Web Design is The Essence of Your Business

Posted by | Posted in Web Design | Posted on 26-01-2010

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.

Author: John Teh
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Digital Camera Information

Web Design Is It An Art?

Posted by | Posted in Web Design | Posted on 24-01-2010

Web design is an art. Theres no question about that. The question is: how many websites designed by real web designers are out there? With the amount of crap that purely invades the Internet and suffocates the users nowadays, there are serious reasons to doubt that web design is an art in its own right.

So called web designers create terrible made for AdSense sites, or those awful personal pages that have nothing to say. But the Internet is a World and you should expect to find, as in the real world, tones of nonsense and digital rubbish. Such websites have no real value, are full of grammatical errors, respect no design techniques, blend colors, fonts and graphics irrationally, display flashy banners, annoying gifs and so on. Sites like these make people believe that it is ok to put up a website even if it is lousy. Anyone can start a website, but, can anyone design a website? Obviously not, since new websites appear online every day that are not good at all.

Web design combines traditional arts with technical skills. A web designer is not just a web coder: he or she is an artist able to understand the value of image and other visual elements, and knows what impact these might have on the viewers. The web designer works with images and words to create the perfect web layout. To create unique websites, the kind of websites that really add value to the World Wide Web, skilled web designers use various tools. They might retouch pictures and graphics or create astonishing images using programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Jasic Paint, Photo Impact and so on. They might use 3D software or Flash to design dramatic layouts that will transport the visitors into another world. No matter what tools they employ, professional web designers create functional, astonishing web pages.

Dont believe that web design, as an art, is not for business, corporate or informative websites. As a matter of fact they need it the most. While business and informational websites dont need to be artistic, they need to inspire. Corporate websites need clear designs, simple layouts so that any visitor could access the information fast and understand the purpose of the website. To create a website that sends the right message and develops brand awareness in an agreeable manner is an art. A good website can sell a service or products, but this doesnt mean that its appearance should fade. Compare a website to a car: you need it to transport your visitors through a space full of information. You dont want them to be bored by what you have to offer. You want to entertain them, to mesmerize their minds, to make them come back. What it will be: a Hollywood like limousine or a second hand car? Yes, its true: its not the car that matters, but the ride. However, when you travel in an uncomfortable seat you might not enjoy the ride. And doesnt anyone dream for a first-class ticket?

After all this being said, you do not have to hire a web designer to build a great site in todays online world. Web design is an art, but with the advent of the new high power website builders, anyone can create a high quality website for a fraction of the cost of hiring a web designer. This is especially true of web building programs that are template driven.

Online web building programs using this template driven technology allow the user to make their website using professionally designed templates. This means the art of web design has already been done. The user simply chooses their template, adds their own content and photos, and in a matter of hours or days, a HIGH QUALITY website is created!

Dont be fooled. Not all website builders are the same. Make sure you use a website builder that includes ecommerce capabilities without an additional charge. One such program is HighPowerSites.

In conclusion: You can hire a skilled, talented web designer to create your business website but you will pay a high price as web designers are not cheap. Or you can use a top notch web building program for a fraction of the cost. Youll need to pay the price for either one, but high quality websites dont come cheap. If you are serious about doing business online, you should invest in your website. The future belongs to those that provide for quality on the World Wide Web.

Author: Scott Lindsay
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Digital Camera Times

What You Should Know About Web Design and Hosting

Posted by | Posted in Web Design | Posted on 24-01-2010

I recently received a call from a business in the Healing & Health industry. This person asked her web design guru for a simple addition to her web page. He refused to do it and told her to log in and do it herself! When she decided to give the web design work to me to do, he deleted her entire web site and database! Are you ever the true owner of a web site that you paid money to own? The people that you as a business owner trust with your entire online business, are these people worth of your trust? Your business is the one way of serving online clients, are the people behind it worthy of your trust? It is no joke to lose a web site that existed for the past 6 years and the database with all your client contact details and the people you resell to monthly!

How can business owners protect their web sites and online assets? Web designers should make a full backup copy available to every site owner on request; right after the web design is complete and online. As the web design progress, a new backup copy should be available to you. Content managed web sites or the so-called Database websites, the actual database and a backup of your normal web design should be available to you. Ask your web design person up front, even before you choose a particular designer, if the source code and web design files would be available to you.

Graphics and content for your web site
If you as a business owner pay a person to design graphics and write up content for your web site, you are entitled to this content and in reality the owner of it. Web design Tip: Your web graphics are utilized on letterheads and business stationary why pay another graphic designer for this insist on the content that is rightfully yours. You own them because you paid for them.

Let us look at domain hosting.
I have also come across very suspect hosting companies. Some hosting companies physically disable the standard functions in the control panel of their server, so the owner of a web site cannot log in and create web site backups! Why would they do that? Yes there are space limitations on any hosting server, however why would one keep a backup on the same server? Should the hosting server ever have a problem it would only make sense to have your web design backed up elsewhere.

Let us look at Server Reliability.
Some hosting companies look very promising up front. The smaller company that is just entering the wild world of online advertising may find nothing wrong with his hosting company. Now it gets to a point where the business would like to start selling online and promote his services through having an online blog and a bigger better web site is required. Therefore, he pays the regular web design person to do the web design and host it where it was all the time The business and site gains hacker attention and is down three out of five days! Make very sure your server is secure. If you have to, get your web design done and host it on a server for a probation period. If you are not happy, use your backup copy of your web design and get a reputable hosting company to move the web site for you.

Always think of the future
It is very unpleasant and unprofessional to have online clients get to your business web site and it is offline. Error pages drive visitors away and 90% of them will not return as they start to fear that your web site is not trustworthy to open on their computers. Everybody by now knows that often we get lead to suspicious web sites through e-mails. I personally recommend rather paying a little more for a lot more in future by hosting with a reputable company.
Support Does the hosting and web design company provide you with a phone number so that you can call them when you have a problem? Do you have to talk to a server through e-mail with hardly any human intervention? I have found that when hosting companies provide you with a phone number to talk to a real person, they more then likely have the structure in place to provide you the excellent service that you need for something as important as your business web site.

Author: Terence Q Coleman
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Digital Camera News

Finding a Good Web Designer

Posted by | Posted in Web Design | Posted on 23-01-2010

The Internet is more popular than ever and any business that is not online is losing out to its competitors. With many businesses and individuals now being aware of the tremendous power of the Internet, it has become very important for them to find a suitable web designer to carry out their project.

Unfortunately, the success of the Internet has also given the opportunity for unqualified and unprofessional web designers to market their services making it very difficult for clients to determine to best web designer for them. If your web site is made by a bad web designer, it can have a detrimental effect on your business and cost you dearly!

What Makes a Bad Web Designer?

Bad web designers are everywhere and they are able to dupe clients into giving them their business because most clients dont know the difference between a good designer and a bad one. Even directories of approved web designers found on the Internet return nothing but incompetent web design wannabies whom given half the chance will provide you with a website that will make your competitors very happy indeed. Here are the main things that indicate a bad web designer:

  • Lots of animated gifs on their pages
  • Overuse of Flash and JavaScript
  • Unflattering/ clashing colours
  • Badly written content
  • A table based layout
  • Shoddy graphics
  • No mention of web standards or accessibility
  • A website that does not validate at http://validator.w3.org

What Makes a Good Designer?

Now you know the danger signs when youre looking at the website of a designer you are considering. Here is a list of factors that indicate the designer may be worthy of you time:

  • A well chosen, attractive colour scheme
  • A clean, crisp, easy to navigate layout
  • A CSS based layout
  • Mentioning web standards and accessibility
  • Well written, clear and concise content
  • A web site that validates at http://validator.w3.org

As well as the factors listed here, the designer should maintain good communication with the client at all times. They should treat the project as if it is their own and endeavour to surpass all of the clients expectations.

Where Can I Find a Good Web Designer?

One of the best ways to find a designer is to look on the major Internet search engines such as Google or MSN. However, be careful because the results supplied by these search engines will list hundreds of thousands of results and finding a really good designer amongst them could be difficult. Click through some of the results that sound suitable and subject them to the criteria already mentioned above.

There are numerous directories on the Internet that contain links to web design companies. Some of these directories claim to only link to approved web designers, but dont be fooled into hiring a web designer from one of these directories. In reality almost any site can be included into these directories and inclusion does not mean the designers are reputable or reliable. There are probably many good designers in these directories but finding them amongst the list of bad ones could take some time! Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but be aware that inclusion into to most directories means little.

One thing to take into account when hiring a web designer is location. Due to the nature of the Internet you could hire a web designer anywhere in the world but keep in mind that if there are any problems you may wish to meet face to face. However, if you find a designer you are sure is suitable for you and they are located in another country dont be afraid to give them a try.

A final word of warning about choosing a web designer; beware of hiring a web designer just because a friend or acquaintance has recommended them. By all means check their website and see what you think but just because your friend is happy does not mean they have a good website. Your friend could be blissfully unaware of the damage being caused by their badly designed website.

Author: Andy John Evans
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Beading Necklace

What a Professional Web Designer Should do for You

Posted by | Posted in Web Design | Posted on 23-01-2010

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.

Author: Anthony Muhaluk
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Canada duty rates

Web Design Basics

Posted by | Posted in Web Design | Posted on 23-01-2010

Professional web design has become vital during recent years. A few years ago, it was estimated that a visitor to a web site took about 8 seconds to decide to stay on that web site or click the “Back” button. That was then, this is now: Your web site has only about 4 seconds to make an impression on the visitor. That is not much time at all! Today, people want instant results. Few people even wait to see the entire web design before making their decision. If your web design does not grab their attention immediately, they won’t stick around. And if your web site does not offer something of benefit, they won’t bookmark it and they won’t come back (more on that later).

So, with that in mind, let’s discuss some practical ways to grab the attention of web site visitors. Then, in a future article, we will talk a little about keeping their attention with good web site content. Remember, people spend most of their time on the Internet reading. They read search results, news items, how-to articles and forums. A professional web design company will take this into account. But that is for later. First, we have to keep visitors attention (remember the 4 second rule).

Get to the Point.
We live in a fast-paced society and we are used to instant results: Microwave meals in 5 minutes, lose 5 pounds in 5 days, 30 minute oil changes, see results from fitness equipment in 20 minutes a day, and on and on.

The Internet is no different and it actually may be less forgiving of web sites that don’t deliver results quickly.

The 4 second rule that we spoke of earlier does not mean that your entire web page must load in 4 seconds. Rather, it means that a visitor to your web site has to at least see something interesting within that 4 second window. So, to test your site, while it is loading, ask yourself:

  • How much time passes before I see anything?
  • What is the first thing I see on the web page?
  • How much time passes before I can read some text?
  • How long would it take a visitor to determine what the web site is about?

Try this suggestion yourself and then try to enlist the help of some of your friends. The more people you have to test your web site, the more thorough your results will be.

Ideally, the site should load top to bottom and left to right. However, your design should adhere to the reading habits of your target audience. Some countries read from right to left so, make sure you know your audience. Also, the most eye-catching elements should load first. Once these load, they will grab the visitor’s attention. Then, the rest of the page can finish loading.

What Graphics Format Should I Use?
This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of web design. How many times have you visited a web site and cringed at the slow loading pictures. I’ll bet you did not stick around to see everything load.

In most cases, web sites that have this problem were created by someone who bought a Web Design How-To book, created a web page that says “Hello World” and now think they are an expert. Or, possibly they are learning web design and created this slow loading site as a favor for a friend or family member. At any rate, hiring a professional web design company will prevent bad design from happening to you. In the meantime, here are some very basic guidelines regarding those very important web site graphics:

More about the .JPG file format:
.JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) format allows images to contain up to 16 million colors. It also supports Variable Compression, which allows you to reduce the size of the image at the cost of some of the detail. In order to take full advantage of this feature, you will need a graphics program which will allow you to preview the image after you have compressed it. Some of the more popular graphics programs are Photoshop, Fireworks and Corel Draw.

JPG is not a good format for images with only a few colors or for text created as an image. The finished image will be of poor quality.

More about the .GIF file format:
.GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) support up to 256 colors. It also supports “transparency” which allows you to specify the background of the image to be invisible, thereby letting the web page colors show through.

Graphics in this format are also “looseless”, meaning the final quality is not adversly affected by compressing.

Boiling it Down.
For the most part, here is a good way to determine what format you should use for the graphics on your web site:

  • If your graphic has many colors (such as a photo) use .JPG as the format, However, make sure that the file size is not so large that it prevents the web page from loading quickly. Find a good balance between image quality and file size.
  • If your graphic has only a few colors (such as a chart) use .GIF as the format.

Of course, this is somewhat oversimplifying the very important role of graphics in your web site design. If you hire a professional web design company to create your web presence, he or she should follow these guidelines during the design process. You should make sure that the rough drafts you receive from the designer adhere to good design standards.

Make Them Want More.
Of course, no matter how well organized your web site is and how effective it is at grabbing the visitor’s attention, they have to view your web site as important. You have to give them reasons to stay and browse your site, to bookmark your site so they can refer to it again and to tell others about your site so you can build new visitors.

We will consider how to tackle this aspect of quality web site design in an upcoming article. That article will focus on three main ways to keep visitors coming back:

  1. Offer something of value
    1. Newsletter
    2. Free tips
    3. Monthly coupons
  2. Good, quality marketing copy
    1. Put effort into the words of your web site.
    2. Remember, the Internet is made up of web pages and for the most part, pages are meant to be read.
  3. Easy to use web site navigation.
    1. If visitors can’t get around easily on your web site, they won’t stay very long.

Author: Anthony Muhaluk
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: US Dollar credit card

What is a Web Designer, Anyway?

Posted by | Posted in Web Design | Posted on 22-01-2010

As a web designer, I get all kinds of requests for information other than web design, and as a web designer I’m not really suppose to be able to do things outside of the web design area. I believe there are a few misconceptions about what exactly a web designer does. In this article I am going to nail down exactly what a web designer is and what they should be able to do. First I’ll touch of the differences between a web designer and a web developer. A web designer is someone who creates the visual design and layout of a web page. A web developer is someone who does the behind-the-scenes programming of a website. For example a web developer creates the code for database websites.

Web designer’s definition:

They give business/organizations a web presence by building them a website. Web designers are professionals who organize information, create page layouts, while communicating the business’s information/opinions in a website. Web designers create another medium for the business to expand into. Creating a website enables the business to attract new customers, showcase its services/products, and to do business across countries (as opposed to one location).

What things do web designer’s do?

That’s a really good question. It is definitely hard to nail down what every designer must do in order to call themselves a web designer. A good web designer should be able to do both the design and the development, unfortunately for you the consumer, it doesn’t always work that way.

Your web designer must be able to perform the following:

* Understand and keep current will all new emerging technology

*Layout web pages using HTML, XHTML, XML , and other programming languages

*Program HTML (hand code), JavaScript and CSS

*Translate your ideas, needs and expectations into a web page

*Design navigation elements (such as navigation bars)

*Create graphics in Photoshop or any other professional imaging software

* Effectively participate in a web development team

* Have an understanding on how to create Flash (authoring software used to create animation programs)

*Understand and implement web standards

* Have an understanding of Search Engine Optimization

* Have a basic understanding of typography, graphics and color theory

* Understand needs of users and of usability testing

* Have ability to analyze a target market

* Understand cross browser problems and how to fix them

A great web designer also has knowledge of coding languages such as:

* C++

* Python

* Java

* JavaScript

* Cold fusion

* SQL

* PHP

Sometimes it might be difficult for a web designer to have all those different programming languages under their belt. It is like knowing English, French, Chinese and German. Quite complicated. The more languages they know the better. Well that should help you on your search for a good web designer!

Author: Alicia Harper
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Credit card currency-exchange fees

Finding a Professional Web Designer or Web Design Company

Posted by | Posted in Web Design | Posted on 22-01-2010

Your web site is your storefront window on the World Wide Web. It must grab the viewers attention and be clear, all in a matter of seconds. Otherwise, its 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 thats 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 youre 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, dont 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. Theyre 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, dont 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 youre 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.

If you are looking for a design company close to you, check
out Xemion.com. Xemion is an easy-to-use web designer and web design company directory with listings by state and city.

Author: Rick Vidallon
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Canada duty

Choosing a Web Designer – What to Look For and What to Avoid

Posted by | Posted in Web Design | Posted on 22-01-2010

Owning and operating your own business from day to day is a huge task in itself. Tack on the chore of choosing a professional web designer and well it can get overwhelming.

Choosing a web designer or developer should not be taken lightly; a web designer is responsible for creating and establishing your corporate identity and online presence. Your business web site speaks for you when you cannot. What does your current web site design say about your business? Does it portray a professional, reliable business? If not heres a few tips for finding and selecting a web designer.

What to look for

Portfolio Samples

A good web designer or design company will have an online presence. Ask to see the designers portfolio and links to some of their current web site designs. Beware of designers that are offering web design or graphic design services with no online presence. Take the time to navigate the designers web site and some of their clients sites to get a feel for their skills and also to make sure all links, navigational features, etc. function properly. Often unskilled web designers sites will have dead links, misspelled words and other errors.

References

Most reputable web designers and companies will post client testimonials on their web site. These are a good indication that the designer is experienced and that past clients have been satisfied with their work. Beware of a long list of testimonials with no client information such as company name or a link to the web site. Most web designers will link their clients testimonials to their sites so you can verify that they are in fact a happy customer.

If the designers testimonials arent readily available ask, and verify them. Call or email the references and ask how their experience was with the designer and if they were satisfied with the work. This may seem like a lot of work but having a web site professionally designed is a financial investment and an important one to your business. Its wise to do your homework before jumping into anything.

Contact Information

Now this might seem like common sense but check the designers web site for clear contact information such as a physical address and telephone number. A designer displaying only their email address and website address as contact information is not very credible and you should request and confirm the designers contact information prior to paying for or putting a deposit down on your design services.

Look for Familiar Logos/Affiliations

Displaying familiar logos such as credit card logos (Visa, MasterCard and so on), PayPal verified logos and other affiliation logos such as groups and organizations lends credibility to the web site and the company.

Who Is

No thats not an incomplete statement its the name of a directory that you should familiarize yourself with. Using the WHOIS database you can search and find out information about an existing domain name such as the owner, how long its been registered and other useful information. The WHOIS database will provide you with the contact information of the person or organization that registered the domain name youre inquiring about.

http://who.godaddy.com/whoischeck.aspx?se=%2B&app%5Fhdr=

Check out your prospective designer if you have doubts and verify that the information listed matches the contact information they are giving you. Beware of designers that have blocked or privately registered their domains to prevent consumers from accessing their information. With that being said we must also state that legitimate companies sometimes block their domains, usually in an attempt to prevent spam but its not something we suggest.

Compliance with W3C and CSS Standards

This is often the most overlooked detail but the most critical. Most Web documents are written using markup languages, such as HTML or XHTML. These languages are defined by technical specifications, which usually include a machine-readable formal grammar (and vocabulary). The act of checking a document against these constraints is called validation, and this is what the Markup Validator does. Validating Web documents is an important step in web design. (Read more on why validating matters).

Unfortunately there are unscrupulous web designers out there that dont code to or even know the standards and their clients pay dearly for it. Check your designers site against the standards, if there site doesnt validate theres a good chance yours wont either.

Author: Tanya Stesen
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Excise Tax

Finding the Perfect Web Designer 101

Posted by | Posted in Web Design | Posted on 21-01-2010

So, you’ve decided that your company needs a web site. Now what? Since we are ultimately talking about your “online business image”, unless you yourself have web design experience, finding that perfect web designer to create your company site is a very important next step. If you’ve never had a web site created before, you will find that there is quite a lot to consider if you want your site to be successful, and you may have to do a bit of homework to find the right person for you.

Regardless of the type of site you want, to be successful, your site will need to do, at least, these 3 things:

  • Look professional
  • Function properly
  • Get good positioning on the search engines

In achieving this goal, there’s good news and bad news.

The bad news is that there are all kinds of designers out there, offering all kinds of services, and prices are pretty much across the board. The good news is that there are some simple points you can follow to help make this process easier.

So, how do you go about finding a designer?

Since there are so many different companies offering web design, you might start by making a list of what your specific needs are. Every site is unique so it’s a good idea to know what you need before you start calling around or sending in estimate forms. Some things you might need to know are:

  • Will you be selling a product online?
  • Does your site require a database?
  • Do you also need web hosting? or a domain name?
  • Do you want to have your clients contact you through a form?
  • How many pages do you think the site will be?
  • Are there any pages or features specific to your business that you would like to have on your site?

Also, write down a couple of URLs of sites that you like. Or maybe you’ve seen a specific feature on another site that you would like to incorporate into your own site. Having a rough idea of the kind of site you’re looking for will help you find the right designer for your project.

Referrals

One of the best ways I’ve found to find the right designer is to get a referral from someone you know personally who has already had their site designed and they are happy with the site, and their experience with the designer. So let your friends and family know that you are shopping around for someone to help you create your online business image. People who have had a good experience with their web design company will be more than happy to pass the information along.

If you do get a referral from someone, go and look at the designer’s site and see what else they’ve done. If you’re interested, you can fill out a free quote form on their site, or email the designer with the specs of your project.

Job sites

There are a number of online sites that will help you match your project with a number of designers who will then bid on your project. The one thing to be aware of is that these sites have all types of designers listed with their service from those with years of experience, to those who just bought themselves the latest version of Front Page and have now labeled themselves “web designer”.

Although these job sites do make it harder for less experienced people to be listed as a serious prospect, when they ask for your project description, you can include on there that “only serious professionals need apply”. You can sometimes eliminate the amount of riff-raff that will send in proposals for your project.

The biggest problem people have with using these job sites is that potential clients are usually overwhelmed with the number of quotes they receive for their project. Be aware that you may have to rifle through a lot of proposals that are not what you are looking for.

These sites usually offer a Designer’s Profile and some kind of a rating system, which can help you learn a bit about a potential designer. Reading the reviews listed from previous clients can also help shed some light on your choice of designers.

Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages ads are expensive so chances are that you will find professional design firms to successful web design individuals listed there. They will usually list their URL in their ad and it’s always a good idea to go to their site and see what they have to offer before contacting them.

What you should be looking for in a designer?

Possibly you have a couple of designers you are interested in. But how do you know for sure? There are a few specific things that you should be aware of when picking your designer.

Portfolio

First and foremost, you want to check out their portfolio! This is the body of work that this designer has recently created and it tells a lot about what they offer. All web designers should have an online portfolio that you can easily access.

Take a good look at their own site and other sites they’ve created. Do the sites look professional? Is the style of the designer something you would like to have on your own site? In addition, you can contact companies that have had their site designed and ask them about their experience with this designer.

Price

Another thing to consider, although this is not the top priority, is price. Although there is no clear-cut rule as to what an “average” price for web design is, this is one situation where, in most cases, you get what you pay for. This is simply not the time to cut corners. So in considering price, also consider that you are paying for this individual’s expertise, as well as their time and experience.

It is more important to create a successful site that has a good position in the search engine and one that you are very happy with the look and function of than to save a couple of bucks. If you get a good site, your site will be able to grow with your company and, hopefully, that’s for a very long time!

Search engine optimization

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 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.

Specialized services

Will you be selling your products or services online? Will you need a database driven site? How about Flash or embedded video or audio? Not everyone offers these services; be sure to ask specifically about what you will need for your site.

A couple of other things to consider is web hosting and domain name registration. Make sure if you need these services that your designer can help provide them too.

Compatibility

Lastly, when you are talking to potential designers, it should be someone you seem compatible with. Does the designer seem friendly and are they willing to answer all of your questions? Do they respond promptly to your emails and/or phone calls? Basically, is this someone you “click” with?

Communication with your designer is crucial. You need someone who is willing to answer any questions and keep you up-to-date on the status of your web design. A good designer will keep in touch with you every few days, at least. You don’t want to get down to the final days of creating the site only to find out you don’t like it!

Testimonials

Most designers will have testimonials from previous clients on their web site. It’s a good idea to see what their customers are saying about their services, and again, calling one or two clients regarding this web designer’s services is a really good idea.

Summary

There are many factors involved in finding and picking the right designer to build your company’s web site, but the key is to remember that this is your business image, one that you hope to have for many years to come, so you want to pick your designer as you would pick a real estate agent to find your “dream house”. If you pick the right designer the first time, you won’t be looking for someone to redesign your site in 6-9 months.

Be thorough, ask questions, look at samples, and you’ll find the perfect web designer for you!

Author: Teri Tucker
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Import duty tariff

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