To Hero or Not to Hero…

Over time we’ve had websites go from content fitting within an 800px wide box, to 1284px or 1400px, to responsive programming that allows a website to be viewed fluidly across all platforms, no matter the screensize. One of the largest trends in 2017 is the usage of extra-large images, known as hero images. Bold graphics that draw attention from a customer right away and informs them of your website’s mission.

How do you get the most out of your hero image?

Your hero image is the first thing users will see when browsing your website. It is important the image is relevant to your services or brand. If your image does not communicate this easily, visitors will be left confused.

In our Phoenix Pool Services design, we chose to go with a hero-sized video showing someone jumping into a shimmering pool. This allows the customer to visualize their own pool with sparkling water and jumping right in.

Another client of ours, Bella’s Lawn Care, has a hero image of grass, dirt and a small plant with roots. Communicating your business with a hero image is easily accomplished by choosing the right photos.

When browsing our client’s websites, you can easily tell Phoenix Pool Services provides pool cleaning and maintenance services to customers, while Bella’s Lawn Care offers landscaping, lawn care and landscape design.

Adding a touch of your brand’s colors on the images is beneficial as well.

Break Hero Images Down

Does your hero image serve a purpose?

If you’re trying to sell a product, show your product in a real setting with the hero image. Display how a customer would use your product.

Does your hero image support your overall design?

Your hero image shouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb. It should fit seamlessly into your overall website’s design. It is okay to invoke emotion or action – after all, that’s how business’ gain new customers.

Is your hero image relevant to your business?

As mentioned previously, communicating your brand’s service or mission is a key element of choosing your hero image. Be selective. Use resources such as Pexel or Dreamstime for stunning stock photos.

Does it fit within a responsive design?

Resizing your image to mobile devices is important. Whether you’re creating breaking points with cropped images or simply resizing to fit a specific screen size, there are multiple ways to make sure your images are clear on any platform.

With hero images, you are able to create stunning websites that communicate your brand, services or mission with ease. Contact us to begin your website design journey.

Why is User Experience Important?

User experience is key to keeping good traffic flow and to make sure the users spend more than just a minute on your website. Websites should be a place for users to feel welcomed, comfortable and find valuable information about your business and services. Four questions that you should ask yourself are as follows:

  • Does my website load quickly?
  • Do I have good responsive design?
  • Do I have redirects or redirect loops?
  • Is my site aesthetically pleasing?

How Quickly Does Your Website Load?

Having a website that loads quickly from the point the link to your website is clicked to the point at which it loads, is a very important factor to keeping positive user experience. Studies have shown that if a websites loads slower than 3 seconds, you could have up to 40% of the users abandon your website.

Search engines will actually penalize your organic search result rankings if users are bouncing from your website to others will more valuable and relevant information.

There are many reasons you may have a slow load time. One of those reasons would be that your website could have un-optimized images. It is important to optimize any image to get rid of the extra data that might be contained within the image file; be sure you’re using the right image-type (JPG, PNG, GIF, etc.). Additionally, a slow loading speed could be because of excessive JavaScript and CSS files that can be condensed. Some of our favorite recommended plugins to install on the content management system, WordPress, are Scripts to Footer, Minify JS and Super Cache. Read our post discussing the Do’s and Don’ts of Images.

Do You Have Good Responsive Design?

Responsive design is defined as having a website design that will automatically fit the screen of any device that the user is using, whether it is a laptop, iPad, Smart Phone, etc. According to some studies, 2.87 billion people are currently using a smart phone. Many users enjoy having the freedom to view websites on their phone. If a website is not mobile friendly, the user then has to zoom in to read information about the services your business provides. Without a responsive website, you may find your bounce rate has increased and your organic rankings have decreased. Overall, it is important to have a website that will be user-friendly on any device and not just on a computer screen or smart phone screen.

Do You Have Redirects?

Redirects can have a negative impact on websites but they could also have a positive impact. When a user clicks on a link, they expect to be on the same website that the link displayed and not redirected elsewhere. Redirects could be positive as well if it is an updated version of the previously existing page. If you’re redirecting to another website, adding a notice to explain the reason for the redirect could help the user.

Is Your Site Appealing To The Eye?

Having a site that is visually appealing will enhance user experience. You want the user to remember how it looks and trust your business. The majority of users tend to choose a more appealing design over any bland, neutral or outdated design. An appealing website could also convey emotions. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” With images on your website, you can trigger many different emotions such happiness or even sadness. Memories could also be triggered and the user would remember the website that awoke those memories that were pleasing. Read our post about color psychology.

The users of your website should feel comfortable and be able to trust your business’ website. A responsive, appealing and quickly loading website with any required redirects will provide your users with a great user experience.

Happy Holidays from Advanced Digital!

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What Makes an Effective Adwords Landing Page

When creating an Adwords campaign it is important to have a specific landing page for your ad. With text ads, you can have multiple ad groups and specials running at once. So, what makes a good landing page?

First, while setting up your campaign, it is important to create the goals you’re wanting to accomplish; consider your market’s location, interests and what they’re specifically searching for. Once you have your goals set and research complete, it is time to get started on your landing page.

A bare landing page can result in fewer conversions, low quality scores and more. With that in mind, a landing page shouldn’t be overwhelmed with hoops your potential customers have to jump through. This will lead to less conversions, a higher bounce rate and ultimately, an affected AdWords campaign.

Steps to Creating an Effective Landing Page

  • Keep the page clean. Adding too many calls to action can be overwhelming for a potential customer. Make the page easy to navigate and the points of communication clear.
  • Communication. As mentioned in the previous point, make the communication options clear. Make your phone number stand out by having it in a larger font than the rest of the text. For many, contacting a company via e-mail or contact form is more convenient, so ensure you’re including a contact form asking for the phone number, email address and name. Create and utilize a separate contact form instead of an existing one you may already have on your website as a means to track your AdWord form submissions vs. your standard contact form submissions.
  • Repeat your ad or running special. This is to create confidence in you ad, otherwise the ad can be perceived as click bait.
  • Never stop testing. Make minor changes to your landing page, rephrase your calls to action, change your special or contact options. During each campaign and after each adjustment, keep a close eye on your bounce rate and track patterns as to what produces the best conversions.

AdWords is a great tool for creating sales and doing industry target research. A landing page on your website should be non-indexed and only linked within your ads. This way you’re able to track and compare your analytics stats or conversions. As we have discussed in an earlier blog series about first impressions, visual presentation and usability play key roles when creating a landing page that yield high conversions.

The Importance of Hashtags

Welcome to Day One of Advanced Digital’s 12 Days of Christmas Blog Series. Every other day, from now until Christmas Eve, you can expect a new post spanning many topics from Search Engine Optimization, to Web and Graphic Design as well as some Marketing information. We hope you join us this December!

We kick off this series talking about the importance of hashtags. Whether you love them and find yourself using them in your every day life for every one of your social media updates just because they’re fun, or you hate them as you don’t see the point in them: there is no denying that hashtags are an integral part of using social media.

Hashtags are utilized on many social media platforms in this day and age. From Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to Pinterest, Google+, and Youtube, the likelihood of you running into a piece of content without hashtags is very slim. But why are they important and what benefit do they bring to your business?

When clicking a hashtag on any of the aforementioned platforms, you’ll find many other public posts that include the same hashtag. For example, we use “#ADTipTuesday” on all of our Tuesday tip posts throughout our social media platforms. Not only will hashtags provide users with content relevant to their search, but it allows customers to track a specific news story or event easily.

The Do’s and Don’t of Hashtags

DO Keep it Relevant. There are many generic hashtags that receive a lot of views, and while it may be tempting to tack on a tag or two to your post in hopes of getting a little more traffic, consistently doing this can set the precedence that your brand cares more about the number of likes rather than the quality of content and conversion.
DO Research Your Brand Hashtag. Research the hashtags relevant to your brand. Has the hashtag been used previously? Is it going to help get your brand seen on social media? It is important to keep these stats in mind when generating content and choosing hashtags on your platforms.
DO Be Mindful of the Platform. You may notice Facebook posts have less hashtags being used, however Instagram and Twitter uses them more frequently. It is okay to have personality when using hashtags! A photo of a cup of coffee may have the tag, “MondayMotivation” or even “InstaGood”.
DON’T Tag Full Sentences. It is important to tag only relevant keywords in your description or comments. Tagging full sentences, while quirky or fun between friends in conversation, can become a nuisance or hard to read in a professional setting..
DON’T Over Do It. As mentioned previously, tagging relevant keywords is going to help your impressions and conversion. Choose the keyword phrases that fit the message of your content. You may track or use 30 hashtags, however, they don’t need to be used all at once.

It is important to be consistent with your brand hashtag across all social media platforms you use. Users should be able to hop from searching your brand on Instagram to Google+ and still find the same quality of content.

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