Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Pros and Cons of Using WordPress

When you have a business, it’s usually a good idea to also have a blog that goes with it. You need to make sure that you take the time to find the right blogging platform and create a blog that speaks to your level of knowledge and experience within your industry. If it’s not informative and interesting, after all, no one is going to read it. Of course, before you get to that you have to choose how to set up your blog. For most people, WordPress is the obvious choice. This is a painfully easy blogging tool that lets anyone create a blog, regardless of their skill level or knowledge of HTML and other development tools.

WordPress is the preferred choice for many businesses because it is ready as-is, or it can be customized with a variety of different plug-ins. If you’re considering this platform for your own blog, here are some of the pros and cons to keep in mind.

-Wordpress is easy. If you can send an email, you can blog on this platform.

-There are a lot of plug-ins that can allow you complete customization of your blog without much effort at all.

-WordPress uses the same SEO benefits with pages and posts alike.

-Your WordPress page can have subpages, allowing you to better organize your content.

-If you outsource blogging, most bloggers can handle WordPress in their sleep.

-There is a possibility of outgrowing this platform, even if it is rare.

-WordPress isn’t the ideal solution for e-commerce needs.

-If you are producing in-depth content, this isn’t the best tool available.

-This isn’t one of the more secure options out there.

All in all, WordPress works. Most people will tell you that, despite the few disadvantages, this blogging platform is ideal for your business blog. It doesn’t matter what you know about blogging or how much experience you have with creating anything online because WordPress makes it easy. A lot of companies, big and small, rely on this blog tool for their own blogging needs and find plenty of different benefits to doing so. Plug-ins allow you to change your blog into anything that you need it to be, making it a great starting point that can grow and change with your business.

It basically provides the perfect balance of everything that a business needs to be successful with blogging and creating ‘blog-ified’ websites that are more dynamic and interactive than traditional websites might be.

How Important is Usability in the Design of a Website

When it comes to designing websites, there are a lot of elements involved. Of course, some elements are going to be more important than others. If you are creating your business website, one of the biggest issues that you are going to have to contend with is its usability. Usability refers to how accessible or user-friendly a website can be. The more usability that your site has, the more likely that people will visit, stay, and even invest in your business in some way. If your site is complicated and hard to use, people are going to find somewhere else to do business. It’s a simple element among a long list of must-haves, but it is one that can make all the difference.

Usability includes a lot of different details. You should make sure that you take the time to create a website that is user-friendly in terms of the following:

Layout: The page layout should be simple to follow and give people access to all the tools and information that they need without requiring a lot of effort or hassle.

Navigation: Make it easy to get around your website. Don’t bury useful information in 5 levels of sub-pages. Stick with a basic, simple site that is easy to get around and has accessible navigation tools.

Content: You need to make sure that your content is informative and engaging. If people aren’t interested in what you have to say, why would they stick around? Give them something to benefit them, and use your content carefully. Keep it short, simple, and to the point.

Overall design: Avoid lots of heavy graphics, logos, images, and other elements that will just clutter up your page and make it hard for people to know where to go next. Stick to the basics and make sure that they can use your site without feeling overwhelmed or having too many options.

When you build a website, a lot of different things are going to come into play. However, if you want to have a successful business in the online world, you have to make sure that your website is interactive, engaging, and that it has a high usability rating so that people will want to keep coming back for more. High-tech designs and complicated features might seem like they look cool, but the bottom line is that people want simple, straightforward information and resources and they’ll do what it takes to get it. Make sure that your website is user-friendly and easy to use so that you can give people exactly what they want and get their business in return.

How a Great Design Can Subconsciously Influence Your Audience

The design of your website is going to make a much bigger impact than you realize. While the conscious elements like layout, content, and usability will matter, there are also subconscious ways that your audience can be affected by your website design. When people first come to your website, they will take in all of their surroundings. They will make a conscious decision as to whether they want to keep reading and learn more based on their subconscious reaction to the design of the site. Your goal is to create a website that is designed so that people are intrigued and want to stay to see what you have to offer.

When a person views your website, reads your content, navigates the site, interacts with your business, and gets involved in other ways, their subconscious is constantly evaluating what they are doing and how they like the experiences that they are having. People are affected by everything from visual appeal to the actual words on your site, as well as their own thoughts and previous experiences with websites that they have visited. When it comes to visual appeal, you have to use something that makes people feel invited and welcome. A clean, easy-to-navigate design will attract a much bigger audience than a cluttered, overly busy website. There are even specific colors that people respond to better than others, if you want to maximize the subconscious effect that your website has.

The words on your site (your content) are also going to be an element of your design that affects people. What people read is going to affect their emotions, even if it is only on a subconscious level. The content that you create needs to provide people with the opportunity to experience positive emotions, relate to your company, and understand where you are coming from or what you have to offer. Use simple words and an informal tone that is engaging and appealing to your audience, no matter what you are trying to accomplish with your content.

Even simple elements like the right alignment in your design and the use of white space can influence the subconscious of your audience. If things are properly aligned, they look cleaner, more professional, and more visually appealing. At the same time, using white space draws people’s attention to the content that is on your site, and subconsciously makes people feel like they are not being overwhelmed with information. Designing websites is not rocket science, but there are things like these that you have to consider in creating your design. The greater effect you have on the subconscious of your audience, the more likely they are to get involved with your business in the end, after all.

How to Write Excellent Website Content

The overall design of a website will influence a visitor’s split-second decision whether to stay or leave a particular URL. Design includes items such as the layout, font style and color, as well as the choice of graphics and pictures. However, once the visitor is drawn in by the design, the quality of a site’s written text will have a lasting effect on both whether a visitor will remain for a longer period of time, as well as whether or not the visitor will return sometime in the future. For this reason, with the exception of basic site design, nothing impacts the quality of a website more than its written text. Ensuring that great text is written is therefore a critical step that requires a structured approach to accomplish efficiently. This article answers this question by outlining a specific writing process that is used by all the best website design writers.

Website Writing in 5 Phases
When attempting to write excellent website text, it is best to keep in mind that all web writing goes through 5 specific and discreet steps or phases. These are 1) creating an overall plan, 2) writing an outline, 3) composing a rough draft, 4) revising the draft and finally 5) proof-reading. The key is to have these steps happen as efficiently as possible.

Step 1 | Creating an Overall Plan: The key to any design process whether graphics or text, is to have a clear plan. In the case of writing, the planning phase includes each person in the writing team discussing and agreeing upon key points. To use a website design parallel, this can be thought of as a brainstorming session from which a statement of work (SOW) will emerge. The typical questions that are answered in this phase include making content decisions, determining who the main audience will be, and putting together a timeline.

It will also include determining how long each section, including articles, should be. For example, a home page might be written in short paragraphs, single teaser sentences, or even bullet points. The secondary and tertiary pages however will probably be somewhat longer and more detailed. All this has to be planned out in advance.

Some time should also be set aside in this step towards coordinating with the website designers to ensure that there is alignment between the graphic designers and the writers. This is particularly important on the homepage as it is the page that will have the largest impact on bounce rate.

Step 2 | Writing An Outline: Once the project is properly planned, an outline can be completed. An outline is a list of the key points that will be made in each section or page of the site. Bullet points are certainly appropriate here as the goal in this phase is to get a general outline of the text. For longer passages or individual articles, the outline should be structured as an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. This is a fundamental writing technique, but one that is all too often forgotten. It is surprising how many website articles do not follow this formula.

Step 3 | Composing a Rough Draft: The rough draft is the first time that full and complete sentences are put together. The most important thing to mention with regards to the rough draft is that the better the outline is, the faster the rough draft will be written and usually, the better its quality will be. If multiple individuals are writing the rough draft, it is usually a good idea to assign a single individual with the responsibility of pulling all the content together. In addition to the mundane tasks of formatting the text into a single coherent document, this individual can also be tasked with comparing the draft with the outline to make sure that nothing is accidently missed.

Step 4 | Revising the Draft: Nobody writes a perfect text after only a single draft. All text should be revised until it meets the quality requirements of the website’s owner. Indeed, even Pulitzer Prize winners revise their work. Any written text, even the one you are reading right now, requires revision to make sure that it is perfect and includes the intended content.

Revision includes checking for proper content, verifying spelling and grammar, examining the style, and reviewing references if applicable. There are several tricks to revision. For example, reading the text backwards is an effective method to finding spelling mistakes. Another tip is to read the text out loud. By reading it out loud, a reader can often pick out awkward passages and improve upon them. A third trick is to put the text down for a few hours, or even overnight. Often looking at a text with fresh eyes will allow the proof-reader to find additional mistakes.

If deleting any text, especially large sections, it is recommend that this information be saved in a separate file. One never knows when a piece of deleted text might come in handy for future work.

Step 5 | Proof Reading: Finally, the written text goes into a final revision or a proof-reading stage. Here every last detail is double checked for items such as accuracy, formatting and styling. This person fills the role of editor and does not necessarily have to be the person who compledted the draft revision step. In fact, it can often be helpful if this is a different person with fresh eyes. Also, the same document can be proof-read by several people.

To review, the real secret of great website writing is to have a clear and systematic process. This provides structure and allows the project manager to measure how the team is performing vis a vis a schedule. If each step of the writing process is completed thoroughly, the final product will be of high quality and be achieved in a relatively short amount of time.