Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Website Design’

Website Design Trends for 2014

by Ryan Grassie - Dec. 17, 2013 at 2:38pm

The Web is always changing and what was super “in” this year may not be the same for 2014. There are various design trends to follow for your website for the next year. There are cool new techniques and concepts that are constantly upgrading the user experience for your users. Your website content, website design and online marketing features can always be tweaked to provide a better UI for your visitors. While a 2014 website design trend may not be specifically geared for your target audience, it’s a great idea to keep on top of  what’s out there and what is popular for all types of website design. Website design is now utilizing various responsive designs to handle all of the traffic from mobile devices, and this will only continue to evolve further in 2014. Here’s a look at some of the other website design trends you can expect this year:

More Focus on Content

The main thing that every online marketer should be paying more attention to is content. As Google and other search engines place more and more emphasis on stronger, high quality, original content, you need to be evaluating your blog articles and news items to determine whether your content is meeting these new standards. Use a professional writer if you need to. Content will be focused around the website user while also using social signals, originally written articles and semantic search keywords to drive traffic – this will be a large player in the success of a page’s rank. Content must be fully accessible and available on all mobile platforms, but it must also be easily indexed and readable by the major search engines.

Simple Web Design Techniques

By making your content more accessible and readable, you should also focus on a more simple site design. Your site should utilize responsive designs in order for users to access your site all over the globe from whatever device they are browsing with. This means that content strategy, UX, accessibility, visual design and usability will all play a role in the 2014 web design trends. For now, sites have to be readable and easily navigated by users on any device.

User-Centered Design

Design trends are also looking at what the user wants in a website. Ideally, you are providing all kinds of content, authoritative links, resources, images and video in a simplified fashion that allows users access from whatever device. The user experience should be looked at as an extension of how your brand interacts with an audience. If it’s easy to access all of your information, products, blog, social media and profile, then you are in a better standing to get more traffic, sales and social signals from all types of users.

App Interfaces

Desktop websites have been transforming at a pretty incredible rate. Web builders and designers are choosing imitation app style site-design. This makes it easier for users to find all of the content that they want in fewer clicks.

Single Page Design

You definitely won’t see too many sites with the “.mobi” mobile sites any more. The new 2014 trend is towards fully responsive designs that utilize a single page and unify both desktop and mobile versions into one single website. This helps for keeping things up to date as well. There is a new evolution taking place that will allow your multiple devices to access all your web pages. While there used to be an argument for adaptive design, it’s now headed for responsive design.

Adaptive vs Responsive Design

Adaptive vs responsive first began as the mobile browsing trend started to grow in the internet. Ottawa website designers no longer wanted to have a completely separate design for their mobile users. As cross-platform technologies continued to get better it has evolved beyond adapting a site to meet the demands of mobile users. Now it’s more about a single design that will change depending on the screen size, operating system and device that a website visitor uses to access a specific page. The question now becomes how to change over from adaptive vs responsive design to completely responsive designs in 2014.

Less Decoration, More Purpose

The visual trends are going towards a more simple minimalist design including flat colors, design-focused fonts and less decoration. Scalable CSS elements and responsive images are imperative for all of the users accessing the web through various mobile devices. Design elements and images are also optimized for retina displays and faster Internet connections. High resolution screens will be very important to how Ottawa website designers upgrade for future web trends.

2013 – The Year of Responsive Web Designs

by Ryan Grassie - Feb. 4, 2013 at 2:53pm

With more than 6000 different competing types of mobile devices in the world today, the need to understand designing for the mobile environment has become an increasingly difficult task for marketers. Creating websites for mobile has traditionally been to choose one of two paths – create a single website and acknowledge that your content will be scaled to a small format or create a separate mobile site which will have limited content/functionality for the mobile user.

Responsive Design could be the answer and an “easier” approach to mobile for organizations. This article tries to explain what it is and how it could be used.

Responsive Web Design is an approach to a flexible website foundation — the ability for content to adjust (or respond) to hardware and resolutions. To understand the full responsive approach, it is important to understand the following terms and how they fit into the complete marketing solution.

Continue reading →

Does Your Small Business Need a Website?

by Ryan Grassie - Jan. 31, 2013 at 3:08pm

My business is pretty small, just me and two employees, and our product really can’t be sold online. Do I really need to build a website?

This question is one of the most important and most frequently asked questions of the digital business age.  Should your small business have a website, even if your business is very small and sells products or services you don’t think can be sold online? The answer is Yes, if you have a business, you should have a website. Period. No question. Without a doubt.

Also, don’t be so quick to dismiss your product as one that can’t be sold online. These days, there’s not much that can’t be sold over the net. More than 40 million shoppers are now online, purchasing everything from e-books to computers to cars to real estate to jet airplanes to natural gas to you name it. If you can imagine it, someone will figure out how to sell it online.

Let me clarify one point: I’m not saying you should put all your marketing efforts into selling your product or service over the internet, but if your product is easy to sell online, you should certainly be considering it as part of your plan. You should at the very least have a good presence on the web so that customers, potential hires, business partners and perhaps even investors can quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer.

With that said, it’s not enough that you just have a website. You must have a professional looking website if you want to be taken seriously and not look micky mouse. Since many of your consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, your site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer. If your site looks like it was designed by a barrel of colorblind donkeys, your chance at making a good first impression will be gone.

One of the greatest perks about the internet is that it has leveled the playing field when it comes to competing with the big box stores. You have one shot at making a good first impression. With a well-designed website, your little firm can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company. The inverse is also true. I’ve seen many big company websites that were so badly designed and hard to navigate that they completely lacked professionalism and credibility. Good for your business, too bad for theirs.

It really doesn’t matter that your business is a small operation, when it comes to benefiting from a website, size does not matter. I don’t care if you’re a one-man show or a 10,000-employee corporate giant; if you don’t have a well built and designed website, you’re losing business everyday to other companies that do.

The One Exception to the “always need a website” rule

Here’s the exception to the rule: It’s actually better to have no website at all than to have one that makes your business look bad. Your site speaks volumes about your business. It either says, “Hey, look, we take our business very seriously and because of that we have created this wonderful website for our customers!” or it screams, “Hey, look, I let my 15-year-old nephew design my site. Good luck finding anything or viewing it on a mobile device!”

Your website is a very important part of your business and marketing mix. Make sure you treat it as such.

10 Ways to Improve Your Local Search Engine Results

by Ryan Grassie - Dec. 4, 2012 at 2:33pm

There are many things you can be doing with your website to help you gain more traction in your local search results. For example, we always want to be first in the “Ottawa Website Design”, “Kanata Web Design”, “Stittsville Web Design”, etc. Here are some great tips on how you can make this happen.

Make sure that you have a crawler friendly web site
The very first step in improving your performance in local search engines is to make sure that the search engines can easily crawl your site. Minimize the use of tables, and avoid deeply nested tables. Make sure that your business name, address, and contact information is featured prominently on the page as text, and not hidden from the crawlers in an image file. Your homepage title should include your business name, address and key words. Place a “H1” header near the top of the page that also has your business name, address, and local keywords in it.

Include your business address twice on the page
In addition to placing your business address prominently on the page, also include it in the footer. Abbreviate the business province in one of the addresses, and spell it out in the second iteration. Abbreviated provinces are sometimes misinterpreted by the crawlers.

Local blog articles
Write blog articles that include content that is written for your local followers. Using local keywords will be adding valuable content to your site.

Check out your business listing on the major search engines
Check out your business listings on Google, Yahoo Local, and MSN Live Search. If your business is not found, you should submit a listing at Google, Yahoo, and Superpages (for Microsoft Live Search).

For each listing, make sure that your contact info is correct, your business description is complete, and that it uses the same keywords that you are using on your web site. Make sure that your description has all the info that your potential customers will need to contact you. Include the county in addition to the city on your business listing. Finally, check out any photos of your business on the business directories, and provide better photos when you can.

Get your business rated
Ask your satisfied customers to write reviews and rate your business at Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Ask them to use the same keywords that you use in the business description and on your web site as part of their review. Don’t add too many reviews over a short period of time, and make sure that the reviews are very unique.

Solicit local links
Find a bunch of web directories that are local to your area, and ask them to link to your web site. Contact your local chambers of commerce (there are 2 in Ottawa) and ask them to link to your business from their web site.

Check out your competition
Do a local search for your business keywords (i.e. Web Design, Ottawa, ON) and see who your competition is. Find out who is linking to your competitors and investigate whether you can get the same sites to link to your business website. The links can be determined by going to Yahoo and typing “linkdomain:” and then your competitor’s web site (i.e. Click on “inlinks” in the results page.

Check inlinks for your site as well, and see who is linking to you. Make sure that the information on those sites is correct, and contact them if it isn’t.

Verify directory information
Check out your business listing on your local phone company site and other local phone directory sites. Make sure that your business information and description are what you want. Also, make sure that your information is correct at InfoUSA, Amacai, and Acxiom, which are major sources of local business data licensed by many directories.

Create separate web pages for different cities/regions
If your business serves multiple cities or regions, consider creating separate web pages for the different locals. It will take some time, but can really pay off in the end. To avoid duplicate content issues, be sure to have very unique, relevant content on each of the local specific pages. You can use online plagiarism tools to be sure your not content stealing. Be sure to include the county in addition to the city in describing your business.


Why Use a Local Ottawa Website Design Firm?

by Ryan Grassie - Aug. 21, 2012 at 2:28pm

In today’s online world it’s possible to connect instantly with people all over the planet. Many of the people doing website design and copywriting services come from faraway places with no idea of where Ottawa is on the map. This can create problems when businesses choose to outsource work rather than using local web design companies.

It’s tempting to cut costs by outsourcing your work to providers advertising through the internet, but there are a number of reasons why you’ll be happier with the final results when you use a local Ottawa provider.

As small businesses add websites and internet services to their marketing mix it can be easy to lose sight of local customers who want to ‘see’ the face of who they’re doing business with. Your website should be able to reflect an understanding of the local culture and the local business climate. And, that’s not going to happen if your web designer is in India.

A local web design company has roots in your community, shops in the same kinds of stores and understands the commerce and people in your area. The cultural feel of a particular state is unique; your business caters to that special characteristic and your website should reflect that same feeling.

Good Business Practices- Hiring Local

Your clientele is made up of local people who frequent your business and support their local community. It makes sense that you would do the same for your business needs. It is easier to work with someone in your own state from a logistical point of view. And, if content or design need to be modified or updated you can easily contact the web designer and work to make the necessary changes.

Often, a remote website designer will simply disappear after the original contract has been met (or not) and the business owner is left without a way to address issues. That won’t happen when you’re working with local Ottawa providers. Their reputation is based on references and the good old fashioned word of mouth referral as well as their expertise.
At ForceFive Media, we work with clients looking for web design in the Ottawa area and also across the nation (We do a bunch of work in the USA – But we have a project lead who is from there). Website design is our business; we’re available when you need us. When you come to us for a website design, revamping of content, online marketing, search engine optimization or other services, we will show you a portfolio of work performed for other Ottawa-based businesses. Our commitment is to work with the local communities to enhance their business services.

So, to recap why your business would profit from working with a local Ottawa provider:

  • The local web design company knows the community and your business needs.
  • Cultural and language barriers are less likely to be present. Local providers speak the same language and work in the same time zone.
  • Local providers are available for ongoing work and consultation services.
  • When outsourcing web design services you can’t really be sure who is actually doing your work and how committed they will be to your outcome – the best web design for your business needs.

Yes, we might be more expensive than outsourcing work to remote providers or contractors, but we believe that our full book of services and support will enhance your business. Call us today.