Category Archives: Web Design

Is Your Web Designer Ripping

Nobody likes being ripped off – especially if they’re in business.

Yet most businesses are paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to their web designer for shoddy, substandard work. Are you?

Luckily, there’s a quick and easy way to find out.

Go to:http://validator.w3.org, type in your website address and click on the “Check” button.

If the page you see says “failed validation” in red writing, you might need to speak to your web designer – especially if there are more than a handful of errors.

Is your web designer one of the cowboys?

Unless you own a cattle ranch, you probably don’t want to employ cowboys. You certainly wouldn’t put up with substandard work from a builder or electrician, would you? What about an accountant that didn’t understand tax laws, would you want them handing your finances?

Well, most web designers produce websites that are shoddy and substandard – and worst of all they don’t even know it.

How can I tell if my site isn’t up to standard?

Many professions and industries have standards. With some professions, like medicine or law, you need a qualification before you even start doing it. Other industries, like food processing or construction, aren’t so strict about academic qualifications, but they do have standards that have to be met – like health and safety or food hygiene standards.

There’s no academic qualification you need in order to become a web designer. All you need is a computer with internet access and the confidence (or in some cases arrogance) to call yourself a web designer.

However, although many people (and most web designers) don’t know it – there are standards for websites.

What’s more – it’s really easy to test your website to see if it’s up to standard. All you need to do is visit a website (http://validator.w3.org/) and you can test your site.

What are Web Standards?

Websites are programmed using a computer language called HTML. There’s a right way to program HTML and there’s a wrong way. The right way to program HTML is called “Web Standards,” anything else is the wrong way.

The difference between the right and wrong way to program a website is technical – so if you’re a business owner you don’t need to understand the details.

However, you do need to understand that if your web designer hasn’t used Web Standards it means:

  • Your site will do worse in Search Engines – so you’ll get less visitors
  • It will take longer to download – so you’ll lose more of the visitors you do get
  • It could cost you more to maintain the website
  • It’s harder (and more expensive) to make changes to the website
  • Up to 40% of people might not be able to see your website properly because they use different type of computer or web browser than your web designer.
  • Your site is probably not going to be accessible to people with disabilities – which could mean you could fall foul of your local disability discrimination laws

Of course, you might not have all these problems if your web designer hasn’t used Web Standards – but you’ll certainly have some of them.

How to Choose Web Design

Web Design Company

There are many people on internet who call themselves as web designers and web design companies. Many people do it for fun, as a hobby or part-time. Web design companies full-time operations are way to go.. Web design companies doing it for living will take your project seriously. Make sure your web design company has done enough research on internet technologies.

5 firm steps for finding the right Web design company for you

1. Assess your needs:

A professional Web design company will work with you rather than for you. It will help you in defining your organization’s requirements. Still, you should have a basic idea of what your web site can do for you. Will it serve as an informative catalog? Will it grab new clients? Will it strengthen relationship with your existing clients? Will it serve the needs of your workers?

There are few initial requirements your organization should aware of:

The intended audience for the Web site

The intended goal of the project

Anticipated budget for the Web site

How the project will fit into a larger marketing/corporate scheme

The individuals/departments within your organization responsible for the project

These initial requirements will help you finding web design firm best suited for your project. You should document them and use them as a basis for evaluating each web design firm. This document will serve as your benchmark to measure each web design firm.

2. List Generation:

You can use many ways to search web design firm. There are strengths and weaknesses on selecting a method to search for web design firm. Combination of different approaches will be your best bet in hunt of web design firm for your project.

Competitors’ web sites:

Look for web sites of organizations that you like, mainly web sites of your competitors. Sometimes you have to look for web sites other than your industry. Mostly, web design firm includes site credits (example: developed by 4MDESIGNERS). You can simply visit web design firm’s web site and carry on your analysis. If you cannot find the credits on the site, feel free to contact the organization and ask which Web design firm is responsible for the web site? You can at least have some comments about that web design firm from the organization you will be contacting.

Ask your Social Circle and Family:

Ask your friends, colleagues and family which web design firm designed their web site, or if they otherwise recommend a web design firm. Find out what they liked or disliked about web design firm and about web site they developed for them. Few companies’ produces better results when they are given Start-Finish task while few are more inclined towards doing particular task.

3. Short List

By considering above mentioned you organization should create a short list of 4-5 web design firms that are best suited for your project.

Evaluate their work:

When its said evaluate, it means you have to evaluate their portfolio, kind of web sites they have developed. If you want to sell products online, you should look for proven ecommerce solutions web design firm has developed.

It’s essential that you research a web design firm’s work so you can evaluate their potential and quality standards. A web site does not have to be flashy or very interactive to hit the deck, but you must appreciate web design firm’s design sense. Also, consider hiring a firm familiar with your particular industry.

When evaluating web design firms, note geographical location of their clients. A Web design firm that has worked with clients in many geographical locations will have a more global approach to your Web site.

Avoid Freelancers:

Don’t select a freelancer for your project on a freelance basis, to design and develop your organization’s web site. It is rare to find a single person capable of handling all development, visual, technical and web marketing elements that make an effective web presence. More over, by depending on an individual, your organization is at risk of losing its time and money should anything occur to that one individual?

Determine what other products/services the Web design company can offer

What kind of value-added products or services can the design firm offer? Internet Marketing and Web site promotion? Newsletter or email campaigns? If your organization is not currently dealing with a print design agency, for example, this might be a factor for dealing with one group over another. Similarly, can the firm provide database and software development should your organization wish to Web-enable some of its existing systems or processes?

During this stage, your organization should make contact with the potential Web design firms that are on your shortlist.

4. Get Quote/Proposals

Good web design firm will always be ready to submit a proposal for your website along with defined timeline, deliverables and terms & conditions. When evaluating proposal, look how they communicate with you using their website and digital documents.

Maintain a list for each proposal, consisting of its strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of the respective Web design firm based on its other materials (Web site, portfolio, brochure, case studies, etc.).

5. Evaluate Proposals

After your organization has received all proposals, review and compare them with each other. How do they fare in terms of presentation? Do they present upgrade paths for your project, going beyond the needs of the immediate goals outlined?

6. Think ahead.

Over the past year, many of web design companies of different sizes have emerged, closed their operations or cut back. It’s important to ask web design company about long-term relationship.

Web Design is The Essence of Your Business

Web Design is Fun. It is undeniably a practice of design, a process by which problems are solved. For the millions of web surfers out there, your web design is their first impression of your business and your credibility. The key issue in web design is how to add value to the user’s experience, how to make them feel that they truly got something out of visiting your web site. User-centered web design is all about giving the control back to the user, which brings us to the term Accessible Web Design – the art of creating webpages that are accessible to everyone regardless of any device in use. No doubt web design is important, but usability in the other hand, is king. This importance will lead you to find a professional to design your web site right. The complexity of the resulting web design is somehow determined by the goals and budget and affordability in this aspect, is in fact a reality.

Design ideas don’t have to be hard to find. For you out there that have specific ideas which are ready to be implemented, you just need someone with the technical know-how to turn them into web reality. Get ideas about the latest web design trends and communications concepts by looking analytically at your competitors sites. Evaluating example products is one way to get ideas for detailed design. From these set of ideas, you can then conclude on your final approach on how you want your assigned designer to get the whole thing done.

Flash is already the Web’s standard for dynamic web animation. In creating original cutting-edge design there’s nothing better than using Flash Web Design. It is by far, a very versatile and popular method to add eye-catching action to your web site. Flash is also probably the trendiest technology currently used in web design. However a slow-loading web page or flash movie makes seconds seem much longer, if you happen to “overdo” it. Flash does not only associate itself with animations but also as great complimentary values to other media such as presentations, videos and audios.

When you create your own web page keep the importance of shape in mind. You don’t want certain things to be in the extra large department when other items such as your text is relatively small to keep up with the overall ratio size of the presentation. Another important item to consider in your websites is the level of seduction. Yes, you read that right. If you’ve ever got lost in the maze of some websites, you’ll know the importance of intuitive web design. Seductive websites provide users the reason to stay longer by providing good typography and by not underestimating the importance of navigation. Knowing the importance of this, you cannot afford to take a chance on any trial-and-error method. The importance of writing quality web content is also equally important. Nevertheless, until recently, though, a greater emphasis has been placed on the importance and overall influence of color in the field of web design.

Web design is a complex discipline that involves a wide range of skills. In fact, I’d go as far as to say, web design is information design. In my experience, web design is primarily about the business. Every new web design is the solution to a design problem that can be summed up in a series of constraint questions – Who is my audience? An extraordinary web design is mandatory to a successful business, hence the goal of web design is simply not merely to dazzle, but to deliver information to the widest audience possible. Web design is exciting, it changes day by day. These changes will reflect your company’s complete product and service presentation. Web design has always been made up of some basic premises, and if you understand them you can help deliver pages that will impress and illuminate your readers. A successful Web design is paramount to a successful business.

Web Design-Impact Beyond Measure

Like a ‘mind-boggling’ yet enthralling Pablo Picasso painting, it is essential for websites to create captivating and thought-provoking material to lure an audience and, secure a solid fan base. Naturally, abstract paintings require quite a bit of out-of-the-box thinking when deciphering the artists’ vision, thought and message. This is the kind of allure that a website needs to uphold so that it can become successful over time. By ensuring that users are sufficiently stimulated on a continual basis companies will eventually attain devoted subscribers. This is what every company desires, though the trick is to develop a site that is not clad with complicated design elements (which could affect usability) and bland content that’ll bore browsers to tears, but to establish an effective balance.

Of course, if a website does not contain substance one cannot expect a great response or loyal following, now can you?

According to research, a website that has relevant and informative content can help to position a company as professional in view of the interested and targeted consumer. If a website can clearly and efficiently show a potential customer that the company is knowledgeable and up to date in their field of expertise, the consumer becomes confident and trusting of the services offered. Take into account that a web site is multi-functional entity that serves as a communication tool, thus it plays a central role in improving the impact and image of a brand. Consider your website a personal interaction with both current and potential consumers. Because of this very notion, even the slightest ‘balls-up’ can jeopardize a company’s reputation. Yet, however gripping a website’s content may be design elements have a dramatic, if not crucial impact and contribution to make.

There are a few prominent aspects of a website that is greatly influenced by web design. Keep in mind that web design’s influence on the success of a website runs deep. These are but a few significant and fundamental elements that are magnificently affected by web design.

Usability is key

When a user punches a few keywords on a keyboard, instant and relevant information and a no fuss policy is expected. Instance coffee and fast-foods bears testament to how today’s world has evolved into a fast-paced, ‘I want it now’ society. The Internet is certainly a result of this mindset. Life has become easier, like baking a cake from a box. Most users have a short attention span, when it comes to finding the information that they need and want. Because of this very reason, usability is a vital. As far as making content easy to find, with good web page design, a user should not have to wonder what to do next. Navigation is there for a reason and, makes thing easier and get information to the user ASAP!-which is what you want. The next step should always obvious. The easier it is for customers to find what they are looking for the likelier they’ll buy or enquire.

It’s like being stuck in the queue at customs at the airport, waiting for your turn to be serviced. Frustrating isn’t it?

It’s been noted that too often web sites are focused on looking attractive without considering the user. Many have won prestigious design awards, yet perform extremely poorly and as a result lose customers by the thousands. According to research 50% plus of online sales are lost because visitors aren’t able to navigate through a website and find what they are looking for. Another factor that plays a major role is how long it takes for a website to load. Research states that it makes good sense to ensure that a website loads fast. Studies have shown that if visitor are forced to wait for more than 8-10 seconds for a page to load, clients run a serious risk of losing potential consumers.

As a rule of thumb, every single web page should load in at least 8 seconds or less, preferably on a 56k modem.

Flash has been named as a huge factor when it comes to the usability of a website. However, Flash has become a popular tool in internet marketing and is now widely used across the web. But, there can be drawbacks so it needs to be carefully determined whether or not a site will benefit from its use. One of the benefits of using Flash is the visual appeal of it. It can be used with navigation, by adding interesting visual graphics. Although, one disadvantage about using Flash is that not all internet browsers have a Flash player moreover, not all users may want to download it. Needless to say, Flash technology tends to discourage usability for very apparent reasons. Flash can cause bad design, break the Web’s fundamental interaction style and it also consumes resources that would be better spent enhancing a site’s core value. Approximately 99 % of the time, the presence of Flash on a website hampers the usability and distracts the attention from the site’s core value and purpose.

Perhaps, Web designers interested in enhancing usability and their site’s overall business presence should use Flash sparingly?

By focusing on improving usability, web designers are able to keep users interested, for the long haul.

Our lives are filled with colour. What would the life be like if we lived ‘black and white’ lives? Colour adds interest and can determine whether a website is fresh and alive looking or it can also create a dull and dreary image, which is not what any client wants. In the world of web design, bad colour schemes can make a site look unfriendly, amateurish, and inaccessible. So, it comes as no surprise that over 80% of visual information is related to colour. There are various reactions to colour which are instinctual and cross universal and cultural boundaries. According to a 1997 survey by Cooper Marketing Group, Oak Park, IL, power is represented by the color scarlet red for 25% of respondents, black for 17% and bright violet blue for 13%. More than 55% of those surveyed chose one of these three colors out of 100 colors. Fragility was most represented by pale pink (27%), white (9%), and pale lavender (9%).

Note that colors can be perceived by people as different moods and emotions. When designing a site one should consider the mood that needs to be portrayed. These moods can vary from person to person, depending on their life experiences. Web design which achieves successful marketing results is sensitive to the cultural, instinctual and iconic meanings of colour in relation to the product or service being promoted. More importantly, it also considers the cultural backgrounds and gender of the targeted clientele. Avoiding the extremes of sheer garishness and boredom, effective design displays symphonic colour arrangements of shades, tints, tones and complementarities to tantalise and maintain interest. Adding textures too can alter colours – a roughly textured surface makes a colour seem darker, while a smooth surface lightens the same color.

Although, it also stands a designer in good stead to know what colours signify. Different shades of colours work well in different situations. For example, using very saturated colours all the time is not always good, by using shades that can make certain things stand out more or less than others. For example, it would be good to have elements in the main content stand out more than in the sidebar, because that is where you want to draw attention. When making sites you have to use your common sense when picking colours. For example, if you were making a business site you wouldn’t use bright pink, because this would look childish and unprofessional. Another example, if you were making a laser eye clinic site, you wouldn’t use red as this would imply danger and blood. Scary.

These days computers support millions of colours (16bit or 32bit) meaning the compatible colours between systems have increased. The new palette, based on 16bit systems, is the web smart palette which supports 4096 web smart colours. When changing colours you must ensure the contrast between the colour and the text on it is enough for people with poor eyesight to see, or at least offer a high contrast version. There are sites with grey text on slightly greyer background making it very hard to read, this is bad accessibility wise. Also note some colours can be annoying together, for example some people have difficulty looking at green and red together, green text on red would be a very bad idea. In most instances, finer details are forgotten and falls by the wayside – consider color blind people on the web, ensure they have options to see a version they can actually read.

The Impact of Web Design on Conversion Rate
A simple description of conversion on the web reads as follows; Conversion refers to the form that an interested party fills out in order to buy a product from a company. A Web Site Visitor Conversion occurs when a user takes key action to do so. Conversions can be macro (the most significant action) or micro (one of the many actions that precede the macro conversion). For most sites, conversions are what can be directly or indirectly traced to a financial return. Spending money on search engine marketing or online advertising might be a waste of your resources if a site is a poor converter. Inevitably, conversion determines website profitability.
Once again it is essential to make a web site to easy to use. If not the less chance there’ll be of people buying.

Interestingly enough, making a site accessible is a legal obligation in many countries. Inaccessibility can affect sales, as visitors will find the site impossible to use and go elsewhere. Apparently a typical inaccessible site could be losing 5% of potential sales because of this. Many designers only pay attention to Internet Explorer. The justification for this is usually that 99% of the site’s users use IE. It never seems to occur to the designers that perhaps the reason they have so few visitors with other browsers is that their site is fundamentally broken – it doesn’t work in anything else.

Percentages of people not using IE varies from site to site.
Approximately 80-85% of web users are using IE on Windows, which means that an average site that does not work in anything else could stand to lose 15-20% of sales. Visibility is also an important factor. For instance, when a user decides to buy a product, they add it to a shopping basket. How do they add it? By clicking a button or link. But what happens when they can’t see the button? They go elsewhere. There are plenty of sites out there with buttons that are too subtle, or don’t say the right thing, or are hidden away at the bottom of the page. “Add” is considered an ineffective button text. “Buy” is fairly successful. “Add xxx To Your Basket” is great. “Add xxx to Your Basket” in big letters on a big, bright button, near the top of the page, is even better. Calls to action, like this, don’t have to be bland but they must be obvious and clear.
Sites which are just call to action according to research could earn a 1% to 30% increase in sales as a result.

The impact the web design has on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

It is a known that having a Web site rank well in search engine results for searches on specific keywords/phrases. If a Web site doesn’t have a page appearing in the top 10 search engine result positions (SERPs) the chances of someone clicking on the listing, and actually visiting the site, will drop dramatically. Optimizing a site and content for a search engine, for a better ranking in SERPs, is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), yet many Web developers/designers either don’t take time to code a site properly or don’t know how to do proper SEO. The basics of code optimization are just sound HTML coding practices; when followed, they go a long way toward SEO. There is a lot you can do to optimize your Web site for search engines from the code level.

The first rule of SEO is not to design your site in such a way that the code prevents a spider from being able to index it. This means avoiding pages which are 100% graphics and no text, such as pages that contain all images, or are Flash-only. Furthermore, if the first thing a user encounters is a log-in page, before being able to see the site’s content, then that’s what a spider will see and it won’t go any further, either. If you’re planning to build a Web site entirely in Flash, Don’t. If you have no choice, then read my previous column, Search Engine Optimization and Non-HTML Sites. To find out what a spider sees on your site, run a spider simulator on a given page. The simulator will show you what text the spider sees and what links it finds. There are many good ones on the market at various prices. If you’re looking for something that’s free, I’d suggest Search Engine Spider Simulator.

There’s certainly plenty of room for further impact, depending on the subject matter, in regards to information architecture, copy writing, interface coding as part of web design or the layer of graphic design (usability). Web design encourages confidence and trust in the site as it is able to look legitimate and “professional”, depending on the design elements chosen. Web design can maintain a clear, consistent and unified message and operation. Obvious as it may be, a good site should be memorable. Being memorable, and making sure you stick in the user’s mind, is dependent on a lot of factors. It’s no good if your visitors remember why you are great but don’t remember your name.

Web Site Design and Choosing

It’s been several years since you had someone design your company web site and now it’s outdated. You are losing business to competitors that have quality designed web sites with great layout and navigation. This may be your first company web site and you want to make the most of your money and time.

How do you choose a quality web design company that will understand your companies’ objective for designing or redesigning this web site?

First, you need to answer a few questions.

1. What is your budget and time frame for completing the web design or redesign project?

2. Are you going to be using original content and pictures for building this web site?

3. If this is a website redesign, are you planning on getting updated images and content for this new look and layout or will you need the web design company to supply them for you?

4. Does any one at your company have basic editing skills and will they be able to update the website content or will this be an ongoing job for the web design company you hire?

5. Are you looking for a local web design company?

6. Do you already have an idea of your web design colors, layout, and navigation?

Knowing the answers to these questions, will help you when you locate the right web design company.

Now it’s time to find the right web design company for your needs. Go to Google and search for local web design firms and you will see how many results show. Take “web design orlando” for example: Results 8,860,000. Wow, there are a lot of results for “web design orlando”.

Don’t panic, you will probably find a company that can do the quality web design work you need in the first 50 results. Quality web design firms will have a portfolio of work online that will show an example of their custom web design work. Start at the first web design result on work your way down.

Examine the portfolio to see if there is anything equivalent to the web design layout you are imagining. You will be able to tell immediately if this web design firm is right for your company and its look and feel. Find out how long they have been in the web design industry and compare that to how many quality web sites they have designed in that time.
If this is a redesign, find out how many web site redesigns that have completed and ask to see the web site before and after the redesign.

Find out if they have the staff available to work on your entire web design needs and that they know the programming necessary to complete the job in a timely manner. Ask for references, a top end web design firm will be glad to offer up references on the web design work performed. Most web design references will be glad to talk to you about the quality job your potential web design company did on their web site.

Depending on your web design budget, it may help to several quality web design companies to talk to. You will want to get at least 3 estimates and it never hurts to have more.

The Importance Of Getting The Best Web Design

It is quite often said that the first rule of web design is you do not talk about web design.

If traditional graphic design is 2–“dimensional, Web design is 4 or 5–“dimensional. Web design is a complex process that requires a wide range of creative, business and technical skills. Most web designers worth their salt know the phrase web design is a laughably broad term.

I mention the above not to try and put people off either entering into the Industry or trying to do down those who are already in the industry but more as re statement of facts about the state of web design today.

The problem that has arisen in the last few years is such that it would appear to be very easy to become a web designer. Hey it’s cool and it sounds great at parties. It would seem as a result that almost very man and his dog is now into web design. You could take this argument and lay the blame for this fairly and squarely at the doors of the like of Macromedia and Microsoft for making such easy WYSIWYG web design programmes such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage for people to take up and master. But this would be too simplistic and not realistic.

Web design is a complex process that requires a wide range of creative, business and technical skills. Most web designers worth their salt know the phrase web design is a laughably broad term and it requires an ability to see things from as many a side as possible – multi tasking in the extreme.

They say its what’s inside page design that really counts and nothing rings truer where web design is concerned. Web design is a complex discipline that involves a wide range of skills. Of course content is king, the purpose of web design is to present it in the best way possible. When was the last time you saw a new book release from the likes of Amazon etc with a lousy cover and so it is with web design? For the millions of web surfers out there, your web design is their first impression of your business and your credibility.

Good web design is a collaborative process. Every new web design is the solution to a design problem that can be summed up in a series of constraint questions: Who is my audience? What is the audience dynamic and more importantly what do I want my audience to do? Do I want them to read, enjoy, think leisurely and then buy my services or do I just want them to hit the chequebook as soon as is possible?

Web design is a constantly evolving dimension of marketing and it is a field that is crowded and competitive. A Kickass Web Design is Search Engine friendly, effective and affordable but remember the goal of Web design is not merely to dazzle, but to deliver information to the widest audience possible.

Web Design Prices and Costs

If you’re looking at commissioning a web designer to build you a website, one of the first things that you will need to know, is the monetary cost. This article will explain to you why there is such a huge variance between web designers and their quotes and will give you some advice as to how much you can expect to pay to contract a competent web designer in the UK.

First of all you have to have a rough idea of what it is that you want from your website. You have to have thought of what you want to achieve with the website. What are its objectives? You will then need to have thought of a basic structure for your website. There are many website examples out there for you to have a look at; the important thing is to have an idea about what structure you want for the site – meaning a rough outline of the numbers of pages and the content (text and images) that will make up each page.

Once you have your project objectives in mind and a rough idea of your websites structure you are in a position to start contacting suppliers. There are multitudes of web design companies everywhere and in our particular area of the UK – Doncaster there are lots of web design companies to choose from. The key thing to remember is that everyone wants your business. The web design marketplace is completely saturated so you as the buyer have the upper hand!

As in all other industries there are people who provide excellent service, there are people who provide an average service and there are also cowboys (people who sell web design services without the necessary knowledge and experience to do so).

What you have to think to yourself is this: If a person promises me the earth for £1 does that mean to say that they can deliver it? The best advice I can give is to be realistic. There are lots of really good city based web design companies throughout the UK that provide excellent services. They are always there to take your calls and you even get your own personal account manager to handle your requests and hold your hand through the entire web design process. The services of such companies are wonderful but this obviously comes at a price. City based offices, account managers and admin staff are large overheads and the prices charged by large city based web design companies reflect this. If you have a modestly sized website, which needs to be under content management system control, don’t be surprised if the web design quote runs into tens of thousands of pounds from a major city based web design company. If you are looking for a top quality 100% inclusive, comprehensive service and your company can afford this kind of bill then I would suggest using a big city company every time.

Then there are the smaller companies that are made up of just a few individuals. These types of companies have much lower overheads and frequently have very knowledgeable and capable staff. The service level can be much lower than that of major city based web design companies but you can get some excellent work done by such companies at a fraction of cost of the large city based companies.

A much overlooked group of web designers that can produce some excellent web designs are the wide community of freelance web designers. Freelance web designers are private, self employed individuals who work from small offices (they frequently work from home). Freelancers have very low (mostly non existent) overheads. As such they can provide quality web design work for much lower costs than larger web design companies. If you are looking for good quality web design for less money then it definitely work looking at using a quality freelance web designer.

The people that you really need to avoid are the web design cowboys. As stated above cowboys are people who sell web design services without the necessary knowledge and experience to do so. If you are unfortunate enough to have contracted someone like this in the past you will be aware of the low quality work that they produce and the lack of significant results that they achieve. Cowboys invariable promise you the earth for a £1. Use your common sense and if someone is quoting you £100 for something that 5 other companies are charging around £4000 for, you know that something is not quite right. Remember the old adage – buy cheap, buy twice!

Conclusion:

You will find a great deal of variance between web design quotes depending on what level of web designer you choose to contract and what level of service you require. Always make sure to get as many quotes and talk to as many people as you can so a) see what’s available on the market and b) get an unbiased idea of the likely costs involved. There are lots of good web designers out there but there are also a lot of lesser skilled web designers and even some of the proverbial cowboys. Make sure to use good common sense and get a feel for the web designer’s skills and experience when you meet them. No matter how charming a person is, experience is very hard to fake. Ask to see examples of their work and where they have done similar work to your proposed project. Remember – you have the upper hand!

Don’t Get Burned By Web Designers

If you bring up the subject of web design with small business people, it wouldn’t take long to find someone who has been burned by a web designer. Perhaps they have even come to the conclusion that a web site is not worth the expense. Let’s look at how and why that happens, and outline some success principles that will help you when you need web design services. Since so many web designers get it wrong, the web design principles that actually work may surprise you.

One of the problems with web design is that software programs have made it seem easy to create a web site. If you have the software, it would not take you long to build a web site. There are an abundance of inexpensive templates available to make it even easier to put together a web site. Getting a professional looking web site is not difficult at all. So you may wonder, why is that a problem?

The process of creating a web site does not end with making it look professional. In fact, that could very well be one of the least important aspects of a web site design. Let’s face it, there are ugly web sites that make a lot of money. Since life is not fair, there are great looking web sites that make little or no money. I’m not saying the professionalism of your web site is not important; I am saying it’s not enough.

There is a serious flaw in the web design industry, and small business owners are especially prone to fall victim to it. The problem is that usually, very little business planning goes into a web site design. Too many web designers are more concerned with selling web design than taking the time to build an effective web site.

This deficiency stems from the fact that very few web designers are marketing people. Small business people do not have big advertising budgets, so they are easily attracted to the low rates of average web designers. Good marketing means setting priorities and effectively using your resources to accomplish goals.

The one element I find seriously missing in web design is the very thing that is fundamentally important; that element is uniqueness. A Unique Selling Point (USP) is one of the basic tenets of marketing. You must answer the questions: why should I buy from you, and, what makes you different from my other choices? If you fail in this area, your web site visitor will not be kind to you. They will leave and not come back; they will probably not tell you why they left either.

Read your web site copy to see if it contains another common error. Does it say, “We this,” and, “We that?” Do not “we” on your web site visitors! Your web site copy should speak to the visitor, address their needs, and solve their problem. It must compel them in some way. You need to draw them in and sell them on your solution.

When you take notice of how many web sites violate these basic marketing principles above, you will begin to see how you have the opportunity to rise above your competitors. Just think, if the majority of business web sites are violating even these most basic principles, how much more could you benefit from hiring a web designer who understands marketing?

There is a lot of emphasis placed on search engine optimization (SEO), and there should be, because this is very important if you want to have your web site found by people using the search engines. For most web sites, search engines account for 80% to 95% of all visitors. However, as important as SEO is, if you have a web site that is not creating sales with the visitors you are already getting, SEO is the wrong priority.

The next principle is the one you will probably find the most surprising. People actually read web sites! Yes, they do have a short attention span, and we will look at that point next, but they do read. There have been many studies done to document the way people use web pages. Even though so much attention is given to graphics, the studies show that well over 75% of the time, web page users read the text before they notice graphics.

This does not mean that graphics are unimportant. Visual elements are one of the many advantages a web site can provide. When you consider that people use the Internet to seek information, then it does makes sense that they will read your web site’s content. Providing the right information can mean the difference between winning a customer, or surrendering them to your competition.

I also promised to cover the short attention span issue. It is often called the 3 second rule. According to web studies, if you cannot capture the attention of your visitor in approximately 3 seconds, that’s how fast they usually leave your web site. I suspect the reason is because so many web sites are such a horrible waste of time, that people’s patience has been worn down. The solution is to have a fast loading page that quickly clues them in that you can solve their problem. If they can “skim” in a few seconds, and you grab their attention, you have successfully drawn them in so they will stay a while.

Statistically, it takes 7 visits before you make a sale. If your web site is not done correctly, you will have dismal results because you can’t get them to come back seven times. That is why so many web site owners are disappointed with their success. That is why some web designers provide what seems to be a bargain, while other web designers have to charge more to give you a better value. It takes more time to plan and create a good web site design.

The good news is that most of your competitors will go for the bargain and suffer the same fate as everyone else who does not realize the value of an effective web site design. Very few of them will invest the resources needed for success. If you do, you can win. This does not mean you need the big budget of a major corporation, or that it has to be expensive, it just means you need to be willing to do better than average. The rewards are much greater when you stretch beyond the norm.

Graphical Updates Of Web Designs

Web design is creation of designs in the web pages of the web site. Web design constitutes more innovated and technical aspects with huge information. Web designs are the process of modeling, designing, structuring and executing the aspects which are suitable for the web site. Web designs may comes up with collections of more designs as per the ideas and plans to make the web site with more new web designs. Web designs include contents, files, tags, update pages, graphics and so on. Generally web designs comprises of innovated and graphical techniques as well as they are created to become easy approachable to the web searchers and it is done using wide understandable techniques.

Generally, web site comprises of web designs and web designs forms major part of the web site. Today, in this competitive world web design fetches more demand and it comes through all over the world. Nowadays, most of the people started knowing the need of the web design and started utilizing it. Hardly web designs become more important and essential for every web masters who handles web sites. Web designs provides well designed and graphical web site to the web searchers and also for the web masters. Web designs are done by the web designers and if they design the web completely, then it can be said that the web site fetches more offers from the customers as well as more response among the web searchers.

Nowadays, most of the web designers are capable of offering efficient technical and graphical web designs to the web sites. To make the web design effective and efficient, then the web master should provide and use some techniques and tips for it. Generally an efficient web design comes up with good presentation of graphics and designs. To make it efficient, professional web site designer’s help can be taken and they are the one who can provides efficient web designs to the users. Generally, web designs constitute text, graphics, designs and images. Web masters designs web sites to increase the traffic, rankings and links in the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Msn.

Web designs can be made using efficient web designers and he may use more application such as CSS, HTML and many other kinds of languages. Every web designs made by the web designer should be compact and the web design created should be structured has it is easy approachable and easily understandable to the web searchers. When proper web designing is done for the web site, then the particular web site fetches more demand among the web searchers as well as the web designers come up with more popularity among the people.

How To Identify Fake Web Designers

Like going on a blind date, choosing the right web designer can be an adventure fraught with false hope.

Unlike a big corporation, a small business generally has a tight budget–especially when it comes to advertising and promotion–to engage a big web design agency to serve their online marketing needs.

With the understanding that a cheap-looking website is not the best way to represent your business–or that you do not have unlimited funds to throw at web designers on the off-chance that you’ll get something that resembles what you want–there exist good small design studios and professional freelance web designers with reasonable rates, fortunately.

Here are some tips on how to choose the right one to meet your small business needs.

Identify the Fake Web Designers

Check out their portfolio!

Do they look professional? Is the style of the designer something you would like to have on your own site? Are they logical, easy to use, and provide what’s needed to help customers achieve their (and the clients’) goals? That means that a lot of business development has gone into them.

Web Designers vs Web Programmers

There are many web designers who are actually programmers who know little, if at all, about design. They use templates that are created by other professional designers. Unfortunately, templates aren’t customized to your unique business.

Moreover, with advances in software applications, it is easier than ever to create and build a website. These software can help anyone build a website without knowing a thing. However, there is a distinct difference between creating and designing one.

Design, be it web or print, is about communication. Without the necessary design knowledge how could the programmers do an effective job communicating with your prospective customers?

How Can Good Design Help Your Business

Design is about you–what you know, what you see, and what you have to say. Behind every design is a vision, a purpose, a reason to be. Web design is not about decoration but communication; about making your words and vision visible, giving it form and body for all the world to see.

While the sales copy of your website remains vital for the effective selling of your products or services, the use of typography, color, graphics and layout help lead your prospects read and navigate your website.

This makes your page a pleasure to read and increases their overall user-experience.

A professional, well-designed website has been proven to increase sales!

Web Design Process

The web design process is also a matter of planning, what to include and what to exclude, good design, appealing text, how to sell, what business plan to follow, and more.

Like any other marketing medium, it requires a lot of work by individuals who understand what visitors and the search engines like to see: properly organized text. Combining a nice layout with SEO isn’t easy, make sure the designer understands both the human and search components.

The result is pages that perform well for visitors and rank high for specific keywords.

No doubt, there are many who can turn out professional websites, but few who will volunteer to spend dozens of hours consulting with a client, designing a clear and unconfusing website, and sweating over ad copy, pictures and all the major and minor details — in essence, creating a online marketing vehicle.

Online Marketing

The number one mistake that most first time web site owners make is that they don’t know what to do with their site after it’s designed. It is very possible to have a beautiful site designed for you and no one ever sees it.

A website is merely another means of marketing your products or services. With hundreds, if not thousands, of websites sprouting out everyday, competition is fierce. Having a “web presence” for your business has virtually become an understatement.

A good designer will not only help you create a professional looking site, they will also ensure that your site gets a good ranking with the search engines so that your site can be easily found online. Make sure that your designer will optimize your site for the search engines and submit it to the major search engines. Your website need to rank reasonably well in search engines.

Moreover, small business should seriously look into harnessing the power of the social media and sound web marketing design to increase the exposure of your services and products to extend your reach.