Become a web developer

Technology is a huge part of our day to day lives. Seriously. Think about how much of your life is controlled by your smart phone, alone. From navigation to communication to shopping, we use internet technology for everything.

Every app, website, or piece of online software we use was built by a web developer. The digital world of a web developer can sound a little complicated, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Just like any other job, someone who wants to become a web developer simply has to have a solid foundation upon which to build.

What does a Web Developer Do?

Web developers are responsible for creating and maintaining websites and applications using a variety of programming languages and technology. Developers blend the creative vision of the designer with their technical expertise to create a website. They take care of everything from the functionality of the site to ensuring it’s security. Since there’s so much technical knowledge required to build a website, web developer certifications usually focus on one of two areas.

Front-End Web Developers

Front end developers bring the web designer’s vision to life by building the exterior look and feel of the website. Essentially, front-end developers turn back-end data into something the user can interact with and understand. A few more front-end web developer requirements are an ability to:

  • Ensure the mobile responsiveness of a website
  • Understand and utilize SEO basics and best practices
  • Develop tools to improve user experience

Back-End Web Developers

Back-end developers are concerned with everything behind the scenes. They focus on building and maintaining the tech required to power the front end – namely the server, application, and database.

Backend developers are also responsible for:

  • Creating and managing databases
  • Developing and utilizing content management systems
  • Testing and debugging backend elements  

Full Stack Web Developers 

Full stack developers are experts in both front- and back-end development. They’re in high demand, as they tend to be well versed in business practices and user experience, making them a valuable asset to any team. Most full stack developers have worked in the industry for years, having gained experience and knowledge in a variety of roles.

How to Become a Web Developer

There’s no specific web developer degree or educational path required to become a web developer. In fact, it’s not even required that you have a formal web developer education in order to work in the web development field.

There are several options aside from formal education to help you learn how to become a web developer. Programs and coding boot camps such as CodeAcademy and App Academy are kind of like “web developer schools.” They provide web development training and teach the coding skills needed to pursue specific career opportunities.

Additionally, those hoping to learn web development should have a working knowledge of common programming languages, libraries, and frameworks in addition to common technology. Career Foundry has a list of 50 web development buzzwords all new programmers should learn.  

Web Developer Skills Needed

While web developer job requirements can be flexible and a formal education isn’t a must, a set of specific skills is. Here are the basics of what is needed to be a web developer. This is what you’ll want a grasp before you begin your development career.

Programming Languages

A programming language is basically a set of commands that tells the computer what to do. High level languages use logic and symbols, making them relatively easy for humans to read and comprehend. Low level languages such as machine code are those directly recognizable by computer. Which language(s) or framework(s) a developer specializes in is dependent upon their career track and/or specialty.

  • HTML – Hypertext markup language is the foundational element of the internet, and it is used to specify the formatting of a text file. Basically, HTML determines what the text on a website looks like.
  • CSS – Cascading style sheet languages are created to style documents written in markup languages. This includes things like color, font, borders, etc. CSS can also be used to optimize for responsive design, telling the computer to adapt what the screen looks like based on the device used.
  • JavaScript – JavaScript is a text-based language that builds off other basic programing languages. It is required to create interactive, dynamic web pages and apps. Actions such as real-time communication and loading emails all rely on JavaScript.

Responsive Web Design

Today’s web design must be mobile-responsive, if not mobile first. For this reason, responsive web design skills are a must for today’s developers.

Version Control

When building a site, it’s important to understand and manage its progress. Version control software allows developers to track changes in their code over time. Git is currently the most popular version control tool available.

Browser Development Tools

Each web browser is a little bit different. Developers should have an understanding of how pages are rendered in a particular browser so that they can maintain functionality and improve performance.

Libraries and Frameworks

These are set of prewritten code which can be used to help developers reach the same end goal without having to write quite so much code to get there. Libraries contain a collection of useful code that can be accessed at any time. They are smaller and more job-specific than frameworks. A framework contains pre-made tools and components that help a developer write code faster. Popular frameworks include Bootstrap and Rails.

Database Languages

Database languages are used to build and manage – you guessed it – databases. Databases don’t understand the same languages that websites and apps are programmed with. Structured Query Language (SQL) is an example of a standard language used to access data in databases.

Related Careers

While in your pursuit of a web development career you may come across some additional paths. Each of the careers below reflects a specific type of developer or someone who works closely with web developers. They may be something you’re interested in now, or find yourself working toward in the future.

UX Designer

User experience (UX) design aims to understand and optimize the way a website or app is experienced by the end user. These designers must be competent in analytics and understanding human behavior and expectation, as well as possess basic design and development skills.

Mobile App Developer

Mobile application development is a hot career path at the moment. New companies and products are showing up in the market every day, and it’s expected that these companies will have an effective mobile first strategy at the least, and an easy-to-use mobile app at best.

Web Administrator

One of the oldest known roles in the tech sector is a Web Administrator. These professionals have experience with internet protocols and technology, and they usually work to manage internal and external web-based technology for a single corporation.

Information Architect

Information architects focus on the organization of a website and how efficiently and effectively information can be accessed. The architects create the structure and navigation functionality of a site.

Database Developer

Collecting and analyzing data is important for any business using web technology. Database developers create back-end workflows and integrations to help capture data which will help drive decisions down the line.

You Don’t Have to Become a Web Developer to Create a Fantastic Website or App

You don’t need to know how to be a web developer to get your project off the ground. You can let us take care of that for you. Hungry Media has been in the digital creation space for years. Our experienced team of designers and developers will help make your vision a reality.

Our unique approach allows us to dig deep and really understand what you’re looking for before we start building your dream website or app. We’ve worked with companies and brands in all sectors and across many industries. We can’t wait to hear about your idea. Contact us today to get started!

Monetize your website
Monetize your website

One of the first things many people question when they start creating web-based content is how to build and monetize a website. The good news is that learning how to monetize your website requires more consistency than skill. There are several ways to build an online income, and there are also several things to take into consideration before you begin to monetize your site.

Let’s start with a basic question. What is website monetization, anyway? It’s the process of converting web traffic into some sort of revenue. And while the answer is an easy one, the process isn’t quite that simple. Here’s what you need to know about monetization for websites.

Before You Monetize Your Website

Think about it this way. You’re not monetizing your website. You’re actually monetizing internet traffic. So, before you try to figure out how to make a monetized website, think about how to bring users to it. While there are certainly ways to make money without a large amount of traffic, the return on your investment will increase as your number of engaged users does the same.

Use SEO

First and foremost, users have to be able to find you. So, your site must be optimized for search engines. An understanding of SEO basics is more than enough to get you started here. Research keywords and use them strategically. Create descriptions to use in alt tags. Utilize title tags for your pages. All of these little actions will drive users to your site.

Design for User Experience

User experience design can go a long way to retain your users. When the people who visit your website find the experience pleasant – or better yet, don’t “notice” the experience – they’re likely to return. This is huge for your visibility, as it’s so much easier to keep users around than to find new ones. SEO and UX design are the one-two-punch of increased website traffic.   

Be Mobile Friendly

Don’t even consider ways to monetize your website if you don’t have a mobile-first strategy, or at least a responsive design. More users access your website via mobile device than desktop or laptop. So, trying to monetize without first striving to capture mobile users is a waste of time and money.

Provide Quality Content

Unique, valuable content is key to keeping users once they find your site. Even if a user never comes back, you’re a step ahead if they found your content to be relevant and helpful. If they find you, but the content you’ve provided them doesn’t meet their needs, they won’t stick around long enough for your monetization strategies to be effective.

Build a Social Audience

A social media following is almost a must when it comes to driving traffic to your website. Aside from a Google search, social media channels are the most common way for new users to find you. The Balance has some fantastic tips for growing as social following.

How to Monetize Your Website

There are plenty of website monetization tools and tricks to consider as you try to earn an income from your website. As you work to decide which is best for you, keep in mind that you’re aiming to monetize website traffic, as opposed to the site itself. Think about your users and the way they interact with your site.

What do they do when they’re on your site? How long does each visit last? Are they sharing your site with friends? Do they comment on your posts? If you can really figure out what makes them tick, it will be that much easier to determine the most effective ways to monetize your website traffic. 

Paid Membership

One of the simplest ways to monetize your website is to charge a fee for access to your content. You have to be very careful with this, though. There is so much free, often valuable, content available across the internet. You’ll need to make sure that the content you’re charging for is really special. Many websites opt to set up a paid section and pack it full of high-value extras not available on their free pages. This way you’re not alienating those who can’t, or don’t want to, pay, and are providing worthwhile content to those who do.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular methods to monetize your website these days, and for good reason. The bottom line is that you receive a “commission” for sharing another brand’s content or product. This is a favorite because there are so many ways to go about affiliate marketing while remaining authentic to yourself and your brand. Here are a few ideas:

  • Product Reviews – Try a product out and provide a comprehensive, honest review.
  • Tutorials – Use your experience to teach your audience how you use a particular product.
  • Recommended Tools and Resources – Create a list of your favorite tools, products, and resources.
  • Sponsored Posts – Write a blog (or social media) post centered around a particular product.

“Hire Me” Page 

This one is so simple that it may not even cross your mind as a way to monetize your website. Add a page with a “hire me” button or form. Even if your website is your hobby, there’s no harm in putting it out there. You could offer your services in the form of anything from writing to photography to tax services.

Take donations

Similar to a “hire me” button, you could add a link to accept donations. If your content offers value, and you need the support, your users may be more than happy to contribute. If you opt to go this route, we have some great tips to help make fundraising for business a success.

Sell a Digital Product

Digital products are a huge hit these days. Regardless of the type of content you create, you can come up with some sort of digital product to sell at a relatively low cost to your audience.

  • E- book – An ebook sharing some of your favorite tips, tricks, stories, anecdotes, or anything else you can compile might be a hit with a devoted following.
  • Online course – Similar to the e-book, you could develop a video-based course surrounding something that you’re great at and have passion for. It could be anything from how to make amazing sushi to the best way to train your dog. The sky’s the limit, and if your content is valuable, people will be more than willing to pay to learn from you.
  • Digital downloads – Depending on your niche, low-cost digital downloads of things like checklists, how-to guides, photo filter packs, website themes, and so much more can add up quickly.

Merchandise

You can make products yourself or outsource production, but either way, getting creative with merchandise can go a long when trying to monetize your website. Coffee mugs with your favorite saying, t-shirts highlighting your brand, even simple sticker decals – could all be favorites among your loyal audience.

Display Ads

And then, of course, there’s the obvious. Sell advertising space. You can go about this in two ways. Either way, using display ads means that a third-party company will be placing advertisements on your website for your users to see – kind of like an internet billboard.

If you don’t have a detailed understanding of how to get advertisers on your website, you can use a service like Google AdSense to do the marketing and ad placement for you. Or, of course, you can do the sales and placement work yourself, if that’s your thing.

What to Avoid When Trying to Monetize Your Website

While there are no hard and fast website monetization rules, at the end of the day your users’ experience has to remain a top priority. Otherwise, you’ll lose the audience that provides you with income.

That said, just be careful not to go overboard. Too many sponsored posts, requests to purchase your e-book, or ads that slow down your site can all be detrimental to user experience, and thus potential monetization. You want your users to feel as though they’re getting something from you, not the other way around.

Hungry Media can Help Monetize Your Website

One of the statements we hear most often is “I want to monetize my website, but I don’t know how.” Hungry Media does! We can help you build a website, implement strategies to monetize web traffic, and even create a complementary mobile app if you want. If you can dream it, we can build it, and we can’t wait to turn your dream into a reality. Contact us today to get started!

UX vs. UI Design
UX vs. UI Design

UX vs. UI Design. They are two terms which are often used concurrently, and most definitely rely upon each other. While the difference between UI and UX design is subtle, they are two distinct concepts and practices.

Regardless of which type of website or mobile app you are developing, you’ll want a broad understanding of each of these disciplines, how they are different, and the ways in which they are dependent upon each other.

What is UX Design?

User experience (UX) describes any and all interactions between a user and a product or service. For our purposes, we are assuming those interactions take place via a website or mobile app; however, anything one can experience is UX, meaning the term “UX” can apply to any product or service. This could be a new car, a visit to the pet groomer, or (of course) a website or mobile app. UX involves how it feels to drive that car, what it’s like inside the groomer’s storefront, or how easy it is to complete an online purchase using the website.

User experience design is a human-first method of creation. In terms of web development, UX design starts by clearly understanding the needs of the user on the other end of the interface. UX designers focus on the overall user journey – the path that users follow as they interact with your interface – and how each step along that path impacts them.

We are assuming a user has a goal in mind when they pull up your website or open your app. So, what does the process of achieving that goal feel like to them? Is the website or app clunky and difficult to navigate, leading to frustration? Does it leave them feeling accomplished? Are they excited to come back for more? UX design principles take this, and so much more, into consideration.

What is UI Design?

A user interface (UI) is the graphical layout of the website or app. UI, by definition, includes elements like buttons, text, images, forms, and any other visual components of a website or app. UI design uses these elements to create a pleasant experience while visually guiding the user through the interface.

User interface designers select and create each individual element on your website or app with the goal of providing a perfect user experience. In today’s world where users tend to connect with many of these interfaces while on the go, designing a responsive website is a significant component of UI design. In the end, if UI design is well-executed, users won’t even think about the design of your website or app.

UX vs. UI Design: How do They Compare?

There are several ways to describe UI and UX differences, as well as the connections between these two design disciplines:

  • UX design focuses on the overall user journey from start to finish. UI design focuses on the individual moments that make up the journey.
  • UX design looks at what needs to happen to improve conversion rates. UI design makes it happen.
  • UX determines how the interface should work. UI design creates the interface in that image.
  • UX designers create the basic outline of a website or app. UI designers flesh it out with visual and interactive elements.
  • One last example: Web Developer Dain Miller describes the relationship between UX and UI design perfectly. “UI is the saddle, the stirrups, and the reins. UX is the feeling you get being able to ride the horse.”

UX Design vs. UI Design in Practice

Okay, so what does this look like in practical terms?

UX design involves lots of research into what users want and what would make their experience better. For example, what would improve users’ emotional responses when interacting with your website or app? Or, what makes them continue to use your website or app day after day?

UI design takes the answers to those questions into consideration while designing each individual element of the interface: buttons, forms, graphics, menus, and so on.

UX Versus UI Design Examples

A UX designer might determine that users would have a better experience if the “purchase now” button were easier to see. A UI designer would then figure out the best way(s) – using placement, contrast, size, color – to make the button stand out.

A UX designer might come to the realization that bounce rates increase when the website is viewed on a mobile device, and thus make the recommendation to go with a mobile first strategy. The UI designer will implement the strategy using all the right design elements.

UI and UX Design Steps

As you can see, while UX and UI design involve two different skillsets, each relies upon the other. Both UX and UI design need to be well executed and aligned with the company mission and user expectations.

You can have a beautiful website, but if it doesn’t work, nobody’s coming back after their first visit. Conversely, you can have the most efficient and functional site, but if it’s unpleasing to the eye or uncomfortable to use, users are much less likely to return.

UX and UI design simply won’t be effective without a little bit of “pre-work,” on the part of your designer. Most of this work will be in the form of research and testing. Trust us, putting effort in on the front end of your UX and UI design strategy will save you lots of time and money down the road.

Define Your Users

The better you get to know your target audience, the more effective your UX and UI efforts will be. Define everything from your users’ gender to what they love to eat for breakfast. No detail is too small when it comes to learning about the end user.

Determine How Users Will Interact with Your Interface

Before you determine how to implement a UX vs. UI design strategy for your app or website, you’ll want a good grasp on the ways in which your product will be used. Will your users be accessing your interface via desktop computer, tablet, smart phone? Will they be using your product at work, at home, while driving, while shopping?

It’s nearly impossible to design for experience if you do not have a clear understanding of the ways in which your interface will be used.

Test Your Ideas

Testing is huge for UI and UX design. A/B testing allows you to serve up one version of your website to group A and another version to group B. You’ll then be able to determine whether the changes you made were effective at achieving their intended goal.

Alternately, you can also test to determine the best way to solve a problem. If you’re on the fence about which potential solution is right for your audience, you can utilize A/B testing to see which option works best.

Analyze the Results

While it’s natural to have your own opinions and ideas about your web or mobile app design, they don’t matter one bit. It’s the user’s ideas and opinions that drive decisions.

That said, after testing has been completed, it’s time to review the data. Compare the key analytics of group A to those of group B. Tools such as Google Analytics will quickly reveal whether your UX or UI design strategy was successful.

UX and UI Design with Hungry Media

Hungry Media has years of experience in a wide range of digital industries, so you can confidently leave the UX vs.UI design details to us, freeing you up to focus on the big picture.  From Web design to mobile app development – we can help with it all. Contact us today to get started!

UI Design
UI Design

Most of us are so used to interacting with electronic devices in the form of smart phones, tablets, and computers, that we might find it difficult to carry out our everyday tasks without them. This is a testament to effective web page user interface design, executed with the end user in mind.

What is a User Interface?

It is not terribly difficult to define “user interface (UI).” Simply put (for our purposes, at least) it is the means by which a user interacts with a software system. Think about your computer desktop, which is an example of a user interface. Meaning all of the icons, colors, buttons, feedback schemes, and anything else you interact with on your screen are a part of the interface. Similarly, what you see when you use a website or mobile app is a user interface, as well.

In short, a user interface is the point of human and computer contact. And behind every UI interface there is the designer who thoughtfully created it.

What is Website UI Design?

So, what is user interface design and what does it mean for you? Website UI design uses visual elements to communicate meaning to the user.

UI design of websites or mobile apps focuses on selecting the best elements for each action a user may take and designing them in a way that conveys meaning. Ideally this meaning is expressed so well, and the site functions so flawlessly, that users don’t notice the design itself.

Make the Most of User Interface Design Principles

Effective website UI design starts with research. Using surveys, studies, and psychology, you can learn all about your users, their habits, and how they interact with your technology.

Demographics

Who are your users, exactly? The better you get to know your target audience, the more effectively you can use web UI design to create an interface that works for them. Considerations can be as broad as their gender and as specific as the shoes they love to wear. No detail is too small when it comes to learning about the end user.

Define How Users Will Interact with Your Interface

Before you determine the best way to integrate UI design elements into your app or website, you need a clear understanding of the ways in which it will be used. Which type of device will your app be used on most? Where will users be when they’re interacting with it?

By taking some time up front to really define when, where, and how the audience will use your app or website, UI design will be much easier down the road.

Analyze Data

It would be amazing if user interface design were evaluated on aesthetics of our sites alone. Alas, the user is King, and they determine whether you’ve achieved the goals set by your website UI design plan.

Review analytics after you launch to see how you did. Take a look at bounce rates, cart abandonment rates, traffic sources, session times, and so on. This will help you learn where and how to tweak you interface for maximum effect.

Features of User Interface Design

After you’re sure you know your users, you can begin to design your interface. Let’s take a look at some practical tips for creating your mobile app or website using UI design techniques.

Set Expectations

If you let users know what will happen before they take an action, they will find your interface to be much more user friendly. Nobody wants to be taken by surprise when they click a button or make a selection.

Anticipate Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, and no matter what type of website you manage or how perfectly you’ve designed your UI, your users will, too. One of the most common responses upon making a mistake is frustration. One of the most important jobs of website UI design is to minimize frustration by anticipating your users’ mistakes.

Making an unintended selection, leaving a page earlier than expected, hitting delete instead of submit. To boost user experience, design an interface that makes it easy to avoid or undo these mistakes.

While there is certainly no “right” way tackle this, here are few user interface elements that can help:

  • Buttons that don’t become active until all required form fields are completed
  • Detection of an incorrect email address format
  • Confirmation dialog boxes for destructive actions
  • Error messages that clearly explain a mistake
  • A button to recover deleted files

Provide Timely Feedback

Think about the ways in which we receive feedback all day long. You wave to the mailman and he waves back. Your dog wags his tail when you scratch behind his ears. The washing machine turns on when you hit the start button. All of these responses let us know that the mailman, or the dog, or the washer, have received your input.

Likewise, your user interface should provide feedback as users’ input is being processed. How do users know that they hit the correct button, or even hit a button at all? How will they know whether a blank screen is present because the page is loading or the device is frozen?

Here are some elements that can providing clarity to your users in the form of feedback:

  • Buttons that “depress” when clicked
  • Links that change color once selected
  • A progress bar for uploads or downloads
  • Graphics indicating a page is loading

Leverage Layouts

Not only does your layout provide a visual aesthetic, but it also provides practical guidance as users navigate the website. Focusing your website UI design on hierarchy and readability as you consider layout will improve user experience and conversion rates throughout. A few ways to achieve this:

  • Use consistent alignment. As a rule of thumb, edge alignment is preferred over center.
  • Draw attention to important features using color, brightness, and contrast.
  • Place control elements in close proximity to the objects they control.

Layout can also help define relationships between elements. For example, elements with little space between them indicates a relationship. Elements spaced further apart indicates the opposite.

Keep It Simple

The more options you present a user, the more difficult it is for them to make a decision. This covers everything in your UI design from navigation menus to pricing information. Don’t worry. You can still include everything you want within the website. Just focus on one main function per page, and leverage other UI design elements to help users navigate between pages as necessary.

Keep it Consistent

Once we’ve familiarized ourselves with the way a website functions, our brain doesn’t have to work as hard to use it. This principle doesn’t just apply to individual websites, it applies to all websites and apps as a whole.

When you make users think again about a process they have already learned, even if it’s as simple as returning to your homepage, you’re requiring them to think harder than necessary. Website UI design is not the place to reinvent the wheel. For the sake of your users, it’s best to stay consistent with industry trends.

Website UI Design with Hungry Media

The good news about UI design for websites is that today’s technology allows us to make changes, test the outcomes, and evaluate results before starting the cycle over. But this kind of trial and error can be both time consuming and costly. Hungry Media can help cut down on the time and expense of designing a user interface via trial and error. Whether you want to improve your UX via UI design, you’re updating your website entirely, or need to build a new site from scratch, we are here to help. Contact us today to see how we can make your website vision a reality.

UX Design
UX Design

It’s estimated that Americans spend nearly seven hours per day online. That time may include shopping, conducting research, consuming news content, scrolling and posting on social media, or streaming videos. With the variety of options available for each of these purposes, what makes us choose one website or app over another?

Whether we know it or not, the answer lies in our experience with each site. The term UX (user experience) was coined by Dr. Don Norman in the 1990’s as a way of describing all aspects of the end user’s interaction with a platform.

UX Definition

User experience, by definition, is a consequence of many factors including brand image, presentation, functionality, system performance, interactive behavior and assistive capabilities. Think of it as users’ perceptions and responses that result from interaction with a system, product, or service.

What is UX Design?

User experience design is the discipline that concerns itself with creating a positive experience for the end user of a system. But really, what does UX mean for you? Basically, UX describes the way a user feels during and after an interaction with your system. UX design aims to improve that experience.

UX web design focuses on developing a deep understanding of what users need and value, their abilities and limitations, their ultimate goals, and their behaviors. UX designers then use this information to create an intuitive digital interface that works exactly how users expect.

Note: For the purposes of this article, the systems we are discussing are websites and mobile web apps.

Why is UX Important?

Before user experience web design became a “thing,” websites were built based on what designers thought was cool and what their clients wanted to see. None of this took the end user into consideration, but that didn’t matter thirty years ago when the internet wasn’t such an integral part of our day to day lives.

Since then, as user experience design has emerged as a sort-of science, it’s been proven over and over that the most successful websites and mobile apps are pleasant to use.

Benefits of UX Design for Websites and Apps

There are several benefits to using UX methods while developing your mobile web app or website. In the end they all lead to a more successful interface which lends itself to a more successful business.

Customer Loyalty

Of course, the goal of any business is to retain loyal customers who refer others. Now, there’s no guarantee that a providing a positive experience will lead to customer loyalty, but utilizing UX principles can ensure you don’t lose users because of a negative experience.

Conversion Rates

Users are more likely to convert if their experience is pleasant. And we all know that conversions are key to a website’s (or app’s) success. In fact, some of the same principals employed for purposes of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) are also used to improve user experience.

Customer Satisfaction

Users come to you to solve some sort of problem. Regardless of the reason for their visit, they are likely to be satisfied if their problem is solved and the experience is positive.

UX Design – Website and Mobile App Considerations

UX methodology focuses on several elements of user experience which have been proven to impact the perceptions and feelings of those who interact with a specific platform. While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of factors that impact mobile app or website UX, below you’ll find some UX best practices which, when implemented, lead to a significant improvement in user experience.

Research

To create a site your users love, you need to know all about them first. UX research focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations via observation and analysis. The better you know your customer, the more you can tailor your platform to their needs.

Usability

How does your product function compared to the way users think it should? Does the link they click direct them to the page they expect? Does swiping up create the result they were hoping for? It can lead to a frustrating experience if features don’t function the way a user anticipates they will.  

Information Architecture

The structure, organization, and presentation of information within your website or app can have a huge impact on UX, meaning these factors must be considered when developing your UX design strategy. Can your users easily find what they are looking for? Is it clear what information is contained in each section of your website? Optimizing information architecture makes using your website much easier, thus improving user experience.

Visual Design

As silly as it may sound, visual design plays a big role in engagement. Visual design focuses on creating an aesthetically pleasing interface and considers how the look of your website or app makes users feel. Effective UX design in websites creates a hierarchy that leads users to take the actions you want them to.

Content Strategy

Aim to deliver valuable content that works to help you achieve your business goals. A content strategy can employ web copy, blogs, emails, ads, and other elements to connect with users and keep them coming back for more.

Analytics

No UX strategy is complete without a plan to analyze its effectiveness. Conversion rates, session time, and bounce rates are particularly useful in determining the success of your UX design. Website analytics tools such as Google Analytics can (and should) be used for this purpose.

UX Design Principles

The UX process puts user experience ahead of presenting information. In fact, when determining whether they will return to your site or app, it’s suspected that a memorable experience carries more weight with users than the actual information provided. Below are a few truths about user behavior that should be considered when developing your UX web design strategy.  

Users Scan Instead of Read

Most people scan content for something that looks interesting before they actually begin reading, which is important to know for purposes of UX design. Meaning, to capture user interest, your interface must be scannable and the information easy to digest.

Clarity and Simplicity Rule

Users will evaluate whether they like your platform in less than a second. They’ll glance at your site and almost immediately determine whether it’s worth their time. You’ve got to appeal to them very quickly, and it’s been proven that clarity and simplicity are two key factors here. Clean fonts, a simple color palate, consistent alignment, crisp photos. They all make your interface much more appealing to users.

Common Elements are Key

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Going against the grain is one of the most common web design mistakes we see. If your website functions differently than expected, your users will be frustrated. And no number of cool features or creative design elements will be able to change that.

Audience Above All

Not only do you need to know who your audience is, but you need to understand their expectations. By using styles and designs your audience is comfortable with, by anticipating their needs and presenting solutions in advance, by providing valuable content – you will create a pleasant user experience, and they’ll want to come back.

Visual Hierarchies Help

The priorities of each website or app will vary, as will what matters most to each group of users. Regardless of which elements are most important on your interface, highlight them. This will draw users’ attention right to where you want it. There are plenty of ways to employ visual hierarchies, but the most common is to differentiate importance based on size or color of the element.

Love Your UX Experience with Hungry Media

Hungry Media has years of digital experience in a wide range of industries. From web design to content creation – we can help with it all. Don’t get bogged down with the nitty gritty. Let us worry about your UX design and website while you focus on the big picture. We can’t wait to hear about your business and ideas. Contact us today to get started!

App Development Questions
App Development Questions

There may be an app for just about everything, but close to fifteen years after the creation of mobile apps as we know them, there are still plenty of untapped markets. What’s more, even if apps in a given niche meet the needs of today’s users, tech changes rapidly. This means that today’s apps can become obsolete in the blink of an eye, and you could be there to fill the void. So, what do you do if you have a great idea for a new app? You move on it. Quickly! Below you’ll find a list of app development questions to ask yourself as you get started.

First and Foremost

What is the Goal of Your App?

Whether the app is your business or it’s a part of an already established business, treat it like a startup. One of the first tasks to tackle as you begin a new venture is to establish your mission and vision statements. Carefully crafted mission and vision statements will naturally help you answer these questions about mobile apps as you move through the development process. Additionally, clear mission and vision will inform every decision you make regarding your new app, from its name to launch logistics. Start by writing your mission statement. Why does this app exist? What value will it provide? Your vision statement is an extension of your mission; it describes where you see your company (or your app) years down the road.

Who Will Use Your App?

While your target audience may seem obvious, don’t overlook the benefit of very precisely defining your end user. Get specific. What does their life look like? How old are they? What is their financial situation? When do they have free time? How do they spend it? The list goes on and on. A clearly defined target audience leads to more effective market research, development plans, and marketing efforts.

What Sets You Apart?

As of today, there are nearly 2 million apps available in the Apple App Store, and over 2.5 million in the Google Play store. Users aren’t short on options. So, why should someone choose your app over another? After you have established what your app will accomplish and who will be using it, it’s time to identify what will make it stand out from the rest. What does your app do that others do not? How can the experience of current apps be improved upon? What set’s you apart?

What is Your Elevator Pitch?

Okay, you have thirty seconds to describe your app, what it does, and how it benefits your users. Annnd, go! Not sure what to say? Time to come up with your elevator pitch. Take a few moments to pare down the explanation of your new app and it’s benefits before moving forward. The clearer you are, the easier it will be for others to understand what you’re aiming for as well as the value behind it. This will save you time, effort, and energy as you move through the next steps of the app development process.

How Can You Protect Your App Idea?

This is one of the most common questions for app developers, and it’s a valid one. First and foremost, don’t go shouting your idea from the rooftops until you have the project well-established and underway. Of course, you’ll have to give some people lots of information early on. For these people, we recommend executing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before you divulge all the details. Here’s the thing though. No amount of tight-lipped secrecy will protect your app if someone else has the same idea and moves on it first. So, the best way to ensure this app is yours is to move on it, pronto.

Logistically Speaking

What Type of App Will You Develop?

Should you be creating a native or hybrid app? Should you just go with a straight-up mobile web app? There are several factors to consider when making this decision, including the purpose of your app, your budget, and development time just to name a few. Determine the answer to this question before moving forward, even if that means consulting with a professional to shed some light on which is right for you.

What Category of Mobile App Does It Fall Within?

This may sound like a minute detail or a no-brainer, but you want to make sure your app fits into a clear category such as game, health and fitness, productivity, etc. You can have the best home organization app around, but if you users are looking for “productivity” apps and you list it as a “lifestyle” app, they’ll be much less likely to find it. Determine the correct category to ensure your awesome new app is reaching your target audience when they fire up their app store.

Which Platform(s) Will Your App Run On?

Will you be developing your app for iOS, Android operating system, or both? This is yet another reason you need to be very clear about your target audience. Different groups of users have different tendencies, and the tendency to choose an iPhone over an Android, or vice versa, is one of them. If your app will run on only one platform you have to know which to choose.

How Will You Release Your App?

Will you launch across all platforms at once? Do you want to launch on one platform first (or only)? Will you start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and go from there? These are all valid options, and it’s best to make your decisions before you get too far into planning and development, as this will also impact your next steps.

Design and Development

What Should the Design Look Like?

It should look like whatever will make your audience happiest. There’s a fine line between creatively stepping outside the box and providing something so unexpected that it’s challenging to use or displeasing to look view. In short, user experience should be top of mind when it comes time to designing your app. Just remember it’s not about how you define functionality and aesthetics. It’s all about that target audience!

How Much Will It Cost?

Of course, this is one of the first questions to ask your app development company, but we can give you an idea of what to expect. Business of Apps reports the average cost of developing an app ranges from about $18,000-$28,000. Honestly, cost will depend on several factors including the way you want the app to function, if/how it will integrate with other services, which platform you develop for, and so much more.

How Long Will It Take?

As with cost, this will depend on your specific application. Questions of this nature are tough to answer, but as a general rule, the more intricate and detailed the app, the longer it will take to develop. In general, expect 6-8 months from inception to completion. You can shorten your timeline by being very diligent in your research and taking the time to answer the app development questions included here. You’ll always come up against roadblocks that require you to shift course, but effective research and thoughtful planning can reduce the number of these roadblocks as well as the amount of time it takes to maneuver around them.

Wahoo! Its Live. Now What?

How Often Should I Update?

In the beginning, probably a lot. Bugs and their required fixes are truly a part of the process, as it’s nearly impossible to catch every potential snag prior to launch. So, plan on updating often in the first few months after you hit the app store. This way, when ratings, reviews, or problem reports come in, you’ll be prepared to adjust quickly. Over time you’ll find that you only need to update along with major changes in technology or to meet new security requirements. Other than that, you’ll update when the market (or your creative side) says it’s time for a refresh.

How Will You Define Success?

What matters most to you? Downloads, session time, ratings, revenue? If your goal is to put your app on the phone of every American, then judge your success by the number of times it has been downloaded. If your goal is to be the most amazing resource in your niche, maybe session time is your key performance indicator. Whatever your priority, structure your definition of success around it, and focus on ways to achieve that particular goal. (Hint: a mission and vision statement make answering this important mobile application question a lot easier.)

Hungry Media Can Answer All of Your App Development Questions

Bringing that niggle of an idea to fruition as a full-fledged app might sound a little daunting. But don’t worry. Hungry Media’s unique approach to app development will help you clarify the answers to all of these questions and more. We can’t wait to hear about your great idea and help you get it off the ground! Contact us today to learn more about making your idea a reality.

How to Choose a Domain Name

Your domain name is your online identity. Sure, you could use the WordPress or Squarespace domain that comes with your free website. But your domain name is the first impression visitors have of you and your business. In this sense, it’s not just an extension of your brand, but also provides helpful information to anyone searching you out. Oh, and speaking of searches, your domain name has the ability to positively impact SEO. So, if you’re concerned about how to choose a domain name for your website, you’re not alone. After all, it is a pretty important decision.

Tips for Choosing a Domain Name

Coming up with a kick-butt domain isn’t an exact science, but there are certainly a few best practices for choosing a domain name that will make a big difference. The best way to choose a domain name is to go slowly and consider the following before settling on your new web address.

Pronunciation

You can have the most thoughtfully designed site that’s perfectly optimized for conversions and search engines alike. It might even contain the world’s most engaging content. But the likelihood of a new user visiting your site drops dramatically if the site is difficult for them to find.

Confirm that your domain name is easy to pronounce by sharing it, in writing, with at least ten different people. Ensure each of them can pronounce it out loud, correctly, on the first try. If there are any sticking points, go back to the drawing board.

Spelling

In general, creativity is viewed as a huge plus, especially when learning how to pick a catchy domain name. But choosing a domain name for your business might not be the time for thinking outside the box. You want people to recall your domain name quickly and type it accurately. Here are a few faux pas that can stand in the way:

Funny Spellings – Sorry, but a domain name isn’t the place for cre8tive spellings. Using an uncommon (or made-up) spelling makes it incredibly difficult for users to find your website.

Homophones – Words with a single pronunciation but more than one spelling should be avoided in domain names. How will a user know whether you mean “new” or “knew” when they hear your domain name spoken aloud?

Numbers and Hyphens – In the same vein, avoid hyphens and numbers in your domain name, as they are confusing when it comes time to type it into a web browser.

Commonly Misspelled Words – Words that are difficult to spell can cause just as much trouble as made-up spellings or homophones. For the sake of ease, avoid using the most commonly misspelled words in your domain name.

To ensure it’s easy to spell, do another experiment. Say your domain name out loud to at least ten different people and ask them to jot down what you said. Did they spell it right? If not, you still have work to do.

Keywords

Want to know how to choose a good domain name for your business? Keyword research! Including words in your domain that relate to your business makes it easier for users to understand what your website is about. It also makes it easier for customers to find you.

Consider using keywords that describe the services you offer or products you sell. Bonus: this can also boost SEO. If you choose to use keywords, they’ll be most beneficial at the beginning of your domain name as opposed to the middle or end.

The Future

Before you settle on a domain name, think about your long-term goals. Do you dream of turning your small dog-walking business into a well-known doggy daycare and boarding facility? Then a domain name focused on dog walking might not be the way to go. Sure, the keyword is relevant now, but it could hurt you way more down the road than it will benefit you today.

Extension

Of course .com is by far the most well-known domain extension. However, since it’s been around for so long, the availability of affordable .com domain names shrinks every day.

In good news, there are several new domain extensions available. Think: .shop, .club, .photos, and .pet. If you decide to go this route, don’t just choose the first extension that pops up. Consider how to choose a domain name extension that will add clarity and context to your website. Dig into your options. You may find that there is an extension that works perfectly for your niche.

Research

Okay, now that you know how to choose great a domain name, it’s time for some due diligence. There are several factors unrelated to the name itself that will impact the viability of any given domain.

Trademarks and Copyrights –Be sure no part of your domain name is trademarked, copyrighted, or in use by another company.

For instance: even if the domain OldNavy.net is available, you probably shouldn’t use it to blog about your grandfather’s experience as a Naval Officer during the Korean War. Not only could this confuse those shopping for cargo pants and puffer vests, but you don’t want the headache of a legal battle arising from copyright or trademark infringement.

Cost– This is an important factor when picking a domain and choosing a domain name extension.  Your ideal domain name could cost a pretty penny. If you’re on a budget, brainstorm additional variations of your domain name and compare costs before making your final decision.

Social Media – Social is where it’s at when it comes to today’s digital marketing. It’s a good idea to make sure your domain name – or something very close to it – can be used as a social media handle.

Online Tools

If you need help choosing a domain name, there are several online tools to get you started. While they won’t do all of the work for you, they’ll make choosing a business domain name a little bit easier.

Keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner can help you come up with a list of keywords related to your business.

Online “brainstorming” tools use keywords you provide to generate relevant domain name ideas. Tools like Lean Domain Search help you learn how to pick a domain name that sets you apart from the rest.

A Hosting Service will be your last stop after choosing a business domain name. Enter your desired domain with a service like GoDaddy or Bluehost to start the process of actually purchasing your domain.

How to Choose A Domain Name with Confidence

One thing’s for sure, a great website starts with a great domain. If you’re overwhelmed by what must be considered when choosing a domain name, you’ll benefit from our years of experience as we help you find one that accurately expresses what your brand is all about. At Hungry Media we specialize in developing websites that help businesses grow. From eye-catching design, to captivating copy, to a top-notch user experience – we can create it from domain down, or simply update your current site. Contact us today. We can’t wait to meet you!

What is a Vision Statement

Running a business is no joke! Effectively meeting the needs of your team and your customers, while managing your bottom line, can be a tough balance to strike.

The good news is that a clearly defined purpose goes a long way to structuring your company for success. Many new companies have mission statements, but fewer seem to have vision statements. How do you differentiate your mission vs. vision statement, and why the heck do you need both?

What is the Difference Between Vision and Mission Statements?

Mission and vision statements serve similar, yet distinct, purposes. Both set the stage for business success, especially when used in conjunction with one another.

What is a Vision Statement?

Vision Statement Definition (per Wikipedia): An inspirational statement of an idealistic emotional future of a company or group.

In other words, your vision statement is the place for you to dream. It defines where you’re headed and what you want to become.

Among many other “big picture” ideas, your vision statement can include:

  • Overarching goals
  • Dreams for your company
  • The broadscale problem your company addresses
  • Who you want to inspire

What is a Mission Statement?

Mission Statement Definition (per Merriam-Webster): a statement of the purpose or goal of a business or organization.

In essence, your mission statement clearly defines and describes the way in which you execute daily operations. A mission answers the following questions:

  • What do we do?
  • Who do we serve?
  • How do we do it?

Benefits of a Vision Statement

There are many benefits of a vision statement, from the overarching and theoretical all the way down to the nitty gritty, nuts and bolts stuff you do every day. If you’re just starting your business, we hope you are beginning to see how a vision statement will be helpful.

But what if your business is already successful and you’re happy with where things are? You may be thinking, “Why do I need a vision statement at this point? We’re all good!”

Regardless of where you fall, here’s where a vision statement can help:  

  • Guidance Over Time: Keeping your eye on the prize isn’t always easy, and it’s not uncommon for a business or business owner to lose their way every once in a while. A vision statement provides a stable framework to both work within and guide you back if you find you’ve veered off course.
  • Inspiration and Growth: Building a successful, sustainable business requires that you (and your team) remain inspired to innovate and grow. Vision statements are perfect for this purpose! Because they include broad, lofty goals, there is usually no limit to the ways in which those goals can be achieved.
  • Brand Building: Let’s not forget the importance of branding, here! Your company’s unique brand identity speaks to your mission and vision as well as how you execute upon each.

How to Write a Vision Statement

First Thing’s First

Before trying to flesh out a meaningful vision statement, take some time to list your core values and beliefs. Start by considering the following:

  • What characteristics – in yourself, in those around you, or in a business – are important to you?
  • Where do you draw the line, ethically?
  • What makes you happiest?

Write down anything that comes to mind right away. Then take a peek at a comprehensive list of values and beliefs to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

You’ll have a much easier time developing your vision statement if you have a good grasp on what, exactly, is important to you.

Crafting a Vision Statement

Since your vision statement is a big picture view of your overall goals, this isn’t the place to get specific. This is where you capture your hopes and dreams into one or two sentences. NBD, right? Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be daunting. Start with the questions below.

  • In an ideal world, what would your company be known for? This one is pretty theoretical, and it will probably tap into those values we discussed above. That’s great, especially if your company exists because it’s your passion.
  • What are your ultimate goals for your company? Here’s where you’ll get more objective. Do you have a financial goal, a goal related to your customers, a goal related to the size of your company? While you probably won’t use the goals themselves in your vision statement, keeping them in mind will help you craft it.
  • Who are your stakeholders? These are the people for whom and with whom your company exists. Stakeholders can include team members, customers, investors, or even the community at large.

Our suggestion is to write out your answers without thinking too hard or censoring yourself. Tip – if writing isn’t your strong suit, record yourself answering the questions, and then transcribe the recording afterward.

Once you’re confident you’ve captured it all, read through and pare down from there. Combine sentences, remove redundancies, and consolidate similar ideas until you’ve got yourself a few sentences you believe truly capture where your company is headed.

A Note on Mission Statements

Once you’ve crafted a kick-butt vision statement, it’s time to work on your mission statement! Aim for a single sentence that incorporates the “who, what, and how” of your business. If you’re stuck, here are 8 Questions to Consider When Writing a Mission Statement.

Mission and Vision Statement Examples 

Sometimes starting from the end and working your way backward can help. If after reading this you’re still a little unsure, check out these examples from well-known companies.

Notice that they each capture the company’s distinguishing culture and values. Additionally, you’ll see the distinctive ways in which these companies position their mission vs. vision statements. Simply put, there’s no right or wrong, here. Each statement is as unique as the business it represents.

Envision Yourself with Hungry Media

Regardless of any operational changes that may (and will!) occur, a solid mission and vision statement will help keep your business on track and headed towards the future you have envisioned. It’s worth the time and effort to develop both.

Need help crafting a vision statement? Have a clear vision and ready to execute? We’ve got you covered either way, and we can’t wait to meet you! Contact us today to get started.

Shopify vs Woocommerce
WooCommerce vs Shopify

WooCommerce vs. Shopify

They are two of the most popular and easy-to-use eCommerce platforms available. Both allow you to build an online storefront without hiring a professional designer or developer.

What is Shopify? Shopify is a user-friendly, all-in-one eCommerce platform that allows you to set up shop without having to manage the technical aspects of website design and development.

What is WooCommerce? Easy to use and fully customizable, WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin built for WordPress. 

Here’s the thing about trying to compare WooCommerce and Shopify: while they are intended to accomplish the same goal, they function very differently. In fact, this comparison is reminiscent of our Squarespace vs. WordPress debate.

Honestly, the comparison isn’t “Is WooCommerce better than Shopify (or vice versa)?” But rather, “Which is better for you?” 

That said, let’s get to it!

Build Time

While both platforms are relatively simple to use, there is a significant difference in the amount of time and effort required to actually create your online store. 

Shopify’s build is geared towards the everyday user. One of the greatest benefits of Shopify is that even their most basic plan includes everything you need to get your eCommerce site up across multiple channels. The setup wizard makes Shopify an easily accessible option for beginners, and the drag and drop interface makes design simple and intuitive.

WooCommerce requires a bit more effort up front. Before you set up your online store, you’ll need to select and pay for a domain name, sign up for hosting, install WordPress and download the WooCommerce plugin. Honestly, these steps can be executed in a matter of minutes, but they do add an additional layer of semi-technical work to get through. Once you install the plugin you’ll find an online setup wizard that walks you through the customization process. 

If you’re building your site from scratch, Shopify is going to have a faster setup. However, if you’re already using a WordPress site, all you’ll have to do is install the plugin and get to customizing your storefront.

Design and Themes

Both WooCommerce and Shopify offer sleek professional themes that meet the needs of your mobile-first strategy

Shopify has a theme store that comes with over 180 different themes. Some are premium but many are free, and most come with options to customize. In addition to Shopify’s store, sites like Themeforest provide additional paid theme options. 

When it comes to customization of a WooCommerce site, the sky’s the limit. There is a seemingly endless number of themes to choose from when beginning your design journey. The best place to start is Woo’s own online theme store called Storefront

Plugins and Integrations

No matter how robust the platform or plugin, you’ll always need third-party tools and services to grow your eCommerce business. For example, digital gift cards optionsanalytics integrations, and shipping tools can all be purchased from a variety of online extension stores.

Shopify has an app store for this purpose. They have hundreds of options covering several features. WooCommerce has their own marketplace as well, but since they are an open-source platform the options don’t stop there. There’s almost no comparison in terms of extras when it comes to Shopify vs. WooCommerce. WordPress extensions are available for anything and everything you could possibly want, and most of them are WooCommerce compatible.  

In short, your additional options are significantly greater with WooCommerce than Shopify.

Payment Options

You’ve got to collect money in order to turn a profit, right? So, it’s pretty darn important that you accept payments online and that your customers have a variety of payment options to choose from. 

WooCommerce and Shopify both work with over 100 payment gateway options. These are either built in or added through integrations. Some examples are Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Square. Each gateway will charge a transaction fee. Keep an eye on these as you make your choice.

Shopify has its own payment solution called Shopify Payments (Powered by Stripe) plus third party options. Shopify charges a basic transaction fee, and if you use a third-party gateway, there is an additional fee on top of that. 

WooCommerce offers PayPal and Stripe payments automatically, and it supports many other popular payment services. But Woo doesn’t charge you an additional transaction fee for using a third-party payment gateway. 

Security

Online stores must be security-conscious. Taking care of your customers (and their personal information) serves to build trust. We can’t underscore the importance of branding, and trust goes a long, long way to create a positive brand image. Plus, let’s be honest, protecting your customers’ personal information is just the right thing to do. 

At the bare minimum you’ll need a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which safeguards your website so that internet bad guys can’t access your customer’s personal information. In order to process online payments, you’ll be required to maintain compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS).

Because Shopify is fully hosted, security is the platform’s responsibility. Your store will come with a free SSL certificate and is PCI-DSS compliant from day one. They also take care of making sure the site meets industry standards and that any potential security threats are addressed immediately.

The main bummer with Shopify, security-wise, is that backing up your storefront, which you should definitely do, requires a plugin. One of the benefits of WooCommerce is that it’s sites can be easily backed up to any hard drive.

Now, WooCommerce doesn’t technically have any security measures built in, but this doesn’t mean your store can’t be secured. You’ll have to source your SSL certificate first, and then tackle PCI compliance by following a few easy steps.

Customer Support

While both platforms are fairly easy to use, it’s always good to know there’s someone available to back you up if you need. 

Shopify provides 24/7 support – via live chat, phone, email, and Twitter – as they well should, since your online shop is completely dependent upon their platform. This is incredibly convenient when you have questions or need a helping hand. 

WooCommerce, on the other hand, handles support a little bit differently. Because it’s self-hosted, your primary support system will be your hosting provider. The official WooCommerce website also has a ton of documents and tutorials on demand, as well as the ability to submit general support tickets. 

An upside to WooCommerce is that it’s very popular, which means that both DIY and professional problem-solving options are easy to find and inexpensive to source.

Pricing

Obviously, cost is an important consideration anytime you make an investment in your business. Because they function differently, it’s not surprising that WooCommerce and Shopify use different approaches to pricing.

Shopify’s plans include many of the basics you need to get your store off the ground – a domain name, SSL certificate, and web hosting. A basic plan starts at $29/month with two upgrade options available, priced at $79 or $299/month. 

This price does not include third party tools or add-ons that you may need in order to upgrade functionality or help keep up with your growing business.

The WooCommerce plugin is technically free, but there are still costs associated with building and maintaining a WooCommerce site. Your domain name can cost as little as $10 per year and an SSL certificate goes for about $70 annually. Web hosting starts at about $8 per month.

Don’t overlook one important feature when comparing Shopify vs. WooCommerce – transaction fees. Both Shopify and WooCommerce charge a payment processing fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. But, if you opt to use third party payment gateways, Shopify charges an additional 2% per transaction. WooCommerce sites are subject to standard processing fees, only. 

In short, it’s much cheaper to start with WooCommerce than Shopify. However, there are more places to spend when you’re using WooCommerce. Paid add-ons such as premium themes, plugins for SEO or security, and social integrations will definitely make your shop stand out, but they’ll also impact your bottom line. 

WooCommerce vs. Shopify: What Now?

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have a place in the online shopping world. Which one is right for you depends on your ultimate goal.  

Our suggestion is to start by writing a mission statement. How do you see your online store growing in the next five years? What are your short-term goals, and what are the next steps once you achieve them? If you know where you’re headed, it’s much easier to figure out how to get there. 

Set-up Shop with Hungry Media

We know, even after reading all about WooCommerce vs. Shopify, the decision can still be overwhelming. Sometimes, simply determining a starting point is all you need, and sometimes you’ll want support throughout the entire process. Regardless of where you stand, Hungry Media can help. Our unique approach to design and development ensures your needs are met and your eCommerce site is set for success. 

Reach out today to get started. We can’t wait to help you make your big idea a reality!

Mobile First Strategy
Mobile First Strategy

We Live in A Mobile World

Mobile is here, people, and it’s here to stay! So, it’s no wonder the term “Mobile First Strategy” has become a bit of a buzzword these days. 

The phone you keep in your pocket, and are very likely using to read this article, is exponentially more powerful than the computer NASA used to manage Apollo 11’s moon landing or Nixon used to run the country during his presidency. Another interesting statistic: more Americans own smart phones than desktop and laptop computers combined. 

Why are we sharing this with you? Because historically, most web developers have chosen to take a desktop-first approach, with a mobile design as a secondary consideration. In short, they begin with full-sized sites and work their way smaller. It makes sense, or at least it did fifteen years ago – before smartphones became the way of the world and mobile first development strategy became a must. 

But times, they are a-changing. 

What is a Mobile First Approach?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. A mobile first strategy takes the typical “desktop down” paradigm of web design and flips it on its head. Mobile first strategy makes mobile considerations the primary concern, with laptop and desktop versions developed from there.  

This is not to be confused with a “responsive design,” in which a desktop-first design changes based on screen size. Navigation options and download speeds of responsive sites remain geared towards desktop users instead of mobile. This isn’t the case with mobile first.

Mobile first design is similar to developing a mobile app which is adapted for viewing on a desktop or laptop. In this case you start small – you can only fit so much on a mobile screen, after all. You’ll decide what is most important to include on that screen and go from there. Compared to typical desktop design, a mobile first design strategy usually includes fast download speeds, simple navigation, shorter forms, and interactive, media-rich content.

Why Mobile First Strategy?

“Why not?” might be a better question. There’s no two ways about it – we’re addicted to our mobile devices. 

Seriously, when was the last time you went a day, an afternoon, or even an hour without looking at your phone? As of 2019, 53% of total internet traffic came from mobile devices. It’s estimated today that 25% of mobile web users are “mobile only” (i.e. they rarely use a desktop or laptop to access the internet). 

Plus, Google’s algorithm favors mobile friendly sites. Currently, when a search is conducted from a mobile device, Google returns responsive sites closer to the top of the list. It stands to reason that as mobile first content strategy becomes the norm, the algorithm will begin to favor sites designed not just responsively, but with the mobile user experience as the top priority. 

The internet has broken out of its computer-shaped box, and it is now carried around in our pockets. That’s not going to change anytime soon.

What is a Mobile First Marketing Strategy?

Users make buying decisions based on their ability to access information on products or services immediately; therefore, it’s not enough just to have a mobile friendly website. A mobile first marketing strategy is a must, as well.

According to a bizreport study, while less than half of users actually make their purchase on a mobile device, most use it to research a product before purchasing. As consumers we’re using our smartphones to find inspiration, compare prices, learn about various companies, read reviews etc. If this process isn’t smooth and comfortable, the probability that we’ll move forward with a purchase takes a nosedive.

Even if most of your business transactions occur in person, you’re not immune to the mobile shopping trend. It’s been reported that 82% of smartphone users have consulted their device to research potential purchases while standing inside the store.

A mobile first strategy includes unique content for mobile users, social media integration, and of course web design optimized for mobile usage and viewing. 

So yes, everyone needs a mobile (probably even a mobile first) business strategy. Think about it this way: the content your consumers see on their mobile device establishes brand awareness, develops brand loyalty, and drives purchasing decisions.

Mobilize Your Mobile First Strategy With Hungry Media

To make it in today’s market, mobile is a must. We’re here to help design and implement your mobile first strategy. Contact us at info@hungrymedia.com to get started. We can’t wait to hear from you!