Incorporating User Experience into Web Design and overall SEO Strategy Part 2 | What is your website visitor interested in?

“You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.” Walt Disney Well, so what do they want? Too often business owners and marketers will be so concerned with our desires for immediate gratification, that we forget the most important part of the user experience is to first know what the user wants to begin with.  The User’s wishes have to be fulfilled, and this can only be done by understanding what their actual wants are.

Know Your Website Users

Some sample data and use existing models to determine what the user may want for their desired field and interests.  This is a legacy method that, while it can’t be abandoned completely, has to adapt to incorporate new, and in some cases, yet to be developed methods. Using bots and spiders to pull information can give us a decent picture of the past, but little more.  Simply assuming that what has always worked will continue to without refinement is a recipe for marketing disaster.  Instead, we need to make use of the resources available to use and to constantly incorporate the ideals of “what is next” into our user engagement plan.  Sampling data, while important, will need to continue evolving to keep up with the users of today and tomorrow. Some methods include using call and data tracking methods that will replace the antiquated methods of only a few years ago.  There are voice and ad tracking software resources now that are able to determine exact ad responses, and the tracking of those ads. One might ask, “when will a data tracking software come out where the user is able to rate the ad itself?”. This may sound like an absurd question to those in legacy mentalities, but when thinking of what the user wants, there is no better place to begin.

Content That Writes Itself

In the end, the most likely reason a user will be at your site is the content they are searching for. Ensuring that you have the right content for your target market is always the starting point of a strong User Experience Web Design and Development strategy. A futuristic idea is to eventually engage with more than just dynamic content. Some sites and developers are trying to design and develop with predictively created content in mind. No, this isn’t a reference to retrieving content predictively for an individual, but to aggregated and create content customized for that individual, based on their wishes.  Many apps and sites are trying this now, but are still locked in predisposed rules, there is some traction to developing a truly customized experience with completely original and created content based solely on the user’s desires. The option of AI responsiveness is also worth mentioning since it would be the logical step forward in producing a truly responsive development.  How long something like that will take to get here is only limited to our motivation to bring it.

5 SEO Tips for Launching a New Website and New Brand

You may feel that you have the perfect search strategy, but there are still more tactics to consider. Here are some basic SEO tips for launching a new website and new brand: Rebuilding a Website
  •      As you transition from your old website to a new SEO targeted Website, you can maintain the link equity in which you have invested in already. This is vital for getting your new website to rank quickly. The most effective way to achieve this would be to leave your URLs untouched. However, this is not always possible y if you make an attempt to improve your URL structure or moving to a new domain. Often, updating to a strong Database Built Web Design will result in some changes to link mapping.
  •     Images are ideal to make your new website engaging and attractive. Unfortunately, search engines have not reached a point yet where they can decode content that is image-based. The use of alt tags can enable search engines to comprehend the meaning of images; this can also be valuable for those who are visually impaired. Alt tags should be vivid and entail the same keywords for which your page aims to rank.
  •      External links can enable link authority to your website, while internal links can distribute that particular authority across your website pages. In page cross-linking, there are opportunities for appropriate referrals to additional pages with relevant data; they are typically unheeded during a redesign. Page copy can be an ideal place to link to deeper website pages with anchor text to point to long-tail keywords.
  •    Local results have taken a greater standing in the SERPs. Naturally, it depends on your brand; so, local can be your strategy instead of a small portion of your overall plan.  Keep in mind, locally focused works only if your business model is only focused locally. There are several locally relevant recommendations to consider in combination with your fresh new website launch, but most importantly, your maps should always be the focus of local SEO. Our Naperville Web Design and SEO Team targets citation listings (map directories) and locally relevant review sites to ensure for a cohesive and universal set of data descriptions.
  •      A new Google search feature in authorship is expected to increase in relevance over time. Author-Ranking is the future of authorship where pages are ranked based on the authority of the writer, as opposed to the authority of the page/website. An investment in authorship can help you not only in the short term, but the long term as well. We suggest that your content creators work on and off of your sites to develop a stronger authorship ranking.
To find out more information about how SEO can help improve your web visibility, contact our Chicago and Naperville SEO Team.

Free Vectors For the Month of July

This months collection of 4 free vectors comes from a grouping of 3 different sites.  There are many more we'd like to list, but Christian isin a rush to begin learning to play "Classic Gas"...
Yep, that's really his goal for the day.
That being said, here are the vectors and that link directly to their download locations.

1. Spiral Vectors

2. Skeleton Vector

3. Abstract Vectors

4.  Floral Vectors

7 Ways Your Homepage is Like A First Date

Dating, in general, kind of sucks. Or at least that’s always been my impression. Unfortunately, unless you want to die alone in your gorgeous Troy, NY apartment under a mountain of cats who do nothing but leach off you and prevent you from sleeping a solid eight hours, at some point you have to get in the game. And that means going on the elusive first date. The first date is when you get to know someone. It’s when you get to observe their behavioral cues to determine whether you’d be a good match. It’s when you watch how he butters his bread and wonder if he’d be gentler with a baby. [Don’t tell me you’ve never done that, ladies.]

As wacky as it may sound, people are judging the homepage of your Web site in the very same manner that they’re judging their date. And they’re asking themselves the very same set of questions.

Questions like:

Are we on the same page?

During a romantic encounter, you want to make sure you both have the same goals, want the same things, and that you’re not looking for a first kiss while he’s trying to get you back to his place with as little effort as possible. And when you’re a searcher, it’s the exact same scenario, minus the creepy porn music, of course.

Someone conducted a search and was woo’d back to your place by a compelling Title tag and Meta Description. In a perfect world, you’d direct them to a properly optimized landing page, but if you’re not, then you need still need to make sure your homepage ‘matches’ their search. There needs to be some cue that, “yes, you searched for [delicious vanilla cupcakes] and here are all of our delicious vanilla cupcakes”. Because if you create disconnect between what they WANT and SEARCHED FOR with what you’re offering and the language you’re using, they’re gone. In an instant and they’re not leaving a phone number. Your homepage should be designed to address the exact concerns customers are arriving with.

What are you about?

A first date is a reconnaissance mission. You arrive trying to corroborate everything Google told you find out as much as you can about this person, including their profession, what they do for fun, where they grew up, etc. You want to get a feel for what this person is all about to see if you’re a match. And it’s the same process when a customer lands on your site for the first time.

When someone hits your site for the first time, they’re taking everything in and trying to get a feel for who you are. Your homepage needs to lay the groundwork for the entire culture of your business. You want to use not only your words and language to convey a message, but images, social proofing, video, white space, etc. One glance of your page (which is probably all you’re getting) should tell people who you are and what audience your business is looking to attract.

Can I trust you?

While you can’t create trust in one date, that doesn’t mean people aren’t looking for the cues. They’re looking to see how you talk about your friends, whether you’re rude to the waiter and if you’re checking out someone else while they’re telling you a story. And, again, it’s not much different here on the Web.

On the Web, trust rules all and your homepage should be the first step in creating it. It’s really important that you focus on hitting all the important site trust indicators so that customers know it’s safe to enter their credit card information on your site, that you’ll still be around tomorrow, and that you have experience in whatever it is you claim that you do. Investing in a professional Web design and displaying links to security information, About pages, etc, are all great ways to let people know you’re going to treat them well and not rob them of their life savings.

Are you literate?

Part of that ‘trust’ thing means ensuring that if my life was in danger, you’d be able to use the phone book to call the appropriate authorities. On your Web site, I want to know you can spell newsletter before I agree to sign up for yours. It’s the little things.

Do other people like you?

When you’re chatting with someone on a first date, you’re trying to gather up some social proof. Essentially, you want to know that this person has OTHER people in their lives. Like, friends. This, as you may know, is a good sign that the person you are out with is not, in fact, a raging psychopath that their own mother had to move thousands of miles to get away from them.

On the Web, we look for social proof to help us determine whether or not this is a company we want to be associated with. For example, if your homepage shows you actively talking to people on Twitter, displays that you have 8,000 Facebook fans and that you have tons of testimonials from happy customers, I feel a lot safer doing business with you. People are sheep. We like doing business with the same companies the rest of the flock is doing business with. Show me your flock.

Are you gonna make me work for it?

When you’re out with someone, you want to know it’s not going to become a hassle to KEEP going out with them. For example, can the other person hold an intelligent conversation or do shiny objects distract them? Are their cute quirks like loud chewing, rambling, inability to hold their alcohol, etc, going to stop being “cute” and start becoming “annoying” three months down the line?

On the Web version, people are looking at your site and trying to determine how difficult it’s going to be to navigate and get through it. Are they going to have a hard time finding the right product? Is the check out process five more steps than it needs to be? Are things laid out sensibly? If your site looks like it’s going to be high maintenance, customers are going to go find a site that isn’t. We don’t have that much time to wait on BS these days. Yeah, boys, I’m talking to you.

Will you tell me what to do next?

The end of a first date is always a little awkward. Do you shake hands? Hug? Go in for the kiss? And what do you do once you figure that part out? Who’s going to call who? Should I just sit around and wait? Should I just say screw it and get the third cat now? For me, the sign of a successful first date ends with a plan for the next one. Some sort of follow up that lets me know, hey, this worked, next we should do X. Without it, I’m stuck on my couch wondering what just happened and waiting for the ice cream to thaw.

Once I’m on your homepage, you need to give me a road map for how I’m supposed to get off and get on with my life. Yes, I came to you looking for cupcakes and you seem to sell them, but now what? What’s next in the conversion path? A successful homepage will lay the groundwork for the rest of my site interaction. Without it, I’m fumbling in the dark. I don’t like to fumble.

Those are some ways I think homepage and dating interactions tend to mirror one another. Any others you can think of?


5 Web Design Elements Not To Overlook

Web design is tricky business. Often small things that go unnoticed turn out to be significant in impacting the overall performance of the website and further influencing crucial factors like website traffic, revenue generation and conversion figures. typing Here are some factors that are often overlooked but are by no means unimportant and should be taken very seriously.hidden links Mystery Meat Navigation This is the type of navigation where icons or pictorial buttons are used to represented navigational links. Unlike regular navigation links, they are devoid of text that defines its location. Therefore users are left to wonder the location by themselves. This handicaps the browsing experience because users are often unable to locate the designated look. Mystery meat navigation require JavaScript and images in order to function. This also bloats the size of web pages and increases their load time. This further hampers the accessibility quotient of the website. Even if you decide to use images for link, make sure you complement them requisite text links as well in order to make the navigation menu accessible and usable. Smooth and flawless browsing experience ensures rich user-experience. Page Titles Page titles are the texts that is displayed on the title bars of the web browser. It is the 'title' of the web page and should define the contents of the same. Many web designers make the mistake of writing the website name first followed by the page contents. Ideally, the title of the content should precede the name of the website in the title bar. This is because Internet users and search engines are able to locate the contents of the website more easily. Contact Information Websites are your corporate face on the world wide web. And it is very important to establish your credibility. One of the ways you can ensure this is by letting your audiences know that there is a live presence behind the online presence and providing them a point to get in touch with them. Providing adequate contact information not only grants legitimacy to your online business but also helps your visitors to communicate with you. Provide your business address, relevant phone numbers and a mailing address. If you are concerned about undue spam, provide a secure contact form on your website. Site Map One of the oft-forgotten but extremely important feature of a website. Many web designers forget to include a site map on their website. A site-map lists all the links of all the pages of a website according to the hierarchy and order. A site-map acts as a links page for search engine pages to crawl and also aid estranged users to locate their exact positions on the website and navigate to where they want to go. Moreover, sitemaps also strengthen the internal linking of a website and provides a defined structure for the same. Standardized Markup In order to ensure the proper accessibility and usability of a website, it is very important to maintain a standardized mark-up. Be it using tables for layouts or the proper use of line breaks, just about everything counts for proper markup. Use semantic markup that ensures forward compatibility. Original Article can be found here

New Design Coming Soon

Please continue to visit during the coming weeks.  We will be performing a complete site redesign and would love some feedback on ideas to critiquing.  We will be looking forward to your responses and thoughts on what directions you think would go well with our content and its ability to enrich the Web Design and SEO communities of both Naperville and Chicago.hidden links

Ten Great Ways to Crush Creativity

Normally, we don't augment other peoples post to place on our site, but today there is an interesting posting on how our best intentions can cause our websites to suffer. hidden links I think this posting could be applied to any form of artistic or business and marketing plan.  We'd like to see what our audience thinks of this article posted on . I hope you leave feedback on what thoughts you may  have.  A link to the source site will be placed at the bottom of the posting.... Now for the featured post written by Paul Sloane egg Leaders have more power than they realize. They can patiently create a climate of creativity or they can crush it in a series of subtle comments and gestures. Their actions send powerful signals. Their responses to suggestions and ideas are deciphered by staff as encouragement or rejection. If you want to crush creativity in your organization and eliminate all the unnecessary bother of innovation then here are ten steps that are guaranteed to succeed.

1. Criticize

When you hear a new idea criticize it. Show how smart you are by pointing out some of the weaknesses and flaws which will hold it back. The more experienced you are, the easier it is to find fault with other people’s ideas. Decca Records turned down the Beatles, IBM rejected the photocopying idea which launched Xerox, DEC turned down the spreadsheet and various major publishers turned down the first Harry Potter novel. The same thing is happening in most organizations today. New ideas tend to be partly-formed so it is easy to reject them as ‘bad’. They diverge from the narrow focus that we have for the business so we discard them. Furthermore, every time somebody comes to you with an idea which you criticize, it discourages the person from wasting your time with more suggestions. It sends a message that new ideas are not welcome and that anyone who volunteers them is risking criticism or ridicule. This is a sure fire way to crush the creative spirit in your staff.

2. Ban brainstorms

Treat brainstorming as old-fashioned and passé. All that brainstorms do is throw up lots of new ideas that then have to be rejected. If your organization is not holding frequent brainstorm sessions to find creative solutions then you are not wasting time on new ideas. Instead you are sending a message to staff that their input is not required. If people insist on brainstorm meetings then make them long, rambling and unfocused with lots of criticism of radical ideas.

3. Hoard problems

The CEO and senior team should shoulder the responsibility for solving all the company’s major problems. Strategic issues are too complicated and high-level for the ordinary staff. After all, if people at the grass-roots knew the strategic challenges the organization faces then they would feel insecure and threatened. Don’t involve staff in serious issues, don’t tell them the big picture and above all don’t challenge them to come up with solutions.

4. Focus on efficiency not innovation

Focus solely on making the current business model work better. If we concentrate on making the current system work better then we will not waste time on looking for different systems. The current business model is the one that you helped develop and it is obviously the best one for the business. After all, if the makers of horse drawn carriages had improved quality they could have stopped automobiles taking their markets. The same principle applied with makers of slide rules, LP records, typewriters and gas lights.

5. Overwork

Establish a culture of long hours and hard work. Encourage the belief that hard work alone will solve the problem. We do not need to find a different way of solving a problem – rather we must just work harder at the old way of doing things. Make sure that the working day has no time for learning, fun, lateral thinking, wild ideas or testing of new initiatives.

6. Adhere to the plan

Plan in great detail and then do not deviate from the plan regardless of circumstances. ‘We cannot try that idea because it is not in the plan and we have no budget for it.’ Keep to the vision that was in the plan and ignore fads like market changes and customer fashions – they will pass.

7. Punish mistakes

If someone tries an entrepreneurial idea that fails then blame and retribution must follow. Reward success and punish failure. That way we will reinforce the existing way of doing things and discourage dangerous experiments.

8. Don’t look outside

We understand our business better than outsiders. After all we have been working in it for years. Other industries are fundamentally different and just because something works there does not mean it will work here. Consultants are generally over-priced and tell you things you could have figured out anyway. We need to find the solutions inside the business by working harder.

9. Promote people like you from within

Promoting from within is a good sign. It helps retain people and they can see a reward for loyalty and hard work. It means we don’t get polluted with heretical ideas from outside. Also if the CEO promotes people like him then he can achieve consistency and succession. It is best to find managers who agree with the CEO and praise him for his acumen and foresight.

10. Don’t waste money on training

Talent cannot be taught. It is it a rare thing possessed by a handful of gifted individuals. So why waste money trying to turn ducks into swans? Hire our kind of people and let them learn our system. Work them hard, keep them focused on our business model and do not allow them to fool around with crazy experiments. Workshops, budgets and time allocated to creativity and innovation are all wasteful extravagances. We know what we need to succeed so let’s just get on with it. Ten Great Ways to Crush Creativity


Recently, we were asked to remake a website for one of the up and coming Limousine services in the Chicago area.  We were shown the original site at and asked what we could do with it.  After a check through the SEO grading tool at hubspot's Grader Tool, we found its score to be an 8 at best.  8 out of 100 is certainly a sign for needing some help.  We've gladly taken on this challenge and have been working on a highly functional finished product at   While building the site on a new, but similar domain, the original site never needed to be taken down, and the time of development has been far easier without the limitations of only one url.  I encourage you to look at the progress as we add to the new site.  Please compare it with the existing on.  There is a Java script associated with the .net version that i must still disable, so if scripts are not allowed, you may have to reset them to view the site we're building. Already, this site is scoring in the low 70's and will be within the top of the local limo services before Google even issues the next round of page-ranking. Here are some before and in progress pics, but more are on the way. If you enjoy this remodel, please feel free to contact us.  We are looking to improve the Chicago Web Design Community, and add whatever benefits we can to the Web Development of Illinois.