Tag Archives: website design

Team WTI Participates in GMS Career Fair

Team WTI staff members at eighth grade career fair

Team WTI members Holland Block, left, and Hunter Draminski participated in an eighth-grade Career Fair at Geneseo Middle School.

Eighth graders at Geneseo Middle School had the opportunity to learn about a number of different jobs – including digital marketing and web design – during a career fair in the school gym and cafeteria on Friday, Jan. 10.

Team WTI members Holland Block, a digital marketing specialist, and Hunter Draminski, a web specialist, joined other Geneseo business professionals to speak with the more than 200 eighth-grade students at GMS.

“I was impressed with how the students all dressed up. They’d walk up to you, say ‘Hi my name is,’ and then shake your hand,” said Draminski. “They did a good job asking us questions.”

Illinois Standards Call for Career Exploration Day

As part of the State of Illinois’ new Career and College Readiness Standards, schools are required to have a career exploration day, said GMS counselor Amy Feely. 

The career fair capped off a career exploration unit in which eighth graders participated in a career survey, learned how to present themselves professionally and created a series of questions to ask employees attending the fair.

Team WTI at GMS career fair

Team WTI web specialist Hunter Draminski, right, discusses his job with an eighth-grade student at Geneseo Middle School.

Though Geneseo Middle School has hosted career fairs in the past, GMS Principal Nate O’Dell said the last one was more than a decade ago.

“They’ve been excited about this career fair,” said O’Dell. In addition to learning about career opportunities, the fair gives students a chance to work on what O’Dell called “soft skills.”

“They say ‘thank you’ and make eye contact and all those other interpersonal skills that are vitally important,” he said.

Fair Helps 8th Graders Learn About Local Businesses

Geneseo Superintendent Dr. Adam Brumbaugh said he applauded the teachers at GMS for organizing the career fair and preparing students for the day. Each took a survey in advance to see how their skills matched jobs and industries.

“Students are able to see what jobs are available locally. Ideally, we’d love our students to stay in the community. This helps them learn about the local workforce and what skills are needed to meet the needs and be good employees for local businesses,” said Brumbaugh.

Team WTI at GMS Job Fair

Geneseo Middle School eighth graders had a chance to meet with representatives from Geneseo businesses, including Team WTI.

Eighth-grade students will register for high school classes later in the spring. Thinking about jobs and careers for the future helps students plan their high school education track.

“This offers a starting place for students to see if they’re on a college track or a vocational track. We realize that college isn’t for every student, so we also look at career readiness. We want them to know what their options are,” said Brumbaugh. 

Team WTI’s Block and Draminski were good examples of each education path. Block attended a junior college before graduating from a four-year school, while Draminski entered the job market after high school.

“They were interested in how we got started and what our backgrounds were,” said Draminski. “They found it interesting that I started to learn to code when I was around their age. I enjoyed explaining how I got into the job.”

Team WTI Staff Answered Questions about Digital Marketing and Web Development

Team WTI digital marketing specialist at Career Fair

Holland Block, a digital marketing specialist at Team WTI, discusses her job with a Geneseo Middle School student.

“A lot of the students were very curious about what we do,” said Block, explaining that digital marketing included Search Engine Optimization, blog writing, online reputation management, social media management, and online advertising.

“They were interested to see all the types of things they could do in this field,” said Block.

Though the students had a set of questions they could ask participants, they were also able to expand to other questions.

“Most were nervous and started off with the questions they had, but as we spoke and joked with them, they’d get less nervous and branch out to ask other questions,” she said. “They all took the career fair very seriously.”

Both Block and Draminski had laptops at the career fair in order to better demonstrate their jobs to students.

“Some of the kids really wanted to see more, and to look at some of the sites and pages we’d created,” said Draminski.

The 2020 Geneseo Middle School Career Fair was attended by approximately 20 companies, representing everything from the military and education to human services and technology.

Are Users Giving Your Website an ‘F?’

Are viewers giving your website an F? Most likely, but that’s OK. The “F” refers to the reading pattern followed when looking at a site.

How the F-pattern works

First, users look in a horizontal movement across the upper part of the page (like the top “bar” of the letter “F.”)

A reader will next move down the page a bit, looking at content on the left-hand side.

That’s followed by another horizontal glance across the middle of the page. The second horizontal glance is often shorter than the first, and represents the lower “bar” of the letter “F.”

Finally, a reader continues scanning the left-hand side of a page in a vertical movement.

Known as the “F-Pattern,” it is the most common eye-scanning pattern.

A page with a lot of content is prone to users resorting to the F-pattern. Readers especially use the pattern on text-heavy pages.

What does the F-pattern mean for your site?

When users glance at a page using the F-pattern, it means the first lines of text are seen more than subsequent lines of text.

It also means the first few words on the left side of your page also receive more views.

Woman in glasses wearing black looking at computer screen.

Web users tend to scan pages in an F-shape pattern.

Web users tend to look at pages quickly. They want to find the information the need and then move on. As a result, the F-pattern comes in to play.

However, when users scan your page in an “F” shape, they may miss important information – especially if that information happens to be on the right side of the page.

Good design helps readers see more

  • Breaking up large blocks of text and providing formatting text helps readers more thoroughly view your content.
  • Use headings and subheadings on your page. The text is larger and will draw attention to important areas of your content.
  • Use bullet points or numbers to call out items in a list. Tiny chunks of information are easier for readers to retain.
  • It may be best to group small amounts of related content and draw attention to it with a colored background or border.
  • If your page is especially wordy, editing might be your best bet. Cut unnecessary content to increase the page’s readability.

Contact the experts at Team WTI to ensure your website impresses.

Poorly Placed Photos Lead Readers Away From Your Blog

Infographic on blue background detailing how photo orientation helps blogsAre your photos subliminally leading people away from your blog posts? The orientation of photos matters and can be the difference between your blog being read or ignored.

Great design relies heavily upon psychology, which reflects on how we process and perceive our world.

Our mind fills in the blanks of photo movement

Subliminally, our mind constantly evaluates and makes decisions about the visual elements we’re seeing.

For example, if a photo shows a person walking, our eyes will naturally follow the direction of the walk. If the walk leads away from your blog post, then readers’ eyes also will leave.

We’ve spent our entire lives looking at photos. We understand they’re a moment captured in time. As a result, our mind subconsciously fills in “what happens next.”

Take the image of a football quarterback preparing to throw the ball. The quarterback is looking downfield, his arm is pulled back and his body is in motion to throw.

We know what will happen next. The ball will be released and travel away from the quarterback.

Houston Texans quarterback in white jersey preparing to throw the football

As the quarterback prepares to throw, our mind naturally fills in the direction the ball is likely to take, and our eyes move accordingly.

Naturally, our “line of sight” fills in the likely trajectory and moves in the direction the ball will travel.

The photo itself is stationary, but our brains understand motion, so the mind fills in the blanks about what happens next.

If that line of sight looks away from your blog content, recapturing a reader’s attention will be difficult.

You have limited time to engage readers

The average attention span is only 10 minutes. You have a limited amount of time to engage your reader in what you’re saying.

Gray and white kitten with one paw raised playing with a green weed growing out between the mortar of paving stones.

The kitten is looking to the left as it plays with a flower. As a result, the eye travels to the right.

Brains are wired to focus on specific things. Using photos to subliminally point the eye back toward your content is key.

In his classic book, “The Design of Everyday Things” Donald A. Norman describes design as “an act of communication.”

Great designers understand how the human mind works. Design isn’t solely about “looking pretty” it’s about helping your readers connect with your content.

Let our SEO experts at Team WTI ensure customers are engaged with your site.

Are Websites Still Relevant?

The world of media is changing quickly, newspapers are slowing down, people are cutting the cord on cable and listening to streaming instead of the radio. It seems as if it is getting harder and harder to get your advertising and message out to people.

A good website is the foundation of your marketing plan.

A website can reach many more potential customers than other forms of media. The ROI of a website is much greater than other methods of advertising. You don’t have to buy airtime, ads in a paper, or billboards and your internet advertising can target exactly the people you want.

The Online World Continues to Grow

It seems today that everyone is online, but what are they doing while they are on their phones, tablets, and computers? Social media is important, but many businesses make the mistake of putting all their efforts into one place or platform.

Many business owners think that Facebook is the only place they need to be present. This isn’t the case (and, honestly, never has been).

Pew Research states that a quarter of Facebook users in the United States have deleted their app and Edison Research claims that Facebook has lost 15 million users since 2017. As internet usage increases, Facebook’s numbers are beginning to drop. That’s not to say that Facebook isn’t a valuable place to advertise, they still have around 214 million users in the United States, so they shouldn’t be ignored at all.

There are so many places that people can get their information online, you have to put your message everywhere. Our Digital Marketing team uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms to spread your advertising. You must use as many social media platforms as you can that are relevant to your demographic and business.

Websites are the Bedrock

However, if you don’t have a website as your “headquarters”, so to speak, you may be wasting your money. Not everyone uses every social media application, so you must have a main site that people can find. A business website is a foundation that all of your social media should be built on.

Your website is the core of your advertising campaigns. You can advertise your company through traditional methods of advertising, social media, pay-per-click, and other forms, but your website allows a central location that customers can visit to get more information, make an appointment, or buy a product.

When people use a search engine, like Google, to find information, it is more likely they will access your website. Each of the social media platforms has a specific thing they do well, but a website can do them all. Facebook is great at being able to share information with others, Twitter seems to be the more serious form of social media at times, Pinterest allows you to share ideas, and Instagram is all about images.

A good website that uses SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics gives you a place where you can provide quick pieces of information like business hours, telephone numbers, and what products or services are offered. Blogs allow you to provide long-form articles about your company and services. Your site should include images on every page, along with galleries that users can view. If you have social media accounts, links to those accounts should be in your site’s header, footer, or both. The social media accounts can be used to cross-promote your site, getting more for your advertising dollar.

Good Websites Do It All

A website that is designed by a company that is interested in your success, like WTI, can provide everything a potential customer will need. The user will be able to easily navigate the site to find the information they need. Whether they are accessing the site on a desktop computer, a tablet, or their phone, the site should provide them with a good experience.

A site not only needs to look good, but it needs to load quickly and provide the important information right away. If a user wants more details, they should be able to easily find the menu and get to the pages or posts that interest them without much effort on their part.

Besides, a website provides your company with another level of credibility. A website allows you to tell customers about yourself, provide testimonials, and show reasons why people should trust your company. More and more people are relying on research like reviews, testimonials, and product details before they make a purchase.

So many businesses have websites that NOT having one can be a liability. People may wonder if a company is serious about their business or if they are a fly-by-night organization. It will be tougher for this type of company to overcome having a reputation as being small-time or sketchy.

You can be located anywhere and still have a large reach, bound only by your service areas. Your business may be a small office located in a rural area, but you can advertise to every corner of the world. With good SEO, your small business could rank right up with multinational businesses, depending on what you’re offering. The internet can level the playing field more than any other method of advertising.

Websites are Open 24/7/365

People use the internet at all times of the day. They may be night owls, third shift workers, located in different time zones, or a hundred other reasons. Just because your business isn’t physically open, doesn’t mean that people can’t access your website when it’s convenient for them.

No matter where they are, what day of the week it is, or what time of day it is, users can go to your website and get information, contact you, or make purchases. You’re able to bring your business to them, making it as easy as possible to be a customer.

Online Marketing Strategies

There are many different marketing strategies out there and there are just as many variables that go into deciding which is best for your business. Our Digital Marketing team is experienced and trained in the different methods and customize a plan that fits your website, service, and/or product. If you’re interested in growing your business, contact us and let us help you form an effective marketing plan.

Every Business Needs a Website

No matter what the product or service is, every business needs to have a professional website. A good website isn’t something that most people can do themselves through DIY programs. It takes time to build the site correctly and to optimize it for search engines. There are constant changes that come from Bing and Google that need to be addressed as soon as they happen. Many things that are important to search engines occur behind the scenes in the code. A site may look great, but if no one can find it, it is going to be pretty useless.

Everyone at WTI takes pride in every website they work on and will do all they can to make them as successful as possible. From the initial meeting when we figure out what you want your site to look like and other details to the ongoing SEO and Digital Marketing work that occurs, WTI makes sure that you are happy with the results.

Contact us today to learn more about how a website can help your business. If you already have a website, we can work with it to make it even better. We want you to love your website and we can show you how!

Mobile First is the Future

According to Fortune Magazine, 85% of American adults read the news on a mobile device in 2017. That has jumped from 54% in 2013 and 72% in 2016. 85% was the number two years ago, one can imagine the number is even higher. People want information where they are and they want it and when they think of it. Most likely they are away from their computer and are looking at their phone. Even if they are at home, feet away from their computer, it’s more convenient to access the information on the device already in their hand.

Mobile first for mobile devices

Unfortunately, many website owners still have sites designed for desktops. At WTI, we find some clients that are resistant to a redesign or want us to force their old design into new technology. This can be done, but it isn’t the best way of doing things. It is much better to create the website to be optimized for mobile and, secondly, works well on a desktop. Last year, Google announced that they are using a Mobile First policy for ranking and indexing websites.

Google’s Mobile First Policy

So what exactly does “Mobile First” mean when it comes to Google? In the past, Google would use the desktop version to determine how to index and rank the site. As of March 2018, they now use the mobile version of the page. This is to help the majority of people that use Google find the information that they are looking for.

Site owners will notice the Smartphone Googlebot will be crawling their site more and Google will show the mobile version of the pages in their search results. Google states that they don’t use mobile-first indexing to populate rankings, but they do take into consideration on how useful a page is to a user. Having mobile-friendly content can only help you with rankings and search results. As Google puts it: “We may show content to users that’s not mobile-friendly or that is slow loading if our many other signals determine it is the most relevant content to show.” That’s a lot of signals you have to have correct to overcome not being mobile-friendly or slow loading.

If you are looking for ways to get performance out of your site, looking towards a mobile-first design is probably one of the best steps you can take.

Responsive Mobile Design Isn’t Enough

Many people try to convert their website from desktop to mobile. Aside from the fact that you are probably using old methods, old SEO tactics, old code, old images, and so on, it isn’t the most efficient option.

Converting an old site would be like when television stations stopped broadcasting standard definition images and moved to HD. Some programming remained that was not shot in HD or formatted for the larger screen shape. People could still watch the old programs on their TVs, but as more and more programming switched to HD, the difference between the two formats was more noticeable. The images didn’t fit the new ratio and there weren’t enough pixels to make the pictures very clear. It wasn’t as enjoyable or useful to watch old methods of broadcasting on the new technology.  The same goes for making a desktop site responsive. Yes, it will work, but it won’t be optimized for a mobile device. People will choose to use the sites that are easy to use and navigate.

Mobile First works on mobile devices

The responsive desktop site may do the job for a limited amount of time, but if you are going to spend the time, money, and effort to redo your site, you may as well do it right from the start. In the example given above with the TV, broadcasters and creators were able to make their programming ready for the change or they had to play catch-up. While you are trying to match the new technologies with old-fashioned methods, your competitors are stealing your market share.

The Difference Between Responsive and Mobile First

There are similarities between these two options, but the differences are what matters.

If a site is responsive, the CSS uses code to adjust the site to fit the type of device it is being viewed on. This takes a complex code and the desktop version is still considered the “main” website. The website is designed for desktops and is made to fit on mobile devices.

When a site is designed with Mobile First in mind, it is created that way from the beginning.  It is also responsive, but it is designed with mobile users in mind. Instead of designing a website for a minority of users then forced to fit on devices for others, the site is created for the majority of users on the internet. Over 65% of the population has a mobile phone (that’s around 5 billion people) and of that number, over half are smartphones. As of 2018, over 50% of all global internet traffic was done on a mobile device.

Making a Site Mobile First

There are several steps you can take to make your site user-friendly for those on mobile devices.

Streamline Content

As a writer, this one hurts, but it’s the way of the world now. People don’t have as much time or desire to read, so you have to make sure your content on the main pages is concise and easy to read. (It’s still true that long blog posts bring more leads than short ones, but that’s a subject for another, uh, blog.)

In addition to sparsing your content, you need to format it in single-sentence paragraphs, whenever possible. There is no place for redundancy and flowery language.

KISS (Keep It Simple, Sugar)

People today are bombarded constantly by information, whether they are wanting it or not. Websites are no different. By keeping your site simple, it is easy for the user to find the information they are looking for, which in turn should lead to contact with the user regarding your goods or services. Just provide and ask for the basics to complete the task. If something is complicated or takes too long, people will move to another site that easier to use.

Text Over Voice

A Gallup Poll states that texting is the most used way of communication for American 50 years old and younger. Many people don’t want to make phone calls or wait for your business to open to speak to someone. Make it so they can text or message you. I’m not saying to take your number off, there are times when a potential customer needs to speak to a human, but provide other means for users to communicate with you.

Call To Action, Activate!

Some website owners (and poor designers) don’t think about mobile any further than the front page. A Call To Action (CTA) is worthless if it doesn’t work on a mobile device. The CTA may lead to a page that isn’t responsive or a form that is difficult to fill out on a phone. People are not going to fight to give you their business, make it as easy as possible to let them get in touch with you.

Make your CTA something that is mobile-friendly like a chatbox or an SMS text messaging option.

Design for Mobile

The Design Council released a report stating that companies that made sure their graphic design was forefront, did better than other companies by 200%! The study also showed that people found well-designed websites more memorable, trustworthy, and easier to use. Just because the site is designed for a mobile device doesn’t mean you should cut corners on the graphics.

The designers at WTI make sure that our sites are not only user-friendly but look good, also. Some of the aspects of graphic design that we make sure are in every site include vibrant colors, the right font, eye-catching color schemes, custom graphics, and photos and videos that are generated from your company’s projects.

These elements are combined with easy navigation to make a site that is appealing and useful.

Mobile First statistics

WTI Can Make Your Site Mobile First

We talked a lot about why and how you should make your site mobile first, the next step is yours: contact the professionals at WTI and make your site work for your site visitors. It can seem daunting to make all of these changes, but we make it easy. You let us know you want to make your site mobile first and we’ll do all the hard work. We know the steps to make and the best way to optimize your site to help you drive more business to your company.

We want you (and your users) to love your website, let us show you how!