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Cole Troester

Homepage struggles

Homepage Essentials

By | Design | No Comments

It probably goes without saying that a homepage is one of the most important pages of a site to get right. An eye-catching design alongside readable and intuitive content will most generally lure potential customers into purchasing your product or service. There are a few things to keep in mind when creating a homepage, however. Follow some of these suggestions to make your homepage more functional and attract more users, and potential customers, to your site.

Obscurely Detailed

I understand if you think this is an oxymoron, and at first glance it is. However, the principle behind the words is very sound. Like a table of contents in a textbook, a homepage is set up to give a quick glance to products and/or services of a business. Overloading a homepage with thousands of words of detailed content can be very overwhelming to a prospective client. Providing a wider overview of the rest of the site that raises the curiosity of users is paramount to the success of a site. The whole idea is to essentially summarize each piece of your site. Too little detail and a potential customer can become disinterested, too much and a customer can become overwhelmed and dissuaded. Finding the correct balance between the two culminates in the ideal homepage.

The DRY Principle

We’ve covered the DRY principle before in our blog, but in case you need a refresher essentially DRY is an acronym for “Don’t Repeat Yourself”. This principle is key to the success of a functional homepage. While it may seem like a good idea to load your homepage with links leading to a contact page or a receive a free quote page, cluttering up like this leaves users disinterested and turned off from your products or services. It’s a good idea to cover most pages on your site in a way listed above, but only once (or twice for certain things like call to action sections depending on the size of the page). Making sure that your content remains fresh to any potential reader helps to ensure that their attention remains directed to your product or service.

Finding a Balance

While this could definitely apply to either topic covered above, I’m more interested in approaching it from a design aspect. Some design features that can be put into a homepage to “spice it up” could be parallax, background videos, content transitions, and call to action sections. While these work to grab a users attention, it is important to know when you’ve struck a perfect balance. Overloading a page with videos and images can not only be unappealing to a potential customer, it can also severely increase the load time, turning some users off immediately. Overusing transitions and parallax can also make your page look like something thrown quickly together. Knowing when a perfect balance between design, user experience, and practicality has been struck is one of the many skills of a web designer that only get stronger with time.

Proper Content Creation

Keys to Proper Content Creation

By | Design | One Comment


Content creation can be one of the most difficult and tedious parts of the design process. Even if you can create the perfect layout and aesthetic appeal your site can still be boring and turn off potential customers. The content that you fill your pages with are the heart and soul of any site. It is the bridge that connects your ideas and information to any potential customers viewing your page, which makes it essential to get right.

Thesaurus, thesaurus, thesaurus…

Using a thesaurus while creating content for your site is one of the most valuable tips I can give you. A thesaurus is a fantastic way to spice up your language. It allows you to use a much wider range of vocabulary that you might otherwise be unaware of and can help you get your point across much easier. It is important to know the limits of the thesaurus, however. Using words that are too difficult for the average audience, or that would be completely unknown to yourself without the aid of a dictionary are a no go. That’s not to say large and complex words should be completely avoided, just that word choice should always be used to enhance the readers understanding and experience.

Learn the Lingo

As a web designer, and more specifically a content manager, I can tell you that there will be many times that you are asked to build a site for an industry you know nothing about. As someone who sits behind a computer most of the day, I’ve found my knowledge of the road repair industry a tad bit sub par. While it may seem time-consuming to delve into the finer points of an industry when creating a new website, It creates a much better outcome.

Learning not only the vocabulary words but the many processes that are involved with the industry you are creating a site for is imperative. By having a base level knowledge you can better represent the industry you are making the site for, which leads to a better overall product and a better user experience.

Knowing how to present the information you have acquired is another important step in the content creation process. If I were to create a site selling equipment to road repair companies, I can expect the user to be pretty acquainted with the terms and process of that industry. Very few consumers would be looking for road repair equipment if they had no fundamental understanding of how road repair works. On the other hand, if I were creating a site for someone offering road repair services to individual consumers, such as those looking to repair or replace a driveway, coaching them through the terminology and processes offers a better overall user experience. By helping them to understand more of what goes into the service being offered, they are more likely to purchase the service.

Keep it Real

When building a site, whether it is for yourself or for a client, it is key to present the business in a very flattering way. However, it is very easy to go overboard. If you were to present a company as a large workforce when it only employs two individuals, the customer could end up feeling duped and as a result review the service poorly. Whether offering a product or a service, the customer should be presented with factual information that allows them to make an informed decision about their purchase. It is better to provide a customer with incentives such as low cost or high-quality service rather than to mislead them through the content on a website.

Google My Business

Getting your Business on Google

By | Business, Marketing

Everyone knows Google, everyone loves it. It’s the world’s favorite search engine. You can tell because I don’t even have to source that, because it’s common knowledge! And if there’s one thing that Google is good at, it’s business. People who search for your business are going to be searching for it on Google. So it’s up to you to make sure your information is readily available when they search.

Google: My Business

Google My Business offers a great way to offer your information to customers. With My Business, you can choose the information your potential customers see when they look up your business. Verifying your  information with Google makes you seem more trustworthy as a business. You can also set your hours and address so customers can find out where you are and choose just when to drop by. Using My Business also allows you to put other information out to potential customers, such as a phone number and your website. If a customer were to leave a reply or rating, you could respond to it any clear up any questions anyone may have. It is also possible to post pictures of your business, which also make potential customers much more likely to stop by. You can see the demographics, such as location, of the users searching for your site, and how they searched for it. Oh, and did I mention, it’s free.

Using Google My Business is sort of like free SEO. You’d have to be crazy not to take advantage of it. With this tool you can decide how your business is represented on the largest and most popular search engine. That really means something. As a business owner, any way to better promote your business and interact with your customers is beneficial. Make sure you’re taking advantage of anything that can get you a leg up.

Good Use of Image

It’s All About Image

By | Design | No Comments

Everyone can appreciate a good image. Supposedly an image can speak a thousand words. I disagree. I think that images are better used with words. As developers, its easy to see how an image can be used to make a clearer point, or to add extra flair to a web page.

Proper Image Context

Being selective with images is key. You never want to use an image out of context. In other words, you wouldn’t use a picture of the Mona Lisa when discussing the differences in dog food brands, just because you think the Mona Lisa is pretty. It’s okay to get picky when deciding on images for a site. You want to find an image that properly conveys your purpose. Take GearSite for example. We used plenty of pictures in our site, but we made sure they all made sense in context. We mainly used pictures that show our design process, our staff, and our location. These all help to better illustrate our points. Using images related to your business or topic of conversation are crucial to an exceptional site.

File Size

Balancing quality and load time is also important when selecting an image. We all know that the higher quality an image is, the better it will look, especially when displayed on larger devices. But you have to offset that quality with file size. Making file sizes to large can cause several problems. Using large images can slow down your load speeds, making it annoying or frustrating for your customers. Large load times can turn customers away from your site, costing you sales. The larger the file sizes the more space your site takes up on a server. The last thing a system administrator needs to deal with is a lack of space and the last thing you want is to be griped at by said administrator.

Images are incredibly important, especially in websites. A visual can help convey a complicated topic, or it can serve to make your site a little more decorated. Either way, selecting the proper images, and balancing the quality with the file size are integral for building and maintaining a successful, and profitable site.

Friendly and Happy Coworkers

Team Cohesion and Happy Employees

By | Business | No Comments

We can probably all agree that getting along with your employees and/or your coworkers is a good thing. Happy workers tend to be more productive, and more productive workers means more money for everyone. Having a staff that gets along is imperative for any business, but that’s only the beginning. A company should be welcoming and friendly, while remaining professional and productive.

We all like to have a bit of separation between our personal life and our work life. However, that doesn’t mean that they cant bleed a little bit into each other. It has been proven that employees who were more engaged with their coworkers were happier than their less engaged counterparts (Davis 2017). As an employer, it is important to provide positive feedback to your employees. Remember to socialize with them, so they see you as a leader, rather than someone they are in opposition against. Being able to feel comfortable around fellow coworkers is important to the well-being of any employee.

There is a limit to these interactions, however. As coworkers become friends, they begin to find common interests and share with one another more and more. This office “gossip” and “chit-chat” can be unproductive, and productivity is vital to any business. As an employer, setting specific times, such as lunch hour, can give your employees the time they need to socialize. Note that by forcing employees to completely cut off non-essential communication, their engagement with others is lowered and they can become unhappy and unsatisfied with their jobs. Everyone needs a break sometimes. As an employee, you can work to keep conversations with colleagues, during working hours, brief, possibly using them as a sort of reward for a completion of a task.

A social employee is a happy employee, and a happy employee is a productive employee. Remember to allow your employees to socialize and join in on the conversations. Talk to your coworkers and get to know them, you may have more in common than you think.



Davis, Sadie “Increasing Happiness in the Workplace,” The Kabod 3. 3 (2017) Article 3. Liberty University Digital Commons. Web. [19 May 2017].