A Stunning OnePage Theme

screenshot2I had a job to build a site for a removals company. They wanted something different so I put together a one page site. I was so chuffed with the result I decided to develop my own one page wordpress theme. It’s full of features and is perfect for tablets and phone and works just as well on a desktop.

If you want to have a play it’s got its own site: The AerinOne Theme.

Some of the features are:

  • Selectable homepage content
  • Background images on the whole site or individual pages
  • Image slider with optional overlays
  • Text toggles
  • Social media Icons
  • Seo and analytics functions
  • Fully responsive
  • Colour and layouts customisations

Plus lots more options on the theme settings.

ELK SEO

I’m starting to see a new type of comment spam.  This is what it says:

I’ve created a new website. I really need more visitors. May I kindl (sic) ask you if I can advertise in your website please? My website is a Web-based SEO Tools elkseo.com.  You can visit my website if you want then decide if you can advertise it or no.  If you can, I monthly will pay you 160$ or we can talk about the Price.
Yours sincerely,
ELKSEO Team

I thought it was a legit enquiry at first but after seeing it on a number of sites and with links to different websites It’s now clear they are just spammers.

Hopefully if enough people report as spam Akismet will soon start blocking them.

Marketing junk for a new site

icon-128x128I’ve recently set up a new site for a WordPress plugin I’m developing.  This is the site for those who are interested: loanpaymentplugin.com. It’s nothing special, it’s whole purpose is the provide support for the plugin which is hosted by WordPress. All well and good so far.

Within hours of registering the domain and setting up the site I started to get all sorts of junk in my inbox.  Here is a selection:

  1. Dean Sampson at searchinc@ones.iwisher.com offering to register the domain on various search engines.
  2. Steven Jones at steve@infoties.com offering to build me a website for $150.
  3. Domain Support at support@domaindatabase.directory with an anonymous offer to register my domain online.  Not even sure what this means but I wasn’t going to click on the link.
  4. Justin (aka Mark Taylor) at Justin@websiteevolve.com who suggests ‘I hope you have optimized website which converts visitor in potential customer.’ and want’s me connect via skype.
  5. Sarah Jones at sarah@digilaxy.info who is offering a logo for $29.99
  6. Brian Peterson (Brand Ambassador USA) at brian@animatedvideocoupons.com who can make me an animated video with a 70% discount for a 300% boost in sales
  7. Shawn Davis at shawn.davis@logojeeves.co.uk who also want’s to build me a site and create a logo. His email had 11Mb of attachments – which didn’t impress my phone on a 3G network.
  8. Donal Gray  (Brand Ambassador USA) at david@logoknights.info with a last chance for a cheap logo.

Now I get marketing and I don’t have a particular issue with them trying to drum up business but they were all automated messages. Some managed to add my name but most were poorly written, were not targeted and most used a template with images that my email client rejected. Which meant the message looked like a dogs dinner.

If you want to sell your services, put a bit of effort in. At least find out my name and visit the site you to find out if I even need your services and then tailor the email to suit.

If you have your own website then give me a link so I can see what you are offering. Don’t just put the link in your signature. That’s the lazy way to do things. Integrate the links into the body of the message.

Give me your real name as well. Justin (aka Mark Taylor) lives and works in India. Neither name are from that country. It’s like the emails I get from Michael Jordan offering SEO services.

Even if I needed the services of those who filled my inbox with their messages (about 50 so far) I wouldn’t use them because they are lazy and just used an automated system. If that’s how little effort they are prepared to put in then I don’t want to give them my money.

Website Navigation on a Small Screen

umbrellaI’ve got a Mini which I enjoy driving. But the little icons on the controls still confuse me. I can never remember which to press for the heated screen or demisting or whatever. It would be so much easier if they had a little label I could read. And if that’s not possible, it would be great if all cars used that same standard set of icons for the plethora of buttons, knobs and other controls that litter my dashboard.

The same argument should apply to remote controls, toasters, microwaves and websites.

When I visit a website what matters to me is the ease with which I can access the information I need and take what ever action is required (such as fill in a form, order a product or download something).

One of the primary routes to the information I need is the site navigation (aka the menu).

On a desktop or tablet I expect this to be a row of links across the page just below the logo. I also expect the links to have meaningful captions. Unlike this:

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 17.59.03

All well and good but an awful lot of browsing is now done using devices with smaller screens and the traditional menu bar is often too wide for the screen.

hamburgerThe lazy developer will simply use the hamburger menu option (a three line icon up in the top corner).  It’s a simple and practical solution from a developer’s point of view but hopeless for the poor user who often doesn’t even know what the icon means.

A much more elegant solution is to rethink your whole navigation. If you can reduce the number of links (shouldn’t be more than 6 anyway) and fiddle with the styling a bit you will be able to display them all on a small screen.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 18.12.14

If you really can’t reduce it down then don’t use a little icon in the corner, put a big obvious button on the page.

menubutton

There isn’t going to be one solution for all, every site is different and will need different navigation options.  But here’s the results of some of the testing that has taken place on small screen:

1. The preferred option is to display the full menu if you can get it to fit on one line (like on this site).

2. If they don’t all fit on one line try restyling the links (which is what I did).

3. If you can’t restyle try using a ‘menu’ button that opens up a menu when touched (here for example).

4. If an icon is the only option then add the word menu and give it a border.

Here’s some further reading:

mor10.com/hamburger-bad

exisweb.net AB split test, take time to really read the report

lmjabreu.com Strange styling but good data

peakusability.com.au A good usability test.

webdesignerdepot.com An example of the complete bollox designers speak to justify poor usability

nngroup.com Note the date of the article…

 

Stop Using Galleries

thumbThere are gazillions of ways to add a gallery to a website: plugins, extensions, themes or even hard coding. Every one of them is fundamentally flawed in that it requires the visitor to do something to see the images in all their hi-def glory. And if you have a mobe the whole user experience nose dives into the annoyance zone.

Read More…

You can’t all be winners

winnersdemotivatorA while back there was this rage for motivational posters that were supposed to push us all to be the best. To be winners and achievers. It was all a lie. There can only be one winner at anything. That’s the whole point of winning: to come first. Most of your dreams and aspirations will never come true, no matter how hard you try you will fail at most things. This doesn’t mean you can’t be successful, we can all excel at something, but we can’t all be winners.Read More…

Teach yourself SEO

logoUse a search engine to get SEO help and you will be assaulted with more bad advice and dodgy methods than a sack full of spam emails.

There is some really good advice out there but it’s hard to find unless you know what you are looking for. But if you knew what you were looking for you wouldn’t need help with SEO.

Sigh…

A very good friend is retiring from the SEO business and has decided to impart 20 years experience in a series of self-help lessons. If you want to improve your ranking this is the course I would recommend.

Get the course at freshbananas.co.uk

Don’t spend money with any of this SEO company offering fixed price deals. You will just be making them richer while your ranking drops of the cliff.

A big thanks to Ray (aka Tin on UKBF) for this gift to the world.

 

Why Social Media is bad for Business

stuffThe clue is in the name: social media. It’s not ‘I’m looking for something to buy’ media. If people want to buy stuff they go to a shopping channel or Google it or ask their friends for advice.

There are loads of people telling you to get onto all the various social media platforms as it will improve brand awareness and build relationships and all sort of other twaddle. But none of this will pay the bills. You can spend all day getting into a conversation with somebody but unless they actually buy something you aren’t going to pay the bills?

Read More…

Delete your Logos, slider and social media links for a better user experience

distractionEvery page on your site needs a reason to exist. Usually to inform, entertain or market a product or service. Anyone landing on that page needs to know who you are, what is on offer and how to get it. Anything else on the page is a distraction. Your logo is unimportant, slider images just get in the way and social media links take people away from the page. People don’t care about you; all they care about is meeting their needs.

So if you have this great article about some celebrity, a news story about your local hospital, are selling socks or promoting a window cleaning service then that should be the focus of the page. Everything else is just bling. If you remove the bling then there is a better chance that people will read about or buy what you are offering. Ok so I know this goes against the grain of web design but there are good marketing reasons for stripping out the distractions.

Read More…

SEO Spam

We all get junk from Asia offering all sorts of collaborations. This is some of the SPAM I’ve had recently:

Hello,

Rita Patel @ WebCodeGenie here, I would like to share something with you.

A tie-up to save operational cost, a tie-up increase sales, a tie-up to manage everything online

We can give this tie-up a name called “Strategic tie-up” to manage business online, where we used to manage all the process through software that will help you to cover all of the loop-holes that you are getting in your business to get some more income.

It will be custom based application especially for your company.

If you are interested in this, please reply back with your contact information

Looking forward for long term relationship

Thank you and Warmest Regards,

I have no idea what they are selling but WebCodeGenie sent me this spam.

And now I get this:

Hello,
Greeting for the glorious day

As per the recent news, Google has brought up the new changes in the guest posting techniques. So Google gives more weightage to the Guest Posting. Our company is following that changes and doing the more useful Guest Posting by posting the unique and different articles. It has grown to be one of the most influential off-page SEO strategies for promoting brand and products alongside building relationships with the clients. It is one of the best ways to create brand awareness and online visibility.

More guff followed. I then got a list of example posts all of which were dreadful spun junk. So my suggestion is to avoid WebPortalIndia or Web Portal India and their SEO spam.

More SEO things to avoid here.

 

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