Vector of virtual data computer

When we think about servers, a few things may come to mind. In the past, the first image was often of stuffy server rooms that constantly needed to be kept cool and dry, and where a small problem could send a business into free fall for hours or days until the system could be repaired.

Today, however, many companies have never even seen their servers, because server virtualization is rapidly becoming the dominant model. Physical servers have proven to be too great a problem from an infrastructural upkeep standpoint.

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UX design vector

We’ve talked about how web design is essential to building a better small business website, but the power behind web design is fueled by what you want your user to experience.

Allow us to introduce you to User Experience (UX) design.

UX combines usability (the extent to which a product can be used to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use) and the user’s emotions and perceptions to drive the success of a site.

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This week we feature a website that helps to reduce stress, one client at a time. The Silver Sage Spa  is where health and beauty walk hand and hand, NATURLLY! When you visit this website you are instantly overcome with a sense of peace and serenity within their welcoming atmosphere. Let’s take a look at what makes this website soothing.

The color scheme is welcoming and serene; the website tagline sets the tone for the website and gears you for a soothing website navigational experience. This website is professional from top to bottom. What we really like is the “Rates & Services” page, a good example of how you should list your services effectively.

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Have you ever been driving and noticed something was just not right with your car, the panic in your stomach as you hope you get to your destination before your car gives out? We have all been there in some fashion or form, and for this Example Site Wednesday we are highlighting a small business website that is there for their customers in their time of need.

MG Towing is a full service tow truck company serving the Orange County area in California.

In addition to have a simple and clean layout, the site owners did an exceptional job taking advantage of the main header area of their website.

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This Wednesday we are getting down and dirty with Medina, a small family business in Medina, Ohio. First off we would like to congratulate them on their expansion, their first shop opening this fall. As you can see from their homepage photo, no job is too big for Medina’s and maybe that is the reason for their ongoing success.

The site owners do a great job of using font types and sizes to highlight important content while creating a visual sequence for their visitors. We also love seeing such a strong ‘Call-To-Action’ message on the homepage, great job in engaging your visitors.

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Happy Example Site Wednesday! This Wednesday we are bringing to you a delectable website that features a successful family oriented business that strives to make the world a beautiful place with each creation. Boogiebabys makes personalized hand-crafted, wedding cake toppers, decorative figurines, wall letters, name plaques and keepsake decorative greeting cards.

The site owner does a great job of providing clear information on the services the website offers and the quality of materials utilized to create their products.  Additionally the website offers special promotions,  FAQ’s page and much more.  Attention to such little details is what helps to enhance the overall website visitor experience.  Looking to improve your website experience?

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This Wednesday we are going to be featuring an adventurous website that shows how you can utilize inbound links to drive your website traffic. Our featured website is Adventure Maine, where you can go to find out the many attractions Maine has to offer.

This website is chock full of information about the many things to do in Maine, and today we would like to offer a few suggestions to take this website to the next level:

  • Simplicity can help drive interaction. While a lot of relevant content is important for a website to rank well in search engines, it is important to strike a balance between content and usability. As you look at the homepage, you can see a lot going on and it can be hard for site visitors to know where to go. Discover few tips on how to simplify your homepage.
  • Alignment can help improve readability.  Did you know that a simple step of ensuring that items are aligned and easy to view on your website can improve your website readability? Thus our next tip for this website would be to ensure all content is centered and spaced correctly. Clear content can help to make your website call-to-action stand out more.  Learn how to build a call to action that can boost conversion rates.
  • Intuitive navigation can boost retention rates. If website visitors can’t quickly and easily locate specific information they are more likely to leave your website and head for the nearest competitor. Deter this from happening by simplifying your navigation bar. 3 Tips for a more intuitive website navigation.

Take today as a reflection day to look over your website one more time to see if you can apply the above mentioned tips to improve your website interaction, readability and retention rates. Think your website has what it takes to be showcased next week? Comment below!

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Today’s Example Site Wednesday goes to an action packed, adrenaline filled website that exemplifies how to keep your website interactive and fun. The Alpha Wrestling League is an online role playing website dedicated to fantasy. The strength of this site is the interactive engagement which allows for anyone across the globe to combine creative energy to produce an amazing user experience.

This site is entering their 2nd month of existence and already has accumulated an amazing and loyal following. AWL’s forum has over 2800+ posts and is home to over 50 members. If you would like to gain similar gains in user interactivity, it is important that you make your site as user friendly as possible.

Here are some tips that will help to keep users glued to your site and grow your site activity:

  • Don’t Be A Stranger: Open up a forum post that offers users a place to voice their opinions or suggestions to make your site better, give all of your users a sense of ownership to your site.  Furthermore, you can encourage forum interactions by responding to posted issues/comments and asking thought provoking questions.

Regardless of the purpose of your website, you always want your website visitors to stick around and perform specific actions. These actions can vary from being something simple as viewing your online portfolio, discovering your product offering, signing up to receive regular email updates or making a purchase.

While website design and good layout can get the visitors to stay on your website and browse around, it doesn’t mean that they’ll click or purchase. This is where a good call to action comes in.

What is a call to action?

According to BusinessDictionary.com, call to action is a set words that urge the reader, listener, or viewer of a sales promotion message to take an immediate action, such as “Write Now,” “Call Now,” or (on Internet) “Click Here.”

When it comes to a good call to action, every element matters and has impact contributing to your website’s conversion rates. Here are some things to consider and test when it comes to Call to Action treatments:

  • Is it a link or a button?
  • Look of the button
  • Size of the text
  • Placement on your website page
  • Colors used

Yesterday we asked our Facebook fans what they think are the top elements, building blocks, which make up a good website. Results show that a large portion of Webs users believe that a good design makes a good website.

Today, let’s dive into some of these elements a bit more to see how they can contribute to helping you make a good website.

Design

Design is a very vague word as it encompasses all the visual elements used on your website. Items such as the theme you use, font(s), logo, colors and layout contribute to your overall website design. Here are few items you should consider when working on your website design:
    — Theme — The theme or template you choose for your website should be consistent throughout all your pages. It should reflect the style and image you want to project on the web. Good themes are focused, understandable and apparent.
    — Fonts — The style of lettering you utilize on your website should be easy to read not only for you but for your intended target audience. For example, if your website is geared towards the older generation, try to select fonts that might be slightly larger and easier to read. There is a whole science behind choosing the right font for your website. Check-out the following article by Derek Halpern if you would like to learn more: What’s the best font for your site? (The psychology of fonts)
    — Logo — Your website logo and name are usually the first thing visitors notice. So, it’s important to create one that portrays what you stand for, is easy to remember and can be easily ported. Meaning your logo can be used both on the web and in print mediums. Here’s a few website logo design tips.
    — Colors — The colors you use on your website also make a huge impact on how it is perceived. According to KISSmetrics, 93% of a consumer’s decision making process comes from visual appearance and 85% comes from color. Colors have the ability to evoke an emotional response. When selecting colors for your website, try to think about the goal of your website and whom you wish to target. Discover Basic Color Scheming and How Do Colors Affect Purchases?

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STYLE SWITCHER

Layout Style

Header Style

Accent Color