How your website's design can prove a formidable storytelling tool

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Are you old enough to recall the early days of the World Wide Web in the early '90s? If so, you probably have lingering memories of the rudimentary appearance of websites of the time, compared to today's much more aesthetically slick and sophisticated online portals.

Reassuringly, web design techniques have advanced leaps and bounds since then, allowing modern webmasters to communicate essential details in many different ways.

If you wish to tell a riveting story through your website, you can even use design components to do it, as the following examples show.

Let your visitor form their own online persona

When you watch a great film or book, it's possible to relate to the lead character so strongly that you can easily imagine yourself in your shoes, effectively making yourself the hero.

Unless you feel emotionally invested in a given character, you probably won’t be greatly eager to follow their journey.

You can take inspiration from this for your website by allowing the visitor to create their own persona – complete with an avatar and detailed profile – that they can use when exploring the site.

Carefully select images to guide the visitor through a story

You might not have known that people are 22 times likelier to remember data when it is presented to them in a narrative form. Furthermore, as we digest visual material at a 60% faster pace than textual content, you shouldn't overlook visual elements like video and animation.

You could incorporate the above media into your site as chunks of a visually-told story. If your company offers package holidays to exotic locations, for example, photographs of the destinations could show prospective holidaymakers where they could take steps for real.

Symbols enable you to use mobile screen space more effectively

Apple recently grabbed headlines when it launched the iPhone XS Max with a supposedly monstrously large screen. However, the device’s display actually measures only 6.5 inches diagonally, which still makes it much smaller than the average laptop screen.

The continued popularity of smartphones means web designers have to keep asking themselves how they can communicate information effectively within limited real estate.

However, easily recognisable symbols can effectively convey all manner of information to visitors within a small amount of space. One obvious example of this is the hamburger menu button, which takes the form of three horizontal bars meant to resemble a collapsed navigational menu.

Would you like your own organisation’s new website to embrace techniques like the above for concisely communicating vital information and telling a story? If so, you may wish to enquire to our skilled and seasoned website design professionals about how they can help.

Some lesser-spotted advice on optimising your site content for search engines

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, October 17, 2018

While the design of your website will always play a central role in ensuring it ranks well in the search engines, it can be easy to forget just how crucial the most relevant content also is. If your site content isn’t relevant to anyone, you can’t expect to generate many visitors and revenue from natural search.

It’s therefore well worth considering the below strategies for tweaking your site content in a manner that is search engine optimisation (SEO) friendly.

Allow keyword research to guide your content strategy

Keyword research is a key component of all of our SEO and marketing packages here at Piranha Designs, and with good reason. The higher the standard of your keyword research, the more you will know about what searchers truly want.

That’s why keyword research is so vital when you come to devise your natural search and content strategies for your site. Good keyword research enables you to spot the gaps in your site that you need to fill with fresh content.

It’s also important to assign intent to keyword themes – whether the user is looking for information, to make a purchase or to merely navigate relevant sites – so that you can craft the content that will stimulate and fulfil the visitor’s desire in each case.

Make sure you aren’t competing with yourself

Once you have established certain keyword themes, you will be able to map them to specific pages of your site to accommodate the broadest range of relevant keywords.

This greatly helps to ensure you don’t end up simply attempting to optimise every page of your site for a similar set of in-demand keywords, thereby forcing your pages to compete with each other for rankings.

Optimise in both scalable and manual ways

You can efficiently enhance your site’s tag-based content through the use of default ‘formulas’ for generating title tags, meta descriptions, headings and image alt attributes.

However, it’s also true that you can only get so far with your SEO when you depend purely on formulas. In any case, your pages based on the highest-value keyword themes will need to be manually optimised as part of the fine-tuning process.

In a lot of cases, you might simply find yourself needing to fix awkward grammar brought about by the aforementioned formulas. One aspect of your pages that should always be manually optimised, however, is the main body of text, as you can’t apply scalable optimisation methods to what is supposed to be creatively written content.

These tips cover just some of the many elements that you will need to think about when you are tweaking and adjusting your site with the search engines in mind. Contact Piranha Designs’ Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices today, and we can give you more hands-on assistance with your site’s search engine profile.

Struggling to find good-quality, free stock photos? Try these 5 sites

Piranha Designs - Friday, October 12, 2018

While – in an ideal world – you may aspire to only populate your website with images that your company has created itself, the truth is that there will also likely be times when the use of stock photos on your site is necessary or desirable. In any case, there are many high-quality stock images out there; a lot of the problem for online business owners is the difficulty of finding them.

This is why you may be thankful for our below suggestions of free stock photo sites.


With Unsplash having even been used for the default theme provided with WordPress, it has come to command a great deal of respect in the stock-photo world. Its library now consists of a whopping 600,000 high-resolution images, and more are continually being added by the site’s photographer community.


There aren’t too many better sources of high-quality free stock images than Pexels, which draws its photos with user contributions and free-image sites. Visitors can browse hundreds of thousands of photos, while the search feature and use of tagging makes it easy to find the perfect image for almost any conceivable application.


It’s one of the most instantly recognisable names in the stock-photo world, and with good reason. Pixabay is a relatively ancient site by the standards of most stock image portals, having been launched ‘way back’ in November 2010. However, the opportunity that it affords you to sift through more than 1.5 million copyright-free images and videos surely can’t be passed up when you are in need of such commercial-ready material that also doesn’t require you to request permission for use.

New Old Stock

Stock images aren’t a phenomenon solely of the 21st century, and New Old Stock takes advantage of this fact, granting you access to all manner of vintage photos and image collections from the public archives that aren’t subject to any known copyright restrictions. Both colour and black and white images are available, as may be handy for those areas of your site where you’re delving into the past.

Startup Stock Photos

It’s worth keeping an eye out for any stock photo sites that specifically represent your industry or even, in the case of Startup Stock Photos, your company’s size and stage of development. Expect to see images on this site that include laptops, whiteboards, office spaces and all of the other paraphernalia and motifs associated with small companies.

Remember that when you turn to Piranha Designs for CMS website design services, we will provide you with stock photo library access as part of our Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum plans, further strengthening the range of images from which you can pick for your site. Simply call our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices today for more information.

Sophisticated ways to boost the appeal of your landing pages

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, September 19, 2018

You surely won’t need our team here at Piranha Designs to tell you about the importance of your site’s landing pages quickly commanding the attention of your visitors and enticing them to act. However, some of the most effective techniques for doing so can seem less than obvious, until you know them – at which point, you may wonder why they weren’t the very first things you did.

With that in mind, here are just some of the proven means by which you can make your landing pages more impactful.

Include a testimonial as a headline

Would you most trust someone telling you that their product or service would work for you... or an actual past customer of the given product or service telling you that?

Including an approving quote from a person who has used the product or service previously, detailing not only the result they gained – for example, their company growing by 50% - but also a recommendation that it would work for a wide range of other potential customers or clients, can be very powerful indeed.

Include a real name, job title and photo of the person sharing such warm comments, and you will be able to maximise the trust level still further.

Use an authoritative image

Does the main image on your landing page communicate the values that you would like your brand to be associated with?

If the picture shows a person from your company, for example, this is an invaluable opportunity to depict them as authentic, authoritative and intelligent... rather than hapless, untrustworthy or incapable. It all contributes to your ongoing efforts to build the right reputation for your organisation and its people, products and services.

List impressive past customers or clients

If your company is fortunate enough to have formidable and respected past customers, your landing pages give you a great chance to feature these in a manner that enables your site visitors to immediately recognise them.

You could do this by showing the given companies’ logos, or perhaps an image of a well-known person if the customer is an individual. Whatever you do, make sure the people or firms you include are those that would impress your target customers or clients, rather than necessarily the general public.

Save mention of the cost until later if it may be an objection

Sadly, you can’t offer everything for free or a bargain-bucket price – but you can make a given price seem like exceptional value if you have taken the time to establish that value first.

This is what you may be best-advised to do on your landing pages, depending on the particular product or service you are advertising. After all, not all products or services are about the price first, and you won’t want to unnecessarily turn away many of your prospects before you have had the chance to properly pique their interest and build a relationship with them.

We can rustle up captivating and relevant websites for all manner of businesses, ranging from estate agents to ecommerce companies. So, why not get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today to talk to us about all things web design for your own brand?

5 things to include in your retail website’s footer

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, August 22, 2018

One element of your retail site that you may almost forget about – and not even see on other sites unless you’re scrolling down to find the bottom of the page – is its footer.

But this bottom section of your site isn’t just somewhere to put all of the links and content that you may not have been able to fit in elsewhere. In short, you’ll need to make conscious decisions on what will be contained within your site’s footer.

Here are just some items that are especially common in website footers, and which you may therefore decide to include in yours.

Social media links

The importance of your retail website interfacing seamlessly – or almost seamlessly – with your brand’s social media presence should never be underestimated.

Links to your firm’s pages on such platforms as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may therefore be invaluable for alerting those looking at the bottom of your pages to the opportunities to continue engaging with your brand, even once they have left your site.

Job openings

The footer is an obvious place for many of those who have perused your site to hit their browser ‘back’ button. Including information about the latest job openings – even if this simply amounts to a ‘Careers’ link – could therefore be another great way to keep them interested and on your site.

A link to your site map

Could some visitors to your site do with a refresher of what pages your site consists of, and where they can be found? After all, the given person looking at your footer may have ended up there after unsuccessfully searching for a particular page on your site through the main navigation system.

Trust, certification and accreditation badges

Has your site been formally approved by a well-known and reputable body? Perhaps it has gained some form of external accreditation or certification that you feel could convince a lingering prospective buyer to go ahead and place an order?

Links to your terms and conditions and privacy policy

These are the mundane, but informative pages of your site that will likely reassure the customer about such matters as how your store uses their personal information and how they are entitled to use various parts of your site. Remember that these are vital pages for filling in gaps in knowledge left by your Frequently Asked Questions and similar sections, and it’s almost a given to the average customer that your terms and conditions and privacy policy links will be in the footer.

Do you want to have your very own ‘mini Amazon’ that will bring your brand impressive performance and ease of use for years to come, while driving ever-greater customer numbers? If so, our team here at Piranha Designs would be delighted to talk to you about our in-depth know-how in ecommerce website design, and advise you on which of our packages may be right for you.

3 possible explanations for your site’s indexation numbers dropping

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, August 15, 2018

If your site’s pages aren’t indexed, they don’t have any chance of appearing in natural search results. There are many reasons why your site’s indexation numbers may be on the wane, so let’s have a look at just a few of the most potentially obvious and easily spotted.

Page speed

It may seem logical that when search engine spiders are unable to access a given page at all, they demote that page in the rankings and eventually remove it from the index altogether. However, you may not have known that this can also happen to pages with overly slow loading times.

If enough of your site’s pages have this problem, you may therefore suffer a significant enough drop in indexation numbers for your entire site’s rankings to be affected.

Design changes

If you’ve been tweaking your site’s header and footer navigational structures lately, the resultant impact on categories and pages may mean that entire areas of the site are removed from site-wide navigational elements. With the affected pages receiving fewer internal links as a consequence, search engines may end up demoting their value.

Other design changes can also be problematic for indexation – for example, if they mean the page no longer has as much content or some of its content is included within an image, instead of being readily indexable as plain HTML text.

Duplicate content

There’s no point to a search engine in keeping two or more copies of the same page in its index, so guess what? When the search engine spiders begin to perceive your site as having a lot of duplicate content, your pages aren’t likely to be indexed as much.

Nor is this just a problem for pages that are duplicated exactly, with pages that are merely very similar in their content also vulnerable. This can be a particular issue for ecommerce sites, where browse grids for two subcategories may have largely the same products, meaning the search engine sees little use in indexing both.

Is your own site receiving the close and informed attention that it requires if it is to thrive in the natural search results? Yes, that’s right – as well as web design, Piranha Designs can provide comprehensive search engine marketing services incorporating such vital elements as keyword research, page optimisation, guest blogging, monthly reports and much more.

So you’ve got a long page... how can you encourage users to scroll down it?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, July 26, 2018

While split tests have often shown that it’s better to make a page long than short, there’s one potential downside: you won’t feel the benefit if the reader isn’t aware that the page is long.

You won’t want to put a lot of hard work into creating the perfect long page, only for the visitor to not realise that they can scroll down further, or even wish to scroll down.

Defining the ‘fold’

You might well have come across the term ‘above the fold’ quite a bit when researching all things web design. It refers to the part of the page that a user can see without scrolling.

However, the fold isn’t always in the same place for different users. Instead, its position can be impacted by such factors as the user’s screen resolution, the number of bars – such as toolbars – that they have open in their browser, and whether they have zoomed in on the page.

That’s before you consider the even greater complexity brought to the issue by the ever-increasing variety of mobile and tablet web browsers these days.

But there are ways to get your users to scroll

Given such factors as the variability of the position of the fold, it’s fair to say there’s no single, universal solution to the issue of how you can encourage visitors to your long pages to scroll down.

There are, though, proven strategies that you can try. You could incorporate a distinctive background into the top, left and right-hand corners of your page, for example, so that it’s obvious to the reader when they still need to scroll down further to reach the bottom.

Alternatively, you could be a little less subtle, by actually asking the reader to scroll down in your sales copy – explicitly saying “Please scroll down for...” or words to that effect. Remember that users are more likely to follow such an instruction if they are given a clear incentive to do so – for example, if you have a discount code or a download link for a useful PDF to give to them.

You might even go as far as incorporating a ‘please scroll’ graphic just above the fold. You could simply place it where most of your visitors’ folds lie, or add it to a freestanding object attached to the bottom of the browser window. The latter tactic will ensure the graphic is always seen at the bottom of the reader’s screen, regardless of their screen resolution.

Why not talk to us about website design?

Long pages can certainly deliver great results for your organisation, but it’s vital to ensure your readers are quickly made aware of their length and are encouraged to scroll down them.

If you would appreciate the highest-quality bespoke web design services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team, so that we can discuss with you the best route forward.

It’s not impossible to compete for search rankings with the big boys

Piranha Designs - Thursday, July 12, 2018

Every business active online aspires to the highest search engine positions for the most popular and relevant terms – whether those are ‘health food’, ‘estate agents’, ‘country house hotel’ or something else entirely. 

But of course, only a limited number of organisations can achieve first-page results for certain terms at any one time – in much the same way as not every company can afford to have a store on London’s Oxford Street or New York’s Madison Avenue. There’s just too much competition, which pushes the cost of that sought-after space to stratospheric levels. 

It’s a similar story when it comes to the most competitive keywords online. It’s the very biggest companies that tend to occupy the loftiest positions, as those are the ones that can plough eye-watering sums into their SEO and PR budgets. 

So, is there any way around this?

If, like the vast majority of online firms, you aren’t an Apple, Facebook or Coca-Cola, there has long been a widely accepted wisdom that you can’t expect to compete against the heavyweights – or at least, not by trying to play the game the same way they are. 

There are, though, quite a few strategies that could deliver you success – even on a par with much better-established and well-known brands than your own. 

One of these has long been to aim to rank well for less popular keywords which, when taken together, could give you search traffic similar to what you could achieve from ranking well for a single, more popular search term. 

You’re likely to have a much better chance of attaining good rankings for ‘coffee shop in Camberwell’, for example, than ‘coffee shop in London’ or even ‘coffee shop in south London’. 

But it doesn’t stop there...

You see, there are always examples that you can find of brands emerging seemingly from nowhere, having only been founded a few years ago, but somehow rising quickly to give many of the big boys a bloody nose. 

Consider a brand like Fashion Nova, for instance, which has been noted for its ability to sometimes rank highly for competitive single-word keywords like ‘fashion’, despite its ecommerce site having launched as recently as 2013.  

Sites like these put often much wealthier competitors in the shade through a variety of strategies, but often by targeting demographics and requirements that the bigger names ignore – such as, in the case of Fashion Nova, the underserved minority and plus-size markets. 

These comparative minnows’ successes indicate that you should never be too fatalistic about your chances of competing with bigger names in your field. There may be all manner of neglected audiences that you could target, which is why you should also be looking to the social channels where those audiences are likely to be active. 

Then, of course, there is the difference that a suitably comprehensive search engine optimisation and marketing package from a trusted web marketing agency can make – and there are quite a few such plans that we can offer you here at Piranha Designs. 

Ask us today about our Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum SEO packages encompassing all of the elements – including keyword research, page optimisation, guest blogging and more – that could empower you to deal some serious blows to much bigger names in your industry.

5 parts of your site where you may look to inject humour

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Anyone who has ever felt better as a result of adopting an amusing perspective on an otherwise difficult situation will know just how important humour is in day-to-day life. It is uniquely human, and can have various benefits for one’s health, such as reduced stress and a heightened tolerance for pain.

You may therefore be interested in learning which parts of your website design may be most improved with some tasteful and well-judged doses of humour. Well, here are a few suggestions.

The ‘About Us’ page

This is the page of your site that many visitors will look to for a sense of the ‘human’ side of your brand, which could make it ripe for an injection of humour if appropriate. You could have images of your staff, for example, adopting wacky poses or even wearing funny outfits.

News and update pages

These are parts of your site that can feel a little grey and tedious, especially when you have important, but otherwise boring news to share. You might want to take a look at the changes and updates feed at Slack, for example, to see how a lightly humorous style can help to make those important news developments sink in better with readers.

The ‘404 error’ page

It’s frustrating to find yourself at a dead end when you are looking for a particular product, service or page online. A well-done humorous 404 page can therefore be helpful for lessening some of that frustration. However, it’s equally vital to pair any ‘jokey’ error 404 content – many examples of which are brought together in this Usabilla blog post – with a means by which the visitor can get to what they were looking for, such as a search box or navigation link.

The chatbot

It is becoming increasingly customary for chatbots to be used in website designs for organisations in almost all industries. Given that a chatbot is, after all, effectively there to replace a human, you should consider ways in which yours could be given a more ‘human-like’ personality, as may be achieved in part with some well-judged humour.

Blog posts

A website’s blog has long been a key frontier for businesses seeking to give their online presences a dash of down-to-earth personality. Humour – including in bullet points and embedded media such as images and video – can certainly be incorporated to great effect in blog posts. However, a generally relaxed conversational tone can have a similar impact. In short, we would suggest that when in doubt, you go for the subtle rather than laugh-a-minute approach.

It’s important to follow the principle of ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’ with your use of humour in your web design – not least as there are definitely instances in which using it at all could damage the user experience and by extension, your brand.

Nonetheless, humour – when handled well – can be a key weapon when you are seeking to make more of the right impact with your target audience. Contact the Piranha Designs team today, and we can discuss with you in greater detail all of those little touches that could help to elevate your custom web design from ‘good’ to ‘great’.

Does your ecommerce site clearly communicate why the customer should bother?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, June 12, 2018

There are a lot of things that could greatly help to get more of your website’s visitors purchasing from you – a steady stream of insightful blog posts, for example, or a more intuitive navigation system. However, even many of these things may not be as impactful as they ought to be, if your target audience doesn’t understand or like your value propositions.

If you’re wondering, “what’s a value proposition?”, allow us to explain – it’s the benefits of a particular product or service of yours, minus the costs. When we say ‘costs’, we don’t necessarily just mean the asking price; the economic risk, time or resource investment required should also be factored in.

Think from the perspective of the buyer

Even the above definition is a little seller-centric, which may not aid clear thinking, given that it’s the individual buyer you’re supposed to be appealing to with your value proposition.

After all, the value proposition of a given product or service varies from one potential purchaser to another, because there may be certain features a buyer needs, and certain features they don’t. Plus, buyers tend to think in terms of a product or service’s pros and cons, rather than benefits and costs.

It’s handy, though, to consider value proposition from both a seller and buyer perspective, to give yourself a complete picture.

So, how can you communicate those ‘pros’?

Take a look at your company’s website. You might be offering more technical or complex products or services that can be difficult to explain. Have you communicated the value propositions for them, including what each product or service actually is?

There might even be key benefits of your product or service that you haven’t mentioned on your website. It’s for this reason that it is well worth sitting down and listing all of the elements of value that buyers get, before checking that your site clearly conveys each and every one.

You might also consider whether your site makes it obvious what happens once the buyer hits the ‘order’ button. This can be an especially important element if your business offers services rather than products. A diagram or flowchart could therefore be useful for leaving your target customer in no doubt about the process, and how it will begin to benefit them straight away.

Our expertise in ecommerce web design here at Piranha Designs could be instrumental in boosting your firm’s sales online this year. Highly rated packages are available at various price points to ensure you receive the right website design at a price that makes sense for your company.

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