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Why you need to modernize your website?

1. Visual Appeal

When people visit your site, they see it as a reflection of your organisation. If your site looks professional and is loaded with useful information readers will see you as an authority and expert. Likewise if the site looks poorly designed and structured and/or out-of-date they’ll make the same assumptions about your company. The website should highlight your product and/or service and the layout should look harmonious and consistent.

Has your content got dates on it – blog posts, events and similar? It makes sense to remove or update out of date content. As websites mature and grow, it often becomes apparent that certain parts just aren’t working well anymore and are becoming outdated. An obvious example of this is the use of flash.

2. Responsive & Mobile Friendly

The UK is now a smartphone society. We’re spending two hours online on our smartphones every day; twice as long as laptops and PCs. If you factor that fact with Google’s April 21st mobile-friendly update ignoring the mobile market is a very risky business. It is now considered common practice to make a website mobile friendly (responsive design).

Responsive Web Design is a collection of techniques that allow a website to flex and adapt to the size of screen it’s being viewed on. Someone opening your site on a small smartphone could be shown the same site as the person opening it on their laptop etc.For many businesses it may even make sense to design your website “mobile first“.

3. Technique & Coding

Is your website browser compatible? Is your source code valid (HTML and CSS)? Does your website meet the basic web standards? Is the technique and/or (version) programming language outdated?

An important factor you should consider is the increase of usability in web design. Every year web standards change radically and techniques to build web sites become more advanced in order to comply with the latest standards. If your site was developed several years ago, it probably has a lot of unnecessary HTML code, and may be slowing down your website loads speeds – which may in turn impact your ranking in the Google search results.

Including modern techniques such as CSS coding will allow your web pages to adapt on all smartphone devices.

4. Effective use of calls to actions

Many dated websites lack effective calls to actions that convert users to customers. A call-to-action (CTA) is a button or link that you place on your website to drive prospective customers to become leads by completing an action on your landing page. Is your USP and call to actions highlighted clearly on every landing page? As important, are they interesting enough to persuade your visitor to complete the desired action?

5. Measuring Effectiveness

You’ll be able to measure the effectiveness of your website. An old website may not be equipped with the necessary tools that will help you measure how effective your online presence is. Examples of this include heat mapping, conversion tracking & user recordings. Nowadays, there are an assortment of online tools you can invest in to help you measure what works and what doesn’t on your website, right down to the minutest detail. However, in order to use those, you will need a modern website.

6. Content

The first impression of your website would obviously be the overall layout, but a reader is visiting your website because they are looking for useful information. A site redesign can also give you the opportunity to re-address how you communicate with all your visitors and to write copy that is simple, on target and more effective – remember, in the modern “go faster and faster” world you only have 2 -4 seconds to engage new visitors.

The content of a website should be considered to be the most important thing, as it helps in determining how effective a website is. Fresh and unique website content is an very important factor in encouraging people to revisit your site more often.

7. SEO & Website Update

Just like a website your digital marketing and SEO could be in need of refresh. If you don’t update your website it’s sure to fall down in the search engine rankings. Search engines regard websites with the most recent content as the most relevant to web users. Your content might be gold but if it’s the same content as it was 5 years ago then search engines crawlers might not think it is as relevant anymore.

The redesign also gives you a chance to rethink your keyword targeting and the overall conversion rate of your website. The way people search and how they search has changed dramatically over the last few years, even truer with the explosion of smartphone devices now in use.

Conclusion

In summary, the above information highlights the most important and most common signs to look out for when you want to know if your site is becoming “old hat”. Although there may be other signals that you need a website update, there should be enough here to guide you on the right path. Credits to granite5.

If you would like advice on your current website please feel free to contact your local experts at ProfessionalDesigner Neuchâtel.

15 Basic Tips To Speed Up Your WordPress Site

Got a slow site? Bounce rates higher than expected? Or are you frustrated at how slow it is to update your content? There’s probably a reason for that.

 

Why Does Site Speed Matter?

At first it can be difficult to understand why improving the performance of your site (which nobody will really experience visually) can matter that much?

When it comes down to it, people are impatient. If they get bored because your site doesn’t give them at least a glimpse of what they’re after within 2 – 3 seconds they’ll leave and go elsewhere very quickly.

People come to your website for one reason and one reason only, to find what they’re looking for. It doesn’t matter if it’s a video, written content or an image gallery. Your users are searching for content, so make it easier for them to get it.


Host Video Externally

 

If you have any sort of video content on your site then it’s in your best interest to host it elsewhere. Video takes up a lot of bandwidth, especially when a lot of people are trying to play it at once, so you you don’t want your server acting sluggish because it’s got to play your 6GB video to the masses.

Although some people are against it, YouTube is a great option for free videos. It’s fast at serving your videos and YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. If your video(s) are on there then your content will appear on Google searches too. It’s another channel to get people to your site.

Not sure on YouTube? There are other options such as Wistia. It’s not free but you can upload a large amount of videos for a great price and can even lock down your videos so they only work on your domain name.

Show Less Posts on Your Home / Blog Page

In the WordPress reading settings, you can set how many posts are shown on your home / blog page (depending where your latest posts are shown, that is). This is really handy as changing it from the default 10 to 5 could save you a lot of load time, especially if there are thumbnails being shown as well.

To show less posts, go to Settings > Reading > Blog Pages Show At Most and simply change the value. Bare in mind this may not work if your current WordPress theme has been coded differently.

Update WordPress

This is a simple one but definitely worth doing at least once a month. Updating your core WordPress install has more benefits than just speed increases, it also improves your sites security which should always be top of your priority list.

To update your version of WordPress to the newest one, just go to Dashboard > Updates.

You might find your hosting provider already does this automatically for you. Services such asMedia Temple and GoDaddy’s dedicated WordPress options offer this service.

Update Your Plugins

 

A lot like updating your core WordPress install, updating your plugins can also give you a speed boost, so long as that’s the point of the update. When a plugin author updates their plugin, it’ll likely have improvements to the code structure, meaning less work for your server when processing it.

To update your plugins to the newest versions, just go to Dashboard > Updates.

Use Decent Hosting

Like we mentioned in our WordPress security post a while back, choosing a good host can make or break your site. By going with a better provider your site will be more secure and the server specs will be a lot higher. Better servers means a faster site.

Finding a decent web host is nothing but beneficial to you, your business and your users. A great host we recommend is Media Temple.

Optimise (Compress) Images

When you save an image, for example in Photoshop, you can go to File > Export > Save For Web (Legacy). This gives you a few options to minimise the file size from what is currently is.

If you’ve already got a load of images on your site, you can use a plugin like WP Smush It to optimise them without having to save them and re-upload them.

Use a Decent Theme

 

Using a well-rounded theme is an essential part of having a fast site. If you’ve opted for a free theme or an older one because it was cheaper, then you may be setting yourself up for disaster.

Older themes tend to have outdated code that might not work well with your current set-up, leaving your server struggling to keep up. On top of that, a free theme might not follow best practices and include far too many files than it needs to, meaning the end user has to download more than is necessary, slowing down their experience.

Why not get in touch with us for something much more bespoke and tailored to your business.

Use Fewer Plugins

Plugins are great because they enable you to enhance and improve on the great service WordPress already provides you. However, we’ve seen more than a few sites relying on 10 or more plugins to function, each of these drags the performance of the site down considerably.

If you’ve paid someone to build you a custom theme, try asking if they can add this additional functionality to the theme instead of having to rely on a plugin. The general rule of thumb for using plugins is to make sure they’re safe and have a decent rating. Otherwise you could be in for a lot of trouble down the line.

You can use a plugin like P3 Profiler to find out which of your plugins are slowing the site down and make an informed decision from there.

Use a Caching Plugin

What is a caching plugin? It simply tells the user’s browser, once they’ve already visited you, to use the previously downloaded files, like the CSS and JavaScript, instead of downloading them again.

Just remember that if you’re using a caching plugin you’ll need to clear the cache if you make any updates to your theme or activate / deactivate a plugin. There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the general idea.

We recommend using W3 Total Cache as it has a whole host of features you can take advantage of.

Change the Amount of Revisions You Store

 

On the WordPress Post editor page, you may have noticed the revisions section over to the right, above the Publish / Update button. The problem is that each revision is a copy of the original post, so a large 2000 word article with 10 revisions is really a 20,000 word article, just separated into multiple parts.

If you add the following line to your sites wp-config.php file, you can change the maximum amount of post revisions WordPress will store:

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define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3 );

Use a CDN

If you’re unsure on what a CDN is, here’s a little primer: A CDN, which stands for content delivery network adds your sites content to multiple servers around world. The benefit of this, for example, is if a user is in Ireland then they’ll download your sites content from a server in Ireland (or as close as possible). This means they’ll get your sites content faster than if they were downloading the same content from a server in the US.

A decent CDN, like MaxCDN, can be relatively cheap if your website powers your business. However If you’re just a blogger or have smaller site with a low amount of traffic, a CDN isn’t necessary.

Optimise Your Database

Like changing the amount of revisions you store, optimising the rest of your database is essential to a fast site. WordPress is actually very clean and tidy when it comes to the database structure, however over time it can get a little clogged up with unnecessary information.

Don’t worry about getting your hands dirty by dealing with your MySQL databse, a great plugin likeWP-Optimise will do all the hard work for you.

Optimise High Traffic Pages

This tip crosses over a little into the marketing space, but it’s still a useful tip to improve the speed of your site and the overall experience for your end users.

If you run a speed test on your most trafficked pages using a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights, you’ll be able to optimise those page to load as fast as possible. As these are your most visited pages they’ll more likely explore the rest of your site if it loads faster so they’re not waiting to get the content they want.

Upload Scaled Images

 

Each and every site has different size images, but a lot of the time people don’t realise that uploading a very large image which goes in a small space doesn’t make the image smaller. In fact the user still has to download the large image, which is simply a waste of time.

Basically, don’t upload a 3000 x 3000px image that’s only going to show up at 100 x 100px.

A great online tool you can use to resize images is Pixlr. Think of it as a free web app that acts like a scaled down version of Photoshop. Article credit to fhoke.

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If your site is a little slow and you’d like it to be faster, then pick up the phone, drop us an email. We can have a completely free, no obligation chat about making it quicker.

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To Be The Best Designer You Can Be

Being a designer is awesome – I love the fact that each project is different and I love the fact that a little piece of me is injected into everything I do. I also work with an awesome team of people who are all pushing themselves to make each project better than the last, but you know what? Being a designer can be pretty tough.

“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it”

When I was starting out I remember my creative director saying – “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it” and that phrase has stayed with me throughout my career.

As a designer I’ve found that I don’t always have the solution from the off, and even when I think I’ve nailed it I’ll find that a client doesn’t always share my vision which is a real confidence killer. But as I get further into my career I get better at getting it right, and with every project that I work on (or client that I work with) I learn a little more. Not every project is easy and sometimes I have to dig pretty deep to get through them, but I always do, and the client always ends up happy.

So what can make you a better designer? Apart from having an eye for it there are five qualities I’ve learnt along the way that will help you become the best designer you can be.

Listen

Listening is key, without listening properly to the problem how can you ever come up with a solution? Always listen, take time to understand and ask questions before coming back with a reply.

Share

Share your knowledge and don’t hold back. Being totally honest and open in everything you do gives people confidence in you as a person. As a designer you’re offering a service, you’re also offering yourself as their design partner and have to work pretty closely with your clients. Your client needs to be able to trust you, after all, their money and their business is in your hands.

Give A Shit

Caring is super important. I don’t know any designer that doesn’t care – they care about their work, they care about their clients, and they want everything they do to become a success. If you’re a designer and you don’t give a monkeys then you need to find another job, nobody wants to work with someone that’s churning out average work just to earn a living.

Be Resilient

Not every project is easy, not every design you do is going to be well received and it’s your resilience and ability to bounce back that will get you through.

Take last week for example. I received some shocking feedback from a client, they really didn’t like the concept that I’d sent them and they definitely didn’t hold back in letting me know how wrong I got it. At first I was upset, I was disappointed that they didn’t like what I had done, but ultimately I was gutted that they weren’t happy with it and that’s because I truly give a shit. In this kind of situation I’ve always found there’s only one way to tackle it and that’s head on. I stayed late that night and revisited the client’s brief, I took on-board their feedback and came back with a fresh design within six hours that they loved. If it all starts going wrong you need to pick yourself up and act fast, there’s no worse feeling as a designer than the person you are working for losing confidence in your ability, get to work and show them that you know your onions.

Go Above & Beyond

Doing the best work you can do and being the best you can be doesn’t happen by simply doing what’s needed of you, it’s about exceeding expectation and adding that little bit extra in everything that you do.

Spend longer on a design than quoted, not just for the client but because you want that design to be awesome and awesome design work attracts more of the same. If a client has asked for a small addition to a project don’t think about charging them first, see if you can give them an hour of your time, because you care. If a client is stuck and needs something doing out of the blue and you can fit it in quickly then help them. Going above and beyond is not about giving stuff away for free, it’s about earning trust. When a client trusts you and they know that you’re on their side they’ll be a client for life, they’ll use you without even considering anyone else, they’ll also recommend you to their friends and ultimately keep you in business.

Final Thoughts

Being a good designer is way more than having the skills to create cool stuff. It’s about being adaptable, caring, considerate and an all round good person. If you can be all that and also create great work then you’ve got it made. Article credit goes to fhoke team.