The famous e-commerce plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce, has recently surged in popularity and has now been downloaded more than 4 million times. The plugin has captured the attention of all types of business owners, and many entrepreneurs are wondering why hundreds of thousands of retailers have chosen WooCommerce as their e-commerce plugin of choice. Here are 6 of the key benefits and features of using the WooCommerce and WordPress for your online store: Read more
Considering the limitless potential of maintaining a strong online presence, it’s essential that your business pays close attention to web design. Common mistakes can lead to user dissatisfaction and make it more difficult to generate profitable leads, which means that learning from the pitfalls of others can prove invaluable. Here are some of the most ubiquitous web design errors that it’s important for your business to avoid:
Due to its distinct benefits over other content management systems (CMSs), WordPress sites are becoming increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes. Its ubiquity, though, comes with a downside—WordPress sites are now a more attractive target for hackers and bots attempting to gain access to your database. In order to protect yourself from these vulnerabilities, it’s important to maintain your website by installing the latest updates on a regular basis.
The legal sector is known to be saturated and lucrative, which means that competition among firms for new clients can be fierce. Many law firms have taken their search for new clients online, implementing internet marketing strategies in order to expand their client base. The design of your law firm’s website will have a tremendous impact on its ability to attract new customers, and attorney web design is highly specialized. Below you’ll find 5 tips to optimize the web design of a legal website:
Launched in September of 2011, WooCommerce has become the most popular e-commerce plugin designed for WordPress. With over 4.5 million downloads, businesses of all sizes are capitalizing on the strength and ease-of-use of the dominant e-commerce plugin. Celebrated brands such as Entrepreneur, Harley Davidson, and Cosmopolitan have embraced WooCommerce, as well as roughly 400,000 e-commerce sites. With the recent release of WooCommerce 2.2, let’s take a look at 5 key improvements which will enhance your business’s website:
As the internet’s leading Content Management System (CMS), there are over 60 million websites powered by the WordPress platform, including businesses of all sizes. WordPress has developed a stellar reputation as the meeting point between simplicity and functionality, allowing business owners a user-friendly medium for developing websites that produce results. While WordPress offers free templates in order to get a feel for their platform, it’s only by designing a unique website that your business will be able to reap its full potential.
As a business owner, you know the challenges of converting visitors into customers. Competition is often high and the window of opportunity is limited. The price of entry for modern day businesses is a website where internet-savvy customers can read, get contact information and shop. But, are business owners in general really getting the most out of their websites? Are you? Learn how A/B testing can help.
Guide Your Visitors
Businesses want to increase sales; that is universal. The strategic use of a website can become instrumental to gaining those results, but the key word there is: strategic. Creating a website and generating traffic isn’t enough. In order for your site to work for you, it is important to make sure that it is optimized to direct potential clients along the path to conversion.
Introducing A/B Testing
This is where A/B testing comes into play. It is a great tool to find out what is beneficial on your site, and what components need improvement. You’re essentially performing an experiment where traffic is split evenly between two versions of your site simultaneously. The original version of the site acts as your control, then you introduce specific variables to the second version to test the difference in your conversions. This allows you to see if the changes you have made affect the amount of visitors you successfully convert.
Testing Your Variables
There are many things that can affect how a person behaves while viewing your site ranging from tone, to placement, to wording. Something as simple as the way you phrase a message, can play a major role in the number of people who perform specific conversions. For example, if you are coming across too forceful, that may cause some visitors to lose trust in your company and leave the site.
Placement can also be a determining factor. Just as the location of your physical business is important, so are the location of videos or call-to-action buttons. Let’s say you’re trying to get your customers to sign up for a mailing list, so you have a set of information fields that a customer fills out. If you have an engaging video above your form fields, it may actually be causing people to stop scrolling before they reach the sign-up portion. With A/B testing, you can move the video below your form fields and find out if your sign ups increase as a result.
The Good Old Scientific Method
A conversion can be anything from signing up for a newsletter, to purchasing a service. When deciding what components to test, you can start with the path that users take to compete the conversion. Examine each step and question what could be done differently. By experimenting, you can gain an understanding about the impact your design has on your conversions and then adjust it accordingly. Here is how to get started:
- Decide what increase you would like to target and set a realistic goal for your business.
- Form a hypothesis identifying what changes might help you achieve that goal.
- Start your testing.
- Record and analyze your results.
- Change your site accordingly.
You may be surprised at the difference in results that can occur just by minuscule changes within your page. With A/B testing you can get your conversions up, by getting your website “down to a science”.
Rotating banners or carousels – those devices so beloved of web designers – could be killing your conversion rate.
Really? Carousel conversion rate killer? So say a host of conversion optimization experts after subjecting image sliders/carousels/rotating banner devices to a whole battery of usability tests. “Rotating banners are absolutely evil and should be removed immediately,” states Tim Ash, one of the aforementioned experts and author of “Landing Page Optimization”. 
What is the carousel conversion rate? Are carousels ‘conversion killers’?
What’s so bad about carousels? After all, they showcase a whole load of images and messages, which means they save precious space on any website page.
Users ignore carousels – they think they’re banner ads
Users ignore carousels, according to Jakob Nielsen , a leading usability expert. Because carousels move, users automatically assume they must be advertisements, which makes them more likely to ignore them. What users ignore, they don’t take action on. That means your conversion rate stays the same or plummets. Disaster! Nielsen’s claim is borne out by a conversion study conducted on five Notre Dame University websites with carousels . The study revealed only 1% of all visitors clicked on a feature on the carousels. Of those who did click, 84% chose the first thing on the carousel.
Carousels take up valuable space on your website
There’s another reason for calling the carousel conversion rate killer: they take up some of the most valuable space on your website where visitors usually land. It’s where visitors should see your website’s value proposition: a clear statement that explains how your product/service solves customers’ problems or improves their situation, delivers specific benefits, and tells them why they should use your services and not those of your competitors. It’s the most important part of the home page or any other landing page because it determines whether people will bother staying or going. It should appear on the home page as a concise chunk of text (headline, sub-headline and maybe a few bullets points). If it doesn’t, the chances of visitors staying on the website for more than eight seconds are slim. Tim Ash lists a load of other reasons for calling the carousel conversion rate killer. They include: Their large file size (which slows down page loading times – a big no-no as far as Google is concerned) They waste visitors’ time (and, as you know, most website visitors want instant gratification and give short shrift to any website that doesn’t deliver on immediate expectations) They push navigation down the page (where it might not be noticed). But wait, as they say in infomercials, there’s more. Many more reasons to think carousel conversion rate killer…
Carousels have poor usability
Image sliders/carousels often move too quickly for users to take in the image or message. If there are navigation icons, they’re not always easy to see or use. The result: frustration or confusion on the part of your visitors. And, when users are confused or frustrated, they don’t tend to stick around. Instead, they click on the ‘back’ button and leave. That will kill your conversion rate.
Test, test and re-test
So, if you care about your conversion rate and your website features a carousel, test the impact it’s having on your results. Today! What’s your experience of carousels? Have you tested the impact they have on your conversion rate? Sources:  Ash, Tim, ‘’Rotating Banners? Just Say No!’, April 3, 2012, www.clickz.com  Nielsen, Jakob, ‘Auto-Forwarding Carousels and Accordions Annoy Users and Reduce Visibility’, January 19, 2013, www.nngroup.com  ‘Carousel Interaction Stats’, Weedy Garden Online Home of Erik Runyon, January 22, 2013, www.weedygarden.net
WordPress is fantastic – and economical. But let’s face it, it can suck for speed. We ask this faithful platform to achieve so much, and it faithfully struggles to deliver!
A great way to test site speed is with Pingdom.com’s Speed Test page.
To keep your customers delighted with your online presence, it’s important to focus on site performance. In our new article we detail three often-overlooked methods for boosting performance:
Check your host
Not all hosts are created equal. Those guys charging you $5 / month to serve your site might have worked great for that site you designed in 2007 in Dreamweaver, but times have changed, and with the increased flexibility offered by WordPress you’re going to have to throw a bit of love at it. Shared hosting isn’t quite perfect. You’ll need at a minimum, managed WordPress hosting, and ideally some sort of dedicated server or allocated resources.
It doesn’t really matter who you choose to host your site, as long as you have enough resources available to you, and they understand WordPress’s needs. Dreamhost, Bluehost, Rackspace, as well as other, managed options like Websynthesis are all good options that could speed up WordPress on your site.
Cache and minify
WordPress works by pulling bits and pieces of posts and pages together from a database, and generating a website from fragments in real-time. This isn’t easy, and as your site and your audience grows you will notice it taxes the system more and more. You can help relieve the pressure on your servers by having the site create cache versions of important pages. It simply creates a version of the dynamic, database-driven site, and translates it into a static page which is easy to serve to visitors.
There are a couple of really good cache plugins for WordPress: W3 Total Cache and WP-SuperCache. Setup of these plugins can be complex and outside the scope of this post. Generally, WP-SuperCache is the simpler option, and W3TC, while more powerful, takes a bit more knowledge and effort to configure. Shared host sites are probably best using WP-SuperCache.
Use a CDN
All those images and scripts you have on your site? They slow it down! Try offloading some of that heavy lifting to the big players – Amazon, NetDNA, Cloudflare etc. It’s called using a Content Delivery Network, and it really helps. You simply send your large files off to a third party, and using a CDN plugin on your site, you set it up to deliver those files from the third party. Hello Speed!
These three techniques are a great start when you want to speed up WordPress. If you’re overwhelmed or need help, drop us a line and we can help.
According to this Pew study, 56% of Americans have smart phones of one kind or another. If your website isn’t optimized for small screens you may be alienating half the market! There are a couple of options for making sites look good on mobile devices, but the current best practice according to Google is Responsive Web Design.
What is Responsive Web Design?
The whole concept of Responsive Web Design arose when we started looking at sites on mobile devices. Most of these devices have screens that are narrower than our desktop machines. This means that websites designed for full-width desktop screens look either too small or just plain strange on the very narrow mobile devices.
Responsive Web Design (RWD) compensates for this by using rules to re-draw the web page depending on the width of the viewer’s screen. It’s basically the same page, but its just handled differently by the browser on the device. You can tell if a website is responsive by simply re-sizing the screen width. If the appearance changes when you reduce the width, you’re looking at a responsive website.
Advantages of RWD
Have you ever visited a website on your phone and it just didn’t look right? Maybe it was all small, or some items were laid out off the side of the page. It’s pretty frustrating and often can be a huge turn-off for your customers. A responsive design caters to the screen size and automatically re-draws so everything is in view.
Using good RWD practices it’s even possible to make buttons larger for touch-screen devices so they’re easier to push with your fingers, compared to your mouse.
Responsive vs. Adaptive web design
Another option to make websites compatible with mobile devices is for the serving site to actually detect which device is requesting the website and serve a different page for the device. This is known as Adaptive Web Design. The difference here is that RWD doesn’t care who loads the page, only the width of the viewing device screen, whereas Adaptive tailors the content to the device.
They’re both good options, but at RemedyOne we prefer Responsive web design. It fits with our style of keeping things simple. We don’t care which device looks at the page- we just adjust for screen sizes. It’s simpler, quicker, and is the generally recommended practice in web design.
Another potential weakness with an adaptive approach is that often mobile devices don’t identify themselves properly when they request websites. With the fast pace of technological improvements, device identification can be tough to keep up with. This is less of a problem with responsive web design because your site doesn’t need to know the ‘who’ of the device – just the ‘how wide’!
In some cases, you might not need your site to be responsive, or an adaptive site might even be a better option for your company site. As a leading San Diego web design company, RemedyOne should be your first call for responsive web design. And once we’ve got your responsive site up and running, we can make sure it’s optimized for search, conversions and help you use your site as a business development tool to grow your company.
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