Our Laws of Attraction: Design Tips to Keep Users Drawn to Your Website

Chalk drawing of a hand holding a magnet collecting different social media icons

People around the world would have a different opinion on what the perfect website should look like, and that’s because a website’s design is based on people’s experience and perspective. One look may be liked by many, but it might not be by others. I tried going by the name Eugene for a bit and some people in the office actually started calling me that (and liked it for a bit), but ultimately, I think Cedric suited me best because that’s just who I am. I also thought I’d look good with a shaved head, but ask me again after I’ve had a pint of Guinness.

There are many factors that contribute to successful web design. That’s why our team of well-rounded and knowledgeable designers and I compiled a bunch of tips to help you keep your website looking snappy and running smooth.

Continue reading “Our Laws of Attraction: Design Tips to Keep Users Drawn to Your Website”

Your Site’s a Lot Faster Without the Canoe on Top!

view of car outside a lake, with a canoe on top

When I was young my parents had a red Subaru hatchback. We’d take that little car camping all over the backcountry, and we’d load enough stuff for a family of four to survive the wilderness for a weekend (and then some) on top of the roof–including a wooden canoe! Loaded up like that, her bumpers barely cleared the road and she sure didn’t win any awards for speed. But, she did get us to where we wanted to go… eventually.

Your website is an awful lot like a car. Continue reading “Your Site’s a Lot Faster Without the Canoe on Top!”

Why You Should Treat Your Site’s Navigation Like You Would Your Showroom

Businessman in the middle of the maze. Concepts of finding a solution, problem solving, challenge etc. 3D illustration

Let’s start off with a quick anecdote, shall we? Let’s suppose that you go into your local luxury car dealership to find a brand new sedan. The first thing you notice as you step into the showroom are 30 sedans from the last three decades, all in seemingly new condition. Intrigued by this, you make your way through the maze of vehicles searching for a  salesperson.

Eventually you find a huge, wall mounted-TV screen which you assume will have information that will aid you. At first glance, the TV seems to be displaying the weather, but after staring at the screen for 10 minutes you realize that’s the extent of the information on the TV. Excellent, you are now caught up on the weather–but you still have no information on sedans (or an answer as to why there are multiple vehicles spanning multiple decades). At this moment, you (the customer) are faced with more questions than when you originally came into the dealership. Continue reading “Why You Should Treat Your Site’s Navigation Like You Would Your Showroom”

Good Design is a Lot Like a Good Marriage…

happy couple cheering because they got married!

Something that I learned after being married, is that communication is key. If you have a good line of communication then your relationship will do great!  Expressing your likes and dislikes will help you to improve your relationship and better yourself. I call it companionship inventory. The way companionship inventory works best, is by utilizing the “hamburger method”. The buns are the compliments and the criticism is the stuff in the middle–you may have heard it referred to in another, not-as-delicious type of sandwich. Continue reading “Good Design is a Lot Like a Good Marriage…”

Trust Us: Using your Site to Build Credibility

Trust banner and icons

For any business, credibility is key in maintaining a high level of customer service and, in turn, a high level of customer loyalty. This is especially important for the automotive sales industry, the long-time favourite butt of many a joke aimed at the quintessential “used car salesman” and his well-greased “what do I have to do to put you in this car today, sir-or-madam” approach to business. How then is a dealership best advised when it comes to building a reputation that the consumer will trust? Focusing on the area of online presence, this post will outline a few of the steps you should take (or, frankly should have already taken) to help ensure that the legend of the sleazy car lot doesn’t haunt your reputation on the net! Continue reading “Trust Us: Using your Site to Build Credibility”

A Note on Importance

Orange and white text reading if everything is important then nothing is important.

I don’t know about you, but I loved watching the Pixar movie The Incredibles when I was growing up. It’s a movie about how, in a fantastical world of superpowers, you lose sight of the regular, everyday people. At least that’s how I see it. When the villain’s plan is revealed, it comes with a line that’s stuck with me for the last fourteen years:

“When everyone is super, no one will be.”

Continue reading “A Note on Importance”

Analyze This!: New Features in Google Analytics

Young man at the psychotherapist, lying on couch, emotionally speaking, discussing with psychotherapist his problems, practitioner making some notes. Horizontal photo banner for website header design

In the 70s people hung out at roller disco rinks wearing bellbottom jeans and big perms. In the 80s they hung out at the arcade, and acid-washed denim was all the rage. Fast forward to 2018 and all the cool kids are wearing morose, Zuckerberg-esque heather grey hoodies, sitting in independent coffee shops, spending their time on Google Analytics.

Okay, maybe not quite. But if you’ve been hanging around in Google Analytics lately, you’ve probably seen a few new things pop up. And while we’d never toot our own horn about how cool we are (*sound of crickets*), we do know a thing or two about Google Analytics. Cool or not, you can never say we’re not helpful, so here’s a quick summary of those new features and how they can make your life easier. Continue reading “Analyze This!: New Features in Google Analytics”

Picture Perfect: The Difference Between Vector & Raster Graphics

Industrial robots begins to create artistic painting.

Have you ever wondered about the difference between vector and a raster graphics? Probably not. But have you ever wondered why the file you downloaded is twice as big as normal? Or why the image you’ve used for your website is pixelated? Well, read on and we’ll explain to you the difference between vector graphics and raster graphics. Continue reading “Picture Perfect: The Difference Between Vector & Raster Graphics”

Improving User Experience

some designs on paper, beside a laptop

A day rarely goes by at the Strathcom office where I (or one of my design team) don’t receive a request to change/edit/add/remove/update the design or layout elements on our websites. The intent of the request is usually to draw more attention to a piece of a client’s website or to increase conversions. However, sometimes these requests unintentionally do the opposite and negatively impact the usability of the website and, can potentially result in a lost user (and ultimately a lost sale). All because they neglect one crucial element: user experience. Continue reading “Improving User Experience”

A Modest Request…

child dressed up as retro business man

In the wonderful world of web, we as consumers are exposed to subliminal messages and overbearing marketing lists that have become second nature. And while automotive dealers have a plethora of knowledge, having seen the industry progress firsthand, some of the marketing ploys they ask for get lost in translation due to the stimulus-overload we are already in the midst of. Simply put, there are too many features available on websites, and everytime we add a new feature something gets lost in the shuffle. We, as designers, are often tasked with creating carousel slides to catch the eye while there are better tools available. If you read my last blog, about trusting your designer, then you’ll remember that sharing your vision and goals is an important part of the process — but letting us help guide you with our professional knowledge is just as important. After all the main goal is to improve the communication from Dealership to Marketing Manager to Designer, culminating in getting the message through to the customer loud and clear. And as a former dealership employee, marketing manager, designer, and customer, I can tell you with all honesty that these lanes of communication could be improved. Continue reading “A Modest Request…”

Trust Me, I’m an Expert!

Closeup side view of group of late 20's multi ethnic team of web designers working on a project. They are divided into small groups, some working on a computer and some testing mobile platforms on digital tablets and smartphones.

 

Web Designer (noun)

a person who plans, designs, creates, and often maintains websites.

By definition, the title of web designer seems simple. Someone who makes and maintains websites. However, it seems like even the most expert of designers spend much of their time trying to predict what a client wants instead of creating beautiful pieces of art. What caused this? Continue reading “Trust Me, I’m an Expert!”

Hey, You! Click That CTA Button!

Happy senior man using computer at home, smiling at camera...

In our digital world, website users are often assaulted by an array of visual cues on a daily basis. They may have hurdles like chat pop-ups and video pops-ups just to  find what they were looking for in the first place.

Often, we spend so much time creating purposeful content and design elements to guide our users, that we may forget to discuss one of the most important elements  — the Call To Action (or CTA). Depending on your goal, you want to ensure that your users are prompted to complete the actions you’ve created on landing pages; you know, the actions that lead to conversions. Continue reading “Hey, You! Click That CTA Button!”

CRO and UX – A Perfect Match

CRO and UX

CRO and UX are two terms that show up often when looking at analyzing and improving website performance. The practices of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and User Experience (UX) may seem similar in the context of the goals you are trying to achieve, but they have unique approaches to methodology and execution… 

So What is the Difference Between CRO and UX?

CRO is the process of encouraging visitors to perform specific actions (conversions) on your website. The success of CRO goals are inline with the goals of a business. An example of goal with an automotive dealership website would be to drive more website homepage visitors to book a test drive on the latest model release of a vehicle.

UX is the research and testing of a website’s usability, or simply put, how easy it is to use a website. User Experience focuses on the user first by studying their interactions with elements on a website. The focus of UX Design is to put a user’s needs as the priority by making the process of navigating through a website as seamless and easy as possible.

Not Mutually Exclusive – A Match, Instead

The uses of CRO and UX are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they complement each other to provide even more value to your website… 

Through the use of UX, reaching CRO goals is even easier because tests can be made with hypotheses based on actual user data instead of a theory pulled out of thin air that needs to be proven through weeks or months of data collection and testing.

Additionally, CRO can provide focus to UX testing by helping identify problematic areas of a website design. When you have a goal in mind for your website or a feature on a specific webpage, UX testing is a perfect tool to fine-tune your design and increase usability.

User Experience emphasizes a user’s needs while Conversion Rate Optimization targets the business’s goals; using both strategies is key to building a successful and badass website. If you’d like to learn more about how we can make UX and CRO work for you and your business, then touch base with us at Strathcom Media to learn more.

What are the Ideal Sizes for My Image Sliders?

The Strathcom website platform uses multiple aspect ratios for image sliders, which offers flexibility within different responsive views. To make updating your site even easier, we’ve collected the recommended image sizes for our most popular slider ratios. So what are the ideal sizes for image sliders?

What are the ideal sizes for image sliders

The 4 Strathcom Image Slider Aspect Ratios

4:3 – “The Mobile Slider”

For the most part, the 4:3 ratio is garnered for mobile-specific views. This allows your image to be properly sized to the device in both content layout and file sizes for fast loading speeds. We suggest using images at 500×375 pixels.

16:9 – “Tablet and Mobile Views”

Use this aspect ratio for your sliders if you want to use the same image across mobile and tablet devices but want to ensure your pages load quickly. We suggest using images at 960×540 pixels.

68:7 – “Banner View”

This aspect ratio is great for desktop views. Its small form-factor allows for easy placement anywhere on your page without distracting users from your overall website content. We suggest using images at 1800×185 pixels.

21:9 – “Multi-Purpose For All Devices”

The 21:9 ratio option is the most versatile and popular. It can be used for designs on any device or responsive view, from mobile to large desktop screens. We suggest using images at 2100×900 pixels.

Now that you’re armed with knowledge about what are the ideal sizes for image sliders and you’re ready to start up a new PhotoShop document, remember with great power comes great responsibility. Don’t forget to optimize your images; we’ve got a few quick tips to ensure you aren’t slowing down your page load speeds with your amazing promotion slide.

Webinar Recap – How to Increase Conversions on Your Landing Pages

How to Increase Conversions on Your Landing Pages

In an increasingly competitive market where customers demand more from you, conversions can be the key to successful leads and to driving traffic on your website. Conversion Rate Optimization, also known as CRO, is a systematic way of increasing the percentage of visitors to a website who are likely to convert into customers or who have taken a desired action on a webpage. This post expands on some key points that were covered in the webinar on February 22nd (How to Increase Conversions on Your Landing Pages) that’ll help you maximize your conversion potential on landing pages. Continue reading “Webinar Recap – How to Increase Conversions on Your Landing Pages”

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Opportunities exist with almost every element of your website to help convert visitors into customers. Conversions happen on more than just lead forms; they’re on your homepage, landing pages, footer, and more. So what is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)? It’s the data-driven process of optimizing elements of your website for a higher number of conversions.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

What is a Conversion?

Continue reading “What is Conversion Rate Optimization?”

WordPress is Taking Over

Expect WordPress to take over the CMS market.

The Strathcom WordPress platform has been evolving on a daily basis. We are progressively adding features and pushing out improvements to ensure that your websites are at their best. If you want to know more about the platform, you can check out this post to give you some insight. Continue reading “WordPress is Taking Over”

Speed Up Your Website with These Tools

Page speeds and website performance are more important than ever. You may inadvertently be increasing the amount of time it takes for your website to load, which in turn, can lead to visitor loss. Here are a few quick fixes you can apply to your website that can help your page load speeds!

Large unoptimized images can be a culprit to poor page performance. You may be asking yourself if uploading an unoptimized image can really hurt your page load times, and the answer is it really can. By large images, we are talking about file sizes and not dimensions. Images that are 1 MB and up could start affecting page load times.

Page speeds and website performance

How can I ensure my images are not slowing down my website? Here are three quick tips to help you out:

Continue reading “Speed Up Your Website with These Tools”