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Branding 101: How to Get Your Design Business Online

You’ve named your business. You’ve sorted out the visual branding piece. Now, it’s time to get your business online so you can start making money.

In this post, we’re going to look at where your web design business needs to set up shop online and how to get it up and running quickly.

Step 1: Set Up Your Website

As a web designer or developer, having a website is non-negotiable.

Not only does a website provide prospective clients with all the information they need about you, it can help you automate many of those annoying tasks that get in the way of your actual paid work.

So, let’s start here:

Buy Your Domain Name

If you haven’t done so already, use the business name generator exercise to come up with a domain name. You then have a couple of options for buying it.

To Do:

  • Buy it from a domain name provider like GoDaddy or Domain.com;
  • Or buy it from your web hosting company;
  • Check the next step to see which option makes the most sense for you.

Choose a CMS

Use the same CMS as the one you’ll use to build your clients’ sites. That way, clients don’t wonder why you’d use something like Squarespace for your site, but then recommend WordPress for theirs, for example.

To Do:

  • If you use a self-hosted CMS (like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla), hold on this until you purchase your web hosting;
  • If you use a hosted CMS (like Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify), you won’t need to do the next step. Instead, just sign up for your website builder and buy your domain name now.

Buy Your Web Hosting

If you’re wondering what the difference is between the various types of web hosting, read this post.

Basically, this is what you’re looking for:

  • A hosting company with a good reputation that provides expert and timely support;
  • An affordable starter plan — either shared or cloud hosting;
  • Server locations near you (at the very least, in the same country as you);
  • Top-notch security features at the server level as well as the physical hosting facility;
  • Caching and other speed optimizations built into the server and on-site equipment;
  • Compatibility with your CMS (look for one-click install, too).

Also, look for add-ons like SSL certificates, CDNs, and, of course, a free domain name.

To Do:

  • Sign up for the hosting plan you want along with your domain name and SSL certificate (this is a must for SEO);
  • Install your CMS from the control panel once you’re ready to go.

Build Your Website

Ultimately, you have two goals here:

  1. To build a website that convinces prospective clients that you’re the real deal;
  2. To build a website that prospects would want for themselves.

So, there’s no need to go crazy with outlandish features or futuristic animations and design. Keep it simple. Keep it neat. And give prospects an honest portrayal of who you are, and what you can do for them.

Design It

The first thing to do is take all that work you did to create your visual branding and use it to design your website.

If you’re building a WordPress website, consider starting with one of these multipurpose themes.

Build Out the Pages You Need

A theme will automatically create the pages you need (most of them, anyway). If you’re not sure which ones to start with, these are the ones your prospects are going to be looking for:

You may also want to add separate pages for Testimonials and Case Studies once you’ve accumulated enough of them to show off. For now, you can include samples of your work in the Portfolio page and testimonials on the Home page.

Fill in the Content

Even if writing isn’t your strong suit, that’s okay. So long as the content you write for your site is free of spelling and grammar errors, your prospective clients are going to focus on what you’re telling them, not on how proficient a writer you are.

That said, if you’re nervous about this piece of your website, here are some tips to help you out:

1. Be concise, it’s not just minimal design that goes over well with modern audiences. Minimal copy does, too.

2. Be transparent. Tell prospects what exactly they can expect when they work with you and why your web design services are going to be different from the competition.

3. Consumers don’t trust companies that use meaningless buzzwords and make empty claims. Instead, focus on writing about the real and very competitive skills you have. According to research from NIDO Student, these are the skills employers look for when hiring a designer:

4. Let your images tell some of the story for you. Just make sure you use (or create) images that will impress your audience.

5. After you’ve written your content, take a step back and tackle the structure and formatting from a designer’s POV.

6. Before you hit the “Publish” button, run your copy through Hemingway Editor to ensure your content is error-free.

Add the Right Features

When I talk about features, I’m referring to anything outside the main design and content on your website. These are usually sales and marketing tools like:

  • Chatbot/live chat
  • Contact forms
  • Pop-ups or notification banners
  • Discovery call scheduler
  • Cookies consent notice

Only add the features you absolutely need. In other words, the features that will automate the marketing and sales tasks you’d otherwise have to manage on your own.

Step 2: Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very important part of the work you do to get your business online. Here’s why:

After you launch your business and website, the next thing you’re going to focus on is getting clients. This can take a lot of work as you pore over the following resources for referrals and leads:

  • Your existing contact list (i.e. family, friends, old employers, colleagues, etc.);
  • Freelance job boards;
  • Industry-specific job boards;
  • Social media posts, pages, and groups;
  • Google search results for “we’re hiring”;
  • And so on…

And when you’re not busy cold-emailing prospective clients or talking to them on the phone, you’re probably going to be working on your business’ processes. Running a business is very time-consuming.

So, what happens when you finally start working on website projects? It’s not like the client search ends there. It’s an ongoing thing. Which is why your website needs to be optimized for search.

Once your site gets indexed by Google and starts to generate authority, your pages will rank better and the increased visibility will start generating leads without you having to actively make the first move.

SEO is a huge topic, so I’m not going to cover it here. However, the links below will do a good job of guiding you towards your next steps.

To Do:

Step 3: Get Active on Social Media

Your website is going to play a lot of roles:

  • Digital business card;
  • Authority builder;
  • Marketing vehicle;
  • Sales platform;
  • Content marketer.

But there’s one very critical thing it can’t do and that’s directly converse with your audience and grow your network. This is why you need to spend time building out your social media once your website is good to go.

As for which social media platforms to use (as there are way too many), here are my thoughts:

Become an authority on Twitter.

Twitter is a good place to share daily thoughts and interesting content you’ve found on the web.

Get discovered on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is useful because it’s another place to get noticed by potential employers, so make sure your relevant work experience and portfolio are up-to-date.

Connect with other creatives on Facebook.

It’s really hard to get noticed on Facebook unless you pay to play. Instead, use it to find groups that you can turn to for support, referrals, and brainstorming.

Share your work on Dribbble.

While you could use Instagram or Pinterest to show off your work, you might get more traction on a design-specific platform like Dribbble. Serve as inspiration for others and potentially get discovered by prospects looking for designers there.

Down the line you might decide to expand your business into recurring revenue opportunities like online courses. In that case, a platform like YouTube would be great. For now, focus your efforts on the main ones above.

To Do:

  • Create your social media accounts;
  • Brand them to match your website — both the visual component as well as the bio;
  • Start sharing content on a regular basis. You can automate sharing with a social media management tool, but remember to log in at least a couple times a week so you can engage with others, too;
  • Be careful not to commit these social media faux pas.

Wrap-Up

I realize this is a ton of information to throw at you. However, if you want to get your new business online and for it to succeed, you need to maximize the opportunities that are available to you.

I hope this three-part guide to starting a new business has been helpful. If you have any questions on the tips provided along the way, let me know in the comments.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Comment aborder sa transition vers l’industrie 4.0 ?

Les apports de l’industrie 4.0 permettent de rendre les entreprises plus agiles, et aptes à répondre aux enjeux d’hyperpersonnalisation des produits, ainsi qu’aux aléas, économiques, sanitaires ou climatiques.

L’industrie doit faire face aujourd’hui à deux défis clés :

  • L’hyperpersonnalisation des offres induite par la montée de l’économie d’expérience, qui pousse les entreprises à aller de la mass production vers la mass customization.
  • La multiplication des changements brusques dans les habitudes de consommation, provoquée par des crises sanitaires, économiques et bientôt climatiques.

L’industrie 4.0 entend répondre à cette double problématique en rendant la production plus agile. Basiquement, l’industrie 4.0, c’est la transformation numérique appliquée au monde de l’industrie, avec une digitalisation des processus de production. Digitalisation qui doit s’accompagner d’une collecte et circulation des données assurée en temps réel entre les sites de production et le SI de l’entreprise.

De la nécessité de disposer d’un socle solide

Des processus standards et une plate-forme robuste sont nécessaires. « Notre partenariat avec SAP remonte à 2007, lors du déploiement de l’ERP qui sert maintenant de socle à notre stratégie Industrie 4.0. Les notions de socle et de standardisation des processus sont très importantes, » témoigne Damien Régnier, Digital & Shopfloor Operation chez Faurecia.

Attention toutefois à ne pas faire de la standardisation des processus un facteur de réduction de la flexibilité. « Il y a un écart entre le monde de l’ERP et le « shop floor ». L’un a besoin de processus standardisés alors que l’autre demande un certain niveau de flexibilité. » C’est donc un équilibre entre agilité et efficacité qu’il faudra savoir trouver.

Tout n’est d’ailleurs pas forcément bon à digitaliser sur la chaîne de production. « Il faut partir du « pain point » pour trouver des sources de gain, du ROI. Cibler les bons processus avec les bonnes technologies, » analyse François-Xavier de Thieulloy, expert Industrie du Futur à la Direction de l’accompagnement chez Bpifrance.

Le MES, primordial sur les chaînes de production

« L’introduction d’un MES (Manufacturing Execution System, logiciel de pilotage de la production) a été une étape importante dans la digitalisation de nos processus de production », explique Alexandre Sizaret, responsable Production System Efficiency chez Airbus. « Notre MES, sur base SAP ME, est aujourd’hui déployé dans 280 stations de production à travers l’Europe et utilisé quotidiennement par 5000 collaborateurs. »

Un MES permet de faire remonter les données de production en temps réel, mais également de faire redescendre alertes, informations et décisions auprès des opérateurs. Alexandre Sizaret alerte toutefois sur les dangers d’une digitalisation à outrance des processus. « À vouloir trop enrichir le MES, nous avons fini par perdre des utilisateurs. Nous avons alors pris du recul pour retravailler l’expérience utilisateur, en partenariat avec les opérateurs et les chefs d’équipe. »

« La co-construction de la solution reste primordiale, confirme François-Xavier de Thieulloy. Il faut écouter les acteurs de terrain afin de pouvoir les embarquer dans le projet. »

Les règles d’une digitalisation réussie

Nous l’avons vu, pour disposer de données de qualité et en quantité suffisante, il faut tout d’abord disposer de fondamentaux solides, comme un ERP. Mais aussi un MES, pour descendre au plus près de la chaîne de production, ainsi que des technologies comme l’IoT qui vont faciliter la capture de données.

Il faut également savoir traiter ces données qui vont aider à la prise de décision (data to action) ou piloter directement des processus (data driven process). Des informations doivent également redescendre afin de faciliter le travail de l’opérateur. L’opérateur augmenté est un des atouts clés de l’Industrie 4.0.

Enfin, lorsque le volume de données devient suffisant, des techniques de Machine Learning et d’Intelligence Artificielle pourront être utilisées afin d’anticiper les aléas et d’améliorer la production ainsi que la maintenance des équipements.

Tout ceci nécessite toutefois un SI solide et complexe, qui n’est pas toujours à la portée des petites entreprises. « Les PME industrielles ont besoin de solutions très packagées, proposant un ROI rapide », confirme François-Xavier de Thieulloy.

D’autres défis à ne pas négliger

Alexandre Sizaret insiste par ailleurs sur la nécessité d’assurer une continuité digitale : « La data doit aller de l’ingénierie jusqu’à la production et vice versa. Savoir capter ce qui se passe sur le terrain permettra d’alimenter des jumeaux numériques avec précision. »

Damien Régnier milite pour sa part en faveur de solutions hybrides : « Il faut trouver le bon équilibre entre du tout cloud et du tout local, du tout standard et du tout spécifique, mais aussi du tout agile et du tout efficace. »

Enfin, François-Xavier de Thieulloy, alerte sur le besoin d’accélérer le rythme de transformation : « Nous aimerions passer rapidement de quelques dizaines d’entreprises qui franchissent le pas chaque année vers l’Industrie du Futur à quelques centaines. »


En savoir plus sur les solutions pour l’industrie 4.0, production


 

The post Comment aborder sa transition vers l’industrie 4.0 ? appeared first on SAP France News.

Source de l’article sur sap.com

8 Awesome Black Friday 2020 Deals for Designers (Up to 94% Off!)

If you’re interested in a sneak peek of this year’s best Black Friday deals, stick around. You’ll find a few web designers’ favorites, including a stellar deal or two.

This year, more than a few of the popular retail outlets are shifting away from the traditional “camp out all night and bust open the doors when the store opens” shopping model. You might just prefer this less chaotic, ecommerce approach.

All of us are trying to adjust to what may eventually become a “new normal”. We may not like some aspects of this new normal, but there are bright spots as well.

More shoppers are likely going to shop online because of the coronavirus. That means you don’t have to fight the crowds while desperately attempting to socially distance. The shelves aren’t as apt to go bare, and shopping is easy, convenient, and safe.

1. Slider Revolution

You will find the Slider Revolution plugin incorporated in a host of WordPress theme tools and products. This premium plugin can in fact boast of more than 7 million users around the globe.

What you may not be aware of is that it is much more than just a WordPress slider. With it in your web design toolbox, you can in fact create just about anything you can imagine.

Expect to find:

  • A stunning selection of elements including sliders and carousels;
  • Attention-getting hero sections designed to make your home pages really stand out;
  • Single-page websites with layouts unlike anything you’ve seen before;
  • Modular structuring that allows you to rearrange and reuse sections however you choose and the ability to mix and match modules with any WordPress content;
  • Add-ons whose cutting edge features push the boundaries of web design possibilities.

There’s more of course. To celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday you can NOW get any Slider Revolution subscription plan or one-time payment at a 33% discount.

Just click on the banner and use the BLACKFRIDAY code at checkout.

2. Amelia

When done manually, booking and managing appointments can be tedious and subject to mistakes and errors. Amelia provides an automated booking process that is oh-so easy to work with and is error free; just what you need to help you acquire more happy customers.

Key features of Amelia’s fully responsive design include:

  • A dashboard system that enables you to track approved and pending appointments, booking changes, and revenue;
  • Zoom Integration, Google Calendar, and Outlook Calendar sync;
  • The ability to accept and easily manage recurring appointments that customers can schedule;
  • Front-end customer and employee appointment and event managing and backend appointment adding, editing, and rescheduling;
  • Email notifications for pending and approved appointments and events.

And much more that will save you loads of energy and a ton of time. Give Amelia a try, and if you like what you see (and you will), take advantage of the 30% Black Friday discount.

3. wpDataTables

wpDataTables 3.0, with its fresh, new look, gives you a host of different ways to generate attractive, customizable, and responsive tables and charts, and a host of different ways to present them.

  • Tables can be created from most data sources, the most common being MySQL query, PHP array, Google Spreadsheet, Excel files CSV files, and JSON and XML inputs;
  • A working knowledge of SQL is not required!
  • Addons include Gravity Forms, Formidable Forms, Report Builder, and Powerful Filter;
  • wpDataTables users can generate Tables and Charts quickly from massive amounts of data (saving hours of effort);
  • Tables and charts are customizable and maintainable (editable once placed in use);
  • Tables can be created manually if you wish.

Click on the banner now and take advantage of wpDataTables 30% Black Friday discount on all licenses and addons.

4. TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

In TheGem, the ultimate WordPress multipurpose toolbox, you will find:

  • A rich selection of 400+ premium pre-built multi-page and one-page websites, all available for Elementor and WPBakery page builders;
  • The ability to mix and match any of this demos, layouts and page sections to create your own unique look;
  • Extended WooCommerce layouts & tools for making online shops, which convert better;
  • TheGem Blocks: an ultimate tool for building webpages at the speed of light.

And much more. Just click on the banner and check this 5-star product out.

5. Mobirise Website Builder

Creating a Google-friendly can take time, unless you have Mobirise at your fingertips, in which case you have a number of helpful tools to speed things up.

  • No coding, it’s all drag and drop;
  • 3,600+ website templates are at your disposal plus sliders, popups, forms, and more;
  • Many eCommerce features, including a shopping cart;
  • Latest Google Amp and Bootstrap4;
  • You can download Mobirise for free.

And, because it’s Black Friday, everything is yours at a 94% discount!

6. Get Illustrations

Get Illustrations offers royalty free and landing page Illustrations ready to drag and drop into your web design. You’ll have access to:

  • An extensive library of 4000+ illustrations with more added every week;
  • A wealth of design formats, including AI, PNG, SVG, Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch;
  • Free updates and new illustrations weekly (included in the bundle).

Click on the banner and use the Coupon Code BLACKDEAL for your 30% discount.

7. XStore | Responsive Multi-Purpose WooCommerce WordPress Theme

For anyone planning on creating an eCommerce store, the XStore name says it all. Key features you’ll find in this powerful and flexible WooCommerce theme include:

  • More than 95 good-to-go-shops plus a full AJAX shop to get you started;
  • 300+ pre-defined shop/page sections, a header builder, and a single product page builder;
  • Elementor, WPBakery and $510+ worth of premium plugins.

Click on the banner and sign up to become one of XStore’s 55,000+ happy customers.

8. Kalium – Creative Theme For Multiple Uses

Kalium is an easy-to-use, easily maintainable multipurpose theme for WordPress users that is always updated to use the latest WordPress standards.

  • Kalium provides its users with a host of professionally-designed pre-built demos and elements;
  • Many plugins such as: Slider Revolution, WPBakery, Elementor, Layer Slider, Advanced Custom Fields PRO, Product Filter for WooCommerce, Product Size Guide,WooCommerce and other premium plugins are included.

Kalium is responsive, GDPR compliant, and gives you full eCommerce and top-quality customer support. It has a 5-star rating after 36k sales on ThemeForest – seriously impressive!

***** 

If you hit the retail stores remember to social distance.

Or, if you would rather take a brief break from the demands of Covid-19, take advantage of one or more of the above ecommerce sales. As you can see, there are some excellent ones!

 

[– This is a sponsored post –]

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Top New CMS Plugins, November 2020

Since there are so many CMS plugins out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the best ones for your website. We’ve done the research for you; this list contains the top new CMS plugins for November 2020. You’ll find useful plugins for WordPress, Craft, Shopify, and Joomla.

Let’s get started…

WordPress

404 Page Editor

404 Page Editor is a simple WordPress plugin that helps you add custom text to the default 404 page on your website. The plugin comes with seasonal and industry-related 404 templates. One useful feature of the plugin is that it backups your current 404 page before changing it. So you can restore the backup page anytime you choose. The plugin duplicates your current 404.php page to wp-content/uploads/404-page-editor/ so you can easily find it. You can also change the text on the plugin to fit your local dialect. 

UnusedCSS Power-Up

Most WordPress themes and plugins load their CSS in the wrong areas of your website. This can slow down your site. A slow website will reduce user experience and lead to increased bounce rates.

UnusedCSS will help reduce the size of your website’s CSS files by up to 95%. The best part is that the plugin works automatically. It will remove any unused CSS when visitors view any page on your website. UnusedCSS will automatically reduce your website’s load times by reducing your CSS files and page size. The plugin also optimizes the performance of other WordPress plugins and extensions. UnusedCSS also works with WooCommerce themes and plugins.

Simple Redirects

Simple Redirects is a WordPress plugin that helps you to automatically redirect requests to another page on your site or any other place on the web. The plugin allows you to easily redirect users from your old web pages to new pages using 301 or 302 redirects. You don’t have to worry about losing backlinks or page rank. Any incoming links to the old web page will be automatically passed along to the new page. The page rank on the old page is also transferred to the new page. The plugin is useful when migrating a WordPress site when don’t want to retain the URL structure. 

HTML Validation

HTML Validation plugin helps you identify any HTML validation errors on your website. The plugin works automatically in the background of your website and will send you regular reports. There is a progress bar on the report screen to show you the progress of the scan. The plugin uses WordPress Cron to scan the content of your website. There is also an option for the plugin to automatically fix any HTML validation issues on your website. You can also choose to fix the issues manually. 

Just Highlight

Just Highlight is a simple WordPress plugin that helps you highlight text in your posts or pages. You can use this plugin to highlight any portion of the page you want to draw the reader’s attention to. You can highlight the background of the page and also add animation to the highlighted text. In the WordPress admin area, you can change the speed and color of the animation. The plugin is compatible with Gutenberg, and the WordPress classic editor. 

DeviantArt Embed

DeviantArt Embed is a simple plugin that helps you embed any work from Deviant Art into a post. The plugin provides a block for the WordPress block editor so you can easily embed the image. It uses a DeviantArt oEmbed API to pull the images and their descriptions, and creates an embedded image. 

Static Optimizer

Static Optimizer is a static file optimization plugin that serves and optimizes static files on your website. The plugin will help you increase your website speed by automatically compressing your static files. It is easy to set up, you just need an API key to get started. Other useful features that the plugin offers include automatic JS and CSS minification, automatic image optimization, and processing of responsive images. You don’t have to worry about losing your files if their server is down. The plugin automatically backs up your files and will load your original files when their servers are down (either because of an upgrade, maintenance, or outage).  By default, only images are compressed when you activate the plugin; you can also choose to optimize fonts, CSS, and JS files. 

RankBear

RankBear is a keyword rank tracker plugin that helps you analyze your SEO efforts. With RankBear, you can track the keywords for each of the posts and pages on your site. While the plugin has a paid plan, you can track up to five keywords for free. On the free plan, you will receive weekly reports on each keyword you are tracking. You can search for the rank and volume of a keyword in every location supported by the Google search engine. RankBear is a lightweight software-as-a-service plugin hosted by Amazon Cloud Services. The plugin also offers the option to download the keyword reports to CSV. 

Table of Contents Block

Table of Contents Block is a plugin that allows you to easily create a Table of Contents for your WordPress posts. The plugin is lightweight and will automatically add a Table of Content in your website’s posts and pages. You can select the heading tags you want to add to the Table of Content. It also has a dedicated support team to assist you. The plugin works fine with all standard WordPress themes. 

Markease For WooCommerce

Markeaze is an all-in-one communication plugin that allows you to add live chat to your online stores. The plugin will help you improve your customer service by decreasing your response times. With the plugin, you can collect your visitor’s contact information via a widget. This feature is useful in building a subscriber database. You can also use the plugin to track customer behavior on your site, inform customers about new products, help customers with active orders, and collect customer feedback. You can also use the auto-reply function to answer commonly asked questions. 

Craft CMS

Image Toolbox

Image Toolbox is a Craft CMS plugin that offers image-related tools for your templates. The plugin will automatically create a WebP variant of the images you upload. It also has a fallback for browsers that do not support WebP images. Other useful features the plugin offers include automatic creation of placeholder images and generation of responsive images with multiple variants. The plugin also supports Imager-X (or old Imager). 

Element Panel

Element Panel plugin allows you to add elements and an eager-loading panel to the debug toolbar. This feature will help you benchmark your templates in Craft CMS. For elements, the panel has a dashboard that shows how many elements are populated. It also shows how many elements are duplicates. The plugin also shows you how many eager-loading elements are detected. Duplicate elements are grouped by field name. 

Shopify 

VStore Shoppable Videos

VStore Shoppable Videos is a Shopify plugin that allows your customers to shop directly from your videos. The plugin allows you to embed your products into any video. Since videos have a high engagement rate, this plugin will significantly improve your store’s conversion rates. 

ProofMotion Video Testimonials

ProofMotion Video Testimonials plugin helps you to easily collect video testimonials. The plugin sends an automated email or SMS requests to customers asking for their satisfaction feedback after making a purchase. The responses are analyzed to determine whether the customer had a negative or positive experience. Customers that offer negative feedback are sent to customer care to help them with the problem they encountered. Happy customers are prompted to make video testimonials of their positive shopping experience. ProofMotion guides the customer through the interview so they can give the best testimonial. They also offer an on-site widget so you can easily share your testimonials. 

Real ID

Real ID is a Shopify plugin that allows you to verify customers’ real identity using a photo ID and facial biometrics. The plugin is perfect for orders that have an age restriction, verifying flagged fraud goods, and selling expensive goods. Real ID will help you identify whether a government-issued-ID is fake during fulfilment. All the customer needs to do is take a selfie on their phone. This way, even if a customer has access to a stolen physical ID, they won’t still be able to make any purchase. The plugin can verify documents such as passports, visas, national IDs, driver licenses, and more. Real ID will help you handle GDPR compliance. The plugin is available in hundreds of countries around the world. 

Joomla

Accessibility

Accessibility is a Joomla plugin that allows your website visitors to easily access your website content. The plugin will remove any barrier between the visitor and your Joomla site. There is no coding required and you can customize the plugin directly from the module manager. The plugin has a useful feature called Dyslexic Readability; this feature allows your visitors to set the entire document font to a dyslexic-friendly font. Visitors can also grayscale the page, resize the fonts, and resize the word space. From the backend module, you can add any custom CSS and JS. The plugin is also available in 12 different languages. 

Reading Time

Reading Time is a simple plugin that will help you easily show the reading time of your Joomla articles. The plugin is easy to set up and does not require any coding. You can customize every parameter, including the text, in minutes. You can also choose to exclude categories, articles, and menu items. Reading Time also allows you to easily add custom CSS code from the plugin parameters. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

20 Freshest Web Designs, October 2020

We have become so used to using web sites just to buy stuff that it is easy to forget that the web has more to offer. So this month we’ve included some because-it’s-interesting sites, some micro-sites and some just-for-the-sake-of-it projects.

Many of these are about selling or promoting products and services too, but in a more oblique way that is frequently more engaging than a straightforward sales site.

Micro sites can be a great way of including content that doesn’t fit in neatly with the rest of the main site, or is temporary, or to show a lighter, more fun side of a brand. And a well thought out micro site can act as a gateway to pull in even more visitors to its ‘parent’ site.

Your World Your Way

Your World Your Way is an interactive portal for the University of Auckland. An optional questionnaire customizes the experience, and clearly a lot of effort has gone into this in terms of the questions and possible answers, and the presentation. It is engaging and enjoyable to use, and the information provides links to the main University of Auckland website.

Blind Barber

This micro site is to celebrate 10 years of barber shop chain Blind Barber, which started as one shop with a bar in the back room, in New York’s East Village. An entirely black and white design provides a clean backdrop for color photos and videos, and some great scrolling animations give a pleasing flow to the content.

Brews & Grooves

Brews & Grooves pairs records with different beer. Although a ‘fun’ project, it is still a well designed piece of work with some vintage style typography and some pleasing rollover animation effects. It is an effective advert for those involved in creating it, as listed in on its ‘credits’ page.

Gucci Bloom

As part of a new campaign to promote it’s ‘Bloom’ perfumes, Gucci have created a Gucci Bloom game. The player has to pick up flowers and perfume bottles, but miss a flower and the vines get in your way.

808303Studio

808303Studio is a digital musical instrument that emulates a Roland TR-808 drum machine and TB-303 bass synthesizer, created in conjunction with the Design Museum (London). It’s fully programmable and there is even short video tutorial with A Guy Called Gerald on how to use it.

Aelfie

Aelfie is a home furnishings brand with a focus on bold patterns and bright color. Their site reflects this with its use of block color, irregular grid, drawings, and type that feels a little off-kilter. It creates a hand-made feel that embodies the brand aesthetic rather well.

Media Election 2020

As we approach one of the most significant, not to mention acrimonious, elections in US history, Media Election 2020 uses AI to analyze the volume of media attention each candidate receives, in real time.

Curbed

Magazine website Curbed has now become a part of New York magazine, and had a redesign in the process. It follows a discernible grid, but distorts it just enough to create an edge. The highlighter color frames, and underlines on rollover, add movement and ‘cool’.

WFN

The WFN (Women’s Funding Network) is an alliance of funds and foundations working to promote gender equity and social change internationally. The site is clean, with strong typography and a sophisticated color palette.

The Fabric of America

Internet, telephone and TV service provider Xfinity is behind the Fabric of America project. It is a collection of voice recordings, the idea being that each voice, and each person’s story, is a thread that makes up the flag that we see on the screen.

Minimal Ceramics

Minimal Ceramics is a concept site, showcasing the work of London based potter, Tom Crew. The design of the site reflects the simplicity of the showcased work, using great photography and simple typography.

Normal Now

Normal Now is part of an awareness campaign to highlight to consumers the positives of electric cars. Taking a fun approach to engage consumers in a serious subject, it uses a fake retro tech style.

Superfood Gin 

Superfood Gin is a gin made using superfood botanicals, that claims to be fruity and fresh rather than crisp and peppery. The soft color palette, along with the soft lines and curves in the background illustrations, reflect this well.

Maison Louis Marie

Maison Louis Marie is a natural fragrance company. While this site does nothing really groundbreaking, it does it well. Botanical drawings on a white background, along with clean typography, help create a refined, luxury feel.

Think Economia

Think Economia is a platform taking a fresh look at economics and the future of economic growth. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting subject, but it is presented here in a playful and intriguing way.

Chernobyl

From Uprock, a Russian design studio that also offers courses in web design, Chernobyl is a thought provoking exposition of the Chernobyl disaster. The design aesthetic is muted, allowing the images their deserved impact, and the brief sections of text to be absorbed.

Declamatuus

Declamatuus is a lingerie company selling gift sets. What stands out here is what you don’t see — live models in underwear. Instead the outline of the body is created with animated particles.

Odisea

Odisea Expedition is a documentary series following two friends, a surfer and a snowboarder, as they explore remote parts of the world. The photographs and video are everything here, and all other elements are kept minimal to avoid detracting from them.

Riffyn

Riffyn Nexus is a ‘Process Data System’ for storing and analyzing scientific data for laboratories. It is a very corporate site and yet it is put together in such a way that doesn’t feel dull.

Maison du Net

This site for digital design agency Maison du Net takes a risk mixing corporate with cutesy, but it works. Offset frames and underlines create interest without overdoing it, and the very bright green is used sparingly enough to liven things up without being overwhelming.

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Case Study: 8 Design Tips That Increased My Ecommerce Conversions By 42% 

When it comes to increasing sales for your ecommerce store, there are 3 levers you can pull: You can increase your average order value; You can increase the amount of traffic to your site; You can increase your conversion rate.

While all of the above are important, the cheapest, most effective way to grow your sales is by improving your conversion rate.

For most online stores, low conversion rates are typically the result of a poor design or a bad user experience. Your visitors may not resonate with the look and feel of your website or they may have problems finding the information they need in order to make a purchase.

In this post, I will walk you through the exact steps I took to increase my desktop conversion rate by 46% and my mobile conversion rate by 39% with my last site redesign. I will also show you how you can apply these same design principles to optimize the conversion rate for your own online store.

Even if your ecommerce business is already performing well, this post will help you achieve even better results.

What Is Considered A Good Ecommerce Conversion Rate? 

Monitoring your conversion rate is crucial to building a profitable ecommerce business. And most analytics tools can help you measure this data out of the box.

Your conversion rate is calculated by simply dividing the number of desired actions by the number of website visitors in a given period. For example, if your website is getting 50 conversions for every 5,000 visitors, your conversion rate is 1%.

Depending on the specific type of online business you run, your conversions may include online sales, email signups, add to carts, or any other KPI you wish to measure. But in the case of an ecommerce store, your primary focus should be your purchase conversion rate.

On average, ecommerce stores have a purchase conversion rate of 1% – 2%. What’s more, experts say a good conversion rate is anywhere from 2% to 5%. This should be your baseline as you measure your online store’s success.

The Conversion Results of My Last Site Redesign

Before we dive into the nitty gritty details of how I improved my conversion rate, here are my overall results and exactly how I conducted my experiment.

First off, I run Bumblebee Linens, an ecommerce store that sells handkerchiefs online.

Because my site gets a ton of traffic from content pages that do not directly convert to sales, I measured my conversion rate based on my most predictable traffic sources.

As a result, all of my conversion data was taken from targeted PPC ad traffic sources like Google Shopping and Google Adwords. After all, my Google ads traffic is very steady and always converts at a consistent percentage.

Before I redesigned my site, the conversion rate for my ecommerce store hovered at around 3% which is above average. But the look and feel of the site was dated and desperately needed a refresh. Overall, the entire redesign took approximately 7 weeks and cost me roughly $1840.

Here are the conversion results from my updated design compared to the original:

  • Desktop conversion rates increased by 46%
  • Mobile conversion rates increased by 26% 
  • Tablet conversion rates increased by 32% 

The remainder of this post will highlight the specific elements of the redesign that contributed to these increases. (Note: I made all of my redesign changes live simultaneously so it’s difficult to determine which specific optimization contributed the most gains.)

8 Ecommerce Design Tips To Optimize Your Conversion Rate

If your ecommerce store is not performing as well as it should, there are many aspects of the user experience that could be negatively impacting sales. Even a seemingly innocuous design choice like your font size or the color of your buttons can have a significant impact on your overall conversion rate.

If you want to systematically improve the conversion rate for your ecommerce store, you should follow these 8 design steps.

1. Use A Consistent and Complementary Color Scheme 

Use color.adobe.com to choose complementary colors when redesigning your website.

A well chosen color scheme can instantly attract a customer’s attention, evoke emotion, and drive users to take action. After all, how a customer feels about your website can be the deciding factor between completing checkout or bouncing from your shop.

A well designed ecommerce store should utilize at least 3 complementary colors that are consistently applied across every page of your website.

If you don’t have a good eye for color, you can use a free tool like color.adobe.com which will help you mix and match different colors that go well together.

For my site redesign, I wanted a modern feel so I chose teal, hot pink, and yellow for my color palette.

I also assigned each color a specific purpose on my site:

  • Teal was applied to give the site a bright, overall color for a young and hip feel;
  • Yellow was used to draw attention to marketing elements like free shipping and special offers;
  • Hot Pink was used for all action buttons on the site.

Overall, every single page of your ecommerce store should have 1 main call to action (using a bright color like hot pink) that guides a customer closer towards checkout.

For example on my front page, the hot pink button “Shop Our Personalized Collection” pops out of the page and catches a user’s attention right away. We want visitors to shop our personalized collection because our personalized products are the highest margin products in our store.

2. Simplify Your Navigation 

Is your menu too complicated? Is your navbar taking up too much screen real estate?

A good rule of thumb for an ecommerce store is to minimize the number of clicks for a customer to add to cart. As a result, you should avoid nesting your product categories in more than 1 level of hierarchy.

If you have too many categories in your shop to display all at once, choose your best selling categories for your main menu and lump your less trafficked categories in a separate tab.

For my store, I decided to use a top-level, hover style drop-down menu as shown in the photo below.

Top-level navigation is one way to organize and display your product categories.

My old design utilized left hand style navigation which took up too much screen real estate. And freeing up the extra space allowed me to blow up my category and product images by 300%. With my new navigation menu, every visitor can add to cart in just three clicks: One click to find a product category; One click to view the product description; One click to add to cart.

Once you’ve designed your menu, pretend that you are a customer and try to shop on your site. Is the content easy to read? Do the important elements pop out? Can you find the information you need right away? Analyzing your site from a customer’s perspective will help you improve your users’ shopping experience.

3. Display Trust Factors On Every Page 

Free shipping, easy returns, and trust are crucial to driving conversions. 

Trust is the most important value you must establish with your customer.

Unless you’re Amazon or a big box store, people have likely never heard of your brand and you have to reassure them that it’s safe to buy from your store.

Due to Amazon’s influence in the ecommerce space, most customers look for 3 things when shopping at an online boutique for the first time:

  • Fast and free shipping;
  • Easy returns;
  • A way to reach customer support.

Displaying your phone number and email address is very important! Adding your store hours also helps to make your site look legit to new visitors. If you don’t have a recognizable brand, customers will want to know that they can reach a real human in case of problems or questions.

In the above image, you’ll notice that I placed my trust factors in the header, so they can be seen above the fold on every single page. We’ve also been featured on the Today show and a bunch of magazines. So I made sure to display this social proof on the bottom of every page.

Don’t hesitate to flaunt your achievements to reinforce trust. 

In addition, customer testimonials provide social proof and credibility to your website. As a result, it’s important to regularly reach out to happy customers for testimonials and endorsements. On our redesigned site, you’ll find the testimonials section right below our press mentions.

Testimonials lend social proof and credibility to your website.

Remember, to generate conversions as an unknown store or brand, you first have to gain your customers’ trust. Make it easy for them to contact you or get a full refund if anything goes wrong with their purchase. By showing a genuine concern for customer satisfaction, you’ll be able to build a solid reputation over time.

4. Emphasize Your Unique Value Proposition

Users spend an average of 5.59 seconds looking at your website’s written content. And in those 5.59 seconds, you must capture their interest or else they’ll bounce from your page. Right off the bat, you must convey to a user exactly what you sell and why they should buy from your store over a competitor.

What’s more, every single page on your site should communicate your unique value proposition. A unique value proposition is a concise statement that describes what makes your business special and outlines what your store does better than anyone else. The best way to show off your unique value proposition is to use an eye-catching image alongside compelling copy.

For example, here’s the first thing a user sees on my home page above the fold:

Right away, a user is shown a large image of one of our best selling personalized handkerchiefs. And right beside that image is a clear and concise value proposition, followed by a call to action to shop in our store.

Displaying your value proposition should not be limited to your home page. We also include our unique value proposition on every category page as well. Overall, you should include your value proposition on every landing page on your website.

5. Optimize The Visual Hierarchy Of Your Product Pages 

Every page on your site should have a single objective. And for your product pages, your goal is to get a customer to add to cart.

When designing a product page, you must apply a logical visual hierarchy to your design. A visual hierarchy is the order in which a user processes information on a page and in the case of a product page, there must be a clear path to your add to cart button with as few distractions as possible.

Here’s a screenshot of my old product page:

As you can see, my old product page is overwhelming. All of the design elements try to grab your attention at the same time and there are many different calls to action that blend together. To improve my product descriptions, I freshened up the color scheme and enlarged my product image by 266%. I also changed the placement of the buttons in a more logical flow.

Here’s what the redesigned product page looks like today:

By adjusting the size, color, contrast, and alignment of the page elements, I now force the customer to process my product information in a set path that leads directly to my primary call to action. For example, the hot pink color draws attention to the “Add to Cart” button over the “Reviews” button. Also, by applying a blue text color and teal background, I reassure customers that shopping with us is safe and risk free.

Overall, rearranging the design elements this way nearly doubled my add to cart percentage.

6. Simplify Your Checkout Process 

With our old site design, we would regularly receive feedback from confused customers who weren’t sure if they needed an account to purchase our products.

Here’s what our old checkout page looked like:

As you can see, there are too many choices. After all, a customer doesn’t need 3 ways to checkout and the choices are a little overwhelming.

Here’s what the checkout page looks like now:

Instead of offering 3 separate options for checkout, I consolidated them all into one and added a separate Paypal option (more on this later). First off, less than 6% of customers create an account so there was no reason to offer account creation as a separate option. Furthermore, displaying a login form was causing more headaches than it was worth because the majority of customers don’t even have an account. As a result, I decided to hide the form altogether by default.

Overall, when you are designing your checkout process, keep these optimization principles in mind.

Principle #1: Remove all unnecessary elements from the page. Don’t make the customer think and hide all elements that are not frequently used.

Principle #2: Display trust logos to assure customers of a secure checkout. In the image above, you’ll find trust logos on the right-hand side of the checkout page.

7. Optimize The Checkout Process For Mobile Users

4 out of 10 mobile users abandon their carts if they have a hard time entering their personal information. People don’t like entering their contact and credit card information using a tiny keyboard. What’s more, small buttons and too many form fields drive away mobile users. 79% of smartphone users shop online with their mobile devices, which is why you should optimize for mobile.

These days, a responsive design is par for the course but you can still screw things up if you are not careful. Here’s what my checkout process looks like on a desktop:

And here’s how the checkout page looks on a mobile device:

On mobile, the user’s cart contents are collapsed so it doesn’t occupy the entire screen. Overall, here were the mobile optimizations I made to checkout:

Optimization #1: Keep Your Checkout Form Short And Sweet

A mobile user should be able to tap buttons on your checkout page without accidentally hitting another option. Also, the buttons should be large enough to tap on a mobile device.

Given the smaller screen size of a mobile phone, keep your checkout form short and sweet with no extraneous options. Also, make sure you turn off autocorrect for your form fields. Otherwise, your phone’s autocorrect feature may frustrate users when they try to enter their address. In fact, we once had a customer get so frustrated trying to type in their city on their iPhone that they called us up and complained in frustration.

To fix this, you simply need to add the following tag to all of your text input fields.

<input type="text" name="name" autocorrect="off">

And to reduce frustration, you should also turn off auto-capitalization and auto-complete by adding auto-capitalization=”off” and auto-complete=”off” to all of your forms as well:

<input type="text" name="name" autocorrect="off" auto-capitalization="off" auto-complete="off">

In addition, for phone number entry, you should always display a numeric keypad as opposed to a regular keyboard:

Optimization #2: Automatically Import Your Customer Data If Possible

The less information mobile users have to enter in, the better. Payment options like Paypal Express and Amazon Payments can simplify the checkout process. These third-party payment processors automatically fill out a customer’s billing and shipping information which reduces typing and increases conversion rates.

To offer a more convenient checkout, I implemented PayPal One Touch, which alone increased my mobile conversion rates by 31%.

Here’s a quick tip when implementing Paypal: Make sure you display the Paypal button early in the checkout process before a user has entered in their information. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of importing their information! In the first step of my checkout process, I explain each payment option in depth.

These simple changes made a huge difference in my conversion rate. And the number of PayPal users on my site nearly doubled from 13% to 23%!

8. Add A Sense Of Urgency

Most customers like to window shop and the best way to get a visitor to take action is to create a sense of urgency.

Whenever I run a sale, a big yellow countdown timer is displayed on every page of the website.

Note: It’s important to note that we only utilize this timer when there is actually a sale going on. Otherwise, you risk desensitizing your customers or losing trust.

In addition, I also display a countdown timer on the checkout page to create a sense of urgency to complete the payment process:

These extra design elements force a customer to take action sooner rather than later.

Final thoughts

Optimizing your conversion rate is an ongoing process. And testing your results is the only way to track your improvement.

Never go with your gut and always listen to the data. After all, sometimes an ugly site can out-convert a beautiful one.

Regardless, the design tips I demonstrated above will give you a solid foundation to start with. From there, you can further improve your website and optimize your conversion rate through repeated testing and tweaks. Good luck!

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