Web Design 101: How to Use Psychology to Choose Your Color Scheme

Web Design 101: How to Use Psychology to Choose Your Color Scheme

Are you in the process of creating a new website? Need help choosing the right color scheme for your business? In this helpful infographic, you’ll see some basics of choosing the right colors for your website. For example, did you realize that the color purple (not the movie, RIP Prince) but the actual color purple conveys a sense of

  • Sophistication
  • Glamour
  • Elegance
  • Style

We do, and that’s why we use so much of it in our logo and on our website. Purple and green aren’t for everyone though, check out this infographic and think about what your color combination could mean.


4 Things Better Than That “Too Good to Be True” Webinar

4 Things Better Than That “Too Good to Be True” Webinar

When I first started out as an entrepreneur I was desperate for two things: clients and knowledge.  At the time I could count my clients on one hand and still not use all my fingers, to make things worse I wasn’t sure what to charge or how to handle the few clients I did have.

I had lots of questions, but no answers.

I started looking online for help, using Google and I was quickly overwhelmed by the number of business advice articles and advice out there. I knew the big names that I should pay attention to Steve Jobs, Guy Kawasaki, and Richard Branson, but I didn’t know who else to pay attention to or what other advice I should take. One day while looking through Facebook I noticed an ad for freelancers who wanted to make a business building websites with WordPress. The ad said something along the lines of “Want to attract clients willing to pay you 10K for a website? Take our free course.”

Hell yeah, I want to attract clients willing to pay 10K for a website” I thought.

I fell for the bait hook, line, and sinker. After eagerly watching the webinar, diligently taking notes and trying to retain every bit of free advice I was given I was left wanting more…and, by George, they offered more! A FREE consultation phone call with one of their own “Experts.”

Awesome!” I thought “One-on-one advice from an expert, someone who has been where I am and are on the other side and want to help me.” I was so foolish. The scheduled time for the phone call came and they were prompt to call. The woman I spoke to listened to my problems and was very empathetic to them. Throughout the call, this woman affirmed my problems and kept saying how grateful she was for the training she had received in this unreasonably-overpriced course (my words, not hers.) and how if I just took the course I would be so much more equipped and well on my way to getting clients who will pay what I am worth. It wasn’t until then that I started to smell something fishy.

In a wave, it hit me–the theme of the free webinar wasn’t to help us get clients willing to pay $10K for a website the theme of the free webinar was to push us to pay upwards of $1,500 to take the online course and if you were still not convinced you can get a “Free” consultation phone call to go for the hard sell. The guy running the webinar wasn’t a guru who just wanted to spread the secret to getting good clients, he was a huckster operating on the old principle that a fool and his money are soon parted.

I felt like a moron, even the good points I had gleaned from their “Free” sales pitch webinar I already knew, I had just temporarily forgotten.

Unfortunately, I had wasted most of my afternoon on this “bait-and-switch” webinar. I felt like a moron, even the good points I had gleaned from their “Free” sales pitch webinar I already knew, I had just temporarily forgotten. (Those facts went to that place in my brain that tucks vital information away for safe keeping and then erases it from your short-term memory so that when you need it you have no ability to recall it.) The entire experience was nothing more than regurgitated facts in a shiny wrapper all for the express purpose of getting you to buy their “expert” training.

However, I decided one thing was for certain that afternoon and that is that I was never again wasting my time on a webinar for professional web developers unless it was taught by Ethan Marcotte himself.


Let me give you four key things to keep in mind before you click that link to the seminar with a title promising something that seems too good to be true.
1) Hard Work + Talent is Better than the so-called “Miracle” cure. 

I know you don’t just pick up a saxophone and start playing the sax solo from ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ (Yes, that’s my go-to example) Talent is rare, training is a lot of hard work; but you can only be taught the things that have been done, having that certain panache to do something extraordinary takes talent. Talent to do the extraordinary doesn’t come along every day that’s what makes those that have it special. On the other hand, there is a nuance that comes with training in something and pouring your heart, mind, and body into it. The once difficult task becomes less difficult and then less difficult again and so on. As cliche as it might be–at the end of the day, there is no substitute for hard work.

2) Attention to Details is better than Training.

I would have never made that statement 10 years ago, but the longer I have been in the design business the more I have seen amazing designs ruined by a misspelled word. Being your own proof-reader isn’t always easy to do but it’s always worth it, especially when you are the last stop before the printer or screen. If you have as much trouble with it as I do there are tools out there to help. Grammerly is an awesome tool that I rely on a lot.

3) Reading =Training

I am convinced that 90% or more of all business seminars are some variations of the classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Think about it, have you ever been to a business seminar and NOT heard this book referenced in some form or another? Read that book, heck read anything written by Dale Carnegie and you’ve already learned as much, if not more than you’ll get from most business seminars. There is literally no shortage of good FREE resources out there. Follow an “influencer’s” blog (someone that’s a REAL guru, not one that puts “Guru” in their business name,) network, check out all the books the local library has on web design, running a small business and entrepreneurship.

4) Not all “uGurus” are Experts

A crucial skill in a debate is being able to separate opinions from facts. This skill is usually employed as someone giving their opinions as a fact. A skill that some people can use and abuse very well (think ANY presidential candidates) My grandpa Downey used to say “Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.” (Grandpa was a colorful guy) While the definitions of facts vs. opinions can get murky. (Read this article) The guy giving this webinar passed himself off as some kind of guru when nothing could have been further from the truth. Many so-called gurus will spout off their opinions, and because they are the “guru” we are supposed to take this as a fact–I don’t think so.

Three important questions to ask when you are considering any kind of business seminar are:

  1. Who is this person teaching?
  2. What makes him an expert in this field?
  3. Do you trust them?

If the answer to any of these questions is: “No” or “I don’t know.” Do a little research from all angles, assuming both good and bad and keep in mind these 4 things as you research:

  1. Not all growth is good,
  2. Having made a crapload of money may not mean anything more than they were lucky once.
  3. You can’t replicate someone else’s success story.
  4. Overuse of business buzzwords is a bad sign.
It is because of point number four above that you should only take my advice in this post with a grain of salt. Sure, I believe that most business seminars or webinars are a waste of time at best (or a bait-and-switch at worst), but maybe for you, seminars are a great experience that you learn a lot from, I say more power to you if that is the case. I don’t see how and that is not the case for me, which is why you’ll never find clicking that ad link with the headline offering something too good to be true.
5 Must-Haves for Your Church Website

5 Must-Haves for Your Church Website

The chances are good that the individual or family walking into your church this Sunday morning found your church via the Internet. Your church’s website is often the first impression people will get of your church as a whole, and just like in real life you only have seconds to make a first impression. 3.5 seconds to be exact, because if your website takes longer than 3.5 seconds to load 65% of all your website visitors will navigate to another site.

…of the 35% of visitors to your website that do wait for the page to load over half will discredit your website if your design is poor.

Now, don’t panic! If the thought of creating and maintaining a website for your church feels overwhelming, you’re not alone. If the thought of losing website visitors because it loads to slow keeps you up at night (No? That’s just us?) Well, relax anyway. So many pastors and church leaders get bogged down in the details of trying to put together their church’s website, that it usually ends up a jumbled mess, but you don’t need to worry. That’s why we are here, to break down the barriers between your church’s website and the world.

Think of your church website as a digital lobby for your church, a place to welcome your guests and make sure they have the basic information they need. With that concept in mind here is a 5-point checklist to help you as you start to plan (or re-plan) your churches website.


1. Location, Location, Location

Just like in the real estate business location is the most important thing to highlight when it comes to building your church website, the best place to start is with the basics. And what’s more important for potential visitors to know then the location of your church? At a minimum, start with the church address. Most people have navigation apps on their phone, so an address is all they need to find you. But it’s still great to take it a step further by giving more specific directions. What will the turn off look like if they’re coming from the north or the south? Do you have any special instructions for parking or entry doors? Few things frustrate people more than getting lost or confused on the way to a place they are unfamiliar with. Take away the guesswork for your visitors, put their minds at ease, and help them show up at your church on time!


2. Schedule

Think about the last time you invited someone to your church. You told them where your church is located, then you let them know when your worship services and regular programs get started. It’s the same online. Think about it as a conversation. Be sure to clearly and prominently feature your service times. Include the time and location of things like Sunday morning services, Sunday School or small group meetings, student ministry, and any services you may have on other days of the week. Think through the regularly-scheduled happenings at your church, and be sure to include those on your basic schedule.

Don’t overwhelm people by listing things like worship team rehearsal times and elder meetings. Just list the basic events that will help visitors and hopefully interest those who are infrequent attendees


3. Denominal Affiliation/Mission and/or Beliefs Statement

People want to know what makes your church really unique in your community. What denomination does your church belong to? Are people moving to your community specifically looking for a Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912 Church? In fact, I would say go above and beyond just listing your denominal affiliation or Statement of Beliefs but narrow down the specific purpose of your church and make it known,(i.e. “at ABC Church we’re all about…“)

People want to know if they will really fit in with your churches standards and practices. No one wants to be surprised if they start passing around a bag of rattlesnakes. Develop a simple statement of faith to include on your website. You can hang on to your long version or denominational affiliation, but try to come up with two or three sentences that encompass what you believe and what you teach. This will help folks understand the overall goals you have for your church. Make this statement easy to read and remember. List it clearly on your website so that potential visitors can get a quick understanding of your church’s identity and vision.


No one wants to be surprised if they start passing around a bag of rattlesnakes. 

4. Contact Information

Visitors to your site may have specific questions or needs. They need the option to get in touch with you at the click of a button. You can get as detailed as you want with the contact form. You can customize it to allow people to give as little or as much information as they feel is necessary. You can send it directly to a staff member without the pastor or secretary needing to see. Regardless of how you set it up exactly, your site visitors will need it!

You can build a basic form giving visitors a simple link to click that will prompt them to send an email to a preset address at your church. Or, you can make it even more basic if you need to. Make sure your “Contact Us” page has your church office phone number and office hours. This is another place to include the address, too. If you want to get fancy, you can even add a staff directory. The point is to give visitors a clear way to get in touch with someone at your church who can respond to their needs and answer their questions quickly


5. Pictures

People love to see pictures if they didn’t Instagram wouldn’t even be a thing. Your church images need to be authentic though, stock photos won’t have the same impact that a real photograph of your real church members would. The best solution is to load your website up with as many real pictures of your real church as possible, without being ridiculous. Focus on sharing stories or the real mood of your church, that will let guests be able to picture themselves in your actual church building. These pictures will bring your church to life in a way no stock pictures or clip art can.

Now that you know some of the info you should have on your church website, we hope you’re feeling better about how achievable this whole process can be. But it’s ok if you’re still worried about how to put it all together. Helping churches build beautiful websites is literally what we do all day. And we can help you, too. Together, your church website goals can become achievable, not overwhelming! Contact Us today, and let us help you.


8 Tips to Improve Your Website User Experience

8 Tips to Improve Your Website User Experience

Is your organization’s website a boon or a bust?

Are visitors to your website pleased with what the see and experience or do they shriek in horror and close the page in frustration? This is called click-aways or bounce-rate by us in the web design industry and if your bounce rate is very high, and by high we mean anything over 70%, it might be good to consider the following 8 tips to increase your user experience.

Tip #1: Choose the Right Headings

By highlighting searchable keywords, your headings clearly and directly address the questions your readers are looking for, making your website more comfortable and easier to navigate.

They also break up the text and make reading less daunting for your users.


Tip #2: Use Authentic Images

This point hits close to home for us, while it is cheap and easy to search through a stock image site and use some stock photos that vaguely relate to your website, it’s best to use as little stock photography as possible.

Even though the stock photography looks professional it is often impersonal and devoid of any real character. Aside from that who knows how many other people have used that same photo. (He said, knowing the irony of the featured image being a stock photo)


Tip #3 Mix and Match Text Formats

Tone and style are responsible for engaging written content, so too are the visual elements to your website.

Visual appeal isn’t just about inserting images, it’s also about the look and formatting of the text itself.

Rather than stick to long paragraphs break up your text with bullet points, subheadings or lists. (like this one)


Tip #4 Use White Space to your Advantage

Images and text aren’t the only things that make your text visually appealing.  Equally as important is the blank space around your works and between your images, we call this “White Space.”

It’s a revolutionary term we just invented and …uh…my lawyers are telling me I can’t, in fact, make the claim that WE invented the term white space,  so let’s just say it’s called White Space and leave it at that.

White Space© is important because it, as much as your text and images, can draw the reader in and lets them know where they can pause.


Tip #5 Make it Interactive

There are many different types of interactive content.

One option is to make website text subtly interact with a users mouse. Or when the user’s mouse hovers over the image, explainer text could fade in over the image.


Tip #6 Optimize Your Site for Mobile

If you want to rank well for SEO, and want to keep users on your page as long as possible, then it is critical that you make your website mobile friendly.

Google already sees more mobile searches than desktop searches and Google’s estimated mobile-first index, scheduled to roll out in 2018, with a mobile-friendly site you can rest assured this change won’t negatively affect your SEO.


Tip #7 Customize your 404 pages.

A 404 page is an error page on your site, every site has them including yours. You will find 404 pages on your site by following a bad link or typing in a bunch of jibberish at the end of your url.

Here at Downey Design, we like to have a little bit of fun on this page so it’s not completely annoying and frustrating when the site users stumble across it. For example, this is a 404 we made for a local resturant site we did:

Other things you could do with your 404 page is to make it a landing page for a special offer, but whatever you do with your 404 pages customizing it is better than leaving it without a personality.


Tip # 8 Speed Up Your Page Load Times

If a page loads too slowly users are likely to give up on going to your website in favor of one that loads faster, including your competitors. In fact, according to recent data if a page load time is more than 3.5 seconds you are likely to lose up to 60% of your audience.

In order to see if your website delivers a speedy user experience across all platforms, there are many free tools you can use, like Google’s Page Speed Insights.


Well, that’s it our list of 8 things you can do to improve your website user experience. If you have any questions or have no idea what your websites bounce rate is or you just want to know where to get started improving your website user’s experience. Contact Us, we’d love to help.