Web Design Trends for 2016

DropMock : Website Design Trends

Here we are, fast approaching the end of the first half of the year. The UK’s referendum’s of EU membership has happened and the nation have voted. But whether you’re in the remain or leave camp, we’re not here to discuss the outcome of the referendum, or how it’s likely to affect our future. We’re here to look at how websites are changing and how web design trends will change as 2016 progresses.

One thing is for sure, website design is a constantly evolving and dynamic thing. Web designers are always looking for ways to improve the look, the usability and the functionality of websites through the use of new and emerging technologies. Who can remember the loud, flashing sites of yesteryear or the basic pages filled with text of the early websites? Website design has changed, with technology being one of the key drivers in helping it to move forward.

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So which web design trends are heading up the list?

We’re already seeing several new web design trends, with the majority of web designers looking to follow best practices for both UX, and for mobile platforms. User experience is probably the number one focus of designers, so it’s more important than ever to create content that’s not just responsive and accessible, but that’s really simple to use. The aim is to enhance the user satisfaction, and to streamline and perfect the user experience.

So how do we do this?

Create compelling hero images

One of the main ways to capture the attention of your users is with a striking image. Combine a cleverly constructed HD image with a compelling call to action and you have a memorable and convincing way to increase conversions. Let’s face it, we’re all visual creatures. Vision is our strongest human sense, so putting an HD hero image on your website is one of the best ways to grab attention.

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While adding HD images may have proved problematic in the past, advances in bandwidth and data compression mean that load times won’t be affected, while you get your message across.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what a hero image is? It’s a large banner image which is displayed on your web page, usually to the front and centre of your page. It’s usually the first visual encountered by your visitors and, as such, aims to present an overview of your site’s most important and relevant content.

More imagery, less text

Images are taking over as providers of instant information. Therefore the inclusion of more and better quality images is one of the key web design trends of the moment. This means that we’re likely to see far more image-rich content on the homepage, with more text-rich content on the sub-pages. Apps and platforms that enable you to create professional looking but personalized images will come into their own here; especially if you’re not an expert in graphic design.

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Material design

There’s no longer a need to be limited to flat designs for your website. One of the latest web design trends, is to make use of Google’s Material design. This allows you to include built-in animations and graphical elements with the big advantage of looking the same across all platforms.

Of course, flat design will continue to remain popular, particularly as it scales well and is easy to read on mobile devices.

However the challenge for web designers and design agencies is to find designs that incorporate a balance of the two, in order to create modern looking, responsive and functional websites.

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Typography

Have you noticed how important typography is becoming? This year, one of the most important web design trends is the many examples of improved typography which not only stands out more, but which is becoming more colorful. In particular serifs and hand-writing fonts are becoming increasingly popular. One of the main reasons for this is that serifs improve legibility, while handwriting fonts are seen to be far more personal.

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Mobile UX

This year it’s all about increasing the user experience and that’s why designers are working to improve navigation, forms, images and mobile-specific features. Their aim is reduce the time it takes for a page to load, together with server load, to give a better user experience when you access the internet via a mobile device.

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Mobile layouts

We’re also finding that mobile layouts are continuing to adopt more minimalist themes in order to keep content visible on the mobile screen. Developers are also working on developing slideshows, images, buttons and menus that will not only look good on the small screen but which load much more quickly.

Tiles replaced by cards

While the popularity of Pinterest has helped to make tile-based web designs popular, more and more websites are now incorporating cards. These not only add functionality and interactivity, but the place the main focus on imagery, and offer a simple and straightforward way to view the site’s content.

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Less focus on ads and more focus on great content

The days of being inundated with ad after ad when you land on a homepage are in decline. New web designs are more image based, so expect a much more striking landing page, with good visuals, less text and much more visual appeal.

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As you can see from these website design trends, images and graphics are going to be a key part of website design, so it makes sense to find ways to incorporate professional looking images into your site. If you’d like to find out more about how DropMock can help you to create stunning images, get in touch with us now.

Focusing for Success in Business

DropMock : Focusing for Success in Business

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If there’s one major thing that I’ve learned while creating DropMock, it’s that if you want to achieve success in business, you have to FOCUS.

Focusing 100% on a product, strategy or achievement is the BEST way to achieve the success you desire. However, it can also be the hardest thing to do. To help you to achieve this focus, I’ve put together my top 5 reasons for why having a single focus can be so hard, and how you can go about achieving this focus.

 

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  1. When it gets tough, you can’t give up

When it gets tough (and there’s no doubt that it will), you can’t simply throw in the towel and admit defeat. From my experience, if you’re going to commit to being successful in one particular thing (and I mean fully commit), then at some point it is going to go horribly wrong.

At the point where it does go wrong, if you’re not 100% committed to seeing the idea through and achieving success, you’ll more than likely give up, lick your wounds and move onto the next big idea or project. You may even decide to put your hand in your pocket, buy something else and hope to achieve success with that.

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO KEEP DOING THAT?

This is one of the hardest lessons you have to master if you want success in business. You need to commit and tell yourself that no matter what, you’re going to stay the distance. NO MATTER WHAT!

 

Tip:

Make a list of the reasons why you want to accomplish a particular goal. Maybe even put a picture of your goal next to your workstation, and every time you reach the point of capitulation, take a short break and then come back and focus on the reason WHY you are doing what you’re doing.

 

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  1. You need to set out a plan of exactly what you want and how you will achieve it

I want to be rich …..

I want to be successful ….

I want a bigger house ….

I want to provide a better way of life for my family ……

Ok, these are all admirable and amazing goals, BUT … how are you going to achieve them?

Have you ever actually sat down and taken the time to plan out exactly how you will achieve your goal?

Let me tell you now, NOBODY is going to do it for you.

Without a clear plan for achieving your goals, how will you know if you’re making progress? If you don’t have a plan, how do you know if you’re heading in the right direction? If you don’t have a plan, how do you know that you’ve actually achieved what you set out to do?

If you’re really serious about achieving your goal, you MUST make a plan.

There’s no time like the present, so turn off all the distractions, block out all the noise and start planning your future. It doesn’t have to be pretty – there’s no need to use fancy computer programs or apps if you don’t want to, simply grab a pen and paper and start writing.

 

Tip:

Having a goal or dream is the easy part – we all have them. But the people who have achieved their goals have done so by having a plan. Knowing HOW to get what you want, is the part of the puzzle that most people miss out – and that’s why they fail to achieve their goal.

 

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  1. So now you have a plan – what comes next?

There’s a great saying that’s been assigned to former United States President, Harry S. Truman “Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction” – and it’s true! However the real lesson here is that NOBODY is perfect at anything when they first try it.

The only way you’re going to get better and take your first step to achieving your goal is to actually start. Don’t let fear get in your way and stop you from achieving the success in business you desire.

Whether you’re going to launch your own product, set up your own business, or master SEO, you need to take those first steps and actually start doing the things that will make this happen.

You can read all the books in the world, watch 1,000 video tutorials, or pay for high-end coaching but unless you implement what you have learned – all you’re doing is wasting your time and your money.

 

Tip:

I’m going to tell you who is the BEST coach on the planet.

Now listen carefully because it’s probably the last person you expect.

The best coach on the planet is …..

YOU!

Think about it … you teach yourself new things every single day. You’ve been teaching yourself how to do things since the day you were born. There is no substitute in the world for EXPERIENCE.

To gain experience you simply have to start and eventually, over time, what was initially a difficult task will soon become second nature. After all, you weren’t born being able to walk and talk were you?

 

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  1. You need to take accountability for your actions

People aren’t born with a sense of personal accountability. It’s something that we learn as we go through life. Of course, some of us are better at it than others, BUT if you want to succeed in turning your goals and dreams into reality, you have to take accountability for your actions.

How do you do this?

You MUST take ownership of what happens as a result of the choices and actions that you take. Stop blaming others or making excuses when something goes wrong. When something goes wrong, simply accept that it has, and then find ways to make it right, and to stop it from happening again.

And put an end to procrastination. We’re all guilty of it. Procrastination is the easiest way to avoid responsibility.  But this “why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?” attitude is totally the wrong kind of attitude to have, if you want to achieve success in business.

 

Tip:

Ensure that any task you start has a clearly defined completion time attached to it. Time management is key.  To help me to do this I use Asana https://asana.com/ and assign a ‘time stamp’ to all tasks for myself and my team, which must be adhered to.

You’ll be able to manage your time better if you get into the habit of keeping to a strict schedule. Make your targets achievable, but don’t give yourself weeks to do something if it can be done in a few days. Stay focused on your goal.

 

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  1. Be aware that success won’t happen overnight

We’ve all heard stories where success seems to have come overnight.  Let me tell you that behind every success story, there is a lot of hard work. But more than that … not only is it going to be hard work, it’s not going to happen overnight.

Are you mentally prepared for that? Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are you prepared to work consistently on one goal or project. Are you willing to forego your daily fix of brand new shiny objects or constant input from social media, or whatever else it is that distracts you away from your goal?
  • Are you prepared to put in hours of work, with very little or even no reward at all, while you build your business and work towards your goal?
  • Are you ready to make sacrifices to achieve your goals?

As with anything in life, there are NO guarantees. However, if you answered YES to all of the above questions, and you’re willing, no determined, to stick to your chosen path and succeed no matter what, then you’re already way ahead of 95% of the population.

 

And that is the secret to success in business.

How to Rank YouTube Videos in Google

DropMock : Rank YouTube Videos in Google

We’re sure that you’re well aware of the impact that YouTube can have on your business. However, it’s also highly likely that, despite having uploaded several videos, you’re still struggling to get views. The key to successful YouTube marketing is to get your videos to rank in Google searches. Once ranked, you’re more likely to receive the views you’d hoped for. However, while the solution is easy, implementing it can be more difficult – so here’s our top tips for how to rank YouTube videos in Google.

  1. Create great content

If you’re under the impression that YouTube is a shopping site, unfortunately you’re mistaken. People use YouTube to find answers to problems, learn new skills, watch funny videos and generally just waste a bit of time. This means that you need to think about the kind of content you’re uploading, and what will attract the most views. Great content includes:

  • Tutorial videos – show your viewers how to use your product, or how your product or service can be of benefit to them
  • How-to videos – think about questions people may have about your service or product and then answer them in how-to videos
  • Review videos – get someone to review your product or create useful reviews of your own

Whenever someone types a question into Google – it always throws up a couple of YouTube videos as an answer – check it out for yourself.

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  1. Think about the length of your video

Have you ever clicked on a YouTube video, discovered that it lasts 45 minutes or more, and so clicked off looking for something shorter? While you do want to create better and more engaging content, don’t make it too long. However to rise through the Google rankings, the longer you can keep a user watching your video, the better your videos will rank. To improve your YouTube ranking make sure that your video is at least two minutes long and make it something people would want to share.

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  1. Optimise your video file

While YouTube is smart, it can’t see the content of your videos; it simply looks at the name of your raw video file. Therefore, before you upload it to YouTube, you need to optimise your video file.

  • Name the file after your Number 1 and Number 2 keywords
  • Use tags that are related to the content
  • Add a brief description of your video into the comments field

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  1. Link it to your website

If you’re using YouTube to market your business, every video you upload should be linked to your website. You don’t want to waste this opportunity to drive your viewers to your website where they can see what you have on offer. The whole point of YouTube marketing is to direct your viewers to the platform where you can make a sale – so don’t miss your chance to do it.

Once you’ve added the link to your website, optimise the rest of your video description.

  • Make your content at least 200 words long
  • Don’t use duplicate content from your other videos – make it unique
  • Use synonym and one off keywords, but don’t overuse them

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  1. Make sure your channel page showcases your brand

One of the key ways to rank YouTube videos is to create an interesting channel page. Don’t forget to include a profile picture and a header in line with your brand, and always fill in the description. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to make a header or images for your channel, you’ll find that DropMock can help you to create professional looking images without the need for a graphic designer.

A complete YouTube channel page will get you noticed more easily by Google, so make sure you add the following:

  • Links to all your social media pages and your website
  • Add in channel images to help users identify your content, and don’t forget to optimise your images.
  • Subscribe to similar channels. YouTube likes to see what you’re looking at
  • Complete the description making sure you add in lots of relevant synonym keywords

All these are just simple tweaks that will go a long way to help you to rank YouTube videos, and ensure that you get the most out of your YouTube marketing strategy.

 

Are You Using Twitter To Market Your Brand?

DropMock: Using Twitter to market your brand

Are you using Twitter to market your brand? Read on to discover how using DropMock can improve your brand awareness in a more professional and memorable way.

While you may think that Twitter’s been set up for celebrities to bombard us with inane chatter about their personal lives, this social network offers far more, particularly as a means to promote your business. Set up by US bloggers 10 years ago, the popularity of Twitter can’t be denied. It’s a way to get your message across in a sharp and succinct way plus, despite the fact that the text is limited to 140 characters, you can include links to a whole host of extra information. Put simply, Twitter gives you a whole new way to communicate with your customers and market your brand.

What is Twitter?
For those of you who’ve heard of Twitter but don’t really have a clue what it’s all about; Twitter is a communication tool that enables you to send short messages, known as Tweets, to people who subscribe to you, i.e. your followers. As Twitter is a community, to become part of that community, you’ll need to find people to follow and become a follower yourself. Being a follower allows you to read, respond to and easily share things that others tweet, with your followers. This act of sharing is known as retweeting, and is one of the ways to build your own followers and your online community.

Although the text itself is limited to 140 characters, you can include links to all kinds of other web content, including blog posts, website pages, documents and, of course, you can attach pictures or videos.

Using Twitter to present your brand

Your Twitter presence needs to have the same look and feel as your other online tools to that people can easily identify your business and your brand. Therefore, always choose an account name and images that are consistent. Don’t forget that your Twitter name will appear next to all your tweets, so make it something memorable and easy to type on mobile devices.

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Make your profile and header images really count

As you’re given the opportunity to upload two different images to represent your account, you’ll want to ensure that these are the best quality possible, and that they really say something about your company and its ethos. Your profile photo is square in shape and appears next to every tweet you send. Whether you want to use your company logo or something completely different is your choice, but make it something that links in with your brand and is easily recognisable. If you’re a small business, you may want to consider using a personal photo.

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Once you’ve chosen your profile photo, it’s time to add your header. This is where you can really tell the story of your business. Just like Facebook, your header photo covers the top of your profile page, and is the perfect opportunity to get the message out about your business. Creating an eye-catching header photo is easy using an online mockup tool such as DropMock. Plus it makes it possible to easily and quickly create new header photos if you want to promote a particular aspect of your business, such as a sale or your latest product.

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Adding images to your Tweets

We know it’s a bit of an over-used phrase, but a picture definitely is worth a thousand words. Therefore adding an image to a tweet means that you can expand your message way beyond the 140-character limit. And, of course, using DropMock means that you can create images that will get your message and brand across in a way that’s both professional and memorable.

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How Twitter can add a unique element to your marketing

If you’ve always wanted to add a blog to your website, but you’re not sure that you’ll be able to find the time to keep it regularly updated, or you’re worrying that it will be difficult to think of fresh content all the time, Twitter could be your answer. In the world of social media, Twitter is categorised as a microblogging tool. This means that you can send short posts to get across a particular aspect of your business, without having to write a full blog post.
Of course, if you already have a blog, you can use Twitter to promote your latest blog post to your followers; to give them a highlight of what the post is about, and to remind them to go and read it. What’s more, every tweet you send will go directly to all your followers!

Don’t forget to retweet

Twitter, like other Social Media, allows you to build and become part of an online community and, as such, the key to making the best use of Twitter for marketing purposes is to demonstrate that you’re an expert in your field. It’s not just about posting ‘clever’ tweets, but it’s about scanning tweets or using a Twitter search engine to find particular issues that you can help with. By offering snippets of advice for free, you’ll build trust and credibility and the people you help will be more likely to do business with you in the future.

If you’d like to know more about setting up a Twitter account for your business, and using Twitter to market your brand, Twitter itself has some very good information. Plus don’t forget to follow DropMock on Twitter for all our latest information and developments.