Designing Your Web Presence in 2014
These days, it's pretty much a given that if you have a business, you need to have a web presence. However, what that presence is made of is unique to each brand or organization (or at least, should be). In addition to a website, many companies opt to utilize social media and other networking tools to help expand their reach.
For this reason, it is very important that your entire web presence reflects your brand in design and message, not just your website. Welcome to 2014.
Designing Your Website
Many of the traditional principles of good web design are still alive and well. A quality logo, appealing color scheme, modern design trends and attractive imagery are all still important elements to consider when building your site, while user experience and organization of content have made their way to the forefront.
However, the biggest change in modern web design is being driven by the shift to a mobile-first approach for accessing the Internet. As smartphones become more affordable and tablets become more popular, researchers have found that more and more Americans are using these devices to go online, forgoing their laptops and PCs. This means that non-responsive websites or sites without a dedicated mobile alternative may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
Responsive vs. Mobile Site
There's still quite a bit of controversy surrounding this topic from a professional standpoint, but it is our recommendation that (in most cases) a responsive website is the best solution when designing for mobile users. Here's why:
- While it costs a little more upfront, once your site is built on a responsive framework, it will stay that way.
- You only have to maintain and update one site.
- A responsive site adjusts to the device it's being viewed on, so your site will always show the best version for each viewer.
- It is Google's recommended configuration for mobile search engine optimization.
Designing Your Social Presence
It's very easy to forget what your social pages actually look like, especially if you use social media management tools or are strapped for time. However, these brand pages are almost equally as important as your website, since they very well could be the first impression a visitor has of your company or organization.
Using branded imagery to build out your cover photos and create custom app buttons are simple tasks that will have a big impact on the overall look of your page. Taking the time to properly size images for sharing (or better yet, creating your own) can also have a positive impact. TIP: If you don't have Photoshop, there are plenty of free web-based images editors out there. We like Pixlr.
How You Can Stay Current
Since web technology is constantly changing, the need to stay current will ultimately affect your website design. We still recommend a re-design every other year or so, in order to keep your site fresh and interesting for your target audience. Alternately, with our new 360 CMS, users have complete control of their website themes (as well as content), allowing them to change many of the graphic elements of their site, such as the color scheme and background images, as they please.
Is your Fission site in need of a new look? Are you interested in learning more about 360 CMS? Click here to learn more about the design services offered at 360 PSG.