If your child has a serious illness, the caretaking that falls to you is undoubtedly intense. But of course, you do it willingly. After all, you’d do anything for your child, including switching places in a minute if only that were possible. Instead, you give all that you can, in every other imaginable way. It’s harder than anything you’ve ever done, and honestly, there are moments when the sheer magnitude of what you’re up against is so overwhelming that you just want to run and hide. Ask any parent who’s done this before and you’ll find out something very important: You’re not alone.

The Caregiver’s Dilemma

What is a Caregiver and How Can They Help You or a Loved One? When you’re the caregiver of a child who is seriously ill, it can feel as if the whole world is on your shoulders. Your sick child needs you. You may have other children who need you. Your spouse needs you. Your job — however pointless work might seem right now — needs you. Yet there’s only so much you can give before you will feel mental, emotionally, and physically drained. That’s why it’s a necessity — not a luxury — to spend some time taking care of yourself so that you can recharge and feel empowered to continue to support and care for your child.

Tips for Caregivers

Avoid Caregiver Injuries with These Tips Many of these tips might seem easier said than done at first, and a few may seem downright frivolous. But to make it through the long haul, consider the wisdom of that air-safety rule about putting your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. Here are some ways to do that: Take breaks. It’s essential to regularly schedule a few times each week — even for just an hour or two — when you can get away while a family member, friend, or a health aide stays with your child. Once away, that time is yours, so don’t feel guilty about how you spend it. Nap, read, have coffee with a friend, go shopping, whatever allows you to relax. While you’re out, your child will probably enjoy having someone else to talk to and you’ll feel refreshed when you get back. Eat right. It’s no surprise that living on coffee and picking at hospital leftovers can leave you feeling tired and run down. If you know you’re going to be out, carry nutritious snacks with you, like fruit, granola bars, sandwiches, or nuts. And if friends offer to bring homemade meals to your home to help out, take them up on it. Exercise. Whether through a brisk walk, a bike ride, or yoga, most people find that exercise helps clear the mind, boost energy levels, and improve sleep. Even 20 minutes can do the trick, so save a bit of time every day to get moving.

More Tips

Stay organized. Keep all the information you’ve accumulated about your child’s illness in one place, including medication schedules, important phone numbers, and insurance information. When you think of questions for your doctor, write them down immediately so you won’t forget. And since dealing with insurance companies can often seem like a full-time job in itself, enlist the help of your spouse or another trusted family member or friend to help keep it all straight. Use a notebook to keep all of the information in one place. Ask for help. Your friends and family likely want to help you, but might not be sure about what you need. If someone says, “If there’s anything I can do…” — and there is — say so. You’d be surprised at how running an errand, doing some laundry, or just sitting and listening to you talk about the day can not only benefit you, but also can make a loved one feel useful. Find a support group. Ask your child’s doctor, nurse, or social worker for information on local support groups related to your child’s condition or caregiving in general. If you feel more comfortable sharing anonymously online, then look there. The important thing is to get beyond the feeling of isolation by reaching out to others who’ve been in your shoes. Acknowledge your feelings. Your child is sick — of course, you have feelings of anger and frustration and days when you wish you didn’t have to deal with it all. Does this make you a bad parent? No, it makes you human. Accept these negative feelings and the often painful fact that no matter how much time or energy you invest in your child’s care, you can never be completely in control of your child’s health and happiness. Be aware of the signs of “caregiver burnout.” Caregiver burnout is a true state of exhaustion, both physical and emotional. It tends to happen when caregivers try to “do it all” without getting the help or rest they need. Because caregivers tend to be on autopilot, they’re not usually quick to recognize burnout in themselves. Other people might notice the symptoms first, which can include changes in appetite and sleep patterns, withdrawal from social activities, increased anxiety, or emotions that are either heightened (such as excessive crying or irritability) or decreased (feeling empty or unconcerned). Take it seriously if someone you trust notices any of these things in you.

Getting Help

If you feel like you may be experiencing caregiver burnout, depression, or anxiety, explain your feelings and symptoms to your doctor, who may recommend that you see a counselor or therapist (especially one who specializes in caregiver needs). Your doctor also may encourage you to take a temporary break from your duties by looking into respite care (the kind needed would depend on how ill your child is). Medications for anxiety or depression could be an option, too. Finally, remember that you are not superhuman. You’re a parent doing your best. So give your child your time, your encouragement, your attention, and your unconditional love. Just be sure to save a little bit for yourself. Contact us for more information.
The duties of a caregiver can vary depending on their connection with the person they are proving the care for. It also depends on the support the older person needs. In many cases, live-in caregivers are the relatives of the person they are providing the support and assistance.
elderly woman having breakfast with caregiver
Family caregivers offer in-home care and non-medical services. No matter the amount of love that exists between a caregiver and an older person, caregiver responsibility and long-term care is a daunting challenge that gets more difficult as the aging parent gets older. More than 50 percent of primary caregivers have noted that the role of caregiving takes a toll on their productivity at work. Another 75 percent of primary caregivers indicated that caregiving takes a toll on their family.
75 percent of primary caregivers indicated that caregiving takes a toll on their family.
Almost all caregivers, including family caregivers, say the role is a very demanding one. The responsibility and expectations of a caregiver are really high. Some caregivers say they lose their sense of privacy in the job. Caregiving can be challenging both on someone’s psychological and physical well-being. If you don’t take control of your time, you might hardly have enough time for yourself as a caregiver, even if you are only doing such for your parents. While being a live-in caregiver is quite challenging, being a support system for someone who is unable to help themselves is purely rewarding. It can be even more rewarding if you take into consideration the responsibilities required of you if you painstakingly carry them out. What are those responsibilities required of a caregiver? Read them below. Caring For Parents Personal Care One of the biggest responsibilities of a caregiver is to assist the older person with personal care. Some of the personal care includes bathing, grooming, and dressing. There is a huge task on the shoulders of caregivers to help the elderly with these duties. As a caregiver, part of the personal care responsibilities also includes toileting. Some older people have difficulties with mobility which affects their ease of toileting. They usually need support to balance well and clean themselves after using the toilet. Others who are still somewhat mobile might need help doing some exercise like jogging in the morning or taking a walk. It is part of the responsibilities of a caregiver to guide them during any form of exercise which is a good thing for their health.

2. Food Preparation

The preparation of food is not limited to cooking alone. Caregivers should be able to go beyond the mere preparation of meals. The older person must be assured that you are there for shopping of the food ingredients, arranging the food items where they should be, and more. As a caregiver, you are responsible for cooking the meal, dishing the meal appropriately, feeding the senior if required, cleaning the dishes and keeping the kitchen in its best possible state.
Health is the most important aspect of aging. Older people, at this point of their lives, do not prioritise any other thing above their health. As such, your help comes handy when it comes to taking proper care of older people, especially when it concerns their health in particular. As many older people usually experience a decline in cognitive abilities, it is common for them to forget the doctor’s prescription for a particular drug. It is possible for them to take beyond or below the specified dose. This is where your responsibility comes in. You are responsible to overseeing their drug intake. You are to ensure that aging parents take the medication at the exact time and with the prescribed time interval while not overdosing. You are also responsible for keeping with medical appointments. Caring For Parents Mobility Assist
Even aging parents with mobility issues want to move about. They even love walking with their adult children or their caregiver. Older people want to go out to see what is happening. They think they must have missed a lot while staying indoors for some time. Often, they just want to stay outside and look around, nothing more. It is your responsibility to help them do all of this. You will also need to help those who are immobile to get in and out of wheelchair. Also, the very aged ones who might have difficulty entering into a vehicle will need your help. The responsibilities of a caregiver are challenging. However, you have to see the precious help you are providing to someone who will always be thankful you are there to help. Older parents usually act like babies as their ages increase. It is no one’s fault. That is how nature has been tailored. Their baby-like actions means you will have to do some supervision and give them orders to stick by. You are not meant to sound arrogant or disobedient. You are only meant to give them the care you would give to a baby. They need supervision on what to wear, where to walk, and where an item is located, etc. Put simply, your responsibility as a caregiver is to provide help whenever it is needed.
More than being a caregiver, you have to be a reliable companion. Seniors need people who can stay by them, people who they can discuss and laugh with, and people who they can share their deep feelings with. It might be quite a challenge if you have lots to do at home, especially if you are raising a young family. However, the few minutes that you give to an older person can make all the difference in the world. You have to be a companion they can rely on when it comes to every matter of life including health, emotional, physical, and personal matters. Older people need help when moving from one place to another. Much of transportation has been covered in this article. However, there is a little difference here. Caring For Parents Transportation While you can support them to move from one place to another, it is more important if you can run those errands for them. You should be able to visit the clinic to help them get their medications. You can do some activities for them to give them some ease.
As a mediator, you are tasked with collecting the information from the doctors and giving such information to your aging parent and your siblings.
The responsibility of a mediator is to be the person who takes the position to pass information and feedback from one individual to another. That is who you should be if you really want to be impactful as a caregiver. As the child of the aging parent, chances are you are already doing it. However, there is more to being a mediator than you think. As a mediator, you are tasked with collecting the information from the doctors and giving such information to your aging parent and your siblings. You are to follow the health of the older person very closely. You should make it your responsibility to take note of any changes in the older person’s health. You are to record and report any difference or alteration in the health of the older person. Your major responsibility as a mediator is to focus on the aging parent and pass of any observation to the appropriate persons. This is the kind of responsibility that makes anyone a good caregiver. Older people do not have the strength to clean homes and arrange rooms the way you can. Therefore, organizing the home of your aging parents becomes your responsibility. You are tasked with general house cleaning and cleaning of a specific part of the apartment like the toilet. You are also responsible for cleaning of house furniture and equipment. Contact us for more informtation.
Girl and father coloring Parenting, for many, is the most important and challenging job to ever have and a role that gets little recognition. Parents and other primary caregivers of all types (foster parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, etc.) can all use an opportunity to learn tips and new strategies to relate with our children and enjoy being with them. It also allows an opportunity to engage with other parents that may be having similar issues and struggles. Today, there are new parenting challenges to overcome. Skills, routines and values were passed from generation to generation and parents could rely on networks of support to help them parent. Compared to past generations, many parents and families have become isolated and are raising children in silos. These parents are trying to figure it out alone. The skills a child needs to be successful have changed as well. Over the years, each generation sees a change in what society considers parenting issues. Currently, families struggle with behavior management issues including lack of expectations, child supervision and excessively severe and inconsistent punishment on behalf of the parent. According to John Geldhoff, an Oregon University assistant professor of behavioral and health science, all parents—high income, low income, mandated and non–mandated—can benefit from evidence-based parenting education. Parents who have attended classes and learned effective discipline and parenting techniques report having children with higher grades, fewer behavior problems, less substance abuse issues, better mental health and greater social competence. Parenting education programs offer support and education that can address issues and make parenting easier, more enjoyable and can strengthen a child’s ability to thrive. Building Early Emotional Skills in Young Children is one of many parenting programs offered by Michigan State University Extension. Many other reliable sources of information for parents are available to meet their needs. Resources are readily available online through YouTube videos, research-based websites, in person, podcasts, blogs and books that are readily accessible. Before you engage with a parenting resource, check the source of the information to be certain it is research based and reputable. Stack of books Your child’s childcare center or school, community center, local library and local county MSU Extension may offer in-person trainings. In-person parent education allows parents the options to ask pertinent questions to their situation and potentially meet other parents to share stories with. A frequent issue that is brought up is relatable to everyone in the class, quality discussions begins, and ideas are shared. Online classes may also offer valuable opportunities to explore materials at your own pace and connect virtually with other parents. Parenting education can be seen as something negative, like it is a reflection on your ability to parent. Parenting education is not just for parents who are struggling or having severe problems with their children’s behavior—it can be an opportunity for parents to feel more confident as a parent, prevent future problems, enjoy being with their children and help their family get along. We may invest time and money to take our new puppy to obedience class, take golf lessons or practice our swing, or take our family out to eat or on vacation as a way to invest in ourselves and our families. Similarly, parenting classes are an investment in our personal growth and our children’s future ability to build healthy relationships, make and retain friends, get a job and keep it, and become great parents themselves.New Benefits Help Parents and Caregivers As a parent or caregiver, you want the best for your children or other dependents. You may be concerned or have questions about certain behaviors they exhibit and how to ensure they get help.

What to Look For

It is important to be aware of warning signs that your child may be struggling. You can play a critical role in knowing when your child may need help. Consult with a school counselor, school nurse, mental health provider, or another health care professional if your child shows one or more of the following behaviors: Because children often can’t understand difficult situations on their own, you should pay particular attention if they experience:

What to Do

If you are concerned your child’s behaviors, it is important to get appropriate care. You should:

How to Talk About Mental Health

10 things you might not know about mental health | AXA Do you need help starting a conversation with your child about mental health? Try leading with these questions. Make sure you actively listen to your child’s response. When talking about mental health problems with your child you should:

Learn More About Supporting Your Children

How to best support your child's learning at home There are many resources for parents and caregivers who want to know more about children’s mental health. Learn more about:

Get Help for Your Child

Seek immediate assistance if you think your child is in danger of harming themselves or others. You can call us.
Blue banner with the words Think Education: Facing the learning crisis in eastern and Southern Africa   Parents and caregivers dominate opportunities to contribute to learning Children spend more time outside school than they do inside it. It is here that parents and caregivers can shape their learning environments and opportunities. Consider a primary school child in Malawi. According to the pie chart below, the child’s opportunity to learn in school is effectively two-and-a-half hours of on-task time a day for six months: roughly 300 hours of in-school learning a year. In contrast, the child has over 2,000 hours of opportunity to learn outside of school, that’s 76 per cent  of their waking hours.
Pie chart showing division of hours per year available to a primary school child in Malawi with blue denoting 76% of time is the out-of-school opportunity to learn. the highest percentage among all other areas.
© Save The ChildrenFigure illustrating annual hours of opportunity for a primary school child to learn in Malawi.
To fully support children’s learning, we must leverage all available opportunities. This means going beyond the 24 per cent of time children spend in school and looking at time they spend outside. We must pay attention to the role of parents and caregivers during this substantial amount of time, and strategize about how to support them to optimize children’s learning.
A father and son sitting on the ground with the father pointing his finger at a row of five blue bottle caps on the ground.
© Save the Children/Rwanda/2018Jean Dacascene Hakizemana teaches his son Epaphrodite, (3) to count to five through an activity using bottle caps in Ngororero District Rwanda. Parents are taught simple learning activities like this one through Save the Children’s First Read project.
Lifewide learning initiatives for parents and caregivers  In Eastern and Southern Africa, many initiatives that address the role of parents and caregivers in children’s learning are emerging. These are working across a child’s education course of early childhood development, primary education and are geared towards developing adolescents and young people’s skills. Early Childhood Development (ECD)
  • Ethiopia, Malawi and Rwanda —education cards spread messages addressing parental attitudes and early childhood learning. They can be shared through a variety of platforms including community meetings, ECD centres and community health worker visits.
  • Zambia and Rwanda — interactive radio instruction reinforces positive parenting practices.
  • Rwanda and Ethiopia — community members train parents and caregivers on how to engage with their children in learning and play activities during their daily routines.
Primary education
  • Malawi — interactive radio instruction has been effectively used for students in grades 1 to 4.
  • Malawi, Rwanda and Ethiopia — community reading activities like reading in groups and discussing stories, reading in pairs where one reader is more skilled than another, borrowing books, and participating in literacy celebrations have shown gains in reading comprehension.
  • In many countries, the importance of reading outside of school hours has been taken up across national reading programmes; in part seen by the recent shift in USAID-funded reading programmes in MalawiEthiopia and Rwanda.
Adolescents and Young people
  • Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda — evidence from a youth programme for out-of-school boys and girls suggests that more strategic and explicit involvement of the family in development programmes for adolescents can determine not only how well they use the skills they learn but also the longer-term sustainability of the livelihoods they eventually select.
  • Strengthening parental support for learning by reducing barriers to formal schooling like child labour and early marriage, especially for girls whose education is not always prioritized.
  • Engaging parents, caregivers and communities to support youth’s social and emotional competencies alongside their livelihoods.
  • Connecting to employment opportunities and networks of local skilled tradespeople and with opportunities to establish a reputation for being hard-working and responsible. 
    Three young children a story on their laps are huddled closely to one another, and smiling widely.
    © Save the Children/Zimbabwe/2018/BurkeTatenda Musanura, (8), Chipo Tenzi, (9), and Trish Mapingue, (8), share a storybook during class at Matau Primary School in Zimbabwe on May 4, 2011.
How can education ministries support learning throughout a child’s life? Government investments must include action points that assist parents and caregivers in supporting children’s learning outside of institutions. For example, in Rwanda the new Education Sector Strategic Plan 3 includes a goal on parenting education and sensitization. The Rwanda ECD policy also strategically focuses on parenting education and is committed to rolling out a national parenting programme. In addition, the draft Literacy Policy emphasizes the use of children’s out-of-school time for activities such as participation in reading clubs. Modules on roles of parents and parenting education have been incorporated into pre-service and in-service teacher training. Modules for Parent Teacher Associations to train parents on how to support children’s learning have been developed; and for coordination, local leaders are expected to include sensitization of parents and parenting education in district plans as well as in their own performance contracts.
© Save the Children/Malawi/2018/BisceglieBonamali Lyson talking with his son, Hawa Bonomali, (9), at home. They are discussing the Save the Children Cool Parent guide. They live in Mkuchila village, Malawi.
Countries can follow Rwanda’s blueprint by including parenting in different strategic documents and plans both at policy level and for implementation. This will leverage the power of an additional 76 percent of the opportunity to learn in a child’s life.

WellCare is the Top Rated Medicaid Plan in Georgia for Consumer Satisfaction

UPDATED LIST: Medicare Advantage star ratings for 2020 show more 4 star or  higher plans | Healthcare Finance News ATLANTA and TAMPA, Fla.Dec. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — When it comes to consumer satisfaction among Georgia’s managed Medicaid members, WellCare of Georgia, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) is the top-rated, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) 2017 – 2018 Medicaid Health Insurance Plan Ratings. NCQA reported WellCare of Georgia was rated 4 out of 5 for consumer satisfaction and 3.5 out of 5 overall in NCQA’s Medicaid Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2017–2018, making WellCare the state’s top-rated managed care organization for member satisfaction. These quality measures are especially important to help improve health outcomes. Research indicates patients who are satisfied with their physician relationship tend to utilize more preventive care services and screenings. “Member satisfaction among the Medicaid population is crucial because patients are more likely to manage chronic health conditions and reduce unhealthy behaviors when they have positive relationships with their physicians,” said Sonya Nelson, president, WellCare of Georgia. “Because our primary care physicians have done an exceptional job in building patient relationships and offering helpful, manageable ways for members to improve their health, we’re seeing improvements in health outcomes.” An August 2016 report from Health Affairs noted that among lower-income patients, trust and respect were their primary concern in the healthcare system. Many reported the issue they were most passionate about was distrust of healthcare workers and a sense that they were seen as “less-than” by medical providers. WellCare employs more than 80 field-based care associates serving 159 counties across the state who help members manage their health conditions and can provide in-home visits or help members overcome social or economic barriers to care by connecting members to needed social services such as food, transportation or housing. “Our care management and advocacy teams are making vital improvements in our members’ lives. Many families struggle with social or economic barriers to care that put them at a disadvantage when it comes to living a healthy life. By helping families navigate these challenges, WellCare removes major roadblocks to better health. We look forward to continuing to help our members in Georgia live better, healthier lives,” said Nelson. As of Sept. 30, 2017, WellCare serves approximately 498,000 Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids® plan members, 46,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 20,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Georgia. To learn more about how WellCare cares for Georgians, watch Gloria’s story at http://youtu.be/qyn-nywze04. About NCQA Ratings
NCQA ratings are based on three types of quality measures: measures of clinical quality from NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®); measures of consumer satisfaction using Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®); and results from NCQA’s review of a health plan’s health quality processes (i.e., performance on NCQA accreditation standards). NCQA rates health plans that report quality information publicly. For a more detailed review of the latest NCQA health insurance plan ratings report, visit: http://healthinsuranceratings.ncqa.org/2017/search/Medicaid/GA. About NCQA
National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations and recognizes clinicians in key clinical areas. NCQA’s HEDIS® is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA’s Web site (www.ncqa.org) contains information to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices. About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. WellCare serves approximately 4.3 million members nationwide as of Sept. 30, 2017. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company’s website at www.wellcare.com or view the company’s videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.
If you are looking for ideas on how to create a great business or corporate website, chances are you are searching for tips on how to make sure it becomes successful. Well, you have landed at the right place and we hope these points can help you out. A business or corporate website, in most cases, do not serve just to provide information to browsers. Most websites act as the first point of contact for their potential customers and serve as the silent “salesman” that meet and greet all your new potential clients. As such, we believe that a great website should be able to attract, retain and sell to the browsers, converting them to enquiries, and eventually to customers. What are the key attributes that can help website convert browsers into enquiries? In what we believe as the Verz Standards in making an excellent website, there are three important attributes – Awesome DesignCompelling Contents and Qualified Traffic. Let us explore in detail these three attributes of designing web excellence.   1st Criteria of a Great Website – Awesome Design First things first, the site must encompass an awesome design that attracts.   Visual Aesthetics “Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” – Joe Sparano The first thing that a visitor will notice when it comes to a website is its appearance. In fostering a positive impression, visuals are paramount and influential because it’s the first thing that catches the eyes.   ✔ Custom Layout Designs are cultivated from scratch. Templates are not advisable as such, analysis and study of the business is carefully done in order to implement a proper and suitable design proposal for the client. The custom layout will depend on the contents of each client and the approved sitemap. Similar to a tailor-made suit where you can ask to draw attention to your best assets as compared to a ready-to-wear outfit, a custom layout can highlight the best parts of the website that the business owners would want to emphasize. A good designer understands the content and figures out a way to make it stand out on the website.   ✔ Colour Scheme The colours used should be appropriate with the line of business and set up a proper tone that follows the branding. We don’t simply pick out a colour that we like and blindly use this for any brand; there’s a psychological process to this that needs to be taken into great consideration. A website with an awesome design shouldn’t look like a college as well. Everything should fit perfectly and blend nicely with each other. The colour scheme sets up the tone for the website, hence, photos and texts should coincide and go well together without clashing with the backdrop. If the brand has a fun and outgoing personality, colours like yellow and blue are appropriate; if it’s a sophisticated and mysterious brand, maybe shades of grey and black are more suitable. To know more about colour schemes on websites, check out this article by Nayomi Chibana in time.   ✔ Captivating Banner The banner of a website is akin to the face of a person. It possesses the highest heat map for your browsers. As such, it’s important to spend quality time coming up with high-quality banners. In most websites for business or corporate use, it’s common to have a navigation effect on the banners, which allows for multiple banners to be displayed. As the banner is the first thing a browser sees on a website, taglines can be modified and designed to drive browsers into other important pages on the site.   ✔ Quality Photos Photos make a great impact on a design so it’s essential to use images of high quality. It’s no longer necessary to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to engage a professional photographer if you’re looking to use high-quality photos. Most reputable web agencies will be able to purchase and download royalty-free images from stock banks such as 123RF, Shutterstock, iStock Photo and many more. These stock banks work just like how Uber works but in the photography industry. To see more stock photo banks, read this article.   ✔ Use of Infographics In this era, it’s a well-known fact that there’s no lack of information on the web; in fact, the problem is the overload of information. Because of this, it becomes a struggle to know and understand which are the important ones that are relevant. As such, a fun way to present your contents is through the use of engaging infographics. This is a mixture of visuals and copy, designed together to visually communicate your idea. It’s also an efficient way to present complex information, altogether making it easily understood by viewers.   Navigation Effect “Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs In the above segment, we merely covered the “aesthetics” of how the website is supposed to look. As Steve Jobs say it best, we have to ensure that the website works well too. That means all components including hyperlinks, buttons, contact form, enquiry form and the thank you page should work correctly, with no errors.   ✔ Fast Loading Site The site must load quickly so avoid auto-play of videos and audios, especially the ones supported by Flash. You only have 8 seconds or less to convince a visitor to stay, so make sure that counts; don’t make them wait. There should be no room for errors with the website’s functionality because a link that doesn’t work properly or a site that takes too long to load will cause visitors to turn away, leaving them a negative impression of not only your site but your company altogether. Such mistakes must be kept to a minimum, if not none, because little details can provoke bigger issues. Know your website speed with Google’s Page Speed Test.   ✔ Responsive Web Design Websites should also adapt a responsive layout as most internet users are now on their phones and tablets more often than they are on their laptops. This framework approach uses multiple grid layouts that respond to the environment of the device – so the responsive website you view will adjust according to the gadget you use. Check out this useful tool from Google to know if your website is mobile-friendly.   ✔ Menu Bar and Site Footer For an effective website, the menu bar exists to ease the site navigation of the visitor where all the links to the important pages are there including the contact information. There are different ways to design a menu bar where it can get creative depending on the design and the company industry. What is most essential is that its position, as well as orientation, is clear and easy to understand. If strategically designed, a good menu bar can eventually lead to more traffic and a pleasant visit for the browsers. As for the site footer, this is similar to a menu bar but is found at the bottom part of your website. What highly differentiates this from a menu bar is that it contains the most important links that you would look for in the website, including contact information and copyright. Just when the browser arrives at the bottom part of the page, it leads visitors back up to view the other important contents of the website.   ✔ Customised Thank You Page Right before your visitor sends an enquiry or submits an order, they land into a designated ‘Thank You page’ that acknowledges the conversion they just made. Since this is the parting image, make sure to create a good lasting impression on your visitor and make the most of this opportunity by customising the Thank You page with related promotions, encouraging them to sign up, showing customer feedback or directing them to your other services they might find interesting. Design and customize according to your contents and conversion goal. Also read: Creating a Thank You Page that Engages and Converts   ✔ User Experience When designing websites, one must highly prioritise their usability. A great design encapsulates the user experience seamlessly. This is about making it user-friendly and easy to navigate from top to bottom. There needs to be a deep understanding of what a viewer cruising through your site expects and to design from their perspective. This is an overall sum up of the elements needed to achieve a design that interacts and helps with the sales funnel, including smart integrated hyperlinks, clever use of white space, uncomplicated sitemap, responsive site – which all leads down to an effective and engaging user interface.   2nd Criteria of a Great Website – Compelling Contents “Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” – Jeffrey Zeldman Design is essential because this is the element that attracts visitors, but compelling contents make them stay. This is the substance you need to convince your visitor that what they’re looking for can be found on your site and that your company is credible and superior to your competitors.   ✔ Clever Slogans for Banners Ensure to use clever or relatable slogans that can resonate with your viewers’ interest and emotions. We’ve already established the need to have an attractive banner, but the slogan must fulfil its purpose too. Banners can be customised to direct readers to specific pages through call-to-actions and hyperlinks. Since this is the first thing they’ll read on your site, it’s paramount to make it interesting and impactful – to eventually lead browsers to convert into enquiries.   ✔ Unique Selling Proposition It’s important to identify the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of your brand first and to go from there in selling what sets you apart from your competitors. This is your elevator pitch and your million-dollar idea that will determine how you affect visitors and turn them into customers. The purpose of your site should be clear enough as well – is it to sell a product? to offer services? to inform? The USP can vary and its purpose goes beyond website development, for it plays a big part in how you articulate branding in different platforms and applications. Determine your brand’s Unique Selling Proposition with this useful article.   ✔ Original Contents The use of your own content is mandatory when it comes to websites, flyers, brochures, or any other type of marketing collateral. It should come without saying that this not only shows professionalism but also elevates the credibility of the company. There are several consequences of plagiarism which is why this should be taken seriously. Aside from copyright infringement, search engine results can detect duplicated content on the web, subsequently leading to a lower rank on Google. It is highly advisable to engage a professional copywriter for projects like these because they know best how to effectively do web copywriting. If you already have your original contents, the copywriter may copyedit these to fine-tune them for your own website. There are many popular plagiarism checker sites on the web such as Copyscape that you may use to check if your contents have been plagiarized.   ✔ Writing Style Writing with the brand in mind is an effective practice that personifies the identity of the company. It’s not the same style for everyone as it will depend on your brand personality and brand approach. If it’s a corporate website, then it should be a direct-to-the-point and informative writing style; if it’s a fashion or lifestyle brand, then tone can be casual and creative. This is fairly important because you need to adjust to how your audience speaks and perceive things. Mimic how they interact and speak and work your way around that.   3rd Criteria of a Great Website – Qualified Traffic You have your awesome designs and compelling content, but if people aren’t coming to your site, then the effort is lost – this is where qualified traffic comes into the picture.   SEO & SEM Be there when your customers are searching. There are two marketing tactics that can drive traffic to your site – SEO and SEM. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an effort that grows the visibility of your website through organic means (non-paid) in search engine results. On the other hand, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is paid internet marketing. The difference between the two is that SEM gathers immediate and specific traffic and impressions to your site, while SEO is free, but it takes a while and a lot of research and knowledge to get the results that you want. Both methods are equally important in driving qualified traffic to your website. If you want to know more about the differences between SEO and SEM, read more here.   Social Media Marketing Social media marketing is an innovative and powerful strategy that is greatly relevant for businesses, especially start-up companies. It has the makings of reaching new prospects and a wider target audience, due to people who are more active nowadays in social media. It’s the perfect leverage to interact, share and converse directly with your audience through social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. The use of such can help boost your website and your brand itself, especially since many people perform searches on these platforms. Social media marketing can garner qualified traffic that supports your SEO efforts – driving leads, sales, and success to your brand.   We believe that in creating an excellent website, these three important attributes must be present to guarantee quality, credibility and return on investment. As the website acts as a “salesman”, this is a process that continuously requires a lot of thought, effort, strategy and creative methods. We have built our business on this belief and formula, giving an equal amount of “Excellent” treatment to our over 2000 accomplished websites.