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Web design 101: 10 must-haves for every business website

Web design 101: 10 must-haves for every business website
Whether you have a small business or corporate business, every website needs a number of things to be successful and keep your customers coming back. Sure, you want your website to be beautiful and elaborate, but don't forget the important must-haves every business website needs! Below is my top 10 website must-haves for businesses.

Web Design: Mega Drop Down Menu Tips & Examples

Mega drop down menus are becoming very popular and are surprisingly user friendly. Yes, you read that right: user friendly drop down menus. I never thought complicated drop down menus could be user friendly. This is one of the reasons why I love this industry. Professionals are constantly striving to make websites better and easier to use. I have gathered some tips and examples of mega drop down menus below.


These mega drop down menus are great for menus with more than two levels. When you have more than two levels, the user can get confused and sometimes lost. I have experienced this before on a few websites (*cough* Bed Bath and Beyond). You finally get to the option you want in the 3rd level, slightly move your mouse, and the menu disappears and you have to start from the beginning. This is so frustrating and not to mention, annoying. These mega drop down menus will solve that problem.

There are several different ways to use mega drop down menus:
  • organizing pages by section
  • organizing blog posts by category/topic
  • displaying contact forms or other modules
  • extra call to action space
  • and more (possibilities are almost endless)

Another important tip is to keep mega drop down menus simple. It can be very easy to get carried away with them. Remember, we are trying to confuse the user less, not more.


There are several examples of mega drop down menus on the Internet. I picked a few of them to showcase. Each one has a different way of displaying their menu information.

Starbucks Coffee Company uses a mega drop down menu with several CTAs (Call to Actions). They made good use of their space: there is one on the bottom, and two on the right. Great work, Starbucks!

Starbucks Coffee Company's homepage. View the site.

Verizon Wireless uses a very clean and simple approach for their mega drop down menu. It is very clean and organized. They draw attention to the "sign in/register" button for the CTA. They don't need any graphics to get the user's attention in this situation.

Verizon Wireless' homepage. View the site.

FedEx included beautiful graphics in their mega drop down menu. Their sections are also clear and organized. The graphics also help to break up the text.

FedEx's homepage. View the site.

TBH Creative Example

TBH Creative included a mega drop down menu for The Christ Hospital's The Lindner Research Center research options for clinical trials and publications. Providing up-to-date clinical trial information was the purpose of the website, so we wanted to visually highlight this section and make it very easy to find information quickly.

The Lindner Center's homepage. View the site.

Web Design Case Study: Pond2O

Services Provided Include:
We launched a new website for Pond2O today and it can be viewed at

The CISCO Companies came to TBH Creative looking for a micro-website to highlight their product line called Pond2O. We previously created a microsite for Revive My Lawn.

We used the arrangement and main design elements of the main CISCO website; we changed the color scheme and fonts to match the collateral created for labels and brochures of Pond2O. We also set up and implemented a custom blog for the new site.

Web Design Case Study: DERM - Galderma PreBoard Seminar

Services Provided Include:
We recently launched a new module for DERM to help promote and accept payments for Galderma PreBoard Seminar. It can be viewed within their site pages at

We have worked with DERM for several years. Dr. Bikowski has been the main presenter in this event for several years as well, but this is the first year they have promoted the event and accepted payments online.

The challenge was the quantity of information to include about the event, so we arranged the page strategically with tabs to best use of the real estate.

Marketing—You Don't Need a Big Budget

Guest Blog by Lorraine Ball

Business owners always ask me how big their marketing budgets should be. I usually reply that a successful marketing campaign does not depend on how much money you spend, but how well you spend what you have.

If you want to make good decisions about how much money to spend on marketing (and more importantly where and when to spend), you should begin with a business analysis. Ask yourself:
  • How many existing clients do you have?
  • How many new ones do you want to add?
  • In what time period?
  • What is an individual customer worth?

Google Analytics Addition: Tracking Site Speed

With the newest Google Analytics update (November 2011), Google added site speed into the already advanced set of analytics tools. Site speed is very important to users. Sometimes, if your site takes longer than a few second to load, the user will leave. You don't want to risk losing potential customers.

In Website Magazine's article "Google: Site Speed a Ranking Factor", they mentioned site speed is definitely a ranking factor for search engines. It doesn't carry as much weight as keywords or page relevance, but it does affect ratings. Our world is starting to get used to having information right here and right now. If a page takes too long to load, they don't want to waste their time on it. They will try to find another site with relevant information and less load time.

Web Design Case Study: Olympia Stone

We launched a new website for Olympia Stone last week, and it can be viewed at

TBH Creative was hired by Olympia Stone to make their outdated website more effective and attractive.

They had two primary project goals:

1. Allow easier in-house editing and additional pages/photos.
The new website uses our custom Content Management System which will allow them to add new pages, edit content and even add new photos to their galleries. There is no limit, and they are currently working on additional pages to add.

2. Show off all their great work with a gallery and photos.
We incorporated photos very prominently in their design as a full screen rotation. Large photos are a very popular current web design trend. In addition, we included galleries for major categories of their services (such as kitchens, bars, bathrooms). These galleries are linked in the navigation and right from the main page.
Olympia Stone's new homepage. View the site.
One of Olympia Stone's interior pages. View the site.

Before Redesign

Olympia Stone's homepage prior to the redesign. In addition to the outdated graphics and small photos, the coding was very poor and used tables making edits more difficult.

About Olympia Stone

Founded in 2002 by Matt Schuckman, Olympia Stone utilizes the most sophisticated machinery and processes available in the industry—Computer numerically controlled machinery (CNC)—to ensure perfect form and fit, the first time. Olympia Stone's staff of expert craftsmen, artists and professionals is here to help our clients take their design ideas and transform them into centerpieces of enticing beauty and timeless elegance that only real stone can provide.

Change is coming to YouTube Channels

YouTube—the video-sharing giant that hosts everything from scholarly commentaries and "missing cat" commercials—is rolling out a new look and feel for its Channels. These updates are intended to make it easier for users to find and watch content.

Currently account owners can opt into the new Channels design. The new Channels format isn't mandatory. However, all Channels will automatically switch to the new design one month from today on March 7. If you own or operate a YouTube account, now is the perfect time to plan and make your transition to ensure it's as smooth as possible.

Among the changes are different sizes and placements of graphics on Channels. The most noticeable graphics-related change is that the new format no longer allows for a separate banner. When you adopt the new Channels format, you're allowed to select one of four templates to customize in a way that will help you best keep your viewers engaged and coming back.

The new Channels format also gives you many opportunities to optimize your YouTube account for better search engine results. This helpful blog post chronicles some of the things to look out for when you're updating your account. The tutorial includes step-by-step screen grabs with the instructions.

Mobile Web Design Tips & Examples

Mobile web browsing is on the rise. More people are using their smart phones to browse the Internet on the go, which is the reason why your website needs to have mobile compatibility too. Any smart phone can pull up almost every website, however, it could have the user constantly zooming in and out to find what they need. Mobile devices include phones and tablets.

This chart, provided by Device Magazine, shows the increasing mobile device web browser usage.
Some have even predicted that in less than 5 years, mobile browsing will be more popular than desktop browsing. Knowing how fast technology is moving, I don't doubt their predictions.

Below is my list of mobile web design do's and don'ts:

1. Screen Resolution

Screen resolution is important when making your website mobile device compatible. created this easy to read chart for the various mobile screen dimensions. You will probably need more than one mobile stylesheet for the website.

Mobile device screen resolutions provided by
As noted, there are new devices that come into the market constantly. This list will change year to year.

2. Keep It Simple

You are more limited with space on mobile devices. Don't clutter up the screen with too many links or graphics. Make sure the interface is not confusing to the user. The simpler the better. If you don't have many links (or you want the photographs to be in the spotlight), you can focus on images. Subaru has a very nice example of this:

Subaru's mobile website.
If you have a lot of subcategories in your navigation, simplify them and only include the necessary links on the mobile site. This brings us into the next topic.

3. Options

Some users may want to view the full site on their phone. Maybe they can't find what they are looking for or they don't like the layout of the mobile site. Giving them the option to view the full site really helps usability. If the user has a tablet, it may be easier for them to navigate around the full site they're used to instead of using the mobile site. This link is usually towards the bottom of the website design.

4. Navigation & Links

Only include the necessary links and keep buttons simple. If you have a lot of navigation links, narrow it down or lay it out in a different format. For example, Walmart & Amazon have a lot of navigation and sub navigation on their full website. They simplified it as much as possible so the user would not get lost.'s mobile website.
Amazon's mobile website.

5. User Text Entry

Keep user text entry to a minimum. Make use of checkboxes and drop down menus when possible. The shorter the URL, the better. Remember, these users most likely do not have access to a traditional keyboard and mouse. Some tablet users attach keyboards, however, this is a very small percentage of users.

6. Pop-Ups

This is a definite no-no. On mobile devices, a user can get lost very easily if there are pop up windows and some will not work properly.

7. Flash

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that Apple mobile devices cannot view Flash based animations or movement. It appears as an icon and big empty space. Many Flash movies can be recreated using HTML5 and Javascript to deliver the same effect while also working on your mobile view. If you can, simplify slideshows and only include one strong image instead of five. Images will drastically affect the website load time.

TBH Creative Client Examples

TBH Creative recommends to develop a mobile version of your website and can help you through the options and process. We recently completed a mobile design project for Wheaton World Wide Moving (under contract by Williams Randall Marketing). The mobile site design has easy to use navigation, minimized text, more spacing between links and buttons for fingers to easily click, and a simple, sleek design. If the full website was viewed on a mobile device, the user could easily get confused. See the difference:

Wheaton's homepage. View the site.

The mobile version of Wheaton Worldwide is coming soon.

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