The Eight Key Attributes That Make A Website Great

What separates the good sites from the great ones? In our eyes, these attributes make the difference.

A Stellar Design

A solid, well-constructed design is the foundation for all excellent sites. It establishes instant credibility and conveys professionalism. Additionally, a design that is interesting, cohesive and balanced will connect with users and will deliver a brand image that is positive and influential.

A Solid Type Hierarchy

The typography used in a website is often one of the most overlooked attributes. It’s more than picking the right web font. It’s about creating a strong type hierarchy that guides the reader as well as the skimmer. From H1 headings, to call outs, to calls to action, the typography used plays an integral role within the overall user experience

Excellent Graphics

The images and graphics used on a website also play a critical role as they provide a level of interest while conveying a message. Professional shot images along with high quality illustrations such as icons can make a huge difference in the overall perception of a website. In addition, the style of images and icons is important as it sets a tone and gives the user a feel for the brand and design.

An Easy to Use Interface

Whether you’re talking about User Flow, UX or UI, it all comes down to ease of use. A great site needs to be simple, logical and intuitive. It needs to have a clear navigation and It needs to guide the user. A great website will never create confusion or uncertainty. The old adage, “don’t make em think” comes to mind here.

User Focused Content

Every website is a combination of graphics and content. However, great websites will provide users with the information they seek along with content they find interesting and valuable. Whether a blog article, case study, infographic or another format, well-written content marketing is a fantastic way to be perceived as an expert while providing the user with actionable, valuable content.

Strong Key Messaging & Calls to Action

While some users will read the entire content of a webpage, the majority will not. Instead, they will read bits and pieces as they scroll the page. Therefore, key messaging should be developed to guide the user and convey the most important information. In addition, great sites will provide channels for the user to connect. Great sites will have well-placed calls to action allow the user to reach out and begin a dialogue.

A Custom Mobile Experience

With mobile traffic now at roughly 50% of all site visits, having a responsive site is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. Today’s best sites understand the importance of mobile and deliver a custom mobile experience across mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Fast Load Times

Not only is the speed at which a site loads good for SEO, but it’s also good for the user experience. You can have the best site in the world, but it will become worthless if the load time is excessive as most users will simply leave rather than wait. In addition, with so many visits via mobile devices, optimizing mobile page load times is even more important.

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Do Pop Up Email Newsletter Sign Ups Really Work?

Email Marketing

A Downtown Naperville Case Study

When we launched the new website for Downtown Naperville in November of 2015, a part of the new site included a pop up for e-mail newsletter signups. The goal was to increase the mailing list so that more people can be made aware of all the events, specials and news related to the Downtown Naperville. The old site had a standard signup in the footer of the site which is very typical of a lot of sites. We were interested in seeing if the pop up caused a surge in signups.

With any type of pop up message there is a trade off between creating awareness and compromising the user experience. On one hand, you want to let the user know about the great content that can be delivered weekly via an e-mail in their inbox. On the other hand, you run the risk of annoying the user which can lead to a spike in bounces and unsubscribes.

With the pop up for Downtown Naperville, we set it up to be active only for new visitors and it would start fresh every month. With this approach we believed it avoid annoying regular visitors, yet would be persistent enough to encourage signups. Whether our strategy was right or not would be determined by the numbers. So how did this approach work out? Surprisingly even better than we imagined.

Screenshot 2016-07-20 11.14.47

If you take a look at the graph above, you’ll see the monthly signups for the Downtown Naperville email newsletter for the past year. Prior to November, list growth was averaging about 45 new signups. Once the new pop up became effective in November, we immediately saw a spike in signups. In fact, November signups were more than 5 times the 45 average with 269 new signups. With a new site, we expected this. However, what we didn’t expect was a consistent month to month bump.

Looking at 2016, we have maintained a strong signup rate at an average of 197 per month. That’s well above the monthly average of 45 from the old site. In fact, the list has grown by 15% in the past 8 months, the strongest growth we’ve seen in years. At the same time, unsubscribes have remained consistently low with 1 or 2 per e-mail sent.

In summary, our case study with Downtown Naperville clearly confirmed that pop up signups can be a great tool for growing your mailing list. The success Downtown Naperville has enjoyed illustrates this conclusion. The key in our eyes is building the pop up responsibly so that it doesn’t become a nuisance for regular site visitors. By using cookies to evaluate whether a site visit is from a new visitor or a return visitor allowed us to maximize the effectiveness of the pop up.

For questions regarding this case study or for more information on e-mail marketing or web development, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Top Reasons You’ll Love WordPress

wordpress

At Echo, we love WordPress. We’ve tried others, even built our own, but none of them compare to WordPress. So what is it about WordPress that makes us such enthusiastic fans? Well here are our top reasons.

WordPress is extremely easy to use

Unlike some content management systems, WordPress is amazingly easy to use. You don’t have to be a programmer or technical genius to use it. In fact, you don’t need any technical skills. That’s because WordPress uses a simple and logical interface. So you don’t have to focus on formatting or code. Instead just focus on the content you want to add.

Developers love WordPress

More than 20% of the World’s websites are powered by WordPress. There’s a reason for that. It’s because WordPress is fully supported by developers who love it. They love how easy it is to build sites with WordPress. They love how easy it is to add functionality to their sites via plug ins and add-ons. They love how easy it is to incorporate their designs into WordPress. Put simply, they just love WordPress.

WordPress has an awesome media manager

Adding images or other media such as pdf files is extremely easy with WordPress. That’s because WordPress features a media manager that is excellent. With the media manager you can easily upload files via drag and drop. You can even upload multiple files at once. Additionally, you can make adjustments to your images via the built editing tools with the media manager. So cropping, scaling or resizing images is easy with WordPress.

WordPress is open source

WordPress is open source and that’s an important distinction. As an open source solution, there are thousands upon thousands of developers who work collaboratively to develop tools and technologies for WordPress. Developers work together to adhere to best practices as well as share resources. So when you want to add functionality or new features to your site, odds are there’s an open source resource that can help turn your vision into a reality.

WordPress is free

Do we need to say much more? Where else can you get a piece of technology that is so powerful, so supported, yet it’s totally free.

WordPress is great for SEO

To start, WordPress automatically takes care of a great deal of the mechanics of SEO. WordPress makes your site crawlable by the search engines which is the first step in SEO. Additionally, there are great plug ins such as Yoast SEO and All In One SEO pack that give you amazing control over your SEO efforts.

WordPress is scalable

When you build your website, you want it to grow with you. That’s the beauty of WordPress. It is completely scaleable. With so many plug ins, add-ons and third party integrations, you can easily add new features and functionality. For example, let’s say you want to convert your site to an e-commerce solution? Not a problem. WordPress makes it easy with e-commerce plugins such as WooCommerce or WP eCommerce.

WordPress keeps getting better

With a WordPress site, you don’t have to worry about being left behind. WordPress is continually evolving. Updates occur regularly and new features are continually added. So as the world of website evolves, you can be at the forefront with the World’s best content management system.