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Our new design portfolio

9th May 2013
Categories: design

We operate in a funny industry. Some people think we're web designers; others see us as web developers. It has something to do with the fact that some graphic designers build websites, and some software developers build websites too.

A website doesn't just have to look good. If that were the case, it would be a one-page brochure. Websites have to work - the navigation has to work of course, but more than that, the website and its surrounding online strategy have to be thought out and engineered to make the business behind them as effective as possible, whether or not the website has 'transactional' features.

Good graphic designers, like good software developers and e-markeeters, build the needs of the business into everything they do.

At Oxford Web we're fortunate enough to have a great mix of skills in our team, including graphic design, software development, and of course business process development and e-marketing.

And while our website reflects the latter skills pretty well, up until now it wasn't really showing the very best of our graphic design.

So we've created a microsite, http://graphic-design.oxford-web.co.uk, to showcase the best of our graphic design work.

Hope you like it.

Photoshop turns to subscription model

7th May 2013
Categories: gimp, graphics, photoshop

Adobe announced recently at its "Max" conference that Photoshop and other Adobe products would be moving to a subscription model.

I can understand websites which use a subscription model - you (the customer) are regularly using services which they (the supplier) need to constantly maintain.  Or a service like dropbox, which maintains a set of file servers constantly connected to the internet so that your computer can use them at any time of day or night.

Downloadable software, on the other hand, has been written, tested, and finally made available via a shop, downloaded onto your computer, and is expected to work as written.

It's a bit like electricity - you can buy it in the mains or in a battery.  But charging a subscription fee or software that should just work is like trying to charge a subscription fee for a battery.

On a side note - lots of great graphics have been created with GIMP!

Once they are on your website, what next?

3rd May 2013
Categories: copywriting, usability

OK, so you've worked hard at getting visitors to your website, and now they're coming in droves. The only slight problem is.. they're not buying anything. What do you do next?

First of all, let's talk about where they arrive.

The page a visitor first sees when they come to your website is called a landing page. If they've typed your domain name into a browser's address bar, they will normally come to your home page, so that, for those people, is the landing page. But you can create multiple landing pages for different purposes:

  • business card
  • email signature
  • online advert

Equally, the search term your visitor types in may lead them to one of your internal pages that closely matches that term - so any page on your website could be a landing page.

Ideally your landing page should be tailored to the needs of the visitor. If they've come looking for information about your house cleaning robot, for example, give them a quick reminder of the key facts and ask them to buy,  If they're looking for a competitor's widget, give them the comparison table and ask them to buy yours.  And so on.

Your customers are on a mission

What's next?  Typical visitors will have a purpose in visiting your website, so the fewer clicks from the landing page to the destination page the better.  If there can be a button on the landing page that adds the product to their basket and takes them to checkout, showing whatever discount they've earned, great. From that point, the fewer clicks to secure their purchase and thank them for it, the better.

A short path to the target page means not a lot of words on the way

While you want to satisfy curious visitors, investors, prospective employees, and search engines with a whole range of relevant and interesting content, once you've examined the optimum path from landing page to destination page, you'll see that you cannot squeeze all of your amazing copy onto those few short pages.  Blaise Pascal wrote "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I've written a long one instead".  Why not take the time to make it short and snappy (without getting rid of your in-depth pages elsewhere)?

A word about "squeeze pages"

'Squeeze pages; is a horrible term; I don't know who invented it. Probably an American who had read a marketing book about how to invent categories so that you can be the best in them. What do they do? They combine a landing page and a destination page, and a lot of spammy "convincing" sales talk in between, and they tend to be very long. Well, guess what? They look like the web equivalent of the shopping channel. They're not for you.

© Alberon Ltd 2017

8 Standingford House
26 Cave Street
Oxford
OX4 1BA

01865 596 144

Oxford Web is a trading name of Alberon Ltd, registered company no. 5765707 (England & Wales).