5 Ways to Streamline App Development

The app market is booming. The building, deploying, and marketing of your app is a great investment — if you have the right tools and if after that, you promote your app on social media. For example, there are companies such as Growthoid.com user ratings that can help you increase the number of your social media followers. Thus, more and more people will find out about your recently launched app. 

Streamlining the app development process is about approaching the process with an open mind and a lot of research. 

Too many app developers today face structural and organizational challenges that prevent them from creating their best work. 

Here are five ways to streamline your app development processes:

1. Use agile principles

Building software can be quite a daunting endeavor. It’s important to have some of Agile’s best guiding principles to help you cut costs and improve your team’s effectiveness.

Additionally, getting the most out of your developers is much simpler with the agile method where constant communication and cooperation guarantees that everyone gets involved. The platform you choose to use will also greatly affect the app’s performance. 

Some important agile principles are:

  • Product-based progress 
  • Simplicity is paramount
  • The customer always comes first
  • Improvements are made each cycle (cyclical design vs waterfall or cascading design)

2. Choose a feature-loaded platform

There are several platforms like Ionic and BuildFire that make creating apps a simple process and take out a lot of the menial coding that would simply slow down development. 

Larger teams may be more willing to create from scratch but even though it is not recommended due to these services making life so much easier. 

Try platforms like:

  • Ionic
  • BuildFire
  • BuildBox
  • Android Studio
  • Xcode

3. Leverage UX consultancy

UX consultants are indispensable assets for any app development team as they can accurately assess the experience of the app as a whole. Unfortunately, there are many great ideas hidden behind a gauntlet of bad taste and poor execution. 

Avoiding these pitfalls is as simple as consulting with a UX professional who will give you the tips you need to make your app a truly enjoyable experience. 

UX consultants can help awesome mobile developers get:

  • Better screens
  • Optimized ease of use
  • Effective test cases

4. Tweak based on user feedback

Even though it may feel like an uncomfortable endeavor you should always be open to feedback and ask for it as much as possible. Feedback Is the only way companies know if they have developed a star or a dud. 

That is why it is so integral that you test your product’s vision and design before committing to a final product. 

App development teams that are open to tweaking will almost always find success because they will always be seeking improvement. 

Update your app continuously instead of holding on to an app shy of perfection:

5. Automate testing

Developers should also use their fair share of automation tools to get the job done in a great time and with incredible precision. Developers can use automated applications that will accurately assess the responsiveness of the app while testing their technical features. 

App developers now can test on-demand allowing for a constant cycle of testing and improving that will result in a perfect product and a highly skilled development team, which will help a business thrive. 

Developers can also use automation for some app-related technologies like marketing and organizing to make the entire experience less stressful without being less fulfilling.

One of the first things to pinpoint for improving the process is the management style of the app development team. If on small teams of developers the agile method works wonderfully as it helps developers feel connected and heard without the draconian overhead of constant management. 

Agile is much more focused on making the product the best that it can be for the client or market without sacrificing developers or losing ideas. 

Many app development teams will begin to steamroll ahead without much thought often leaving behind a slew of ideas that may have improved the product immensely. Using the agile method will also allow the product to flourish naturally as its development should respond to certain market changes or client demands. 

Applications are built on ideas and services that could genuinely help someone and no amount of tedium should stand in the way of a great idea. 

6 Key Components of an Effective B2M Website

A business to many (B2M) website must serve multiple functions and reach two distinct audience types. Juggling the different users and meeting their needs isn’t easy, but it can be done quite effectively with a little forethought and tweaking.

According to Internet Live Stats, there are 1.87 billion websites in the world. While they aren’t all active at the same time, and some simply park on top of other domains, you’re still competing for customer attention with a ton of other pages. Spending a little time on site renovations will pay off with more sales.

However, what works for one business model may not work for the next. The needs of your buyer personas are unique to your industry and perhaps even your company. How can you ensure your B2M website is effective for your users?

1. Find Common Elements

What are some of the needs and values your business and consumer customers share? Perhaps they both like quality products that stand the test of time. Maybe they have a need for speed. Perhaps you solve a similar pain point for both, but on different scales? Look for the similarities and showcase them on the main pages of your site. Think about the values all your customers care about.

When you land on the Chase.com website, you’ll see an option for personal or business options. As you browse through different offers, such as checking or savings, you’ll see a comparison of different types of banking accounts. Since many B2B clients might also want a personal account, shifting back and forth between the options is a matter of clicking a tab at the top of the page.

2. Segment Your Audience

How well does your navigation work to get your users to the section related to their needs? When serving both consumers and other businesses, it requires a smart and streamlined navigation to get the user from Point A to Point B without any detours.

Consider separating your site into two parts or more. When people land on your home page, do you direct them to the next step or do they feel lost? If you aren’t sure, hire some testers to go through your site and point out any weaknesses.

3. Choose Relevant Images

Be cautious not to focus on photos of only one type of work you do. If you serve consumers and businesses, your images should reflect how you help both. If you direct someone to a page specifically for companies, you would focus on pictures to relate your ability. However, if the page serves both B2C and B2B, you must mix things up.

Note how ADCO Garage Doors highlight images of modern homes, traditional homes and commercial spaces. By varying the photographs, they show they’re capable of a wide range of styles and options. The landing page speaks both to homeowners and business owners.

4. Check Your Headlines

The first impression a user has of your site is often via the headings. When they do a search, they’ll see your heading in the SERPs. They’ll also see it when they click and land on your page.

Do your headlines effectively pull in both consumers and businesses? How can you tweak them to make them work better for all your buyer personas? If you separate your site into pages for both B2C and B2B, then you should have varied headlines for each.

5. Revamp Your CTAs

Does your CTA make sense for both segments of your buying audience? If not, either separate out the landing pages further or tweak your CTAs. Run the words, color, placement and size of button through the filer of your buyer personas.

You may need to adjust the language or colors to better meet the psychographic profile of each customer type. Don’t be afraid to segment your pages even more if it means you can create a more personalized experience for your users.

Lamps Plus serves both commercial spaces and homes. Rather than trying to come up with separate CTAs for the landing page, they create a bright box to highlight a current sale and invite all users to “Shop Sale.”

Business owners and consumers want to save money on shipping and costs, so the CTA works for all segments of their audience. They get a bit more specific on product pages, depending on the offer.

6. Study Heat Maps and Traffic Patterns

What do users do when they actually land on your page? You can track the journey of a business owner as they stop by your home page, click on the business section and move through your site. Where do they linger? Is there a point where the majority bounce away? What can you improve?

Once you know where users linger and convert into customers, it’s easier to repeat those elements and delete clutter that isn’t serving your needs.

Experiment and Test

Every effective B2M website has some of the components above, but what works best for your site is dependent on your individual customers. Try different tactics and test each one via A/B or multivariate testing to see what performs for your business.

Try different colors, segments, language and images. Offer incentives to entice people to sign up for your mailing list. Experiment and see what works best. Once you have an idea, it’s much easier to repeat those efforts and grow your business into a B2M powerhouse.

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

How to Design a User-Focused Hero Image

A hero image should grab the attention of site visitors instantly. However, it’s easy to get so caught up in using beautiful images and grabbing attention you forget to make sure the photos are user-focused. Each hero shot should serve a specific purpose and meet customers’ needs.

According to Netcraft, the number of websites is constantly in flux. The billions of domain names don’t truly reflect how many live websites there are at any given moment. For example, the internet gained 6.28 million sites in May 2021, but also lost 4.87 million domains.

If you want to be certain your hero image hits on all the points needed for a potential customer landing on your website, follow the tips below to ensure you’re selecting the right layout and options for your users.

1. Show the Product

One of the top ways to focus on users is by using your hero image to highlight the product site visitors want to see. If you’re an e-commerce store, you’ll need to choose a category or share new arrivals.

On the other hand, if you sell a service, you can show the product in action or offer a before and after side-by-side. Think about what you’d most want to see if you were the customer. Put yourself in the user’s shoes.

Ditto Residential is a real estate firm with a focus on revamping and creating healthy, beautiful spaces. To show some of what they offer, they use a hero shot of one of their luxury living spaces. The photo helps people see their overall design concept and get a feel for the light airy look to their style.

Another advantage to the placement of their hero image is they can swap out the look for one of their other properties. If they notice a sudden uptick in consumers looking for larger homes, they might highlight an airy space, for example.

2. Choose Stellar Typography

Your hero image should capture the user’s imagination, but you also need to think through the headlines and other details on your page. To enhance the user experience (UX), choose a color and font size that stands out from the background.

Choose the hero image that allows your text to show up. You may want to overlay a solid transparent color over the entire photograph or choose a different picture with some darker or lighter areas where text will pop.

3. Gain User Trust

Your hero image can go a long way toward showing you’re knowledgeable and trustworthy. Choose an image if your technicians in the field or some other expert insight no one else provides. When people think about your product or service, you want to be seen as the go-to authority.

D.E. Gemmill chose an image of their traffic control marking experts hard at work. The employees look capable and the photo also highlights the brand’s equipment. The truck moves off to the left of the screen, creating a sense of motion and work ethic.

4. Choose High Quality Images

You may know the exact photograph you’d like to use, but when you blow it up to full screen width, it’s a bit fuzzy. Always choose sharp, high-quality photos over anything else. You may need to reshoot the photo in a higher resolution, or go with a completely different selection.

At the same time, you must optimize pictures so your site loads as quickly as possible. Use a high resolution, but compress the image. Test your pages load times to ensure your speed is up to par.

5. Add a Video

A still shot grabs interest, but a video hero image tells an entire story. You can share moments of action, inspire users with what they might gain from a product and set a unique tone for your site.

As with any image you choose, make sure the footage is relevant to your industry and your business in particular. Ideally, you’ll hire a videographer to shoot and edit a clip to use in the background of your website’s header.

Ag America offers lending to farmers. They take a moment to highlight some of the hard work farmers do in a day, showing tractors, a farmer walking the field and a close look at crops. Their target audience will see they understand the business at hand and be much more likely to trust the company with their business.

6. Remember the CTA

Your call to action button (CTA) must stand out against the hero image. You can choose the most interesting photograph in the world but if you don’t ask users to take the next step, you risk losing them to the competition.

First, your CTA button should be a color varying from the rest of your color palette. Many companies use a vivid orange, red, blue or green for their CTAs. Second, you should tweak the size, position and language on your button to see what performs best with your target audience.

Test and Retest

Try different images, headlines and CTAs on your website. Conduct split testing to see what performs best with your audience. Even a change of the wording on your CTA can make a difference in your conversion rates.

Try different options and test after each change. Over time, you’ll find the perfect selection for your users. If you want your site visitors to respond with action, you must tweak every tiny aspect of your page, starting with your hero image and moving on to what sits atop it.

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

8 SEO Marketing Trends in 2020 That Entrepreneurs Should Know About

Every entrepreneur should already be familiar with the concept of SEO. Optimizing websites for search crawlers has become a crucial part of marketing for businesses both online and offline. It’s especially important if much of your business is done through online channels. Marketing trends are constantly evolving and it can be difficult for entrepreneurs to keep up with all the different SEO strategies being applied to modern business websites. To get a good idea of what you need to check out to prepare for next year, here are a couple of the most important trends coming up.

Quality over quantity

Ask any SEO expert and they’ll tell you that content is the single most important thing for your marketing strategy. When it comes to what that content should look like, opinions are divided. Some will advocate for spreading your content far and wide across many different websites and blogs. This strategy isn’t without its benefits. You’re able to reach a large number of websites and create a ton of useful links for your own.

On the other hand, this strategy also dilutes the quality of your content. Search engines are adapting to an increased amount of content and they’re curating it by quality. You need to show users that your content is top tier so that they’ll keep coming back to it. Search engines will recognize this and rank your page higher.

Website speed and UX

User experience is one of the most important metrics for SEO. It has a direct impact on the traffic of your website and how users perceive it. It’s also something that search engines account for when scouring websites.

Website speed is a big part of UX optimization and it’s something that every website should focus on improving. Google’s crawlers value website speed highly, which is why so many pages are optimizing for fast loading times this year.

Voice searches

While once a pretty niche part of SEO, voice searches have become an integral part of any SEO strategy. With the rise of smartphones, voice searches have stopped being considered a novelty. Now they’re considered just as important as any other form of search.

Optimizing for voice searches is a little bit harder than regular keywords. Searches aren’t treated the same way by search engines. They don’t lead to search pages, but rather the search engine prioritizes the top answer and displays it immediately.

Keywords tend to be shorter and more colloquial, to better match the way people talk, as it’s pretty different compared to the way they type into their phones.

Structured data

Data takes many forms on your website. When search engine crawlers scour your website for relevant information, they take every little bit of readable data into consideration.

To make it easier for search engine crawlers, your website features structured data in various different forms. Information that’s located alongside the metadata is a good example. It’s there to make crawling quicker and more efficient. Including more of it in your metadata and meta descriptions is a good way to get more attention from search crawlers.

Video content

Videos are becoming an increasingly popular form of content. Unlike written content and sponsored blog posts, users are much more likely to sit through an entire video and watch it all the way to the end. This gives digital marketers more opportunities to make use of clever strategies and product mentions.

Search engines are being adapted to work on finding videos through metadata and meta descriptions. They are quickly placing more value on high-traffic videos and properly optimized websites that can host them. You should strive to increase the number of videos you utilize in your marketing strategy and work on making your website more attractive for crawlers in this area.

Content length

While it’s true that content quality is more important than quantity, the individual length of a piece of marketing content is crucial as well. You can look at the length of a blog post and see it as a kind of quality. People want to be invested in the content that they’re consuming.

Longer pieces of quality content get far more views than their shorter counterparts. However, the difficulty comes from creating adequate content which will stimulate users long enough and keep them occupied and engaged. This is not easily accomplished by the average website owner. Instead, they often employ writing experts from digital marketing strategists like GWM to achieve better rankings. Creating ideal content that attracts search crawlers requires quite a bit of experience and knowledge.

Search engine snippets

Getting to the top of the search pages is a priority for websites. But what if you could get your page featured above the first result? This is Google’s “featured snippet” in a nutshell. It lets websites with exact answers get to the very top of search results.

Optimizing for featured snippets is going to be a crucial part of digital marketing strategies going forward. Have your content provide concise and direct answers to user’s queries and you’ll find that your pages will be getting a lot more traffic.

Influencers

The impact of influencer marketing is an often-underestimated part of digital marketing. Influencers have an enormous amount of power when it comes to brand creation. They’re able to exert their influence over countless fans of your brand and encourage their viewers to try out new products and services.

By reaching out to influencers and having them link to your website and its products, you can very quickly reach a much wider audience and signal that your brand is even more attractive to consumers.

Conclusion

If the past couple of years are any indicator of things to come, digital marketing is going to continue to flourish more than ever before. SEO strategies are constantly evolving to meet this expansive demand as businesses scramble to get their websites to the top of search results. Because of this, it’s important that you and your businesses remain on top of the latest and most effective tactics that will help your website stay relevant.