Monthly Archives: May 2018

Finding a Professional Web Designer

Your web site is your storefront window on the World Wide Web. It must grab the viewer’s attention and be clear, all in a matter of seconds. Otherwise, it’s onto the next site listed on the search engine.

Choosing the best person to create your new web site is one of the most important tasks a business must undertake. It is also one of the most difficult because of the amount of freelance designers, advertising agencies, public relation firms and web development consultants flooding the market. Following are a few helpful hints to make sure you select the right web designer.

Why Hire a Professional Web Designer?

Let me phrase the question another way, ‘Why post your billboard in woods’? Most reputable web designers know a thing or two about search engines … but that’s not enough to put your business on the map when it comes to search engine results. What you want is a professional designer who knows how to build a ‘search engine friendly’ web site.

The key between the two professionals is one will build you a web site with pretty pictures, text links and a welcome page that leaves you invisible to search engines, while the other will do the same thing but with the coding and programming that makes your web site irresistible to search engines. The difference between selling and not selling on the web, and being found or buried on page 15 of the search engine results, is knowledge in building a search engine friendly site.

Create a Web Site Requirements List

If you’re looking for a ‘one-stop-shop-solution’ you should have a solid project plan in place. This will save you money, time and effort in the long run. Browse the Internet and create a list of web sites that have the general look and feel of how you envision your own web site. Note the things you like about each of the sites. You are essentially compiling a list of the ‘best of the best’ features you want to incorporate into your new web site.
If you are shopping for web design quotes, don’t forget to ask the web design vendor some basic questions:

* Do you provide client references?

* Will I be able to edit my own web pages?

* Are the web sites you design search engine friendly?

* Is logo design included in the web quote?

* How many design concepts and revisions will you provide?

Avoid the Template Trap

The problem with Web templates is that they are “closed systems.” Usually navigation placement is hard coded so that custom programming or effects are not allowed or easily configured. Every month someone will call us to complain that their ‘template based web site’ looks horrible, or the web template system is too hard to use or understand. A great example of cookie-cutter, web template web sites abound in the field of real estate. All these sites look the same. Why on earth would a real estate agent not want to stand out from the crowd in such a highly competitive online field? The bottom line is, stay away from templates. They’re cheap in cost and cheap in delivery.

Establish a Web Production Budget

The web design process ranges from the novice who spends a few hours putting together sites of amateur quality, to high-end quality web projects that result in a world-class web presence. If you plan on spending $400 on your web site, don’t waste your time or money. Your site will most likely look cheap, be an embarrassment and actually hurt your business and image. Better off to stay as you were.

However, when you’re serious about launching a Web site to grow your business, you can do it without mortgaging your house. Here are some facts and figures from across the U.S. to consider when putting together the budget for your web site.

Small business Web sites – $2800 to $3900

Small business e-commerce Web sites – $3600 to $4200

Medium business Web sites – $3800 to $5200

Medium business e-commerce Web sites – $4200 to $7200

Large business Web sites – $7200 to $10,000

Large business e-commerce Web sites – $9200 to $15,000

A well-crafted web site can bring you new or additional online traffic resulting in new clients and customers. First impressions matter, so work with your web designer to capture the image or branding that you want to convey to your Internet visitors.

Now that you understand the basic principles of finding a professional web site design company, submit your request for design quotes online and compare what you are getting for the cost.

How to Choose a Web Design

On the Internet today, there are many people who call themselves web designers and web design companies. Some people do it for fun, as a hobby or part-time. Web designers that design full-time are the way to go.. Someone who does web design in their part-time tends not to take it as seriously as someone who does it for a living. There are also people who do web design, who have no formal training. Make sure your web designer has some formal training from a recognized school. People who are self taught, although I applaud them for doing it, have relied on the Internet for all their information, and as you know information on the Internet can be inaccurate.

Relevant Experience

The web design company you choose for your project should have relevant experience. If you would like them to design a e-commerce website, it is best to choose a web designer who has e-commerce websites in their portfolio. Your web design company should be ready to submit a proposal for your website project along with a contract. Beware of companies who don’t give you a formal contract. The contract should outline exactly what the web designer will do and how long it will take, the price, and what you have agreed to supply. A formal contract is the best way to avoid disagreements between the web designer and you. Make sure your contract outlines every possible problem that can happen.

Different types of websites

There are different types of websites such as: static HTML (brochure type), e-commerce (with a shopping cart), database, Flash and a website with your own content management system. All of these must come into perspective when you are looking for a web design company. For example if you are looking for a fully interactive Flash website you better make sure that the web design company you choose has done many Flash websites. There is a difference between companies who can do Flash headers for a standard HTML site and web designers who can create a full flash website. Your best bet when choosing a web design company is to have a face to face meeting when discussing what it is you would like to have your website look like , also some sketches and some addresses of websites that you like. This gives the web design company the chance to fully understand what you are looking for and a better chance to give you an accurate proposal.

Things to take into consideration

Does the web design company have an update package? You must know that after your website has been created, from time to time you will require updates. Maybe they will be small maybe not. If the web design company you are choosing does not have an update package, you should inquire about the price of updates after the initial design. You should take the price of updates into consideration before you begin the design process. Make sure the web design company or web designer you choose sets realistic goals for the timeline. Usually if it sounds too good to be true then it is.

Many web designers have their own personal style. For example my personal style is clean and bright colors. Some web design companies love Flash and always build Flash websites. This would not be ideal if you are looking for an extremely search engine friendly website.

You would also have to consider guarantees. Does your potential web design company offer a guarantee? Most web design companies do not. So when you find one who does, you can know that they feel very confident in their capabilities. Another thing to consider is: Does the web design company display a phone number that they can be contacted at. Sometimes as a client you would like to speak with someone, not just get a reply to an e-mail the next day.

How to a find a web design company

There are a few ways to find web design companies in your area. One way is to search the web for: “Vancouver web design” or “Sarasota Web design”, obviously depending on the city closest to you. You could also search the Yellow pages for web design companies. Most web design companies who can afford to advertise there have already built a pretty go reputation and have been in business for a while.
Another option is search the web and when you see a website you really like, check for a link on the bottom of the page or on a contact page.

Web Design Companies

Your website is your company’s calling card on the internet so you need to have one you’re proud of and does the job it’s meant to, and offer pleasant viewing for your browsers which can only be achieved with quality web development. That means getting a professional web development company to develop your site and create web based solutions for your business. But before approaching a web design company, you should clarify your requirements. Here’s how you do it.

Firstly, you must establish your goals. What’s the purpose of your web site? Are you selling products, displaying your portfolio, announcing your services? What do you want your visitors to do? Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes. What do they expect to find at your website?

Next you have to set your budget. Having these figures in hand at the beginning can help in your negotiation with the web design companies. But don’t reveal your budget. Always get quotes based on your needs first. The first thing you would probably do if you live in Liverpool is, go to Google and search for web design companies in Liverpool. Take the advantage of the global reach of the internet and search for web design agencies in UK. Also take into considerations if you have any technical staff you employ, would you need to do the maintenance of the sites yourself? If you do not have the staff, then web based solutions could be the right option for your web development, which are offered by many web design agencies in the UK, how would you find these companies? Just do a quick search in Google for web design agencies UK and it should bring up a long list of web design agencies in the UK. But then it is down to you to single out the right company for your web development needs. However, you could do a more specific search for certain areas like web design companies in Manchester, which would be more local so you can go to see your web development company when you may need to. Web design companies in London would tend to be more expensive compared to the rest of the country

Establishing your goals in this way allows you to clearly explain your requirements to the web design agency that you choose. In fact, these are the same types of questions that web development companies ask at the start of any project. Having the answers readily at hand means you have a better chance of getting the site that you want. Plus, the information you gather from these questions can help in choosing the right web development company.

Finally we come to the all-important step of choosing a web design company. Remember that building a website involves the separate skills of design and development. You need a company with expertise in both web design and web development. And if the firm has business skills, then better still, as you will find if you search for web design companies in Birmingham, they have a lot of al round skills in web development and offering web based solutions.

In fact the ideal web design and web development firm should also offer SEO consulting and marketing advice. Searching for web design companies Leeds would give you less choice of web development and SEO, however, if you searched for web design companies Manchester or web design companies London, you would find more companies with mixtures of different skill sets to make your web design and web development project successful, also the firm should be knowledgeable about the fast-changing world of ecommerce and be able to offer solutions such as database integration, content management, and shopping carts, for example. A firm that has this all round knowledge will be able to come up with ideas and advice that lead to total development solutions. So how do you find your dream design firm?

The first thing to do is to make a shortlist of website design and web development companies and check their online portfolios. See if their designs look like they’d work for your concept. Is the layout clean and easy to navigate? Is the image of the company presented well and is the website’s purpose immediately clear? Be wary of designs that are heavy with flash animations, or feature graphics but little text. This suggests the design firm values form over function which is ineffective if you’re trying to sell something. Check if the company has offered web based solutions in the past, ask if you can speak to any of their client who have had web based solutions and web development done from them. Remember, you want to find one firm that can handle both the design and development aspects of website creation. Finally, you should ask for customer references. Then, get in touch with existing clients and ask about their experience with the web design company.

What a Professional Web Designer

Once upon a time, a business could choose not to have a web site. They reasoned that they did not need a professional web site; they could do just fine without one. Then, one of their competitors decided to get a web site and a buzz was created. Not to be outdone, another competitor decided to follow suite. Then another and then another. Pretty soon customers were asking the business if they had a web site. Finally, they realized that they needed a website in order to keep up with their competitors. And so, the Internet exploded. These days, everyone has a web site. From large corporations to small businesses; families to individuals, everyone is on the Web. A friend of mine even created one for his infant child.

This article is created to speak to the few remaining businesses that have yet to tackle the Internet beast. You want to have a web presence, but it seems a daunting task. “Where do I start?” you say. “What issues will I need to address so that I make the most of my new web site?” you continue. This brief article will cover some of the areas of the webdesign process to pay particular attention to. We have designed many web sites for clients that had no idea where to start. We firmly believe that client education is a vital part of the overall success of the web project. Most professional web design companies have published some guidelines that will help potential clients answer some of their questions. It is with that in mind that we have written this article.

Why do you want a web site?

Will your web site be for personal use (just show some photographs to your family members, for example)? Will it be to advertise a business service? Will it be an informational web site, simply to pass on knowledge to the visitor? Will it be used to sell a product? Is it important that you show up #1 in Search Engines?

These are vital questions with which to begin. The answers you come up with will determine the direction in which the overall design should go.

Do you have a business logo?

If you have been in business, you may already have a logo or a trademark that your customers recognize. If that is the case, do you have the original graphic that can be emailed? It will be important to use that on your web site.

If you do not have a logo or anything by which your customers currently know you, do you have any ideas about what you might like, a sketch, a doodle or something similar? Whatever the case, usually a professional web design company can design a professional logo for you or reuse your current one.

Do you have particular colors that you want to use?

Not all colors work well on the Internet. Generally, selecting a few colors is the best path to take. Your web designer can help you select quality colors that will come together in a design that you will be proud to show off.

Have you seen web sites that you like?

Providing an example (or examples) of a site that you like is a good way to help your web designer understand the look you are after. A professional webdesign company will usually get this type of feedback from their clients. Then they will have a feel for their “taste” and can use that as a pattern for their site.

Do you have a web site domain name?

This is the actual address of the web site. It is what you will rattle off when someone asks you, “Do you have a web site?” If you do not have one registered already, your web designer can take care of that for you. Some web design companies may charge a yearly fee for this service, anywhere from $10 to $50. However, some web design companies offer this service at no charge. Make sure to ask your web design company about this upfront so that there is no confusion.

Do you know how many web pages you want for your site?

Almost all web sites have a Home page, a Contact Us page and a Links page. However, after that, you have to determine what you want features to emphasize about your business. Is it important that visitors know some history about your company? If so, you will need an “About Us” page. Do you have categories of product that you want to feature on your web site? If so, each category will have its own page. Do you want visitors to be able to fill out an order form when they are ready to buy something? If that is the case, you will need an “Order Form” page.

Your web designer will ask you about this facet of your web site, but it is good to think about this on your own before you take that step. As a rule, the more pages a web site has, the higher the cost. So choose a web design company that you are comfortable with and don’t let them talk you into more pages than you really need.

Do you have graphics and photographs to use on your site?

If you have pictures to use on your site, are they in a high-quality digital format? As a rule, a scanned photograph will not look good on your website. The best pictures are ones taken with a digital camera. These can be used on the web site and formatted so that they have a professional look.

Many web design companies are able to take pictures for you. Usually, this service is an additional charge, so make sure you discuss this option.

Will you maintain the web site yourself?

If so, do you have an understanding of the Code Languages used to create your web site. Some of these languages may include:

  • PHP
  • HTML
  • XML
  • SWF

If you are comfortable with these languages, your web design company can probably setup the web site to allow you to maintain it yourself. However, most companies will not support sites in which the client has made changes to the original code. Make sure to discuss this during your initial consultation.

Some companies will create Content Management Systems (CMS). These allow their clients to update the website without having to touch the original code. With a custom CMS, if you can create a document in a Word Processing program, you can change your website content. This means you do not have to learn any programming languages and, at the same time, you do not have to call your web design company every time you want to update your site. Of course, the company you choose should always be available to assist if you get stuck. They should also be willing to e-mail you a link to show a demonstration of their custom CMS.

Hopefully, this article has given you some good guidance to follow on the path to your new web site. With some advanced preparation, you will tackle the Internet beast with no problem. The web design company you choose should be willing to supply you with a list of satisfied clients. Take the time to review the list. Contact the clients listed and ask them for their opinions of the company. This will give you some good information to help you make a good decision.