each language. For example, popular English search terms for your business may be entirely different in a foreign language. This means you’ll need to pay careful attention to optimizing your content. For URLs, you can use a subdomain or a subdirectory to improve SEO in multiple languages.

Making your website multi-lingual won’t be easy, but if you work with your web and marketing professionals, you will succeed. It simply requires research and careful planning. If reaching a larger, multi-lingual demographic is important to you, then the investment will be worth it to the future of your business.

Have you considered making your website multi-lingual?

Making the Best Use of Web Fonts to Freshen Your Design

Posted on July 16th, 2014 by John Giaccotto

googlefontsWhen you are satisfied with the overall appearance of your website, you may be reluctant to make any changes. However, it’s important to periodically update the design of your site. Web fonts are a subtle way you can freshen your web design without making drastic changes. Visitors will appreciate a change in the fonts on your website.

The days of having to choose from Arial, Georgia, Times, Verdana and a few other select fonts are over. Today, designers can choose from an endless selection of web fonts. There are many fee-based services offering custom designs. If you’re looking for a distinctive set of web fonts, you may want to go with one of these services. However, there are lots of great fonts out there free of charge.

Google offers hundreds of free web fonts that you can choose from to find just the right style for your website. A carefully chosen web font can improve readability and actually attract the attention of visitors who are browsing your website. If you have great content, you owe it to yourself to freshen up your fonts.

Work with your web design professional to select fonts that are both stylish and easy to read. Choose one or two font families and font weights for your website. Minimizing the number of fonts and weights will help your pages load quickly. Selecting the right web fonts for your website will improve the readability of your web content.

Web fonts should work together to further the aim of your website. If it is informational, the fonts should serve to help users efficiently find information. Selecting fonts can be difficult. You will want your fonts to have both variety and unity. Your web designer will help you focus on the purpose of your website while picking out just the right web fonts.

At the end of the day, your website needs to represent your business and brand. When it’s time to refresh your website, you can make a significant impact, while maintaining your overall design by changing your web fonts. So, what are you waiting for? Freshen your design with new web fonts today.

What websites have stunning web fonts?

ColdFusion – A Faster Development Platform

Posted on July 14th, 2014 by John Giaccotto

coldfusionColdFusion is a nimble programming language. It allows developers to efficiently build, deploy and maintain web applications. Unlike other languages, ColdFusion is quick and easy to write. This allows developers to create web applications for clients under tight deadline constraints.

Even though it is a simple programming language, it is very powerful. ColdFusion provides developers with a comprehensive toolbox for application development. Applications built using ColdFusion will function optimally long into the future of the Internet. As a result, it is an ideal language for those looking to position their online presence for longterm growth.

ColdFusion is known for its ease of use, dependability and runtime performance. As a business owner, it is important that your website is online and performing optimally at all times. With ColdFusion, you can be confident that your website will be online and serving your customers well.

The platform is ideal for business owners who rely on their websites to attract new customers and increase sales. Whether you need a simple website, powerful eCommerce site or custom web form, ColdFusion can provide you with a dependable online presence that will perform optimally for years to come.

One of the biggest advantages of ColdFusion is the fact that it is scalable. You can discuss your needs with your web developer and he will be able to create a dynamic web application that is tailored to your exact needs. ColdFusion allows for applications to be developed quickly and efficiently. If you have a deadline for your site’s launch, ColdFusion may very well be your answer.

With ColdFusion, you will be able to grow. Your existing applications can be expanded upon as your business grows and your needs become more complex. Talk to your web developer about the simple and effective solutions offered by ColdFusion to learn more about how your business can benefit from the platform.

Finding the Right Color Scheme for Your Brand

Posted on July 11th, 2014 by John Giaccotto

1054580_88344254Finding the right color scheme for your brand is essential. If your color scheme is off, you could have the best product or service on the market and still fail. Your brand’s color scheme needs to resonate with your target demographic. Color plays a much larger role than anyone would expect in the perception of your brand.

Target Demographic
In order to hone in on the perfect color scheme for your brand, you need to identify and understand your target demographic. The colors you choose for your brand should be consistent with the expectations of the demographic you are targeting. What story does your brand tell? What emotions do you want potential customers to associate with your brand? A high profile law firm will need to choose a considerably different color scheme than a pop-up art show in an up-and-coming neighborhood. It’s just a matter of knowing your market.

Color Balance
In general, you will want to choose three colors for your brand. Perhaps you’ve heard of the 60-30-10 rule of design. This rule calls for the use of colors in a ratio of 60 percent, 30 percent and 10 percent. For example, on a web design, you might select red, white and blue for your color scheme. You might choose blue for the dominant color. In this case, you would use this color in 60 percent of the design. The secondary color (white) would be used in 30 percent of the design. Finally, the tertiary color (red) would be used in 10 percent of the design.

Evaluate the Competition
When selecting your color scheme, it is always a good idea to evaluate your competition. You might find that red, white and blue are common branding colors in the entire industry you are serving. As a result, you will likely want to go with this color scheme. However, you will want to work closely with your web designer and marketing professional to create a color scheme that will allow you to conform to customer expectations of the industry and still stand apart from your competitors.

Be Bold
Don’t be afraid to make bold color choices for your brand’s color scheme. Think of some of the most memorable brands. What stands out? For example, Coca Cola and Pepsi are iconic brands. Ask anyone what their color scheme is and they’ll be able to tell you without even thinking about it. Being bold comes with risks, but the payoff is generallly big too.

Get Inspired
Browse the Internet for color schemes. Sites like http://www.colourlovers.com are a great place to find inspiration. You can see what colors work well together and let your creativity run wild. When you find a few inspirations, you can quickly show them examples of what you’ve found online. It will make the collaboration process much more productive if you come to meetings with ideas.

After enough work, you’ll eventually find the perfect color scheme to represent your brand. Over time, the colors will become a part of your brand and people will associate them with your company.

Pinterest – A Great Idea for Retailers

Posted on July 9th, 2014 by John Giaccotto

pinterest-amazonPinterest is a powerful way to for retailers to boost their engagement and ultimately, online sales. People browse Pinterest for inspiration. Whether they’re planning a vacation, a party, a room makeover, a meal, a garden or an afternoon project with their children, Pinterest is a wonderful place to get creative ideas.

As a business owner, you can create gorgeous images to share on Pinterest. Focus on creating images that Pinterest users will want to pin. When other users pin your images, it will generate more traffic to your website.

For example, say you own a fly fishing shop. You can create stunning pictures of your flies that will be worthy of pinning. While these images will certainly entice others to pin them, you will also want to create other related images.

Consider creating landscape images of people fly fishing, images of fly rods and fly boxes gorgeously displayed in the home and images representing your favorite freshly-caught fish recipes. All of these images will come together to tell a powerful story for your brand and engage users on Pinterest. Users will have a deep understanding of how your fly fishing equipment will enrich their lives and pin your images for future inspiration and for sharing with others.

When you are able to successfully inspire and engage users through your images on Pinterest, you’ll inevitably generate traffic back to your website. This will in turn help you generate more sales.

For retailers, Pinterest is a powerful resource that can help with brand storytelling and in the long run boost conversion rates. Many online shoppers use Pinterest to gain inspiration and plan their purchases. Browsing Pinterest for ideas can be exciting and fun for shoppers. As a retailer, it’s your job to make sure you are creating images that are inspiring and engaging for your target demographic.

While adding another social media site to your business’s online presence may seem like a hassle, Pinterest is well worth the investment of your time. Unlike other social media sites, Pinterest allows you to engage with users on a very personal and emotional level. The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” holds true with Pinterest. Users will come to know your brand on a whole new level. Over time, you can become a tastemaker in your industry by sharing carefully curated images.

How do you currently engage with your customers? Have you tried out Pinterest?

Clean Design for Better Conversion Rates

Posted on July 7th, 2014 by John Giaccotto

1212912_38514992Everyone wants better conversion rates on the website. While many people understand the need for a strong call to action and engaging web content, clean design is also a necessity. Clean web design can greatly improve your conversion rates. Especially when you already have a strong call to action crafted throughout your website’s content. With a clean web design, your call to action will shine as will the benefits of whatever solution you are providing to your target demographic.

Clean design matters. When a visitor arrives to your website, will she stay long enough to be drawn in? Once drawn in, will she see your call to action? If she sees your call to action and decides to act, will she encounter a streamlined shopping experience? With a clean design, users will arrive to your website and immediately engage. If you have a clear call to action, it will stand out in a clean design.

In order to see an improvement in your website’s conversion rates, you will need to evaluate your website. The entire conversion process must be clean and streamlined. If you’re unsure about your existing website, contact your web designer. A web design professional will help you clean up your existing website and optimize it for conversion. Once your website is optimized for conversion, you will begin to see an improvement.

Clean design means plenty of white space. Look over your website for any cluttered areas. Clutter means web users will turn their attention elsewhere. For example, you may have an important call to action integrated into a product information page. However, if it is cluttered with lots of text and graphics, the message may never be seen by most users. Instead, they will lose interest and click away. Sometimes, they may even leave your website entirely.

Pay particular attention to your website’s navigation and layout. Work with your web design professional to streamline your website so it is intuitive. Visitors to your site should be seeing your call to action almost upon their arrival. With the proper navigation and layout, you can direct your visitors to your call to action and they will seamlessly begin the conversion process simply by engaging with your content.

Everything on your website should serve a purpose. In fact, all of your site’s content should serve to further bolster your conversion rates. When you add something to your website, consider whether or not it will improve your conversion rates. Ask yourself, “What purpose does this page element or piece of content serve?” If it doesn’t further your conversion rate, go back to the drawing board. The end result will be a clean web design that converts.

Reduce Photo Sizes to Speed Up Page Loads

Posted on July 4th, 2014 by John Giaccotto

591622_25936680Are your web pages loading slowly? You can really speed up page load times by optimizing photos. Page load times are critical to the success of your business website. If your website is sluggish, most users are going to navigate away from your site in favor of your competitors. To prevent losing customers, you need to have nimble, fast loading web pages.

Optimizing your photos is quick and easy. You’ll notice the benefits right away. Optimized images allow for quicker uploads, page load times and allow you to use more images if you want. In order to optimize your photos, you’ll need to reduce their file size.  For example, say you have a 1.2MB photo you want to upload to your website. You can reduce this file to 72KB and it will still look great on your web page.

Most photo editing programs allow you to preview images prior to reducing their size so you can make sure they will look amazing on your web pages. If you don’t have image editing software, Irfanview, Picasa, GIMP, Photofiltre and FastStone are all adequate free options. For more advanced editing, you might consider Photoshop or Illustrator.

When it comes to optimizing your images, you’ll typically be working with JPG, GIF or PNG files. JPG is ideal for image with gradients such as photographs. GIF is best suited for blocks of repetitive colors such as logos, line art and illustrations. PNG is used to preserve partial transparency and large amounts of colors. Keep in mind that PNG takes up more space than GIF, so try GIF first if you’re looking to keep file sizes down.

While you can optimize images on your own, you may want to work with your web design professional to help you reduce photo sizes and speed up page load times. This way, you’ll be sure to get the best results possible for your website. It’s important for your images to load quickly so you avoid losing business to the competition.

Are your images optimized?

Why You Should Always Use Red Buttons to Catch People’s Attention and Make Them Buy 


Posted on July 2nd, 2014 by John Giaccotto

1267812_78699441There’s no question about it, the color red gets people’s attention. Everything from fire engines to stop lights are red because they stand out. When a user sees red on your website, their eyes will naturally gravitate towards it.

Why Red Buttons?
Red is a great “go to” color for buttons because it commands attention. A red “buy now” or “add to cart” button will grab the attention of your customers and prompt them to take action. Believe it or not, simply asking web users to take an action, generally improves online engagement. Adding red to the call to action will only make it stronger.

The Internet is filled with busy content. You can help important elements of your web design like buttons stand out by using the color red. Most users scan web content rather than reading it. As a result, a button with a brilliant color will give them pause, even when scrolling quickly. Nothing screams “stop” like the color red.

Whether or not red is a dominant color in your brand, it will work well with most website designs. Talk with your web design professional about your desire to increase engagement with red buttons. You may be surprised at the creative ways red buttons can be integrated into your existing design.

Skeptical?
Will red buttons actually increase engagement and sales on your website? If you’re unsure, you may want to perform some a/b testing. Work with your web designer to test out different button colors and see which one performs best. There’s no set formula for getting better response from button colors. You’ll just have to test it out for yourself and act accordingly.

The Bottom Line
While color certainly does play a factor in how your website converts, other factors such as usability and layout of your design are also important to consider. Red is an attention getter and if you’re fighting to stand out, it may be an ideal choice. However, no website is the same and no user is the same. Focus on your demographic and desired call to action and strengthen it in every way possible from your messaging to the size and color of your buttons.

What color buttons do you currently use on your website?

Adding Zopim Live Chat to A WordPress Website

Posted on June 30th, 2014 by John Giaccotto

zopimAdding a real-time live chat feature to your business website is a great way to make it more personal and engaging for your customers. You can provide visitors to your website with a high level customer service and help ensure their satisfaction with live chat. While there are many live chat software options available, Zopim is ideal for businesses and can easily be added to a WordPress website.

Zopim offers “real-time customer engagement made simple.” Whether you want to engage visitors to your website with helpful sales suggestions or simply want to make yourself available to answer any questions your customers may have while visiting your website, live chat is a powerful option. Zopim can be seamlessly integrated into your existing WordPress website without any complicated or time consuming web development.

The Zopim Live Chat will appear as a docked chat bar on the bottom of your website. Visitors to your site can chat with you by clicking on the Zopim Chat Widget. With Zopim, you will know what your visitors are looking at on your website. It will allow customers to contact you directly and receive personalized service. Alternatively, you can be proactive and click on visitors to your site to start a chat. For example, if you’re offering a special, you might strike up a conversation to share the details with visitors.

Zopim is easy to install on your existing WordPress website. Before you know it, you’ll have a fully customized chat widget to match your web design. The dashboard/control panel is user-friendly and is available in over 40 languages.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Install plugin from WordPress directory and activate it.
  • Under the Zopim Chat section, click on Account Setup to link to your Zopim account.
  • Customize the chat widget to seamlessly integrate with your existing web design.
  • Use intuitive dashboard/control panel to manage chat widget as needed.

Please note that Zopim requires PHP4 or PHP5 and will work with WordPress 2.7 and up.

How could your business benefit from adding live-chat to your website?

The Fashion for Minimalism: Sites Like Twitter Don’t Need to Explain What They’re About – Most Other Sites Do

Posted on June 27th, 2014 by John Giaccotto

twitterabtIn a sense, all design strives for minimalism. Each design element needs to have a purpose. Nobody likes a design filled with useless elements. However, can minimalism go to far? While sites like Twitter don’t need to explain what they’re about, most other sites do. In other words, yes, you can take minimalism too far.

Have you ever arrived at a website and stared at it for a few fleeting seconds wondering what it was about? While you may have appreciated the stark design of the site for its aesthetics, it was likely more frustrating than pleasing. When you set out to design a minimalist website for your business, you need to keep the end user in mind. Minimalism is great, but it can leave new visitors to your site feeling clueless.

In order to pull off a minimal web design, you should clearly spell out what your website is about in your page content. An about page or prominently placed informational block on your main page is important, even on the most minimalist of websites. Craft concise content for your about section and it will fit perfectly with your minimalist design.

While strong content is important in minimalist web design, each design element must function to improve usability. The minimalist aesthetic will be easy to achieve, so instead, focus on making your design elements usable. You may need to perform a large amount of testing with users prior to launching your website to ensure it is usable.

Ultimately, your site’s elements must inform users what your site is about their their design and placement. Minimal design doesn’t mean that your website should be devoid of interactive elements. It simply means you’ve boiled down your website’s elements to their purest form. People will appreciate your minimalist website if it is usable and provides clear direction. Users should be able to arrive at your website, understand its purpose and know what course of action they need to take.

What are your favorite websites with a minimalist design?

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