Tips for a great website – #2 get attention

Tip 2 – website attraction

Does your website pass the 8-second test?

On the internet you have maximum 8 seconds ONLY to capture your visitors’ attention or they will be gone.  So as well as site speed your content needs to be able to grab your visitors fast.

Every website needs to answer the following questions in the first 8 seconds if their visitors are to stay, engage and take action. These are:

  • Why am I here (i.e. – What is your website about?)
  • Why do I care (i.e. – What’s in it for me?)
  • What should I do now (i.e. – A clear call to action)

There is no point having the most amazing creative design but no one can work out what your website is about. Believe me, no one will hang around long enough to find out. Your visitors need to know immediately what you do if they are going to stay longer than 2 seconds.

Then they will be interested in what’s in it for them. Why are they going to buy from you or engage your services? What makes you different from the rest?

Then if you have what they want, you need to tell them what to do next. Buy now, call now, add to cart, leave your details etc. Make it easy for them and direct them where they need to go – and please make sure all your links actually work!

Generally, when people are reading a website they do not read every word on the page but rather they skim the page with their eyes moving from left to right, sweeping down the page generally to the area ‘above the fold’ first. ‘Above the fold’ is everything you can see on your computer screen before you have to scroll further down. So the information at the top of the page is ALWAYS the most important. Keep your language simple and easy to understand.

If you are writing an article, you start off with an introduction, build up to the points you want to make and finish with a conclusion.  Writing for websites is the complete opposite!

Start with your most important information or points at the top of your page (all critical information as we have mentioned above should appear above the fold, in other words what you see immediately before you start scrolling down the page!) and add less important information below. There is an art to writing well and there is an art to writing well for the internet and not everyone has it! If it is not one of your strengths, get a professional copywriter to write your content for you. The money will be well spent!

Your headings are the most important things on your page.

Headings,sub headings, bullet points, different size fonts, bold text or italic text and good quality, relevant photographs and diagrams all make it easier for your visitor to scan your page and decide if they are interested enough to stay on your site ……….. or leave QUICKLY! 

website design

Long pages of unbroken text are too difficult to scan quickly for key information and will not keep your visitors on your site for long.

So remember, if you combine a stunning, simple design (and this can still be creative) with easy navigation (no more than 2 clicks to get anywhere) and keep in mind the 8-second test, you will find you your website is definitely on the right track.

HotsWots is a website design and development business with personal customer service that encompasses cutting edge design with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing & SEO. If you would like us to check the 8-second rule on your website, we will do a FREE test for you. Contact us at

Tips for a great website – #1 speed

Tip 1 – website speed

What makes for a successful website? There are actually lots of factors that contribute to a successful website but we are going to give you 8 tips over the next few days that will get you thinking about how you can improve your site. Keep your eye out for your tip each day!

Google is obsessed with speed! Did you know that Google includes website speed in their search ranking algorithms? Website speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests. Continue reading

Traditional offline marketing is dead

Well, that may not be the case totally, and I certainly recommend a variety of marketing methods, BUT – with traditional methods like newspaper advertising and yellow pages losing sales hand over fist, do you have a strong online marketing strategy and presence?

The Internet is the biggest influence — at least from a business perspective — on how we are making buying decisions. Is that important for your business? Are you seeing return on investment for your offline marketing?

There are many ways, free and paid, to promote your brand and business online apart from your website and blog e.g. social media sites where you can build a network of strong supporters who will recommend you to others like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+; free directories; article sites; blog sites; forums; press release sites; pay-per-click advertising; eNewsletters & email marketing; banner advertising and a whole host of other methods. You can even put your logo and some branding onto your PayPal page if you sell products on your website that are linked to PayPal.

To start building your brand recognition though, your brand MUST be consistent across all marketing mediums. First your designer needs to create your ‘look’ which includes your logo, colour scheme, favicon ( a favicon is the small 16 pixel by 16 pixel picture you see beside some URLs in your browser’s address bar, see below.  Often some aspect from the logo is used to keep a consistent look – HotsWots use the cursor from the logo.) and avatar (an avatar is a personalised graphic file that represents a person/business when they post online).  HotsWots FaviconAre you are going for a corporate business-like look or do you want a more casual, fun approach?  Remember that your creative look needs to be completely aligned to your brand.

Some examples of how HotsWots have incorporated our brand on the Internet are:
Social Media TwitterBranded social media pages like the  Facebook Timeline banner (see thumbnail at the start of this post) and Twitter page (on the right).  If you have these designed professionally, you can get your tag line included and key services or products as well as images to support your brand.  It’s important to remember though that most social media sites have strict rules about what can and can’t be included in branded banners, especially Facebook.  So if you are doing your banners yourself, check the terms and conditions before you get started.

Social Media Google+Animated  gif banners on sites like Google+ .  Animated gif banners can move and change, giving multiple messages but are still viewable on iPhones or iPads unlike the Flash banners.  If you are getting your designer to do moving images, make sure you ask for gif.  This means you can get different messages/services/products marketed in the one advertisement.  The Display Picture which appears beside your posts, can also be designed with your logo or image.

HotsWots Gif AdvertisementAnimated gif banner advertisement .  Like the banners above for Google+,  animated gif advertisements are viewable on iPhones and iPads.  They can be used for paid banner advertising around the Internet or they can be uploaded onto other websites or blogs you may have or be associated with.  You may have a good client who is happy to put your ad on their website.  HotsWots has our ad on a couple of different websites and it does drive traffic back to our website.

Facebook TabInteractive Facebook tabs below timeline banner. You can have a Services page linking directly to your website, Welcome page with a give-away and opt-in box to capture visitors’ details, Product page etc linking directly to your shopping cart or PayPal account (Ecommerce). We can even make these pages easily editable by you! Or you can have other social media (YouTube, Twitter etc) and blog links here as well.

These are just some of the ways you can start creating strong brand recognition across the Internet.  The key is to be consistent!

HotsWots is a website design and development business with personal customer service that encompasses cutting edge design with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing & SEO. Whether you’re brand new to the web or your online presence needs an upgrade, we’re here to listen to you and help you take your next step.

Outsourcing website design & development

Outsourcing all kinds of jobs, particularly IT and development work, has become very popular and much easier with the Internet. Skype makes it easy and cheap to connect with providers overseas and there are all sorts of sites offering the services of these providers.

At HOTSWOTS, though, we have picked up quite a lot of work from clients who have outsourced their website design and development work but have been totally dissatisfied with the entire experience.

We have heard some horrific stories!

• We have clients who have spent 6 months working with another company overseas and have started again with us.
• We have another client who worked with not 1, not 2, but 3 companies overseas and we picked up the pieces. To have to jump in and try to sort out code that 3 other developers have ‘had a go at’ is not a good experience – but, we did sort it all out!
• We have another client where nothing worked on the site – links, sliding banner, content. We couldn’t even work out what the website was about.
• We have another client whose developer was urgently taken ill and went to hospital and they couldn’t get hold of the files or database.
• We also have a range of clients who have been given all sorts of bad advice about the best platform to use for their work – mostly recommending platforms that are the most expensive and will take the longest to build!

Unfortunately, the list goes on and on and so do the issues.

• Communication, or lack of it, is a big issue
• International time zones are another
• Cultural differences can also lead to misunderstandings and be a huge problem, especially if your ‘concept’ is not understood fully by the company overseas

People hear about ‘outsourcing’, think they will get their work done cheaply and dive in without thinking about any of the issues or what may go wrong.

Cheap is not necessarily best and, if the work has to be paid for again with another website design & development company, then it can end up being a very costly exercise.

So, what is the answer? The answer is “do your homework” like you would with any other work that you wish to pay providers to do for you. Would you use a tradesperson or professional because they are cheap even if they didn’t work during hours that suit you, or their English wasn’t very good or you hadn’t got a good recommendation from someone about them? The same can be said for outsourcing website design and development work.

Yes there are some fantastic outsourcing companies in lots of different countries and it can end up being a fantastic experience but you need to do your homework first. Get a couple of quotes and actually speak to the person who will be looking after your website and your requirements. If in doubt and if you know nothing about the web and website design and development, then get a good local recommendation. It may just be easier for your business to deal with someone locally.

HOTSWOTS is a website design and development business with personal customer service that encompasses cutting edge design with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing & SEO. Whether you’re brand new to the web or your online presence needs an upgrade, we’re here to listen to you and help you take your next step.

Facebook video calling vs Google+ hangouts

Facebook and Google’s rivalry is hotting up!! The latest big thing in the social networks is video chat and Facebook & Microsoft (who owns Skype) and have joined forces to joint rival Google after the launch of Google+. Google+ has a video chat feature called Hangouts where multiple parties can participate in video chat and Facebook’s Video Calling is now available and is powered by Skype. Clearly, social networking and video chat is the latest cool thing!

So which one is better – Facebook Video Calling or Google+ Hangouts? Continue reading

7 Helpful tips for mobile websites

Have you looked at your website on a smart phone?

Have your clients or friends told you how bad your website looks on a phone?

Have you thought about getting your website redone for mobile?

The projections are that by 2014 more users will access the Internet from their phone than from a computer. This means that if you have a flash-based website with a lot of content, you will be missing out on over half of all web browsers.  Definitely something to think about! Continue reading