Monthly Archives: March 2017

Big Changes to the Internet

To keep up with the fast paced changes of the internet, web-hosting company Weebly used its own site to show how even in just the past 10 years, web design and the internet have come a long way.

Looking through the lens of Weebly’s website, here are 11 things we forgot we knew about the internet:

1. 2006: MySpace and Internet Explorer were on top.

In 2006, the web was a whole different beast. Weebly says that there was little desire for intricate web design in 2006. “MySpace was still a thing, and Weebly’s headquarters was a Penn State dorm room,” Weebly told The Next Web.

At this time, most internet users accessed the web through Internet Explorer, Facebook extended beyond educational institutions and Jack Dorsey sent his first tweet. MySpace was king of social media platforms, with more than 75 million users.

2. 2007: Apple releases the iPhone, and the mobile-friendly seed is planted.

In 2007, the idea that websites should become mobile-friendly came into play, with the release of Apple’s first generation iPhone.

Blackberry was the phone of choice at the time, with 36 percent of Americans in 2007 saying they would have a hard time giving up their Blackberry devices, according to Pew Research Center.

3. 2008: Mobile-friendly considerations continue.

In 2008, the web was available via Android smartphones and iPhones, and website owners began to realize the value of becoming mobile-friendly.

4. 2009: The web turns to “at a glance” content.

Weebly had a drastic website makeover in 2009.

Also in 2009, 69 percent of U.S. residents turned to the internet for information on the recession, rivaling print and television media; Twitter had a breakout year, earning a valuation of $1 billion; and Facebook added more than 200 million new users.

5. 2010: Photos start to make an entrance.

In 2010, photo-sharing social media is introduced. Both Pinterest and Instagram launched, signaling the importance of photos online. Web users also became interested in apps, as 35 percent of adults had cell phones that featured apps in 2010.

6. 2011: LTE allows for faster access.

In 2011, LTE began to take hold, which allowed for faster internet speeds and gave designers the opportunity to add more details to websites.

Also in 2011, Google Plus launched and LinkedIn hit 100 million users and its stock is offered on the New York Stock Exchange.

7. 2012: The year of Facebook.

While Weebly’s website shows little change between 2011 and 2012, this was the year of Facebook.

In 2012, Facebook reached 1 billion users and bought Instagram, again showing that photos are becoming important online. The social network also debuted on the NASDAQ.

8. 2013: Photos officially take hold on the internet.

In 2013, full-bleed photos started to become popular, according to The Next Web. To match this trend, Weebly’s website changed drastically to include more visual elements and prominent photography.

9. 2014: We’re introduced to the immersive experience.

In 2014, Weebly made its website immersive. Having an immersive experience — one with transitions, graphics that tell a story and layers — became commonplace.

Also in 2014, mobile devices accounted for 25 percent of all web usage and tablets shipments increased by 53 percent.

10. 2015: Scrolling and interactive sites take over.

In 2015, websites began to abort the “above the fold” mentality (important content is all placed in the top sections of the page so you don’t have to scroll) and truly became interactive.

Weebly’s website followed this trend, becoming much more immersive, forcing visitors to actively scroll down to find content.

The 2015 trend of having interactive formats and scrolling websites also stuck around into the first parts of the year.

The Most Deadly Mistakes in Website Design

 Avoid these gaffes, and your site will be far better than much of the competition.

1. Disabling the back button. Evil site authors long ago figured out how to break a browser’s back button so that when a user pushes it, one of several undesired things happen: There’s an immediate redirect to an unwanted location, the browser stays put because the “back” button has been deactivated, or a new window pops up and overtakes the screen.

2. Opening new windows. Once upon a time, using multiple new frames to display content as a user clicked through a site was cool–a new thing in web design. Now it only annoys viewers because it ties up system resources, slows computer response and generally complicates a visitor’s experience.

3. Failing to put a phone number and address in several easy-to-find locations. If you’re selling, you need to offer viewers multiple ways to contact you. The smartest route is to put up a “Contact Us” link that leads to complete info–mailing address, phone and email address. That link should be on each and every page of your website. Even if nobody ever calls, the very presence of this information adds real-world legitimacy and transparency to your site and comforts some viewers.

4. Broken links. Bad links–hyperlinks that do nothing when clicked or lead to “404” error pages–are the bane of any web surfer. Test your site–and do it weekly–to ensure that all links work as promised. Include a “Contact the Webmaster” link in your site’s footer so users can quickly let you know if they find a broken link or other mistake on your site–and fix those errors immediately.

5. Slow server times. Slow load times are inexcusable with professional sites — it’s an invitation to the visitor to click away.

6. Outdated information. Again, there’s no excuse, but it’s amazing how many sites include old, dated content. Make sure to keep your site fresh and updated daily for best results. You can’t afford the loss of credibility that can come from having dated content. Also, make sure your content is accurate, and if you should find a single error, fix it immediately.

7. Poor navigation. The internet promises speed. If surfers can’t figure out where to go next quickly and get there easily, they’ll simply surf on to the next website–your competitor’s!

8. Too many font styles and colors. Pages ought to present a unified, consistent look, but novice site builders–entranced by having hundreds of fonts at their fingertips, plus dozens of colors–frequently turn their pages into a garish mishmash. Use two or three fonts and colors per page, maximum.

9. Orphan pages. Memorize this: Every page in your site needs a readily seen link back to the home page. Sometimes users will forward a URL to friends, who may visit and may want more information. But if the page they get is a dead end, forget it.

10. Failing to link with your social network sites. Most businesses have their own Facebook pages, others use Pinterest with boards full of photos, while some broadcast their latest activities on Twitter. The point is that social media is here to stay and businesses are benefitting from having a presence in it. Forgetting to link to your social media platforms is a big no-no. People should be able to go from one to the other effortlessly.

Infinite Scrolling Right for Your Website

Facebook and other social networks such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are perfect examples of this. Other examples of infinite scrolling include Google images, Mashable, The Chicago Tribune, and small business blogs like Uberflip and CopyPress.

The pros

  • It’s great for mobile phones. Clicking small “next page” links make it hard to browse on your mobile phone. Simply scrolling up or down is much easier.
  • It helps keep readers engaged. It’s easy to keep scrolling without realizing it, whereas a “see more” link breaks up the experience.
  • It works well if you’re dealing with a lot of data. You can show more content at once, so it’s great if you have a lot of information to produce.
  • Real-time information is easiest to manage. Infinite scroll will update content immediately, so websites that count on real-time information (such as social media sites) do extremely well with infinite scroll.

The cons

  • Users can’t search for anything specific. You have to keep scrolling if you’re looking for something specific or something you saw earlier.
  • Users also can’t skip information. On that same note, you can’t skip down to new information because it hasn’t necessarily been loaded yet. Again, you have to just keep scrolling. For some, this can become very annoying.
  • Your website won’t have a footer. This means you will have to put most of that standard footer information into some sort of heading, which either may not fit or look strange. If you leave out the information, users might be confused about where to go to find your Contact or About Us page.
  • Infinite scroll uses JavaScript. This isn’t a big problem just yet, but if you’re trying to get away from JavaScript or are nervous about its future in terms of Google rankings, infinite scroll isn’t ideal.

How to tell if infinite scroll is right for you

Whether or not infinite scroll is a good thing depends entirely on your type of website/company and not on infinite scroll in general. For some it works great, for others it’s a nightmare. Here are some typical winners and losers

Winners: Entertainment websites. If all of your information is essentially the same level of importance and you aim to entertain, you want to keep people scrolling through your website as long as possible (not moving through any sort of sales funnel). There is no searching involved. This is why websites that focus on images do so well with infinite scrolling.

Losers: Ecommerce websites. Ecommerce websites wouldn’t do well with infinite scrolling because they want readers to research and jump around the site. Searching and skipping information is important, and not everything is of equal importance.

Of course, your website probably won’t fall into exactly one of these win-or-lose categories. In some situations around the web, you see sort of a mix. For example, a website that isn’t heavy on images can still make infinite scrolling work if the site includes a menu option to help people search. There is no right or wrong answer with infinite scrolling unfortunately, so it’s ultimately up to you.

Top Professional Website Builders

 To give you an insight into some of the options available, this guide is going to show you some of the top picks that you should consider. With 77 percent believing a poor website is a weakness, you need the right builder.

Which of these top professional website builders will you use for your small business website today?

1. Website Builder.

The Website Builder platform will help you to build a professional website in just three steps. Despite the simplicity of this platform, there are thousands of templates to choose from. And you don’t have to stick with the templates available. Every template is freely open to editing, so you can do what you like with it and make a completely unique website.

2. Wix.

Wix is one of the most well-known website platforms in the world. Other than WordPress, this is one of the best free website builders available. You can create practically anything using Wix, but it tends to work best with fashion and apparel websites.

3. Weebly.

Weebly is another one of the more well-known website builders on this list. It’s ideal for practically any type of business because there’s a website template for practically any niche. Weebly automatically comes with mobile friendly designs, along with compatibility with multiple browsers. One feature that you get with Weebly that you don’t get with other website builders is a personalized domain name.

4. Sitey.

Sitey comes with the drag and drop system that makes building a website to your specifications so easy.  Primarily, this is a network that sticks to using plugins and extensions to make up the bulk of its functionality. The customer service available is another plus point for Sitey.

5. IM Creator.

IM Creator uses something called “Stripes,” which are pre-customizable. This website builder is one of the easiest builders to use because you can have a professional website up and running in a matter of minutes. All the templates provided by IM Creator are retina ready, which means they are programmed to be used immediately with a live audience. All these designs can be placed onto websites that utilize hundreds of pages. With IM Creator you don’t have to worry about hosting because you automatically gain access to guaranteed unlimited hosting and bandwidth.

6. Jimdo.

If you need an ecommerce builder, Jimdo is an option that you should seriously consider. Create an online shop without all the issues associated with making your shopping cart work by downloading one of the dedicated ecommerce themes presented by Jimdo. It even caters to heavyweight ecommerce stores. You can check all the various options and features to make sure you have the functionality you need. While this is a free website builder, you do have a paid option available, which comes with a ton of additional features. However, the free version is more than capable of fulfilling your needs.