Category Archives: Web Design

A Blog Post About Blogging

A blog is a great tool for turning a static website into a dynamic one and potentially increasing its overall SEO value.

Make sure to place quality over quantity. Some businesses make the mistake of publishing a lot of posts without having anything significant to say. Publish high-quality content that offers value to your readers so that they keep coming back for more.

Give your readers a way to comment. A comment section can create a dialogue between you and your site’s visitors. While positive feedback is great, negative feedback can also be important. It tells you what you’re doing wrong. Or where you can improve.

You’ll have to build your audience as you build your blog. Promote every post you write on your social networks and any where else on the web that makes sense for your brand.

Lastly, make regular updates to your blog. Simply setting up a blog, or only making occasional updates, won’t get the job done. Instead, make sure to publish quality content on a regular basis so that search engines index more and your readers develop a loyalty to your blog.

What Your Font Says About Your Brand

When you select a font, there’s an absolute guarantee that you mainly did so based on its aesthetic value. However, there’s also a major psychological effect that goes with such a selection. The font you choose determines how your audience—intended or coincidental—views your brand. Thus, it is important to know the basic font classifications, and what each one is best for:

Serif:

Serif fonts are named after the extensions—or “handlebars”—at the top and bottom of each letter. Letters with serifs have been used since the Middle Ages, when kings or court officials prepared official documents for correspondence. The serifs give the letters—and, by extension, documents—a formal feel. That’s why serif font is most appropriate and effective for research papers, academic journals, data sheets, legal documentation, press releases, and other forms of formal documentation. Best for more serious subject matter, it conveys a sense of authority; the intended audience is bound to hold your brand in higher regard. Also, serif is very easy to read in print, which is why authors use it for their books. Times New Roman is the most popular serif font; it was the default font of the popular word processor, Microsoft Word, for several years. Other common serif fonts include Georgia, Garamond, and Palatino Linotype.

Sans Serif:

Sans serif—which means “without serif”—came into being during the 19th century with Helvetica. Since then, sans serif has been a popular font for more informal fare, including comics, graphic novels, and blogs and personal websites. That’s because the lack of extensions gives sans serif fonts a more playful, inviting feel. Another benefit is the clean and intuitive reading that they give on the screen. As a result, it is perfect for websites, particularly headlines; and you can use it if you are trying to convey your brand as modern or youth-oriented. The first serif font is Helvetica, and it remains one of the more popular ones. Other notable ones include Arial and Calibri, which is the default font of the most recent Word iterations.

Script:

With its flowing, overpowering curves, script fonts are greatly restricted in application. They do not make good body copy, since words and sentences formed with them are hard to read. However, the script category comprises the best type of font for headlines and decorative text. Also, the script font’s high sense of informality and joviality make it ideal for greeting cards and wedding invitations.

To make the most of your message, it is important to remember what role your font plays in delivering that message to your audience. Use fonts to your advantage and contact the designers at Direct Axis for all your print and web design needs. At Direct Axis, our team of writers and designers work closely with you, to not only determine what your message and who your target audience is, but also design with the customer in mind to keep them engaged and drive your conversions. Gain a creative edge for your business and contact the design experts at Direct Axis today!

Why Every Business Needs CMS Web Development

When starting a business, one of the first and most important aspects is the company’s website. Usually it is easy to just hire a designer or freelancer off of Craigslist because it is cheaper and most times, hassle free. But what happens when the designer is not available when something goes wrong or worse, your company’s content needs to be updated? It doesn’t make any sense for team members to venture from their designated roles in order to spend excess time on figuring out HTML or CSS. Team members will end up spending their time on things that they are not proficient in causing headaches and stress. In order for businesses to be truly efficient with the virtual part of their business, every company needs to convert their website to a CMS (content management system).

What is a CMS?

A CMS (content management system) is a web application that makes it easy for non-technical users to create, use, and update websites. These web applications usually have an intuitive platform that makes web development happen with just the click of a button. Some common CMS that are popular today are SquareSpace.com, WordPress.com, Weebly.com, and Webs.com. CMS platforms are popping up more and more frequently as people are finding that these are more useful and beneficial to everyone versus just people who know how to write code.

CMS Web Development

CMS websites allow designers to create strikingly beautiful and professional websites. Once the web design is created, it’s easy for ordinary people to make updates – and to keep the quality look of a well-designed site. Business owners and marketers can then spend time building additional content that will enhance your business and help build your online brand.

Most importantly, anyone on the team can easily update the company’s website with blogs, event listing, rss feeds, image galleries and image management, audio and video, and much, much more! They can even schedule content and save drafts in an editorial calendar. Perhaps on the most popular CMS of all, WordPress, one is able to make accounts for different users, allowing for privacy settings to be in place. CMS web development is quickly becoming the code of the future for small and large business owners alike.

Whether you are starting out on a small budget or an enterprising business on the rise, using a CMS is essential for your growth. Contact the content management web designer professionals of Direct Axis, helping you to create informative websites that improve your brand’s image and identity while giving you the ability to constantly update your site with fresh content.

The Importance of Web Design for Small Businesses

For small businesses, standing out has always been one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. However in recent years the internet has proven to be a powerful ally to small businesses, giving them the same direct-access opportunities of their big time competitors while evening the playing field. With 60% of all retail sales expected to be web influenced by 2017, creative web design and mobile web design are crucial for the success of any business, big or small.

Over 75 million Americans not only shop online, but use the web as a way to find shops and services. With the extreme accessibility of the internet, having a high quality website and attractive web design to represent your business is no longer just a luxury for the few. A website provides potential customers with their first glimpse into your business; make sure to leave a lasting impression with the professional web design services of Direct Axis. At Direct Axis, our designers create eye-catching and compelling websites, helping convert your traffic to customers. Contact us and receive a quote within 24 hours to start improving your business’s brand and identity.

The Importance of Web Design for Small Businesses

Keeping Your Website Up to Date

Websites provide a “worldwide window” into a company, says the Houston Chronicle. The last thing you want to do is let this window get filmed over with grime, right? Regular maintenance keeps your website fresh and engaging, so take the time to keep it polished and shiny, and keep stale appearance and irrelevant content at bay. If you’re looking to lure in new customers and retain the ones you have — and who doesn’t? — you need to maintain your search engine rankings and keep up with your site’s overall value. If readers don’t like what they see, information is outdated or they can’t easily navigate your site, they will simply move on. Here are some tips on how to keep your website from going stale and growing mold.

Fresh Content

Part of your website is designed to sell products or services, sure. But the other part — perhaps even more important — is having relevant information. If you’ve ever visited a website that had months-old notices, events and articles on it, you know that feeling you get of visiting a site that’s been abandoned. Why should you stick around when the information has no relevance to what you’re searching for? Update seasonal hours, add in new upcoming events, keep your blog current and refresh contact information as needed. Employ a cutting-edge content management web designer to ensure your site stays fresh, appealing, current, flexible and easy to navigate. This leads us to our next step: updating the appearance of your site.

Update the Layout and Graphics

Websites that look the same tend to get boring. Your readers will notice if, month after month and year after year, the layout, text and graphics placement are all too predictable. Midhudson News advises making sure your site accurately reflects what your company is all about and that it’s visitor friendly, with a “less is more” mentality when it comes to graphics and text. Stay on top of the latest design details and trends to grab the attention of anyone passing by.

Encourage Versatility

With so many people viewing websites on their tablets and phones, it’s crucial to incorporate solid mobile website design to maintain function and usability over all mediums. Having a responsive web design (RWD) plan helps your customer base grow with you and allows for a convenient fluidity that is crucial in a society that is constantly on the go, says the Huffington Post.

Keeping your website up to date is imperative if you want to retain your customer base and attract new users. Neglecting this huge portion of your business can have negative effects. The designers at Direct Axis can help you update your website with all the latest design trends and keep customers coming back to your website. At Direct Axis, your website redesign will immediately let your customers know what it is your business does as well as compel visitors to take action.

Web Page Enhancement

An appealing, crisp eye-catching web design is crucial in attracting and retaining customers to your website. If you’ve looked at your web page lately and have discovered its lackluster appeal, or if your website just isn’t getting the traffic you envisioned, it may be time for a website design overhaul. Here are some tips on what you can do to improve your web page. It may not be as difficult as you think.

Prominent Logo

Your logo is crucial to your branding and the very essence of your business. Make sure your company’s signature stands out prominently so there’s no mistaking it when viewers land on your web page. Make sure your polished, professional logo links back to your home page, advises CIO, using a high-resolution image at the upper left-hand corner of each page. Integrating the use of a high-quality content management web designer helps to put your website at the top in terms of navigational appeal.

Clear Navigation

Primary navigation options are the best route to take, which displays menu bars along the top of the site, with drop-down menus underneath. Secondary navigation options often appear underneath the primary navigation bar or in a sidebar to the left. This is called intuitive navigation, points out CIO and it’s a crucial part of any website layout. If you confuse readers, they may just get frustrated and leave. Consider this: the average user stays on a given web page for only 10 to 20 seconds, according to the Nielsen Norman Group. They’ll stay longer if they see something that interests them, but even then, users tend to rush through web pages, reading only about a quarter of the text. Clear and focused navigation is a critical tool in keeping visitors on your site longer.

Declutter

On a related note, it’s important to get your web pages clutter-free. If your readers are only scanning — at best — a quarter of the text on a given web page, they will certainly not take the time to read through pages of content and annoying graphics to get what they want. In the case of websites, less is definitely more. Hook them with just a few paragraphs and a well-placed photo, graphic or promotion without overwhelming them with too many options. Keep the competing calls to action and links to a minimum, with short paragraphs that don’t go on and on.

Versatility

By ensuring your website can be viewed on a variety of platforms, from tablets to desktops to smart phones, you are making the experience easier for your visitors so they can get the information they want and move one. This where excellent mobile website design comes in.

Nix the Generic Photos

Viewers are pretty good about detecting low-quality stock photos. If your website is littered with generic photos, this gives your visitors a generic impression of your website, and therefore company, says CIO. As such, invest in professional photography that tells a unique story about your business and what it can offer real people.

For more website advice and to get a quote for a web page redesign for your business, please contact Direct Axis.

Web Design Trends of 2014

Like other sectors of technology, web design is ever-evolving—from year to year. 2014 is no different, with the average content management web designer either contributing to the latest trends or watching out for the ones to implement. Here are some of the top web design trends and design elements to pay attention to in 2014:

RESPONSIVE DESIGN

Responsive layout—the ability of web pages to adapt to the screen dimensions of any type of electronic gadget—began making waves a few years ago. This year, however, it has become the most critical web design trend. With the rising popularity of smartphones, tablet PCs, and other mobile devices, web designers have focused on fitting the most essential elements of a website on screens smaller than that of a desktop PC. Thus, set websites are fast becoming history; more businesses want websites that can look as good on a desktop system as on, say, an iPhone or iPad, without sacrificing functionality and aesthetics. Indeed, the ease of responsive design helps in giving websites a better Google ranking.

GRID-STYLE LAYOUT

Credit Microsoft with starting the trend with the Start screen of its Windows 8 operating system. Web designers have since adopted this type of graphics interface, which displays programs and dynamically updated content on a grid of tiles. The grid-style layout is especially useful for condensing thumbnail images or text updates on newspaper or magazine websites, thus making it easy for people to read. Also, it maximizes the use of web pages, as opposed to the spaces left by a more chronological, streamlined format.

FLAT DESIGN

Flattened design elements are fast becoming very popular with web designers thanks to their lack of complexity. For starters, flat design uses more white space, while removing clutter. Thus, designers are actually using less to achieve more with their work. Also, using flat design gives websites a simpler, less complicated design; it comes off as more modern than those with 3D-focused elements.

HIGH-QUALITY IMAGES

For years, images had been secondary to text in web design and search engine optimization. However, with faster Internet speeds, it is becoming easier to load images. Consequently, the availability of high-quality images has grown considerably. Websites look better than even before with great pictures, and they have become integral in the improvement of a website’s online visibility.

DIVERSITY IN TYPOGRAPHY

No longer are web designers limited to age-old fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, and Helvetica. Although 2014 did not mark the year that new entries in typography arrived, it is the year that they achieved mainstream status. Chief among them are Google Web Fonts, which include Open Sans, Ubuntu, and PT Serif, and are available at affordable prices. People are no longer enticed by the traditional fonts; they tend to find newer typography fresher and more attractive.

To bring your website up to date with the latest trends or expert advice on how to cater to your target audience with your website, please contact Direct Axis.

Video Articles

Informative How-To Video Articles and Overviews of our Services

Below are short videos that we create to inform clients and prospects about our services. All of our videos are simple and short – geared to letting viewers know just enough without boring them with extensive information. Interested in creating videos for your business? Contact us now!



Print and Web Design Samples direct-axis.net

Professional graphic designers’ portfolio of brochures, catalogs, direct mail, fundraising and web design samples. Direct Axis creates dynamic print media and websites for colleges, businesses and nonprofits. 1-800-849-3056

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Direct Axis Web Design Samples

Samples of Web Design from Direct Axis direct-axis.net Pittsburgh Web Designers 1-800-849-3056

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Print Samples from direct-axis.net

Samples of print design-work from Direct Axis – graphic designers in Pittsburgh, PA. Brochures, catalogs, direct mail, newsletters, pocket folders. 1-800-849-3056

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Web Design Tips

Here’s How We Work to Create a Professional Web Design for your Business

Direct Axis creates web sites that look great and improve your online presence. We follow a process that insures that we understand your business goals. We then incorporate your goals and ideas into a website design that you’ll be proud to show to your prospects and customers. Will it be both a great looking website design and functional? Of course, we don’t develop websites for looks alone – we use great website design to make your site easy to navigate and intuitive for your users.

1. We start with the overall structure

After discussion with you, we begin with wire frames (simple charts and graphs that show how your website will function, how the pages will link and how your navigation works).

2. We design your website home page

It all starts with the home page. Visitors need to know immediately what your business is about and they need to see what else is available on your site. We design your home page to make it easy for visitors to understand your business’ offering. We don’t waste precious web page space on useless fluff or animations that annoy your website visitors.

One of our talented web designers will give you a link to your home page idea so you can review the look, the navigation style and the basic functionality before we spend time on the back-end programming. You can review every aspect of your web design and make as many changes as you want. We want you to be satisfied.

3. We’re Inspired

We have years of experience with many business types and we’re truly interested in each client we serve. We’ll look into your competitors website to see what works and doesn’t and we search for design inspiration from other industries to make sure you get a fresh look.

4. We’ll create your interior web page design

Once you’re happy with your home page, we create several interior web pages that match the branded look of your site. Again, you are involved in the process and you can edit, add comments, and make the changes you need.

5. We use best-practices to make sure your site can be searched by Google and other search sites

We understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and we engage the legitimate, Google-approved techniques to make your site easy for search engines to find.

6. WE DON’T…

create web designs that are distracting. We won’t use black backgrounds or go crazy with "cool" Photoshop filters that overwhelm the content of your website design. We don’t like canned music or silly fonts that are hard to read. You can rely on us to give you a sophisticated, professional look.

Design is functionality…

Many people confuse good design with a lack of functionality (probably because there are too many "designers" who miss the point of quality web design). We know that good web site design improves functionality. The design of your web site is used to direct visitors, visually. When you have quality website design, your visitors feel comfortable and they also feel like they understand how to navigate your site to the information they need – it’s the design that makes a website intuitive.

7. You’ll get attention when we change your image

Our clients generally know that they are going to have a nice, clean website when we’re done with their web design project, but many are surprised at exactly how they feel once it’s released to the public. Businesses get a renewed sense of their company value, they initiate more active ways to acquire customers and they have a good reason to call on more prospects when they’re proud to tell the prospect to check out their website.

We look forward to being your website designers, call 1.800.849.3056 today to talk over your ideas. Or email us at info@direct-axis.net We’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

6 Great Reasons For Going Mobile

Do you have a website that isn’t responsive or mobile friendly? Maybe you’re thinking of creating a new website and don’t know if your site should be responsive or mobile friendly. Below are some surprising statics and predictions about mobile usage that show just how important having a mobile Website is.

  1. 56% of American adults own a smartphone.
  2. Mobile accounts for 12 percent of the time Americans consume media.
  3. The number of mobile coupon users in America is expected to surpass 53 million in 2014.
  4. 25 percent of consumers engage in online shopping only on mobile.
  5. 66% of American smartphone owners use their phone to assist with shopping.
  6. Mobile internet is expected to outreach desktop internet usage in 2014.

See our responsive, mobile web designs.