How We Reduced Page Load Times by 70%

We recently custom-built an awesome-looking WordPress website that was a huge upgrade in quality from what the client had previously. Unfortunately, the high-quality images and functionality were taking at least 8-10 seconds to fully load. In today’s competitive market of limited attention spans and SEO rankings, 8-10 seconds is much too long.

To ensure an upgrade in website speed, we analyzed the site, identified the bottlenecks, and implemented a variety of changes, resulting in a final load time of 2-4 seconds: a reduction averaging 65-70%!

Want to know how we did it? Keep reading!

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Landing Page Design Best Practices: How to Make a Perfect Lead Generator

Before you spend a dime on PPC, spend some time… building an Effective Landing Page

While it takes a perfect combination of many factors from keyword research to bidding strategies to ad content to build a successful Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign, they ultimately live & die with the landing page itself. When you’re paying for someone to see something, you’d better make sure they’re seeing something GREAT.

So how do you go about creating a landing page that reaches its maximum potential & makes it rain leads… how do you build your perfect landing page?

Aren’t you glad we’re here to tell you?

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HubSpot Website Redesign: A Step-By-Step Checklist to Build Your Lead Generating Site

If your website is visually or functionally out of date, doesn’t accurately reflect who you are as a company, isn’t visible in search rankings, or isn’t converting enough leads, it’s likely time for a redesign.

HubSpot is one of the most well known & well regarded platforms to help companies succeed with their online marketing, but many companies aren’t aware that HubSpot is also a great option as a platform to host a redesigned website. It provides absolute creative flexibility for the design process and a number of powerful tools to manage the site behind the scenes. And best of all, the site will integrate completely with Hubspot’s marketing automation tools. Read more

The Digital Identity: A Guide to Online Branding, Marketing & Web Design

You may or may not have heard about digital identities, but you probably already intuitively know what makes up one.

What is a Digital Identity?

Think of a digital identity like you would your own real-life identity: it’s a collection of information that represents who you are, in this case, as an online entity.

Whether it’s a company, an organization, a brand or a person, a digital identity encompasses all of the things on the web that add up to who you are, including social media accounts, websites, Wiki information and more.

So why is it important to manage your digital identity? Well, like I said, it’s who you are.

If you’re a growing business, but you don’t have a website, think how that affects your digital identity. If you’re a large corporation, yet your Facebook page is practically inactive, how do you think your identity is impacted?

When you have your digital identity in check, you’re only helping your business in the modern digital age. Read more

Best Practices for Website Carousel Sliders and Slideshows

Web design trends are constantly evolving, and as trends come & go, true best practices begin to emerge. For eons, using a slideshow/carousel as the main focal point of your site’s homepage was The Thing To Do. It has been accepted almost as a given, must-have element in the design process, as if on the web design 10 Commandments, “Thou Shalt Have Thee A Homepage Slider” was #2 on the list, sitting right after “Thou Shalt Place Thine Logo in the Upper Left” and before “Thou Shalt Not Use Comic Sans, for it is an Abomination Before the Lord.”

But the times, they are a-changing, and forward thinking, user-experience-focused geniuses like ourselves are starting to advise our clients to think twice about using one of the longest-standing, time-honored  page elements in web design history: the Holy Homepage Slider. Read more

Don’t Send in the Clowns (Tips to Help You Avoid Sketchy Web Design Companies)

So you’re a small or mid-size business owner or marketing director and the challenging task of choosing a web design agency lies before you. Choose right and you’re in for a smooth, budget-friendly, exciting process that will help take your business to the next level. Choose wrong, and you’re in for a whole big world of hurt!

And the sheer number of agencies out there can make an already difficult task feel overwhelming – especially if you’re in the NJ & NY Metro area like we are. How do you know you’re talking to the right people? Well as a public service, we at Ascent would like to give you some pointers that we’ve picked up through long careers of witnessing bad things happen to good people.

Here are some of our favorite red flags to help you identify and avoid clown web design companies: Read more

Developing Small Business Websites in WordPress: Why we picked the winner of the popularity contest

cms-market-share

Courtesy of Opensourcecms.com

Check out the graph on above, which tells us what something we @ Ascent already knew: WordPress is dominating at Chuck Norris-like levels.

And it just so a happens that Ascent chooses to specialize in custom WordPress development (primarily for small businesses in the NJ/NY Metro area). We didn’t choose WordPress because of its popularity – we chose it because in our arrogant humble opinions, it is by far the best CMS platform on the market, and can give your business the best possible ROI from your website & online marketing.

Here are a few reasons why the popularity of WordPress benefits your business: Read more

Creating A WordPress-Powered Customer Portal Website

Many small businesses (and their customers) would benefit from evolving their website from a one-way informative/brochure presence to a more robust, interactive customer service engine. The idea of a customer portal feature on a site is appealing – but the thought of implementing one can also feel daunting.

Businesses on the road to building an effective customer portal on their website are prone to 2 major potential wrong turns: either (a) choosing an off-the-shelf solution that is costly, hard to use, and too generic to meet their needs, or (b) opting for an extremely expensive completely custom solution.

Get a powerful, feature-packed, customizable WordPress customer portal starting from $500/year


Check out the Demo!

Username & password are demo / demo
Got questions?

But we know a better way: semi-custom CMS-driven customer portals built on a foundation of our hero, WordPress. Are you thinking WordPress is just a blogging tool for people with too much time on their hands? Or a nice little website builder that can’t do any heavy lifting?

Think again. We have used WordPress as the backbone of powerful custom portals, saving clients migraines and thousands of dollars in the process. Read more

Should Your Small Business Website Use a Responsive Design? 4 Reasons Why… Maybe Not.

You might not hear this from anyone else, but your small business might not need a responsive web design.
Don’t get us wrong. We love responsive design (though in a future post, we’ll dig into why it doesn’t go nearly far enough!). But we’re not… in love with it. We don’t drink the kool-aid and we don’t push it on every client. If it makes sense for your business, we’ll always recommend it. But we put your unique business landscape – and most importantly, the needs of your customers – above all when we make recommendations. We have no responsive design agenda.

Most web designers will tell you that you’ve gotta have it, and will pad out their estimates accordingly, because the simple truth is that a responsive design will always cost more (usually a lot more!). But here are a few reasons you should consider bucking the trend, not hopping the bandwagon, & not buying into the Responsive Web Design craze. You should not use a responsive web design for your NJ business if: Read more

3 Ways Your Small Business Website Could be Pushing People Away

Distraction 1: Look away, I’m hideous!

Some of your sites are bad. Really bad. They make little children cry at the sight of them. But much like the mother of a horrid monster, you see it through the skewed vision of love (or through the equally distorted lens: “it cost me big money”). You may not recognize that your site is an evil, ugly and terrible creation gone wrong, and it must be stopped. Let us help you come to grips with the truth. Read more

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