responsive design

It’s Website Design Update-Time for Your Business

Is now a good time for a website design update? If you have asked yourself this question more than once, the answer is probably yes!

Take a look at the image above created by one of the world’s largest Tech Firms about 10 years ago. Looks like an antique, doesn’t it?

You may think that we are just another pushy website design company that wants everyone to get a new, website design update for their business every few months. This is simply not true. What we do want is for businesses with solid marketing goals, to consider a website design update every three years. Unless, of course, it’s an antique business that wants to intentionally appear outdated and old fashioned.

Don’t get me wrong. I love antiques. I love the whole idea of the historical conservation of beautiful objects, but even an antiques dealer needs to display their items-for-sale in a way that potential buyers can appreciate the fine details.

3 Signs of an Old Website

Does your website still display Flash®?

This Adobe product used to be hugely popular among website designers for animating the homepages of websites. but today, Flash is not supported on many mobile devices. This means that when your website is pulled up on a phone, for example, there may be a big, fat hole right in the middle of the page where the Flash document is supposed to be.

Do your visitors still have to download content?

Do visitors need to view important information about your business in a PDF rather than viewing it on a web page? This makes them go through extra steps to read what should be available at the click of a mouse. No need for a long explanation here. In this age of viruses and hacking, no one wants to download anything they shouldn’t have to.

Is your website built using tables?

We have all been on those websites that display tiny boxes filled with mice type and unreadable content… usually in neon colors with uneven borders. (see the image at the top of this page)

Tables are the once-popular, but old fashioned way, of building websites. They are inefficient, inappropriate for designing mobile-responsive websites. Today’s website platforms, like WordPress, enable designers to display content in a way that pleases the eye of the visitor on whichever device that they use. More importantly, a modern website pleases the eyes of Google, which looks at your content and decides if it’s worth ranking highly… or even to display it at all in their search engine.

So, is it time for a website design update?

While you can be a seller of old things, your website should be a new thing. It has to be mobile-friendly, load quickly, accommodate video, play nicely with social media, and generally go with the flow of today’s fast-paced, web-based world.

Call us for a website strategy session

Google, Amazon & Chroma Sites Enter the Home Improvement Market

4 Website Launches Meet the Demand of Growing Trade Businesses

This past year, Chroma Sites launched a new batch of home improvement websites for some very successful home improvement firms. These companies represent a small, but important, segment of the huge residential home improvement industry. We are proud to feature them in our portfolio.

With the likes of Google and Amazon jumping into this lucrative fray, we thought you might like to see some of the features we add to our websites in order to help our own home-service clients grow their businesses. With Google and Amazon making it easier to find these types of businesses, we’re here to ensure that these websites convert customers.

“After months of speculation, Google has entered the home services market, by making it easier for homeowners to find plumbers, locksmiths and handymen without ever leaving the search box.” Geekwire 

Here are just a few of the home improvement websites we launched in 2016.

Let us know how we can help with your trade business in 2017.


1. Stepney Hardware

Home Improvement Websites for Hardware Stores

Stepney Hardware is one of those old-fashioned, service oriented hardware stores that hard to find. Located in Monroe, CT, they draw locals from all over Fairfield County who don’t want to shop at one of those big-box stores.

Stepney’s previous website was 10 years old, and the owner decided to upgrade his online presence for their many lines of products, including high-quality grills, a full line of Benjamin Moore paints, and so much more.

We built Stepney Hardware a brand new, responsive, home improvement website with separate pages for each product category. We also integrated an e-commerce shopping cart connected with their distributor so that customers could also shop online. Now, the store doesn’t have to worry about shipping and credit cards. This feature adds an extra revenue stream and allows them to compete with much larger stores without having to carry inventory. This home improvement business website is clean, yet personable, allowing customers to learn about Stepney in a relaxed and friendly way.

Go visit Stepney Hardware in Monroe, CT. Ask for Dave Otto and tell him we said hi!


2. SunShine Floor Supplies

One of our many Home Improvement Websites for Business

Sunshine Floors is Connecticut’s best source for wood flooring and associated products like stains and tools. They carry a prestigious line of fine wood choices for today’s modern homeowner or commercial space.

Sunshine Floors came to us because they needed a new, responsive, home improvement website to showcase and sell their 1,000+ products. We launched the shopping cart first so that the online business sales could move forward and optimize quickly in the search engine shopping feeds. Then we were able to go back and refine the actual look and feel of the website. Based on the preferences of their most discerning customers who love good home improvement websites, we are told we did a good job

Give Sunshine Floors a call next time you need premium flooring and supplies. Ask for RT and tell him we sent you.


3. R. Piro Electric

Home Improvement Websites

R. Piro Electric, are master electricians, and a website client, who offers electrical services for both businesses and the home improvement markets, at great rates. For the very best in maintenance, installation and upgrades. Piro’s team has an excellent reputation and always gets the job done right the first time. Generator installs, wiring of appliances, electrical panel upgrades and so much more… They do it all!

Rob Piro came to us for help with their first website, and we started from scratch with great enthusiasm. Content, messaging and graphics had to attract a very high-end customer base in Fairfield County, CT. The website had to highlight their good taste in lighting design and installation, as well as the more technical back-end services required to make everything light up reliably. We added a clean gallery of their projects, obvious links to review sites like Home Advisor and a capabilities panel that will grow with them. This website is responsive too, All home improvement websites need to be mobile friendly, of course, because most customers now find service providers, like electricians, on their phones.

Give Rob Piro a call for expert electrical service.


4. Paintcraft LLC

Home Improvement Websites for Business

PaintCraft LLC has in business since 1972, in Danbury, CT, offering painting and decorating services for homes and businesses. Based upon their exceptional and professional service, they plan to be around for a very long time. PaintCraft has also established great and long-lasting relationships with many colleagues in the trade services arena.

Paintcraft came to us for help with their second website in a decade, but we decided to start from scratch with a brand new look and gorgeous project galleries. They had wonderful photos of their past commercial and residential work but no place to showcase them… until now. We added a page for testimonials (obviously important for any painting company) and created unique design elements to differentiate them from all the other painters in the world. Creating a mobile-friendly website was also important because many contractors and homeowners now find home improvement service companies on their mobile devices.

If you need a room or an auditorium painted, give Bill Shea a call.

Let us know how we can help you with your home improvement business!


I Think You’re Under-Complicating This! The DIY Website Dilemma.

Building a DIY website is tempting. But before you embark on this journey, please read my take on this seemingly inexpensive road.

For the moment, the internet is a very chic place to hang out. Your social life is at your fingertips and your spending craves are satisfied in seconds. From job searches to social media groups chatting about cat hair-dos… it all seems so delightful. But, as we all have experienced, these highly-public tubes are often complicated to navigate, filled with icky bugs, viruses, hackers, thieves and dark roads that should not be traveled.

Websites, on the other hand, are private and controllable. Having your own website is like having a kingdom surrounded by high walls to protect all the bustling things going on inside. It’s all yours and as a website owner, you can climb your highest tower and shout to the whole world who you are, what you do and why everything will be perfect when they shower money on your business. No one can shout back unless you want them to. The only thing they can do is leave; a DIY website owner’s very worst nightmare.

Learning to build websites is a full-time job (and you already have one)

We love building business websites. It’s an honest living that helps entrepreneurs and business owners boast proudly about what they offer. Or what they sell. And, as our chosen profession, learning how to build intelligently was well worth the time as now we are building many of them. Because of our education in the field, we can face ourselves in the mirror each morning and call ourselves professional website designers without cringing.

Think about it. How much time have you spent learning new things in your lifetime? I don’t know about you, but everything I know had to be learned, by me, first. No one else has ever offered to learn things for me so if I want to stay relevant, and competitive, the learning will never end.

Now, for most of we humanoids, the learning process is exciting and makes us feel happy and accomplished. It’s an endorphin thing but, because there are so many things to learn within our own field of interest, it might be wise to let others handle certain tasks. This is especially true when something only has to be done once or twice, like sewing a wedding outfit… or building a website.

Things you will forget when building your own website

The inbound marketing methodology, which today is widely seen as the best way to find new customers on the internet, requires that every business has a “really good website destination”. Websites are the hub of successful internet marketing. They are usually the first and last stop before making a big purchase or commitment. It’s the place where we make up our minds to spend our hard-earned money.

There are many little pieces that go into building a good website and doing a good job on these individual elements, such as content writing or picking visuals, is extremely important. But making sure that all these elements function holistically, and show up at the right time to convince a customer, is a tricky proposition and takes experience.

This careful placement and timing will determine how well a website will look, feel, react, interact, inspire, motivate, and, finally, close the deal. So, why is it that so many businesses still turn to their newest, least experienced employees and tell them to go build a website on GoDaddy or Wix?

Why do some business owners try to do it themselves?

DIY website businesses think they are saving money. Really?

I get it. It’s tempting to tell a bored intern to “go build us a website”. Young people must be technical geniuses, right? Well, they might be, but without a solid understanding of website strategy, the kid might actually put up a website that chases customers away.

Then there’s the entrepreneur who enjoys the challenge of learning new things. But when it comes to IP addresses, domain names, pings, hosting packages, registrars without phone support and server crashes, the thrill might be short-lived. Getting a link to actually go somewhere is an amazing high, but understanding the psychology behind a visitor’s click, or figuring out why everything on your mobile device version is gigantic, can be frustrating and a complete waste of precious, entrepreneurial time.

When it comes to websites, “okay” is a four letter word

There is no getting around it—a website built by an amateur will look amateurish. With mobile-responsive designs and ever more elaborate desktop layouts there is too much that can go wrong, too much to troubleshoot, and too much at stake to settle on a website that’s just okay. Is “good enough” how you think about the rest of your business?

We seem to do our best work for companies that are not startups. They typically have 5-50 employees, know who their customers are and have solid, achievable long-term goals. If you’ve been in business for a few years and aren’t still bootstrapping your budget from the change jar, don’t waste your valuable time on something you know nothing about.

Invest in a professional website designer and leave the minutia to the pros. You won’t regret it.

Save your valuable time and money! Call Chroma Sites Today.

Order Up! Now Serving Restaurant Websites

Today, everything about a restaurant has to be perfect — from the moment someone lands on the web page until the moment they tip the wait staff. Restaurateurs realize that while their food must be wondrous, their brand must be also.

Most restaurants do have websites, but so many of them are sad and neglected because of the time and expense involved in maintaining the constantly changing food menus or events pages. Until recently, restaurants had to rely only on Facebook, Yelp, and other review platforms to bring in hungry, new customers.

Today, with a user-friendly platform like WordPress and our complementary website training, we can design a gorgeous, food-inspired website that a busy restaurateur can update all by themselves.

A Foodie Website Study

The Hideaway in Ridgefield, CT is a classic example. They are a gastropub that opened in 2012 and spent the first few years establishing their food reputation. They made do with a dated, template website featuring only a few pages of badly displayed content. The website was only about 3 years old, but it looked kinda’ tired as many restaurant websites do.

So, when word of The Hideaway’s great menu started spreading throughout the region and hungry patrons started lining up to get a table on weekends, they decided it was time for a website upgrade.. and came to us for help.

We think they made the right choice. Things change quickly in the website world – both in visual style and in functionality and we pride ourselves on keeping up to date with the latest and greatest plugins and features. Our website design toolbox is perfect for many types of businesses including growing eateries. Plus, helping a business get to the next level is something we know a lot about. Here are a few of the things we brought to The Hideaway’s table… Get it?

Photography

We started with some photo shoots. Heidi, one of the owners, hired a local photographer for the general interior shots and we spent a few hours shooting The Hideaway’s historic building, once a dynamite shack for the early railroad and later a strip joint. Later, she brought in a food photographer and food stylist as this is a very specialized field.

The chef brought out dish after dish of beautifully plated food — sumptuous items like grilled corn with their husks still attached, a fresh, tuna burger covered with sesame seeds, and a gorgeous chicken pot pie baked to a golden brown. Drinks were photographed too and everything came out so fabulous, we couldn’t wait to get them up.

Copywriting and visual content

The second step was all about the website’s copywriting. For restaurants, this task is often challenging because the unique personality of the established must be clearly articulated. We interviewed the owners and the chef so we could add their perspective to the mix. We also wrote a page about the history of the establishment featuring old photos and before-and-afters of the current renovation.

All this is was well worth the time because lots of well-written content on a website is very important for SEO (search engine optimization).

It was time to begin the design!

The Home Page

The decision was made to feature a dramatic, black background to show off the splendid colors of the food photography. We then added a rotating slideshow on the homepage to make their website visitors very hungry. Romantic photos of the bar and dining room, with fireplace blazing, were also featured right up front to show potential patrons the incredible ambiance of this restaurant. Also, we added four sections below the homepage slideshow which were introductions to other important features of this particular restaurant… food, drink, events and history.

(This website was so much fun it was almost building itself!)

The Hideaway's New Mobile Website

Menus

The owners emailed us their new menus for the fall season. These included all their categories including starters, salads, entrees, brunches, lunches, kids fare and much more. The bar had its own separate menus and included descriptions and pricing for every kind of wine, beer, cocktail, and specialty drink offered. These details are very important for both palate and pocketbook… and must always be accurate and up to date.

User-friendly websites make for very happy patrons… even before they show up to be seated. All of our websites are mobile-friendly because many people locate restaurants while in the car or on a tablet. And, because the owners can update their menus themselves, the visitor will always be able to trust that what they see is what they will get.

Events & Entertainment

As we said earlier, The Hideaway has music on the weekends that they wanted on an events page. This was easy to do until we decided these events had to auto-disappear off the website when the music ended and the late-night crowd went home. Showing off our technical abilities is fun and this worked out very well. Now the owners can upload an event schedule for the next few months… and never have to worry about taking it down!

Reviews

Every good restaurant wants to feature their excellent reviews because reviews are the most important marketing a restaurant can have (and they’re free to boot). The Hideaway, with their lines out the door, had plenty of great reviews scattered all over the internet and social media sites. All we had to do was track them down and create a special page to feature them on. Take a look!

Complimentary WordPress Training

After a smooth launch, we offered the owners our customary round of WordPress training and now the proprietors can make routine changes to their menus and events on their own. The owner told us that their new WordPress website is absolutely gorgeous and the very best tool to grow their business! This self-maintenance aspect will help them keep it that way.

We loved this website project and will absolutely search for more local establishments that want to update their online presence. Let us show off your craft beers, marinated oysters with our mouthwatering, homemade menu bars.

View the website at www.thehideawayridgefield.com

Give us a call and let’s talk about your restaurant website!

If You’ve Got a Good Website Recipe, Don’t Go Mobile from Scratch

“Go mobile friendly” sounds liberating. Untethered from the desk and free to roam the world, while staying connected to what matters.

To a business owner with an old website, however, “going mobile friendly” sounds more like ulcers and headaches.

Just a few short years ago you had a great website: convincing copy, killer graphics and it actually brought in new business… but now, it’s obsolete…

We feel your pain.

It’s the story of many of our new clients. They LOVE their website, and still aren’t completely sure why they need a new one, but Google has spoken. And mobile is mandatory!

You Don’t Need to Start from Scratch

Even though it’s true you need to go mobile friendly with your website, it doesn’t mean you need to start over again. If you’re happy with your current site, all you really need is a mobile website conversion.

At Chroma Sites, we help businesses go mobile friendly by providing mobile conversions that include all of the latest website features and technology, at typically less than half the cost of a redesign.

Regardless of what’s already built-in to your existing website, we will build you a mobile-ready and Google-friendly presence that includes ALL this:

  • the best content management system on earth, WordPress
  • a business blog with all the bells and whistles
  • interactive social media sharing buttons
  • a super-simple contact form tailored just for your business
  • a design that looks a lot like your old website on desktops and laptops (only better)
  • new mobile layouts, designed specifically for tablets and phones of all sizes
  • all of the same pages, posts & menus
  • and everything else that comes standard with every website we build

Don’t Start from Scratch. Go Mobile Friendly the easy way

Untie your website visitors from the desk and watch your business soar!

Talk to us about a mobile conversion of your website…

Convert, Then Conquer: Start with a Mobile Conversion

Rarely is it more apparent that your website needs a redesign than when Google releases one of their “massive updates”. It happened again two weeks ago and businesses around the country are paying the price. Any website that is not considered “mobile-friendly” by Google, is now being punished by the search engine.

I can’t be completely furious with them… whenever Google does something like this (i.e. change their algorithm), we get super busy. People from all over pour in, desperate to redo their website.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s great for business… but really tough on our schedule.

But all of those redesign requests got us thinking…

People are coming in, not only to get themselves off of Google’s blacklist, but to reorganize and re-strategize their entire web presence.

Normally, we wouldn’t think twice about doing an entire redesign all at once. But, with so many people coming in to get themselves new websites, we just can’t take them all on right now.

So, like I said, it got us thinking… What if we didn’t have to do an entire redesign right now, but could get old websites mobilized before it’s too late?

It seems like a no brainer. We can get the new websites up quickly, with the same content and a similar look. But, it will be mobile responsive, which means it looks good on everyone’s phone and, more importantly, it will pass Google’s mobile-friendly test!

So, we started offering mobile conversions.

Later, after the dust settles, we’ll help you think about any new ideas you might have for your website and how to approach a full redesign.

But right now, you need to go mobile… Convert the website now, conquer the redesign later.

I guess that’s it… If you’re interested in a mobile conversion, give us a shout.

Is your website is mobile-friendly? Find Out Instantly »