Website Design Ideas, Trends, and Important Features

Website Design Ideas, Trends, and Important Features

Pretty much every business on the planet needs to have some sort of presence online. 85 percent of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. Here are some great website design ideas and trends to keep an eye on so you can ensure that your website looks and functions great no matter where someone views them or what device they’re using.

Website Design Ideas

Website design trends vary year-to-year as people grow more used to new innovations in digital design, but there are some foundational elements of any good website that remain consistent. For instance, white space is a big deal on websites—and it’s important not just because it looks nice; more blank space means more room for your content to breathe. 

Another trending idea right now is flat design, which means websites have fewer (or no) gradients or shadows and generally use flat colors. It may sound boring, but flat design has been adopted by most major tech companies as well as smaller startups trying to get noticed.

Website Trend #1 – Live Videos

If you’re looking for an engaging way to showcase your products or services—and a way to differentiate yourself from competitors—consider adding live videos to your website. Streams like Periscope allow users to broadcast videos directly through their social media platforms, making it an ideal solution for reaching large audiences. And if you don’t want all of your videos streamed live, you can always pre-record them and post them on YouTube.

Website Trend #2 – Pop-Ups

Pop-ups should be used if they serve a specific purpose other than just monetization, which is always (ALWAYS) a secondary priority. Try not to make users go through more than they need to in order to consume your content. Remember: It’s not about you; it’s about them. If you do decide to use pop-ups, don’t make them too big or intrusive. And remember that there are many ways to monetize without having ads covering every inch of your website. 

Website Trend #3 – Original Photography

When someone visits your website, they should immediately feel like they know who you are. They should feel like they know what kind of company you run, what you sell, and why they should buy from you specifically. Original photography or imagery is an excellent way to convey personality through imagery while also giving people something interesting to look at while they read through your story. 

Website Feature #1 – Easy Navigation

Your website’s navigation should be intuitive. You don’t want to confuse your users by making them jump through hoops just to get where they need to go. Try to find a balance between simple and interesting. The best way to determine whether or not your website is navigable is to test it with people who aren’t familiar with how websites work. Let them navigate around on their own without any help from you and see if they have any problems getting around.

Website Feature #2 – Form Validation and Auto-Email

As soon as a visitor fills out a form on your website, they expect it to accept or deny their entry. This is vital because visitors will move on to another website if they believe your form isn’t working correctly. Make sure you include validation on every form that accepts input from visitors. 

It’s also a good idea to ensure that an automatic email goes to the customer in case they miss the validation. That email can offer an alternative way to contact you, an incentive, a tip. It’s an opportunity to reinforce your brand and encourage loyalty.

Website Feature #3 – Responsive Screen Size

Many websites today are still not responsive to multiple screen sizes and this is so important! A website should change to fit the device it is being viewed on. When we build a website, we view it on multiple devices to ensure that every user can navigate the site easily and receives the same, impactful presentation. 

You’re On Your Way To A Great Website Design

There’s a lot more to consider, but luckily, we can do the considering for you! If you want more website design ideas, or an expert to help build you a fantastic website, give us a call.

Email Privacy Changes on Apple Devices: How Apple’s Changes Affect Our Clients and Email Marketing

Email Privacy Changes on Apple Devices: How Apple’s Changes Affect Our Clients and Email Marketing

The new software update for Apple mobile devices recently rolled out, and we are paying close attention. The iOS 15 software update places its primary focus on data tracking and email privacy settings within Apple Mail.

The biggest thing we are concerned about is that Apple will now allow Apple Mail users to block the sender’s ability to track who has opened or clicked on something in an email when opened in Apple Mail.

Why Does This Matter?

For many years, we have been able to track who is opening, and who is clicking on emails we send for our clients. This is one way to gauge the most effective day and time to send an email, the most effective subject lines, and overall how well liked and useful an email is. For instance, a recent email we sent for a client was opened by over 50% of her audience but had very few clicks on the link inside. We can identify a problem and help her solve it by giving readers a more compelling reason to click through to read her blog.

Another way we can use this information is to make the most of every email. Knowing whether an email was opened or not enables us to send a follow-up email to people who have not opened it, which results in more opens overall for each message, which allows each effort to garner the most attention possible.

How Many People Will This Affect?

On average, 65% of the emails we send are opened on a desktop, while 35% are opened on a mobile device (this varies by client). Roughly 15% of users are using Apple Mail. For now, we can still get data from those who open emails on a desktop or Android device. Email services such as Outlook, Yahoo!, and Gmail have not rolled out new email privacy protection — yet.

With the recent drop of the new iOS 15, these new protections are not the default settings. Users will need to opt-in in order to hide their data. While not everyone will do so, it’s a fair guess that email campaigns will see a decrease in open & click rates.

It also makes repurposing for those who did not open more difficult…because we won’t be able to tell if those using Apple Mail on a mobile device have opened or not.

What Does This Mean?

While “opens and clicks” play a vital role in measuring email performance, it’s important to remember why email marketing is so great – this does not change because of Apple Mail privacy! There is no other marketing vehicle that allows you to get your message in front of every customer and prospect for pennies on the dollar compared to all other marketing tools. Even if your open and click rates decline, email marketing remains a very effective tool – an effective way to stay top of mind and to cultivate advocates for your business.

Have questions about this? We’re happy to answer.

Your Online Presence Checklist

Your Online Presence Checklist

Is your business doing enough on the digital landscape to keep current customers happy and new customers interested? Here is a checklist of what EVERY business should make sure they are doing when establishing their online presence.

☑ Have a fantastic, informative, and easy-to-use website that grows over time and is always up to date. This is easier said than done, we know, but we’re here to help.

☑ Make sure your information is correct and accurate in all “directories” and especially Google, Bing, and Apple Maps. For your industry, there will be other key directories to pay attention to.

☑ Pay attention to reviews and collect more over time. There are tools (we have) that can help you do this but at the very least, ask friends and family and clients you know well to review you online. Key review sites are Google, Facebook, and Yelp but there will be other industry-specific sites also.

☑ Be active (at least one post/week) on at least TWO social networks. The easiest is Facebook and Instagram because you can connect them to publish content once to two channels. But if you can do video, even amateur video regularly, then YouTube (the second largest search engine) is a must.

☑ Make sure everything above matches. The address and hours and information are the same everywhere. Good photos and consistent branding/images. Does your logo need a refresh? Design = Trust.

☑ Make it VERY EASY for customers to contact you. Phone, text, chat, forms, email, instant messaging. Someone in your organization can be put in charge of checking all the ways people get in touch with you and responding as quickly as possible. Technology has added a layer of “respond NOW” to our society. You can outsource some of this but do so very very carefully.

☑ Always be collecting. Even if you don’t do email marketing at the moment, still collect emails and text messages every chance you get. There are always strategies for this that can work wonders for your business. But at the very minimum, collect this information.

☑ Consider investing in digital ads. These can help with branding/awareness, building a network of followers, and sales. There are many ways to advertise online so you want expert help for this, but digital ads can take your dollar much further than other channels.

This may seem overwhelming but once set up, it’s not hard to maintain. Of course, we’re here to help and consultations/guidance is always free.

Avoid Email Scams | Common Cybersecurity Issue

Avoid Email Scams | Common Cybersecurity Issue

You may have been receiving two very common email scams tailored for businesses. One is about copyright for images on your website, and the other is about a domain renewal.

Subject: Copyright Images

The subject line for these scam emails or forms submitted on your website is something like: “You have no legal rights to use my images without my approval! It’s illegal! You’re committing a legal offense! You must remove these images NOW!!!!!”

This can get the adrenaline running pretty quickly. But rest assured, this is a scam. DO NOT click on the link in this email or reply to it in any way.

But AM I using copyright images on my website?

Maybe (unless we made it. 🙂 The very best thing to do is to have your website images all be unique to you – taken by local photographers or your cousin Pete who loves photography – or created by a website designer you employ (like us!).

The second best option is to BUY stock images. We like Adobe Stock. It’s affordable and we source many images there for websites we build. There are a lot of “free for use” sites that are good for social media and websites…but it is harder to prove if ever asked, that you sourced your photos from these sites. If you don’t know if you own the rights to use an image, the best idea is to use something else.

But again, the spam email like the one referenced above is nothing to worry about.

Subject: Domain Renewal

The subject line for these scam emails or forms submitted on your website is something like: “IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REGARDING YOUR DOMAIN IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.”

First and foremost, registrars of domains DO NOT use website contact forms to alert you to your domain expiration. Is the email from your registrar? If not, it’s a scam. This is a good rule of thumb for emails of all sorts that might come through a contact form. No legitimate business will contact you that way unless they are selling something.

Do you know who your registrar is and when your domain expires?

You should. No one likes it when their website goes down unexpectedly and this is the most common reason. The real notices could be in your spam folder or going to an old email address so take the scam above as a reminder to double-check you’re getting registrar emails and that you know when your domain needs to be renewed. 🙂

Tip: Your domain should never be registered in anyone’s name other than the business owner. If this is the case, you can have the domain transferred easily.

Last word: Always run a potential scam by us or your IT contact before clicking or downloading anything that looks unusual! Better safe than sorry. This is how cybersecurity failures and extortion happens.

For more cybersecurity tips, check out this previous blog post.

Women Business Owners – A Tribute

Women Business Owners – A Tribute

Did you know that 40% of businesses in the US are led by women business owners? There are 114% more women entrepreneurs than there were 20 years ago. That’s remarkable!

In my field, the numbers are lower — less than 15% of “tech” companies are owned by women. I started in “tech” in the 90s and the percentages were under 5%.

I personally never thought I would become an entrepreneur. My parents owned a business that did not end well and also, it scared me to try to support a family without a steady paycheck. So it was not a thought-out decision…but more a forced hand when I could not find a job during a recession. I’ve made so many mistakes but somehow am still here, bumbling through, and thankful for a team of rock stars – both men and women – that surround me. And after 12 years, I cannot imagine doing anything else. I love my work and the people I work with and for.

I’ve especially appreciated being able to help women start and grow their businesses. I always walk away from those projects a better person. Some of my best female friendships have been formed from those experiences and the camaraderie we share is very special to me. Especially during the last year when times have been so tough.

To my fellow women business owners…what I see in you is not fearlessness, but immense bravery. As you struggle with balance and having enough energy to do All. The. Things. ― know you are at the same time inspiring others ― young and old. Hold on to your optimism as you continue to work on keeping all those balls in the air and know every day, you are enough. You are more than enough.

A friend of mine (Randy) once told me Progress is Success. This has honestly been my mantra ever since and it has helped me more than anything else to get over any disappointment in myself…any question of whether I’m successful or not. It’s helped me through some VERY tough times and humbling experiences. I hope you will use this and every other motivation to overcome your obstacles and achieve your dreams in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.


Here are a few of my favorite quotes by other women business owners and leaders to remember:


“Your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share.”― Ginni Rometty


“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” ― Marissa Mayer


“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” ― Arianna Huffington