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Web Design and Marketing

Sunday, August 02 2015
How to Resize Images for Your Website

It's important that images are sized correctly before they are uploaded to your website. There are two aspects of an image to be concerned with.

  • Image dimensions -  the height and width are measured in pixels or px for short.
  • Size of the file - measured in bytes, kilobytes (KB) or megabytes (MB)

For an example image I'm going to use this photo I took on a recent trip. You'll notice the file is 2MB. I try to keep images around 50KB on my website depending on what I'm using the image for. So, you can see that 2MB is way too large.  

The dimensions are 3264 pixels x 2448 pixels. To give you an idea how big that is, the dimensions of cover photos on Facebook is 851px x 315px. Our sample image is almost 4 times the width of a Facebook cover image.

Usually once we take care of the dimensions, the width and height of an image, that will take care of the file size as well.

I normally use PhotoShop to resize images. I'm assuming that if you have PhotoShop you already know how to resize images. So for this demonstration, I'm going to use PicMonkey a free online tool to show you how to resize images for your website or blog.

The basic editing features are free with PicMonkey. You can upgrade and get access to all of the PicMonkey tools. If you're going to be working with images and you don't have PhotoShop, I recommend you get the paid version. I have PhotoShop and I still use PicMonkey quite a bit because it's so quick and easy to use. 

4 Easy Steps to Resize Your Image for the Internet

Step 1: Go to PicMonkey, click on the Edit icon at the top, then click on Computer under the Edit icon. Then choose the file that you want to resize.

Step 2: Notice in the bottom right corner that the image is displayed at 28% of it's size. It's so large it can't fit on the screen.
Click on Resize at the bottom of the left column.

Step 3: Enter in your new pixel dimensions. If your not sure, see my note below to help you get an idea.
Make sure to check the Keep Proportions box. Click on Apply.

Step 4: In the first box, you can rename your file and select file type. I recommend you save it as a jpg.
Under Quality, I recommend you select the middle button. That tends to give adequate quality and file size.
Notice the dimensions are now 300px x 225px and then at the bottom, you'll see the file size is only 27KB.
Click on Save to my computer. Now you're ready to upload the new file to your site.

What if I'm not sure what pixel size my image needs to be?

If you're new to working with pixels here are 2 ways to find out the dimensions of an image on a website. By looking at the size of images already on a website you'll get an idea for what size your image needs to be.

  1. In Firefox, right cick on an image or put 2 fingers on your trackpad when you click it. That will bring up a menu list. Select View Image Info. Look down and you'll see Dimensions.
  2. MeasureIt is a helpful FireFox Add-on you can install that allows you to move your cursor on the screen to determine the size of any image or space that you are viewing. I use this frequently. Chrome has a similar Add-on called PageRuler.

Posted by: Craig Ludrick AT 06:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, November 01 2012
Which is better to use on your website to process donations and/or store purchases - a merchant account or a 3rd Party Payment App such as PayPal, Google Checkout, etc.

Merchant Account vs 3rd Party Payment App
In a usability study when users were routed to a 3rd party payment application once they initiated the donation process users were annoyed and confused. My own experience in having a webstore and initially using a 3rd party payment application is that users were often confused and would bounce without completing their purchase. They thought that since they didn't have an account with the 3rd party payment system that they couldn't complete their purchase. I even put in big red letters that they didn't have to have an account that they could still use their credit card and complete their purchase as a guest. It still didn't help. I finally switched to a merchant account. Even though many 3rd party payment apps don't require an account, trying to complete your transaction without one is unintuitive and confusing. There are some 3rd party payment apps that offer more seamless integration. PayPal is a popular payment app and many people that do a lot of shopping online have an account and prefer to use it.  

What You Should Do
Use both. Get a merchant account because it will easily and seamlessly allow you to process credit cards on our website. You will process more transactions because it's seamless and integrated with the website and people know what to expect. For people that prefer to donate or pay with PayPal offer that as an option as well. 

Need help? No problem we can help you get your merchant account and get it set it on your website for you.


Posted by: Craig Ludrick AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 30 2012
2 Things Donors Want to Know
Research on donors' giving patterns has shown that there are two things that donors want to know before making a donation. In regards to your non-profit organizatoin, they want to know:
  1. What it does.
  2. How it spends its money.
Donors Can't Find What They're Looking For
The research study also found that donors struggled to find this information on the home pages or even in the pages within the websites of non-profit organizations. Often, critical information regarding how a non-profit organization spends its money was only available after a donor initiated the process. Unfortunately, this information was only available to people after they had made the decision to donate to the organization.

Putting Information in the Wrong Place
Other people who were researching or evaluating the organization, never had access to this important information because it was within the donation process. For example, in many cases there would be a link on the home page of an organization with a call to action to donate to a specific project. But only after clicking on that link would users sometimes get access to more detailed information. But in the mind of the user they would only arrive at that page after making a decision to donate. It would have been more effective to place important information that donors are looking for prior to the donation process. It would be most helpful to donors in their decision process to provide specific information for how money for a specific project will be used.

What You Can Do
  1. Tell people what you do. Make it very clear what your organization does and put it on the home page of your website.  Sounds simple enough but you would be surprised how hard it is to figure out what some organizations do when you visit their website. Focus on what services you provide and why. Keep it simple and easy to understand.
  2. Show where the money goes. Be proactive in anticipating donors questions and show how money for projects as well as the ministry budget is spent.
Posted by: Craig Ludrick AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, October 27 2012
10 Tips for Good Web Design

  1. Put the name of your organization and your logo on the top of each page.
  2. Write straightforward and simple headings and page titles that make sense and are SEO friendly.
  3. Set up the web page to facilitate scanning by using groupings, subheadings, bullets, bold text, and highlighting so that users can quickly get the gist of the page at a glance.
  4. Do what everybody else does! If most big websites do things a certain way then follow their example since your users spend their time on other websites and will expect things to work on your website that they do on other websites. (Don't try to reinvent the wheel)
  5. Don't distract or annoy visitors with:
    • distracting animation
    • blinking or scrolling text
    • pop up windows
    • links that go to new windows
    • music that autoplays
    • slow loading pages
  6. Focus on creating valuable content.
  7. Optimize images before uploading to your website. There are plenty of free online image optimizers. Keep images under 25KB.
  8. Fonts
    • Use standard font families
    • Limit the number of fonts to 2 or 3 at the most.
    • Use Serif fonts for headlines and Sans Serif fonts for text.
  9. Clear and easy navigation. Don't make your users think. Make it easy for people to find what they're looking for.
  10. Mind the gaps! Pay attention to consistent spacing between your elements and use white space effectively.

Need help?
Contact the SiteHatcher Support Team for help creating a website that gets results.


Posted by: AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 01 2012

1. Make the purpose of your organization clear.
Visitors to your website should be able to quickly determine what your organization does.  How long do you have to state the case for your organization? Not very long. Research shows that users leave web pages after 10-20 seconds, but that if your organization can clearly and compellingly communicate your organization's purpose that you can keep their attention for much longer.

2. What are donors looking for on non-profit websites when deciding to donate?
When a donor research group was asked this question there were 2 categories of information that were most requested:

  1. The organization's mission, goals, objective, and work.
  2. How the organization uses donations.

What they want to know is: What are you trying to achieve and how will you spend my money? Sadly, only 47% of non-profit sites answered the first question on their home page.
Further, only a ridiculously low 5% answered the second question on the home page.

Although organizations typically provided these answers somewhere within the site, users often had problems finding this crucial information. 

3. What information do donors use when making a decision to donate?
In choosing between two charities, people referred to five categories of information. However, an organization’s mission, goals, objectives, and work was by far the most important. Indeed, it was 2.6 times as important as the runner-up issue, which was how the organization uses the money it collects. 

The Question That Your Non-Profit Website Must Answer

People want to know what a non-profit stands for, because they want to contribute to causes that share their ideals and values. Most people probably agree that, for example, it’s good to help impoverished residents of developing countries or patients suffering from nasty diseases. Many organizations claim to do these very things. The question in a potential donor’s mind is how the organization proposes to help. Often, sites that were studied failed to answer this question clearly—and lost out on donations as a result. 

What You Can Do

  • Use the homepage to address the top 2 questions potential donors have. 

Make it easy for donors to find the information they're looking for! Explain the purpose of your organization on the homepage in a clear, compelling, and concise way.

Users in a study of non-profit websites were interested in two things when they considered donating to a charity or non-profit: what did the organization do and how did they use donations? Unfortunately, many users struggled to find this information on the websites that were tested, and very few found this information on an organization’s homepage. 

Need help?
Contact our support team. We have 20 years experience working with non-profits and can help you craft a comepelling mission statement for your organization.
 

Posted by: Craig Ludrick AT 07:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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