Category Archives: Web Design

Site Case Study: Steve H. Lawton

Steve H. Lawton

While all of our clients are different, it’s not every day that you encounter a person like Steve H. Lawton. An executive at Dell, Steve had a snow skiing accident that nearly ended his life. He came out of that experience with a powerful perspective on living. His was a site we knew we had to build.

A SPECIFIC PERSONALITY

Alter Endeavors builds our sites to engage the visitor. Conversions and usability are at the top of our list. After that, however, the site is about the person or business; who they are and how they want to be perceived.

Steve was starting his branding from scratch. Aside from the cover for his book, the Steve H. Lawton brand had no look. Part of our process is having the designer interview our clients. We do this so the designer understands the vision and personality behind the site. As Steve and his designer—also Steve, funnily enough—talked, it was clear this site was going to be special. It was going to be capital-b Big on personality.

THE MAN. THE MESSAGE. THE SITE.

When we began our engagement, Steve’s book Head First: A Crash Course in Positivity was being finalized and on its way to the printer. With that in mind, it was important to identify the purpose of the site. Does it begin and end with the book? Or is the site about Steve H. Lawton beyond the book?

Steve wanted a platform to continue to share his message. His blog is front and center. Prominent newsletter signup forms and calls to action ensure those who want to hear from him can easily sign up to do so. An RSS feed signup is also offered.

Steve needed a stage for his speaking efforts. Steve’s speaking page is a study in how to do it right. Testimonies and client logos build credibility. Potential clients can see the topics he speaks on, and watch Steve in action in his videos. Steve’s bio and print-ready photos are there to be downloaded and included in programs and on event sites.

While the site is a solid platform for the book, it has a life after; accommodating all of Steve’s efforts and his mission moving forward.

A QUIZ THAT PROMPTS

The message of positivity carries an introspective aspect. To foster that interaction, we worked with Steve to put together a quiz that engages his visitors. The results of the quiz get them thinking about positivity in their lives, furthering the impetus to buy his book. (They can also sign up for his mailing list when they take the quiz; or not, it’s up to them.)

A SITE THAT BELONGS TO STEVE

Building Steve’s site was not only a pleasure—he’s great to work with, we were sad to see him go—but also fed into Alter Endeavor’s mission of making this world a better place. Another one of our values is constructing sites that are unique in the marketplace. There’s no one like Steve. There’s no site quite like his either. (Just try and get that from one of those cookie-cutter templates we all see the ads for.*)

*Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

Web Design Mistakes – 3 That Seem Like Great Ideas

Is your Website “Naughty or Nice”? Are there web design mistakes that seemed like a good idea at one time?

web design mistakes

We’re in November, which means it’s officially the holiday season and digital marketers can pound holiday metaphors into oblivion. At Alter Endeavors, we’re always happy to audit a website and give feedback. We fundamentally believe that every website should be unique in its branding, calls to action, and user experience. Over the years, we’ve seen a wide array of web functionalities and marketing ideas that are designed to increase engagement or conversions. Most of them work, but here are a few ideas that seem “nice” but are actually web design mistakes that could end your website up on the “naughty” list.

1. Slide Show Carousels

If I’m a business owner and my business offers different service lines or promotions, a slide show carousel may seem like a great idea. It allows pictures to scroll through so that users can see my business’s versatility. But, that’s the problem. Your website should be designed to optimize interaction. When someone visits your website, they should be clearly directed towards the engagement that maximizes conversions for your business (or your call to action). By presenting multiple options, such as a carousel, you’re actually encouraging users not to click further into the site. Need more proof of how a carousel can frustrate users? Click Here.

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Carousels can also be web design mistakes because they create an issue in regards to load time. When the page is pulled up, all of those images must load as well, which increases your load time. How does this translate to dollars? According to a recent study, for every second your website takes to load you are losing 16% of your traffic. If a carousel adds an extra second or two to your load time, you’re potentially losing up to 1/3 of your traffic before visitors even see the site. And while load time isn’t a major factor in Google’s search algorithm, it does play a part—so there’s that to consider.

2. Keyword Stuffed Copy

There’s a reason that black hat tactics exist in SEO. Because originally they worked. Keyword stuffing was a very popular technique 5 years ago because the content was designed to be recognized by crawling google bots rather than the users. In that respect, keyword stuffing seems like a “nice” idea to boost your SEO rankings. However, keyword stuffing is a web design mistake and a fast way to end up on Google’s “naughty list” and actually hurt your SEO rankings.

First, Google’s algorithm changes frequently. It’s designed to find optimal content for the user based on their search. Over time, Google’s algorithm advanced to the point where it is able to recognize what is valuable content and what is not.

Second, keyword stuffing is not designed to create easily digestible content for the user. Often times, the content overwhelms the user. Optimized content should encourage the user to engage further—either taking them deeper into the site or directing them towards a call to action. As Amy Renken of Amy Renken Writing Services put it, “when writing content for the internet, focusing on appealing to the human audience is just as important as writing for the search engines bots.”

3. Autoplaying Videos

If you’re considering a video on your homepage, first, I would like to highly recommend this idea. Video creates a palatable means of engagement with visitors and even helps your SEO rankings if executed properly. However, multimedia such as video that “autoplays” can actually decrease engagement on your site and are widely considered a mistake for website best practices. Here’s Sarah Murphy’s take, from our video partner Golden Arm Media:

“Autoplay videos on your homepage take viewers by surprise, particularly because of the audio. Instead, when a viewer clicks play to view the content, they are already more invested because they had to opt in to view it. It gives them the chance to be curious first, and dig deeper. Forcing it upon them with autoplay is an almost guaranteed way to turn them off before they have the chance to learn about your company. Just think about when you’re reading an article online, and a video ad starts playing—it’s not a very pleasant experience.”

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Web Design Mistakes to Avoid

In whole, these are three ideas that seem like a great concept on your site but could actually put your website on the “naughty list” with your users and customers. Rather than a carousel, focus on one clear call to action. Instead of keyword stuffing, create content that is relevant to your business focused on creating engagement. Finally, video can be an excellent way to reinforce branding or give further insight to your business—just don’t force it upon your users!

Where Are We Going?—Mobile Friendly Websites

mobile friendly websites

In January, Apple’s iPhone will celebrate its 10th birthday. At the time, the idea that one could surf the web and be on the cell phone at the same time was not only revolutionary, but seen as unnecessary. Previous “mobile web” experiences were incomplete, information based, and lacked the design and branding elements now crucial to a mobile website. The idea that mobile friendly websites would now just be a series of listed out links seems prehistoric—yet this was the reality less than 15 years ago.

Back to the present, as consumers, we use the internet daily. The average adult spends over 20 hours a week on the internet. With the prevalence of smart phones, this number will only grow. According to a Morgan Stanley study, the number of global users who accessed the internet via a mobile device was larger than the number of desktop users. Where does this tie back in to business applicable? 65% of new visitors to your website this month will be accessing your site through a mobile device, including tablets. The mobile revolution has begun online. Is your business ready for those potential customers? If you were to access your website through your phone as a customer, would you feel comfortable spending money with your company?

Oh yes, and there is also a major SEO component to being mobile responsive. Mobile responsive encompasses a webpage being CSS responsive, having quick load times and low data overhead. These are all major factors in Google’s search algorithm. As of April 2015, Google prioritized mobile friendly sites in their rankings and boosted those sites in their rankings. Also known as “Mobilegeddon”, the most drastic difference in the algorithm was felt in mobile search. If your website is not mobile friendly, it is very likely you don’t rank in mobile search at all.

What does CSS responsive mean? Based upon the browser window size, the structure of a webpage changes. In practice, the structure will change for iPhones, Tablets and Desktop. A site can be CSS responsive but not mobile friendly at all. However, a mobile friendly site must be CSS responsive. How is this possible? Again, mobile friendly includes CSS responsiveness, quick load times and low data overhead. If a site is CSS but takes forever to load, the site is not mobile friendly at all. Quicker load times are essential because on average you have 3 seconds before a mobile user will leave your site. If a site takes a minute to load, you obviously just lost 33% of the time a customer will spend on your site (ultimately meaning less conversions). Low data overhead simply means that a user will not use a significant amount of data to load the page.

If you’re not sure if your site is mobile friendly, click here.

At Alter Endeavors, we build well branded and mobile friendly websites. Our team of designers and developers have mobile specific experience that can help your business be ready for the future of the internet—which is in the palm of our hands.

Writing Website Content: Accommodating Different Types of Site Visitors

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“How?” she said to me, “When writing website content, how do I accommodate people who come to my website who know what they want, and also those who still need to be convinced they need my services?”

She’s a new client who’s had a website for a while. She’s engaged us to build a new site that will increase her interaction with both of those audiences.

Her’s is a good question. A valid one. Let’s take a look at it.

The Two Types of Site Visitors

Visitor One has encountered you on social media. Your statements there, consistent posts, and engagement with others have convinced her she needs your services. When she arrives at your site, she wants to contact you.

Visitor Two needs what you do. Through a search engine query, she’s arrived at your site. She’s never heard of you. She’s encountering your message for the first time.

Visitor One : Give Her What She Needs—NOW

Accommodating Visitor One is simple, but it’s a step so often overlooked. Give her the ability to do what she wants, in this case, contact you. Put the information where she is looking for it. Make it simple.

I’ll say it again. Make it simple.

If you’re a service company. A restaurant. Any brick-and-mortar. Provide your phone number—right there, at the top of your page. On mobile, this phone number can be clicked and then will call you. See? Simple. 

Let’s review the steps:

1. She arrives at your page. 

2. She sees and clicks (or dials) the phone number. 

3. She calls you.

4. You are now talking to someone who wants your services (= money*).

*Yay!

Some businesses (I am looking at you Restaurant Industry) try to be fancy and tuck this information away. The phone number—and even more inexplicable—their address are in the footer (not a terrible place for it), but still not the first place the visitor will see. I’ve seen this information on about pages, menu pages in the middle of the appetizers, and there’s been more than a few where I can’t find this information at all. (Really? What’s a restaurant’s customers’ number one need? Find the restaurant.)

Ok. So back to visitor experience. Here’s the difference if the phone number is in the footer on the site. (This example is on mobile, a platform on which most visitors arrive.)

1. She arrives at your page. 

2. She looks for your phone number. (Time wasted.)

3. She doesn’t see it. (She’s a little frustrated.)

4. She scrolls down. (Time wasted.)

5. She scrolls down. (Time wasted.)

6. Wifi is slow, the site stutters. (MORE time wasted.)

7. She arrives at the bottom of the site.

8. She sees and clicks (or dials) the phone number. 

9. She calls you.

10. You are now talking to someone who wants your services (= money).

In the second interaction you’ve already cost your potential client. You’ve tested her patience, which few of us have on the internet. You have precious moments with those coming to your site. If they know what they want, you have to give it to them now.

Contacting you is a prime need of visitors. Phone number, address, buttons leading to your contact page to send an email—these are all common items included at the top of a site’s pages. However, depending on your business, this might be a newsletter sign-up, or link out to your social media platforms.

Visitor Two : Tell Her Your Story and Invite Her to Come Along

Visitor Two: she needs what you do, but doesn’t know anything about you. You have a little more time with her, because she’s open to gathering information to make her decision. However, you still need to make your case quickly and clearly.

The elements of a well-built home page—and interior pages—lead the visitor on a journey. She is presented with the prime theme of the site: a headline and imagery that boils down the purpose of your business into a few, quickly understood words.

Scrolling down the website, this statement is supported and defined by things like:

  • The elevator statement: a slightly longer definition of your company’s offerings and objectives.
  • Graphic presentations of your services.
  • Logos, testimonials, or review site ratings add credence to your claims.
  • A video of you or your company in action.
  • Blog feeds, kept up to date, show you are savvy and present in the industry.

On the home page, each of these items are brief, a few words or graphically presented concepts. Each is accompanied by an action—a link or button urging interaction—taking her deeper into the site. There she will be further educated, convinced, and spurred to act.

By the time she reaches the bottom of the home page, and is presented with the final encouragement to contact you, she should be sold. After all, she’s gone on a guided trip, guided by YOU. You’ve given her the best story you have, told your tale.

Visitor Three : The Invisible Presence

There is one visitor, too, for whom all of the above applies. Though this visitor is silent, there’s a strong case for saying it’s the most important visitor of all.

The search engines—those internet robots made up of code probe your site. They’re digging for clues that you are who you say you are; that you do what you say you do. Their goal is to present the best on the tops of their lists. 

There were once multiple strategies in the past for luring them, and even fooling them, but now the best strategy is strong, relevant content, in positions on the page where their human counterparts would look for them.

Accommodating All the Visitors

An effective website provides your visitors with what they need. Whether it’s a phone number, or more information to make a decision, the best sites do this in a quick and clear way. As you consider your website, consider your objectives, what you want your visitors to do, and then put things in easily accessible places. We’ll all thank you for it.

A Website is Dreams Coming True

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“You’re making my dreams come true.”

I’ve been told this a few times now. As operations director here at Alter Endeavors—i.e. the guy who guides the teams working with our clients to design, organize, and build their sites—there are few statements that make me smile more.

My teams assemble the nuts and bolts of the site, being sure not only the calls-to-action are in place, but also that our sites are the best they can be across all devices and platforms. Alter Endeavors is currently working on quite a few sites, all of them at various stages within our process. As you can imagine, it’s too easy to get lost in the day-to-day.

“You’re making my dreams come true.”

A comment like this is a gut check. It causes us to look up and remember the bigger picture, the “why” behind what we do. It’s what makes me love my job. Nick created this web development company with an eye on more. His goal is to “return the human element” to the site building process. Part of that element is the “dream.”

The small business who re-builds their website to be mobile responsive, and increase their positioning in the search engine’s results, does so to bring people into their store or restaurant.

The author who puts up a site for her new book, and creates a blog full of dynamic content, has an eye on furthering her message and audience—looking beyond the current book launch to a well-branded platform, able to accelerate the next book launch and the next on the Amazon Best Seller lists.

The restaurant group who engages their customer base through ongoing social media channels, intent on delivering the information their audience wants. This same group builds a hub where customers quickly and easily find daily specials, location information, and hours. They care about their customers’ experience before they even walk through the door.

All of these are people with dreams. These are people living their dreams.

I know not all of our clients would say it this way. “You’re making my dreams come true” can come across too flowery. However, whatever they choose to call it, the truth remains—they stepped out and gave it a shot.

These are our favorite people to work with. The dreamers. The chance takers. The doers.

That moment when we pull the lever, when we direct the servers to the new site, when our client has a new and better face on the web—that moment is as exciting for us as it is for our clients.

Because, you see, nothing makes the Alter Endeavors team more happy than seeing—and being part of–a dream come true.

Control Your Brand, Own a Website

Social Media and other borrowed spaces continue to prove to us that they are both extremely valuable and extremely fickle. A little over a year ago, the Facebook algorithm made a dramatic shift, immediately shutting down businesses’ ability to reach even their engaged audiences in a “free” kind of way. And since then, their algorithms continue to shift all the time to accommodate new advertising methods, new mobile initiatives, etc. Brands have learned to adapt and rebuild but any brand that thinks its royalty status on Facebook or any other social media platform is safe lives in a dangerous fantasy.

It’s not just Facebook. Twitter completely changed the way their API works over a year ago, actually killing entire businesses that once used to be built on that API. With everything going on over at Twitter right now, a company floundering to stay relevant while finding profitability, more dramatic changes are inevitable.

Instagram implemented a much stricter API system back in late 2015 in order to fight malicious apps, but in doing so they managed to kill a ton of other apps, companies and add-ons.

The list keeps going. Social media platforms, powerful though they might be, are not permanent, especially as they are now. Controlling your own branded space matters to the longevity and stability of your brand online. And social media should be a reflection of the spaces you control online. It’s not to say that social media or other borrowed spaces (like Reddit) are not necessary. They absolutely are. But spaces like your newsletter or your blog or your website only change when you want them to, and how you want them to change.

With 10,000 Facebook followers, you can only engage them with the Facebook wall (only a fraction will see) and Facebook ads (which is limited to the amount of money you spend). With 10,000 email subscribers, you can engage them with a newsletter built however you want, to suit whatever need you might have. If you are a clothing company, sending out an email about your latest and greatest pieces to people who care is worth its weight. Have a controlled space to direct subscribers to is worth its weight in gold.

If you are a plumbing company, start a plumbing blog with plumbing videos. Most of the content you create and post on your site will always be relevant, it will always matter. If indexed properly with the right keywords, that content will rank well with Google and drive folks back to your site, your blog. And don’t just have a shingle hanging when they get there. Give people direction on your site. Show them where to go next, what to do next. Because what matters to you as a plumbing company (or any other service company) at the end of the day? Leads.

Websites are not dead. They are not obsolete. It is necessary to rebuild them every 3-5 years, but that should be because of the changing,growing nature of your business as well as to accommodate the changing nature of how people view the internet (hello, mobile.)

And it’s not to say that we discredit social media. Quite the contrary. Social media can prove indispensable to the building of an email list or when driving new prospects to your site. But that’s just it. These spaces are there for the assist. They are the pathways that lead to those controlled, authoritative spaces.

Case Study: Square Cow Moovers Powerful New Website

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Square Cow Moovers was one of our first clients and this brand is still one of our favorites.  Striking the right balance between silly and thoughtful with just the right amount of heart has helped Square Cow Moovers to greatly expand their business over the past few years.  A moving company with a cow, or rather a whole herd, as a spokesperson is a super fun brand to manage as well. 

Recently, Alter Endeavor created a new website for Square Cow Moovers.  Alter Endeavors Director of Operations, Christopher Jennings, oversaw much of this process.  Square Cow Moovers graciously featured Jennings and highlighted the importance of a well-branded and intentionally designed site in one of their blogs through an interview format. Learn more about the Square Cow Moovers brand and the process of creating a website below!   

How would you describe the process of creating a website— from inception to going live to a client?

CJ: We take our clients through a process that’s been honed for best results. Simply put, we follow two tracks, content and design, until we reach the third—development. While the framework of the process is established, the process is organic. At the end of the process our clients have told us they not only have a great site, but a better understanding of what it is they do; our website building process focuses the message of the client.

What attributes / elements make a website great? What are the essential elements for a powerful website?

CJ: The sites we build are the gathering place for our clients’ online presence. This aggregation not only serves the client by empowering the site visitor to interact with them through all of the business’s marketing channels, but also makes the search engines super happy. The more relevant content you can point to—and feature on—your site, the better results you get. It’s important to point out, it’s not a game we’re playing. Talking about what you offer, being authentically who you are as a business, the customers and the search engine robots can tell. Fresh content adds to your credibility; featuring information the visitor needs where they expect to find it—and more importantly—getting the visitor to ACT on it: these are some of the essential elements of a powerful site.

How do you illustrate the Square Cow Moovers brand on a website?

CJ: Square Cow Moover’s branding is a lot of fun. The cow has become a highly visible part of their branding efforts as their trucks roll around town. It was crucial to retain and build upon brand recognition, so it’s featured prominently throughout the site. It greets you at the top of every page. We also played with it a bit with the fun silhouette in the footer of the site. It serves as a watermark on the interior pages. 

What made the Square Cow Moovers website different from others?

CJ: The Square Cow Moovers brand is this delicate balance of whimsy paired with one of the most reliable and credible companies I’ve encountered. They are a company with a mission and we felt we needed to represent the “heart” of the company on their site. So, we needed to represent fun, but not silly. Rock solid, but not serious. I’m confident in saying we achieved that balance.

What was the most challenging aspect of creating the Square Cow Moovers website?

CJ: I would say the current multiple locations and building a site that can accommodate a company that is actively growing and expanding. We’ve put together a framework that can expand.

How does the Square Cow Moovers website better serve their intended audience?

CJ: The functionality of the site was further focused to put the information the prospect needs in their hands. With multiple locations, there was an added challenge, but all paths lead to the visitor reaching out to Square Cow Moovers, whether by phone, email, or through the instant quote tool.

What sorts of things should a business owner have in mind when considering a new website or a website revamp?

CJ: The primary questions is: Is your site optimized for mobile? Search engines now place mobile compatible sites higher in their mobile rankings. Is the site responsive? Does it resize to fit the device the visitor is using? After those basic questions are answered, what does the business owner need from the site? Think about the three prime actions they want the visitor to make. Focus on those. The website is no longer an online brochure of services, but a vital point of interaction with the visitor.

What do you wish a client knew or understood about the website creation process?

 CJ: Most of all that it’s a process that needs to be guided by people who know what they are doing. You can go and buy a WordPress template, or you can sign up for a template hosting platform; the commercials make it look so simple. First off all, the tools have a large learning curve. (Don’t get me started on the number of those sites and templates we’ve been paid to fix for folks.) The biggest deal, however, is there is a very specific psychology behind effective websites. The elements need to be in the right places, expressed in the right way, for the site to get the best results with its visitors—and more importantly—the search engines.

How can a powerful website positively impact a business?

CJ: A powerful website helps a business by helping them be found when people are looking for them. A powerful website builds the credibility of the person or business it represents. A powerful website inspires action, and action means business. 

What is your favorite element of the Square Cow Moovers website?

CJ: Honestly? Square Cow Moovers, the company itself, is my favorite element. I’m a huge fan of how they do what they do. At the end of the day, we’re advocates for our clients. I’m always excited to work with new clients and learn about what they do and who they are. Seeing their sites go up begins a new era for the company—just awesome.

If you would like to work with Christopher or have Alter Endeavors evaluate your site, click here

SEO Secrets (Shhhh)

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SEO is not the mystery it once was. Sure, Google seeks to constantly change the game. (They do so to confound those who use the strategies for evil, not good.) There are, however, some consistent simple methods for increasing your website’s SEO.

Wait. What is SEO? Ah. Glad you asked. SEO (pronounced es-ee-oh) stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” SEO is set of practices to increase your site’s presence in searches.

A Few Prime Keys to SEO

Mobile Compatibility. Wow. This is huge. HUGE. Google changed the way they evaluate sites in April. If your site is not optimized for mobile—and if you don’t know what that even means—stop what you are doing and contact us right now. Three months have passed since this important change. If you’re falling short of Google’s standards, when your potential customers search for you on their phones, you’re not showing up where you could be. During commuting times, weekends, and evenings, more than half of first-time site interactions now happen on mobile, and this number keeps climbing. Are you getting it? Dropping the ball here isn’t only no bueno, it’s a critical fail.

Your Address. Hmm. Seems like a no-brainer, right? The first step to people finding your services is the search engines knowing where you are located. Also, insure that everywhere your address is on the web, it is precisely the same. “2304 West Avenue” is different from “2304 W Avenue” and “2304 West Ave.” Seems incidental to us, but it’s crucial to the little robots who scan the web. (Robots are literal.)

Updated Content. Blogs. Primary page updates. Search engines are happy when they see things change. (By the way. Blog posts don’t have to be long, in fact, most readers like short and informative articles.)

Vibrant Social Media. Maybe you’re rocking it on your Facebook page. Your Twitter account is constantly lit up with offers and things for your target market. Instagram is flush with photos of your daily or weekly specials.  If these are not associated with your site by links, or even better, a feed on your site, you’re missing a paddle to the SEO boat.

Google Presence. Google loves company and wants you on their network. First, be sure Google has your information. Sign up for Google Business. Also, do you have industry specific content for which you can shoot small videos? (I recently assembled a BBQ grill and watched a fellow on Youtube put it together first.) Again, it doesn’t have to be fancy. Case in point, this Youtube star who opens Disney toys.

SEO: Your Website’s Bestie

So much of the search engines’ friendship with your site is determined by your content. Here’s a question: How does your site hold up against those items above? While it can seem overwhelming, there are solutions that can be put in place. From a site update for mobile compatibility, to redesign on a platform where you can enter new content, or having someone else write posts and manage your social media—all doable. We can help.

To chat about making search engine optimization your pal, talk to us today.

 

The Language of Websites, Part 1

Every industry has its own terms, the secret language outsiders don’t understand. Building websites is no different. We’re not being sneaky—trying to keep things under wrap—we just need something to call the practices and elements of what we do. 

So here it is, your first peek into the world of website building speak.

Site
It seems simple, but we’re not taking anything for granted. In our paradigm, “site” is shorthand for “website.”

Browser
Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox—all browsers. Simply put, it’s what you use to access the internet on your device. (Each of these browsers has specific requirements for websites. The websites we build are maximized for best performance with all of them.)

Calls to Action (or CTA’s)
What do you want your visitor to do? Visiting your business, signing up for your newsletter, calling you—all CTA’s. We identify five for each site. They are the anchors that determine all the other parts of the site and the strategy behind its implementation.

Site Map
Literally, what it sounds like. The map of your website. Laying out the map helps us know where things need to go and how they connect to one another.

Content 
The words, photos, and elements—graphs, quizzes, email contact forms—on a website. These are often the biggest challenge when building a site. We take this into account from the very beginning and start talking content from our first meeting.

Design
After content, this is the second tier in creating a website. With calls to action and the site map in place, it’s time determine what the site looks like. The answer to this question is far more than “what looks pretty”—though aesthetics are important. Good design incorporates your branding, guides the user through the site, and communicates content clearly and effectively.

Development
The final stage of building a site. Short for “web development,” it’s the invisible structure a site is built upon. Also called “coding” and “programming,” it’s a written language telling computers how to display and execute the functions of the site.

Device
Phone/mobile, tablet, desktop—the three primary methods for accessing websites. Phone and mobile refer to your handheld device; tablets are things like iPads and Galaxy Tab; and desktop is the monitor and computer sitting on your desk. Each of these has a specific sized window for content … which brings us to our next word.

Responsive
It’s how we compensate all the different sizes a site needs to be. A responsive site recognizes the device it’s on and resizes itself to fit. This often changes the layout. A mobile site is very different from the one on your desktop, offering maximized functionalities for the device. The world of responsive sites is relatively new, with the technology being perfected as we speak. Alter Endeavors only builds responsive sites, guided by our lead developer who constantly updates to ensure rock-solid best performance.

These are the key terms, but we’ve only scratched the surface! Join me in my next post and we’ll delve deeper into the lingo.

Responsive Web Design. What? Why?

Psssstttt…. You have a smartphone in your pocket, right? Maybe a tablet or two in your possession? And you surf the web on them, right?

How do you find that experience? Have you noticed that some sites are just watered down versions of the full site, while others are just small versions of the full site that make clicking a link or reading the text a challenge?

But have you also noticed that some sites automatically adjust themselves for your mobile device, keeping all of the content of the full site while making your experience pleasant and useful? Continue reading