5 Things You Didn’t Know Your Website Needs

Your website is your face to the world and business decisions will be made in milliseconds when it’s visited. Your site can be a game-changer or an also-ran. Take a look at your site now to see if it’s good-to-go on at least these five things: 

  1. HTTPS—Every website URL should start with the letters https, not just http, even if it doesn’t handle sensitive information. If you don’t do it for yourself and your company, do it for your visitors. The world is full of “bad guys” who want to exploit every opportunity to maliciously hack or install malware on an unprotected site. It will soon be mandatory to be HTTPS, which is Secure HTTP, so if your website URL is still simply HTTP (without the S for secure), fix it now.
  2. White Space—White space is a term used for empty space in a website. It doesn’t need to be white. It just needs to be empty. White space around paragraphs and between sentences increases comprehension and encourages reading. White space helps guide a user from one idea to the next… increasing the chance of contact, interaction, or a sale.
  3. Color—Similar to the power of white space, color is critical. First, limit the palette to 2 or 3 major colors, a single background color (white is best), and one accent color. Use a link color that is visible to the color blind. Choose colors that complement your brand image (logo) and your brand identity (who you say you are). Explore the psychology of color here. (spoiler alert: blue is safe).
  4. CTAs—Calls to Action are things such as email or newsletter subscription forms, free downloads, contact links, social media sharing, videos to be viewed, or prompting for a question. A CTA creates a connection between you and your visitor. In all business, relationship building is the key to success, and strong CTAs can help get you there.
  5. Clean Code—You can’t see it, but it’s probably the most important element of a great website. If you’ve never used your browser to view a website’s code, you should try it. Template-based sites tend to have hundreds, even thousands of lines of code, most of it unused. But every line has to load. A well-coded site has only the code it needs. It’s lightning-fast and provides the ultimate user experience every time. To check your site’s code in the Chrome browser, open your website; in Chrome’s navigation bar, click View, Developer, View Source.

But what about SEO, navigation, site maps, action buttons, optimized images, web fonts, responsive design, and you name it? Well, there’s always another day for another helpful blog about user-centered websites. If you can’t wait, call us. (772) 936-7969.

Why We Like Human-Centered Design

Human-Centered Design is a creative approach that serves as the backbone of what we do at ActiveCanvas — design for the people you serve. 

Basically, it’s a design process, or framework, we use to develop solutions to problems from the human perspective. It focuses on the users of your product or service, rather than merely describe who you are, what you offer, and why people should care.

Most businesses work very hard at describing what they do, how long they’ve done it, and what people say about them. A human-centered design approach focuses on solving problems and presenting solutions. From our perspective, human-centered design is about building a deep empathy with the people for whom you’re designing and for the people you serve. It takes a bit longer to generate ideas, build prototypes, write copy, edit (then write even better copy) and search for just the right imagery and palettes. It means generating tons of ideas; sharing what we’ve made with you to be sure we’re on the right track; and eventually putting words, images, and solutions out to the world.

There are three phases:

  1. Inspiration. We listen to you describe the relationship you want considering your idea of success, your product/service, and the needs and wants of the people you most desire as customers.
  2. Ideation. Based on all that we learned, we now write descriptive copy, do a little story-branding, research your competitors and identify opportunities for design and solutions.
  3. Implementation. After we share what we’ve learned and you approve the look, feel, content, direction, and solutions we put on the table, we bring it all to life using custom designs, real coding, brilliant copy, and beautiful images.

We know our design process will be a success because we’ve kept the very people you want to serve at the center of the process. Could human-centered design be good for your business? Let’s have a conversation.

Does Your Website Pay for Itself?

When we meet with a prospect, we often ask: “What problems does your business have that a website can solve? More often than not, the response is something like, “Well, I was hoping you could tell me.” 

Everyone acknowledges that they need a website, however, many still believe that a website is not much more than a digital billboard. We know it’s much more. It’s your…

  • first impression
  • major credibility factor 
  • problem solving machine
  • extra salesperson
  • friendly receptionist
  • email marketer
  • full-time networker
  • customer support

If you sell things or hold events, it’s your ticketing agent, cashier, inventory control manager, scheduler, event coordinator, and publicity agent. 

If you think you can’t justify the cost of a professional, custom built website that solves your customer’s problems — think again. What you save in man-hours proves you can!

For example, according to digital.com, a basic informational website is $2,000 to $8,000 with very little customization. A website management firm will charge for domain name transfers/renewals, hosting fees, responsive layouts, built-in SEO, favorite icon design, images, secure shopping carts, SSL fees, selling fees, monthly email marketing campaigns, multiple-managed social media posts, and content and software updates. These, and a well-written monthly blog, add up to another $5,000 to $12,000 a year. If you pay for these services monthly, the cost per year increases from $500 to $5,000. 

So consider this: the salary for a marketing manager with digital savvy who can write and code is about $40,000 – $60,000 a year. In our Florida market, our customers pay an average of $6,000, plus $300 – $600 per month for maintenance, blogging, email marketing, social media services, and SEO. Amortized over 5 years, that’s $550 a month. 

Now think of your website as a member of your sales team, or the head of marketing, or your outside salesforce. If built and maintained well, your website can save tens of thousands per year, pretty much enough to hire that extra sales or marketing pro to close the deals the website brings in.