Month: August 2018

5 Web Design trends of 2018

5 Web Design trends of 2018 | Web Design | Mosaic Digital Media Ltd

2018 has seen a number of new and evolving trends in web design and development. Below we will explore some of these trends.

1. Dynamic gradients

Gradients seem to be one of those web design trends that faze in and out of favour. In the past when they were used they would usually be a gradient that would transition from two shades of the same colour in the form of subtle shading to suggest 3D like early iOS. These were fazed out for flat design using solid colours. Now they are making a comeback, and this time they are big, loud and full of colour.

gradientlab screen capture demostrating bold gradients
Via: gradientlab.space

These big bold colours are getting used both for simple gradient backgrounds and as a gradient filter over photos, which is a great way to make a less interesting image look intriguing.

2. Mobile first

With more and more people using mobiles in daily life, mobile traffic is dominating over 50% of all web traffic and surpassing desktop traffic it has become even more important in 2018 to design from a Mobile first perspective. This is only going to increase as we move into 2019 and beyond.

Screen capture two modern mobile first designs
Via:thegrove.co.uk & www.and.co

What in the past used to be a challenge for designers has over the years become more refined. The hamburger icon and slide out menus have become the established norm, and where we used to have to ditch large images can now be replaced with more economical icons.

3. Vibrant & bold colour schemes

2018 has seen the rise in the use of vibrant and bold colours in web design. In the past, many brands and designers were stuck using web-safe colours, but with advances in monitors and devices able to reproduce richer colours designers have been getting more courageous in their approach to colours on the web.

screen capture of premier league site and it's use of bold contrating colours
Via:premierleague.com

The trend leans towards supersaturation, vibrant shades, and even clashing colours. These are helping to attract visitors and to set brands and sites apart from the ‘web-safe’ and the traditional.

4. CSS Grid

One of the biggest changes in 2017 was the adoption of the CSS grid spec in the latest versions of the major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge. This has led to asymmetrical and unconventional ‘broken’ layouts in 2018, the appeal of these asymmetrical and broken layouts is that they are unique, distinctive and a major departure from the blocky sites of previous years.

screen capture of a asymmetrical and broken layout
Via:dada-data.net

These are still experimental due to the fact older browser doesn’t support the grid spec but as the adoption of the newer browsers increases, these asymmetrical and broken layouts will become more prevalent in 2019.

5. Big & bold typography

Typography has always been a powerful visual tool in design, but until recent years it was difficult to use custom and non-web safe fonts in web design due to limited support for custom fonts. This has all changed in recent years if the ability to embed custom fonts and due to services like Google Web Fonts. By being able to use the same fonts in web design as those in print design has enabled site to create more personality, evoke better emotion and set a tone on a website all while conveying important information.

screen capture of big and bold typography
Via:nurturedigital.com

This year has also seen the rise of using bigger fonts. While the standard for body fonts used to be 16px, there has now been an increase and it is starting to become more common of the body fonts to be in the range of 20px. This has, in turn, led to titles become bigger and bolder and them starting to become more integrated into the overall design on the page.

Summary

2018 has seen a lot of changes which will carry on having an effect into 2019 and beyond. Check back for a future article where we discuss what may change in 2019.

How long does it take to design and build a website?

How long does it take to design and build a website? | Mosaic Digital Media Ltd

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I have been working in the digital industry for around ten years or so and find that one of the biggest and most difficult questions we as designers and digital agencies face is, “how long does a website take to build?”. In the last ten years, lots of clients I have worked with feel that building a website is a simple process and shouldn’t take the estimated timeframe we give for the milestones or completion of a project. This is something I would like to call the magic wand effect. The reason I call it the magic wand effect is that like a magician, some people believe like waving a magic wand, a website is built in next to no time. As people become more aware of the digital age, designers get a better appreciation on why a website build will take longer than expected.

There are many reasons why a website project may take longer than expected. In this blog, I will be going into detail about the lifecycle of a website build and how different factors can determine how long a website will take to be live on the internet.

## Website Design and Build Misunderstanding

One of the biggest misunderstandings for delivering a website is that one person is solely responsible from the first contact to the website going live. This may be the case for a freelancer or very new start-up but with an established business such as Mosaic Digital Media, we have a team of people who have the best skill sets to do particular tasks. Instantly your first thought would be that sounds expensive, but this is not the case.

A single person cannot guarantee to give you the same level of expertise across all the lifecycle of a website build. With a freelancer they are forced to take on all manner of tasks such as sales, marketing, design, build, SEO, customer support, hosting including technical, etc. A one-man band business may need to take more time in different areas of the website lifecycle to ensure you are looked after causing the price to inflate or the project to take much longer to deliver.

With having the right people looking after you in the different areas of a website design and build, you will find the cost of a project will be similar to a one-man band / freelancer or even cheaper. Not only can a website design / build be much cheaper but the overall factor of taking less time to complete is much easier when having a team able to handle the build with different section spread out evenly.

## Website Design and Build Lifecycle

It is difficult to provide an accurate estimate on how long a typical web design and build project will take, as every website has different requirements.

Below are several steps that we at Mosaic Digital Media like to take, with a brief understanding of each step of the work we do during the website design project to ensure it is done in a timely manner and on budget.





### Initial Meeting and website discussion

No website design can take place without an initial conversation about the requirements of the build. This normally starts with the business owner approaching a digital agency to discuss the requirements for the website build. They could provide a specification of what is required or this could be built up during the opening discussion. Using this specification allows us to research the project and build an accurate proposal for the website build.

This initial discussion and spec form the initial backbone of the whole website design and build. Without this, the project would be non-existent and as website designers, we always refer back to these initial conversations, documents and meetings for inspiration or understanding of the project.

### Research

Once the initial discussions have taken place regarding the website design and the scope of the project the next step is to research the project. For any web design project, the aim of the research is to scope out whether the build of the project is feasible first and foremost. Next, we need to establish can the project be achieved within the clients budget and within their expected deadlines.

This is a pinnacle point as the website design and build may not be deemed feasible if the client expects the build to be completed in too short of a timescale or the budget is far too low.

If at this stage all is agreed on how the website is to be built, the budget is sufficient and the expected timescales are realistic, a full proposal of the work can be conducted.

### Delivery of Website Proposal

The next stage is to feedback to the client exactly what work is going to be carried out, the timescales, and the cost of the intended website build. This document is usually a contractual agreement between the client and the digital agency agreeing to the work to be carried out.

Once the document has been signed and any relevant fee’s / deposits are exchanged the website can be put into the build process.

### Content Gathering

The next step is pretty critical to the build process. Without any artwork or content, the designer will not have any inspiration to proceed with the build. Normally the minimum requirement of content and artwork for the website design would be:

* Logo for your business
* Contact information for your business
* Colour schemes / branding guidelines
* Image library for use across the website
* Page content for each page on the website
* Example website designs and why you like them

These are just a small sample of some artwork that would help the designer build your website. Before any work can be carried out building design etc, we would require at least the majority of the above.

### Website Planning

This stage of the website design process usually coincides with the website design stage. During this stage, the website designer will review both the initial specification, the proposal and all artwork submitted by the client.






### Website Design

The next stage is where a designer initially starts the website build. At this stage in the website design process, the designer will take all the information and begin the process of creating wireframes and mockups for different pages in the website build.

Once the website has been designed these will be sent to the client to review. This will be the first opportunity for the client to see how the website build will look. They will be able to submit changes to the design and once happy this can then be approved ready for the coding of the website to begin.

### Website Build

Once any designs for a website have been approved these will be handed over to a frontend developer who will take the flat designs and turn them into a fully functioning website. The designer will generally work with the developers to ensure the project stays on budget and within the timescales.

### Testing

At Mosaic we normally use an agile methodology to build the website meaning once on page or section has been completed it can be tested internally before passing this over to the client for testing. Between developers and the client, a full test of the website is performed; checking the functionality of the site, and making sure the website meets the requirements initially set out for the website design and build.

Once the testing phase has been completed and both the digital agency and client are happy the website is then able to be set live.

### Website Go live

This is the final stage for all website builds but does not mean the website is fully finished and never to be touched again. Normally once the website build is completed there will be minor snagging to be completed once the client has been using the website for a couple of weeks. These snagging pieces are usually minor spelling or grammatical errors, or minor bugs not found during testing.

Once the website has been live for some time the client may request new features, additional website content or minor image changes in the website.





## What affects the delivery time of a Website Design and Build?

A typical website design and build on the surface can take anything from one week all the way through to six months or maybe even longer. The initial indication of how long a website design and build should take would be decided on the two factors previously mentioned; when the client expects the website to be delivered and realistically when a digital agency can deliver the completed project by.

Some additional factors can also affect the delivery of the project however:

### Delays in build
During the website design and build stages, there are several points in which the ball is firmly in the court of the client and requiring them to action a task for the build of the website to proceed.

For example, during the content gathering stage, we ask for artwork to be supplied which can be a difficult process. Normally a client will find it difficult to envisage what content is required for the website design when they cannot see anything at this point. This process can take some time and can delay a project in getting started.

### Third Party involvement
Even though a lot of agencies such as Mosaic Digital media have an array of talented website designers, graphic designers, SEO specialists, customer support staff, and many other talented people, sometimes third-party involvement to complete a build may be required.

Some agencies may not a have a particular skill set in-house to do one small part of the website build and require this to be done third party or external. By doing this the website build could be put in jeopardy if the third party do not complete their part of the build.

### New focused urgency for completion
Sometimes the goalposts of any project can change after the initial proposal of the work and the schedule of the website build has been agreed.

This can sometimes happen if the website is required for an urgent marketing expo or event and would help them sell the product or service better. Ideally, any reputable design agency will try to revise the timescale based on the new requirements but sometimes this is not always a feasible task as other websites maybe planned in or other projects.

If a design agency is able to accommodate the change in circumstance a revised budget may occur to allow sufficient staff to complete the project without affecting the website design or build.

## Summary
In summary, a good digital agency is able to accommodate a website build within a reasonable timescale and fair budget. If your expectation is for a fully custom website with lots of different features a digital agency will be able to guide you well during the initial meetings and conversation on a rough average on how long a particular website design and build would take based on previously complete website projects.

The best course of action is to always be prepared and if you are requiring the website for a particular event or date make sure you give your potential web designers a good amount of time to complete the project to the best quality possible. It is also advisable before speaking to a digital agency to make sure you have a suitable budget for the project to ensure you get the best finish possible.

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How long does it take to Rank in Google Search?

How long does it take to Rank in Google Search? | Mosaic Digital Media Ltd

Google isn’t as predictable as some people may think, therefore ranking in Google can be just as unpredictable. It can range from days to weeks, to even months to get a number 1 ranking term or keyword. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t pursue because having an online presence can make all the difference in website conversions. So here are some of the things that people need to consider when looking at how long it can take to rank well in Google search.

Domain Age

Depending on whether you have a brand new Domain name or one that you’ve had for 5+ years, will help Google to determine if your website has enough authority to rank well in search straight away. Google works a lot of its algorithm on Trust, which means that if Google has seen and known your Domain name for a longer time then it will automatically be more trusted by Google, therefore, rank well faster.

Having a new Domain name isn’t the end of the world because with some hard work and time your new domain name will begin to build up trust and google will see it for what it is. But don’t worry too much about it, this is just one of the many factors that Google considers when deciding which websites to show people.

Site Size

Website size is also a tricky concept. But content is key in the eyes of Google search, which means it is very important to any website marketing. The more content that is on the website, the better. If you have a larger site, you will then have more pages with more keywords and therefore have more chance of people finding your website, you have to think of a website like a net, the bigger the net the more fish you’re going to catch and it is similar in Google.

Having a larger website can also help Google identify you as a trusted website.

Competition

The amount of competition for the selected keywords can be a massive contributing factor when it comes to how long it takes to rank in Google search. This is one of the main things that people don’t think about and is one of the more difficulty things to foresee.

An example of this is if you have a keyword that gets a lot of traffic, a lot of people want to rank for it and will perform marketing campaigns similar to yours to try and rank number 1 for that term. The campaigns that have been running the longest will usually have the advantage but there is always chance to jump up the rankings if your campaign is doing everything right.

Search Local

Search local is very similar to competition because there are different amounts of competition depending where you are and where you’re trying to rank. For example ‘London’ will be a much harder location to rank for keywords than somewhere like ‘Warrington’. This is due to the amount of potential users that you can get from that location, e.g. London’s population is 8,123,000 whereas Warrington’s population is 202,200.

So if your small company looking to build an online presence but have a small budget, try ranking for local areas first and then move up into the bigger areas once you have started to get some traffic. You can read more about this in one of our other blogs about how Google Business Listing can help local SEO!

Conclusion

SEO isn’t in any way an exact science! Google’s algorithm is always changing and it’s hard to keep up with it, but if you going to try then give our other blog a read about how to keep with Google’s Changes. It’s nearly impossible to tell how long it can take to rank well in Google Search because it’s all trial and error. Some things work and some things don’t, it all depends on what your website needs and wants to achieve.

If you are still struggling to gain any traction then sometimes external factors can help SEO growth such as Social Media and Back-linking. But they are for another time and maybe another blog! If you need any help with your SEO or improving your online presence then get in touch because we can help.

What is the Best Type of Website Hosting for you?

What is the Best Type of Website Hosting for you?

There are many variations of website hosting out there that you can buy, rent, or get at no charge. With a high selection of options comes to a vast variety of choice that may leave some people confused about what they are buying. In this blog, I am going to cover a selection of different hosting types, highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each one of them, and give tips whether this is the right type of hosting for you.

Shared Website Hosting

When on a shared website hosting plan, your website is on a server that is hosting other websites in addition to yours.

The advantages of being on a shared hosting server are that it is usually rather cheap to be on due to the cost of the server being split between all of the other sites that are on that server. The issues of using a shared web hosting server are that all the sites that are sharing that server are also sharing the amount of traffic they can support. If one site is gaining a lot of traffic, the server will dedicate more resources to that website and therefore cause the other websites to slow down. This usually is not an issue if your site is the most popular one on the server, as the server will delegate the resources to you.

This type of hosting is the preferred type of hosting for newer and smaller websites, as they are likely to get less traffic than large sites. This option is usually the desired option for businesses that are starting up online due to their initial lack of traffic.

If you are interested in our shared web hosting plan please contact us on 01925 563 960 or contact us here.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is a newer form of website hosting that allows many single servers to coordinate with one another and create what is effectively a super server. This is an effective way of hosting for providers as they can easily add additional servers to the cloud to increase the cloud size.

The advantages of using a cloud-based web-hosting server are that if the traffic to your website suddenly increases the servers will be able to support the additional load without taking your website down. Just be wary that cloud-hosting servers generally operate on a Pay As You Go (PAYG) pricing plan in a similar way that energy bills work where you only pay for what you use. This can be a good pricing plan but it may incur some unexpected charges if the traffic to your site unpredictably spikes.

This type of hosting is best for businesses whose websites are growing quickly and are gaining an increasing amount of traffic.

Dedicated Hosting

With using a dedicated hosting server your website is contained alone in a server with no other websites on it to share resources. Usually, when being on a dedicated hosting server it allows you full access to the root permissions that gives you full control of the server if you wish to use it.

Dedicated servers are the highest form of a server you can have your website hosted. The people who generally use this type of hosting are businesses whose websites have grown into a large online presence and need the dedicated additional resources due to the volume of traffic they are receiving.

If you are interested in our dedicated website hosting plan please contact us on 01925 563 960 or contact us here.

Free Hosting

Using free web hosting means, somebody somewhere will let you keep your website on their server for no charge. This hosting type is generally a shared web hosting plan but without the charge. These companies regain the profits lost on using free hosting by adding advertisements to your website and limiting the amount of server space your website can use.

The advantage of free hosting is, as the name would suggest, the hosting does not cost. There are not many other advantages to free hosting however as the companies are still a business that needs to make money and they employ other tactics to their hosting to make you pay money in order for them to change or remove something. Adding their domain to your domain, placing ads all throughout your site or limiting the uptime on your site are just a few of the ways that they try and get you to pay for their hosting.

This type of hosting may not be good for businesses or anybody trying to gain a lot of traffic from their website but it is useful for anybody who just wants to mess around with creating a website or for people with small personal projects.

If you are interested in knowing more about our website hosting plans or would like any of our other services, please contact us on 01925 563 960 or contact us here.

How can blogging help your business?

How can blogging help your business?

Whether you write the blogs for your website internally or outsource, blogging is an essential component of a successful Digital Marketing campaign. Here are 5 ways blogging can help to develop and shape your business.

Increases your online visibility

Google likes fresh content – therefore updating your website weekly, or even monthly, will prove favourable if you want your website to appear higher on the search engine rankings. If the blogs are SEO friendly then even better! People who are entering keywords associated with your product or service are more likely to come across your website if it has the correct keywords implemented in the content.

Drives traffic to your website

If your blog is being posted directly on your website, then it can be shared on social media platforms via a brief summary and direct link to the blog. The more people that retweet, share, comment and interact with your blog the better chance you have of driving traffic to your website. A great way of tracking how much traffic is going to your website directly as a result of your blog is by using Google’s Campaign URL Builder.

Why not try and get your blog posts on other websites? The more blogs you have out there, the more links to your site you have!

Develop your brand

The tone of the blog will depend on your brand – but whatever the context is, blogs are a perfect opportunity for you to shape your company brand and expand on what your company is all about. They are also a chance for you to guide the reader or consumer, alert them of upcoming events and to invite them to openly engage in discussions and debates.

Helps out your audience

The fact that you are putting time and effort into writing something that might prove beneficial to your viewers speaks for itself. Why not share some industry knowledge or tips? This will not only attract potential customers but also build authority for your business.

Generates more leads

Ultimately, through a combination of increasing brand awareness, improving your visibility on search engines and driving traffic to your website blogs will generate more leads for your business. According to Hubspot, businesses with websites that have 401-1000 pages of content get 6 x more leads than those with 51-100 pages.

Looking to start business blogging but don’t have the time? Our team covers all things digital and would be happy to help!

Send us a message, or call us on 01925 563 960