Close

website

7 Great Uses for the Skizzar Slider Widget

Here at Skizzar we’re a big fan of making it as easy as possible to implement the most current design trends into your website, and with as little effort as possible! So, with that in mind, we want to talk about one of our most useful (and our personal favourite) elements – the slider widget – and how you can use it to bring your site to life!

Sliders have been around for years! They are a great way of displaying eye-catching information and grabbing the attention of your users from the minute they view your site, so it’s worth knowing your way around this widget and learning how you can get the most out of it. So without further ado, here are our top 7 best uses for the Skizzar Slider widget.

Traditional Slider

Well, it makes sense to start with what the slider is best at…sliding. With the Skizzar slider widget you can set a background image/colour, featured image (which you can align top, left, right or bottom) and Heading/excerpt text. When you combine this with the power of being able to add in an unlimited amount of slides – you actually have a very powerful tool in your hands.

It means you can easily create a layout like this:

customise-demo-site-this-is-your-site-tagline

This is a slide with a background colour of #8b8cc9, featured image (the phones) aligned left, layout style is full page and auto slide set to 4 seconds.

Have a play with the layout options and display options to get the slider to sit in your site as you want it to. It’s a great and visual way to show off what your site is about for all those visitors who are only planning on hanging around for a few seconds!

The Hero Header

The trend known as hero images may be summarised simply as large attractive headers. You will have seen them, a big background iamge that generally relates to the content of the site, with some bold text over the top, something like this:

julian_chambers_drummer_slider_example

http://julianldcmusic.co.uk/

To make a slider like this on your own site, start by adding a slider widget to your page.

The slider widget has 3 layout options; Boxed, Full Width and Full Screen. We suggest using either Full Width or Full Screen for your hero header.

Add you text to the slider and then select a background image to add to it. We recommend a minimum width of 1900px for your background image to ensure that it fills the whole page. You may also want to check the following options:

  • Stretch (this will stretch the image to fill all screen sizes)
  • Darken (This will slightly darken the image and allow text on top to stand out better)
  • Parallax (This adds a parallax, 3D scrolling effect to your image…it’s dead cool)

These options can be found on the individual slide background settings as shown in the image below:

skizzar website builder tips for the slider widget 1

Landing Page

A landing page is the first page of your website which some people like to make look as striking as possible and then add an enter button to take them to the main body of the site.

A slider is a great way of creating a landing page for your website because of the full page layout option.

To build a landing page,
Add a slider to a blank page with the layout setting set to full page. Delete all the slides except for one, and on the remaining slide change the background colour or add an image (Note, if you are using a background image, play around with some of the bg image settings such as stretch and darken to make it fit properly on your site). If you have a logo or an image you want to use it’s a good idea to add this as a featured image – you can also set where the image is aligned on the slide. Add some text and a button to the main page of your site and you’re done.

To set this page as the front page of your website, go to Site Settings > Static Front Page on the main menu in the customizer and pick your landing page.

Lastly, we’ll want to get rid of the footer on this page only – this is a little bit fiddly, but hover over the Skizzar icon in the customizer and click on DevKit – the DevKit allows you to insert custom code to your site – it’s a very useful tool if you have a few coding chops. Add this code into the DevKit

.home #footer.footer-site { display:none !important }

This will remove the footer on the homepage (which, if you followed the previous step, should be your landing page) and no other page.

Page Header

So it’s common practice to put some sort of fancy big header on your home page (like a hero header), but what about all your other pages. Personally, I think it’s overkill to have a full page slider on every page. But, having said that, it is nice to have something at the top of each page instead of jumping straight in with text. So why not have a slider with your page title on it, something like this:

services-fazane-fox-apparel-production-developemt-copy

http://www.fazanefoxapparelproduction.co.uk/

This is a simple way of making your site attractive and letting your users know what page they are on (and what it’s about) without them having to do much work to find that information out themselves! This slider is set to Full Width  in the layout options, a striking background image which is stretched to fit the whole screen, darkened slightly and with a parallax effect added to give the site a little extra pizazz!

Side Note: Personally, I think a website will live or die based on it’s images – get good images and it will lead to good business. If you don’t have high quality images to hand, you might want to consider using stock images (royalty free images). Here at Skizzar we hold several premium stock imagery accounts, but we also love using this free service: http://unsplash.com – give them a look over if you are after some great and free images for your website.

Testimonial Slider

Testimonials are an incredibly effective way of letting your users know that you are real, you do a great job and that people are using your business. However, a page full of testimonials is off putting for a visitor – infact, I can honestly say I’ve never visited the testimonials page on any site.

So, say hello to the testimonial slider – a great way of displaying several testimonials in one place without it coming across as a long, boring list of quotes.

Here’s an example we like:

http://thedistractionsband.co.uk

thedistractionsband.co.uk

 

Set your testimonial slider to either Full Width or Boxed layout (boxed means it won’t take up the full width of the page), make sure the slides are set to autoplay in the slider settings and show the slider arrows and dots so users can scroll through them at their own pace.

There are plenty of things we could say about the content for your testimonial slider, but here are some quick tips:

  • Make the testimonials real…from real people! You might think no one can tell – but I like to think they can
  • Add a picture – it shows they’re real, from real people…and makes it look better visually
  • Don’t make them too short, don’t make them too long. Something like “Great service” is a rubbish testimonial – but then a long winded one with every last detail is too intense. Aim for around 300 – 350 characters
  • Use testimonials that talk specifically about what was good about the service you provided – this will let your visitors know exactly what to expect from you, and again, it comes across more real!

Page Separator

If you have a lot of content going on one page, or, if you’re going for a single page site, you might want to consider breaking it up a little bit. Using a slider as a visual separator is a great way to do this, here’s an example of what this design technique can look like:

http://qualityoverseasmusic.com/

http://qualityoverseasmusic.com/

 

Set your slider to Full Width in the layout options, add a great background image (we like to check the parallax option too as it looks great when scrolling past it!), you may also like to use the stretch and darken options to make your background image fill the whole width of the site and to make your text on top stand out better.

Add a header and some excerpt text (and maybe a button) and you’ve got yourself a kick ass separator on your site.

Video Background

Last but not least, video backgrounds. We LOVE this feature! If you have a great video for your business, then you should totally add it as a background to a full page slider, it’s by far one of the most eye-catching design techniques you can use for your site.

The Skizzar slider widget allows you to embed videos from youtube or vimeo as a background, or to upload your own mp4 video. Here’s how to do it.

  • Add a slider to your page and set the layout to Full Page
  • Delete all the additional slides except for the first one (you’ll only need one slide for this)
  • Click on the background settings for that slide and select the source for your video from the dropdown (Self hosted, Youtube or Vimeo)
  • Add in the link or upload your video (self hosted only)
  • Done!

There are, however, a few things to consider before you go crazy and add videos everywhere:

  1. Videos will autoplay as soon as your site loads. This has the advantage of meaning your users don’t have to action anything, they are just greeted with it. The downsides are that it will play out sound, and a lot of visitors will be put off by this – so we advise making a separate video just for your site (which you can set to private if you are using youtube/vimeo) and using that.
  2. Videos are BIG files – so if you are planning on self hosting, make sure it’s not going to use all of some poor guy’s data if they view your site on their mobile
  3. Speaking of mobiles, video backgrounds won’t play on all devices (thanks to the loving relationship between apple and adobe), so instead it will default to displaying the video thumbnail, so make sure your video has a relevant and high quality thumbnail set in the youtube/vimeo video settings.

We love video backgrounds so have worked hard to make sure that they look great on all screens – so why not give it a try on your site and see how it looks.

That’s all from us this week – we can’t wait to see how you start using sliders on your site to bring it to life! Drop us a message or a support request if you need help with any of the slider features, or visit our help site at http://help.skizzar.com

 

Here at Skizzar we’re a big fan of making it as easy as possible to implement the most current design trends into your website, and with as little effort as possible! So, with that in mind, we want to talk about one of our most useful (and our personal favourite) […]

Read More

Practical SEO tips to make your website rank higher on Google

Skizzar website builder for creative individuals and businesses, how to improve your website search engine ranking

Here at Skizzar we get asked 2 questions all the time:

  1. Can you build me a great looking website?
    …that one’s easy! Yes, yes we can
  2. Now you’ve built me a great looking website can you put it on the first page of google.
    …that one isn’t actually so easy…

…In actual fact, it’s not even possible to just put one’s website onto the first page of Google – if it were that easy everyone would be doing it! Instead, Google (and other search engines, but we’ll focus on Google today as they really have the Lion’s share of search traffic) have very very clever algorithms to determine what your website is about and how popular it is…and it’s important to play by their rules if you want to improve how highly you rank.

So, without further ado, welcome to the intricate world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – it’s a world full of ideas, opinions, tips and theories about how to get a “higher score” on Google. There are an insane amount of online resources available with stacks of information about how to improve your website’s SEO, there are also a lot of companies who will take your money…and sometimes they charge a fair whack too, and claim that they will improve your search engine rank (and we’re not saying that they won’t help) but here at Skizzar we like to live by a simple philosophy when it comes to SEO – Do everything that you can do on your website first to give it the best chance of ranking highly, and then, if you still need to improve, start looking for outside help.

So what can you do to improve your website’s SEO and rank higher? Well, here are our top tips for you to get started with.


1. Think of some keywords or phrases for your site

The first step towards better SEO is having a list of “keywords” (also known as Search Terms). These are words or phrases that you would expect someone to type into a search engine and find your site. For example, if you are a company who offers wine tasting courses, your keywords might be something like this:

Wine Tasting Courses
UK Wine Tasting
Wine Course
Red Wine
Vintage Wines

It’s good to try to have around 5 or 6 words or phrases, and they should vary in their competitiveness – for example, if you were to search “Red Wine” the chance of you ranking #1 on Google are quite low to begin with as this is a competitive term, however, something like “Wine Tasting Courses” or “UK Wine Tasting” are less competitive and you stand more chance of ranking highly. As a rule of thumb, keywords or phrases that are 3 or more words long and/or contain a place name will be less competitive.

2. Use your keywords! Here are some top tips on how to use keywords in your content to boost your search engine ranking.

Now you have decided your keywords, you need to make sure they feature in the content of your site. But be clever about it, don’t just throw them in willy nilly, there are some specific things that Google likes to see.

Headings
You should aim to include your most important keywords/search terms as headings on your website. Headings are defined with the h1 to h6 tags (you can select these in the text settings on any Skizzar widget).h1 defines the most important heading while h6 defines the least important heading. You should try to make sure there is at least one instance of a h1 heading on your page containing your most important search term(s) within it.

Internal links
Internal Links are hyperlinks that point to other pages on your site. Google will look at the content of these links and make an assumption of what that page is about. A classic mistake here is that a lot of websites will have the text click here as a link to another page – however, that tells google that the destination page is about click here. Instead, try something like Click here to book a wine tasting – straight away, Google will know that the destination page is where people should go to book a wine tasting.With Skizzar it is easy to add links to your content. Simply, highlight the content and click on the link icon – add the destination URL or page name and click insert. Here’s one of our tutorial videos showing you how to do it.

Keyword density
Keyword density is the percentage of times one of your search term appears on your site compared to the total number of words on the page. It’s good practice to have your search terms repeated but we wouldn’t recommend more than 3 repeats per page – otherwise you might be accused of trying to cheat the system which could have a negative impact. Avoid stuffing keywords everywhere just for the sake of it and keep text meaningful and readable. As a rule, write your content for your visitors first and then dash a few keywords in to keep the search engines happy.

Image alt tags
Search engines can’t read images when they look at your website, so instead images are given something known as alt tags – these are descriptions for your images that can’t be seen by your visitors but they tell google what the image is about.It’s so easy to add keywords to your image alt tags that there is no reason why you shouldn’t do it as it’s essentially an extra search engine boost with very little effort.

If you are a Skizzar user, navigate to your dashboard and click on Media > Library. Now click on an image and you will see the details for it. On the right, you will see where you can add alt tags to your images.

skizzar-website-builder-how-to-improve-your-website-seo-image-alt-tags

3. Optimise your images

When you build your website, you should have load time in mind – you don’t want your visitors to be waiting around for ages for the page to load…because they won’t bother waiting!!

We find a lot of our clients a little confused about whether a file is big or not, so think of file size in terms of how much mobile data you get. For example, if you have a video you want to add to your site that is 500MB in size, consider that someone with only 1GB of mobile data will end up using half of their data loading your web page! So you can see why it is important to be mindful of how big the resources are you stick on your site. Not only this, but google also favours fast loading sites so it’s definitely worth considering.

If you need to resize your images, here is what we suggest:

  • For full screen images make your image 1900px wide
  • All other images make then 1000px wide
  • You can compress your images by up to 70% and they will still look good for web
  • Try and aim for a file size less than 300kb

If you’re struggling to get the file size down, then we recommend the site http://tinypng.org – they are great at reducing the size of both .png and .jpg files.

4. Get yourself some back-links

“Back-links” is a bit of a jargon phrase isn’t it! But it’s simple, it just means a link that points to your site (but you don’t point back to it). This concept is great because it shows google whose site is more popular than whose. For example, if you link to your auntie’s website about gardening, but she doesn’t link back to your site, then that will tell google that her site is more popular than yours.

Essentially, google looks at the amount of people who are linking to you, and if it’s a lot (and you’re not linking back) then it means that people are talking about you – which is a good thing.

So how can you get back-links? Well, you need to be a bit creative. Depending on your industry, get people to give a shout out to you on their social profiles, or on their blogs or better yet, on their website – if you’re feeling brave, get them to write a quick tagline with your keywords in and turn that into a link towards your website (e.g. Aunty Gail gives great gardening tips).

This is a really important SEO concept and really demonstrates the popularity of your business to google, so it’s worth thinking about how you can encourage people to link to your site.

5. Be active on social media

This point ties in quite neatly with our last blog post on how to drive traffic to your website. These days, being part of an online social community is key for getting traffic to your site, and, the more traffic you have, the better your site ranks. The key to this is to be well-balanced and to be consistent. For example, let’s say you have a twitter account, and you’ve added a link to your website on it – well done you. However, if you only tweet once a year and only have 5 followers, you don’t look like the most popular, active business on the internet. We’re not saying that you need to give up your job and spend your entire life on social media, but you do need to commit some time to building up your social profile.

We would suggest a new status update at least once a day, show your audience that you exist and are an active business. Reply to comments, comment on other people’s posts and upload media – all of these things are going to help drive traffic to your site and give you a well-rounded online presence.

To some, the whole social media thing may seem like a bit of an effort, however, you need to play the game right if you want to rank highly and these days, regardless of your thoughts on social media, it is undeniable that it plays a massive role in how big your online presence is.

…the bottom line is this – be sociable and people will come to your website!


So that’s our top tips on how to increase your website’s search engine optimisation. As with anything, it takes time and effort, but once you gain a bit of momentum with it you will see great results.

What we always find useful is to draw up an SEO plan – start by writing out your keywords and then give yourself a daily goal – it might be to add to your website content or to compress your images and add alt tags, or to write a new status update on Facebook – if you have an action plan then you will see progress by sticking to it.

We’ve got plenty more advise to come on marketing your site to get the most out of it so stay tuned!!

 

Here at Skizzar we get asked 2 questions all the time: Can you build me a great looking website? …that one’s easy! Yes, yes we can Now you’ve built me a great looking website can you put it on the first page of google. …that one isn’t actually so easy… …In actual […]

Read More

So you have a great website…now what? Our top tips to help you drive traffic to your site

Skizzar website builder - how to drive traffic to your website and increase your onsite SEO

So you have a great looking, brand spanking, shiny new website! That’s so awesome! *does a dance*.

If you’re like the rest of us though, just because your website is “on”, you’re probably not going to have people flocking to it in their thousands. In fact, when we first launched Skizzar, we were lucky if we had more than 5 visitors in a week, why? Because having a website is like having a business card – it’s useless if you don’t give it to anyone!

So, whether you’ve had your site for years, or whether you’ve got yourself a brand new Skizzar website, we thought we’d share with you some of the tricks of the trade that have worked for us and seen us grow to over 7000 visitors per week in just over 18 months.


Tell people about your website

OK, this sounds really really obvious. But if you don’t tell people, they won’t know your site is even there. So tell as many people as you can, especially while it is still fresh, because it’s easy for people to get excited about it. So here are some good ways to let people know you’re here and you’ve got an ace website:

  • Put it out on your socials. Ask people for their comments, get people to share it or to tell you what their favourite part of your site is.
  • Put it out on your socials again! Yep, don’t be polite – this is your super awesome new website, and you don’t want people to miss it. Write a post like this “just incase you missed it, here is our amazing new website…”. Do this a few days in a row, then give it a few days and do it again…really milk it, but don’t spam people, because you’ll start to annoy them.
  • Add your website link to your existing online content. Chances are, you have some pictures up on facebook, or maybe videos on youtube, or perhaps even some images on pinterest, or maybe you have a linkedin profile or a google plus account…well, make sure your web address is on all of these – literally, if you can write somewhere then write your web address.
  • Get creative! Depending on what your business is will depend on how you go about being creative, but whenever you do a job, or have a meeting, make sure that person has a link to your site.
  • Get other people to talk about your site. This is the most powerful tip, if someone else is chatting about your site, then it’s speaks far louder than if you are talking about it yourself. So if you offer a service, and you do a good job…or maybe even a job for free, ask someone to write a review about you (on their social networks) AND LINK TO YOUR SITE. Never under estimate the value of someone else talking about you!

Start a blog (or a news section)

Google LOVES new content…so that’s reason enough to have a blog or news section on your site. But more than that, if you publish a post, you can go back to step 1 and give people a good reason to visit or, hopefully, revisit your site.

The key to a good blog is regularity, with regular posting comes regular visitors, so set a day that you will commit to posting and stick to it! It’s sometimes helpful to schedule posts, this way you can write up several ahead of time so you have a headstart and then publish them (or set them to automatically publish) when the day comes around.

Here’s a short video over on our help site on how to add a blog to your Skizzar website if you haven’t already done it.

Put interesting content on your website that people will only find on there

Here is a pretty simple truth for you: If all you have on your site is content that people can find elsewhere, then why would they come to your site?

Ok, perhaps it’s nice to have all of your information collated in one place, however, it’s also good to try and think about something you can add to your site that visitors will only find there. For example, add a video that can only be seen on your site (for example, you can set a youtube or vimeo video to private and still use the link to embed it on your site), or add a track that people can only find by going to your website, or a promotional code, or even just simple testimonials, essentially you’re giving reason for people to come to your site to see something they can’t find elsewhere.

Use Multimedia / Multi-socials

If you’re anything like me, large chunks of text are not really appealing – I like pictures, moving pictures (also known as videos) and basically anything that is mildly interactive. I’m sure i’m not alone…right guys?? guys??

Anyway, there are some great platforms out there which you can use as an alternative to just writing a status about your site. Now is a really good time to jump on the following ways of promoting your site:

  • Instagram stories (or just instagram)
  • Snapchat
  • Youtube streaming
  • Facebook live

All of these are great tools you could utilise to promote your new site and your business in general. My advise, as ever, is to be creative, but also to make sure what you produce is a good quality – it’s worth getting a decent camera for your snaps, making sure the lighting is right for your vids and making sure you have good sound for your live streams – the difference will really make your business stand out against your competitors and drive a good flow of traffic to your site.

Check your on-site SEO and make targeted changes to your content

Right, lets get serious for a minute and talk about everybody’s favourite internet buzz word…SEO. You could spend the rest of your days reading up on SEO tips and tricks, but here is what it comes down to – if your site content is relevant to what you do, and the site is popular and it’s accessible then you will rank highly.

Now, the popularity you can take care of by telling people about it (see my other points), and if you have a Skizzar website then we have taken care of the accessibility by making all Skizzar sites mobile friendly, fast loading and clean coded. So really it is up to you to make sure that the content (that is, text) on your site, is well written and relevant to you and your business.

Here is our tip for content writing. Think of some keywords for you and your business – keywords are words you’d like someone to type into a search engine in order to find your site. Then try and get these keywords in the text on your site. For example, let’s say you are a mechanic called Geoff and you have a website for your garage (called Geoff’s Garage), you may choose keywords like car repairs, car servicing and trusted mechanic. In which case, a sentence like this would be great to have on your site:

“Geoff is a trusted mechanic specialising in car repairs and car servicing”

Try and saturate your website with these keywords…but don’t go overboard, too much and google will think you are trying to cheat the system. Be natural, but make sure your text is focussed and well thought out.

Tell more people…again

By this point you should already have a good flow of people coming to your site – so why not go back to step number one, and tell people to go and take a look at your site. Recycle old blog posts, or videos/pics/statuses that you may have already published – not all marketing content needs to be new content. Take a look at statistics – which statuses have the most likes? Which videos had the most shares? Put them out there again and forget about the ones that didn’t do so well. Be clever by looking at stats and you will save yourself wasting valuable time and effort on campaigns that don’t work for you.

Use ads (they’re not as expensive as you think!)

Ads can be a bit of a daunting topic – but they’re really not that hard. These days, facebook and google have made it really easy, and also really affordable to advertise your content.

Through facebook, you can easily make a previous post into a sponsored post, where you set a weekly budget for yourself, pick a target audience and choose how long you want your ad to run for. My advice on this would be, find a status that has generated a good amount of interest and stick a fiver on it to turn it into an advert for a week – see how it does for your business, if it works, maybe up your amount to £10 the next week. It’s a great way of reaching people outside of your immediate sphere of friends.

Google ads is a slightly different ball game. People will stick google ads on their website, and google will push the adverts that suit the demographic of that website – it’s very clever. Google then pays the website owner per click, giving them an incentive to advertise for you. Similarly to facebook ads, you can set the amount you wish to pay, how long for and also pick your target audience.

In my opinion, I think I prefer facebook ads, but that is by no means a fact. Both provide really great insights so you can see who is clicking, from where and what time, so it’s worth trying both out and seeing which works best for your business. Start small, and then invest in the approach that works for you.

Be social – don’t just post, chat!

Lastly, socialise! Don’t just talk at people, engage with your audience. When they say something good about you, say thanks – say something good about them too! If one of your visitors posts something on their site, share it for them – they will most likely return the favour at a later date.

Join in with conversations about your business, it’s really important that you don’t just use social networks to shout about yourself, your aim should always be to get people shouting about you! So make friends, commit to socialising and do it regularly.

Pick your times

Think about this. You have a great blog to put out there, or you’ve taken the time to shoot an amazing 30 second clip to upload to Instagram. You’ve stayed up all evening working on it, it’s now 1.30 am on a Sunday night…before you post it, think – what will most people be doing right now? Well, since the average person will be up at 7am to get ready for work, most people are probably sleeping – so posting it now will just be a waste of your efforts.

So be mindful of when you post. Good times to post are:
– 8.30am/5.30pm – you’ll catch the commuters on their phones on the train/bus/tube.
– 1pm will generally catch people on a lunch break
– Wednesday evenings are particularly good (at least that’s what we’ve found) as you get that mid-week lull where people want a bit of an inspiring “pick-me-up”…so they naturally turn to their phones for comfort
– Late mornings on a Saturday/Sunday are always good too as you’ll catch the late risers getting a weekend lie-in


So let’s conclude! With these steps, you will sure to see a great flow of traffic to your website. But the key to it all is this – COMMIT, COMMIT, COMMIT! It’s no good just cramming it all in one night, your results will last only a couple of days. If you want a consistent flow of traffic then you yourself need to be consistent, so set aside 20-30 mins a day and do something on your socials, publish a video or write a blog post, it sounds like a lot of effort, but we’ve found that it snowballs, but, as we’ve just said, it takes commitment, patience, and a bit of trial and error.

So go, bring the masses to your site! Tell the world about how great your business is and let us take care of the behind the scenes technical stuff that people with boring, non-Skizzar websites have to think about!

Let us know what works for you, and good luck!

So you have a great looking, brand spanking, shiny new website! That’s so awesome! *does a dance*. If you’re like the rest of us though, just because your website is “on”, you’re probably not going to have people flocking to it in their thousands. In fact, when we first launched Skizzar, we […]

Read More