Social Media Is Impacting Web Design

Good morning, internet fans. It’s Ryan Perry. Today is Thursday, April 30th. It’s hard to believe that we’re almost half way through the year at this point. It is Internet Marketing Thursday, therefore I have Virginie Dorn with Business Website Center on the other side. Good morning, Virginie.

Virginie Dorn: Good morning, Ryan. How are you doing today?

RP: I’m doing fabulous. Yourself?

VD: Fantastic, thank you, thank you…

RP: Alright, very good. We’re going to… I think we have a really interesting conversation today. We’ve talked about in the past how mobile has really shaped the design of websites in the sense that I’m starting to see a lot of the top menus disappear, even on desktop versions of websites and they’re going to the hamburger menu where you have to click and we’re getting the long scroll pages and all those type of things. Today, we’re gonna take it one step further and we’re going to talk about how social media is impacting web design. And, you’re saying it’s really about real estate these days?

VD: Absolutely. Because once you decide to incorporate social media onto your website design you have to figure out where to put it, how big to make it, and what type of functionality do you want behind that social media icon.

RP: Okay, so I can’t just… I mean, typically in the upper right hand corner, or somewhere in the top in the header I would just put the, ‘here’s my Facebook’, the little icon, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. And then of course on my blog section, down at the bottom, the blog. It’s nice to share something like that and then all the links so you could share it. So, are we going beyond this then?

VD: Yes, so putting your social media on the top header is the most common place. It makes sense, it’s visible, and you can keep them quite small and people will still see there is a Facebook link there. And again, you can choose to make that link either a direct link to your social media page, just like your Facebook page, or you can make it a shareable link where people can click on it and share that page on their own Facebook profile.

RP: Let me just clarify, because I think this is really important, a lot of people don’t realize this especially if they’re building out their own website. There are essentially two different ways that when you click on that icon, what it can do? One is, it is just a direct link directly to your Facebook page. So, it will take you away from your page, take you to Facebook. And then, you’re saying the second option is more of a “Like” feature that if somebody clicks on it you are then liking, or not liking, but sharing the content. You’re saying, “hey, check out this page” and it will actually open up a dialog box within… So separate window but essentially its a dialog box where you can type something, you hit post and it will actually leave a post or a comment on Facebook or Twitter.

VD: Correct. There’s only two ways to do it, either you link or you give people the ability to share the page. They both have very good value and depending on the type of industry you are, you can have both going on. So often times, some of my clients will have shareability at the top, at the very top header and the link of social media in the bottom are direct links to their platforms. So that seems to be the trend among our clientele, but again you can do either way. You can do both option or only one of them. But, the question always remains where to put the social media icons and should there be text next to it? It truly depends of your industry. As you and I know, social media is great, its here to stay. Maybe platforms will come and go, but social media, as a way to communicate with one another is going to stay with us for a long time.

VD: So, as a business owner, you have to decide well is it truly appropriate for my industry. And, its not always the case, actually even have a legal restrictions for law firms. They can’t just post a bunch of advise. It’s actually illegal for them to do that online. So, you have to really take a look at your business. If its appropriate for you then you decide how appropriate it is and how big you want to make it. If you just want it a side kick, just make them fairly small. One thing we like to do and take… Even though all the social media, like Facebook, Twitter we have our own brand, we have our own color. A lot of us are taking the liberty to edit the colors and make it match with the color scheme of the sites, therefore it all looks very unified that way. Because, if you have a purple website and putting a blue Twitter icon it might not look nice. Saying that, I don’t know how legal that is, you have to talk to Twitter and Facebook and all those guys see how they like you tweeting that.

RP: I would imagine, yes. The brand manager is going, “Oh, my God! They just turned us grey. Why did they turn us grey?” But, I could see that ’cause the last thing you wanted to do is put a white box around something so that the logo is visible and if your color happened to be a very similar color they could actually blend together, so from a design element point of view I could see where that would be an issue. What about making social media more visible? Because the little icons that we’ve been talking about truly are pretty small. Is there any design changes or is there any movement towards incorporating bigger elements in the Facebook? I remember when it used to be cool they had a plug-in for WordPress and it would actually show all the different people that liked it and had all their faces and all that type of stuff.

VD: Yeah, some… I wanted to show you, to answer that question with screenshot, but I think we’re still having problems with Google+ doing screenshot. Are you seeing a screenshot right now?

RP: I have a black screen unfortunately.

VD: Let’s do it one more try.

RP: You wanna post the page in the chat and I’ll open it up. Oh there you go, now you’re good.

VD: Okay, so let’s take a look. We were talking about these small ones here, as you can see they’re fairly small, the lady wanted it sage green, which is their colors. As you mask over you can have a little indicator telling you what it is. This is another way to integrate them, we made them grey and it’s matching the color. I wanted to show you something a little bit bigger. So as you can see here for this client the same logo but a different color matching his color scheme. But if you go below you can make those bigger, so that is one way to give it more attention. You can give it more importance, you can put the name below that and if you want to…

RP: Right, the other thing I like that you’ve done about that is that’s down in the footer and we had an earlier episode, gosh, probably a month or so ago and we talked about the importance of the footer these days because of mobile devices that people scroll down, the last thing that they see is the footer. So you kind of have some sort of call to action and I like having those big buttons down there, that’s a good idea.

VD: Yes, so for this client it’s very important to have that. Sometimes again you keep it small just like here as you can see, I don’t think we did any on the top, but to make a bigger visual impact you can actually integrate the updates from your social media. Just so that this client here, cute little gift shop here in our area and no social media at the top, but what she want is in the footer itself to have her Pinterest posting and her Facebook be updated. So whenever she add something new, for her actually she just change it, but you can see the people who just liked Sunnyside Cottage. And you can like her, you can show Pinterest and there are different ways to do it, so as you can see this is bigger than just a little icon.

RP: Right, and I could see… On some websites they will have under the main image and you’ve got some information and then it will show like the three most recent post from your blog. If you are really heavy into Pinterest, if that was a direct correlation between your target audience and your business it would be kinda cool to have, here’s the last three Pinterest photos and have ’em really present. That would be kind of a cool idea, I don’t know if it’s possible or not but I think it would be a cool idea.

VD: It is. The code is provided by the social media platform itself and then you integrate it in your website, what I have found is we’ve done lot of those integrations, but those companies like Pinterest change the code all the time. So it’s not uncommon to put the Pinterest integration and three months later the code stopped working, because they updated it and now you have to go back. So a lot of our clients in the end, end up having us to get it work, because they are sick and tired of updating the code, because you are at the mercy of Facebook, you are at the mercy of Twitter whenever you do that type of integration. It doesn’t make sense?

RP: No, totally, it makes sense to me because I had a client they had a… It wasn’t social media but they use a third-party customer, CRM software that integrated into their software for reviews, and the code had changed and so the reviews page was totally broken, which from a branding and marketing point of view didn’t look good. Fortunately, I found it before they found it and was able to make the change but I have no idea how long that was broken. And typically as a business owner we don’t go in everyday and look at every single page of our website. So that’s a good thing if you have integrated social media such as Pinterest, Facebook this might be a good opportunity to go check your website, see how it looks, make sure it’s code hasn’t broken.

VD: Yes, once a month at the very least the owner of the website should be checking their website and also test their contact from their social media links ’cause it does happen. Before we… We are about to wrap up in the next few minutes, but there are different ways to also put social media icon, as you can see here we put VIM on the side of the webpage. Let me go to the contact page, will be more visible. So those links here, so these clients, we could have make those links to be something like this where you open up Facebook and they had the Facebook posting showing. For this time we actually decided on shareability, so if you click on Twitter, as you can see it’s my shareability function showing up here.

RP: Okay, took you to wine… It took us to the wine tours page for some reason on the screen.

VD: I’ll just close everything else. So do you see the screen now?

RP: Yeah, we are one the contact page.

VD: Perfect. So… Oh I didn’t want to show it… Sorry, it’s popping a little bit wrong, but when you click on those, those are the shareability, but again you can have those on the right, you can then have them on the left, you can have them when they fixed in places. You can see no matter how long my page is, it doesn’t move. We can make it move as well, so that’s also a preference of the site owner. Does he want little things moving in, this client decided “I like it fixed, I like it on the screen at all time. I don’t want it moving because there is too much else going on.” And you can make them, so again they open up and you have the little Twitter snapshots and there’s all kinds of ways to do it. So I do like that here, it also works well on mobile devices, which is great.


RP: Right, which is very important these days.

VD: Yes, indeed.

RP: Alright very good. So that is social. I think… Would it be fair to say that the key takeaway is that if you, especially if you’re a business owner and you do not have social links on your website, it’s a really smart idea to do so if it makes sense for your business. And the other caveat I would throw out there is that just because you have a Twitter page and a Facebook page and LinkedIn or whatever, if you’re not doing anything on them, and the last time you posted was a year ago or so, then maybe it’s not quite time to integrate social media. And if that’s the case, then we need to have a different conversation about why you’re not integrating social media into your online marketing systems, because it’s just really, really that important these days.

VD: Yeah, it’s all about visibility. The more people see you, the more they’ll remember about your businesses.

RP: Yeah, and for me it’s more about yes, visibility is the first step, but then number two is credibility. If people find you and it’s junk, then that affects your credibility, and by junk I mean that you haven’t branded your Twitter page, you haven’t branded your Facebook page. What’s it been, like two, two-and-a-half years when Facebook business brought out the banner? And I still run across business pages on Facebook that haven’t installed the banner. It’s just this blank area and it just tells doesn’t care or isn’t aware, either way it affects my credibility with them in a negative way.

VD: I Agree. I’m on the same page with you on that. And it doesn’t take that much time to change your banner. For God’s sake, change it.

RP: No, and more importantly it takes less than a second to lose your credibility, and for people to bounce out and go on to your competition. So you’re essentially giving your competition more ammunition and more business, which is the exact opposite of what you want to do. We are out of time. Any closing thoughts?

VD: No. Just think of social media this week, see if it’s good for you, and if it is, go ahead and make sure it’s integrated on your website.

RP: Alright, wonderful Virginie. Next week we have something really cool and exciting to talk about. I have no idea what it is, but I do know it’s gonna be cool and exciting because it’s with you.

VD: Oh, thank you. We’ll be talking about the movement, the tracking movement of your visitors and understanding heat map, which tells you where people click the most. Very exciting.

RP: Okay, heat maps are very, very cool. So looking forward to that conversation, until then, I hope you have a great day.

VD: You too, goodbye.

RP: Bye.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

Leave A Comment