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Posted by on in Design & Print
Ten Top Website Tips

1. Clean space & no busy backgrounds.

Space is really important in the layout of a website as it gives the eye room to breathe. If you use a busy background, or cram loads of information on a page, the important information will get lost and your user won't want to take the time to find what they need.

2. Use a web friendly font or use Google's excellent font library and code

You may have a favourite font, but if it isn't web friendly, or if you haven't used Google's clever font system, the page you're designing may not look how you intended on your reader's screen. If you are really deseperate to use a font that is not available as either, it will need to be done as images. However, this will make it impossible for search engines to read it, so only use it when rthere is no other choice.

3. Use only one or two fonts

Keeping the number of different fonts you use to one or two will keep your website clean, simple and much clearer to read. If people can't read the information easily they won't bother and instead will find another website where they can. It will also give your website a professional look that it wouldn't have if you use half the font book. It's as simple as that!

4. Choose your colour palette wisely

Colour is a really important part of website design as it plays a major role in how the design is perceived by your audience. Using a simple colour palette when designing your website will give it a classy feel and if used correctly will lead your viewer's eye easily around the site. Trying to make your website stand out by making it fluorescent yellow will only make you look unprofessional!

5. Plan your navigation

Navigation is what is what gets your user around your website so it needs to be logical and easy to understand. What's the point of having lots of great content if your user can't find it? Spend time before starting to design your website thinking about how the navigation on your website will work and what is the simplest way of guiding your users to where they want to go, with the minimum of steps.

6. Keep text to a minimum

When someone visits your website they don't want to be overwhelmed with pages and pages of text. A smaller amount of well written text, presented in a clear and concise way, will make a reader far more likely to actually read it. Explaining things through photos, illustrations or even videos is a much more interesting way of conveying complicated information than huge amounts of copy people won't want to read. Better still, tempt them with something interesting and then get them to contact you to find out more.

7. Know your audience

One of the most important things to think about is who will be visiting your site. The tone and feel of a website will be very different depending on who it's aimed at. For example a website for children will be playful and visually stimulating, however a website like Amazon needs to be a lot more about conveying a lot of information in the clearest and simplest way.

8. Avoid blinking or flashing text like the plague!

Animated text is harder to read than static text. Text that moves so fast that you can't read it is pointless. Flashing text that constantly distracts the eye from the rest your site is even worse! There is only one thing that should be considered when using flashing or animated text and that is, is this enhancing the readability of my text and the message it's trying to convey? If the answer is no then it's just a distraction and it doesn't need to be there.

9. Don't centre everything

Centred text is harder to read because the starting position of each line changes, making the reader have to work much harder to find where each line begins to continue reading. Numbered and bulleted lists should almost always be left-aligned as well to aid in quickly scanning the list.

10. Make contact information visible on every page

If you take nothing else away from today, this is the one to remember!
If readers like what they see on your website, and are interested in getting some more information, they are going to look for your contact details and making these visible and easy to find is really important. Not all users will spend time searching your site for your contact information, again if they can't find what they are looking for they will go elsewhere. Make sure your number and email are on every page, preferably in the same position (top right works best). Also don't forget to add a call to action wherever it is applicable – i.e "call us now to find out more!"

One more for luck!  .... Social media?

Social media can be a very powerful tool for communicating with your audience, letting them know what you are up to, telling them about special offers, or just giving them useful hints and tips. Done correctly it will help draw more traffic to your website and encourage customers to engage in a relationship with you and your business. Want to know more? Then keep an eye out for our Twitter workshops

If you are in need of a new website, call us on 01420 540223  or email for a free no obligation chat to see how we could help you win more business

Hot Sand Design delighted to be supporting Dumbfest 2014

It's that time of year again and we are delighted once more to be supporting the Dumbfest music and comedy festival in Bordon, Hampshire.

The festival, raising money for The Teenage Cancer Trust, is on Satuday the 3rd May and starts at 11am at the Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre. With 12 hours of music from a wide variety of acts (including myself with Funkee Clawed!) and comedians including Phil Kay, it will be a great day out for a fantastic cause.

 

Another new Hot Sand Design website goes live!

This week we have launched a new website for breathe cashflow - a new company offering invoice finance solutions. You can visit the site at www.breathecashflow.co.uk. Owner Ian is already getting loads of great feedback and we wish him lots of success!

Posted by on in Design & Print
Hot Sand makes a big splash for Phoenix Theatre

We are delighted that the launch of the latest Phoenix Theatre programme, designed by us here at Hot Sand, has hit the local headlines! We wish them a very successful season!

 

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Why a good logo is important (even for small businesses)!

A logo, whether good or bad, represents your company on many levels.

For a start, without a logo it would be impossible for your customers to identify you from anyone else.

Everyone has strong opinions regarding their favourite brand. These opinions are more often than not emotional than rational. With some brands (for example Nike and Coca-Cola) customers form an emotional attachment, often to the point that they disregard better products for the ones with higher visibility and brand recognition.

Some brands even become synonymous with the product they represent and the consumer starts recognising the product by its brand name - for example Hoover or Biro. It is therefore of the utmost importance that every company, especially small businesses, have a sound brand strategy and a strong brand identity with a unique identifiable logo.

Having a great logo helps small business in lots of ways. A few of the more important ones are listed below.

  • It gives the company an established and professional feel increasing customer trust in the products or services they offer.
  • A powerful brand identity makes it easier for customers to remember you; after all it is easier to recall images than text. There is an old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”. A good logo can say more about your company, and be remembered and identified with greater ease, than a thousand words ever could.
  • Logo graphics can illustrate the products or services that you offer in cases where the company name is not self-explanatory.
  • As the company grows, the customer is more likely to stay loyal to the brand.
  • The brand value generated can increase the value of the company should you ever wish to sell it on.


So if you are starting up a new company and want to make sure you are recognised by your customers from day one, or if you have an existing logo that just doesn't hit the spot, give us a call on 01420 540223 or email us on and we can help!

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Posted by on in Design & Print

You could be forgiven for thinking that high quality design would only be of benefit to bigger companies, the Coca Cola's and Nike's of this world, but you would be wrong. Having a consistent and professional identity is just as important for small and medium size businesses. A good logo is crucial for getting the right message across to your customers and competitors, and good general design is equally important. 

The subject of design is huge, and we only have the space to cover a small bit of it here, but for all businesses, no matter what size, the key is consistency. Consistency means that you become recognisable as a company before you have even delivered your message. 

Recognition in the market place is of vital importance to your company's success. The old adage goes, "people buy from people", and this is true whether you are dealing with companies or individuals. The more recognised you are, the more comfortable people will be buying from you. Large corporations spend millions on this concept because it works. For example, Microsoft is the best known brand in the PC arena, but they may not necessarily offer the best solution. However they are what people know and so they continue to buy. 

Take a look at your stationery, your business cards, your adverts or brochures and your website, is it obvious that they all belong to the same company? Does the style, colours, fonts and layout match across the board?

Or is everything different? If the latter, then now (when getting your share of the market is more crucial than ever) might be the time to have a design review and make a change that could have huge impact on your company's future success.