Things to be checked out before you redesign your website

Have you ever think about the important check list items before a website redesign?

As a medium or small business owner, you have done all the right things. The business website is up. Check. You are getting business. Check.

People are even talking about you on Facebook. The only teeny tiny problem is that they are talking more about your competitor. What do you think is going on? More often than not, it is the website that may be the problem.

According to Social Media Today, 94% of people say bad website design is the main reason they don’t trust certain websites.

Social Media Today, LLC

When should you go for a website redesign/revamp Process?

  • Website is non-adaptive
  • Website does not bring business as expected
  • Website has high bounce rate or in other words people leave quickly
  • Customers are unable to find what they need; everything’s there but not easy to get
  • Design has become outdated

A quick peek at the competitor’s website appears to confirm your suspicions. Their website is user friendly, people stay on it longer, it allows easy access to information, and it even takes them to Facebook faster than you can say “social media integration”.

An even quicker consult with a website redesign company confirms what you knew.

It is time for a website redesign. Maybe even a revamp.

That kicks of the things to think about before making changes to your website.

1. Which one is it – Website Redesign or Revamp?

They aren’t quite the same things. Most web design agencies will make the distinction: revamp is a complete overhaul while redesign doesn’t impact the functionality as much.

Revamp effectively restructures, redesigns, and recreates the website – you won’t be able to recognize it (don’t worry, it’s a good thing!).

Redesign is a good option if your website was already quite high functioning but needed changes in the look and feel only.

To make that decision you would have to first know what it is that you are looking for.

2. Review Your Current Website

What are the things you love?

  • Make a list of them
  • Can they stay on in the new website?
  • Are they generating value for your business?
  • Can you live without them?

What are the things you hate?

  • Make a list of them
  • Can they be removed without affecting business?
  • Can they be redesigned to something better?
  • Do they impede functionality?

An expert in web design can help you understand whether the features just need to be tweaked or whether the whole website needs to be dismantled.

3. What’s your competition doing?

You know what your website has; now you need to check your competitor website. What do you love about their website?

  • Make a list
  • Are these things essential for you as well?
  • Can they be incorporated into your website as is?
  • Will they help your business?

What do you hate about their website?

  • You may hate these features, but they may be essential for your business

Your web design agency can help you understand why a competitor website is doing better than you’re by using tools like Alexa and Topsy that gives a more comprehensive analysis of what works and what doesn’t.

4. Know Your Audience

Whether you decide to redesign or revamp your website, it is most important that you know whom you are targeting.

What works for the smart phone generation will not work for those who are 65+. They may need more guidance and are probably going to read what you write.

Whereas the smart phone people are probably going to look, like and buy – that simple.

More importantly perhaps, you need to know how they are going to find you. The optimization strategies of your website should be along those requirements.

5. What Functionality You Need

Once they are able to find you, people want information really fast. Let’s assume that it is safe to say that if someone is looking for something online, it is because they want to save time.

Your website needs to give them information fast. Selling cakes online?

I would want to know whether you do custom birthday cakes, see a few samples and the pricing.

How easy is to navigate your site to get this information?

The easier it is, the faster it will generate leads, the more business you can get. Functionality and design have to go hand in hand.

6. Is your content working as it is?

A tool like Google Analytics will tell you what content on your website is working and what isn’t. It will help you plan your content strategy.

Google Webmaster will tell you where you have broken links and site errors. Your web design agency will help you through the process.

If you have a Google Analytics account, you can run your own analysis and look at:

  • Number of site visits
  • The bounce rate
  • Time spent on site
  • Number of leads

This will be a great starting point for discussing the website redesign or revamp requirement with your agency.

7. Do You Need A Content Marketing Plan?

To keep getting new visitors, original content is critical. Over 60% of site visitors for a company feel positive towards the company if they see fresh and unique content that is reflective of the company’s values and products.

You will need to think what type of content you want up there, staying updated and fresh – blogs, marketing videos, how-to documents, social media, and graphics.

There are many possibilities that can be applied to create an effective marketing plan.

Once your content marketing plan is clear, you can decide what changes are needed on the website to implement the plan effectively.

8. What Other Marketing Can You Do?

You also need to review your current marketing efforts and identify what more you need to.

You may want to add a quarterly newsletter to your email marketing campaign.

Therefore, what needs to change on your site such that you get more email subscribers.

You will need to align your website goals to your marketing goals and vice versa.

This will ensure that your new website and marketing strategies complement each other to get maximum business benefit for you

9. The SEO Perspective

Your new website should not negatively impact the SEO work done on the existing content.

The new website should benefit from the optimization already done and not set you back in terms of online rankings.

The help of expert SEO services can ensure that your transition from old site to new without negative search engine results.

10. The Master Plan

Plan your website redesign or revamp carefully. Have a clear schedule of the milestones. This will help the website redesign company to meet your website launch date with precision.

Time your launch with a company milestone like new product launch or a trade show. You have a greater chance of getting new customers.

Plan for the future as well. What are your business goals for the future?

How many site visitors would you like to see over the years, how many leads you would like your site to generate?

What do you want people to feel when they visit your business website?

Keep these goals and aims in perspective and plan for future changes as well.

By doing this you will ensure that the redesign/revamp process does not overwhelm you.

Also, it ensures that your website is completely in sync with your business goals.

The process can be made easier when you have a website redesign expert like ColorWhistle by your side.

Having the right redesign company with you is as important as knowing what you want.

Because even if you are unsure of your website goals, you can rest assured that we will work to ensure that your website is always matching, and even exceeding, your business goals.

 

Are you planning to redesign your business website?

Web Design Agency To Agency Outsourcing USA [Getting it Right]

Web design agency to agency outsourcing is very important nowadays as the profit margin of the basic web design business decreases while the number of supported web design services increases.

Thomas Murphy, the late CEO of General Motors has been famously credited with saying, “General Motors is not in the business of making cars. It is in the business of making money”. This statement may seem quite unfashionable today, but deep down, as business owners, we all know that for a business to run it needs to make its own money. Employing cost saving methods is just one way of making money.

Outsourcing is one such cost-saving measure and businesses have employed it for decades. You really did not think that General Motors makes all the nuts that go into a car frame, did you? Web design agencies are no different. All the nuts and bolts needn’t be made in-house. However, getting the right outsourced partner is absolutely critical.

Before you continue to read this post, check through this list:

    • You are a web design agency
    • Providing solutions for small and medium scale businesses

Your specialties include:

    • Logo design
    • Graphic design
    • Responsive web design
    • WordPress / Joomla / Drupal CMS development
    • Web application development for small businesses
    • Content Marketing
    • Online Marketing
    • You need to make your business cost effective
    • You are either looking for an outsourcing option or you jumped the outsourcing wagon and are not happy
    • You are toying with the idea of doing everything in-house

Outsourcing to an Website Design Agency is Always an Option

Well, here’s why you should outsource (or not give up on outsourcing, as the case maybe). Outsourcing by itself is not a bad thing. Basic business sense says that if something isn’t part of your core business, it’s best outsourced. Even something that is part of your core business but which can be developed cost effectively by outsourcing should be outsourced.

The economics of outsourcing is evident. Online marketing budgets are increasing everyday as more and more businesses want to tap into the digital potential. Website design has become a crucial part of marketing for any business. As a web design agency, this is good news for you. As demand increases, your business can also grow.

The question is, can you keep pace? Sure there are many buyers, but how fast can you churn out the product. Do you hire more people to meet the demand? Will that lead to unmanageable overheads? Will more hiring help you meet your operational goals? The associated dilemma is solved quite simply by outsourcing.

The advantages of outsourcing

    • By not hiring employees, you keep overheads in control
    • You are not impacted by drop in demand
    • You can focus on your business
    • Operations scale-up faster
    • You can offer more services at better costs
    • Get more clients in

Advantages of web design agency outsourcing

The debate on hiring freelancers or outsourcing to a boutique web design company can be addressed by focusing on what you want and the nature of your projects. Generally, you will find that a website design agency is able to handle larger projects better since they have their own project managers. Freelancers are great for small, specialist projects. What’s more, agencies typically collaborate with freelancers anyway so you can get the best of both worlds really.

Outsourcing your web design modules to another agency has several advantages, not in the least because only an agency owner knows what it is like to be in this business.You can be assured that a  website design agency is as committed to delivering a quality product as you are.

There are several reasons why agency to agency outsourcing actually results in better profits for you.

    • Get high quality specialty services
    • Build a referral network
    • Get different perspectives from experts
    • Get advice and benefit of similar experience
    • Better project management for your modules
    • Better accountability and reports
    • Faster turnaround times
    • Scale-up your operations reliably

By outsourcing to a web design expert company in India you get the added advantage of time. WordPress website development can happen during your off business hours and modules can be ready by the time you come. What remains to be seen of course, is which agency you are going to go with.

Web design agency to agency outsourcing – Getting it right

Whether you are outsourcing for the first time or whether you had some unhappy results previously, there are some points that you should consider to ensure you get the right partner:

    • Do some research to find the web design agency you want

Shortlist a few and go through their portfolios:

    • Have they built anything with similar features to the ones you need?
    • Do you like the design and layout of their previous work?
    • Does the agency site look professional and high quality?
    • Is the company happy to display its previous work?

Talk to the actual people in those agencies

    • Keep your questions on the ready
    • If an agency offers multiple services, don’t try to evaluate all services at once

Offer one project at a time and evaluate all capabilities over time

    • Low risk approach
    • Helps you identify the agency’s specialities

Evaluate the agency’s responsiveness, creativity, and communication

    • Ensure that the website design agency provides the highest quality for your price
    • Get a quote for the features you need and pages you need.
    • Compare a few quotes and choose the best one that doesn’t compromise your requirements.
    • You can even run a paid evaluation project – think of it is an investment

There are quite a few things that you need to see before you handover your client’s project over to another party, but the most important one is to ensure that both you and the other agency are on the same wavelength. Create a solid communication plan, collaborate for an exquisite finish and reap the benefits by increasing your agency’s revenues.

As a website design agency, ColorWhistle has a lot of experience in collaborating with other web design agencies in the US, UK, Canada and India. We have been in the business long enough to have worked out the chinks in agency to agency outsourcing through our established white label services. Contact us today!

How small businesses can save money on website design

A small scale business has quite the limited marketing budget. The World Wide Web provides a great marketing platform for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing avenues. The crux of online marketing, however, rests on a good website. Like most small business owners, you are probably looking for small business website design in an affordable price.

Small business website design decision – Cost is the driving force

Most small business owners base their website design decisions on the cost of the process. While this looks like the obvious decision-making factor, many solutions that look affordable in the beginning may end up as expensive later. The reasons for this are many:

Lack of expertise

Websites are built with the use of platforms, tools and other software applications. Quite a bit of coding is required to make the website as functional as you would like it to be. To make the required changes to a website like updating details, adding videos, creating downloadable content, editing images and so forth, a certain amount of expertise is required.

As a business owner, you may not have all the knowledge at your disposal. You might start off with a DIY website solution. Then gradually you realize that you need functionality like membership or downloadable documents or e-commerce and you are poorly equipped to get all that up yourself.

So you buy one feature, then another and then struggle with integration and finally approach an website design agency that will redo everything from scratch and send the invoice. So what started off as an innocent enough less-than-$50 solution has suddenly crept into the thousands of dollars.

The technology challenge

No business owner is expected to and will rarely have the same level of technology awareness as business awareness. You know what a website can do for you; you have the strategy in place to make it the backbone of your business, but no one expects you to delve in the technology that will do it for you. The challenge is to understand how various website design technology work.

Proprietary platform: You may end up building your small business website design on a proprietary platform that doesn’t allow you to migrate to any other platform at a later date. As fast as technology changes occur, this will become highly inconvenient when in future better platforms come up and you have no choice but to create a new website from scratch.

Integrating the “good-to-have” solutions: Having built your business website design on one platform, you then come across applications and functionality that have been developed on other platforms but which are really good for your business. Now there is the small matter of spending even more money in integrating these features to your website.

Website flexibility: A website should allow to you to easily reconfigure different elements and components as you test various set ups that maximize business opportunities. In most cases small business owners come to realize much later that their websites don’t allow this level of flexibility and more and more money has to be spent identify the features that will create maximum benefit to the business.

Therefore it is clear that initial cost should not be the primary concern for a business owner trying to set up a website. You need to know what actually can help bring down the cost of setting up a business website. A major contributor to lower cost is the choice of the platform on which you build your website.

Saving money on small business website design – The right platform

There are plenty of platforms for you to choose from. The most popular and one that is becoming friendlier by the day is WordPress. It is the content management system (CMS) of choice for millions of small businesses and online professionals. It is also the fastest growing online publishing platform for small businesses.

While it may not be ideal for every business, the fact remains that WordPress can accommodate almost all the needs of a small business. Its ease of use, versatility and ease of use are certainly its recommendations.

WordPress has more plugins (really useful ones) than any other platform. Just about everything from compressing images to connecting to social media is all one touch away. Installing WordPress is a simple matter as is using it and what’s more, it runs on Windows, Mac and Linux with equal ease. Once you are on WordPress, you actually spend less on the upkeep of your website.

The right platform, however, is just half the battle won. Getting the right set of skills to implement the website on the chosen platform is the next important decision.

Saving money on small business website design – The right partner

Regardless of the CMS that you want to use to develop your website, having the right technical partner is essential for your website to succeed. A web design agency that specialises in WordPress can save you a lot of time and money in setting up just the right combination of elements and features.

You also save a lot of money by choosing a web design company that provides a combination of services like logo design, graphic design, custom theme development, internet marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The agency learns your business inside out and develops a comprehensive strategy. As you grow, the agency simply scales up its services for you.

When choosing a web designer, make sure you talk to them directly and look at their portfolio to understand what they are capable of. You also need to make sure that they understand your business requirements as well as you do. Yet again, cost is a factor in making the choice and again, what looks low cost initially may end up costing you more. Make sure you understand their pricing structure thoroughly.

Some web design companies are willing to be flexible with their fee structure. While most opt for end-of-project pay outs or monthly fees (depending on whether service is one-time or ongoing), some like ColorWhistle even provide the option of affordable monthly instalments. The clear advantage is that you get breathing space between your income and your expenses while your website is setup and maintained.

You get professional services that are both reliable and affordable. What’s more, as your website starts to bring in the type of results that you want, you’ll slowly but surely see that while the expenses on website hold steady, your income from it keeps rising. Why not talk to us today to find out more about our Website design and small business website maintenance services.

Put this to REST: how to channel the potential of the REST API in WordPress

Introduction:

With the latest version of WordPress featuring REST API, the web developer sphere has exploded in conversation about the possibilities, and how it will or will not enhance the WordPress API development experience.

Before looking at how REST API potentially changes the way WordPress developers design, we’ll look at some of the basics.

We’ll also see a simple implementation that further illustrates the potential of the REST API in WordPress.

What is an WordPress API?

API(Application Programming Interface) is a set of code that acts as an interface between two applications for sharing information.

One application sends an authentication request to the other and when the authentication is completed, the applications are ready for sharing the information.

For example, we can consider embedding Google Maps in a website.

The basic concept of Google Maps is to search for different places and get directions.

In order to embed this into your website, you will first need to create a maps API key by logging in with your Google Account.

Once you get the API key  and maps embed code from Google, you will place the embed code into the site.

This code first sends an authentication request to the Maps API with the API key you created and when authentication is success, another request is sent to the API for retrieving the directions for the address that you given.

So with just two API calls from your website, you can show the directions of any address with the help of Google API.

REST API:

If we attempt to explain Representational State Transfer or REST in a simple manner, it is basically a set of principles that tell you how a well-designed web application behaves.

A well-designed web application does the following:

  • Application is a set of network web pages
  • User selects links to progress (state transitions)
  • Next page (next state of application) is delivered to user for working on

The REST principles, developed by Roy Thomas Fielding in 2000, use the HTTP protocol of the World Wide Web to post/read/update/delete data between two sources on the web.

The two sources may have been created using any programming language and would be completely independent of each other.

The simplest way of looking at REST is that it is a set of architectural principles that make your web applications faster by letting discrete systems interact with each other without burdening either with translation.

The important thing to remember is that REST is not a programming language, it is a driving force for web development.

Simple example for API connectivity:

To connect to a REST API, we will use the following HTTP methods PUT, GET, POST and DELETE.

The URL structure for the http request will be in the following format “https://colorwhistle.com/teachers/john where teacher and john are sub directories.

For data exchange, the two main formats used will be XML and JSON. Mostly for all APIs, the output data will be in XML or JSON format.

Let us see some examples for PUT, GET,  POST and DELETE methods using  PHP Curl function.

GET Method

// ID$ID = 2;

// access token

$accesstoken = ‘dgdfopppfllllfooofooocllllc’;

// set up the curl

$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, “https://colorwhistle.com/school/$ID?access_token=$accesstoken”);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 1);

// execute the request

$result = curl_exec($ch);

// output the school information – includes the header

echo($result);

// close curl resource to free up system resources

curl_close($ch);

GET Method Response

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 01 Sep 2016 12:30:26 IST
Server: Apache
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Content-Type: application/json
{
“ID”: “2”,
“fields”: {
“School”: “National Model”,
“Address”: “142 Durai Sami Nagar”,
“ZipCode”: “641664”,
“City”: “Coimbatore”,
“Country”: “India”
},
“created”: “2016-09-01 12:33:30”
}

POST Method

// ID$ID = 1;
$schooldata = array (
“School” => “National Model”,
“City” => “Coimbatore”,
“Country”=>”India”
);// json encode data$data = json_encode($schooldata);// access token

$accesstoken = ‘dgdfopppfllllfooofooocllllc’;

// set up the curl

$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, “https://colorwhistle.com/school/$ID/details?access_token=$accesstoken”);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, true);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CUSTOMREQUEST, “POST”);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POST, true);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, $data);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, true);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER, array(
‘Content-Type: application/json’,
‘Content-Length: ‘ . strlen($data)
));

// execute the request

$result = curl_exec($ch);

// output the school information

echo($result);

// close curl resource to free up system resources

curl_close($ch);

POST Method Response

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 01 Sep 2016 12:30:26 IST
Server: Apache
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Content-Type: application/json

PUT Method

// ID$ID = 1;

// Find the school named National model in coimbatore

$schooldata = array (
“School” => “National Model”,
“City” => “Coimbatore”
);

// Update the country name for the school to Britan

$modify = array(
‘Country’ => ‘Britan’
);

// json encode data

$data = json_encode($modify);

// access token

$accesstoken = ‘dgdfopppfllllfooofooocllllc’;

// set up the curl

$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, “https://colorwhistle.com/school/$ID/details?access_token=$accesstoken”);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, true);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CUSTOMREQUEST, “PUT”);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POST, true);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, $data);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, true);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER, array(
‘Content-Type: application/json’,
‘Content-Length: ‘ . strlen($data)
));

// execute the request

$result = curl_exec($ch);

// output the school information

echo($result);

// close curl resource to free up system resources

curl_close($ch);

DELETE Method

// ID$ID = 1;
// access token$accesstoken = ‘dgdfopppfllllfooofooocllllc’;// set up the curl$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, “https://colorwhistle.com/school/$ID/details?access_token=$accesstoken”);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, true);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CUSTOMREQUEST, “DELETE”);

// execute the request

$result = curl_exec($ch);

// output the school information

echo($result);

// close curl resource to free up system resources

curl_close($ch);

DELETE Method Response

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 01 Sep 2016 12:30:26 IST
Server: Apache
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.3.10-1ubuntu3.9
X-Deleted: school 1
Content-Length: 0
Content-Type: application/json

WordPress and REST API: the potential

Why is there so much conversation about REST API in WordPress?

One reason is that WordPress custom websites are fast becoming the norm for most business owners.

And WordPress API development experts want to harness the potential of this principle to provide better user experience for their clients’ websites.

For a business owner who wants to get online with a website, custom WordPress websites are the ideal way to create a unique identity for their brand.

WordPress already had several plug-in features which allow it to seamlessly interface with several applications on the web.

By using the REST API in conjunction with JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), a WordPress REST API website expert can develop some really powerful applications.

JSON is a text based format for storing data and is used for exchanging data between platforms.

What the REST API does is that it will expose some of the WordPress functionality to the web.

Other websites will now be able to interact with it.

The external website can create, remove, edit and update content on the WordPress website.

This level of interactivity makes the website truly engaging for the potential customer.

Advantages of WordPress Rest API:

For WordPress API development, it means that developers of plug-ins and themes can deliver their output faster since they do not need to know the connectivity details.

They can even create web applications using Backbone model and AngularJS that aid in manipulating data on the site.

The WordPress REST API is already being implemented in:

  • Single Page Applications
  • Creation of new admin interfaces for WordPress
  • Mobile Apps
  • Integrating other server-side platforms

Conclusion:

The REST API in WordPress certainly has a lot of potential for the future of web development.

For a WordPress REST API website expert it provides several avenues for making the user experience of their client’s websites truly memorable.