Roadchef, the well-known motorway service station brand, approached Star Digital to pitch for their digital marketing towards the end of 2013. The Star Digital team won and were appointed to work on a smartphone deals app, and also to redesign and build a new website for the brand. In April 2014 Star Digital launched the app on both Apple and Android, and an all-new responsive website. Roadchef needed a smartphone app that would drive footfall into their service stations by promoting daily deals and offering easy-to-access brand and location information. The website needed to be easy for travellers to use, as well as it using consistent branding to that used in the app. Knowing Roadchef’s potential customers were likely to be on the move we recommended a responsive website. A responsive website is one which is built and designed so that no matter what device the site is viewed on, whether it is a mobile or a laptop, it looks great: here. If you need a responsive web solution, or a smartphone app and have customers on the go you’d like to target, then drop us a line to see how we can help.
Whether you’re looking at having your first website built or your tenth, there are some things you need to consider before signing off designs or builds to ensure once it’s launched your new site really works for you. In today’s blog post we’ve listed a few things you should consider if you’re about to have a new website designed or built. Will it work for your customers or visitors? This sounds obvious we know, but the thing is many websites sites look great on first view, but when crunch to comes to crunch, they just don’t work in the real world. For example, an image-heavy website may really showcase your products or services, but if text and information is on the thin side, this will have an impact on a person’s buying decision. If you have a website already you may be able to use existing website data to determine the parts, or pages, of your website that are working already. If this is the case it is worth carrying over the elements of the site that are working well. If you’re starting from scratch, and this is your first website, it is probably worth checking out the competition. Have a look at competitors’ websites to see what visitors to your site will see when they’re shopping around. Take a look at what you think are the strengths and weaknesses of those competitor sites. We always say if you keep your customers at the forefront of your mind when designing and building your site, and if the information they need is clear and easy to see on your site, then you’re heading in the right direction. Is it mobile friendly? Nowadays you just cannot ignore mobile users. Findings released only a month or so ago show that 57% of people are ‘multi-screening’ – this means that when they’re accessing a website they are doing so across multiple devices – PCs/laptops, tablets and mobiles. You need to remember that your website will be viewed on all of those devices and therefore it needs to work well on them. We’re advocates of responsive website design. If you need reasons why responsive is our recommended choice, you can read more in our blog post. Is your new site easy to edit and manage? If the content on your website changes often, with products coming and going, or changing promotions, then you need to make sure your new website is easy to manage and edit. Consider the kinds of changes you can see yourself making to the site on a regular basis and then make sure this is easy for you to do yourself. Website content management systems (CMS) are very easy to get to grips with nowadays, so make sure your new site comes with one. A CMS means it’s always quick and easy for you to add a page, promotion or edit the content on your website. Will your site be SEO-friendly? It is essential if you want your site to be found in Google that it is SEO-friendly. When your new site is being discussed it is really important that at the very least it is possible to add individual meta titles, meta descriptions and custom page titles to pages on your website. Even if you are not thinking about SEO at this stage, say if this is your first website, having the ability to make these kinds of changes will help you in the future. At Star Digital we know that having a new website designed and built is a huge investment and undertaking, so if you’d like some advice on how to get the most from a new build, then just get in touch.
The simple answer is “Yes”. At STAR we’ve been advocates of responsive websites for a long time. We know they’re a great fit for pretty much every business, and with mobile set to get even bigger in 2014, having one seems like a no brainer. If you’re wondering what the benefits of responsive websites are, then take a look at today’s blog post… Responsive Websites Provide an Excellent User Experience (Meaning More Sales) We all know how frustrating it can be when viewing a website that has not been optimised for mobile on a smart phone or tablet device. All that pinching, zooming and swiping means we often leave the site feeling annoyed, and having not done anything. Having a responsive website means that no matter what device a site is being viewed on, it resizes accordingly to deliver the best viewing and user experience. Providing a better mobile experience for your website users can lead to higher conversion rates to lead or sale, as fewer people will leave due to it being difficult to navigate. Responsive Sites Are Easier to Manage Having a responsive website is not only less of headache for users, it is also less work for those managing it. If you choose to have a mobile website and a desktop site, you effectively have two sites to manage. This means every time you want to change something, or add something, you’ll have to do it twice. The beauty of a responsive site is that you only need to make changes and additions once. SEO is Easier and More Successful with Responsive Websites Responsive web design makes SEO easier as you simply have one URL. There is no risk of SEO power being split across two domains, and there’s no risk of duplicate content where pages with the same content are served at multiple URLs. It is worth noting that in the summer Google took a strong stance on mobile, stating if mobile site redirects were not set up correctly, or sites did not offer the best user experience, then rankings could be affected. 2014 is tipped to be the year that mobile internet usage outweighs desktop, and with shifts like this on the horizon, your site needs to be mobile-ready. If you’d like to talk to us about a responsive site then give us a call!