Web Development

Web Development.   Websites for a mobile world.  

We form opinions—almost immediately—about the websites we visit that either lead us to further exploration or make us want to hit the back button. Users who bounce do so, on average, after 10-20 seconds, which means you have mere seconds to capture a visitor’s attention and motivate them to continue. Sites that are able to effectively communicate a strong value proposition can gain several minutes of a user’s attention. Because the first 10 seconds of a website visit are critical to a user’s decision to stay or bounce, it’s essential that your brand’s web development process is intentional.

Intentional web development.

Think of your company’s website as the virtual front door. Once a visitor has stepped over the threshold, the architecture of the page should guide them down an intentional path toward the action you want them to take—making a purchase, subscribing, booking a service, or contacting you directly. We work with our clients, prior to the technical development of a site, to gain a clear understanding of their audience and what they want each page to accomplish. Before we build a thing, we determine: the clear message to be communicated and how the site will be managed long-term.

An intentional and compelling website should:

  • Guide visitors toward an endpoint
  • Communicate a cohesive message
  • Attract traffic and hold attention
  • Educate users
  • Invite conversions
  • Evolve based on data

Key components of an effective homepage.

A company’s website is all about attracting traffic and driving conversions. With so many beautiful, functional websites out there, the expectations of users are high and their digital palates fairly refined. The best way to convince visitors to stay and engage is to have a stellar homepage that includes most or all of these key components:

  • Great design. From the thoughtful use of space around a headline to the creative layout of a navigation menu to strong, on-brand images, design can help tell your company’s story in a visually compelling way. A well-designed page strategically uses: white space to create a focal point or dictate text flow, typography to reflect your brand, organization of text and images to guide users, and color to highlight key areas.
     
  • Impactful headlines. Within a few seconds, a website needs to clearly speak to the user about what the business has to offer and give them a reason to continue. Clear, concise headlines are a brand’s first opportunity to communicate what they offer that competitors don’t. Compelling headlines often zero in on a common pain point that the product or service solves and include careful word choice that reflects the voice of the brand.
     
  • Intuitive page navigation. The easier it is for a visitor to navigate a site, the longer they are likely to interact, which could very well mean the difference between a conversion and a bounce. Your visitors are looking for a few key things from your navigation system: knowledge of where they are on the site, a direct path to where they want to go next, and a way to go back or to the home page. A few rules of thumb when it comes to developing a navigation menu:
     
    • Keep it consistent throughout the site. The main navigation menu should not move or change.
    • Include a streamlined number of items in the menu.
    • Position the main navigation menu above the fold so visitors can find it at first glance on the homepage
    • Include a version of the menu in the footer, with additional resources like a site map or privacy policy if you’d like.
    • Develop an unobtrusive and easy-to-use search feature for repeat users or large amounts of content.
       
  • Compelling content. After successfully getting a visitor to stay past the first half-minute, it’s time to prompt them to take action through content.  It is careful selection of the text, images, videos, and other multimedia elements that creates the heart and soul of a website. The tone and word choice throughout the copy should speak the brand’s language. Make every word count, and if it doesn’t, get rid of it. Include content that answers visitor questions and allows people to get to know your brand on a more personal level. (Bonus: this will help with SEO, too.) Choose strong images that evoke emotion and speak to the uniqueness of your brand.
     
  • A little about you. People are curious by nature. Your website is an opportunity to tap into this curiosity and directly tell the story of the brand. To make the most impact, this section should be informative, yet concise—enough information to keep visitors interested and connected, but not so many details that you lose your audience. Start the story of who you are on your homepage and link to a longer “about” page if necessary. Consider including: 
    • Your mission. Be clear, consistent, and aspirational.
    • A company timeline. Let people know where you came from and help them understand where you’re going.
    • Your value prop. Be confident in telling prospects why they should choose you.
    • Social proof. Gain trust and credibility through testimonials and success stories.
    • Team photos and bios. Show customers the faces behind the name.
       
  • Calls to action. Prompt conversions with CTAs that are obvious, concise, easy to follow, and action-oriented.
     
  • A way to contact you. Contact with a company is one of the most impactful calls to action a prospect can be offered because it both extends the relationship outside of the website and adds legitimacy to a site and business. A few best practices:
    • Make sure your contact form is quick and simple to fill out.
    • Provide the address, hours, map, and directions for each of your locations.
    • Link to your social media profiles so customers can reach out there if they want to.
    • Include the contact section in all static headers and footers.
hello and welcome sign
Photo by Karolina Szczur

Whether you’re looking to create a company website from the ground up or think it’s time for a site redesign, Trekk is experienced, informed, and ready to create a site that speaks your brand’s language by incorporating all of these key components. Over the years, we’ve used our technical and design expertise to create some award-winning company sites, including Swedish American Hospital, Franchesco’s Restaurant Group, and Think Forum.

Developing for a mobile audience.

Mobile now accounts for more than half of Internet traffic worldwide, so optimizing for mobile is no longer an option—it’s a must. Mobile users want information at their fingertips, often so they can make decisions on the fly. Provide these mobile visitors with an efficient and intuitive experience with your site to increase your chances of getting a conversion.

A mobile-friendly website usually features: 

  • Responsive web design. This means the site is built to render differently on different devices and will serve up larger, easier to read text to mobile users. Don’t make people zoom to read your message.
     
  • Mobile-friendly content. Break up lengthy text with images and videos, sized correctly to load quickly on mobile. (57% of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.)
     
  • Tap-friendly buttons that are big enough, with enough space around them, to avoid frustrating user errors.

Our clients who have successfully optimized for mobile users are reaping the benefits of:

  • Improved search visibility. As of April 21, 2015, Google began giving preference to mobile-optimized sites in mobile search results, and there is now a separate algorithm for mobile websites that centers around bounce-rate and click-back times. A well-designed responsive website could greatly improve your search ranking, which is half the battle.
     
  • Increased lead generation and repeat users. We all know that users are more likely to return (and tell others) when they have a positive experience. On the other hand, a visitor who struggles with your site on mobile is more likely to stop by your competitor’s mobile site than to revisit your site later on a laptop.
     
  • Increased conversion rate. Optimizing for mobile increases the opportunity for conversions through clear, easy-to-click call-to-action buttons and obvious contact information. If a visitor is forced to hesitate before an action because of an unresponsive site feature, a sale or repeat customer may be lost.
     
  • Improved brand reputation. Taking the time and thought to develop a mobile-friendly website is an attempt to meet customers where they’re at and better serve their interests—which translates into a more positive perception of the brand. A consistent and intuitive mobile site can help foster trust and affinity with users. It signals that you are modern, relevant, credible, and trustworthy.

Is my site mobile-friendly?

There are a couple of options for completing a quick spot check of the current level of mobile of optimization of a site.

  • Google offers a mobile-friendly test. Enter your URL and Google will tell you whether or not your site passes.
     
  • Complete a quick self-evaluation of your site. Pick up your own mobile device, go to your site, and ask yourself the following questions. If you mostly answer “no” to these questions, it’s time to optimize.
    • Does it load in fewer than 3 seconds?
    • Does it draw your eye to key company points?
    • Is the content easy to read?
    • Can you navigate the site easily?
    • Are you able to easily follow any calls to action?
    • Did you have a positive user experience?

It's all about the microcopy.

Microcopy is the content that directs the user experience — the words on buttons and little bits of text that offer hints and direction as the user navigates a site or app. Despite being brief, effective microcopy is powerful; it nudges users along the flow and injects flashes of brand personality. Well-designed microcopy is concise, smart, sometimes clever, user-oriented text. Look for it on buttons, field labels, error messages, and drop-down menus. 

In addition to improving flow, effective microcopy can enhance the user experience by:

  • Increasing conversions. A few well-chosen words to clarify a next step for users can make or break the moment of conversion.
     
  • Boosting user confidence. Microcopy can be training wheels through a step in the process for new users.
     
  • Minimizing user doubts. Users are often (rightly) hesitant about giving information, clicking a button, or taking other next steps. Microcopy can get ahead of this moment with a concise and preemptive explanation.
     
  • Communicating your brand. Microcopy is a tiny but mighty opportunity to convey your brand’s voice.
     
  • Explaining errors. Receiving an error message and not being able to identify the error is annoying; use microcopy to avoid this.
     
  • Setting expectations. Microcopy can lay out for users what to expect after the final click of a button, and often why.
     
  • Making users smile. Microcopy that spreads good vibes and makes a user grin can create a positive perception of your brand.
     
  • Adding a human touch. You can’t replace a human conversation with text, but microcopy with personalization and a human touch can certainly change the tone and help gain a user’s trust.
ant carrying leaf
Photo by Vlad Tchompalov

The importance of a content management system.

Every website Trekk builds comes with a content management system (CMS). A CMS is a software application used to create and manage websites (and other digital content) through a single interface. This means that when we deliver a website, it comes with its own user-friendly backend so that our clients can handle routine maintenance and updates themselves. 

We believe that our clients shouldn’t have to pay every time they want to make a simple copy change, swap out an image, or publish a blog post. The CMSs we work with (Drupal and Wordpress, primarily) allow for nimble management and editing and don’t require design or coding knowledge to use. This gives our clients the autonomy to make fast and efficient updates, saving them money and time. They also allow for multiple admins so that our clients can collaborate internally. 

A CMS comes with built-in storage and organization. Files and content are easily searchable, to make reuse and revision easy. This structure is key for companies that expect to scale or evolve—a CMS means your website can scale and evolve, too.

Trekk's process for mobile optimization and web development.

Whether you’re working with us for a brand new website or a site redesign, we begin with discovery to uncover the goals of your project, surface any potential obstacles, determine whether any of your content can be repurposed, and establish a timeline. One of the deliverables for our discovery is a Technical Requirements Document, a document that lays out exactly what is needed to architect your site from a development perspective. Once you’re ready, we build. 

Ready for your new site? Work with us.