For today’s post on web design tips and trends, we’re bringing out the big guns. Meet Justin, Mikael, and Rebecca — Webs’ intrepid team of UI/Product Designers.

What do you think is the biggest trend in web design right now?

MikaelFlat design is getting a lot of attention right now. That is, putting colors and images right up against each other without drop shadows, bevels, and gradients. Think Window 8 and Microsoft’s new look. While flat design can be really nice, it’s important to use it appropriately – as with any other design trend. Do not just follow a trend, but do what makes your website look best and communicate the message — and your brand – better.

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Today our head of Marketing, Rochelle, will talk about the trend toward mobile web browsing and the impact that has for small businesses. 

I think that I was just starting out in my career when I first heard someone say excitedly, “Mobile is the future. It’s going to be huge next year!” Then every year or two there would be other voices weighing in, “Mobile is going to be huge!  And tablets are really going to take off in the next 6 months!”  While it’s taken far more than 6 months or even a year for mobile devices to gain the traction many believed they would, they have now become a pervasive vehicle for sending and receiving entertainment, information and communication.  And this trend is global, as evidenced by this data from comScore:

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As the world becomes increasingly connected, and increasingly digital, marketers (and small business owners!) are becoming more and more data driven. What do we mean by that? Simply that the decisions being made around websites, marketing, and even product offerings are based more on the numbers, and less on educated guesses and gut feelings.

While instincts and expertise are certainly still incredibly valuable, the ability to collect, interpret, and respond to data can offer big advantages. These data can be collected in different ways, each offering different benefits.

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Today’s Webs user example website comes to us all the way from Reykjavik, Iceland! Jon Arnar is an artist who uses his website to promote his exhibitions, show off his fantastic body of work, and sell paintings through an online store.

Aside from being up-to-date and robust, one feature that really makes Jon’s site stand out is his use of a very appropriate Webs theme called “Gallery” (appropriately).

This is a clean and understated theme that offers a little something extra toward the footer to give visitors a sense of place. This is especially nice for artists like Jon who live in a particular city but sell their artwork to people all over the world.

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Time for another great website example from a Webs user! Feels like it’s been awhile since our last example site review, so let’s dive right in.

Today we’re going to take a look at the website of El Faro Restaurant in Summit, Illinois. The first thing you’ll learn about El Faro form their website is that this is the home of the Giant Burritos (we’re sold already!). The second thing you’ll notice is that they are open 24 hours, which is great because the middle of the night is the perfect time for a giant burrito.

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In last week’s post about analytics tools for small business owners, we talked about how Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools can help you figure out where your traffic is coming from and how to get more of it. So what happens after you’re gotten those visitors to your page? Are they clicking and converting, or leaving without interacting the way you’d like them to?

To take your analytics to the next level and start making changes to your pages that will directly affect your conversion numbers, consider a heatmapping service. One popular choice in this industry is Crazy Egg.

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It’s a chilly, gloomy Wednesday here in Silver Spring, Maryland, so we’re happy to feature an example site full of beautiful photos of tropical fruits!

Today’s example site, Wilstra Foods, was actually built as part of a recent contest among members of the Webs support team. The challenge was to build a great site using Webs’ SiteBuilder3 platform and using the features to the maximum. And we think today’s website does just that! Which is probably why Damion was the contest winner…

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One of the great things about featuring Webs user example sites as long as we have been is that we get to see how they change over time. Once such example comes to us today from Kim & Ellory’s Kitchen, a personal chef and catering service run by a husband and wife team.

We first featured Kim and Ellory’s site in June, 2011. At that time, their company’s website looked like this:

Since then, as their business has evolved, so has the style of their website. Here is their website today:

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This week’s Webs user example site comes to us all the way from Zambia!

Some websites offer splashy products that are easy to photography and are universally exciting to people browsing the web. For the owners of these websites, making a visually appealing website that people will want to browse is a snap (especially when you have a snazzy drag-and-drop sitebuilder…)

For Mutwile Enterprises, the situation is a little different. In their own words, Mutwile is a group of companies involved in the “infrastructure development, fluid/ lubricant handling equipment, and logistics sectors of the Zambian economy.”

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There are lots of articles on the web about the affect that certain colors can have on a website, or how to use color effectively in your branding. But have you ever thought about creating a black and white website?

Today’s example site, the portfolio of performing artist (and Webs user) Róisín Monaghan, uses this technique beautifully to create an elegant look and feel that serves her subject matter well.

One advantage of a mostly black and white website is that it clears out the clutter and allows other design elements to take center stage.

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