Upcoming Trends in Web Design

Posted: Friday February 17th

With new technologies in web design appearing every year, it is more important than ever for web designers to keep in touch with the latest trends and jump on the bandwagon lest they be left behind with the dinosaurs of the industry. Thanks to constantly increasing Internet speeds and new and improved technologies, web designers also have more opportunity to unleash their creativity. Web designers should no longer feel the need to provide standard designs which offer little that’s unique and memorable.

Over the next year, we will very likely see an abundance of new trends in web design. A lot of this is also due to the fact that there are more ways of connecting to the Internet than there ever has been. Gone are the days where Internet browsing was restricted to computers. Today, many people get online with tablet computers, ultra-portable netbook computers and iPhones as well as other mobile browsing devices. To reach the largest audience possible, web designers are going to need to expand their outlook and start getting involved in new areas. Following are some of the most significant trends that we can expect to see over the next year.

Touch-Screen Browsing

Touch-screen browsing is nothing new, but it’s about to get a whole lot more widespread. Touch-screen browsing is no longer going to be restricted to mobile devices such as tablet computers and smartphones.

Touch-screen monitors for desktop computers and laptops are already starting to make an appearance. In 2012, Windows 8 will also be upon us. Windows 8 introduces a whole new interface style inspired by the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 operating system as well as other mobile operating systems. Although most desktop users will continue to use a keyboard and mouse for some time, touch-screen input is inevitably going to take over. Internet Explorer 10, which will be shipped with Windows 8, will use the new “Metro” interface for full-screen browsing optimized for touch-screen input as well as keyboard and mouse input.

Many websites are already being optimized for touch-screen usage and web developers will want to get involved if they don’t want to get left behind.


It wasn’t so long ago that web designers were, for the most part, restricted to using only a few different fonts and standard, repetitive designs were the norm. For many years, this has made the majority of websites look rather similar in their appearance in many respects. The typography trend is one which has been growing over the past couple of years and there’s little chance of this changing in 2012 with the increasing popularity of dynamic fonts and font replacement technologies.

High-Definition Media

More and more people are connecting to the Internet with ultra-fast broadband connections. This has given rise to a demand for higher-quality content such as high-definition video and large, quality images and other graphics. With compression, rendering and optimization better than ever before, there’s no excuse for using low-quality, blurry images in a website.

High-definition media is already becoming standard and, to leave a good impression on their visitors, web designers need to keep up with the times. With this being said, it’s also still important to consider the large number of web users who still access the Internet through slower connections. Any site which is particularly graphically-intensive should also have a low-bandwidth version to accommodate as many surfers as possible.

How to Set Up a Website From Scratch

Posted: Thursday February 2nd

From freelance writers to major conglomerates, everybody has their own website. In this online century marketing can reach the most obscure places with the touch of a button. Can you imagine how places like the Vermont Country Store would have managed to advertise to a worldwide audience twenty years ago? Yet now they can receive orders from anywhere in our global village.
So here are some tips to get your own website up and running with the minimum of effort:

1. Web space. You need a domain provider to host your web space on their server. There are a number of cheap providers around, and you can usually obtain a decent amount of storage for just a few dollars a month. A Google search for web hosting will bring up a number of options and you need to look for a price within your budget, with a host that is not so small it will get overloaded if you get floods of traffic (which is what we all hope for). Once you have signed up for the package, you can choose a domain name (which may cost extra) and you then have your web space.

2. Create the website. Most people have heard of the website design program Dreamweaver, which is a good resource if you can afford the price tag. However, there are more basic programs that can create a reasonable web-page for anybody with design flair. If you have Microsoft Office installed on your machine then you are likely to have the program FrontPage. This is a basic web-page creator that will fulfill the needs of most users. You may need to be a bit creative, but, for the novice, this can be an excellent tool, and there are plenty of websites offering various resources to dress up your page. Just be aware that less is more. An overcrowded web-page can send traffic elsewhere quicker than the blink of an eye.

3. Uploading your web-page. Once you have your web space, and your finished pages, it is time to upload all the information to the server. Typically, this involves signing into your ISP account (details of which you would have been given at sign up) and logging into your web space. This is often more tricky than it sounds. Once you log in there will be a folder hierarchy and you need to place your content in the right place for it to show. The host will usually have a control panel where you first access your website and this should tell you which folder you need to use. This will be your root folder. You need to place your homepage (the first page you wish the public to see) in this folder and make sure the server knows this is the homepage (the host will usually give instructions on how to do this). Once the website address is entered into the browser the homepage is the resource that will be collected from the server. If the homepage is located in the wrong folder the server will not be able to find it and your website will not load.

4. Images and Data. You need to be aware that if you have any items like jpegs, gifs or data files that need to display as part of your pages these need to be copied across to the server separately. The page design will just place holders where pictures, or data files, are to be displayed. The server will then link the separate files into the form so they need to be on the server for them to be available. It is usual practice to set up separate folders for the pictures, or data files, within the web space, but you must ensure all links from the placeholders point to the correct directory and file. Making sure that the hyperlink for the resource correctly indicates the location of your item ensures this happens. If the links aren’t correct all the user will see is a box with a red cross in the corner. So make sure to preview the pages before you go live.

5. FTP Programs. You will need to use FTP protocols to upload your content. Although you can do this through the control panel it is often easier to upload with a separate FTP program. There are many freeware versions on the Internet so choose one that is fairly easy to use as this can get quite complicated. You need to set the destination folder in the program settings, which will be the root folder as specified earlier, and then you need to tell the program which files you want to upload to the server. Again, if you have image or data files that need to be placed elsewhere, you will need to change the destination folder.

Once all your files are in place you just need to test the domain name by typing it in your address bar, as you would any other website, and check that your web-pages show up correctly. If not then you need to check that your homepage is set properly. This can be a frustrating process so, if all else fails, most hosts have an online help-centre where you can chat to an operator via a small chat-box. They can easily guide you through the first stages to set the website up correctly. Once the domain name shows the correct web-page then you’re away.

This is just a basic outline of the process but will enable any budding webmasters to get started. Of course, nobody will find your site without a bit of help. For this you need to register with search engines (so they know you exist) and maybe do a bit of advertising if your budget stretches to this. However, these are large and in-depth subjects and need to be discussed in another article.

Mobile Website Design Tips

Posted: Friday December 2nd

Today, more and more people are searching online for information, products, and services with their mobile devices. In order for your business to reach mobile users, a mobile version of your website is necessary. Unfortunately, traditional websites are not optimized for the mobile phone. Here are some design tips to keep in mind when setting up your mobile website.

Mobile websites should load fast and display simple graphics. If your website is Flash heavy, it will be problematic for most smart phones and will not load properly. Many of the images used on websites tend to load slower in mobile browsers. For mobile sites you want to use very few graphics, and more text links. If your website loads too slowly, users will click away and look for information elsewhere.

While smart phones offer more capability than other types of devices, your website should be accessible to all mobile phones. Minimize scrolling through your pages as much as possible. You should also have smaller amounts of text on the page and use links to allow your visitors to access additional content.

Make sure the most important information is the easiest to find. Users should be able to easily locate your contact information, location, directions, and anything else that is important to your business. They should not get lost in a sea of web pages searching for the information they require.

You do not need to create a new domain name for your mobile website. Instead, concentrate on promoting and branding one URL. You can place mobile website code into your traditional website, so your site can sense when mobile browsers are connecting, and forward them to the mobile version.

Another important aspect of designing your mobile website is to test it on a number of devices. Different phones such as the iPhone and the Android will display your website differently. In addition, larger tablet devices like the iPad have their own display requirements. You want to make sure your site looks and works well on a variety of devices.

Your mobile website design should feature the most important aspects of your current website. By offering immediately accessible information first, you can easily reach those mobile visitors who are looking to buy your product or service. The mobile version of your website will play an increasingly important role in how your visitors reach you.

A Simple Solution for the Single Most Common and Crippling Mistake Made By the Best Website Designers

Posted: Thursday September 1st

You knew you could find a cheap or free design template, but that wasn’t the path you chose. You wanted your internet business to stand out, to be different. It would feature original content. It would be useful. It would be a website your spouse, your friends, and maybe investors would love to visit. This wasn’t about building just another anonymous website designed to get a few random clicks. This was about building something: something real, something substantial, something you could be proud of. You needed a beautiful web design.

Website owners who want to create or redesign a quality website will often begin by visiting the design showcases of elite web designers. Those who do are often impressed by the sheer ingenuity of the web design elite. A good designer can turn a staid website on the benefits of actuarial accounting into a destination visitors will find delightful and view as authoritative. Other designers encourage sales with light and airy designs that can alter a visitor’s mood. Still others make the most internet business in the world seem fun and absorbing.

But before you hire a high-end web designer, you should be aware of one extremely common and crippling problem: most do not design websites with advertising in mind. Talented, high-end designers are mainly concerned with the look, feel, and mood of a design. They may also focus on a website’s usability. But advertising? Advertising is an afterthought. Designers will often not incorporate advertising space into a mock-up until the very end of the design process. Sometimes, they will neglect to incorporate ad space into a design completely.

This is often the fault of the customer, not the designer. A customer may tell a designer he is building a finance website that will include a blog, a stock ticker, and space for material from regular columnists. The designer, accordingly, will create a website with these components, plus a header, footer, and menu. Sometimes it is only after the design is completed that the customer looks at the design and begins to wonder where he will put his ads.

Professional design schools are also to blame. They teach students to focus on navigation, content, colors, footers, and other usability design elements and may as a consequence completely ignore the importance of advertising. In addition, high quality designers may feel that the advertising or product placement aspect of a website is less interesting and exciting than its colors, its ‘flow,’ or its background graphic.

The solution is simple. A savvy entrepreneur must communicate the importance of advertising to the designer clearly and unambiguously throughout the collaborative process. When he does, the final design will yield better results.

When speaking with your designer, do not describe your website as a mere finance website. Tell the designer you are building an AdSense or affiliate marketing internet business. Then refer to the website as an “AdSense-driven finance website” whenever you discuss the project. Candidly explain that the business will fail if the design does not direct the attention of viewers to advertising. The principle is simple: a designer will design differently for an “affiliate marketing carpentry website” than he will for a “carpentry website.” Insist throughout the process that the design direct the focus of visitors to advertising or affiliate links.

Wise internet entrepreneurs explain that they expect all design mock-ups to feature space for advertising from the beginning. Some designers may nevertheless provide an initial mock-up that does not incorporate ads and explain that “I wanted to just get the basics down, we can add the advertising later.” In this case, firmly explain that the ads are “the basics” and will be the lifeblood of the website. A website with an ineffective header or navigation menu might succeed. But it cannot succeed if its design does not direct proper attention to its advertising.

Finally, remember that you, not the designer, are the final authority on how your website will look. You are paying the designer, and have a right to a design that meets your specifications. Respect the designer’s expertise, but do not allow him to create a design that is more artistic than useful.
Internet marketers that follow these simple guidelines will find profits and communication improve markedly.