Tag Archives: websites

Piers Aitman

Top Tips…Creating An Effective Website

By Piers Aitman

Web developers - not all of them are alike

Not sure what to do about developing your website? Here are some top tips from VG&A’s web associate, Piers Aitman: 

1. What will the website do for you?
Think carefully about your website’s functionality and whether they would be right for your audience. For example, will you need e-commerce or log-in functionality?
Importantly, make sure you have clear calls to action (CTAs) – you want your visitors to get in touch, so make it easy for them. Options to consider include your office telephone number, mobile number, email address, Skype address and business address.

2. Communicate
Visitors to your website will need to understand what you can do for them in a matter of seconds, so this needs to be thought through carefully. Think, too, about the language and the tone which will be appropriate for your audience.
Clearly spell out your offer and what makes you different. Organise your pages and content accordingly and clearly show the user ways to contact you. This helps users navigate their way around your site and is also the basis of search engine optimisation.

3. Get on the right platform
There are many ways of building and maintaining your website within a variety of price points. Some agencies may be keen to channel you into a system that suits them, may be inappropriate in scale, usability or cost and may tie you into working with them for the long term. If you’re not sure, get them to highlight the pros and cons of what they’re suggesting and what it is likely to cost to build, as well as any additional costs, such as hosting.

4. Who are you talking to?
Build your website appropriately for your audience. The design and technical specification may be different for sites viewed predominantly on office or home PCs, for younger or older audiences, people in different countries and so on. It’s vitally important that your site displays well on smartphones and mobile devices, given how their usage has grown.

5. Who will look after the site?
Build in simple and realistic targets for management of updateable content. It’s no use committing to social media content across Facebook and Twitter and not having the resources to update them. Likewise, there’s no point building in bespoke, expensive functionality into your website at the outset which you won’t use.

6. Keep it simple
Usability and responsiveness have long been web design buzzwords. Users love sites that present information simply, are quick to load and easy to navigate. Beautifully designed and unusually structured websites can be great as long as they still provide the user with a quick and intuitive journey to where they want to go.

For a web design template, take a look at our downloads at Don’t Look!

Piers Aitman – Web Associate, VG&A

Vaughan Gordon

What can we learn from the list of top UK brands online?

By Vaughan Gordon

Today web monitoring company Nielsen announced the top 50 online brands in the UK for 2011.

The top 10 looks like this:

  1. Google
  2. MSN/Windows Live/Bing
  3. Facebook
  4. Yahoo!
  5. BBC
  6. Microsoft
  7. Amazon
  8. YouTube
  9. eBay
  10. Wikipedia

No surprises here. But the data compares 2011 with 2004 and this shows three things.

  • Search is still critically important
  • Social networks/user generated content sites are gaining in influence and size – and rapidly
  • Offline brands are making their prescence felt online

To highlight these last two points it is worth noting that Argos is the UK’s 13th most popular brand online and Blogger (the blogging platform) is 16th.

There are also some learning points for business:

  • Search still rules so make sure your sites are well optimised
  • User generated content is becoming increasingly important in driving traffic to and engagement with sites so figure out how your business could leverage that – think curating content, linking to relevant content and building up your own bank of user generated content
  • Sharing sites are in the ascendancy and they all provide businesses with an opportunity to have a prescence and connect with their customers whether they are on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook etc. Time to work out how to do this if you are not already.
  • Notice that offline brands such as Argos have had real success at building a successful online business – you can do it too.

So, start to think how to create well optimised content and how you can share it in the relevant networks.

by Martin Couzins