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The Importance Of Mobile Website Speed
The loading speed of your mobile website is the most important feature

It can seem that maintaining a website is a never-ending work. There are a million prerequisites for making visitors happy – everything must look nice, the content must be fresh and updated, all the pages should be properly linked together, etc. It’s easy, in the midst of all that fuss, to forget something.

And, often, that something is website speed. It makes sense if you think about it. If you’re planning to spend the entire day polishing every nook and cranny of every page, you probably won’t be too concerned that the pages take five seconds to load. And yet, for the visitors, it is an entirely different story.

To put things in perspective, let’s say you’re doing a quick Google search. You’ll probably want the information you’re looking for as soon as possible. Heck, you might just open several search results and pick whichever loads the fastest.

And just like that, it suddenly doesn’t matter if a website is perfectly designed or if it has the most engaging content. If the visitor has to wait too long to see it, all the effort might go down the drain.

Even so, most website owners seem to neglect website speed. This is especially true for mobile websites. To illustrate, the average time for a mobile web page to load is 22 seconds, while the recommended maximum is only 4. That’s 5.5 times longer than it should be!

Admittedly, desktop websites also tend to be slower than recommended. Still, the discrepancy is nowhere near as large. So, are website owners right to disregard mobile website speed? We will attempt to answer by considering some facts about mobile websites.

Search Engine Rankings

In 2016, mobile phones and tablets officially overtook traditional computers as the most used devices for internet browsing. This means websites have been receiving most of their traffic from mobile devices for two years now, and website owners still haven’t adapted. However, they might have to.

In 2016, mobile phones and tablets officially overtook traditional computers as the most used devices for internet browsing.

For a few months now, Google ranking system prioritizes the mobile versions of websites over their desktop counterparts. Also, in July this year, Google has implemented its speed update which makes speed a ranking factor for mobile websites. Officially, this will only punish the slowest websites. But if desktop search rankings are any indication, we can expect to see faster mobile sites outrank the competition.

Of course, this is not the only way search rankings are influenced. We can mention that about half of the people leave if a mobile page takes over three seconds to load. Considering this, you can imagine the percentage of people who won’t wait out the 22-second average.

Unfortunately for slow websites, Google records which pages are abandoned quickly as this indicates a lack of content relevant to the search. As this is important for search ranking, slow websites also get a much lower ranking score. And, considering the average load time, most mobile websites are likely to be severely penalized.

All things considered, this makes a great opening for website owners to get the upper hand. They just need to have their mobile websites load reasonably quickly.


User Experience

Although people tend to have marginally lower expectations for mobile websites, high loading times elicits similar reactions regardless of device. We can outline some of the statistics about user expectations:


74% of smartphone users leave a page that takes over 5 seconds to load


1 second of delay means a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction


Mobile sites that load within 5 seconds make twice the average ad revenue


If we take average loading times into account, we can safely call mobile websites an untapped market, in spite of their popularity.

This particularly applies to online stores. It is true that mobile conversions are lower than desktop ones. However, contrary to what some retailers claim, this does not mean it is more difficult to turn a profit with mobile stores.

To explain, users do not shy away from buying via their mobile devices. The more likely reason for fewer conversions is that mobile retail websites are not as well optimized as desktop ones.

Google supports this by stating that a single second of delay can make a 20% difference in conversions. This is a much higher percentage than for desktop websites. If we consider that checkout speed is extremely important for customer confidence, we can conclude that people want to make purchases over their mobile browsers, but that they are opting for websites that seem reliable.

We can look at this from the perspective of our untapped market claim. We have already said that lowering load times is more effective for mobile stores than desktop ones. Also, we should take into account that bad experiences make nearly half of the people go straight to the competitor’s website.

That makes mobile websites a very fertile ground for amassing a following of loyal customers. The only thing to take care of website speed on mobile.


The Next Step

So, we can confirm that, even though most online traffic comes from mobile devices, the internet community has not adapted to it. This makes mobile website improvement the way to go. The market is sure to accommodate the demands eventually, so improving the mobile version of your website as soon as possible is a good way to get a head start

So, how do you do this? Well, according to the experts over at the Hosting Tribunal, the basics are making sure you have found the right hosting provider and chosen the proper hosting option for your website’s needs.

Following that, there are numerous techniques and devices you can use to make your mobile sites load faster. You can begin by minimizing landing page redirects. There should be only one redirect from any URL to its target page. Each additional redirect triggers an HTTP request-response sequence which introduces unnecessary delay.

Another popular way to make websites load faster is compression. There is a range of options, from plugins that reduce the image size to Gzip which compresses your entire website. Here we can also mention various tools which remove unnecessary code, making the rendering process far less complicated.

Finally, an option reserved for mobile websites is AMP. Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source website publishing technology. Basically, it creates a version of your website which is designed to load extremely quickly on mobile devices. It does take some of the freedom away from the website creator, but experiments have shown that it can shorten loading times anywhere between 10% and 85%.


Some Final Remarks

In the end, we can safely confirm that making your mobile website faster will help its success tremendously. Moreover, due to the overall poor performance of most mobile websites, we can point out that improving your mobile website speed is a good way to capitalize on the current situation before the market catches up.

We have already listed some of the means to make your mobile website faster. For a more comprehensive list of techniques, as well as some relevant statistics, you can take a look .this infographic.

So, now that you know the importance of mobile website speed, you are ready to go out onto the World Wide Web and make your website prosper like never before.

The importance of color for Web Design and Branding
Color Matters for Web Design and Branding

When it comes to branding and web design, color matters - not only for more visible, aesthetic reasons but also less apparent ones related to user engagement, brand success and driving revenue to name a few.

In this post, we bring you five reasons why businesses (both large and small) should pay attention to their color choices backed by research compiled by DesignAdvisor, complete with some advice on how to get started. The truth is, some companies have been using color to drive revenue and assert their brand image for ages while the rest are only now catching on, as they come to realize that these tools are valuable and available for anyone to use.


1. The Stats

The first thing we’d be smart to take a look at is straight up, reliable, hard data. Research on consumer behavior has established that color turns out to be one of the most relevant factors at the time of assessing a purchase decision.

Product assessment takes 90 seconds on average and consists of different factors like price and shape, durability, and others. According to research on the topic, 62 to 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.

Others add that color impression is responsible for 60% of the acceptance or rejection of a product. When it comes to brand recognition, color accounts for 80% of a brand’s capacity to be consistently recognized. All these factors add up and place considerable weight on making color-related decisions, as brand owners quickly become aware that a choice of color can determine the success of their product. Applied to web design, the wrong color could result in a bounce, lack of engagement, or even rejection of your product or service over lousy user experience.


2. Color Psychology: The Messages Behind Color Choices

Ever wondered why most fast food restaurants use red in their logo and color schemes? This is no coincidence, as red is one of the most emotion-inducing colors. It has been shown to increase heart rate by creating a sense of urgency - an emotional state which fast food franchises utilize to sell more food. The fact is, colors convey messages; your choice of color for a company logo or web scheme may either tank your chances of success or increase them. This is why conducting research related to color psychology and your brand message before choosing a strategy is a must.

Color psychology studies the most common associations that people have with certain colors. These findings are not absolute, as some people with different cultural backgrounds, moods, and memories may draw different associations from a particular color. When choosing a color scheme for a brand, it is best to formulate your brand message beforehand carefully. For instance, if you need to assert your brand as an eco-friendly alternative, you may want to try a shade of green, if you need to be trusted blue may be the way to go, and if trying to break into the luxury market, black is a safe bet.

3. Think in Terms of Your Target Audience

Understanding your customer base is the first step towards success in virtually any business. When it comes to color choices, this matters quite a bit. If you have an already established brand, extreme or sudden color changes may disconcert your base. In other cases, a fresh image may be more than welcome. Knowing what your customers want before you make any changes is of vital importance.

Color psychology helps us understand the differences between certain types of consumers. 

Using the shopping world as an example: in outlets, where shoppers are impulsive, green and royal blue are good colors to use. On the other hand, if your buyers are a bit more cash constrained and shopping on a budget, a more reserved navy blue, or teal, works well. Finally, if your buyers are more traditional and old school, more refined colors such as pink, rose and sky blue are the way to go. We use this example to show how due research into a customer base can lead you to entirely different color choices. The right decision, as we know, can make a world of a difference.


4. Conversions Through Color

While color is exceptionally useful as a way of establishing a brand message, it is also used very successfully to drive conversions in web design. Good web designers know that certain colors are more effective at drawing user attention than others, and use them in Call to Action (CTA) buttons to increase conversions.

Red, green and orange have been shown to be the most effective colors for website calls to action.

The primary reason being that they are highly contrasting colors, meaning that when a user is browsing through a site with, say, a predominantly blue color scheme and bumps into an orange button, their attention will be drawn to it immediately. This is why thinking about contrast is very important. For example, if you have a website where green is the prevailing color, a green CTA button will never work. So, while there may be some temptation to simply choose the prettiest colors for these elements, thinking about how they grab user attention can seriously increase your revenue, as we’ll see in the following section.


5. Success Stories, and the Importance of Testing

Many brands have successfully deployed the tactics described above and seen significant growth in conversions, revenue, and even brand engagement. In terms of branding, the case of Heinz is a spectacular one indeed: as part of a marketing test, the brand changed their traditional red logo and product color to green, to test whether that color would be a better fit for their products and company. After making the change, the company saw perhaps the most significant sales increase in their history, $23 million in sales in only seven months, to be exact. It’s safe to say that green worked better.

As discussed above, orange, red and green have proved to be great conversion drivers. In fact, the projection screen store Beamax saw an increase of more than 50% in engagement with links when they changed their color from a dull blue to a highly contrasting red. By changing their CTA button color to red, Dmix saw a 34% spike in conversions, and Performable experienced a 21% rise. When it comes to color, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, learning what color is best suited your business’s particular needs requires performing testing. A popular method is A/B testing, which provides a way of empirically verifying that what is true in theory, will work in your specific case.




To Sum Up

These success stories, along with many others that can be found in this colorful infographic, show the vast array of instances in which color choices can end up affecting the way your business performs. Ranging from drawing more attention to a CTA button to increase conversions, to completely reshaping the way your brand is perceived by customers to establish a message, using color to benefit your brand is a smart thing to do.

There’s much more to color choices than meets the eye - it’s not merely about what’s pretty, but also about what works best for your unique business purposes.

Cool Spare Bedroom
A guest bedroom is a great opportunity to experiment with creative interior design styles

Expecting overnight guests? Are you excited to host and pamper them a little, but your current extra bedroom is a little more office space rather than an inviting oasis? Transform that extra bedroom into a dreamy escape for your visitors, so they’ll want to “book” their next stay with you before they say their goodbyes on this visit.

When overhauling your guest room space, you’ll want to focus on the elements top hotels offer that keep their guests coming back: cleanliness, space, comfort, and that extra bit of homeliness.



Comfort is key...

Invest in the largest bed your space can accommodate, without it taking over the whole room. A queen-sized bed is a popular choice, as it can sleep two people comfortably. You don’t have to break the bank on a top of the line mattress, but test out different mattresses yourself until you find a comfortable one you can fit into your budget.


Invest in the largest bed your space can accommodate

Or, if you already have a mattress, simply add a plush mattress topper to make a huge difference in comfort. You want your guests to be able to relax and wake up feeling rested.

Once you have your mattress, put it on a frame and choose a headboard style you like. You can also completely avoid using a headboard for a more modern look.



Invest in added extras...

Luxury bedding will make your guests feel extra pampered. It’s amazing the difference a good set of sheets can make. Have you ever climbed into bed and the sheets are cloud-like and perfect? That’s the goal when choosing sheets for your guests: something soft and sleek that doesn’t get too hot or too cold. Keep a nice flannel set on hand for cold months.

And now for the comforter and bed frame: this is completely a matter of individual taste. Choose a furniture style and design personality that fits you: modern, traditional, floral prints, neutral colors, or lots of eclectic layers – it’s all up to your personal preference. 

Want to add art without committing to something permanent? Go for vinyl wall art for an easy, fun addition to your space.


Vinyl wall art is an easy, fun and cost effective way to add an extra dimension to a space

I personally like to keep decor neutral when putting together a guest bedroom: soft colors and simple designs are my go-to. Whatever style you choose, be sure that it’s inviting.

And don’t forget the pillows! Your guests may bring their own pillows to sleep on, but it’s a good idea to have both firm and soft pillows available for them as well.



Furniture must-haves...


Bedside lockers are easy to find and are super useful in a guest room

You should provide at least one bedside table with a lamp next to the bed so your guests can access lighting in the middle of the night. I personally like to have a nightstand on each side of the bed, both for looks and functionality. I keep one completely cleared off except for a lamp, and on the other, I leave out a short stack of books in case they want to relax and read a little before bed.

Even if your guest never reads them, books are a simple and stylish finishing touch

A dresser or chest of drawers is nice too, if you have the space. On top of the dresser, I like to put out a fresh set of towels and a new bar of soap, a vase with fresh flowers, and a small tray with a couple of water bottles and a bowl of mints. It’s often these little touches that stand out the most for your guests.


Keep it minimal...

It’s tempting to go overboard decorating your guest room and filling up every available surface with the cute things you’ve collected. And that’s fine when your guest room is free, but you’ll want to clear some things out when you have visitors. Your guests need space for their luggage.
A dresser with at least an empty drawer or two for them to use, a closet with empty hangers to hang their clothes and space to store their suitcase, will be much appreciated.

Being able to unpack while they stay with you really does make it feel more like home. If you’re limited on space and don’t have room for a dresser, a luggage rack is a great idea-and you can easily store it away when not in use.


The perfect guestroom...

Create a Guest Bedroom Oasis
The perfect guest bedroom oasis

Once you have your guestroom all set up, you just have to change the sheets, vacuum and dust. Just a little effort goes a long way in making your visitors feel welcome.

Whatever you decide with regard to your guestroom decor, focus on making it feel like a second home for your friends and family. Comfortable fabrics, inviting colors, and simple designs to allow for a space meant for relaxation and rejuvenation.











Mobile vs Desktop SEO
Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic but we are yet to rethink our SEO strategies to be mobile specific

Mobile and desktop SEO both require very different strategies, so it is not surprising that they will both provide some very different results. Today, people are shopping both on the move on a mobile and in their homes using a desktop computer, so website or blog owners need to be considering both these factors when optimising their website.

Over the years, mobile search has picked up considerably, with research by SEOTribunal showing that 58% of all searches coming from a mobile device. Additionally, 40% of people are now only searching only on a mobile device, and will not use a desktop computer at all. Since so much traffic is occurring on a mobile device, it makes sense that businesses should be using this to their advantage.

General or Specialist

It might be tempting to think that those techniques that you use for a traditional site will also work for mobile SEO, but this is not strictly the case. Although it is still SEO, they need to be treated as separate entities. Take going to the doctor as an example. You are able to go and see a general doctor, but you are also able to go to see specialised doctors that specialise in different areas. They will each have a different technique that will treat different issues better than just a regular doctor would. Let’s take a look at the key difference of mobile and desktop SEO.

Search Behaviour

Search behaviour between the two devices are very different, as generally using a mobile device will have a different context for the search. Business owners should try and figure out what their customers are searching for, and do some mobile keyword research to make sure that you are including the right ones in their content.

Engagement

A mobile users is likely to be highly engaged, as they are constantly on the go. They won’t be interested in scrolling through tons of search results, therefore reaching the top spot is an even more desirable position.

Ranking Algorithm

Both desktop and mobile SEO have completely different algorithms, so that the search engines are able to provide an even better mobile user experience. This wouldn’t be possible without major changes to their algorithm.


Some Statistics

The infographic below outlines some key statistics related to SEO in 2018. These can be used to identify areas within mobile and/or desktop SEO that you optimise for your website.



Conclusion

So now that you know a little more about mobile, desktop and general SEO it's time to put your new found knowledge to work on your website and then watch it rise up the rankings. 

If would would still like to know more you can read our other SEO articles on Image SEO, Image Optimisation For The Web, Top SEO Tips and Web Design Tips From A Professional Web Designer.



Why flooring is an important part of interior design
Flooring is a key area of every interior design project that is often overlooked

Most people have been to a loved one’s home previously when they’ve been having refurbishments carried out and have seen an array of colour swatches all over the walls. We often put so much thought into the colours of our walls and decor as a whole, but one thing we never seem to pay much attention to is flooring. We may just walk all over it but it accounts for almost a quarter of the surface area of a space and therefore justifies due consideration for every interior design project.

Why flooring is an important part of interior design

Flooring is one of the most important aspects of interior design because it acts as a base for the overall feel and aesthetic of a room. It’s often a feature that many people ignore when renovating, but flooring doesn’t have to be boring.

If you’re opting for a rustic yet modern feel throughout your home, distressed wood could be just what you’re looking for. 

Don’t be afraid to get creative with patterns and colours when deciding on your perfect flooring. If you’re opting for a rustic yet modern feel throughout your home, distressed wood could be just what you’re looking for. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to create a comfortable and more homely atmosphere, carpet may be more suitable.

However, it’s not just the aesthetic of the flooring and the atmosphere of your home you need to work on, there’s a few other things you need to consider too...

A few considerations for choosing your perfect flooring

One of the main things you need to think about before purchasing flooring is your budget. Carpet is usually less expensive than wood and it costs less to fit. However, if wood flooring is what you would prefer, there are plenty of lower cost options – so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Carpet is usually less expensive than wood and it costs less to fit. 

Our infographic outlines some more top hints and tips you can follow and walks you through the entire process of choosing your perfect flooring step by step. We’ve even thrown in a few killer statistics about the flooring market too. Check it out below and let us know what you think!




If you want to be a web designer then develop these 5 key skills

With the world becoming ever more dependent on online environments it is becoming increasingly more important to have an online presence if you want to succeed in business. For this reason, quality web designers are becoming sought after. That is both a good and a bad thing.

Seeing that web designing is becoming such a popular profession, everyone wants a piece of the action, whether they are good or not. Therefore, you have to stay ahead of the masses and keep your skills up to date if you want to make it as a web designer. Here are the 5 main skills you need to develop to become a great web designer.



1. Know the whole process

Web design is a complex process, and it often overlaps with graphic design. It is therefore very important to be competent in graphic design and know the basic principles of design.

Color is the most basic skill you need to master in order to design eye-catching web pages. Apart from knowing what colors work well, you also need to know what color pallets are popular during a season. You can click here to explore colour theory.

Proportion and spacing are two more design principles that can make or break a web designer. Your customer and also the type of website you are designing will dictate whether you design a symmetrical or asymmetrical page.

You also don’t want to have the page feel cluttered, but you want to use the space available optimally. This will ultimately influence the flow of the page which is another design principle that you need to master.

With all this is mind,it is vital that you are fully familiar with the web design process and over time and with experience you can develop your own process as you discover what works best for you and for your web design clients.




2. HTML

One of the things that sets a part-time web designer apart from the rest is an in-depth knowledge of HTML. This is the foundational language on which all websites are built.

Although there are numerous WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors available which help anyone build a website, you will never have a proper grasp of how a website operates if you don’t know HTML. You’ll also have a much harder time figuring out what is wrong if your site doesn’t work the way you want it to.

WYSIWYG editors are limited in their functionality, and you will only have the available tools and formatting options of the specific editor to build your site. If you know HTML, your imagination and skill is your greatest asset. You have absolute freedom in terms of design and functionality when you are skilled at using HTML. If something doesn’t exist, you can create it.

Once you learn HTML you can progress to learn CSS and then JavaScript and then.... The more web related programming languages you know the more options you will have as a web designer and developer. HTML is always the starting point for learning web programming.



3. User Experience Research

Have you ever browsed a website and felt absolutely frustrated or discouraged? The chances are that the design of the page was not done properly. If you want to stand out as a web designer, you need to be an expert on user experience and design according to experience. This is by no means an easy task, and there are a number of routes you can take to ensure proper design.

When you look at an operating system like Windows for example. There is never only one single way in which something is done. The user decides which path works fro them and goes from there. The same applies to your websites.

You will need to create sitemaps and track user habits to determine which design will work best for the users. This is easier said than done and you will need to update a site from time to time as you gather more user data. Google analytics is a great way of gathering this type of data for free.

Once you have gathered and analysed the data use it to improve the user experience which in turn will make your websites more effective.



4. Mobile support

Gone are the days when being online meant that you were either sitting in front of your PC or browsing the web on your laptop. The smartphone and other mobile devices have changed the online landscape and so also the design world.

Anyone will be able to tell you that browsing a traditional website on a mobile phone sucks. More people gain access to the web via their mobile devices than stand-alone PCs or laptops.

Therefore, you need to be able to adjust your design to accommodate mobile browsing. The best way to test whether your site is mobile friendly is to browse your site on a mobile device or use an emulator like Screenfly

In truth you should ideally take a mobile first design approach. This means designing the mobile version of the website first and then scaling it up from there for larger devices such as tablets, laptops and desktop PC's. If you are designing this way you will need to learn about responsive web design and media queries.




5. Continue Learning

There are so many designers that fall into the trap of getting some sort of qualification and sticking with it without doing any further learning. It doesn’t matter how advanced or comprehensive your education is, the knowledge that you gained during your first year of studies will be outdated by the time you graduate.

The tech and online world is continually changing, and if you don’t commit to keeping with the times, you are going to quickly fall behind and become a second-tier designer. You need to stay abreast with new technology to keep your sites relevant. If you can’t deliver on your client's requests due to your lack of skills, they will get another designer.

Apart from tech skills, you also need to be aware of new design trends and be able to adjust your style from time to time. Sign up to our newsletter below and select the web design option to receive web related articles straight to your inbox.




Conclusion

Although you have all the skills in the world, there is one thing that skills won’t give you, and that is passion. You need to be inspired by what you do, or you won’t be able to harness all of your skills effectively. Passion and inspiration is the glue that combines all your skills and makes you a better designer.



About The Author

Howard Robson is an editor at educational portal AustralianEssays. He is interested in getting and sharing new knowledge about different topics, especially education, modern technologies. So, feel free to join him on Twitter and Facebook.

how to improve your website for free
The internet has a whole world of great free resources for your website

If someone told you that you could quickly and easily improve your website and that it wouldn't cost you a penny, what would you say? Probably something like "what's the catch?". Well no catch here as I highlight 10 great (and free) website add-ons that can immediately improve your website.

Signs that you need to update your website
If your website matches any of these signs then it needs updating

The internet is a dynamic and rapidly changing place. It is not enough for a business to simply have a website. In fact your website needs to be fast, attractive and effective for it to be worthwhile having. Here are 5 quick things to check to see if your website is performing or whether it is in need of an update.