How Search Engine Crawlers (Bots) Work 

How Search Engine Crawlers (Bots) Work 

How Search Engine Crawlers (Bots) Work 

(And What They Look For In A Good Website)

You probably might have asked how Google search results are determined or how the search engines work. With over 1.8 billion websites on the web, one would wonder how Google, Bing, Baidu, and the other search engines manage to rank all of the billions of web pages emanating from these websites. 

Search engines deploy crawlers (bots) to scour the internet for web pages and rank them accordingly to generate search results. While this is not as simple as it seems,  in this post, we’ll shed some light on how these search engine crawlers (bots) work behind the scenes to generate search results for users.

 

How Search Engines Work

There are three key steps involved in how search engines work – crawling, indexing, and ranking/serving. The first step involves the search engines deploying bots referred to as crawlers or spiders to scour the internet for new and updated web pages via URLs. 

These spiders/crawlers then try to analyze each of the pages crawled to discover what each page is all about as well as determine how relevant the pages are to online searches. The results are then indexed based on relevancy, using a set of ranking factors that are dependent on the algorithm of the search engine in question, and then served up to users searching online.

how search engine crawlers work - black tusk web

How search engines work.

Image Credit: Black Tusk Web, Instagram

 

What Search Engine Crawlers Look For On Websites

Google doesn’t accept payments to rank your websites high on search engine results pages (SERPs). So, how do you get your website pages to rank high on SERPs? 

The answer, in this case, is knowing how to optimize your website for high ranking. 

This in turn can only be successful when you have a good grasp of what search engine crawlers want to see on your web pages. Here are some of the most important things crawlers want to see on your web pages;

1. HTML

Google wants to see your website’s HTML codes properly formatted. And aside from the fact that building your website on HTML helps you avoid slow website rendering and better experience for visitors, Google, as one of the most prominent search engines, finds it easier to crawl HTML, compared to other protocols like JavaScript, Flash, DHTML, Ajax, etc. 

2. Internal links

Internal links on website pages make them easily navigable and crawlable for search engine crawlers. 

3. Content structure

Site and content structure plays a role in how search engines crawl your website. Content on your website should therefore be organized in a way that should make it easy for both human users and search engines. 

Along with these three (3) things, others such as the actual content quality as well as the searcher’s location, search history, search medium (desktop or mobile), can also influence what content they are served as well as how the content is ranked.

 

Conclusion

Now that you know how search engines work, it’s important to translate this knowledge into creating an easily crawlable and indexable website. 

From getting your site structure right to properly formatting your website’s HTML codes, proper use of internal links, and a commitment to high content quality, it will become much easier to get your web pages to rank well on searches that are relevant to your brand and business. 

In doing this, your website’s lead generation and conversion will also get a significant boost. 

 

Top Reasons Your Website Is Too Slow

Top Reasons Your Website Is Too Slow

No one can stand a slow website. Not me or any of the 90% of other internet users with attention spans shorter than that of a goldfish who are more likely to bounce if your website pages don’t load up within the first five (5) seconds. (Google)

Slow website loading speed decreases your chances of generating leads and making sales from your share of web traffic. In this post, we’ll uncover five of the common culprits responsible for the reasons why your website loads at a snail pace. We’ll also shed the light on how you can turn up the speed so it loads as fast as possible. 

 

1. Low-quality hosting 

hosting quality affects website speed

Instagram: Black Tusk Web

The problem with hosting is that it can doom your website to perpetually slow loading times even before you have an actual website.

So, before writing the first line of code, you want to make sure your website is hosted on a high-quality hosting service provider. Doing this will help you avoid slow loading, low SEO ranking chances, and the poor user experience that comes with browsing on slow websites.

 

2. Heavy and unclean codes

Are the source codes on your website absurdly heavy, messy, or unclear? All of these can significantly impact how fast your website loads. So, you know your website deserves better than some poorly written codes.

Any web design or development expert worth their weight will appreciate the importance of having clean and user-focused codes on a website’s speed and performance.

 

3. Not using good caching techniques

Caching techniques help make content readily and easily available to read for users. 

The key basis of this involves storing the data on the computer that needs to read the information rather than having to read such information directly from the original source. Caching, when done right, will significantly help boost your website speed. 

 

4. Unoptimized images and media content

Unoptimized media content can take a toll on your website speed, especially if you own an image-heavy website. 

While it makes sense to complement your written content with enough images, audio, video, etc, not properly optimizing these media files as far as sizes are concerned can slow down your website loading speed. 

5. Not using a content delivery network (CDN)

CDN helps cache content in multiple locations around the world.

By storing these caches closer to website users, the time it takes to render on their device is significantly cut short. While having this set up can help supercharge your website speed, not having one in place can mean slow loading times. 

 

6. Too many plugins

Plugins help improve the functionality of websites. 

But like every good thing, too much of it can impact your website speed. Along with slow website loading speeds, having too many plugins installed on your website can put your website at risk of website crashes, and security breaches, among others. So, it’s always better to stick to the few you really need.

 

7. Code bloated WordPress themes

One of the best things about WordPress is how easy it can be set up. There are thousands of both free and paid themes that you can consider when building your website. The problem with some of these themes, however, is that they might be poorly built. WordPress themes with bloated codes can mean slow-loading pages and poor user experience for your users, among other things. 

 

Conclusion

There are a million and one reasons why you need to take your website loading speed more seriously. Aside from the obvious poor user experience on your website that could significantly impact your website’s lead generation and sales conversion chances, website speed is also a key SEO ranking factor that could impact your website’s visibility on search engines. 

From choosing the right hosting provider to ensuring clean and clear codes, among other things, getting your website to load as fast as possible (great if it loads under 3 seconds!) can help make a world of difference on how well your website can support your business’s strategic digital goals. 

 

5 Compelling Reasons You Need a Better Website Now!

5 Compelling Reasons You Need a Better Website Now!

5 Compelling Reasons You Need a Better Website Now!

A professional website gives your business instant global and local presence which can help you build social proof and boost your brand credibility. According to reliable data from Google, as much as 63% of shopping occasions now start online.

If we’re being honest, then having a business website is a non-negotiable necessity for any growth-driven business in this age. However, there are a million and one reasons why you need a better than an average website. Below are five such reasons;

1. Take advantage of the coronavirus-induced shift in shopping behaviour

Since the first identified cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, the novel coronavirus has spread across different continents leaving nothing but chaos behind. Despite the huge health and economic impact of the COVID-19, the crisis has triggered a major shift in human behaviour.

Everything has changed and social distancing is now the new normal. Here a few statistics that explain the situation better.

There’s a mindset shift currently happening concerning consumer behaviour.

Countries around the world are imposing different lockdown measures to curtail the coronavirus. Therefore, Health agencies have recommended social distancing, among other measures to reduce the spread. More people are now shopping online than ever.

Having a professional website is fundamental to maintaining a solid internet presence. Businesses that want to maintain resilience and drive growth in these challenging times need to be positioned right where the audience can find them.

2. Being ‘searchable’ helps you reach your target audience more easily

Having a beautiful website is good. What’s also important is ensuring your website gets found easily by your customers and prospective customers. In our post on what makes a great website design, we emphasized the critical role of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

In the same way, Proper SEO should be at the core of your website design strategy to help you get found easily by searchers. When your website is able to garner higher SERP rankings (search engine results pages), you can rest assured that your business’s credibility, visibility, and marketing will also benefit significantly.

3. Your business website reflects your brand

Are you proud of your business website?

Does it do a great job of reflecting your company’s brand identity?

These are important questions because most people are going to equate your website to your business. About 88% of B2B customers referenced high-quality information in regards to their recent purchase decisions, according to a recent Gartner survey.

So, regardless of your industry, your business website should tick the boxes in the right places. In many cases, it will be your best chance to make a first impression.

You can’t afford to lose potential customers if you want to sustain business growth.

Everything from aesthetics to layout, website colour tones, information, and more, should, therefore, be top-notch and up to date. This is important to create a positive brand perception, that builds trust with prospects, converts acquired leads, and ultimately impact your business’s bottom line.

4. Your business website must be functional

You need more than just fancy web design. Your business website should be crisp, highly functional, and fully responsive to get customers on board.

This can mean navigating UI and UX in web design to ensure optimal functionality. It could also mean incorporating website features to greatly improve functionality. These features could include sophisticated web forms to boost conversions, online payment systems for products, services, and subscriptions, as well as proper booking systems as more customers want to take care of these processes online instead of in person.

All of these and more will be needed to make it easy for current clients and prospective customers to transact with your business on your website.

5. User experience impacts sales

Are customers enjoying the experience on your website?

You need to deliver a frictionless user experience for customers on your website as this can impact sales and conversion. Things such as minimizing clicks, for instance, can help to reduce user frustration. This can help with navigation and reduce the amount of time and effort it takes the average user to find information or get things done.

There’s also the DISC personality analysis as well, which should also be factored into your web design to help you design a better website for your audience (clients) based on their different personality traits. The DISC tool helps identify differences in personality by considering your audience (clients) as one of the four possible personality profiles.

Who’s your audience?

Dominance

Clients that fall into this audience class just want results and are straight to the point. They can be quite blunt and not shy to take on challenges.

Influence

This audience class prioritizes relationships and more likely to influence others. They’re quite enthusiastic and optimistic but hate to be ignored.

Calmness

Personality traits for this audience include being calm in their approach, being more supportive, sincere, and cooperative but hates being rushed.

Conscientiousness

This audience emphasizes quality and competency above all else. They’re not scared to be wrong, prefer getting full details and reasons objectively.

You’ll have to weigh up your audience with the DISC assessment tool to discover your audience’s viability and uniqueness as well as improve your chance of success by designing a website that best suits your target audience.

Overall, a great website design strategy should have user experience as one of its major objectives. Along with DISC analysis and clicks minimization, a user-centred website should consider;

  • Using graphic elements, proper layout, text, and interactive elements in synergy to create memorable experiences; and
  • Leveraging design creativity and consistency to achieve optimal clarity and simplicity to make the website easy to use.

Finally

It’s clear that while you need a business website, a poorly-designed website won’t cut it. Not only can this be a waste of time, but it could also ruin your company’s chances when it comes to brand perception, building credibility, generating leads, and maximizing conversion.

If you’re contemplating building a website that perfectly fits and promotes your brand identity, then the experts at Black Tusk Web will be more than happy to help.

Our teams of web designers, brand design experts, content writing professionals, and SEO gurus are the right mix you need to build websites that clients will find useful, usable, and desirable. The Black Tusk Web team uses an effective project management system that helps us streamline communication, level up the performance of our web design team that effectively takes the burden of website design off our clients.

Want to build a robust online presence?

The Black Tusk web design team will help you build a professional business website that’s not just an interface between your brand and its customers, but one that will help foster the kind of interactions and experiences needed to make your business and its products or services hugely successful.

Get Your Website Quote Now!

Key Differences Between UX and UI and Why They Matter for Effective Web Design

Key Differences Between UX and UI and Why They Matter for Effective Web Design

Understanding the fundamentals of design is key to making it work for the end-users.
The term ‘design’ on its own is as vague as it gets. It encompasses a variety of roles & elements with diverse processes & technicalities. Key among these is the UX (User Experience) & UI (User Interface).
While both of these different concepts have been continuously muddled & used interchangeably by certain designers. Understanding the theoretical differences along with how these roles & disciplines overlap will go a long way towards creative and effective web design.

.Design can be art, Design can be aesthetics.
Design is so simple; that’s why it’s so complicated.
– Paul Rand

Understanding the basics of UI and UX

UI refers to User Interface while UX refers to User Experience. Certainly, that will hardly produce the lightbulb moment you were expecting as far as understanding the basics & differences of these terms go. But both definitions could vary depending on the context as well as whom you ask.

Think of UI in a way similar to graphic design, in that it mostly has to do with visuals. The philosophy behind UX design, on the other hand, revolves around designing a user-centric for the best possible customer experience.
Let’s dig a little deeper;

UI in Website Design:

User Interface, UI design in website design would refer to the processes involved in designing the elements that users have to interact with when using a website. This means that every single element that makes your website interactive, from text boxes to buttons, scroll bars, sliders, & animations, etc would fall under the scope of UX design.

UI design skills, in essence, will help website designers determine the look & feel of your website.
These will include choosing the right colour palette, the shape of buttons, themes, font styles, & line strokes, along with other functional & aesthetic elements needed to create a website that resonates with your brand.

UX in Website Design:

UX, User Interface in website design is about making sure users experience the most possible comfort while they interact with your website. Furthermore, this has it do with making sure that the user interface is properly organized & that every element on the front-end of your website are in sync & fit seamlessly with one another.

The UX design process is iterative:

This process involves leveraging a variety of tools & resources to create wireframes & mockups, among other things, to get user feedback. This feedback is used to get a better view of user preferences & behaviour with the hope of improving or implementing new ways of interaction for optimum user experience.

UI vs UX: Correlation & Key Differences

Both UI & UX are undoubtedly related & can overlap in most cases.
But that does not make them the same as there are certain key differences between the two. A classroom setting, for example, is one of the simplest analogies that can paint a picture of the differences & correlation of both terms simplistically.

In a classroom, there will be desks, chairs, whiteboards, etc.
UI may equate in this instance to the type of materials used in producing the desks, whiteboard, flooring, the colour of the walls, etc.
You can think of UX as other processes such as;
.how the chairs & desks are arranged for comfortable sitting
,how the chairs & desks are positioned in rows so students & teachers can easily move around
.how the whole classroom setting would be done in a way that students seated at every point in the class can get a great view of the whiteboard or the teacher in front of the class, etc

ux and ui in website design

Key differences between UI & UX

User Interface (UI)

  1. Involves how user interaction is enabled in your website’s front-end design
  2. Involves how website users can use and interact with front-end elements to accomplish a task in real-time
  3. Has more to do with the user journey that links users to their goals
  4. Has more to do with helping people interact with the visual aspects of your website

User Experience (UX)

  1. Involves how & what extent to which user demands are carried out
  2. Involves how to deliver consistent positive experience when users access front-end functionalities on your website
  3. Has more to do with setting goals & targets
  4. Has more to do with the usability of your website

 

UI and UX are complimentary

Regardless of the differences, both of these concepts are complementary.
However, a proper understanding of how they differ & how they correlate can help designers deliver the best possible website designs for the best possible user experience. More reason why the saying that ‘UI without UX is like beauty without brains’ is quite popular.

While UI helps set the standards for your website’s look & feel, UX has more to do with giving users a feeling of ease & comfort while using your website. Both processes are co-dependent & equally important. UX without UI can make your website design appear incomplete or less effective. UI, without an equally pleasant UX, as well can make websites appear less useful to users.

Leveraging UI and UX for effective website design

There has to be a balance between both UX & UI elements for winning & successful website designs.

UI design skills will help you get the best of branding & visual appeal. Also ensuring that every detail from UX design is implemented perfectly. Proper UX design skills as well, will help designers ensure that user interactions & expectations are fulfilled with a great sense of ease, comfort, & familiarity.

Looking to build a website for your business in Squamish, Whistler, Vancouver, & beyond?
Our expert web developers at Black Tusk Web boast robust experience & expertise in both UI & UX design services. We’ll be more than happy to leverage our expertise to help you build websites that resonate with your brand, guarantees optimum functionality, & a consistent positive user experience.
Contact us today to get started!

The Psychology of Colour in Design

The Psychology of Colour in Design

The Psychology of Colour in Design

Colours speak different languages and evoke different emotions.

Years of studies & research have shown just how influential this design element can be to customer perceptions & decisions. And because it is inextricably linked to branding, proper understanding of the psychology of colour in design can prove vital in helping you make informed branding & design decisions. Similarly understanding how customers & potential customers may interact or relate with your brand & its products or services.

 

Quick facts about colour & design

  • Up to 93% of consumers report that visual perceptions may influence their purchasing judgments, according to ColourFast Printing.
  • Over 80% of consumers believe that while colour may increase brand recognition. It could also be the main reason they’ll end up buying or not buying a product.
  • Joe Hallock’s colour assignment report also revealed that gender differences may impact colour preferences. Blue is the most acceptable colour for both genders. Brown comes in the least preferred colour.

For brand recognition, colour choices can influence comprehension by as much as 73%, influence learning by up to 68% & impact reading by about 40%.

 

How different colours impact design

If you want to build a brand your audience can’t resist. your choice of colours must be based on the best options that will resonate most with your target audience. This should impact everything about your brand from logo design to product design, web design, etc.

 

So, how exactly do most people react to most colours?

  • Blue colours evoke the emotions of trust, safety, calm, & relaxation. Like the blue sky, this colour is often associated with friendliness & happiness both of which are a great way to initiate trust. Facebook, Ford, VISA, & Barclays understand the enormous power of blue & have woven this into their brand & design.
  • Black is associated with strength, power, & formality. It is not only the strongest colour on the colour spectrum, but it’s also one of the most desirable. Black fonts mostly used in typography since time immemorial. If you want to create an emotion of power, black is good & will be cool alongside most other colours. Nike, Apple, BBC, MTV are just a few of the brands that use this colour.
  • Green symbolizes nature & the natural world so it’s synonymous with trees, plants, & the environment. While it’s often the colour of choice for most agro-businesses & retailers of organic foods & beverages, financial-based businesses also use it to symbolize trust & safety as well. Companies like Tropicana, Whole Foods, & Spotify use green colour.
  • Red evokes feelings of urgency, attention, & a sense of importance. It could be used when trying to grab the audience’s attention or when giving warnings about a particular danger. Netflix, CNN, & Target are just a few of the many companies winning with this colour.
  • Pink is often seen as feminine but aside from being a girl’s colour. it can also evoke emotions of joy. LG, Lyft, T Mobile, & more have this as their primary brand colour.

 

Final notes

Colour plays a very important role as a core element of your brand & design. According to the Harvard Business Review, choosing the right colours can increase ease of comprehension. This, of course, is necessary when you’re trying to convey your brand message.

While we agree that colour is too dependent on personal experiences to be classified into specific classes of universal feelings & emotions. you’ll be better off choosing colours that will resonate better with your audience to give you an edge over the competition.

Choosing the right colours should take center stage in your web design strategies every other area of your branding efforts. Should you ever need a competent & experienced web design agency for your company in Squamish, Whistler, Vancouver, & beyond? Black Tusk Web’s web design experts will be more than happy to help you build websites that suit your brand & resonate with your audience.

Contact us today & get your free consultation!

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace: Battle of the Builders!

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace: Battle of the Builders!

You’ve decided you need to build an online presence for your company. Congrats!
It makes sense that you want to start with building a professional-looking website. You’ve realized just how much this can mean for your marketing as well as business sales & conversion. The only problem now is; your head is spinning with too many options & you just can’t decide which website builder to use. Should you stick to WordPress? Are you tempted to try what Squarespace or Wix might offer? We understand your dilemma & this guide on WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace has been compiled to help you make the best decision.

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace: Overview

These three are unarguably the biggest website builders out there.
All three have a lot of similarities as well as differences that account for their unique strengths & weaknesses. We’ll briefly touch the main points below;

*Let’s start with Squarespace;

Squarespace’s target audience is basically website builders without any coding skills.

The purpose of the platform is to make website building simple stupid such that anyone can build their own website without having to write a single letter of code. While this sounds great & truly quite great to an extent, the need for this level of simplicity has led to a ‘watered down’ & ‘walled garden’ approach to ensure the quality & functionality of Squarespace’s over 3.6 million websites.

*Then, there’s Wix also;

Another cloud-based website building platform for people who want to build websites without coding.

Wix holds 2.3% of the CMS market & powers 1.3% of all websites on the web. To begin with, you’ll want to use one or two of the main ways most people use to set up a Wix Website. Either you use the ‘Wix Editor’ mode where you pick a template & then add the content or you go the ‘Wix ADI’ mode route.

The ‘Wix ADI’ is the short form for Wix Artificial Design Intelligence.
This method builds your website with little to no input from you just by asking you a few questions & then using publicly-available information about your business. Both methods are aimed at people with no coding or web development skills. But there’s also a ‘Wix Corvid’ (this has nothing to do with COVID-19 lol!).

The Corvid mode offers the greatest functionality of all three methods but actually requires significant website coding skills.

*WordPress -the crowd favorite!

WordPress has got a tight grip on the website building niche of the digital industry.

This platform has the largest share (60.8%) of the CMS market, powering about 34% of all the websites in the world, including some of the biggest brands & corporations. While WordPress has two main forms, a hosted version, & another self-hosted version, the latter will be our reference for our comparison.

WordPress; much like Wix & Squarespace is aimed at users with little to no coding skills.

But unlike the others, it also allows room for users to make extensive customizations for more functionalities than either Wix or Squarespace. The WordPress platform can be used to build websites of all types from creating blogs to building ecommerce websites, portfolio websites, professional business websites, etc. There are also tons of plugins to help improve functionality, as well.

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace: Who wins?

WordPress will come out on top in this battle of WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace.

There are currently more than 55,000 plugins in the WordPress directory with loads of features & benefits for WordPress websites. These serve a wide range of purposes from Search Engine Optimization to security & more.

While you may be tempted to take on the WordPress website building process. it would most likely require a bit or in some cases, extensive knowledge of web development. Even in cases where this demand might be minimal, it could take you like forever to get a grip on how to piece the most basic parts together.

You’ll have to decide whether all of this time & commitment are really worth it for you though.

But in most cases, you’ll be better off hiring a professional website designer to handle the process, regardless of whether you eventually go for WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace.

Need to design highly-converting websites for your business?

You can leverage our expertise & experience at the Black Tusk Web to help you build a website that’s fitting for your brand. Contact us to get started today?
We’ll be more than happy to help