Archive for the ‘Website Design’ Category

Celebrating Our 14th Birthday

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Celebrating Our 14th Birthday

Happy Birthday to us! We're very proud to say that we are in our 14th year in this business and are continuing to grow and evolve with the fast pace of the on-line industry. We'd like to thank Fari and Carolyn for putting together such a great team and our clients and associates for their loyalty and support.

It's such a huge achievement to have survived so long amongst many competitors and the daily challenges that the internet throws at us. Here is a virtual toast to another 14 years of success and hard work!

Kimia

Ten Reasons to have a Website

Monday, January 7th, 2013
Any serious business requires a website these days. At the very least it will promote your services, and at best it will increase your sales many times over.

1. Become a Part of the Global Internet Community, Open up to the International Markets.
websites reside on the Internet, also called the World Wide Web (WWW), a global network of connected Internet servers. Internet users are able to receive and transmit text, video, voice, and other media information across the wired planet in a matter or seconds. The expression "global village" may describe the Internet very well. The Internet shortens geographical distances, country borders don't exist here – information is transmitted instantaneously across the entire planet.
Your website is a pathway into the Internet"global village" where people meet, make business contacts, shop, sell products and services, watch video excerpts, search for books and read the latest news. With your own website, you can begin to exchange ideas with the global Internet community. You can reach present and potential clients instantly by publishing the information about your company, services or products on your professionally-designed website. Now your business address, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, hours of operation can be at the fingertips of potential buyers.

2. Stay close to your area neighbourhood and provide services to your Local Market.
In addition to the global reach of the Internet, your Web site can boost your local business or organisation's presence – allowing you to focus on other projects either at home, or in your regional area of residence. Whether you're in New York or Tokyo, Rome or Washington, there are others who may require the services you offer by giving you access to Web search engines and allowing you to advertise your business to all Internet consumers. Not in business? If all you need is the creation of a website for your community volunteer projects or even a fan club for the state college basketball team, the creation of a website will accomplish your goals.

3. Sell Products and Services Online – The advantages of doing business on the Web.
You should consider an Internet Store to become your future storefront. First, potential customers need to know what services you provide and what is your price range. You can reach your future customers by advertising on the Internet-surfers will be able to find you when they search for your business or organisation site on web search engines.
You can collect critically important data from your clients by asking them to submit reqests for new products or reviews of your existing products: time-to-market turnaround is reduced by the speedy communications offered by the Internet. Your website will become a cheaper advertising medium than traditional brochures or newspaper and magazine ads.

4. Electronic commerce, or E-commerce, is a leading business practice in the global marketplace. E-commerce is an extremely effective way to quickly distribute custom products to clients anywhere utilising a variety of selections which is almost infinite.
E-commerce is an Internet technology which allows businesses to create revenues over the world wide web by closing the sale right over the Net. Web stores with real-time authorisation of Credit Cards offer a tremendous potential for Internet vendors.
The majority of Internet users are college educated individuals that represent a solid consumer base – they're looking for value and variety in their spending. With today's explosion in the number of Internet users globally, the demographics of online shoppers will not only increase, but their spending power will continue to grow as well.
There are no limits to creativity in e-commerce: you can sell books, cars, Internet or telephone service from your website. What is your speciality? With broad international customer potential, you could expand your business to foreign markets as well – you can translate your web pages into foreign languages and reach millions of potential buyers across the globe.

5. Promote your Business among the World's most Savvy Consumers.
The number of people who use the Internet is growing every day. They are the people who keep up with modern technology, use computers for work and recreation; they're always looking for new opportunities and services. You can reach this consumer community of Internet users through your personal or corporate website – your company presence on the Web is vitally important to the future of your business. A "window" into the world of Internet – your website is a place to meet your future clients, business partners, subscribers and friends.
Web surfers who use their computers for shopping, can access your web store or corporate site and place orders or request services 24 hours a day. You can receive customer and client feedback instantaneously via e-mail or a CGI script placed on your web page from anywhere in the world.

6. You Can Offer 24 hour / 7 days a week Service.
In today's dynamic marketplace, offering a business that is available 24-hours-a-day is not an option, it's a necessity if you want to stay one step ahead of the competition. Having a company or organisation website will allow you to reach interested clients, customers, or new visitors 24 hours a day (the Internet servers where websites are nested never sleep). Forget about the 9 to 5 business hours, now business is done 24 hours a day across the wired globe!

7. Publish The Latest News Now!
The World Wide Web is a dynamic information medium – you can announce the latest news, perform immediate price updates, and have the viewers read about and view the product pictures in a matter of seconds. Today's stock quotes, current jackpots, live survey results – all can be updated every minute or even every second. The CGI code on your Internet server program will perform dynamic changes to your site to ensure up-to-the-moment punctuality.

8. Answer Commonly Asked Questions on your website.
You can avoid repetitive phone calls and e-mail messages from your clients by having the answers ready on your Home Page. You can concentrate on the core business and customer satisfaction instead of going over the same "What is you business speciality?" questions. Now you can do business faster and more productively by placing important information right on your home page.

9. Get More Coverage – Receive Critical Media Exposure.
Media correspondents usually begin their coverage of a business or an organisation by first looking up the available information on the Web. They'll most likely first go to the Search engines and then will "click on" to get to your Internet home page. You can attract media attention almost immediately with an operational, attractive website – just look at the media coverage gained by the sites of Amazon.com and Yahoo.com!
Your company could gain significant market share with the help of publicity from the newspapers or online magazines, TV coverage or online surveys. Your winning web home page would attract public and corporate attention and help the viewers familiarise themselves with your business' speciality and product offerings, or your organisation's mission and history.

10. Turn your Company Internet or Intranet Into a Conference Room for your Employees.
The company Internet site may also become a convenient conference room for your employees – they can communicate instantly via e-mail, attend conferences online in chat-rooms, or by video-conferencing. Your employees would be able to obtain the latest company sales figures, client contact information, or news right from the Home Page. No matter where your employees are – they'll stay in touch with the company through a website at home, in a foreign country, or when they are flying on business with their laptop connected to the Internet.

The definition of website design, and why your site needs it.

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

To some extent, we are all experts in web design. Your taste may run to minimalist, lavish, or brash, but one thing is for sure. You'll be able to say, within seconds of visiting it, whether or not you like a website.

It's perhaps tempting to think of web design as nothing more than choosing a couple of pretty colours. So why do we consider it such a key part of the website building practice – indeed, an element that can make or break its success?

Well, let's consider a few of the important factors that web designers have to keep in mind, every time they create a new site:

Web

5 Dillon Home-Owner Essentials

The look and feel

This website represents your company, and as such, you need it to convey your brand values. There is a whole wealth of subliminal clues and iconography the experienced designer can call upon: rounded corners or handwritten elements for friendliness, red starbursts for rock-bottom pricing, stately fonts for respectability.

The great thing about web designers? You tell them what you want in words, and they translate it into visuals.

Usability and accessibility

Those two words may not mean much to the man on the street, but you'll soon know about them if they are missing from a website. Usability simply means how intuitive a site is to use. If you've ever experienced the frustrations of clicking and clicking around a site, trying all the obvious places to find the one nugget of information you need, then you've experienced poor usability.

Accessibility, on the other hand, is all about ensuring a site is available to any user, whether they be disabled, elderly, partially sighted, or whatever.

A good designer weaves usability and accessibility into every single site he makes – and he knows he's done a good job when you don't even notice it.

Technologies

The web can be a confusing place, with new technologies coming online every day. The best designers know which have the greatest take-up: there's no point in including a video on your site, if it's in a format most people won't be able to view.

Equally, your designer will need to ensure the site works on any number of browsers run at any number of resolutions on any number of operating systems.

Look for the designer who can't stop telling you about the great new features he's seen online – he's the one who is bang up to date.

Appeal to search engines

As if that wasn't enough to think about, designers have to be sure that their sites will actually be found – and that means putting into place SEO-friendly features. Neither Flash videos or text that is actually made of an image will do you any good at all in your Search rankings, because they simply won't be seen, however nice they look.

On the other hand, if your designer adheres to a few simple rules, you'll find that your design actually boosts your climb up the ratings.

Keeping up to date

As in every other visual discipline, fashions change in web design. Make sure you don't employ someone who's sitting on their laurels, churning out the same old designs that made people sit up and look back in 1995. Look around you, and see what your competitors are doing. Then decide whether you'd like to imitate them, or innovate a little more.

Great designers are always changing – as quickly as the web itself changes.

Not looking like quite such an easy job any more, is it? So now you may begin to understand why web design can be considered both a creative art, and a rigorous discipline.

When one takes all of these factors into consideration, design suddenly begins to look a lot harder. Perhaps it's not work to entrust to just anyone.

At Notting Hill Web Design, we make a difficult process easy. If you want a simple life, you can choose one of our off-the-peg designs, which are ready-tested for robustness, durability, and pizzazz.

If you want something a little more unique, choose our tailored design service. We'll put our best minds on your project, and come up with something that puts your site at the very front of the pack.

Pretty Ugly Sites

Friday, December 7th, 2012

While I had stated a couple of weeks ago that looks aren't everything, it has to be said that this statement is only true to a certain extent and there are some very obvious exceptions.  When looking at the following sites, be sure to be equipped with sunglasses and asprin.

constellation7.org is possibly one of the most torturous sites to look at and to navigate. All the pages, navigation buttons and sidebar offer a number of multicoloured, neon backgrounds. The neon theme is also reflected in the sites images and texts. A lot of effort would have had to be made to make this site so ugly. Each page has a totally unnecessary sound clip with no option to mute the sound on the site. I cannot image that visitors will want to spend much time on here. 

There seems to be a pattern emerging with Jesus and Neon. After you overcome the dizziness of dokimos, you can see the link to their new site, which is quite a relief.

Lings cars from Dragon's Den has a website that is both funny and ugly. It has all the flashing images and texts, too many colours and different fonts however she has made some funny images of herself and I would say her personalty and sense of humour is accurately translated here. The site isn't actually that hard to navigate but there are far too many distractions. 

Arngren's information overload of ugly overlapping images and text makes you want to leave the site instantly. I think this site sells stuff but, would you trust them?

M.I.A's intro page and main site has bright colours and prints, much like her personal style. Not sure if it is  that acceptable in reality or the virtual world. 

So here we have it, examples of how looks can matter. A lot of time and money would have had to be put into making these sites ugly. The saying 'less is more' should be considered when designing your site. 

Kimia

What you must consider for your web design

Friday, December 7th, 2012

1. Purpose of your Site

It's important to outline the purpose for your site and the type of information you would like it to contain. Before you begin working on your site, it is necessary to have a clear idea of the purpose of this site.

On-line brochure
An informative website describing your company speciality, industry, price-range, services, other information. Placing extensive information and product pictures on your web page could be a good way to promote your business. You can hand out your web address to clients instead of sending expensive printed materials to them.

Form to collect names of potential customers
Websites can be a very good marketing tool – people who visit your site can give you important feedback about your company, sign up for newsletters, ask for services they would like to see from your business or organisation. We discuss the ways to do this later.

Sell Products Online
You've heard the word "E-commerce" everywhere; both the media and the stock market are extremely optimistic about online businesses. Would you like to enable your website for full e-commerce functionality with instant online credit card authorisation and customised virtual shopping carts? We discuss ways of setting up an e-commerce operation here later on.

Other Features
You could add other features to your site, which are relevant to your specific business type. These can be discussed at a later stage.
 

2. Domain Name that you select

What is your domain name? Is it an easy to remember, distinctive name (as www.MyCompany.com)? We recommend that you select your own first-level domain name for your website (as opposed to using an add-on site at a provider's server, names like www.aol.com/MyCompanySite do not accent your own identity). There are several reasons to obtain your own first-level domain name:

  1. You own this domain and even if you change your Internet service provider, the name (and its popularity) remains with you;
  2. As the popularity of your site grows, your name becomes more and more recognisable; it becomes a trademark;
  3. It's so easy to obtain and it costs so little, that you can't miss the opportunity of having an attractive domain name.
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3. Design (site structure)

Site design begins with configuring your headline page – the Main Page, also called Index Page. On this page you can explain to your visitors the advantages of doing business with you (and not with someone else). Here is the list of typical pages that are referenced by links on the main page.

About (Information)
You would tell the visitor about your business or organisation.

Services
You would list the services you offer.

Contact information
Contact information can be placed on the bottom of every page or on a separate page. When your business or organisation is divided into several departments, it's important to create a separate page for each one, so you can list contact information for each department individually.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Here you would place answers to the most common questions to offset your telephone traffic. Everything that you think is useful to your customers can be placed here.

Press Releases and News
Show your customers what is going on in your company. This page alone can keep your site popular and frequently visited.

Order forms
You can have as many forms as needed for visitors to request information or to buy products.

Other Pages you would like to have
You can have as many pages as you decide. We could guide you through do's-and-don'ts of additional pages.

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4. Type of graphics: style and background

No Graphics at all
You could start out with a text-only version of your site, and later enhance it with graphics. "No graphics" site could be a good starting point if you want quick turn-around. Headlines can be composed of text instead of graphics. Remember that once you have developed a functional text-only site, you should not stop – your site would look dull without graphics.

Graphically designed text
Several programs such us Adobe PhotoShop or Macromedia Fireworks will help you customise the look of your fonts. The text then will become actual graphics saved as GIF or JPEG file format.

Clip Art
There are thousands of clipart graphics available on the internet and in software packages as Corel Draw!. Make sure you use royalty-free images or obtain them from a paid software source.

Scanned Images
You can place any picture on your website, all you need to do is to digitise the image. There are several ways to do this:-
You can scan it yourself – you will need a scanner and digitising software, which is compatible with the scanner.
Copy centers – often your local copy-store will have computers, scanners and friendly staff to help you convert your image into a computer file.
Hire a professional firm. At Notting Hill Web Design, we can do the scanning and sizing for you – we are a full-service design company.

Professional graphics and Image Maps by computer design artists
There are several types of graphics work that should be left to the professional designer. Stunning, high-quality and high-resolution graphics create an unforgettable first impression and keep the customers coming back. For example, an Image Map is a combination of graphics and navigation buttons that should be completed by professional web designers since designing them involves graphics design skills plus the knowledge of programming.

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5. Page Size

Context of the web page determines the size of the page. Large amount of information/text requires long web pages. This type of pages is often used for articles, reports and so on. Short pages are good for brief, catchy statements or offers, aimed to attract the visitor's attention and give out all the information at once. Both of these formats have advantages and disadvantages: Long pages can be large in size and take long time to load. Short pages will download fast, but can't deliver detailed information. It will be very inconvenient for your user to "jump" to all pages on the site in order to get complete information. Based on the type of site you are planning, choose the type of pages you will employ.
 

6. Elements of web pages

Choose the elements you'd want included in your pages:
Top of the page:

  • Page Graphics (logo) (Placed anywhere you choose on the page)
  • Text headline – cheaper alternative to Page Top Graphics

Body of the page: Background.

  • One tone or white background.
  • Patterned backgrounds.

Available from commercial packages such as Corel Draw!. You can find many free patterned backgrounds on the Internet.

Custom-designed background
Just like custom-designed graphics, backgrounds can be tailored specifically for your site.

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 Links

  • Navigation bar It's common practice to place the same a navigation bar on the entire site. Your user will feel at "home" on your site very quickly.
  • Text links In many cases the context will reference information from other pages on the site or from other Internet locations. Setting up a link from keywords to the referenced material will help users to find related materials quicker. Please Note! Make sure you use links to outside of your site wisely, it is possible that once the visitor leaves your site – he/she will never come back again.
  • Horizontal lines You can separate the important items very effectively with horizontal lines.
  • Bullet points You can use bullets to make the lists of similar items to stand out.

Bottom of the page:

  • Contact Information. This e-mail form allows the customer to contact you from every page.
  • Copyright disclaimers
  • Hit Counter
  • Last update "Last update date" at the bottom of the Index page. Please Note! Using "Last Update" function on your web page could be an important indicator for time-sensitive sites (such as financial sites, news sites etc) – therefore you should use this feature if you are planning to update your site on the regular basis. (If you are not going to change the information on the site too often, the 3 month-old "last updated" stamp could puzzle some visitors).
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"Behind the scenes" (important items not viewable from your website):

Title
Title is the name and description of the website that is interpreted by the browser as title of the page, it is not really a part of the page itself. The Title is crucially important since most Search Engines use it to index your page. Make sure you use the right key words in the title!

URL address on the printed page
Allows your users to record and distribute and print a unique URL page off your website. This way your user will always know where the printout came from.

7. Photos, Pictures, Animation, etc

Skilful use of pictures and photos can dramatically enhance the look of your site, after all, there is an old saying that still rings true: "It's better to see once than to hear a hundred times."

Colour photographs

Black and white photographs
Monochrome pictures will create an artistic "feel" and at the same time assure faster downloading time.

Animation can add action to your site
There are several ways to create animation. One of the most common is GIF animated format (most of the moving banners you see on the Internet are made this way).

Sound
There are several technologies that can help you deliver sound to your site. RealPlayer, for example, will allow you to stream recorded or real-time sound right to your visitor's computer. Notting Hill Web Design has extensive experience with Real Player applications and would be happy to help you incorporate audio capacity into your website.

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8. Feedback: get in touch with your customers

Once you have obtained site visitors, keep them!!! Do your best to turn them into loyal customers or members of your online community! If you have an on-line store and your visitors find what they are looking for, naturally you will collect all the information from this customer in order to market to him/her again.

The way to do it is:
Order form
It can be as simple as a printed form that can be faxed back to you, or a more complex and more profitable! shopping cart (with protection of SSL, Secure Socket Layer).

Another way to collect the user's information is:
Newsletter subscription Offer something of value to your visitors to attract their interest. A newsletter covering a related topic can be one of those valued services.

Free services
Some things that cost almost nothing to you can be of real value to other people. You can publish your free news, recommendations, and anything else people would find useful – free services attract Internet traffic!

Information Request
Encourage your customer to ask questions or order additional information. A strategically placed CGI form can do this simple but important job for you.
 

9. Advertising, Promotion and Registration of your site

The greatest site in the world will never have a single visitor if no one knows about it. There are several ways to promote a site:
 

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Search engines
You should register your site with major Internet search engines. This is the first thing you need to do after you complete designing and publishing your site. There are literally thousands of search engines and directories on the web, but only a handful are popular among almost 100% of internet users: for example Yahoo, AltaVista, Lycos, Infoseek, GoTo.Com, Excite, HotBot. Search engine registration is simple and straightforward, but getting your site to rank high is really an art (ironically, not science). Notting Hill Web Design is an expert in effective site registration.

Banner advertisement
Banner advertisement can be very effective. Make sure it is placed on other site with topic related (or complementing) yours. There is one drawback: placing your banner on a high-traffic site could be really expensive.

Free banner exchange programs
There are several well-known sites (like LinkExchange) that will allow you to place your banner in an exchange program. Your banner will be shown on the sites, which belong to this program in your category, in exchange for banner exposures of other members on your site. This kind of programs can be very helpful at the beginning of your Internet promotion journey. However, make sure that this is not the only strategy you use. In most of the programs you get to show only 3 banners for every 4 that you display. So, it is not hard to see, that your supply of banner credits will melt away rapidly without other promotional techniques.

Reciprocal link exchange
There are very many sites that would like to exchange links with you. It's advisable to be selective about companies with which you exchange links. A good example of link exchange would be for sites that complement each other. For example: Computer hardware company would benefit from exchanging links with a computer software company.

Press releases
You may contact the services that specialise in web news. You might be able to "make the news" and get free publicity. At least it's worth a shot!

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Traditional advertisement
Make sure you include your URL on all traditional advertisement including business cards, mailings, company pens and T-shirts.

10. Site Maintenance and Support

To remain competitive, you need to keep up with the current events and changes. Your website could soon become a tremendous success if you update and upgrade it frequently.

  • Update the ever-changing links
  • Update News
  • Update information that becomes obsolete
  • Update merchandise descriptions
  • Update Prices, Interest Rates, Stock Quotes, etc
  • Update Pictures


Your ability to maintain the site yourself is related to the way the site had been originally designed. Notting Hill Web Design creates websites with our customers in mind. Once the site is created, we can assist you in learning how to modify and update your website. Very soon you will not require our help any more. The only time you would want to contact nottinghill.biz again would be when your site requires additional functionality.

What We Mean By “Search Engine Friendly Sites”

Friday, November 30th, 2012

A professional team of web designers, web developers and SEO experts will create search engine friendly websites through on- site optimisation. Here are some steps that should be taken to ensure that your site is optomised:

1. Title Tags

It's the title of the page and is one of the most important steps. It should have keywords in it and accurately describe the page.

2.  Metakeywords

Keywords and keyphrases that are relevant to your business or purpose which will help search engine users find your site and understand what it is about. 

3. Sitemap

A sitemap is a list of the pages on your website which allows visitors but, most importantly search engines to view all the pages and get a better understanding of the sites content and prupose. 

4. Metatags

A metatag is a HTML tag that provides information of the site. It cannot be seen on the site but it can be picked up and analysd by web spiders. 

5. Internal Links and Link Optimisation 

Linking from page to page within the site is a key for search engines as well as encouraging visitors to navigate around the site. 

Useful anchor text should be used to link, for example, linking the text "bespoke websites" is more useful than linking "click here" as it will be clearer to search engines and visitors what page the link leads to. 

6. Text

Unique content that includes keywords and keyphrases needs to be on every page. Search engines will penalise sites that have copied content. 

7. Image ALT Tags

The images on your site should have ALT tags so that search engines know what the image is and are able to direct users to what they are looking for. Search engine spiders can only read text and not images. When your cursor hovers over the image, the text should represent the image and be relevant. The image filename should also be changed to match the ALT tag and should never be labelled as "photo1.jpeg".

8. Social Marketing 

By producing and distributing content across social media, you will be able to build a good relationship with search engines as well as your virtual audience. Having the buttons clearly linked on your site and making frequent and consistent updates improves a sites organic search presence. Facilities such as blogs allow websites to be frequently updated which is another search engine criteria for ranking. 

While on-site optimisation is only one part of SEO, it is the first process to help improve a sites organic search presence. This is why it's important to understand and appreciate the value of a professional when makng a site and to seek their services. You should get your site audited to make sure all these steps have been taken and what can be done to improve and update your site. 

Kimia

Firefox 4 is coming: is your website ready?

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

With the announcement that the beta version of Firefox 4 has been released, it’s that time again. Time to check how your own website looks on it, that is.

While the browser is only in beta (ie, a work in progress), it is currently available for download – its developers are hoping that users will report any bugs they discover before the official launch.

The new version, Mozilla tells us, contains “dozens of new features and improvements” (see them listed here) – each one of which might affect the display of your site. Of course, one hopes not – but it is always as well to check, especially with Firefox having a 46% share of the browser market as of June 2010.

Sounds complicated? We’d be delighted to do it for you: just one of the many services we can offer.

How will your website look on a giant screen?

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

You may currently be preoccupied with thinking about how you’re going to optimise your website for the oncoming mobile web explosion. Well, if you want a break from that, we’ve got news for you – it looks like we’re also in line for a massive rise in Internet-via-TV.

Announcements this week point towards a new generation of set-top box, allowing for Internet access directly through the TV, without a computer. Presumably, this will lead not only to programme-watching on demand, but a blurring between TV and online advertising. There’s every possibility for an ad to give a link, inviting the viewer to switch modes and visit a website for time-restricted special offers, for example.

While mobile Internet users present the challenge of making your website navigable, attractive, clear and comprehensible on a small screen, TV Internet will of course bring the opposite issues – especially with the current trend of ever-larger plasma screens. Resolution may also be different.

Project Canvas, the BBC’s name for the new set-top box, isn’t expected to launch until next year, but it’s definitely worth thinking about it now.

Minimalism takes a break

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Google’s homepage is the most-talked about blank space on the internet. Renowned for its one-option interface and clean minimalism, the page is often cited as a great example of ‘less is more’.

It came as a great surprise, last week, then, to see that Google had transformed itself. The page that logged-in users saw was taken over by a large photographic image, much in the style of its rival search engine, Bing.

Google homepage with Jeff Koon artwork as background image

Even more of a surprise came a few days later, when the white homepage returned. “Remove Google background” was apparently the seventh-most searched for term during the intervening days (the image can be removed, but a bug had prevented the link giving this option from displaying).

Read it how you will – panicking behemoth trying to imitate its competitor, then pulling the move when it realises it has blundered? Or service that listens to its users, and is uniquely positioned to do so, given that they are revealing their inner thoughts with every search?

Either way, it’s good to know that Google responds to the people who use it. The story, while amusing, shows us one of the strengths of the web – that you can try out something new, and change it sharply if it turns out not to be working for you and your business.

How speedy is your site?

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

It’s very tempting, sometimes, to have all the latest bells and whistles on your website. Everyone likes novelty, which is probably what led to the many sites that used to play music as soon as they started up, back in the last decade. Thankfully, that’s a trend that has largely now gone the way of the dodo, but, human nature being what it is, there is always something else to replace it. Heavy animations, videos, or just tricksy fonts – they can all add to a site’s “weight”, and you might not even notice it.

The chances are that you visit your own site often, and your browser will be caching certain elements to make them faster to load. What’s more, you almost certainly visit predominantly on the same browser and the same operating system, so you simply might not be aware that what takes a few seconds to load on your own set-up is taking an unacceptably long time on someone else’s.

If you market abroad, stop to think about the distance between your server and your customer’s machine. Not everyone has broadband, and, globally, there are many users who may be used to long page loading times, but still unwilling to wait for your snazzy animation to load.

Not long ago, Google announced that page speed had become one of the many factors in their increasingly-complex ranking algorithm. In other words, it’s no longer just a courtesy to your customers that your site loads quickly, but a real business imperative for those who rely on top search engine rankings. Fortunately, at Notting Hill Web Design, our best practice policy means ensuring, among many other things, that your site is always as streamlined and efficient as can be. Why not follow the Google link given above, where you’ll find some tests you can do on your website – and if you find it lacking, give us a call.