2020 is going to be an exciting year for web design. With technology and devices evolving, the world of web is opening up to some exciting new design concepts to attract the user and improve their online experience.
If you are looking for some design inspiration or catching up on some of the up and coming trends. I've put together a list that has caught my eye already this year.
1. A collaboration of photos and illustrations
We've already begun seeing illustrations mixed with photos to add a 3D perspective and accentuate movement in images. This effect is curated to attract and sustain the viewer's attention for longer while their mind breaks down what they see in the image. We hope to see more of this in 2020 and are excited to see how creative designers will go with this.
2. Creating 3D effects with layering & shadows
Layering & shadows can make or break a design; when done right like the images here by JPS Design, it can create a fantastic 3D effect, bringing the design to life. We are also starting to see these 3D effects with some slight animation to bring the designs to life.
3. Precisely placed imperfections
This year we predict that designers will be pushing the boundaries of creativity more so than ever before. For quirky themed websites, brilliantly planned deliberate errors can create a quirky theme. Combined with some fun animation, this effect will keep the viewer want to explore more into your web pages.
4. Single line icons & Illustrations
We saw abstract line icons come in to effect last year, with the likes of Facebook and many others jumping on board. These one-line icons take this trend to another level by combining simplicity with creativity together to form an elegant impression.
5. Gold patterns & accents
With the dark mode becoming increasingly popular, we are noticing striking gold/ metallic tones starting to appear in many designs. The colour gold conveys luxury and sophistication to offer an impressive impact. These also work amazingly well on minimalist designs and are perfect for contrasting on dark themes.
I'm sure there are some more exciting things to come with designers & developers always looking to push the boundaries of what's possible.
Have you noticed any web design trends this year that you like?
Let me know in the comments.
eCommerce and the end of cash
eCommerce and the end of cash!
Well, whether tech scares you or not, we are moving closer and closer to a cashless society. Bank accounts and contactless cards have allowed us to pay for items in shops without handing over any cash and the same is true online - eCommerce websites function without the need for anything physical.
In a world where physical cash is fast losing relevance - don't worry - this is a competitive edge.
You may be panicking: scared of an ever-changing world where the physical becomes the virtual, but you'd be mistaken to throw eCommerce aside as just another beast of technology. Once you learn how to command that technology you'll no longer fear change; but instead, you'll openly accept it as you notice how much it can benefit you!
In the last few decades, the online world has changed enormously! Global business has moved onto the internet and today, the biggest companies in the world are built entirely on technology. Facebook, Google, and Amazon are all online, and they simply could not function with cash alone.
eCommerce websites are an incredible tool for consumers and businesses alike. With sites like Amazon offering one-day delivery for absolutely everything you need, we are closer than ever to living in a world where almost all transactions take place online.
But what does this mean for businesses?
Well, it means that you need to be just as ready to accept card and bank payments on your site as you are to make them in the real world. Whether you offer services or products, you need to be able to get paid for it.
What do you need to take payments online?
Firstly, taking payments online requires a number of tools.
If you sell products then you will need cart functionality attached to your site so that products can be added to a basket and bought all at once.
You will also need to have online payment gateway functionality added - this will mean having a secure site with the right software added. It is worth looking into this as there is a range of options available - some are more suitable for specific industries, and almost all payment gateways offer their own benefits and price plans.
You will also need a merchant account. Whether you are taking payments by card in person or online, a merchant account will facilitate it. Most merchant accounts will work with payment gateways - mentioned above - to ensure that your customers have a streamlined, secure and easy payment process, from start to finish.
Plugins or bespoke functionality?
Depending on the website builder or CMS you use, there will be a range of options when it comes to setting up online, cashless payments for an eCommerce website.
On common platforms like WordPress, for example, there is a range of plugins available that can be easily and securely set up so that the entire online shopping process can be integrated. Other CMSs may require a bespoke approach and will need the work of web designers and developers. Neither approach is wrong, but the one you choose will depend on the system you have in place.
You need to get online.
Whether you like technology or not, if you want your business to thrive, you have no choice in the matter. A business with an online presence is a happy one.
Thriving businesses need to make use of the online world, and they need to be able to operate without cash. Think about how often you actually carry cash nowadays.
If you don't expect to pay with physical money, then why would your customers?
Top 10 Things To Look For When Purchasing Website Hosting
So, you’ve decided to take the step of building a website. It could be for a number of reasons. A new business venture, a personal blog, or an online resume are among the more popular choices, but regardless of your reason, you will eventually come to one of the most important decisions you have to make: purchasing website hosting.
Making sure you buy the correct website hosting for your needs is a crucial part of the process, and will make other factors easier to deal with down the line.
1. Identify What Your Hosting Needs Are
This is the first step you should be taking. You have to understand what your hosting requirements are before you make any kind of decision.
Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:
What kind of website are you building? What platform are you using? Do you have a rough idea of the level of traffic you’re going to be getting? Are you looking to build and then scale within the next year?
Write the answer to these questions down and you’ll have a clearer picture moving forward of which website hosting is right for you.
2. Are You Using WordPress?
WordPress websites now account for 30% of all websites in existence, so to say it’s a popular choice would be a large understatement.
Most start-up company tips that involve information about building a website will touch on WordPress, and with good reason.
When it comes to hosting though, you should look at what WordPress-specific services they offer if you’re choosing to go down the WordPress route. Many offer “one-click” setup these days. This is a great option for those who aren’t as tech-savvy and want to get their site up and running as quickly as possible.
3. Look For Reliability And Server Up-time
Before choosing a website hosting provider you have to make sure that the provider has a great record when it comes to reliability and server uptime.
You want your website to spend as little amount of time offline as possible - as a rule of thumb, anything below 99% is not considered reliable - so working with a hosting company which offers a stable network connection and uses high-quality hardware is crucial.
Our WordPress server auto-scaling service https://designboxhosting.co.uk/wordpress-hosting-platform/ is load-balanced, ensuring your hosting reacts to your user demand and doesn't experience sudden downtime due to unexpected traffic.
4. Initial Cost And Renewal Cost
Many website hosting companies will try to draw you in with very attractive signup costs, but what some of them will do is increase the renewal costs.
It is pretty standard for a hosting company to offer a discounted price when you sign up, but look out for companies who increase the cost of renewal by a sizeable amount.
You’ll have to make a judgement call when it comes to the cost of renewing, and remember to take other factors into account when weighing up this decision. Don’t go for the cheap option if the company providing the service isn’t up to scratch in other ways.
5. Upgrade Options
When you first get started you’ll find that shared web hosting will suffice; unless you’re anticipating high levels of traffic from the get-go.
For most new sites, shared hosting is the sensible option, allowing you to grow your site while paying web hosting costs that won’t break the bank.
You’ll want to check the upgrading options of your chosen web hosting company though to make sure that you can upgrade easily if and when your site starts to grow to the extent that a dedicated server may be required.
6. Number Of Websites
An important factor to consider if you plan on running more than one website on your hosting plan.
You may initially see web hosting available at a low introductory price, but be sure to check the number of websites you’re permitted to have.
Many of the lowest-cost options only allow for one site, and this is fine if you’re only planning on creating a single website, but if you think that there’s even a small chance you may decide to increase that number then you’d be better going for an option that provides some flexibility. Usually, the next pricing tier will offer this option.
7. Customer Service
A non-technical factor in your decision, and for that reason, it’s often ignored.
You’ll want to make sure that if you run into problems you’ve got access to a good level of customer service.
Do they offer email support? Or do they provide a live chat feature? How long do they take to respond? Are they available 24/7? Or only during business hours?
8. Migration Services
In the near future, you may find yourself needing to make significant changes to your website, whether that's in terms of the structure, the content or the underlying coding itself.
A poorly-handled site migration can result in a costly drop in search engine traffic which can take a long time to resolve, so when looking for a website hosting provider, you want to make sure that they can handle a full site migration in a planned and professional manner.
We offer free migration services for both websites and emails.
9. E-Commerce Compatibility
Depending on the type of business or site you’re looking to create, e-commerce website options will be an important factor in your decision.
Look for e-commerce specific factors, such as SSL certificates, dedicated IPs and data centre location. It may also be worth checking that your hosting is PCI-DSS compliant – this is a necessary certification to have if you handle customer credit or debit card information.
E-commerce web design is a huge factor for any website owner who has plans to provide their visitors with any kind of online store.
10. Site Backups
A website crash is every website owner's worst nightmare.
Website backups allow you to restore your website to a point where it was working perfectly, so it’s the safety net that all website owners require.
Make sure to check that your web hosting company backs up their sites regularly, and also look for other options such as assistance in restoring your site, especially if you’re not all that tech-savvy.
At Design Box Media, we can help you address all of the above 10 points with our specialist WordPress hosting service. To find out more about how we can help you with our hosting, please get in touch with us today.
How Much Does A Website Cost in the UK?
How Much Does A Website Really Cost?
That is the defining question we all like to ask! Well, when it comes to creating a website, the term "you get what you pay for" really is put into place. If you're hoping for a prize-winning website that's dynamic and eye-catching; you're unlikely to recreate similar effects using free website templates, but - web design costs do vary tremendously!
Comparison Of Different Website Designs And Their Costs
In many ways you could compare website designs to cars.
The top-of-the-range, all-singing, all-dancing sites are like exclusive sports cars. They're fast, reliable, feature many gadgets and most of all, engage visitors. Upmarket sites purr along like BMWs or Mercedes; they look professional and have high success and conversion rates. Everyday websites might be looked on as the runaround cars that chug along and provide a basic design and minimum details, these need a lot of work and extra features if success is to be achieved. Finally, free template designs and website hosting plans are similar to those cheap, second-hand cars, being unreliable and unlikely to be found by search engines.
So, what does this car metaphor mean for the costs of different website designs? Let's take a look!
You could compare DIY websites to second-hand cars; these sites are often built using standard templates offered by web-building platforms and can be very similar to each other. Platforms like Wix and Weebly are popular for DIY site creation. Owners will only need to pay for domain hosting, which could cost anything from zero up to around £1000. It is possible to build your own eye-catching website using web-building platforms; however these sites take a lot of time, effort and creativity. DIY sites also have a large amount of limitations. If you’re on a very tight budget of under £1,000 then consider using a DIY site.
Typically, small business websites could be compared to your run of the mill, runaround vehicle. These sites usually cost between £1,000 and £5,000 to build; although developer costs do vary. They generally feature a fair amount of business information; such as employee bios and downloadable product data. These will usually have integration with social media sites, Google Maps and Google Analytics. Hiring a website developer to build these sorts of sites helps to create a visual brand image and add a professional touch.
E-commerce websites and custom bespoke websites could be a typical example of the luxury, professional style epitomised by BMWs or Mercedes. The most popular e-commerce sites need to be slick and professional in order to attract customers and integrate the entire order management system. These sites also provide a higher level of functionality and would cost between £3,000 to £40,000 (the most we’ve done) to design and build.
You could consider the bespoke websites created by larger companies as upmarket sports cars in the world of website design. These sites are custom created; tailored to meet the needs of individual corporations. These sites don’t feature any of the standard website templates that are common to smaller sites and tend to require advanced functionality. Some of these sites are database driven and update content on an automated basis as a result of customer interactions. Websites of this nature can cost from around £10,000 to £50,000 + to produce.
What are the differences in hiring a digital agency or a freelancer?
Now that the whole car metaphor is out of the way, let's consider some another aspect which may affect the cost of a website: hiring a digital agency or a freelancer. We can start by throwing out some thoughts on the matter, before we get to that pesky price:
- Will have a whole team working for their clients. Agencies will have a team of people focused solely on the design of your website who are fully skilled in this single component.
- Will cover marketing and SEO to an extremely high standard. Even if you have an exceptional site, it will be worthless if people are unable to find your site on search engines. If wanted, an agency will continue working with you and set up a marketing strategy to ensure success for your business.
- Will once again have a team of people who will be ready for any questions and queries; normally having an individual dedicated to your website.
- Will take on all the components on an individual basis. A freelancer may still be skilled in a few fields, although it is rare to find a freelancer who is fluent in all areas.
- May have many clients and be stretched between communicating to them all on their own; this can effect the communication quality and quantity.
The cost comparison between freelancers and Agencies
If you felt like the last part was too harsh; well, freelancers do tend to be cheaper than digital agencies in terms of hourly or daily rates but this isn't always reflected in the end cost. It all varies on whether you have a time limit, a tight budget, a larger budget, etc!
- A freelancer will on average charge around £25 - £50 per hour or £200 - £300 per day.
- A digital agency will on average charge around £50 - £200 per hour or £300 - £1000 per day.
When looking at the prices above it's clear to see a freelancer is cheaper than an agency on paper, but, in the long run they may be more expensive! A freelancer is only one person creating a site; meaning the length of time taken will be significantly increased compared to that of a team of people. An agency will normally have more experience due to a larger client base and a wider range of websites. This enables an agency to have more skills to create your desired site, especially if you require bespoke components.
OUTSOURCING FOR YOUR SITE?
Alright, i know what you're thinking: outsource?
Lets be honest and go on the record to say that there are many problems when outsourcing from cheaper countries for your website:
- Unable to meet with face to face.
- Time inconsistencies and delays.
- Language barrier may be a problem when communicating your desired requests.
- Harder to source a trustworthy company to share your data with.
- Although cheaper there can be hidden costs you are unaware of until completion due to terms and conditions not being stated.
Overall; if you're looking for a site with all components taken into account, a digital agency would be the better choice. If price is an issue remember an hourly/daily rate isn't always as clear as it seems.
GDPR Website Checklist - See If Your Website Is GDPR Compliant.
The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is a new set of rules which will replace the current UK Data Protection Act of 1998. The purpose of GDPR is to give people greater autonomy over how their data is used by companies, and this means hefty penalties could be levied at companies who fail to comply with the new rules. Every aspect of your business, from web maintenance to marketing strategy, is likely to be affected by GDPR – and it’s time to act now. Here we will go through GDPR for websites.
GDPR comes into legislation on May 25th 2018. Achieving GDPR compliance may seem like a struggle, but with this handy checklist you should be able to get your data up to scratch. While this list is far from exhaustive, it should give you a brief outline of the processes your business should be implementing to remain compliant in the following categories:
• Use a layered privacy notice, with the most important information upfront, and more detailed policy underneath.
• Explain why the data of an individual is needed when collecting it.
• Inform individuals of what we will do with their data.
• Offer the right to refuse marketing.
• Collect the minimum data necessary.
• Delete records after use.
Asking for consent:
• Ask customers/prospects to opt-in to marketing.
• Use plain, easy-to-understand language.
• Let individuals know they can withdraw their consent.
• Inform individuals withdrawal of consent won’t be to their detriment.
• Don’t make consent a pre-condition of service.
• Keep a record of when and how consent was obtained.
• Don’t use “pre-ticked” boxes as standard in web design.
• Keep consent separate from terms & conditions.
Provisions of information – make individuals aware of the following:
• The contact details and identity of your organisation.
• Details of your assigned data protection officer.
• The details of any third parties their details may be passed onto.
• Details of countries outside the EU in which their data may be processed.
• How long individuals’ data will be stored, and why.
• If statutory or contract law requires the data of an individual.
• The right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office if the individual feels their data has been misused.
• The right of the individual to request the deletion of their data.
• The reasons for processing data.
Third -party data – if purchasing data, you must:
• Know how the list has been compiled.
• Know whether consent has been obtained/updated.
• Request that data has been screened against the Mailing Preference Service/Telephone Preference Service.
• Ensure your organisation was named during the data collection process.
• Explain how you profile an individual for marketing purposes if they request such information.
• Give everyone the option to opt out of profiling.
While implementing these points into your current data collection processes may seem a little bit complicated, don’t worry – you’re not alone. GDPR is set to affect thousands of businesses throughout the entire world, and if you feel like your team could use some help in ensuring compliance by May 25th, the good news is that Design Box is currently offering a service which updates seven key website areas to ensure compliance for just £99.
What does GDPR mean for your website?
If you own a business website, it's essential that you're up to date with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This represents four years of EU-wide effort to bring the Data Protection Act up to date in an increasingly digital world.
What does GDPR mean? GDPR gives people a far greater degree of control over the way that they allow organisations to save and make use of their data. Crucially, it also brings in hefty fines for any business that doesn't stick to the rules or which has a data breach. It applies all across the EU - so Brexit isn't a 'get out of jail' card!
Why has GDPR been brought into law?
Basically, the pace of change online means that organisations have been able to use - and sometimes abuse - individual data in ways never dreamed of when the original data protection acts were created across the EU. Tech giants and the Cambridge Analytica Scandal are just two notable reference points! GDPR also acts to standardise regulation in the field across the EU as a whole for consistency of approach. At the same time, the new act gives organisations far greater clarity over how they need to behave.
When does GDPR come into effect?
The GDPR is enforced across all EU member states as of 25th May this year. It's a regulation too - which means that it applies in the UK automatically.
What happens if my business doesn't comply with GDPR?
Hefty fines can be levied - both if you are found not to be compliant or if your business experiences a data breach. Fines of up to 20 Million Pounds or 4% of a business's annual turnover have been specified.
Who does GDPR apply to?
GDPR Applies to all organisations that control or process data. Data controllers define how data is gathered and processed and how processors carry it out. So the act applies to all businesses - profit or non-profit, government organisations and charities who deal with any kind of personal data. Data controllers who outsource work to processors retain responsibility for the compliance of their customer data.
What does data processing look like within GDPR?
The key driver is that controllers must guarantee that all personal data that they hold is being processed transparently, lawfully and for a clear and defined purpose. Crucially, once that purpose has been achieved, the data should be removed and deleted.
The question of consent
One highly visible and vital aspect of the new regulation is the issue of consent. Pre-ticked consent boxes simply won't suffice anymore. Data usage consent must now be affirmative and active by the customer. If you have started to receive emails from subscriber lists that you follow asking you whether you want to continue to receive communications, this is an example of GDPR being implemented. The controller must then keep a full record of when consent was obtained from an individual. The individual can then withdraw this consent at any point, and it must be fulfilled.
What is personal data now?
The definition of personal data has greatly expanded and it can even include IP addresses. It can also include cultural, mental health and economic information.
The right to be forgotten
GDPR also introduces the right to be forgotten, which allows individuals to request that their personal data be wholly and completely deleted from corporate records. Remember, if the regulation is now followed or a data breach occurs, heavy fines can follow.
Get the help that you need
If you aren't yet up to speed with the changes needed on your business website before the new regulation goes live in May, we are offering a website GDPR 7-point update for just £99. Get in touch if you want to know more.
In our modern day and age, opportunities abound, and lots of them come from the internet. Yes, there are those who resent the moral decline of our teenagers and the evils of technology, but for most people, having access to the online world entails only good things: improved relationships with long distance friends and family, an easier and more streamlined day-to-day existence, and lots of chances for the entrepreneurial to make their mark on the world, including starting an eCommerce store.
At Design Box Media, we’re big fans of it, as you might imagine from our line of work. We see what people can achieve with an internet connection and eCommerce websites are something of a speciality for us. Here to help those who need it, we’ve picked up some great tips and tricks along the way, so before you consider breaking into the business yourself, here are a few hard-earned insights you might find helpful when starting an eCommerce store...
#1: The customer is always right
Good customer service is a must for any successful business, and eCommerce enterprises will find they’re no exception to this rule – in fact, they’re probably even more bound by it than most. The thing is that most people want just a few things from you, but if you fail to deliver on these, you’re highly likely to disappoint, and in doing so, to find yourself being criticised online. The best way to avoid this is simple: provide a strong client experience from the word go. This means ensuring an easy checkout, quick posting, and a cost-effective but competent couriering service too. On the odd occasion that you do get it wrong, don’t quibble - apologise and try to make amends instead.
#2: Be explicit
Rule number two is another that should be obvious but sometimes isn’t. You need to be explicit with regards to your website content. Whereas a product bought in store is available for inspection, buying remotely is a whole other ballgame. People want to know exactly what they’re purchasing before they take the plunge. Make absolutely certain that any important information is included in your listing. You’re more likely to make a sale and less likely to find an item winging its way back to you.
#3: Utilise every available opportunity
Last but not least, make sure you use the opportunities that are open to you when starting an eCommerce store. The internet provides a fantastic platform for raising your brand profile, but only if you take advantage of it. Market yourself, make the most of the free advertising offered by social media platforms, and be sure to brush up on invaluable skills like search engine optimisation and social media strategy.
To learn how Design Box Media could help you with your eCommerce store, get in touch with our team today.
Google to mark HTTP insecure - From July 2018, Google is rolling out huge changes to the way it considers sites without SSL certificates. Sites with HTTP instead of HTTPS will be labelled as “insecure”. This will have huge implications for these site owners – particularly those operating retail or eCommerce websites.
Of course, this is nothing new – over the past couple of years, the search engine giant has been pushing hard for sites to adopt encrypted communication protocols. If your site is yet to offer an SSL certificate, here’s what you need to know:
1) Your search engine ranking could suffer
Sites which use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) currently enjoy a boost in search rankings as per Google’s algorithm. When these sites are visited in Chrome, a green padlock icon is noticeable in the address bar. This highlights the fact that the site is safe to browse, and safe to enter personal details into. As you’ll no doubt be aware, search engine optimisation is important and now security is an increased part of it.
2) Consumer confidence in your site could drop
Sites simply without SSL don’t display the green padlock at present. As of July 2018 these pages will be marked as “not secure” within Chrome. This will ultimately result in a drop in overall consumer confidence, causing your prospects to convert elsewhere, after all, who would feel comfortable entering their credit card details on an insecure site? Don’t risk visitors abandoning your site at the first click - get secure today.
3) You may need to prepare straight away
Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS can be a reasonably large task. This depends on the scope of your project and the size of your site. If you’re still operating without an SSL certificate, perhaps it’s time to begin liaising with your eCommerce web design team to begin making the required changes – the sooner the better.
Ultimately, there’s no longer an excuse for sites to remain unencrypted. For more information on how to get your site ready for Google to mark HTTP insecure in July 2018, why not contact us at Designbox Media to discuss how to implement the changes required to retain or improve your current SEO rankings?
Planning The Launch Of Your Website?
For launching a new website when it comes to WordPress websites, at Design Box Media, we follow a meticulous process. Find out more about our top 40 checklist that we use to ensure everything goes well below…
- 1. Determine your goals. What are the objectives the website is aiming to achieve?
- 2. What offer are you going to include with the launch?
- 3. No doubt, you expect the launch to be big. It is a good idea to contact your merchant account provider to warn them that you will be expecting a large number of sales.
- 4. Are you going to offer a payment plan? This is something that needs to be considered for higher priced services or products.
- 5. Make it interesting and fun.
- 6. Set a date and time for your launch.
7. Clear your schedule in the lead up to the launch and create margin.
Pre-launch Website Checklist
8. Now, you’re into the pre-launch section, which involves creating the campaign. All blog posts and emails should be mapped out.
- 9. Craft a genesis story that evokes emotion.
- 10. Create a sense of identity and belonging to your service and product.
- 11. Ask your target consumer base if there is something they are interested in before you build it.
- 12. Acknowledge and include any audience involvement so you can demonstrate their commitment.
- 13. Release special pre-launch content to help you get some results in advance.
- 14. Prepare additional marketing materials.
- 15. Create the sales video or page.
- 16. Do something original that is going to make you stand out from the rest.
17. Review what is working so far.
Mid-Launch Website Checklist
- 18. Set up an order and checkout process.
- 19. Put together a welcome email, and make sure you follow up.
- 20. Get other people to review your sales page.
- 21. Triple-check everything.
- 22. Proof and edit the sales page and get someone else to as well.
- 23. Send everything – your email announcement and blog post – out.
- 24. Post on social media.
- 25. Update affiliates
- 26. Update people regarding the launch feedback so far.
- 27. Ask strategic partners for assistance with spreading the word.
28. Listen to your feedback and respond – often the most important point of them all!
Website Post-Launch Checklist
- 29. Now the launch is over, you should celebrate.
- 30. Follow through with initial buyers.
- 31. Create a survey.
- 32. Smooth out any kinks.
- 33. Wrap it up – remove bonuses and close carts.
- 34. Over-deliver on value.
- 35. Make the experience memorable.
- 36. Automate feedback.
- 37. Give your audience an update.
- 38. Review.
40. Plan ahead for your next launch.
So there you have it!
The 40-point checklist we use to guarantee launch success! We hope you took something useful from this blog to assist you in whatever way it has. If you'd like to learn a little more, or find out something interesting, then check out the blogs below!
Our Most Recent Blog Posts:
Why Should You Take Website Maintenance Seriously?
Just like anything in life, if you don’t look after something, it will eventually break or stop working. A website is no different: they require maintenance to keep them working just how they should be.
Avoiding website maintenance is like avoiding regular oil changes and servicing on your vehicle. You wouldn’t drive your car for very long if it weren't serviced and maintained?
You’ll probably end up with a blown head gasket broken down on the side of a road at the most inconvenient time. Believe it or not - this is precisely the same for any website.
I like to think of website maintenance like insurance, giving you some peace of mind. In short, it's like getting insurance on your car, but not only are you making sure your vehicle is covered, but it's also upgrading the car at the same time.
And what happens if your website gets hacked and is not backed up or being looked after? Not only could you lose all of the hard-earned money you’ve invested into your website and marketing, but you could also be losing money while the site is down.
The Worst Scenario That We've Come Across!
We had a very terrible situation just over a year ago.
A company had approached us after their site (from another provider, we won’t mention for obvious reasons) had been hacked and had malware injected across their whole website.
The company was top of Google for some competitive keywords and relied on these positions for their primary income. Unfortunately, it took us weeks to repair the damage and to rebuild a good part of the website. Not only did they have a hefty bill for the repair, but Google noticed that their site had malware and that it was a security risk for anyone going into it.
They disappeared off all of the top spots in the search engines.
All the hard work they had invested over the years was lost. In turn, they lost thousands and thousands of pounds all because someone wasn’t taking care of their website. Your website should be live 24/7/365 days a year — Ready for customers to view and be representing your business at its finest.
The Biggest Mistake Businesses Make...
"Great I’ve got my new website now time to relax"
Wrong, websites are not “Set & Forget”.
If you don’t have website maintenance in place, you could be throwing your hard earned money out of the window. If a customer goes to a website and experiences problems, they often lose confidence and don’t stick around for long.
Most website owners won’t check their website and all its functions. Missed website issues or downtime could lose you potential customers and potential sales.
We always encourage you to publish new content on your website and manage your website if you can, but that can be covered in website maintenance too. Fresh new content will always help you in the search engines and updates to your site will also help your site to stay fresh and up to date!
What Are The Benefits Of Website Maintenance?
Many people don’t understand the primary benefits of having website maintenance, so here’s just a few:
The website’s performance, loading time, uptime and downtime can all be jeopardised. These problems can happen if the WordPress software isn't functioning as it should be and plugin versions aren't up to date.
The growth of any website is paramount. Keeping the users engaged and showing search engines that your site is active, relevant and current. Fresh content, analytics monitoring, design improvements and updates are all dependent on someone making sure all updates to the website are done in a smooth and error-free fashion on an ongoing basis.
Our Maintenance Workflow Will Help Your Website
At Design Box Media, we take the utmost care to ensure we always backup the website. We have ongoing back-ups to ensure nothing is lost or broken when updating the website. Once the site is updated, we always double-check for any issues.
Our software will keep a complete record of all of the plugins we update too!
If there is ever an issue with a function on the site, we can see what plugin version was changed, and we will revert it to the last working version and then investigate the issue.
We also include in our "monthly website maintenance packages" reports of the sites performance and constant security scans. If in the event there is an issue with a plugin on the site, we set it up as an urgent support ticket, and we address the issue promptly before you even know there’s a problem.
The Dangers Of DIY Website Maintenance
If you're maintaining your website yourself, it could cost you much more than you may realise. For example, you just press that update button on your website because it tells you that there’s a new update (everybody loves a new update, right?)
What if the site breaks or stops working after you update it? You most likely won’t have a backup of how it was before you clicked update.
How do you even back the site up?
If for any reason an update for a plugin created an issue on the site a few weeks later, it’s going to be hard to know when it went wrong, how it went wrong and how you should revert back without restoring a very old backup (and possibly losing content changes, sales orders, contact entries, you name it).
It will cost more to fix than it will to maintain.
Neglect or inexperience will damage the look and functionality of any website. When that happens, you’ve got to make a decision:
- Option 1: You try and fix it yourself, in which case you may do further damage or spend a huge amount of time trying to learn code or rebuild the website.
- Option 2: You can then pay the (sometimes hefty) price for someone experienced to fix it when it breaks.
Just like your cars servicing, it costs more to change a blown engine than it does to service and change the oil ona recommended basis. Regular servicing will help keep your car running properly, regular site maintenance helps keeps your website running properly.
Call In A Professional
Why not spend your valuable time doing what you do best and let us deal with what we know best? Would you try to fight a court battle without a lawyer? Then why try to maintain your own website if you’re not a web professional?
By securing an experienced web professional to update and maintain your site properly, you are actually saving potential lost sales and visitors.
If you're interested in securing a maintenance contract for your website, contact us to learn how we can keep your site in proper working order.
Is my website user friendly? When was the last time you visited your website and tried to see it as a customer would? What makes a website user-friendly?
Accessing your site from the perspective of a potential client rather than as a site owner can frequently reveal that your perception of what you’re offering is markedly (and perhaps disappointingly) different from the reality of what customers discover when they land on your homepage.
Here are four common errors that can result in consumers going elsewhere. With just a little website tweaking, these consumers could be giving you their business. So how user-friendly is your website?
Today’s content not only has to be more entertaining and engaging than ever, there’s also a need to mix things up by uploading videos and other entertainment to satisfy shoppers' growing need for immediate, effortless access to the information they want.
If you’re not sure how to do this, professional web design can provide the solutions you need for user-friendly websites
Unclear calls to action
Is it immediately obvious to online visitors what they need to do in order to get further information? Do they leave their details or purchase your products?
Quickly identifiable calls to action are critical to guide customers into the behaviours you want to see more of.
When you access your site from the small screen, does it still give access to all the important bits and pieces?
With a growing number of users accessing the net through their internet-enabled mobiles or tablets, a responsive site is also vital in displaying what makes a website user friendly.
To find out if it is mobile-friendly, take the first step and use Google's free Mobile Site Tester tool to see if it can access your site at all now. If so - great! You're in luck and won't have to do much work here.
However if not currently accessible on mobile devices there are some simple things you can do for free with help from web-based builders like Hootsuite that allow users to easily create their own responsive versions of websites without any coding knowledge needed.
No connection with social media
Making sure customers get access to the same information and updates no matter how they communicate with you is now a must-have prerequisite to online success.
Web designers can build in methods of ensuring all your modes of electronic communication interact seamlessly with each other.
The constantly evolving environment of website design is frequently difficult to navigate without skilled assistance.
So how user-friendly is your website? For many busy business owners; professional website design and maintenance is the most cost-effective and sustainable solution to the problem of ensuring that your online presence is optimised for maximum business success.