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Why You Need a Development Team

Why You Need a Development Team

Why You Need a Development Team

Going it alone is hard. Business owners are well aware of this maxim because it applies to every aspect of running a company. Building and maintaining a website is no different. Website builders help users get started, but the perfect site requires more than a basic template and a few words. Resources like articles and videos help, but the most useful resource of all is a development team.

Most business owners aren’t also web developers. You don’t have time to learn how to code and create a custom website that fits your brand. Maybe you’ll find a template that’s close enough to what you want, but what happens when you’re ready to grow into something new? What happens when your simple site needs to be much, much more?

This step is where going it alone becomes more challenging. Choosing the right content management system (CMS) is critical. Content management systems come with all kinds of tools and resources. 

Development teams know exactly how to leverage those tools and resources.

 

What is a development team?

Businesses starting from scratch need to determine what approach they’re going to take to build their site. Will they use a website builder and simple templates? Some do, but general templates recycled styles don’t help a business stand out in the crowd. In today’s market, every business needs an online presence. Building a site with a fundamental website builder like Wix or Squarespace is like putting an ad in the White Pages (no one really sees it). Using a development team is like putting up a billboard on Main St.

Development teams come in all shapes and sizes, but the leading roles are web developers and web designers. People like to conflate development and design even though they’re two very different aspects of a website. Development is the construction of a site, the custom coding and creation. On the other hand, design refers to the aesthetics of the website, the schemes, and the look.

We can break these teammate roles down into a little further detail.

 

Back-End Developers

The back end of your website is where all the magic happens. Every click navigating to another page, every video on auto-play, and every pop-up happen because a back-end developer built it. Businesses need them to create custom elements that will make their website functional. These elements include site security and other applications, so finding the right back-end developer is essential. Developers also help build the kinds of flexibility that allow site owners to receive and manage user information. 

 

Front-End Developers

Front-end developers focus on user experience. The back-end developer will create the system for running searches or navigation, but your front-end developer makes it look awesome. The spinning wheels, zoom in/out buttons, and feature locations (among other things)? All of that stuff comes from on the front-end. 

Finding an excellent front-end developer is every bit as important as your back-end. The user-experience helps define your website. Visitors will judge not just your site but your entire business based on how your site behaves. An essential part of behavior is across multiple platforms. Your website needs to function the same whether someone visits on a computer, tablet, or phone. 

 

Web Designers

Web designers work in tandem with the developers, but they work on different aspects that flow together. The designer creates the look and feel of your website. Starting with the overview “template” of ideas, a designer will work closely with you to organize color schemes, create custom graphics, and help with the overall concept. Your brand is on display, and your brand is your business.

Keep in mind that designers are not developers. While they may have some experience with coding, their function is to design, not build. Working with a designer is almost an essential part of building your website, but you can’t count on them to make your site function.

 

Use a development team to make a change.

Website builders like Wix and Squarespace are extremely limited. Users start because the platforms offer attractive templates and a user-friendly dashboard. After a while, people realize their website can’t grow with their business and look elsewhere. 

If you already know there’s no future with a site builder, why bother at all?

Luckily, there are ways to migrate away from these other platforms (see our guides on Wix and Squarespace). Moving can be a challenge if you’re looking to do more than just change the look of your site. Using a development team to help you make the move removes confusion and limits mistakes. Plus, you get the bonus of expanding your current functionality by using developers to create new tools. 

 

Why you need a development team

The DIY route is challenging. As we mentioned before, you need a website. With internet traffic trends the way they are, your site needs to shine above everyone else. It has to be functional and chic. You need a website that represents your brand without sacrificing the user experience. More than anything, you need to be able to make changes. No business is the same. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so saving the ability to build custom features is essential.

Development teams do all of that for you. You get to choose the direction you want to go, work with the team, and watch as they turn your ideas into a beautiful website. The best part? You get to focus on the most critical aspects of your company, your customers. Some people believe they don’t have the budget for a development team. There are teams for all budgets, but all you need to remember is how much time and energy you’ll spend to build the perfect website. How many hours of work will you lose while you fumble through building a site? Compare your budget against how much money you’ll drop by not running your business and see how much it really costs to hire a development team.

 

We’d love to chat with you a little more about why a development team is a perfect business solution. Reach out, and let’s get started!

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Why You Should Use Image Compression on Your Website

Why You Should Use Image Compression on Your Website

Why You Should Use Image Compression on Your Website

We already know that slow page load times can kill your SEO efforts. So, what slows down page speeds? The answer is pretty wide-ranging, but one of the most common problems is image size. We all remember the dial-up days when websites took 10 minutes to load, and a single, grainy image could take even longer. Those times were different, though. We expected it. Today, websites are blazingly fast, and if users have to wait longer than two seconds for a page to load, they’re ready to leave. Luckily, we have image compression to help keep your site loading quickly. 

Because of image compression, we can see the world in vivid colors without having to wait for a dial-up server to piece together a picture one kilobyte at a time. You should be compressing images on your website already, but if not, it’s time to get with the program.

 

What is Compression?

Image compression is the practice of optimizing a large image file into a smaller one to limit the amount of stress placed on your website. Larger pictures with more data, slow load times and can cost you valuable traffic. With compression, you can take the same images, reduce the file size, and immediately see improvements in page speeds. In short, compression is the act of limiting the data an image contains.

There are two main types of compression, lossy and lossless. 

-Lossy refers to image compression or optimization, where the compression strips away bits of data from an image while trying to maintain as much of the image quality as possible. “Lossyness” can result in pixelation or jagged edges because the compression is getting rid of those data segments. Lossy compression is most commonly associated with JPEG images.

-Lossless compression is a way to reduce file size without losing any quality. Without going too far into the weeds, lossless compression essentially rewrites the original file’s data more efficiently. The tradeoff is the image files don’t end up that much smaller. PNGs are an excellent example of lossless compression, but depending on the needs of your site, PNG files may still be too large.

 

Benefits of Image Compression

You don’t have long to grab someone’s attention when they visit your website. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-7 seconds does not give you much breathing room for load times. Large image files slow load times and cost you traffic. Worse, slow page speeds drastically affect your SEO. Google does not like slow page speeds, and after video, image files take up as much space on your pages as all other data (coding, fonts, etc.) combined.

How do you make sure your images aren’t your downfall? Easy. Since image compression, by definition, reduces the size and amount of data of an image, your pages can load more quickly. Search engines won’t penalize you for slow page speeds, and visitors won’t get impatient and leave. Optimizing image files has other perks, too.

The smaller file sizes use less bandwidth, meaning less stress on your server. Networks can operate faster when there’s less traffic on the road. Also, website backups are a necessity, and compressed images can speed up that process. Finally, and it almost goes without saying, compressed images take up less space on your server. 

 

Best file types for web images

Before we start discussing which types of files are best, let’s cover the differences. The main four types are JPEGs, PNGs, SVGs, and WEBPs. None of these files are better than the others, but each one has benefits in certain circumstances. 

JPEG – JPEGs are possibly the most commonly known and used image files. JPEGs are easy to compress because they use lossy compression. The images shrink, but because JPEGs delete data to become smaller, the images lose quality. JPEGs are best for simple pictures that can lose a little data and still look the same. The trouble is finding the balance between small and too small. 

PNG – PNGs are the weapon of choice for most people starting or running their own sites. These files can be compressed without losing any quality (lossless compression). However, PNG optimization doesn’t actually remove data, so the image can only be compressed so far, leaving you with what could still be a large image.

SVGs – SVGs are scalable vector graphics. If you are familiar with vector images, you know the draw is the ability to grow or shrink an image without losing pixels. SVGs operate in much the same way. These image files can compress like JPEGs without losing quality like PNGs. SVGs are also incredibly versatile since they show at a higher resolution without slowing down page speeds.

WebP – WebP files are a giant leap into the future of image files. Google created the WebP format to combine superior lossy and lossless compression. Files end up noticeably smaller than both JPEGs and PNGs without losing any quality, and they support transparency just like other files. We’re not to the future yet because not all browsers support WebP images, but it’s a great start.

What kinds of image files you use are dependent on your skill/comfort level with image creation and optimization. SVGs and WebP files are the future because they can do everything PNGs and JPEGs can and then some. But not every occasion suits the more modern image files. Regardless of the image type, the principal goal is to create an optimized file to load on your site.

 

Compress your images with Imagify

Imagify is a WordPress plugin dedicated to image compression and built by the same team who brought us WPRocket. Imagify offers an easy-to-use image compression system allowing you to choose from three different compression types with one click. Depending on your need, you can choose from normal, aggressive, and ultra. If you don’t like your new image, you can re-compress with one click and start again.

Imagify does come with a free plan with a limit of 25MB/month, but plans up to 1GB are only $4.99/month. Image optimization is a critical factor in running your site, so investing in a compression plugin is certainly worth a look.

 

Why compression matters

As cameras and software become more advanced, images become more and more detailed. We can zoom in to see every blade of grass from 20 feet away. The wonders of technology! However, that level of detail comes with a cost. The images can be enormous. 

Trying to add images that size to your website is almost certainly going to slow everything down, hurt your SEO, and lose traffic. The results can be catastrophic. For years, though, image compression has been the solution. Just as cameras and software are improving, image file types continue to develop. Using SVGs and WebP files let you display full images on your site without slowing page speeds, and tools like Imagify make the task more accessible to anyone. 

Without image compression, we wouldn’t see the world online as we do today.

 

How is your website speed performance? WPClover offers a free 30-point website health inspection to check page speeds and walk through possible best practices for improvements. Come sign up, and let’s get started!

 

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7 Elements Every Business Website Should Have

7 Elements Every Business Website Should Have

7 Elements Every Business Website Should Have

Your business’ website is the face of the company. Many elements have to come together to make a successful website. How does your site perform? Sometimes, all we need is a little overhaul. Other times, we need to rebuild (or build!) from the foundation. The goal is to incorporate essential elements like mission statements, content, and reliable hosting into a website we can run confidently. 

Successful websites show up on the front page of Google searches and maintain a high number of page views. Does your website check all the boxes needed to be successful? Here are seven elements every business website should have.

 

Discuss your business core first.

Think of your 30-second elevator pitch. Do you go off on tangents about non-essential parts of your business? No. You stay on point and focus on your main value proposition. Does that mean you ignore your other products and auxiliary features? Of course not!

Your job is to build value immediately. The homepage of your site should be brand intensive with dense amounts of services you provide. Short descriptions are best for your services, but make sure they are teasers to get traffic to navigate to other pages. 

Yes, your secondary products are essential, and yes, they deserve attention. However, your website needs to start with the basics of what your business does.

 

Branded design

Few things are more critical to your company’s image than a detailed brand design. Your brand is how you want people to identify your business. Branding is how you become memorable and known in your field. Some people conflate branding with a fancy logo and a chic color scheme. 

Just Do It.
Eat Fresh.
Love the skin you’re in.
I’m lovin’ it.

Immediately, you can name those brands, what industry they’re in, and the products they’re best known for. However, Nike, Subway, Dove, and McDonald’s didn’t get there overnight. That level of recognition comes with a mix of design and positioning.

Your website will play an enormous role in both. Site design is a crucial step toward an online presence. It defines the look and feel your traffic gets as soon as they visit your site. This first impression is your chance to make your brand as memorable as possible. Don’t overlook it!

 

Who we are

Every successful business understands it needs to be relatable. Your website provides an excellent opportunity to tell your story and your mission. Where do you come from, and how did your business get its start? Talk about your experience in the industry and your phenomenal team. Help your customers understand your company on a personal level. 

Channel all of that biographic information into your company’s mission statement. We know who you and your team are and when the company started. But what do you do? This space is another opportunity to showcase your core business beliefs. Express why your company exists and what you bring to the table.

The “who we are” section of your website is a place to show off. Share your expertise and why people should trust you with their business. Now is not the time to be humble. The competition isn’t. 

 

Contact us

Offering a way for customers and leads to connect seems obvious. However, there are a few things to consider. Try to avoid listing emails or phone numbers for security reasons. Giving an email address is asking for spam, so do your best to stick to communication forms. 

Most companies can use a generic contact form, but sometimes we need to capture more data or direct communication to a specific person. Builders like Formidable Forms help create more intricate forms to fit your exact needs.

 

Content management

Writing content for your website is essential. From your mission statement to the descriptions of your services to any blog posts, you need to load your site with relevant content. For one, a large amount of relevant content will help your site show up on search engines. The more pages you create are more pages for search engines to index.

Knowing you need relevant content isn’t enough, though. You need to do your best to read your target audience. Are you looking for industry professionals who will already know the jargon? If not, you’ll want to avoid acronyms and other technical lingo. Visitors who aren’t familiar with the industry will be lost and leave your website. 

Sometimes businesses fall into the trap of writing unreadable content just to fill up pages. This error leads to confusion or perception of laziness. Content may be the most important element of your website, so take the time to write thought-out pages. 

 

Optimized speed and performance

We discussed the need for content regarding SEO, but just as critical, your website needs to be fast. Page load speeds carry a lot of weight with search engines. Everything about your website may be better than a rival, but if you have a slow server, their site might perform better in searches leaving you one step behind. 

Not only does a slow page speed hurt your search engine status, but you’ll also lose traffic. Pages have approximately seven seconds to grab and retain someone’s attention. If your website takes four seconds to load, your chances of keeping a visitor on your site diminish dramatically. 

Your focus should be on a fast, reliable host. Keeping your website up to industry standards for speed and performance can make or break your site’s success. 

 

Maintain what you have.

Building a website is only the beginning. Everything you create needs constant maintenance. From updating plugins to writing new content, your site needs to stay fresh. Regardless of how amazing an article is, it’ll be replaced by something more modern in searches. Some pages will be (somewhat) evergreen, such as your mission statement, but blog posts and articles need to be updated frequently. 

One easy way to maintain fresh content is to stay up to date with current events and tie articles into topical situations in your industry. Trends are always changing. Make sure your site can keep up.

 

Summary

Successful business websites incorporate several various elements. Each one has its different purpose, but without them, you can fall behind the competition. Make your company relatable, and create a memorable brand. Make sure people can get in touch when they need to! Write relevant content with frequent updates, and make sure your website loads fast enough to keep people around long enough to read it. 

Building and maintaining a business site you can run with confidence takes a lot of diligence, but you can make life a little bit easier with a blueprint. Does your website have all the right elements?

 

WPClover is here to help get your website where it needs to be. Schedule an appointment with our experts to analyze your website and discuss how to improve. 

 

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