Friday Favourite Website #4 - Master Grinding

09 Dec 2011
Written by MJ Meyer

What's Friday Favourite?

We always receive questions about good web design, and what it looks like. So we decided to start a new series of posts, our Friday Favourites! Showcasing what we believe is the best web design around the world...

About Master Grinding

"We're dedicated to our local customers here in New Jersey and the Greater New York area. Hundreds of restaurants, pizza shops, cafeterias, delis, supermarkets, meat cutters and plenty of other food service professionals know they can always depend on Master Grinding. Plus, we continue to have individuals stop by the shop to get their personal knives sharpened or check out our great cutlery and restaurant supplies."

View Master Grinding's Website

What We Love About Their Website

I've always had a soft spot for black in Web Design. Especially websites that showcase a product. The black with the crisp image of the knife just makes it pop. Another thing to look out for is their subtle use of gradients. It's really done well and gives the website a very modern feel.

Most importantly though, when opening the site for the first time, there's no guess work as to who thee are or what they do. I can tell what they're about within the first 5 seconds. Good for keeping your bounce rates low and getting your visitors to stay longer!

My only critique

On the inner pages they have some code that's loading in from an external source. Some kind of SEO tracking software. This takes more than a minute, if not longer, to load causing their tabs to break. Other than that I can't really find anything drastically wrong...

What do you think? Like their website? Hate it? Tell is about it in the comments below...

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9 Steps To A Better Business Website

08 Dec 2011
Written by MJ Meyer
Better Business Website

Business owners get a website to help grow their business, and more often than not it doesn't succeed! Why? Because business owners (and most web designers) don't understand the fundamentals of designing a website. So read these ten steps to a better business website and tell us where your website went wrong...

1. What Is The Purpose?

Before you even think of hiring a web design company, you need to determine what is the purpose of your website. Be specific! Just to grow your business is not a purpose.

Educating your current customers, gaining new customers (leads) via a contact form or email signup form, selling your products online, or generating more awareness (branding) about your company. Those are all purposes.

If you don't have a purpose (goal), you won't know if your website is succeeding in growing your business. You need something you can measure and a purpose is your yardstick. Make sure you have one.

2. Who Is Your Audience?

You need to consider who your target audience is. What are they looking for and what do they expect when visiting your website.

By determining this you will be able to make vital decisions on what features need to be included on your website, what colours you need to use, what font size and how your navigation should be structured.

Questions you can ask yourself are:

  • How old are my customers?
  • What gender are they?
  • What are they looking for?
  • How tech-savvy are they?
  • What devices will they use to visit the website?

3. Simplicity Is Key

I'm sure this is probably one of the most preached terms in business. Keep it simple! Many business owners make the mistake of creating endless pages about their company that just never gets read. Unless your visitors expect endless pages of information and your research proves this, just include the basics.

If you determined the purpose of your website, as in step 1, this will be an easy process to follow and help you eliminate any clutter. Don't add content and features just because your competitors are doing it. Stick to your purpose and make sure every action you take on your website is aligned with it.

4. Have A Contact Form

Yes a contact form. Not just an "email me" link and your contact numbers. People often don't realize the importance of this, and how your regular old contact page actually makes your life a lot more difficult.

There are a few problems with an "email me" link. By clicking the link it launches your default email client. Handy yes, but what if you're on a public computer or a friend's computer? Your email address won't be configured with that computer which just creates frustration. Also, what if your customer prefers using an online email client like hotmail, gmail, or yahoo? More frustration.

An "email me" link also exposes your email address, so any spam bot can come capture your email address and spam away. But the most critical flaw with an "email me" link is you can't easily capture necessary details from the customer.

A contact form makes sure you capture the right details the first time, and increases your conversion rate! Don't be caught without one!

5. Don't Settle For Less

It's a common fact, business owners are cheap! But you wouldn't be in business if you weren't. Every good business owner knows that a successful business requires its revenues to outweigh its expenditures.

There are however some exceptions and building a website for your business is one of those. It's very important not to settle for the cheapest, quickest or easiest website. After all, how many deals would your best salesman close if you dressed him in a cheap, dirty suit that portrays the opposite of what the customer expects from your company.

Dress your website for success. Make sure it's aligned with your purpose and make sure it's done by professionals!

6. Take Your Time

 A website isn't like your company flier. It takes time, research and a whole lot of effort. Avoid using terms like "It shouldn't take long" and "It should be easy and quick". Remember that a website is an investment. Invest your time, patience and money in something you'll be happy with.

7. Invest In Search Engine Optimization

This step is optional, but depending on your purpose is absolutely critical to making a success online. If you're looking to gain new customers through the internet, then you can't skip this step.

Any one looking for a service on the internet uses a search engine, like Google. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps increase your visibility in the search engines for certain predetermined keywords.

Be careful though. There are a lot of people that try to sell you SEO that just doesn't work. (We'll save this topic for another blog post). If you need help feel free to ask us about this.

8. Keep Things Consistent

People like consistency. It prevents confusion. Try to keep your website's colours, navigation, layout and marketing message consistent. Just because you like the look of another website doesn't mean it's going to fit in with your purpose (step 1)!

9. Analyze Your Site

Have a good analytics program installed on your site. A recommended analytics program would be Google Analytics. It's quick and easy to setup and it's free.

By using an analytics program you'll be able to analyze where your visitors come from, what they're interested in, and determine any roadblocks that prevent conversion on your website. This also helps you measure whether you are achieving the purpose you set out for your website.

In Conclusion

This is not a be all and end all list of steps to follow, but it definitely lists some of the most important things to think about. If you follow them you'll be sure to make a success of your website.

Tell us what you think? What steps would you add? What's your experience with your website?

 

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Friday Favourite Website #3 - Lanikai Properties

02 Dec 2011
Written by MJ Meyer

What's Friday Favourite?

We always receive questions about good web design, and what it looks like. So we decided to start a new series of posts, our Friday Favourites! Showcasing what we believe is the best web design around the world...

About Lanikai Properties

A full-service real estate firm located in Oahu, Hawaii, Lanikai Properties offers experience and expertise to buyers and sellers of Hawaiian homes, condos, and other residential properties and is owned by professional Realtor®, Allison Green.

View Lanikai Properties Website

What We Love About Their Website

You should know by know we're suckers for detail and boy is there some stunning detail in this website. It's beautiful, clear and to the point. From opening the website you can clearly see they're a real estate company and one in a stunning location–Hawaii!

If the colours didn't give it away then I really don't know. It just resonates Hawaii with the blue, green and orange colour scheme. The menus that are all askew gives you a feeling of easy going and freedom. You know the "kick of your shoes and just relax" feeling.

Just one teeny tiny little thing... I just don't like how their newsletter subscription is tucked away right at the bottom corner of the website! I barely saw it. Otherwise I love their website and feel its accomplished the goal. Making me want to live there! So who's coming with?

What do you think? Like it? Hate it? What would you improve? Tell is about it in the comments below...

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Friday Favourite Website #2 - Caffe Uno

25 Nov 2011
Written by MJ Meyer

What's Friday Favourite?

We always receive questions about good web design, and what it looks like. So we decided to start a new series of posts, our Friday Favourites! Showcasing what we believe is the best in web design around the world...

About Caffe Uno

It's all in the name really. But they say it best: "Caffè Uno is the perfect place to enjoy great food & drink throughout the day." They have a few Cafe's around the UK.

View Caffe Uno's Website

What We Love About Their Website

Wow. I was really blown away when I saw this design. The subtle use of textures, especially the grey brick texture truly makes it stand out, and yet it still has a very clean look and feel. Even though there are quite a lot of textures used, they all play together well.

Notice the beautiful images used on the homepage, well everywhere for that matter. I can't stress this enough, beautiful images just make a design extraordinary! If you're looking to have a website designed, make sure you either hire a very good photographer, or get quality images from a source like istockphoto.com.

On a final note, the functionality on this website is absolutely awesome. Have a look at their menu page. The layout of all the items, as well as the different courses is really well thought out, easy to read, and just a pleasant experience.

There are so many other things I love about this site, but I'll leave them for you to spot!

Tell us what you love about this website, or maybe even don't like in the comments below...

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Friday Favourite #1 - Pomodoro's Pizza

18 Nov 2011
Written by MJ Meyer
Best Web Design around the world - Pomodoro's Pizza

What's Friday Favourite?

We always receive questions about good web design, and what it looks like. So we decided to start a new series of posts, our Friday Favourites! Showcasing what we believe is the best in web design around the world...

About Pomodoro's Pizza

They're a pizzeria located in Florid USA–Sunny Isles Beach to be specific.

They also serve subs, pasta's, salads and more, a whole lot more...

View their website

What We Love About Their Website

It's crisp and clean. Although their website is not content heavy, they do a good job at organizing everything in such a way that it's easy to read and find what you're looking for.

When you click on contact us, the contact form slides down from the top of the website, which is always a cool jQuery effect.

Their image quality is pretty good and their website does a very good job at making me hungry. I suppose that's probably because it's lunch time and a Friday afternoon!

What do you think? Good design? Easy to read? Does the website make you hungry?

Tell us in the comments below!

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