User Experience 101

Best User Experience Design Practices – Digital Style

Marketers can’t escape hearing about website best practices, including a lot of terminologies that are better suited for their designers and developers. One term that is casually tossed around is “user experience,” also known as simply UX.

This might sound like a simple concept, but it is actually very complex and involves several customer touchpoints. Before diving head first into all things UX, here’s a crash course on some of the basic concepts you should know about UX.

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color of the year

5 Ways to Incorporate Pantone Color Of The Year In Your Website

Each year, Pantone releases the color of the year, and it has widespread commercial implications. The color influences interior design, fashion, digital designs, and so much more.

Sometimes, the color of the year will be something that directly connects to your brand. At those times, incorporating it into your web design will be a no-brainer.

Other times, the selected color will pose what seems like an impossible challenge to your marketing team. The 2018 color of the year, Ultra Violet, has been one of those times for many brands. This strong purple color was met with some panic; purples often invoke a yay or nay response, with little middle ground.

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web design frustration

7 Most Common Web Design Mistakes Companies Should Avoid

The Internet continues to be one of the most popular resources that people use when they are researching a company or product. Despite that, there are still some very basic – and easy to remedy – mistakes that businesses make on their websites. Here are seven common website mistakes that companies still make, and some ways to avoid making them yourself:

1. Static Design

All websites should be using responsive design. There is just no way around this. Today’s searches aren’t just done on desktop computers, they are also done on mobile phones and tablets. Think about your own search habits: how often are you using a desktop device vs. a mobile device? If that isn’t enough to convince you, don’t forget that Google actually penalizes websites that aren’t responsive by giving them less weight in search results. Just read these 6 Undeniable Reasons Why Your Website Should Be Responsive and never think about static design again.

2. Thoughtless Design

Each piece of your website real estate should be considered when you are working on your design. Your navigation, your headers, your sidebars, your footers – all of these areas are just as important as the main content areas of your website. Don’t get lazy, and don’t fill those areas with ads, either.

3.Confusing Design

The main reason that people visit your website is to find information. If your design makes the most basic information difficult to find, you’ll see high abandon rates. The main rule is to design for what the customer wants to find, not what you want to say. Some A/B testing should help you determine the most viewed content, as well as the best location for that content.

4. Outdated Design

Websites require a lot of maintenance, from updating your content to keeping your site secure. Either you or your digital marketing agency should actively be monitoring your themes and plugins – above and beyond your auto-update options. You should also make sure that you are removing outdated content, optimizing existing content, and fixing broken links.

5. Bait and Switch Design

If you use outgoing links to microsites from your main site, you might end up confusing your website visitors. Once on a microsite, users might be looking for your main website’s navigation, or a way to get back to where they were. Try to minimize the use of microsites when you can, but if you must use them, make sure they open in a new browser tab so that visitors aren’t shut out from your main website.

6. Big Design

This one is simple: bad website design uses large image and video files that slow down your website’s load time. Optimized websites will have better ranking in Google search, as well as lower site abandon weights.

7. Annoying Design

A big mistake that is still happening with website design is the improper use of pop ups and advertising. An entry and exit pop up is completely acceptable; a pop up for every page, or after every minute is not acceptable. You also want to minimize distractions, so don’t annoy your visitors with advertisements that cover both sidebars and your header.

If you’re looking for more web design mistakes you should avoid, be sure to read 7 Web Design Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make.



Web Design

4 Website Design Tips To Increase Lead Engagement for Your Brand

If your brand was on a dating app, would your leads swipe left, or right?

This is not a silly question; website design has more in common with a dating profile than you may realize at first. Both are often the first place that people will go to learn about you, and to make snap judgements. On dating apps, people can swipe left in seconds, and on websites people abandon your site after just a moment on the homepage.

Here are some ways that you can use website design to get your leads to not only swipe right on your brand, but to fall head over heels in love.

First Impressions

Choosing a profile image on a dating site is a big decision, and there have even been studies conducted about it that conclude what should and shouldn’t be included – from the setting to the clothing color. Should your dog or cat be included? Should you smile? Should you be indoors or outdoors? While a website design doesn’t need that exact set of questions, there is definitely research out there that details what works, what doesn’t, and what questions you should be asking. Your homepage is like your dating profile image – it has the impossible task of summing up what your brand is about with just a glance. Don’t underestimate the power your website design has.  

Clear Brand Identity

Imagine a dating profile that has the “vegetarian” box checked, but also includes pictures of the person eating chicken or ribs. That’s confusing. You can’t get a good idea of who the person is, and, worse yet, they have lost your trust. Are they lying? Is that just an old photo? Your leads shouldn’t be vexed with those types of questions when they visit your website. Your design should clearly communicate your brand’s identity. Use a single, consistent logo. Stick to one tagline, and make sure that tagline connects to your mission statement.

Emotional Connections

Why do some people choose to include pets in their profiles, while others include their love for pizza? They are sharing the things that they have an emotional connection to, and, in turn, they are hoping to build an emotional connection with the people that visit their profile. Your website design can use color, font, and spacing to help achieve emotional connections. Of course, the content is important too, but the design is what will catch the heart.Web Design Love Angel

Name Dropping

Name dropping can be annoying, but if used correctly it be a reflection of your brand. On a dating profile, someone might say that their friends think they are kind, or funny, or generous. A brand can utilize their website design to include space for both testimonials and a staff showcase. Testimonials let your leads see what others think of you, while staff showcases let your leads see how you think of your brand.

For more website dating advice, be sure to read 6 Pieces of Dating Advice for Developing Better Content.

Lead generation laptop

3 Common Lead Generation Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Every successful sale starts with lead generation. Buying leads is never going to yield the same results as organic leads, but it can be tough to get your design and marketing just right. The effort should not be abandoned, however, since valuable leads help a sales team thrive.

Difficult or not, generating leads is and will remain a high priority for marketers in the years to come. Finding the balance between quality and quantity for leads needs a well thought-out strategy. Here are some of the common lead generation mistakes that you should consider with your internal and external teams while developing your plan for success.


Design Mistakes

It’s said that you only get one shot at a first impression, and for lead generation, that first impression is going to hinge on the design of your landing pages. Well, to be fair the first impression really starts with the page load. If your website design doesn’t allow for fast and full page loading, you’ll lose your sale before it even becomes a lead. Your landing pages should also carry over your brand’s overall look and feel. Stay away from gimmicky trends that will confuse your audience about who your brand is and what they have to offer.


Keep the design of your landing pages consistent, and follow these basic guidelines:

  •       Keep your form above the page fold
  •       Don’t muck up your lead generation process with too many points for conversion
  •       Don’t busy up your landing pages with a bunch of competing content
  •       Don’t hide your call to action


Messaging Mistakes

Your internal research, paired with expert recommendations from your digital marketing agency, should help you craft the right messages for the right audiences. Despite having more access than ever before to all kinds of data, marketers still struggle to find the right message. Here are a few mistakes that marketers make with their lead generation messages:

  •       Ignoring pain points. You should be working with your sales team to identify the pain points in the industry, and you should be using those pain points in your messages. Call out how your product or service can solve those pain points. Sure, you want to talk about your features and benefits, but you need to weave those around a story about how you’ll solve a problem.
  •       Forgetting to nurture leads. Your messaging should be changing as your leads move through your funnel. If you just bombard them with a constant “buy now” message, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to educate your leads and turn them into loyal, long-term customers.
  •       Offering nothing. If you want your leads to give up their professional or personal contact information, you need to be willing to offer them something of value in return – for free. Go through your blog and webinar archives and recycle the content into an eBook or a highlights video with tips and tricks.lead generation mistakes

Form Mistakes

Once your leads are impressed enough with your web design and the value you are offering them in return for their information, you still aren’t home free. Your landing page form is still a point of contact that can make or break your lead generation. Do some A/B testing to find the right balance for your forms, but in general, try to keep them short by prioritizing the information that will be most important for your sales team.  

For more on forms and lead generation be sure to read Is Your Lead Generation Process Killing Your Lead Generation?