Category Archives: Small Business Website Design

Web Design Trends For 2016

Web Design Trends For 2016

Website design has come a long way since the GIFs of the 1990s, and more recent emphasis has been on flat web design.  Since Google’s drive to become more “mobile ready” last year the main emphasis has been on responsive design websites to cope with this, as it is just as important today for a website to look good on mobile devices, tablets and smartphones as on laptops and desktop computers. This means that the majority of websites are much improved when viewing them on mobile devices and are built with browsing on tablets and smartphones in mind.

Many websites today boast wide/fluid background sections along with long, vertical scrolling feature strips and hero sliders.  Parallax sites have also become increasingly common and coupled with the popularity of WordPress, despite its huge theme marketplace, it is now difficult to tell some modern sites apart. With an emphasis on simplicity and functionality becoming very popular very quickly, a bit of individuality has arguably been lost.

In 2016, there will be a renewed emphasis on originality, which may come in the form of custom drawn elements along with carefully produced animations and video.  Also, gradients have become less popular while flat design has taken over. Some trends and colours that are emerging as forerunners in web design in 2016 include:

White space
Going for a simple layout instead of a complex one is the key to keeping your visitors interested. Using lots of images, colours and shapes on a site can make it look cluttered and messy.

Pastel colours
In 2016 there will be growing trend in web design for the use of less dominant colours, and a move to more subtle, pastel shades. These can be used to create a calm and warming effect on website visitors.  However, they can be difficult to implement well and requires skills to get the right balance between colours and tones. Bold colours can still be used to draw attention to a key area on a page, for example on a call to action button.

Long scroll
Everyone is used to long scrolling on websites today thanks to mobile devices and smartphones. This technique works well for sites that want to attract users through clear storytelling, and a multi-page site can still be achieved  by breaking the scroll into clear sections.

Card Layouts
Pinterest is the pioneer of the card layout, and this layout has been adopted and used on many sites because information is  easily presented on them in bite size “chunks”. Each card usually represents one concept, and act as “content containers”, with their rectangular shape making them easier to arrange for different devices.

Hero Images
Vision is the strongest human sense, so high definition hero images are a quick and easy way to grab a website visitors attention. Advances in bandwidth and data compression means that users won’t suffer from slow loading times. A common layout of a hero image is one above the scroll, followed by a cards-based theme or zig-zagging sections.

Thanks to the availability of Google Fonts, websites are no longer restricted to using “Arial” and “Comic Sans” for compatibility. More care will be taken in 2016 with choosing fonts and font sizes, a small bit minimal change that makes a big impact on how a site is perceived.

You might ask yourself, “What are the best web design techniques and colour trends for me to follow this year?”.  This will depend on your brand, how these elements work together to portray your brand and how much you are willing to invest in tweaking/overhauling your web design. No matter what’s hot and what’s not, the trend you choose to follow should serve your customers first and foremost – as well as your brand – before anything else.  Contact us today to find out how we can help!

Mobile Is Now A Ranking Factor And It’s Bigger Than Penguin And Panda

Mobile Is Now A Ranking Factor And It’s Bigger Than Penguin And Panda

Google is again taking the World Wide Web by storm through its latest algorithm update -Mobilegeddon. In addition to that, Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji quotes that this will affect more sites than Penguin and Panda. Here’s a breakdown of what you should know, and how you can prepare for it.

What Is Mobilegeddon?

It’s a term coined by Search Engine Land to describe Google’s Mobile Update. Earlier in 2015, the search engine company announced that on April 21st it will be launching a new algorithm that will revolutionise the way we look at mobile search. This update will have a “significant impact” on mobile searches all over the world. Take note of these two notable turns.

1. The Mobile-Friendly Factor

After Google launched its mobile-friendly label in 2014, we knew it was only a matter of time until they would require the rest of the world to follow their example. This new update will only affect mobile searches and not the traditional search on laptops and desktop computers.

As a search engine, Google simply wants to offer their users the best search experience. In line with this, they have discovered an enormous increase in smartphone and tablet usage. Exactly as Morgan Stanley predicted, mobile search has exceeded traditional searching in 2014, and it’s expected to rise in the coming years. With its aim to be relevant and timely, it has pointed out some issues relating to mobile browsing.

• Most websites are not mobile-friendly

• It requires a lot of pinching and zooming in

• Some text is just too small to read on a mobile device

They’ve also noticed that 61% of users who had a bad mobile experience with a website are unlikely to return to that site. So instead of doing it just for Google, do it for your customers and do it for yourself!

2. Indexed apps for signed-in users

If you’re developing an app, then you might want to go with Android. Included in Google’s update will be the taking of relevant information from indexed apps as a ranking factor for users who have installed such apps. You will now begin to see app content more often in the search. Check out this guideline from Google to learn how you can apply for App Indexing.

Why It Matters?

Mainly because this is the first “announced” Google update! So it’s clear enough that Google wants you to be prepared. It would also be a good thing to note that if you don’t do this, then you might find your website sinking to the bottom of the fish tank.

How Can You Prepare?

The best way to prepare is to follow Google’s instructions. Get a mobile-friendly site.

1. Take the mobile-friendly test

2. Seek help

If you passed the test, great! If you unfortunately failed, then you either need a responsive web design or a mobile site.

A responsive web design is a site that graciously adjusts to any type of screen. This is an expense, but definitely one that’s worth the investment. Plus it’s the one Google recommends most. To learn more about our responsive web design services, please keep in touch.

A mobile site is a separate website that’s optimised for mobile devices. You may want to take advantage of our affordable web design services for only £300+vat per year or if you are feeling more adventurous you can use our simple mobile module and build it yourself for only £8+vat per month. We also offer a fully customised and responsive websites starting from only £850 + vat. Please get in touch to discuss your options and to get you ready for this new Google update!

Google is to Give Secure Sites a Ranking Boost

Google is to Give Secure Sites a Ranking Boost

Back in March 2014, Matt Cutts Head of Google’s Webspam team said he would like for HTTPS and SLL certificates to be a ranking signal. Five months later, the world’s most popular search engine Google has announced that it’s going to give secure SSL sites using HTTPS encryption higher rankings on Internet searches.

Google hopes that this will encourage website developers to utilise the technology that protects websites against middle man attacks and hackers breaking into their websites and stealing users’ personal information, such name, address, contact details and billing information. This announcements comes as one of the most significant steps Google has taken to making sure the World Wide Web is more secure.

Encrypted data transmitted over the Internet adds a barrier between Web users and anyone who wants to potentially steal their information – this is particularly useful for e-commerce websites that continuously take payments from customers.

Prior to the announcement organisations have seen this as additional burden because of cost concerns and fears of slowing down their website response time – which is also has a detrimental effect of search engine rankings. But now because of the high-speed encryption technologies available, it means that the cost and speed no longer need to be an issue. Encryption will be a crucial factor in determining how a website is ranked.

Do I need a SSL Certificate?

Yes! Typically SSL Certificates have only been used on websites checkout pages and not on product and content pages. In light of Google’s new announcement it’s essential that website owners ensure their whole domain name, including all their files and URLs go over HTTPS. Here at Free Virtual Servers we’re offering online banking standard (256bit) SSL certificates from as little as £9.99 a year. An SSL certificate will not only benefit your search engine rankings but it’ll give your customers peace of mind as they’ll know their confidential information is safe on your website.

If you want to rank favourably on Google it’s in your best interest to ensure your web pages are encrypted, or this could be detrimental to your search engine rankings.

For more information about this service, check out our website: