Ideas for Web Design

Whenever a web designer gets a web design project, he or she will require to take a step back and go through the research process in order to complete the job. The research process is a tedious process, it determines how well, and successful will the result of your web design. Ideas for web design will share with you how to go through that research process smoothly and obtain results.

One fine day, you received a call from some client and he requests you to design a website for his company. Over the phone, he briefly tells you what his company is about and asks about the prices, you then fixed an appointment with him for discussion. You will probably get excited about it and starts to get more details of the company by checking them on Google, and thinks about some prelim ideas for the website. At this stage, your research process has already started.

RETREIVING THE DETAILS:

After meeting up with the client, you get a lot of details that will assist you in your design process.
This details applies even when you are designing a personal website.

1. Nature of the Company

2. Client Preferences (Example websites?)

3. Target Audiences (kids? Young adults? Everyone in the world?)

4. Platform (Flash? Html? Php? Asp? )

By organizing these details, you get a bigger picture of:

1. What are you going to design?

2. What style of design are you approaching?

3. Whom you should design for?

4. How will your design work?

5. How will your design please both the audiences and the client in order to be successful?

DETERMINING THE STYLE:

With the information you have on hand, its time to determine the style. For a start, you should base on the client's description of his company, his nature of the company to give a rough gauge on the design style. Examples below:

Example 1:

Web Hosting business >> High tech web design, sleek and professional design

Example 2:

Dolls and Toys business >> Kiddy, Girly, Colorful, Fun design

COLOR THEMES:

Having a good and suitable color theme on your web design will give users a pleasing experience while surfing through the web site you designed. One of the important techniques is to get a color chart from your local art store or use some color chooser tools to aid in your color selection. Your color theme will affect the mood and feel you want to create.
Colors also have their own meanings. For example, white is clean, blue is cool and corporate, having a white and blue color theme gives you a clean and corporate web design. Orange and yellow are warm and friendly colors, Grey is cool, combining a Orange-Grey theme will give you a friendly and fun mood. Dark colors are also popular among many, because they easily matched other bright colors. A common match is using a black background and light colored text as a combination.

There are thousands and one meaning to choose your color theme. Whether your color theme turns out successful depends heavily on the first step "Determining the style" of your website.

PHOTOS & GRAPHICS:

After getting the colors done, its time to think about the graphics and images. As a graphic says a thousand words, it is good to think about how you want to approach this portion. Here are some recommendations you can try:

1. Stock photos - Some are free, some requires you to pay a certain amount before providing you with high resolutions image. If your client has the money and there are suitable photos he would like to use, this is the way to go. Searching in Google for "stock photos" will give you plenty of results on this.

2. Take your own photos - When budget is involve, usually the project will require you to take a relevant photos and use them as supporting images on the website. Having a mid-range camera should do the trick as images for website are all on low resolution. Seldom there is a chance for you to use an image more than 640 x 480 pixels.

3. Creating Graphics Images - A web design will always need custom-made graphics images. For example, icons for a Shoe section, button for submitting information. You will need some skills in creating the graphics of your needs, or you will feel stuck while designing. Consider looking for tutorials on creating certain effects, like rounded corners, Mac alike buttons, pattern backgrounds and more. Learn about vector graphics tool like Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Fireworks. They can help you to create graphics, mockups and layout fast and efficiently. This will greatly aid in your next web design project.

INSPIRATION AND REFERENCES:

If you already have some inspiration on how to design the layout, great, but if you do not, consider looking at related websites for some references on how they are being done. A search in Google also reveals some websites of the same genre. You can also check out ready-made templatesas well. I am not teaching you to copy exactly, but as a new learner, you should take reference and see how they are being designed.

Why bother looking at them?

Reference sites will give you ideas on usability, color theme, ideas on relevant images, navigation, features and many more guides to work on your web design project. Always consider them as useful references to help you whenever you need inspiration and ideas for your web design. It is all about looking more, reading more and getting your eyes and brain more exposed to the web design styles. http://www.sitecritic.net has a lot of website reviews by different web designers all over the world and is worth taking a look.

Final Say

I hope this article has been helpful to give you some ideas for your next web design project. In this web design industry, it is a never ending journey of learning. By reading more and seeing how others create, you will be more aware the next time you design your client's or your own web site.

How to Find the Right Web Designer For Your Web Development Project

Finding a web designer is the easy part- all you need to do is perform a quick search online and bingo, you're presented with pages and pages of them in the search engine results. The hard part is choosing the right web designer for your individual project. Every web design project has a specific set of requirements and every web designer has a unique set of skills that may, or may not, be suitable for your needs. In this article, I'll list some key factors that will help you find the right web designer and how you determine if they have the necessary skills to undertake your web development project.

Research the Web Designers Website and Online Portfolio

Every web designer should have a functioning website and an online portfolio of their work. If they don't, you can scratch them off the list. After you have found some web designers in your area, or anywhere else for that matter, you should research each of their websites and check out samples of their work. Different web designers take different approaches to their work and use a variety of technologies. You should read up on their skills and approach to web design, to make sure they suit your requirements. Viewing completed websites and samples of the web designer's work is also essential to get a good idea of the design style and skills they have. Make sure the websites function correctly. If some of the web designer's recent samples are not working, there is a good chance that, if you use them, your website might have the same issues. Look at the design style of their portfolio samples. Most web designers tend to stick to a particular style. If you like the look of their websites, and their website text sounds appealing, you're onto a winner. Take the next step and call them, or send a project brief through.

Speak to Your Chosen Web Designers

Another key point to determine which web designer is best for you, is finding out whether you can communicate with them. You will need to explain your vision to the designer and they should be able to respond with ideas and suggestions for your project. If you call your designer and there is, for example, a language barrier between you, that could be a problem throughout the development process. Talking to a potential web designer also gives you a good idea whether you are going to get on with them or not. If you call to speak with your chosen web design company and you are put on the phone to a rude or uninterested individual - in my books, that would not be somebody you would want to deal with on an ongoing basis. If they are enthusiastic, keen and communicate well you are more likely to have a successful ongoing professional relationship.

Qualification and Experience

Qualifications and experience are not always essential but they do give you some security that the web designer knows what they are doing and has the skills to undertake your project. It's really up to your judgment whether you want to use a web designer with no experience but you never know, they might be a young gun with tons of talent and is just waiting for that first project to unleash their skills on to. Whether you prefer your web designer to have qualifications or not is also up to you. Qualifications just mean they have had some formal recognition of their skills. My preference would be experience beats qualifications any day. Your web designer may have undertaken a six month course which has got them a certificate of some sort but that does not make them a good designer. There is so much information online and ways to hone your design talents now, that needing somebody to teach you is not essential.

Creative Vision

It is very important the web designer you speak to understands your creative vision. To create a website that truly serves a purpose and business goal, the designer need to understand the nature of the website and relate to your overall vision. Take note on whether the web designer offers any ideas or suggestions when you're talking to them. This is a good indication of whether they understand the project and are enthusiastic about it.

The Right Technology

Different web projects need different technology behind them. Not all web designers have all the necessary skills for some types of web development. For example you may need a full content management system with database driven content and advanced search engine optimisation. This is something not all web designers can provide. Most designer's will tell you straight away if they are unable to complete the project, due to technical limitations. It is up to you as a client to inform the designer of all the feature's you anticipate your website to have so they can tell you whether they can complete it.

A Reasonable Cost

The cost of the web project is normally the key factor in how people choose their web designer. The scope of your project and what budget you have can limit what designer you choose. If you have a very small budget but want to build the next Facebook, any sane web designer will tell you they can't help you. However, it is always good to get a few quotes and see which designer can offer the best package, for a reasonable cost. If they're too expensive, it might be because they are a larger company with more overheads, or they are simply very good at what they do. If they are cheap, do a bit more investigation before committing - Cheap web design may end up costing you more in the long run, as it probably won't serve its purpose very well and you will need to get it rebuilt. The cost of web design is often open ended... 'how long is a piece of string?'... A good web designer should be able to explain the reason why they have quoted a certain price, and discuss what they can do within your budget - Just because you have received an initial quote that may be higher than you originally anticipated, talk to your designer about it. Quite often, there could be features or aspects of the quote than can be removed, or modified, to get the project back within your budget - If you don't ask, you'll never know.

Finding the Perfect Web Designer 101

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!

Solutions for your Business: Denver Web Design and Internet Marketing

Internet marketing and web design go hand in hand. The web allows the whole world to find out about a certain product or service through online advertising. So, it's only natural that marketing strategies and the appreciated Denver web design companies are very popular nowadays. Since a pleasant web design is necessary for any website that wants to attract customers, it's not wise to avoid personalizing your business when working online. You shouldn't fear the web just because of a few tricks you haven't found out about yet.

There are a lot of people that don't know their way around the information superhighway. One thing you should know about this great world wide market called the Internet is that it offers a lot of possibilities and the chances to sell information grow if your packaging is attractive. Denver web design and Denver internet marketing are indispensable for a successful business. Providing visually appealing sites, Denver web design puts your site in front of the competition. The information you present on your site can be very useful, but the web design matters just as much. Clients first come into contact with how your business services are presented. Their first impression is not formed by the formal articles that appear on your pages. Denver web design knows this and they provide professional help. Using cutting edge tools, designing easy-to-navigate sites, making user friendly pages and keeping in mind that the business has to be promoted, Denver web design creates exactly what your customers look for. They do their job in a wonderful manner because they are experts who want to please not only you, but your clients as well. So, you see, web design is the first step in making your business a popular one.

You probably remember visiting other websites and recall enjoying only some of them. Did you ask yourself why? Could it have been the web design? Their brands haven't faded from your memory. They were easy to spot, yet they did not bother you. Their custom web design was better than what you usually see. You especially liked the flash videos. Although the wonderful colors did not distract you from the information you were reading, they had a special charm. You felt safe and everything worked smooth. "The pages load easily", you thought. You don't like to wait and this site seemed to know it. The site didn't know it, but the people that worked at it knew. Denver web design wants to make your business work by itself. If you want your customers to remain as pleasantly impressed as you did, then a Denver web design is a wonderful choice. You can even have your corporate identity synthesized and your standards of communication set. Web design allows your business to transmit a certain clear message to your clients: "Please visit our site again!"

After you succeed in offering the best to the world, you have to make your business known. Search engines display hundreds of sites to the interested clients that look for certain services. How will they find you? This is where internet marketing comes in. There will be lots of questions you will ask yourself, but Denver Internet marketing can be the answer for all of them. If you need SEO, advertising, link management, banners, affiliate marketing, local marketing - shortly said traffic - , then you need internet marketing. Because there are so many options through which you can gain publicity, you will need a strategy, people to work for you and to manage this sort of problems. Denver Internet marketing offers alternative methods and puts web experience in your service. You can have several advantages because, having internet marketing done for you site you will be able to profit from illustrated brochures, business cards, letterheads and artworks.

So you decided to use Denver web design and Denver internet marketing. What do you start with? Getting informed, of course. Try to find out which service provider is best for you. Any appreciated Denver web design or Denver internet marketing company has itself a well developed web site. Their promotion can inform you on how well they promote others. Internet marketing is their job. Their business survives because of the traffic they provide for themselves. Is their company among the best? Is it popular? Is it advertised? These are questions that will tell you how well they know internet marketing. The first encounter with their web design should talk about their services' quality. Is their site pleasant? Does it attract you like those well made sites that you can't forget? Is it elegant or stylish? If you think the Denver web design company you chose has talented people, then you can work with them without worries. The same goes for the Denver internet marketing providers.

You know better than anyone how you want your business to develop, but the Internet is full of proofs that you need a Denver internet marketing strategy. You can't afford failure and you have to admit online competition is fierce. Choosing an online Denver internet marketing company and giving your business a new face with a fresh Denver web design will surely promote your services as being quality ones.

Web 2.0 Design Style - Latest Accessible Professional Web Designing Tendency

Undeniably, Web 2.0 is an honored progress in the arena of web design. I am feeling massive excitement to introduce you people with this modernism of website design. Web 2.0 templates have comfort of numerous designing facilities like as innermost layout, effortlessness, content versatility, intelligibility as well as appealing color contrasts.

These are some mobilized key specifications of web 2.0 design

Artistic attraction

Your wish to do a website design with some astounding effects which makes your site more appealing. A web 2.0 design helps you to draw some artistic designing aspects which will capture audience concentration and helps you to keep them at your site for long time.

Content range

In web 2.0 design style, you are able to use larger fort sized contents for decorating your web page. Here you can focus vital key phrases with a larger font size at your content.

Effortless navigability

Viewers of your site are chasing for information or produce what they required! Thus web 2.0 design styles suggest you to keep easy navigation system for visitors at your site.

Great logos

The best feature of web 2.0 design is its logo design capability. You can design significant large logos for promoting your brands business. This kind logo can easily capture the eyes of your viewers what exactly required in small business web design.

Innermost position

When you built your website in an innermost manner then it is very easily assumable that your design brings an honest impression of your products. It is also far easier for your budget as you can use minor pixels or texts on your website.

Labeling

You can insert remarkable labels at your design for special offerings of your business. By using this special feature of web 2.0 design style you can directly reflect your selling strategies in front of your business market.

Natural helpful icons

Here you can use impressive icons at the important areas of your site to draw the attention of your viewers. Placing notable icons is a designing credibility apart from using much content. These icons will automatically put visitors at your required area.

Number of columns reduction

The clarity or visibility of your website varies with your used number of columns at your website. As much fewest numbers of columns is used, the simplicity increases simultaneously. Infusing too much columns on your webpage is always a bad deal for web 2.0 style.

Separating segments

In web 2.0 design style, you are able to use fluorescent color segment to separating different important parts of your web page. From visitor's point of view, it increases easiest readability of different sections of your web page.

Simple Looking

As it has a lot of new features, it can help you to take away from several hazards and put into the innermost purpose of designing. The design looks simple and comfortable for the users. You will achieve your objective using only required features.

At the end, the web designing world marching forward with its own added features. Web 2.0 designs are taking a step ahead with its modernized features by capturing viewer concentration from rest of the world design styles.

The Importance of Professional Web Design

Professional web design is important to your companies image. It will help your business grow, helping you to reach many other businesses and customers that may not know that you currently service their needs. A quality design is important for any company that wants to keep ahead of their competition.

Three main keys to a professional website are: Multiple-browser usability, minimized load times with the use of valid CSS, and valid HTML code that will not cause frustrated visitors to leave your website due to loading errors or prolonged load times.

Professional Web Design is your first necessary step towards Internet market and is essential for making an impactful first impression on those who visit your site. Your website should be done by web design professionals. To put it simply, what separates professional web design from poor web design is whether or not a designer or web design company takes into consideration the above items when designing and building a website. Usually, a web designer or web design company claims to offer professional web design services for their clients. However, should they be promoting "web design services" rather than "professional web design services".

Whether you are trying to establish yourself as an online presence or acquire more clientèle, the quality of your website is crucial. Successful, efficient, professional web design is not easily accomplished, though. And, you must be careful about selecting a designer because poor web design will give visitors a poor opinion of your company and your products. Forrester Research estimates that poor web design will result in the loss of 50 percent of potential repeat visits, due to an initial negative experience. A professional web designer will talk with you about your business, your customers, and your expectations, before even talking about the design of a new website. Another source of poor web design is often derived from an internal employee.

Blatant unprofessional web design shows a lack of professionalism, thoroughness and thoughtfulness in general. More often than not, poor web design is complemented by spelling mistakes, which makes it
even easier to spot businesses that you wouldn't want to deal with. Poor web design is one of the leading causes of small business failure. One of the most glaring examples of a poorly designed website is single-browser compatibility. There are literally thousands of home-based Internet businesses struggling to make a living online and having a poor website is one of the leading causes of small business failure. However to end on a more positive note, although poor web design will almost guarantee you anonymity on the search engines, good web design will ensure that you have the best possible chance against your competitors.

In short, when selecting a web designer, be sure you're getting the quality that your company and your brand deserve.

The Impact of SEO Web Design on Search Engines

SEO web design is a concept which emphasizes great architectural design principles based on how the search engines determine relevance and site information. The design should be able to give out the information that the user is seeking and at the same time be easily navigable. This is part of search engine optimization because the SEO web design should also be able to satisfy robotic crawlers and spiders in their quest for information regarding the website and other data.

SEO Web Design and Site Optimization

Search engine optimization is more than just a trend nowadays. It is used and applied by almost all sites on the internet that aim to make money and reach online popularity. Among the many strategies of optimizing a web site, Search Engine Optimization web design is one of the topmost priorities.

The impact of the design of the site on search engine robotic crawlers or spiders can help raise the ranking of the site. This is where SEO web design comes in. There are many ways to make the web site more attractive to robotic visitors and human visitors alike. Actually, spiders and crawlers from search engines do not mind the overall aesthetic value of the site. All these robotic crawlers need is the information it can get from the site. The tricky part is how to put relevant information in the site in order for the crawlers to properly index the site due to its relevance. SEO companies who specialize in optimizing web sites must also know how to put a site in front of others in order to bring it to the attention of the Internet users. The search optimizers who will handle your site must be able to know the right strategies to place the web site ahead of others in its field through accepted methods of optimization.

Search Engine Optimization is a competitive area where web designers, or what I prefer to call website architects, work hard to come up with ideas and designs that are aesthetically appealing and relevant at the same time. There has to be consideration for ease of getting around the website, being appealing to a wide range of visitors and finding the right place for the website. Making a a basic, visually appealing site is easy with the many technologic advances available today, the problem with these advances are that they are sometimes quite tricky to use thus making your website difficult to navigate in. Search Engine Optimization web design should be easy to use and friendly to both human and robotic browsers.

Easy navigational access can be done by making the pages of the site easy to navigate to and having easy to understand and use button or labels to click on. The pictures and images on your SEO web design should be just the right size and scale to enable users to see them promptly after clicking instead of taking a very long time to download. Waiting for images and other graphics to load can be off putting for most visitors and will eventually lead them to another site which is more optimized and easy to view. Even spiders and crawlers will give up on a site which is not easy to navigate and get into.

The overall appeal of the Search Engine Optimization web design should not only be focused mainly on the niche that it is targeted on but also for Internet users who might have stumbled onto the site. SEO web design should have a universal appeal even for the most specialized type of sites on the Internet. Some webmasters or website owners could opt for specialized Search Engine Optimization web designs and these can also be done with the targeted audience in mind. It will also benefit the site if it is indexed as it should be. You might want to have a specific Search Engine Optimization web design which is built around the entire concept of your site and this can add to the ranking if you are quite specific with what you aim to sell or market. If you are marketing a specific product or information, SEO experts can focus on this product or information and build the SEO web design around it.

Another aspect of Search Engine Optimization that needs to be considered is what your competition is doing. The saying, "know your enemy" is the key here. You do not want to have the same boring marketing strategies as the competition. Why? Because it is a good idea to keep abreast with what they are doing and how well they are doing in this field. There are many site optimization tools that can help analyze and determine what is needed for the site. Hence, in regard to SEO web design process, content is one of the prime needs and tools of making the site rank high during searches. Finding out or identifying the right keywords to integrate into the site can be crucial in making the site among the top ranking ones. Keyword search tools and having keyword rich content and titles can help to optimize a site efficiently.

SEO web design experts should also bear in mind that there are web strategies that may be unacceptable for search engines. Using these underhand or black hat tricks to perpetuate a site in rank can cause the search engines to ban the site and also the Search Engine Optimization web design company that did the search engine optimization work for it no matter how well the SEO web design is.

Finding a Professional Web Designer or Web Design Company

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

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

Why Hire a Professional Web Designer?

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

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

Create a Web Site Requirements List

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

* Do you provide client references?

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

* Are the web sites you design search engine friendly?

* Is logo design included in the web quote?

* How many design concepts and revisions will you provide?

Avoid the Template Trap

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

Establish a Web Production Budget

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

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

Small business Web sites - $2800 to $3900

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

Medium business Web sites - $3800 to $5200

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Web Designers

At the risk of simply stating the obvious, web designers design websites.

However, even a brief surf round the web shows that not all websites are the same (or as effective) and, by implication, not all web designers create websites in the same way. Whether websites are good, bad or indifferent, web designers have a huge responsibility for the ultimate success (or failure) of any website.

How Do Web Designers Design Websites?

The first thing that a professional web designer should try to do is to understand the client's exact requirements. Entering a few basic search terms for a client into a search engine should give an indication of the current state of the client's web presence and might trigger some obvious questions that the web designer should ask the client.

The client's answers to the following questions can be helpful to the web designer:

- Is a new website required or does an existing website need to be redeveloped?

- Is an e-commerce website or an information only site required?

- What products or services does the company or organisation provide?

- What is the client's target audience?

- Does the client have demographic information about the target audience?

- What information is to be provided via the website?

- How does the client use logos and branding?

- What competition does the client face from other websites?

- How will the website be updated and maintained?

Web Design Software

Although interactive web design software is available online, particularly for creating blogs, the available templates are usually quite restrictive and often lead to the creation of websites with a similar look and feel. Most web designers avoid this approach because the resulting websites tend to be very stereotyped.

Besides the option of writing HTML, ASP and Javascript web pages from scratch, web designers have a choice of web design software packages available for creating web pages, for example, Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft FrontPage. However, simply having suitable web design software tools available is not enough to guarantee the creation of a functional website that looks enticing.

Benefits of Bespoke Website Design

The overall layout and navigability of a website is absolutely critical to its success. Research has shown that if a user doesn't find what they're looking for on a website within four mouse clicks, then they'll look elsewhere. Therefore, it is essential for the web designer to get the basic structure of the website right. Aesthetically pleasing images and fancy colour schemes count for nothing, if users can't find their way around the website. In addition, a good web designer will always create a website that is easy to update and expand.

"To begin at the beginning ..."

The most important page on any website is the home page.

Any web designer who forgets this basic fact is likely to come to grief. A website's home page is the starting point for most visits to a website and indicates to users what the website has to offer. The web designer should include a meaningful title or one sentence tagline on the home page explaining what the website is all about. The home page should make clear the important items that the website contains and how the website can be easily navigated. Most web designers consider that for a website home page, 'less is more'. What this means is that the website user should be presented with a clear uncluttered view of what is available, without distraction from excessive detail and whizzy graphics.

Choosing a Web Designer

Like other forms of design, web design is a combination of taste and functionality. Looking at websites that the designer has created previously is always a good starting point. However, it is also important for the client to communicate directly with the web designer; the web designer will need to interpret the client's requirements because in the end it will be the client's website, so the client must be entirely happy with the final result.

The Demand for Web Design Schools

It's no secret that the Web is where the work is. Anyone and everyone wants a Web site, and those with Web design degrees can make that happen. That's because Web designers are the ones who determine and develop the look and feel for sites, and they're responsible for site navigation design and visual execution. Ready to point and click your way to an in-demand career through Web design schools?

Learn
Before you upload your resume, realize that a bachelor's degree is required for most entry-level and advanced design positions. That's where Web design schools come in.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits about 250 schools with programs in art and design. These accredited Web design degrees equip you with the design, e-commerce, scripting, and authoring skills necessary to advance in the field. You'll learn how to develop cutting-edge Web sites that blend interactive media with consumer-targeted information. You'll explore the nuts and bolts of Web page design using HTML scripting as well as page edit software, Web graphics and animation, video production for Web, and JavaScript. Web design colleges may also provide the opportunity to study the various site design models used in personal, commercial, and government Web sites, and to try your hand at designing your own Web pages and sites.

Once you've completed your Web design courses, the learning doesn't end. You'll need to keep your training up-to-date with certifications such as Certified Web Designer, Dreamweaver 8 Developer, Flash MX 2004 Designer, and ColdFusion MX 7 Developer, to name a few.

Yearn
Of course, all these Web design courses will be worth your while. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, graphic designers with Web site design and animation experience will especially be needed as demand for interactive media projects increase. Demand for graphic designers will also increase as advertising firms create Web marketing and promotional materials for more products and services. It's no surprise, then, that those with design and animation experience from Web design schools will have the best job opportunities in the field.

Earn
Not only is the need great, the compensation isn't too shabby, either. According to the 2006 AIGA/Aquent Survey of Design Salaries, the median total cash compensation for Web designers in 2006 was $48,000. Boston, Washington/Baltimore, and Los Angeles reportedly paid the top salaries for Web designers, and educational institutions, design studios/consultancies, and Web development firms were the organization types topping the wage chart.

Get in on the online explosion and explore Web design colleges today.

How to Choose Web Design Company?

Web Design Company

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

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

1. Assess your needs:

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

There are few initial requirements your organization should aware of:

The intended audience for the Web site

The intended goal of the project

Anticipated budget for the Web site

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

The individuals/departments within your organization responsible for the project

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

2. List Generation:

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

Competitors' web sites:

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

Ask your Social Circle and Family:

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

3. Short List

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

Evaluate their work:

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

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

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

Avoid Freelancers:

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

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

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

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

4. Get Quote/Proposals

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

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

5. Evaluate Proposals

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

6. Think ahead.

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

Are You Being Scammed By Your Web Design Company?

This is a growing concern amongst many business owners. Does your web design company own you? This may be possible if you've allowed them to host your web site for you and also register your domain name for your company.

Web design companies have a lot of control over their clients. I refer to this as "False Power". The sad reality is that most of their clients don't even know they are stuck in this potentially painful predicament. This power is usually exercised when a client of a web design company finds a better deal on hosting for their web site and they simply want to switch their hosting provider, or when the "client" wants to upgrade their web site for a better rate than their current web development provider is offering.

Here's what usually happens to so called "traitor clients":

- Current web design company sends their client a hefty bill for switching

- The web design company cancels their client's account

- They may point the domain name to another place

- They sometimes take down the entire website until further notice

You get the point! Too much power is given to the web design company. I truly believe that it is your right to shop for better prices and it is your right to own your domain name even if you didn't have a hand in registering your domain name.

As the owner of the website, you put your trust into your web design company to represent your business appropriately and honestly, only to find out down the road that honesty isn't in their vocabulary.

I truly believe there should be a law against web design companies that can be summarized as such: For any domain name registered by the web design company on behalf of their client, the domain name may not be disputed or need to be disputed, the domain name is automatically owned by the client and is automatically bound by their web development contract.

With every new venture, there is always going to be loopholes. From the aforementioned example, what if there is no contract? If you are reading this and are in the process of searching for a web design company, please ENSURE that you have a contract drafted, outlining everything you are entitled to and that you have sole rights to your domain name.

See what most business owners fail to realize is that their domain name is as important as registering their business name itself. I will repeat that... Your domain name is "hot real estate", would you want someone else owning your property?

The same applies for your domain name. Don't get caught with your pants down while asking, why don't I own my domain name. It is as important as owning your own company name. There are people out there searching for suckers to take their domain name - don't be the one who gets caught!

How to avoid this "Power Stricken" disaster:
The best solution is to go out and register your domain name BEFORE you hire a web design company. This ultimately gives you the power over your domain name. At any given time, you can go back and log into your "domain name registrant" in order to switch your web site to any hosting company you choose.

When searching for an "all around" package for your web design project, make sure that your hosting is suitable for your needs. 95% of all web design projects don't need a large hosting package that costs between $150-$500 a year. The most you should pay for your hosting in this case is around $100.00 a year, no more.

You only need a large hosting package if:

- Your web site is 1000+ pages in size

- You're going to buy traffic in the 1000's every month

- You need over 25 email accounts setup

Ask questions when shopping for a web design company! Here are a few questions you should be asking right away before you sign any contract...

- Do you provide a contract for all your projects?

- If you register my domain name, will it state in my contract that I own the domain name under all circumstances?

- If I am late making payments, is it your company policy to cancel the account?

- Why are your hosting services so high in price? Why wouldn't I go somewhere else for $100 a year?

- Does it state within your contract that I cannot switch to a different hosting company later on?

- Going forward, am I going to be able to hire any web developer for my website updates, if I am able to negotiate better prices?

This is another important note:
Make sure your web design company gives you the "FTP (File Transfer Protocol)" access to your website. The FTP allows you to hire another web design company to go in and update your website at any time. Without the FTP information, no one can update your website besides the original web development company or hosting company that you hired.

In Conclusion:
Be weary of web design companies that don't provide contracts for all of their projects. Be careful with your domain name; make sure that in the end, you own all rights to your domain name, not someone else.

I hope this article helps you out!

For more of Martins articles, go here: http://www.smartads.info/newsletter

Web Design - Importance and Usability

Web design is the process of visualizing, planning and designing up of electronic media content by using Markup language and graphics on internet. Built with the purpose to market the goods and services, web site designs have become a modern day symbol to attract internet users to come and avail the services. This whole marketing process includes building concepts keeping goals in the mind, inspection of corporate image keeping in mind the brand promotion of the services being offered and providing the relevant content to give important market ruling information for users.

Web designing also includes many technical factors as to give a shape to your concept. It is a kind of an advertisement that needs to be effective and attract a large number of people to increase the sales aspiration of the website owner.

Benefits of a Web Site

Web design services are the ultimate solution for advertising on the internet. A web site is the perfect way to attract users who are beyond the geographical boundary. It reflects all the necessary and vital information about the company and reflects the aims and aspiration of the company in effective manner. Having a good web site also gives you benefit to increase your web presence and help you to enhance business profitability. One of the major benefits of making a web site is conveying of goals of the business.

For availing the right kind of web site design services, certain considerations should be made seriously. One of the importance points to keep in mind is the choice of information and layout. Layout is important as it gives the first positive impression on the onlookers. It is our tendency that if we like the outer part, chances are that the inner pages will be seen too. Therefore, it is necessary to make the home page really attractive and interesting to catch eyes.

Content is also a very important part of a web site. Infusing interesting and usable information will help in holding on users as the main purpose of internet surfing is seeking information and increasing knowledge.

A web site must be properly placed. It simply means that information must be given according to its relevancy. Unnecessary information must not be included and proper spacing must be maintained to balance the page.

Web Designing India

India has been a hot destination for providing services like software development, web designing, web development and others. Web designing India has become the answer for all web development solutions. Many big corporations are forwarding their works to India to get the specialized and skilled services to get the bets work done in a tight time frame. Web designing India is not glowing but also capturing a major part of the country's economy.

Web Design Tips - Getting The Most From Your Web Designer

Talking to the web designer

  • What should your website look like? Obviously, the vaguer you are, the less helpful your suggestions will be. A good starting place is to look at other websites with a similar subject matter. From these, you can either decide what you like, or, through a process of comparison, realise what you don't want and thus partly recognise what is actually important to you. Other interesting avenues of approach come through associative thinking: consider movies, books, music and artwork that you think convey the sort of 'feeling' you want from the website. Tell your web designer about them: maybe he can capture some of that je ne sais quoi! Expand your expectations of your website from just a 'look' - maybe it can be a 'feeling', or also a 'sound'; can you get your visitors to imagine the smell of the website? If you are selling flowers online, you may want them to!
  • Communication is key. This is an adjunct to the point above, but do not be afraid to go into detail for your web designer. Even if he disagrees with some of your stylistic or organisational choices, everything you suggest will communicate more of what you want your website to be. Details about how it should behave tell us a lot about its real purpose and about what makes it unique, just as the style of a piece of writing can tell us something about its larger meaning. There is, of course, a caveat to this advice: if you go beyond suggesting and into dictating; if you only talk and don't listen: then you aren't communicating any more, you're only yelling. You're paying for your web designer's time and yes, he is your employee for the moment. But remember that you are paying him because he is a professional: he may not be an expert in your field, but he is an expert at online presence. It's precisely the fact that you are an expert in your field, which the website is about, and he is an expert in his field, which is designing the website, which makes it so important to meet in the middle when it comes to discussion of the site itself.

You have homework to do!


  • Content rules the internet.

    You may have read it before. "Content is king / everything / why they come." Fortunately, this is true. It's what makes the internet useful, and it's why search engines like Google that pay the closest attention to well-ordered and original content are the most-used, and most-useful. Unfortunately, it does mean that you are going to have to do more work for your web site than simply writing an 'About Us' page and hoping web-surfers Google your exact company name!

    The best web designers will write copy (i.e. words) to go on your website, and they will make it grammatical, attractive, punchy, and all that good stuff. But even the best professional designer can't learn your years of experience and then translate that to the screen. You have an insurmountable advantage: you really know what you're talking about. This means that you should be creating lots of content for your website. Why? ^^^^^ - because "Content is king"! If Googlers search for specialist phrases which are relevant to your business / charity / cottage-industry / photo-album, they should get hits for your website! If they're not, that means that all of your experience in this specific field - all that experience that differentiates you from the rest of the site-owners on the internet - is going to waste.

    This point cannot be overemphasised. The more work you put into the website, the more you get out. You aren't paying your web designer to be an expert in your field: you're paying him to a) tell you what I've just told you; and b) translate those great bits of information, articles (like this one), specialist notes, tips and loads of details, into meaningful (and searchable!) places on the internet that will make your website very special and very popular.


Zen and the art of website design

  • Less is More, More is Less - please, let us find it! The slightly cryptic sentence above is trying convey one of the most complicated and difficult-to-accomplish aims of web design. A website needs to be attractive, but simple. It needs to be rich, but navigable. It needs to be dense, but comfortable. But, failing all else, the most important thing is: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) I don't mean to insult you (or any client), but that's how the saying goes, and the fact that an insult is right there in the saying probably tells us a little something about how annoying it is when web designers get this wrong. If you have a choice between 'attractive / rich / dense' and 'simple / navigable / comfortable', always choose the last three. Your web designer should always seek the perfect balance, of course. So this section is almost a tip directed more at him; but you can help him by remembering the following tenets of good website design when telling him what you want: A website is not a book (usually!) Lengthy content is good in the right places (like this article, if I say so myself), but make sure your visitors want to see it before you foist it upon them. Why do you need to keep your initial payload of information simple and concise? Because: Web-surfing is a series of choices When you pick up a book to read, you have chosen to read it. From then on, every page you look at will be in a sense a reward, some kind of payoff for that choice. As a result, you will pay attention - if you aren't, why would you bother reading the book at all? (English literature course assignments excluded here.) Websites aren't like that. Every website's homepage is a choice: Is this where I want to be? Do I want to spend time here? Usually, the answer is "No." If you can convince a visitor otherwise, you are 80% of the way there. But before you've made them want to pick up the book and buy it - don't force them to read it!

Your website is not the psychedelic sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey

  • Ye Olde Bad Days of Web Design This is linked into the 'Zen' section above, because it's about being simple, or being stupid. Web design has come a long way since the early days of the internet. 10-color webpages are largely a thing of the past. Please do not try to resurrect them: they died for a reason. Photos are great; well-chosen and fairly subtle colours (for menu backgrounds etc) are usually fine. Mustard-yellow text on a tiling background of blood-red autumn leaves = bad idea. Your web designer should never let you convince him to do this. If he does it on his own initiative, run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. Look at Google; Amazon; eBay. Yes, the latter two have some colours, but all three sites work with white backgrounds and black text. Google is the cleanest of the lot, and we all know the internet has been kind to them as a result. Messy is fun - for about five minutes. Run.
  • The black magic of navigation Navigational links and tools are usually pretty boring and simple, and as I've stated above, that's usually a very good thing. The reason it's a bit of a 'black magic' is because sometimes, navigation can be improved by making it more interesting, more fun, and even more usable at the same time. The sliding CSS-based menu-tree approach This is the most common upgrade from the simple box of links. Pros: This has the advantage of essentially putting your whole site structure into one obvious architecture visible from every page. It makes it quicker to find things and looks gratifyingly orderly and high-tech. Cons: If your web designer doesn't do it right, this could backfire on the occasional non-CSS or non-JavaScript piece of browsing software. If that happens, your whole site could be inaccessible. This is largely preventable, so make sure that your designer tests the menu system (and the site) under all possible access restrictions, e.g. text-only browsers or even mobile devices. You could even test it yourself, if you want to be extra-sure. When the browsing device can't handle the navigation interface, a simpler one should load automatially. The AJAX-based background-loading interface This is the newest navigational innovation. It's the way navigation on Google's Gmail service works. You can usually tell that an interface is AJAX-based when you click on a link that sends or receives new data from the website, and only the data loads - the page remains the same. AJAX is the younger (and smarter) sibling of DHTML (Dynamic HTML), which could show and hide page elements already loaded at download time, instantly. The difference is that you don't need to have already downloaded the AJAX elements. The web code gets the new data 'in the background'. Pros: This can make interfaces faster (instantaneous sometimes) and prevents having to scroll back down after posting a form, for instance. Cons: Data is unlikely to be indexed by search engines, so anything you put in there better not be some nugget of wisdom a googler might search for in the hopes of finding your website! AJAX takes time to develop, pretty much proportional to the time it saves your users when it's operational! It's only suitable for some applications. Talk through the possibilities with your web designer to see if the dividends are worth that investment of time, given your unique situation.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Concerns?

  • A quick word This deserves its own article (and it'll get one), but for now, just relax, and read everything written above. If you can talk with your web designer and check off all the boxes above, you'll have a website that search engines and surfers alike will really appreciate.

For now, good luck, and please get in touch with any questions or suggestions!

Web Design Software

While the demand for Web site creation or maintenance is constantly on the rise, the number of skilled designers available is just not there. The lack of skilled designers has prompted technology companies to develop Web design software that can be used by anyone. This Web design software is an effective tool that allows for the creation of professional Web sites with ease, control and efficiency. There are different types of software depending on the complexity of the Web site. There are specific software for designing various types of web pages such as online brochures, affiliate sites, e-commerce sites, shopping carts, online stores and personal sites.

The most commonly used Web design software products are Web browsers. Web browsers are software that allows users to access the internet. Web browsers display the text and graphics available on Web sites and enable users to access audio and video files and animations. They allow users to navigate interactive links and move from one web page to another and to open additional windows and Web pages.

The most commonly used language for Web pages is HTML. The Web browser interprets this language. Web site software provides tools such as builders, publishers, key word generators, Web site optimizers, shopping carts and e-commerce solutions. These help in making the process of Web site designing a simple task.

Most software provides a complete solution that enables a company to design a Web page in a very short time. This makes Web designing economical and also helps avoid the usage of complicated html editors. With a little practice, the software can be used to make Web sites that would have otherwise cost a lot of money. Web design software is of great help for non-technical people as they can design their own sites without dependence on a Web designer.

Today, thousands of small businesses, organizations, universities, schools and individuals around the world are using software to create Web sites for marketing, information processing, online shopping, employment and admissions. It is important to use licensed software to avoid the legal complications that could arise from anti-piracy laws.

Web Designer

In recent years, there has been a major upsurge in the use of Internet-related technology. An increase in the application of information technology in different fields has opened wider career opportunities. The number of people using the Internet to get information, buy products, book reservations or search for a job is constantly rising. Web designing as a profession is most benefited by this phenomenon.

A Web designer is a professional who designs, creates, tests and maintains Web pages and Web sites. Web designers are sometimes just graphic artists, though most use the coding language html extensively. Web designers must be effective communicators with the ability to understand concepts and ideas and translate them into their Web site design. They are expected to create high performance Web sites using a variety of elements such as e-commerce, visual design, search engine optimized content, strategic layout and advertising. Web designers often work on many projects simultaneously while ensuring that each one is completed on a timeline.

There are a variety of tasks that a Web designer must accomplish while working on a project. It involves working closely with customers to answer their questions and to gain an understanding of project expectations. A Web designer also acts as an advisor, guiding clients through each step of the site construction process. A designer uses HTML, Java script, cold fusion and many other tools to write Web pages. They also usually know how to use programs including PhotoShop, DreamWeaver, Corel Draw and Quark.

The job market for Web designers has stabilized in recent years. Companies hire professional Web designers to create or maintain sites so they can remain competitive in the marketplace. The demand for Web designers is large because people from all walks of life such as doctors, lawyers, banks and retailers all need Web sites. The success of a Web designer depends largely on a blend of expertise and creativity.

Web Design Basics

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.

Web Design The Easy Way - Some Quick Tips To Get Started

Web design can be quite a daunting prospect if you are new to the Internet. You would like to create your own site but have no idea where to start. Html? Photoshop? Fireworks? FrontPage? Dreamweaver?

This article will give you some tips and hints on how to get started with web design - and which shortcuts to take!

Tip 1: Learn HTML

I can hear you groan. I said I was going to give you some shortcuts, now I suggest you learn HTML! Unfortunately there is no way around it. Even if you make use to the shortcuts to web design that I am going to suggest, learning HTML will still be the best investment that you can make. It is really not that difficult and it will greatly aid in your understanding of web design.

A really good place for online tutorials on HTML can be found here: http://www.w3schools.com/html/

Depending on your enthusiasm and level of technical skill I would also suggest that you learn a bit about CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Cascading style sheets can assist you tremendously with controlling the layout, colors and images on your web page. You can also find good CSS tutorials on the w3schools website.

Tip 2: Use a web template for web design

Now this is really a shortcut to web design! I suggest that you create your first website by making use of a web template. There are lots of commercial templates available, and frankly, they are beautiful, but I am going to give you some hints on where to find free web templates. Most people would think that searching for 'free web templates' in Google would be the most obvious way of doing it - but I suggest that you rather search for 'open source web templates'.

Here are some sources with open source (basically - free to use) web templates. The advantage of these templates is that they are normally well designed and will also teach you good web design principles (as opposed to most of the commercial templates which, while they are undeniably beautiful to look at, they are normally not built making use of good web design principles).

My favorite Open Source web design site is http://www.oswd.org
This site has over a 1600 free designs to choose from. Download any design and build your site! Most of these designs make use of CSS as well which is why it is a good idea to learn CSS.

Another site with lots of free template designs is http://www.daydreamgraphics.com
I suggest that if you are just starting out you stick with the designs made with tables. These are the easiest to manipulate and use. The templates on Daydreamgraphics are not for everyone - they are mostly geared towards a young funky look, so if you are looking for a design that you can use for your business or company, you might do better to rather select a design from OSWD, but if you are looking at setting up a personal website, a hobby site or a site related to music or entertainment, these designs will work very well.

Tip 3: Use Wordpress or Joomla to create your site

This option is really by far the best way to create your website in the long term. Theoretically you do not need to know HTML and CSS to create and modify your site but in practice it pays off to learn these skills since it will help you master these tools just so much faster.

The steps to creating your website using these tools are as follows:

1. Log into your CPanel control panel (if you are not using a host that provides you with a CPanel control panel and Fantastico scripts - frankly, my only advice is to change to one that does!)

2. Select Fantastico from the control panel

3. Select either Wordpress or Joomla from the menu on the left.

4. Install Wordpress or Joomla in the root folder. You will have to select an administrator username and password to access the admin side of your site.

Log into the admin backend (normally /wp-admin for Wordpress and /administrator for Joomla). There are lots of free Wordpress tutorials available - just do a Google search for 'free Wordpress tutorials' and to get started in Joomla, do a search for 'how to use Joomla'.

To change the look and feel of your Wordpress or Joomla website is really easy! You simply install a new template. Wordpress and Joomla templates are specific to these tools (you cannot use any templates). For a guide to where to find the best free Wordpress and Joomla templates you can take a look at these resources:
http://www.tm4y.co.za/joomla-tips/best-joomla-templates.html
and
http://www.tm4y.co.za/wordpress-tips/wordpress-templates.html

I hope that these tips will help you on your way to creating your own website - web design the easy way!

Time For A New Web Design For Your Small Business?

On the first page of Google, you will have a choice of around ten or so different business links to click on. If you click through to a web design that looks unprofessional, in an instant you will probably be clicking on the next link. Many small business owners mistakenly believe that simply having a web presence is all that is needed to gain the benefits of online marketing.

First impressions do count

The design of your website represents the first impression your customer has of your business. If the web design of your site is outdated, or the information is poorly organized, or if your home page is so cluttered that it is hard to know what to look at, your website and web design is probably not working for you. Your visitors will not stay on your site, and take one look at your home page web design and move onto another site. Remember, a competitor's web site is only a click away.

Keeping up with the competition

Do a search on Google for your competitors and go and look at how they are representing themselves online. Can you learn from these sites? Is their web design more contemporary, more professional looking than yours? Your website needs to, at the very least, look as professional as your competitors if you want to be competing with them at the same level.

How often should you update your web site design?

Generally, web designs can start to look dated after two to three years, depending on the style and quality of the design. Like fashion, web designs do go out of style. The simpler and cleaner your web design is, then generally the more timeless the design. The more contemporary and 'now' your web design is, the quicker it will date.
Your web design should look contemporary when compared to your competitors.

Measuring the success of your website

This has never been easier. With all the software that is available to provide you with statistics on website visitors, including what pages they looked at, how they got to your site, keyword searches, etc. it is not difficult to see if you are going wrong. If all your visitors come to your home page and then leave the site, your web design probably has some usability issues that you will need to address.

Creating the illusion

Web designs can be deceptive. You can use a web design to create the illusion that your small business is large and thriving with seemingly hundreds of employees, even if it is not. Creating the illusion is the first step to making this a reality.

Who shouldn't create your web design

Definitely not your brother's friend who has just finished an HTML course and offers to do your web design and build for free, and definitely not your system administrator who has some spare time on his hands. Leave the web design and development of your website to professionals who have valuable experience in this area.

It is worth paying someone to do a good job, than have a website designed built for free that can possibly damage the professional image of your business and, in fact, turn customers away.

Is it time for a new web design?

Web Design Companies - How To Choose The Right One For Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's not easy to find the right website design company for your needs. But if you follow the above guidelines, you'll be able to find the right web design agencies UK for your business. You can find web design companies in all of the UK's major cities such as Manchester, London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds.