Grudge Style - A Different Kind of Approach in Web Designing

The evolution of web site in its first appearance from the so-called dot-com bubble to new web interface of web 2.0 has changed tremendously. Web design comes in many style and variation according to what purpose and function the web designer wants to intend. Some of them evolve over time while other web style has become obsolete and disappear without a trace in the internet. Because of the rapid emergence of information in the internet, some of the design style has lost the ability to communicate while others have strived for aesthetic style and good visual communication.

With the transition of web towards web 2.0 interface, the visual design is more expressive and innovative than ever and renders the web pages to become more subtle, more user-oriented, and more user-centric without sacrificing the usability of web design. Grudge style is one of the examples of this new design trend.

Grudge style is building its own name in accordance of Web 2.0 style. As web designing of web 2.0 is all about working with unconventional elements, this kind of style is something rude and provoking, hip and expressive. Its visual appeal is manifests through its worn, distorted pattern, and battered visual elements. Grudge style still follows the basic principle of good visual communication so it is fair enough to say that this kind of design does not literally mean dirty with shabby layout. One way of seeing the grudge style is to think that it has chaotic pattern with realistic elements that defines the quality of its visual appeal.

Here are some of the characteristics of grudge style:

1) The visual of grudge style is not always appealing. They can be visually attractive in a unique and unusual approach of visual design.

2) In grudge style, web designers are fun of using heavy texture. Grudge style often connotes the raw, historic, rough, urban, and rebellious themes. In today's information-oriented environment, many professional web designers experiments for something new to express their creativity. They got tired of a theme that suggests stability or web pages that are created with straight lines, solid colors, and perfect gradients.

The usage of heavy textured web pages manifests the creativity and the desire of a web designer to really express his own theme. Some of the personal web sites, online portfolios, and blogs follow the grudge style now. These kinds of site are using heavy textured to convey the different usage of visual elements.

3) The use of unusual font typeface. Fonts displayed in grudge style are sometimes eroded. The most common fonts used in grudge style are Turbo Ripped, Dirty Ames, Sidewalk, Neoprint M319, and Trashed. These kinds of fonts are mashed-up fonts excellent of showing extra details, gives intricate details of wood typed design, or to give extra textural feeling in the design.

4) The use of grungy icons. Though it is not always use as a part of the design, those icons can be added to create a feeling of uneasiness in visual design.

What to Expect From a Professional Web Design Company

If you are looking for a professional web design company that can provide you with comprehensive, effective web design services, along with internet marketing solutions, consider researching web design company web sites on the internet. Compare and review services, prices, and client testimonials before choosing your web design company. There are many different web design companies to choose from, be sure that you will get an expert and professional service that can lead to profitable business solutions.
Most professional web design companies can offer the services of staff that are talented and specialized, trained professionals, all experts in their chosen fields, choose a company that values not only local and international clients. These companies can supply the services and technical expertise to not only provide an innovative and market researched web site, but also to deliver a comprehensive service.

An expert web design company should be able to provide you with ideas, advice, assistance and solutions to creating an effective web site. Choose a company that can also offer innovation, inspiring web design, web site development, graphic design and art direction. An excellent choice for your chosen company would also be where experienced staff can also offer online marketing solutions to promote your web site. You should expect professional, speedy, versatile, open, friendly and cost efficient service, it is also advisable to research and compare other design companies to the one you have chosen to use.

The web design company you choose should be able to provide you with the tools and materials to market your new venture effectively, leading to successful online business. Price is also an issue that may require research from your side; unfortunately, there are a number of web design companies that are renowned for over-charging their customers, where in fact there are many web design companies that can offer great services and skilled knowledge to create an effective web site for an affordable cost. Research and compare quotes, if you are still unsure, research client testimonials for your chosen web design company to prove competent and professional services.

It is also recommended that your chosen web design company can offer follow-up services, such as expert online marketing. It is suggested that your web design company is able to provide services similar to professional search engine marketing companies. These companies can effectively promote your web site once development is complete, the idea here is that the marketing tactics will create more internet traffic (potential customers) to your web site. Get comprehensive and effective internet services from a top web design company.

Web Design - Is It An Art?

Web design is an art. There's 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.

Don't 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 don't 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 doesn't 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 don't 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, it's true: it's not the car that matters, but the ride. However, when you travel in an uncomfortable seat you might not enjoy the ride. And doesn't 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 today's 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!

Don't 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. You'll need to pay the price for either one, but high quality websites don't 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.

Web Design Prices and Costs - How to Get A Fair Web Design Quote

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!


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!

Web Design's Scariest 4 Mistakes

Believe it or not, there are web designs that actually scare people away from the site and keep them from coming back. Doing this is something your web design company and you will have to avoid practically all the time. If you do not want your web design company and you to become tarnished or labelled as one of the "Worst web Designers of the net," you need to watch out for this.

Web Design's Scariest Backgrounds:

Setting the background on your site is one of the things that you have the liberty of setting or changing. However, some backgrounds are simply ugly, difficult to read or just plain scary. Here are some sample backgrounds that I am talking about:

  • Pure black background with pale, light or white text. Unless you are a professional web designer who belongs to the best web design company in the world, try to avoid this type of background. It looks generally pretentious, not to mention how difficult it is to do well. Some browsers print background colour, and you definitely will not like angry customers complaining about how much ink it caused them to print the page.
  • Black with dark text. This is simply illegible and unacceptable. Your customers will have to highlight the text first to make it readable, and this can get really annoying.
  • Tiled and busy background images. New web designers find this convenient and amazing, but note that this takes more download time and do not add value to your site on the part of your customers.

Web Design's Scariest Text:

People visit your site for the content that you offer. If they can not view your text, they will leave immediately and not come back. Your web design company does not want this to happen, so be wary of some of the things that you need to avoid:

  • Text wherein everything is centered. This makes your page awfully hard to read and look really boring.
  • Too much emphasis, headlines, bold, strong or italics. Do not set every line on your page to be highlighted or set as headline. This defeats the web design purpose of setting some text to stand out.
  • Blinking text. Even if they can be attractive to some, they are almost always impossible to read!

Web Design's Scariest Content:

You should also pay attention to your content as it is what drives visitors into (or out) of your site. The general rule is to make sure that you put in interesting and eye-catching content and to avoid things like these:

  • Content made of pure lists of link. This refers to straight links where every word of every line is a link. (Those that have paragraph explanations to it does not belong to this category.)
  • "Cutesy and fun" content. Try not to add in some tricks to get people to laugh. Chances are they will either not understand your humour and you will need to explain it further, or they will simply not go back to your site anymore.

Web Design's Scariest Multimedia:

Multimedia oftentimes becomes the scariest tool ever to hit the web. Your web design company will surely appreciate your multimedia talents and you can show it off when you want to. They usually will take you a very long time to build, so that the more you work hard for it, the more it makes you proud. However, note that the page is never just about you or your web design company. It is about the client who you are web designing the pages for. Do them a favour and do not let them have to sacrifice for you to show off your graphical or Flash skills. Try to avoid the following web design no nos as well:

  • Images much too many. These images include those small icons that designed put into their site. The rule of thumb is: if you already have more than two, you now have too many.
  • Unreasonable large images. You do not have to publish the print quality versions of photos right into the page. They take too long to load, and are usually not appreciated anyway. Resizing your photos through HTML simply does NOT count.
  • Sound. Just try your very best not to put sounds and songs. Mp3, wav or whatever format of audio and songs playing on top of the page that is impossible to turn off, those MIDI files - they are all annoying. If you think your web design will be better off with sounds, make sure you give your visitors the controls to turn it on or off.

Your web design company will definitely not be happy about a scary web design. You surely will not. Your web design should encourage readers to view your page and to stay a little longer looking through it, and not the other way around!

The Power Of Web Design

Design plays a crucial role in today's web sites' success. Without adequate web design, all web pages are dull not to mention boring. It doesn't matter if it is a personal web site or that of a company, web design is a must, especially now when the Internet is at its peak of evolution.

Nobody wants to browse a web page full of text, because let's face it, it's outright boring. When creating a web site, the developer has to implement in the web site components which will make the visitor come back and visit the page again. The perfect way to do this is by using web design thus making the site attractive and eventually, popular.

A major part in web design is represented by flash, without it, the Internet wouldn't be as popular as it is today. Flash makes it all possible: attractive design, catchy animations, music, videos, games and the list could go on forever. Flash is considered the new wave, a reason for this is represented by the fact that with the help of flash, web sites are user interactive, making them a lot more interesting than regular web sites where everything is predefined without any real customizable options.

When it comes down to multimedia, take videos for example, flash movies can be stored in very small file sizes, so they can be downloaded rapidly which is a major advantage because nobody wants to wait minutes for a page to fully load. Of course, there is a downside to all of this, too much graphics, videos, sounds will slow down the loading time and we all know, although patience is a virtue, most of us don't have it.

Web design plays an important role in marketing success. With an attractive web site, the success is guaranteed. Companies with professional web sites benefit from the advantages web design has to offer. Internet marketing is not all about getting as many visitors as possible but also to capture the interest of the visitor once he's on that specific web site, so what better way to do this if not by web design ?

Web design companies offer professional services for business companies that really want to make an impression on the web. You can tell a great deal about a company only by visualizing their web site that is why more and more companies hire web designers to create a professional web site that stands out from all the other sites.

Of course, a web site, theoretically is about the content but let's face it, without attractive design, fewer people will be curious about the content itself. Some of you may say, don't judge a book by its covers but this is not applicable in the web site area because it all comes down to one simple question: Which web sites do you remember and come back to again? The answer is pretty obvious; the ones with elegant graphics, the ones with visual aura that draw your attention from the first click.

For companies looking for a fast growth a professionally designed web site is the key. There are numerous examples of companies which after they redesigned their web site enjoyed a large growth in their domain of activity, improving their success.

In conclusion, web designing is about marketing, because making your web site look more attractive will give a big boost to your business; or if you have a personal web page you will enjoy looking at the traffic numbers which will certainly go up.

Hiring A Web Designer - What To Look Out For

An unprofessional looking website can cause serious damage to your brand's reputation, the quality of visitors and volumes of sales. A few dollars saved in web design could cost you losses in millions! Is compromising on web design really worth it?

Hire an expert team of dedicated web designers that has several years of experience in web designing. In addition ensure your web designer can design a high quality end product which is truly reflective of your brand. Does your web designer use state-of-the-art, innovative technology that truly brings a value-add to your site? Hire a web designer with a difference. Make sure they don't cut corners when it comes to web design. That means no scratchy images, no cluttered web pages - just a clean, professional looking site that is representative of your brand.

Does your designer offer a first-class service that is designed to suit your unique needs. You can also just ask to customize your existing site to make it harmonious with your business goals. Ask you web designer to help enhance your online presence with search engine optimization services. Is you web designer one of the best in their field - and does it show? Can they provide a portfolio that shows how they have helped numerous clients improve their brand perception and enhance client relationships as well.

Ensure your web developer specialize in creating stunning, engaging web pages, and we also help provide a highly-interactive interface to your clients. This goes a long way in generating more leads and hence more sales for your business. Web sites should always have easy navigability, attractive interfaces and highly optimized content - which attract more traffic. Does your web designer take web design very seriously. After all web designing should only be executed by a thorough professional.

Why not try MyConsulting Melbourne Australia? Our web design services at MyConsulting are truly end-to-end. This means we cater to every spectrum of the web design segment. Right from search engine optimization, to design and layout of the web pages, to even using impressive graphics to add visual appeal - we at MyConsulting can help you with all these functions. That's one reason we are a web designer Melbourne that provides holistic and comprehensive services.

Find out how we can complement your business to help you stay ahead in the competition.

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

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 here's 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 designer's 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 designer's web site and some of their client's sites to get a feel for their skills and also to make sure all links, navigational features, etc. function properly. Often unskilled web designer's sites will have dead links, misspelled words and other errors.


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 client's testimonials to their sites so you can verify that they are in fact a happy customer.

If the designer's testimonials aren't 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. It's wise to do your homework before jumping into anything.

Contact Information

Now this might seem like common sense but check the designer's 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 that's not an incomplete statement it's 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 it's 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 you're inquiring about.

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 it's 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 don't code to or even know the standards and their clients pay dearly for it. Check your designers site against the standards, if there site doesn't validate there's a good chance yours won't either.

Thinking Offshore Web Design? Think Again!

Offshore web design firms promise ultimate convenience and savings to businesses around the world. Many companies even decide to hop aboard the outsource wagon and hire these design firms. In many cases, they get more than they bargained for.

While it is true that many offshore web design firms promise low, low prices for web design services, far too many companies learn that you get what you pay for. Many companies based outside the US simply cannot offer the services and quality of a home-grown business. When dealing with overseas companies, businesses need to adjust to time zone differences, which often make contact and meetings virtually impossible. Sending money to pay for services is often time-consuming and expensive. Wiring money and sending overseas transfers to pay for web design is not even always safe and can leave company owners vulnerable to identity theft.

Overseas companies often do try hard to compete on the global stage, but the truth is that any US company needing web design for the competitive North American and European market needs top quality. Many companies who hire overseas web design services often have to spend extra money to repair sloppy, ungrammatical copywriting. Unfortunately, not every offshore company can deliver professional web design - in many cases, fly-by-night overseas firms deliver amateurish, unusable work. After all, anyone can set up a company half-way around the world and promise design services. There is often no way for you to verify their qualifications.

Even when an offshore web design company tries very hard, the truth is that someone based half-way around the world simply cannot know North American marketing thoroughly. Even major companies are finding that their offshore outsourcing isn't working - the experienced web design talent is simply not there. In far too many cases, companies look at the bottom line and hire these web design services only to realize after the fact that they need to pay to have their web redesigned all over again. Does your company really want to pay TWICE for web design services?

Before companies sign on the dotted line and hire an overseas web design service, they also need to think twice about the "deal" they are getting. In many cases, offshore companies offer an impressively low hourly charge, but take longer to finish a project. Even though a web design
company only charges a fraction of its US counterpart in terms of hourly price, it can easily end up charging a similar amount, simply by taking longer to complete the same amount of work. Since your company could end up paying just as much for an overseas web design service, doesn't it make more sense to hire a US-based firm and get guaranteed, quality work for the same price?

The biggest problem with overseas web design services is that offshore services come with no legal protection whatsoever. Laws are simply very different in other parts of the world and when a company decides to choose an overseas firm, they are in effect resigning themselves to no legal protection. If a web design company turns in a plagiarized product or a product that violates intellectual property laws, the company that hired the web design service will have a very hard time finding legal redress. Worse, it is the US company that may have to face the US legal system if any laws have been violated. In many cases, offshore companies operate only via email, which means that when there is a problem with a delivered service, there is no way to get a fast response. Companies may simply disappear when there is a legal problem. Buying offshore is buying "as is" - not the way you want to hire the web design services that will make your business succeed!

How to Create Good Web Design

There are many different types of web design, from those built using website templates and 'build your own' site building applications to complex content managed and e-commerce web designs such as those used by big brand names like Amazon, eBay and Tesco. Some companies, even some big name companies, have unprofessional looking and badly designed websites. Some have amazing looking websites but because of their high graphical content and minimal text content can take an age to load, are not user friendly and do not provide what the visitor wants.

Good Website Design

Though many aspects of website design differ from site to site, many things remain the same throughout the majority of websites on the internet. Most notably is the navigation or menu. The way in which a website's menu works and looks is very important, as ultimately, visitors to a website are looking for certain criteria that will make them either stay and interact or leave. This ability for a website to keep visitors interested is sometimes referred to as stickiness. Visitors want an attractive visually exciting experience, but perhaps more importantly, they want 'ease of use'. Website usability is a key factor for websites that want their visitors to stick around, make an enquiry and ultimately complete a transaction and order a product or service.

Easy to Use Web Design

Internet users tend to prefer easy to use websites, because they do not want to have to learn how to use a website every time they find a new one. They should be able to use a website after only a few seconds of looking around a homepage, any more and they will leave and browse elsewhere. The need for fast user interaction is vital and therefore having a fast loading website is also important for a website to succeed. Even with faster internet connections such as broadband, internet users don't want to wait around.

Just imagine, if you go to a shop on the high street and are totally ignored by shop assistants at the counter for 5 minutes, even after you have made it clear you want help. There is a correlation here to how an internet user may feel, when they arrive at a website that has been poorly designed, is difficult to use, unfriendly and slow to load. Making sure that a website has been well thought out and designed with the user in mind, displays a company's unique selling points within easily recognizable eye catching calls for action and has a clear, easy to use menu is key to its success.

Flash Web Design

With recent web design advancements, such as the introduction of Flash animation and high definition video content, impressive websites have been produced to take advantage of much higher levels of visual effects and interaction. However with this 'high end' web design, comes a price, more often than not, web designs which rely heavily upon Flash content are often ridiculously slow to load. They often have a progress bar, which slowly goes across the web browser to signify when the website will finish loading.

This is much like the progress bars that you may be familiar with if you use video editing or 3D rendering software, or if you use games consoles where they are displayed whilst you wait for games to load. Internet users on the whole do not want to wait 3 - 5 minutes for a web page to load even if it does feature high resolution images, animation or video. They want fast informative content rich websites. If they wanted to watch an animation or video they would watch TV.

Good Flash Web Design

This is not to say that Flash animation is all bad news and shouldn't be used in web design. If used subtly and in small amounts it can make a website more visually appealing without slowing the load time down too much. Suitable uses for Flash animation in web design are things such as; Flash banner advertisements, Flash video and interactive Flash forms for online questionnaires or business presentations.

Using Flash for a whole website design however, is not such a good idea. It slows the user's experience down because they have to wait for elements of it to load. Also, sites totally developed in Flash tend to use unfamiliar menu structures and features. This can confuse visitors who just want to quickly interact with the website and not be amazed by the way the menu animates. Just because you can do these things in Flash, it doesn't mean they have any real working value in the real world. They may look pretty, but if they are not functional and only irritate the visitor then they have no real value.

Flash Web Design & SEO

Another argument against using Flash to create a whole website is that it dramatically reduces the effectiveness of your websites' Search Engine Optimisation. Flash web designs are made up of one main file within a web page which search engines find difficult to index. This is because the text within them is usually graphical text and therefore is not usually accessible by search engines. Some recent developments allow some text to be displayed for search engines in Flash websites, but this is nowhere near as effective as text content within traditional HTML based websites.

Don't Write Off Flash in Web Design

Although Flash does have its limitations it also has its good points if used correctly. For instance; Flash animation is usually smaller in file size than traditional gif animation and because of the way it is made the animation flows smoother than gif animation too. Having said this, I would recommend only using Flash in small areas within a site to compliment other imagery that makes up the overall design. Finding a balance between minimal graphical elements, imagery, Flash and good quality informative text is the key to a successful user friendly website. This isn't to say that web design needs be boring. By working with quality web design companies there's no reason why you couldn't have a visually exciting, well designed, easy to use and successful website.

Visually Stimulating Web Design

When visitors first arrive at a website, they want to be impressed and engaged with what the website has to offer. This will be determined by the ways in which the web designer has laid out the website's content text, images and features. Arranging elements such as imagery, text, graphics, flash and video in such a way as to keep the visitor interested in the website is the key to good web design. If a website has poor design and doesn't grab the attention of the visitor in the first few seconds, then it may well be dismissed as just another average website. This ultimately means the visitor will go elsewhere to spend their time and, more importantly, money.

Good Web Design Layout

A lot of time and money is spent making sure that the right elements of websites are positioned in the right places. Companies spend large amounts of money conducting research into how internet users use their websites. This type of research shows where their visitors' eyes concentrate the most, which elements of the website they click on first and generally how they interact and use their websites. Most internet users will look primarily from the top left either across the page, or down the left hand side of the web page through an internet browser via a computer, mobile phone or TV set.

I would hazard a guess, that they are looking for the company's name or logo, their main selling points or slogans and then what the website has to offer in terms of what is featured in the menu. After which their eyes are probably drawn across the page content and over to the right hand side. Successful web design usually takes this into consideration and will ultimately affect the way a website looks.

There are of course rather famous exceptions to this rule for instance one rather well known search engine has a web design which is quite different. The main focus and core functionality in their web design is located right in the centre of the page. This however, isn't any ordinary website with tens or even hundreds of pages of products and services to display, its main focus is its recognisable logo and of course its search box. It does however feature a small minimal menu across the top of the web design, which flows from left to right. So even they have taken onboard some of the research undertaken into internet users' habits. If you go looking at websites after reading this article, I can guarantee that most of the web designs you'll see, will have a left hand menu and a defined header bar with a company logo and slogan across it.

Web Design - The Importance of Design Simplicity for Business Websites

Search engines don't care about web design. People do. While search engines will not index a website for its great layout, but for the content, people will forget the website that has nothing distinctive about it. No visual impact, no interest! Now, if you are a serious online entrepreneur and want to have a website that sends the right message to the visitors, you must know that there are some web design techniques simply inappropriate for a business website.

Many web design companies promise websites that respect the web standards, are usable and search engine friendly. Yes, that's how any website should be. But these are simple tools. A professional company will mention them, but it will also let you know how a website will increase revenue, reduce expenses, bring more customers and so on. A professional web design firm will not fashion a website "out of the blue", but conceive a design after understanding your corporate values, after analyzing the target market and respecting your brand image. That's what you should care about when you choose a web design company.

There are many elements of web design that screw up a business website. Many are simple bad practices, other purely ugly and useless. For an unknown reason business websites with really bad web design are still fashioned every day.

One of the worst web design techniques is to use Flash instead of text. Web designers have fallen in love with Flash, but that will do a website no good: it increases the size of the page and it is not search engine friendly. Flash is great for music bands, movie sites and other sites that need to make a "cool" impression. Business websites need to send other messages: reliability, customer support, experience and so on. There are some astonishing Flash creations on the web, but the most are simply annoying, useless and visitors just hate them. Flash is exceptionally bad when the designer forgets to put a "Skip Intro" button. On a second thought, a "Skip Intro" button will suggest that the content on that page is insignificant. So far is clear: Flash pages send out mixed messages. However, if you are really in love with flash and simply must have it on your website, create a non-Flash version.

Small text could also be really annoying. If people can't see your message, they'll just go away, eventually to your competitors. Another bad web design practice is using too many images and animated buttons. There's nothing worse than a website that twinkles and gets you dizzy while you try to find your way to the information through a bunch of flashy banners, buttons and useless pictures. Many web designers still use background images.

Seriously, have you ever see a global business website that has employed such a web design technique? Most of them have a standard, classic design, with simple navigation and plain text on a white background. The graphics are in perfect harmony with the content, they are not misleading and do have proper ALT attributes. There is a reason for simplicity in web design: creating websites that are simple, logical and easy to use, creating websites that sell.

It takes a real web designer to develop simple web pages that are both appealing and simple. Simplicity in web design should not by synonym with ugliness. Simple websites could be well-designed, elegant and bring other important benefits: they load faster, they are easier to scan and easier to navigate, they are quicker to design, build, redesign, maintain and they require less server space and bandwidth. Best of all: a simple web design will cost less and bring more!

Is Your Web Designer Ripping You Off?

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:, 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 ( 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.

If my site fails to validate does that mean it doesn't use Web Standards?

Not necessarily.

The W3C validator ( is a useful tool for checking if your site uses high-quality HTML. However, it's not a 100% guarantee.

It's possible for a site to fail the validation on one or two minor points. If this is the case it's not a major problem, although you could ask your web designer to correct them.

However, if your site has dozens of hundreds of errors this is bad news.

It's also possible to for your website to pass the validator and still use out-of-date techniques, however this is much less likely.

Should web designers use Web Standards?


To put it bluntly, if you don't know web standards, you're really not entitled to call yourself a "professional" web designer.

There are some occasions when it's acceptable to use non Web Standards techniques for practical reasons, but it has to be an informed decision.

How many web designers program websites the wrong way?

Unfortunately, most web designers program websites the wrong way. The sad thing is that many of them don't even know about Web Standards.

There are plenty of web designers that do use Web Standards, but they're in a minority.

Because there are no entry barriers to web design, anybody can set up as a web designer. That means there's plenty of choice but it also means there are plenty of cowboys producing badly-programmed websites.

What do I do if my website hasn't been created using Web Standards?

Well, you've got a couple of choices.

Firstly, you could contact the web designer that created your site and ask them why they didn't produce your site with Web Standards.

If your site is more than 1 or 2 years old it isn't reasonable to expect your site to have been created with Web Standards, as they weren't a well-known technique then.

You might find that your web designer now uses Web Standards and would be able to redesign your website so that it uses them.

They may be willing to do this for free, as a courtesy, or they may charge you for this.

Can't I just sue them?

I'm not a lawyer and couldn't offer legal advice.

However, I suspect that unless you have a written contract with your web designer specifying that the site should be built using Web Standards techniques you would find a legal route difficult.

What are my other options?

If your current web designer is unable or unwilling to change your site so that it uses Web Standards you could find another web designer who is able to redesign your site using Web Standards.

Use Google or Yellow Pages to find web designers in your local area and then contact them to see if they use web standards.

If they say yes, check some of their sites using

What if I don't have a website yet?

If you don't have a website yet, or are planning a new one, make sure you choose a web designer that uses Web Standards to create their websites.

Resources - HTML Validator

How to Find The Right Web Design Company?

A website is an important part of any business enterprise today. The size and kind of business is immaterial. The Internet is so very popular and everybody expects a company to have its very own web site and the one's that don't have are looked down upon. Is it good enough to just have a website? A website is going to add to the growth of your business. It is the one that is going to let your potential customers aware of your business, your products, growth potential and all else about your business. Your web page design is where you showcase your business so having an impressive website is of utmost importance.

So how is that you make your website attractive and impressive? If you already have a website you may want to change the whole look of it or you may want to create a new web design. How do you go about the entire process? You need to be proficient in web designing if you want to do so and it is not possible for each one of us to be good at it, which is where a web designer and web design company come into the picture. Be it a personal, corporate or ecommerce web site design, your site and your company are in safe hands with these professionals.

When you scout around for a good web designer, the internet would help in your search and there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

* Use Patterns - You can make use of certain patterns or model that would best suit your company's profile. Once you have done so then the next step would be to modify the text and choose the colors of your choice. You would have a plethora of patterns to choose from as most companies have good varied choices available instantaneously. To cite an example, if you are dealing in Human Resources (HR), then you could choose a model or pattern which is solely related to HR.

* Make to Order- When choosing your website designer/ web Design Company, select one that caters your needs. You might have certain ideas or may want to include certain things in your website. Your web designer should be one who is able to cater to all these needs and at the same time able to create an impressive website.

* Specific Requirements - Every business has its own specific requirements and while creating a web page it should also be easy to surf for anybody who visits the page, you might even want to provide your customers the ease of shopping or being able to send their complaints and suggestions through the website itself. Your web design company should be able to understand all your requirements and find feasible solutions to all of them.

* SEO - You should also ensure that your website is visited often and people are able to find your site easily. For this purpose, your web site designer should be able to help. Since search engine optimization (SEO) is very important for the success of your website you should seek your web site designers help to make your site popular.

* Web Hosting Service - Web hosting is very important for any website. Since it is not possible for everyone who owns a website to own a server as well for displaying the website, web hosting plays a crucial role. Most reputed web designers provide web hosting services as well and they wouldn't charge for their service if they have done the designing.

A professional web design and identity is very important for any business, and once you have found a good web design company, it will help your business grow from strength to strength.

How To Identify Fake Web Designers -- And Choose A Real One

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.

Is a Website Just a website

In the online world, traffic and targeted prospects is the life blood for you website. A pretty website becomes a white elephant if no customer visits it.

Does the web designer practice what he preaches? How much traffic is his website receiving?

To get an estimation of the amount of traffic, go to, enter his URL to get the traffic details. You'll see the Traffic Rank for his website. As a general rule of thumb, if the traffic ranking isn't within the 1st Million globally (e.g. Yahoo ranks no. 1), then his online marketing effort certainly has much room for improvement, even for his own business website.

Offline Marketing

Small businesses exist in numbers far larger than big corporations.

It is ever more important for your business to stand out from your competition with a professional, consistent image--your corporate identity, namely from your web design, company logo, to the offline marketing collateral such as business card and flyer designs etc.

Having the same company to design both your online and offline marketing collateral have significant advantages of consistency and cost.

Word of Mouth and Testimonials

Word of mouth is a good indication of someone who knows his stuff.

If he comes strongly recommended by trusted friends or family members, chances are he's created design solutions that work for their business quite well. Ask them whether it was a good experience or not.

Most designers will have testimonials from previous clients on their website. It's a good idea to see what his customers are saying about his services. Follow the web links and try contacting some of them. You should have a feel after talking to one or two. This also ensures the testimonials are not fake ones that were simply "made up".

Chemistry is Key

You are going to have to share aspects of your business, from visions to operations to preferences to competition, with this person.

So it's important that you feel comfortable enough with him to be honest about your business details and goals, as well as ask as many questions about his advise as you need to. Does the designer seem friendly and are they willing to answer all of your questions? Does he respond promptly to your emails and/or phone calls?

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!

Look out for his modus operandi during the first meeting. He should be asking you extensive, detailed questions about your requirements and goals, in order to analyze your needs.

Someone who is more interested in telling you the different design packages he can offer you is probably more concerned about making a quick buck.

Website Maintenance

A common issue with most small business is a lack of technical skills. What happens if you want to update the content after the project has been completed? Can you update it yourself without any HTML knowledge?

Content Management System

Would your website be built on a content management platform such as Wordpress or Joomla? This will allow you to update, edit and add pages on your own without going back to the web designer. Thus saving time and cost.

Engage your Customers via Blogs

If you are marketing your business on the web and you don't have a blog, you will always be beaten down by your competition.

A Blog platform allows you to do things no one else in your market can do with static websites. This means you don't just have a web site, you have a search engine magnet and an interactive community builder that will drive targeted, willing-to-buy visitors to your site.


This is an important factor for any small business to consider.

Although there is no clear-cut rule as to what an "average" price for web design is. In most cases, you get what you pay for. You are paying for this his expertise, time and experience.

Be realistic about your budget. You may not have all the bells and whistles such as animation and special effects.

It is more important to create a successful website 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!

The savvy, experienced web designer can implement your ideas and enhance them, spotting possible pitfalls and making recommendations along the way--and he'll help you to understand the procedure and give you the benefit of his experience and understanding of the Web, so that you come away not only with a website, but with an enhanced understanding of the Web and online business. In short, he'll work with you and be effective.

How to Choose a Web Design Company

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

Relevant Experience

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

Different types of websites

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

Things to take into consideration

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

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

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

How to a find a web design company

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

What is a Web Designer, Anyway?

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



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!

Questions To Ask A Web Designer

When thinking about hiring a website designer it's often difficult to know what to ask. Website design is a complex practice full of jargon and phrases that to the normal customer are often confusing.

Good web designers will often explain these complexities to you in simple plain English. Though often enough the prospective client isn't sure on what questions to ask a web designer. We have compiled a list of possible questions to ask a website designer while interviewing them for website design services.

This guide is aimed at small to medium sized businesses seeking professional website design services.

What are your qualifications and experience?

Designers should be able to list their qualifications and experience in website design. It should be noted that experience will over shadow qualifications and is where a judgement on their skills could be made. We personally find website design partly artistic and in our minds art is self generated. We feel a designers experience and past work holds more weight than qualifications these days.

How do you calculate the cost of websites, per hour or per page?

Web design firms all work differently and their pries can vary massively. Two possible price structures are per hour or per page, knowing which policy the web designer applies could help in understanding their final quotation.

What is included in your website packages?

Knowing what you're paying for is important and again this specification will vary between design firms. It may help in comparing quotations from other web design firms but overall knowing what you get for your money is paramount.

What search engine / internet marketing is offered as standard in your website design packages?

Most design firms will add your website to all major search engines, dmoz (an open source directory of websites highly regarded by search engines), Google places and a number of business directories. Knowing what they will do as default is worth knowing but it's recommended to think about your Internet Marketing plans once the site is online. There are many techniques and campaigns that can be applied to further enhance your new websites internet exposure. So ask if they offer internet marketing as an additional service and the expected impact of their default internet marketing.

What are your payment terms such as deposits, stage payments or refunds?

Finance might be a topic to avoid at first but it's best to lay down the expectations of both parties early on.

Do you provide free after care sales and support and if so for how long after the completion of the website?

Some firms will offer free support for a certain period after the completion of the website. This should include things like any final changes, updates and tweaks to your initial search engine performance. Some firms may not offer this after care and it should be determined before hand.

If you don't provide after care and support, how much would this cost if I had any problems that need your attention?

If the web design firm doesn't offer after care it's worth asking what they charge for it over a specific time period of 3 months, 6 months etc.

Can I edit the website myself? If not what do you charge for updates and changes?

Some websites have content management built in, there are pros and cons of this and its worth doing some research before deciding if editable control is suitable for your needs. Some firms will offer website management and update services which are usually charged by the hour with a minimum charge. The thing here is to anticipate the amount of updates you might do through the year and justify if you need a content management or are happy to pay your web design firm a fee for updates when you need it.

Do you offer any website guarantee or warranty?

This is not so common but some web design firms offer a guarantee on their website designs. What the guarantee covers can vary but if they have one its worth checking out the details around it.

Are website designs generated from template layouts to choose from or are they custom built from scratch?

This is a sore point in the web design world. Template layouts are 'off the shelf' pre-made web page layouts generated to suit the 'average' website. Custom layouts built from scratch are built to your requirements. It's advised to use the services of a firm building custom layouts from scratch as this way you'll know the website is build towards your customers and business, not the national average.

Do you provide domain name & web hosting in your packages? If so what is the annual renewal cost for the domain name and web hosting space.

Some website designers offer web hosting as part of their package fee. It's worth asking what their annual renewal fee is in advance. Firms that offer web hosting often look to establish better long term relationships with their customers but this doesn't go to say using an external web hosting company effects the firm's dedication to their clients. Its also worth noting what features they offer for their web hosting, if they provide it.

Do we have to host the website with your company?

Some firms who do provide web hosting only allow you to host your website with them, check the ongoing costs of this and check any get out clauses. If the web design firm is happy for you to host your website with any commercial web hosting company then it's time to start comparing prices online. Equally ask the web design firm for their recommendations as well.

How long will the website design take?

Depending on the size of the website you require its worth asking how long the design process will take. Many factors determine this time scale and remember that you have some obligations along the way, so any delays on your part may hold up the design process. Knowing an estimated completion date is a good way to set a target and aim for it with your chosen design firm. Typically a 5 page html website may take 2 to 4 weeks.

How well do you know my business industry on a scale of 1 to 10?

Don't expect a high rating answer to this and don't take it too seriously. Web designers are designers and thus why you may be considering their services. Whatever your trade the web design firm may or may not have had experience designing in this trade. If they have this will obviously help boost your confidence in using them, but if they have little or no experience in your trade don't write them off immediately. Take the time to explain your trade and make a judgement later. Good client designer relationships and communication go along way in services like these.

What are clients typically required to supply?

Normally clients supply the written content, images, logo and a design brief detailing the pages required and some preferences on colours, styles and layout. Some web design companies will offer professional photography as part of their package, if not as a supplement. Though you normally are required to submit the written content for pages some design firms will assist and tweak the content to better suit search engine performance. Some firms may advise using a professional copywriter for the job.

Where do you obtain stock images used in the website design and are they compliant with copyright?

Did you know if you use an image on your website that was pulled from Google images and you don't have authorised usage rights you could be held liable for copyright fee's or sued for unauthorised use. Ask your design firm where they obtain stock images, they should respond with a known stock image agency.

Remember though, if you supply the designers with unauthorised images and don't inform them of this you'll be the one held liable for any costs.

Can you show me one of the cheapest website designs you have done & show me one of the most costly website designs you have done?

A strange question I agree, but. Some design firms will put more attention to detail in higher value projects than the lesser ones. In theory this shouldn't compromise their web design standards but it's worth checking to see if they put 100% into all their work.

Website design companies with a Guarantee or Warranty on website designs are favourable in this instance.

Are your website designs W3C validated?

W3C is the web standards of website design. They encourage the proper use of html coding and provide online validation tools to check compatibility. Unfortunately not many firms adopt this policy in their designs because its value is regarded as not necessary.

Do you supply the completed website on a CD as a backup?

Having a copy of your website on a CD gives you peace of mind. Many website design firms will be happy to do this and generally maintain a good level of customer service throughout the years. However in some unfortunate circumstances clients have been left abandoned without a digital backup of their website. Ask your proposed design company about obtaining a digital backup of the finished website. If they seem apprehensive about doing this it's worth asking yourself why? End of the day you paid for the website design and coding which on completion becomes to ownership and copyright of you.