Everybody's on a budget and stock photos can be vastly less expensive than paying a photographer to shoot quality photos exclusively for your website. However, there's always a trade-off and, with stock photos, that can be a big trade-ff.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a key to success in winning Internet-based business. The algorithms (the process by which search engines rank websites) are regularly revised so they highlight original, useful content to searchers and avoid spam or other low-value copy. Web design bloggers currently say using stock photos doesn't hurt your search rankings, but that may come in the future. If it does, when it does, the search engines likely won't announce the rule change, so develop good habits now and remember, just because it's SEO-friendly doesn't mean it's a good idea.
The ancient sage who devised this maxim didn't live in an Internet-based world where anybody could post anything everywhere. To be blunt, some photographers are better than others. Viewers are more likely to skim text and focus on images when checking out a new web page and stock images can have multiple problems:
Realism. A supposed group of coworkers who look like they just came off a Fashion Week runway causes most people to react negatively. Where's the variety you see in real places? Why do they look so stiff and posed? Authenticity is a positive.
Artistic Quality. Poor composition, bad color balance, improper framing, low resolution ("pixilated") — people do notice this stuff. We are surrounded by imagery; we've all seen enough good and bad pictures to know the good ones instinctively and instantly.
Relevance. Does that photo advance the message? If not, it wastes time and you generally have less than a minute to grab the reader's attention and hold it. Creating original photos with an on-point message costs more but, if viewers will remember the image, it is worth more than 1,000 space-fillers.
Last and definitely not least:
Copyright. All intellectual property is the property of the creator until the creator formally sells, licenses or gives it away. Just because a photo is on the Net doesn’t mean you can use it without permission and it is your responsibility to be sure you have it.
Doing it right means letting the experts do it. You succeed in your business because you do something very well and your customers trust your work. Facet Web Tech has been doing web design for 30 years, we are Central Illinois' tech experts. Contact us and let us help you build a web presence that gets it done in style!
Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they are distinct job titles. Web Designers are the creative artists; the people who make it pretty. Web Developers are the tech experts; the people who make it function.
Choosing between Design and Development
The basic question starts with: Do you have a website to be updated or do you need something new? (Warning, the answer to both can be 'yes' — having a website doesn't mean it works and, sometimes, it's easier to start over.)
If the website is technically good — and by good, we don't mean good enough because good enough never is — you may just need a designer. We may be able to recommend new graphics, better writing, an updated color scheme, or any of the small, very simple, very affordable changes that can revitalize a website and make it shine.
If, however, you need to start from scratch, you definitely need a developer. From deciding how many pages you'll have to how each will function and how they'll interact and support each other is the heart of development. Think of your web developer as your site architect, taking the image in your mind and translating it to reality — or whatever passes for reality in cyberspace.
Before We Bid
Whether you think you'll choose web designers or web developers, we recommend you start with a full physical by the web doctors at Facet Web Tech. Our experts may find ways to do it better. We might be able to recommend existing or custom apps to improve functionality; find bugs hiding in the code just waiting to bite you; streamline your online operations to get customers to the checkout screen faster. Website creation (creative and technical) is always evolving and our people keep up with the latest and greatest. We'd love to show you what we can do.
Choose Facet Web Tech
As the leading source for web design in Central Illinois, Facet Web Tech specializes in effective, SEO-friendly websites. Each website we build is totally custom, built to your specifications and goals. Looking to drive local leads? Need to expand your client list? Of course, you need to sell more products or services! Contact our team of web design and development specialists — we get results.
We love what we do, that's why we're in business, right? Wrong!!! We're in business to make money. We have bills to pay and our business does that. If you have a website that isn't converting page views into sales, it isn't doing its job, so fire it and hire a new one. And let Facet Web Tech be your virtual headhunter, finding the best talent on the Internet.
"What Am I Doing Wrong?"
1. Using stock photos — it's your website, your product, your company, if you're not presenting your face to the world, well, what are you hiding?
2. Asking too many questions — how many "click here" buttons are on each page? Each button is a "call to action" (or CTA). CTAs draw visitors closer to the sale, so don't give them an option, push them gently toward the sale. Each page should have a simple message and one CTA. Each page should say "This is your problem, we are the solution, click here and we'll do it." (There are exceptions: For example, a lumber store homepage might include only the store's name, address, logo, a picture, and two buttons — "Contractors, click here" and "Homeowners, click here.")
3. Too much information (TMI) has been a problem forever. Back when America's founders debated the Constitution, a single speech might last two days! In the 21st Century, Internet users want it fast, straight and clear. (Notice that all our blog posts run just over 400 words.) Bullet points are great, you can list or rank the answers to the questions that brought visitors to your site without distracting/confusing clutter.
4. Poor organization — again, lead them to the sale. Never assume your visitor knows what they're doing, do it for them. Lead with a headline (in as few words as possible); add a subhead (one sentence at most); add the copy (TMI-free); excite with an image that stimulates a reaction (like, "Oh, that is cool!" or "Gotta' have me one!"); finish with a CTA ("Click here to order now.")
What am I Doing Right?
You're running your business. That's where your expertise lies. Creating a web design that turns visitors into customers is our business and, after 30 years (founded 1989, happy anniversary to us!) we're really good at it. We are the Central Illinois web development experts.
Contact Facet Web Tech — a creative, adaptive and highly professional team of specialists with decades of experience in the industry. We'll give your website a full examination; we'll keep the strong points and recreate it with more strong points: Search engine optimization. E-commerce. Lead capture pages. The works!
There are numerous sites that will help you create your own website, but not one that explains how to perform heart surgery on yourself. What does medicine know that IT hasn't figured out? Simply put: Leave professional work to the professionals. Web design isn't about what you like or want; it's about what makes you the most profit! Not coincidentally, the Facet Web Tech web design team is all about making your business more profitable. It is our dream; let us help you realize yours.
Research suggests customers find cool greens and blues more relaxing and warm reds or oranges more energizing. If I'm a home-décor business whose customers view their home as a refuge from the rat race, I'll color my palette cool and relaxing. If I'm a car customizer with a young, professional clientele, I'll color my palette hot and exciting.
This is a "sans-serif" font (simple). This is a "serif" font (fancier).
This is a "bold" font (eye-catching). This is a "condensed" font (space saving).
This is a fancy font (don't go there unless you're "Cuddles the Clown").
The font, like other factors, depends on the target market. Generally, women's tastes differ from men's; young people differ from seniors; and so on. Pick one main font and one secondary that works for your market and you're probably in good shape.
Have we gotten this concept at last? It's been around long enough — "Keep It Simple, Simon" means don't do everything all at once. The Internet-users' attention span gets shorter every year, it seems. Don't make them read War and Peace to figure out what you're up to. Clear, precise phrasing. Bullet lists. Consistent layout page to page. Simple visuals that make your point.
Don't Hire the Navigator from the Titanic
(Bonus concept: A little appropriate humor can make a very effective point.) We read from left to right and from top to bottom, so put your most important items (text or images) in the upper right corner. Have a navigation bar that extends across the top or down the right side. Random can seem cool, but it confuses people, which doesn't help your bottom line.
Not just connecting business with customer; connecting computer to tablet to phone. Your website needs to connect with customers across multiple platforms. A page designed for laptops (widescreen) may look pretty lame on a phone (tall screen). Inattention to such details means missed sales.
The First Rule
Contact Facet Web Tech, the Peoria, Illinois, IT experts. We understand your needs because we're a small, local business, just like you. Web design is what we do, so you don't have to.
At the dawn of the 21st Century, e-commerce was a "Huh, what'd you say?" phrase that only the very farsighted had even heard of. Less than 20 years later, it's the standard way of selling almost everything. Even the most personal retailers — grocers, tailors, doctors — use e-commerce as part of their marketing plan.
You are now competing with businesses all over the world; you must have professional e-commerce web design to stay competitive. You need a partner like Facet Web Tech — big enough to provide all the web design tools, small enough to be affordable to anyone in the Central Illinois business community.
Affordable Small Business Web Design for Growth
Today, you may be small, 20 or 30 SKUs; in a few years, you may want to be at 500 or 1,000 or 20,000 SKUs.
Facet Web Tech has experience helping all types of businesses — building online storefronts; custom-tailoring e-commerce website services; meeting your needs and your market's needs and more. We'll create a core around which you can add inventory, locations or services without crashing your site or breaking the bank.
One thing technology has taught us, if we're paying attention — 8-tracks and cassette tapes are gone; CDs and DVDs may soon be replaced by downloads and flash drives. "Professional web design" means flexible web design, tools that serve your current operations with room for whatever you decide to do next year.
The Full Range of Web Design Tools
Web hosting, sales-driven product pages, search engine optimization, secure payment processing — we've done it so often for so many different clients that our work is tested and proven. We know what works. To meet your needs, we won't bake from scratch and hope the cookies don’t burn. Visit our website, see some of our clients and projects, see what professional web design looks like.
Sure, you can find cheap, online tools that'll get the job done, but wouldn't you be better served by a neighbor whose invested in our neighborhood, who cares about your success for more than just the money they make on you? And, seriously, do you want the job done or do you want it done right?
Facet Web Tech is the leading source for web design in Peoria, Illinois, and the surrounding area. For almost three decades, our non-corporate/family-oriented business culture has focused on accuracy, capability and top-tier customer service. We'll take the time to understand your business needs and we'll meet them, for today and all your tomorrows.