Simple Design Rules to Keep Your Brand Modern

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Whether you are a large-scale business or a small mom-and-pop store, your brand is everything. The design of your brand needs to be polished and refined across all marketing channels. If your brand’s design is old and outdated, your business may fail to make a lasting impression on potential customers. A good brand design should portray your business as smart, professional and current with recent trends. Here are a few easy-to-follow design rules to keep your brand’s design from falling into the prehistoric era.

Type Hierarchy

Making your website copy stand out on the page is essential to capture your site visitors’ attention. One way to make this task simple is by implementing a typographic hierarchy, which means formatting type to show the most important copy, making your website easy to navigate. Adding three levels of typography to your design is a good starting point, with the levels being the headline, subhead and main text. Type hierarchy makes it easy to communicate your message to site visitors at a glance, while also enhancing your website’s readability.

Headline

Subhead

Body copy

Minimal Effects

On average, 25% of site visitors will leave a website if the page does not load in less than 4 seconds. A common reason for slow loading websites is heavy usage of design elements such as Flash, videos and large images. The best sleek and modern brand designs are often the most simple designs. Don’t overcomplicate your design by using a wide array of design effects that take the focus away from your central message. Keep it simple and choose optimized images, simple background colors and a typeface that is in a contrasting color that is easily legible.

Consistency

Arguably the most important design rule is to design with consistency. Consistent design elements on your website and other branded materials is crucial to making your brand instantly recognizable to customers. Try to use a similar color palette throughout all of your brand materials to create visual harmony. Everything should be consistent, from the color palette to the use of white space and the way elements are aligned. Remaining consistent with your design elements ensures that all of your marketing materials are an extension of your brand.

The design that you choose for your brand will play a major role in helping you get noticed by your target audience. A strong visual strategy is just as important as any online marketing strategy. Follow these simple guidelines for a modern brand design that never goes out of style.

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

Making your website ADA compliant

The Americans with Disabilities Act aims to protect the rights of disabled people to prevent discrimination against a person’s disability. This law requires businesses to offer accommodations like wheelchair ramps and handicapped parking for disabled persons. However, when the law was passed in 1990, it did not provide any specific language to protect disabled persons from discrimination on the Internet. While there is currently no legal definition of an ADA compliant website, here are a few elements your website should have to ensure that your hearing and vision impaired clients have a seamless experience.

Contrasting Colors

Your clients with vision impairments have difficulty viewing web pages the same way as other people. While an artistic website design might seem clear to you, certain color schemes are difficult for vision impaired persons to view. Ensure that your website is accessible for everyone by choosing white background colors with a font that is dark enough to pop against the background. This color contrast is crucial to have on your website to make your content clear and accessible for all site visitors. While this is beneficial for your vision impaired clients, it is also beneficial in reducing bounce rates for your business website.

Large Fonts

Avoid small, ineligible fonts on your website whenever possible. Not only do small fonts make it difficult for vision-impaired clients to read website content, but they also don’t render well on responsive website designs that adjust to fit screens on mobile devices. Use large font between 15 – 18px on your website to make sure your content is readable across all devices from – desktop sites to tablets to mobile phones. It is also important that you disable any settings that prevent site visitors from adjusting the font size in a user’s web browser. Visually impaired persons need to be able to specify font size as needed to properly view your website content.

Hyperlinks and Buttons

Influencing site visitors to perform an action is the goal of virtually every business website. The best way to get your visitors to take action is to make sure they know what to do! Clickable elements like hyperlinks and call-to-action (CTA) buttons on your website should be large, clear and stand apart from the body text. Visually impaired persons often scan web pages to quickly search for links. Concealing important links in a block of text makes it harder for your clients to find them. Additionally, make sure the links are descriptive of the information they’re leading to. “Updated Office Hours and Contact Information” is a lot more descriptive than simply “Update”.

Screen Reader Friendly

Screen readers make it possible for blind or visually impaired persons to “read” website content via a speech synthesizer or braille display. While screen readers are a wonderful way for visually impaired persons to access website content, they do have limitations. For example, screen readers are unable to “read” an image if the image doesn’t have alt text. Adding alt text is helpful because it gives context to your website images that a screen reader can “read” to site visitors. Alt text is also beneficial to your website’s SEO.

The best way to reach more clients online is to make your business website available for everyone. By ensuring that your website is ADA accessible, you are ensuring that all of your site visitors have a positive experience on your website. This can translate into the best possible outcome: increased traffic and conversions for your website.

How to Measure the Value of Your Website with Google Analytics

How to measure the value of your website with Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is an analytics tool that can help you understand how powerful your website is in your marketing strategy. You can measure how many returning visitors you get versus new visitors, what website pages are the most popular, and so much more. Because it offers a lot of measuring opportunities, sometimes GA can seem overwhelming. To get you started, here are some essential metrics to measure the value of your website to your business.

Turning it on

First things first – you have to open an analytics account and add GA to your website. The tool is free, so all you need is simple information like your website URL to get your GA code snippet. Highlight and copy the entire snippet of code once you are ready to add it to your website. You can access this snippet of code anytime in your GA settings.

If you have a Business Plan website with WordPress.com, adding this code is simple. Just install the Google Analytics plugin created by MonsterInsights, as that is the plugin trusted by WordPress. Once installed, go to the settings of this plugin on your WordPress dashboard and add your snippet of code.

You can also add GA to WiX, Squarespace and most templated websites. If your business has a custom website built by code from a developer, you should contact your developer or IT professional. It may take a day or two for your website to start recording data. You won’t be able to gather any data from the time period that you did not have GA.

Behavior: Popular Pages

Now for the fun part: measuring! Right off the bat you’re going to want to know what pages are working for you. Your homepage will always be the most popular by default, so it’s better to pay attention to the top three to five pages on the list. On your left hand menu in GA, click Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Once you arrive make sure you adjust the time frame on the upper right corner of the page so you can be specific on what day or days you want to measure.

Now that you are looking at your top pages, pay attention to some of these details:

  • Pageviews and unique pageviews: it’s interesting to see how many of those views are unique.
  • Average time on page: you want to see something above 1 minute and 30 seconds so you know users are truly reading.
  • Bounce rate: how often are they on the page for only 0 seconds? This percentage should be lower – ideally under 50 percent.

On your popular pages, don’t make too many content updates because clearly something is working. Make sure you have strong CTAs and feel free to add testimonials to these pages since they have a good chance of being viewed.

Acquisition: Where are Visitors Coming From

With this data there is no more guessing what social network works best for your brand. You can also learn about other channels bringing traffic to your website like paid search if you’re running Google Ads, referral websites if other websites are linking to yours, or email if you’re sending email campaigns.

On your navigation click Acquisitions > All Traffic > Channels. Right off the bat you’ll see what channels are bringing the most traffic to your site. If you click on a specific channel like Social, you can track what specific networks are bringing you the most traffic, and decide which ones to stop posting on every week. And remember – take the bounce rate into consideration when you’re deciphering which channel is working the best for your brand.

Audience: Know Your Visitors

This is a great tool to help you pinpoint who your website audience is. If you click Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning on your navigation, you can easily see who you’re content should be catered to. Maybe your website is mostly returning users, while your social media pages are where new customers find you.

While staying in the Audience tab, explore the Demographics, Interests, and Geo subtabs to really get to know your users. This information is great for inspiration on sales, promotions or incentives you hold.

Marketing only has meaning to your business when it is measured. Although there are many ways to analyze the different marketing channels you use, Google Analytics is one of the best for understanding the power of your website, who is visiting it, and where they came from.