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August 2015

Discount Web Design Versus Expensive Web Design

In business, the decisions always come from the business owner or the entrepreneur who has the last say. The owner can decide what marketing strategy is to be made. He also holds the decision on which is right or which is wrong for his own company. That may be the case; even the boss can make mistakes. The purpose of this article is to provide some insights with regard to the importance of having a website in every business, the difference between a discount web design and expensive web design and lastly, to help all business owners in conceptualizing the right decision in choosing whether they will benefit from a discount web design or an expensive design.

A website on its understated term can be defined as the collection, arrangement and creation of web pages. The web page contains all necessary information such as content or article, pictures or images, videos and many more. Web graphics designer develop and create a website based on the preference for their client or the business owner that they are dealing. The best design is the one that strongly represents the business or company. Before the web graphics designer develops a website, they must first decide on the theme and the structure of the site based on the client’s preference. The very first page of a website is the home page or the front page of every website. The succeeding pages have their own URL that is linked together with the home page to form a website.

Discount web design or cheap design from the word itself targets those customers who are in need of a cheap and affordable web designs. Cheap designs are intended for personal website or small business’ website. Personal websites are only intended for particular purposes that may not require so much data storage and other features. Nowadays, since more and more companies are into website design, the tendency is that they lower their package prices in order to attract clients for their business. Small design firms get more clients by offering a cheap price for their design services compared to those who offer an expensive web design package. If you only need a simple yet effective website that will be used for marketing tool, it will be better go for an affordable price. An affordable or cheap design cost only about $500 and below.

An expensive design package exceeds the price of a discount web design that means $500 and above. Large companies often hire the best web hosting, the best design and the best web designer because of credibility issues. It doesn’t necessarily mean that small web designing companies is not reputable however; some small web design firms tend to lure other people about how impressive their service is and then once they get hold of your money, they are nowhere to be found. Large companies hire leading design firms just because they feel secured in doing business with them, even on the expense of spending more money just to hire them. Large companies usually need an e commerce site that will showcase all of their products or services. Most of them also have a safe check out that shoppers use in buying their products. An expensive design has more features and space compared to a cheap design package.

Since we have mentioned that there are many reputable and credible design companies now that offer their service inexpensively, most entrepreneurs prefer to hire a design company that offers the best web design at a cheap price. You can achieve it by finding those that work independently. There are three basic reasons why small design companies are able to provide their quality service at a low rate. First is they eliminate business overhead.

This means they do not spend extra money on a rent for an office space, do not spend other bills like Internet connection, water, electrical bills and other because most of them work from home office. Second is that small web design groups utilize all available tools brought by modern technology. Lastly, business efficiency and sharing of ideas from everyone in the group are intact.

Now that we have seen the difference between the two, the decision will still be left to the owner or the boss if he will choose a cheap design service or the expensive one. If he chooses an affordable design company that will create the website, he must be patient in finding a credible one. The benefit that he can get is that he will save more money compared to those entrepreneurs who will go for an expensive design package.

7 Tips for Successful Web Design and Promotion

If you’re thinking about having a website built, it’s important for you to have a clear idea of the process before you begin. Your website could be a profitable business venture for you, but only if you’ve really done your research ahead of time. Many people begin investing in their new websites before they’ve really thought out each step and end up wasting money on sites that never see fruition. However, with some simple planning and research, you can set yourself on the right track toward developing a successful website. Here are seven tips for web design and promotion to get you started.

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1. Survey the Market and Research Your Competitors

Before you get ahead of yourself and begin hiring a web designer, take some time to survey the market and research your competitors. Look at what other types of websites are out there and see if anyone is doing something similar to your plan. Consider how many people are running similar websites, as well as how professional their websites look. This will help you to determine whether or not it’s worth setting up your own site, before you’ve invested too much in it.

To help ensure the success of your website, you should begin finding a niche market that you can target. You may be tempted to attract any and all customers that you can but you’ll actually have greater success targeting a very specific demographic. Think extensively about who your potential audience members are and what they would be most interested in. Then, you can begin to develop your website around these ideas.

2. Brainstorm Design Ideas and Figure Out What You Like

Once you’ve thought a little more about your site’s purpose, you should now think about your ideas for the design. You’ll need to consider the best way to present your message or to feature your products to audience members. Keep in mind that people tend to skim websites looking for something interesting or eye-catching, so make sure that the most important elements of your site are featured prominently.

The best way to figure out what you like is by looking at other websites. You can make a list of things you do and don’t like, in order to show your web designer. Look at the designs and colours of other websites, as well as their use of text or images. Think about the pages functionality, as well. This type of list can help you to get clear on what you’re looking for in your website and will also help your designer to implement your vision.

3. Determine Your Budget

Figure out what you can reasonably afford to spend on your website design and begin to look for designers in that price range. It’s best to contact a few web design companies ahead of time, in order to get an idea of general pricing. If the designers you talk to are telling you that your budget is too low, you may need to raise more money or lower the scale of your vision for the site.

Keep in mind that quality web design is not cheap. Too many people don’t put enough money into their web design budget and their sites suffer for it. If you want a website that will look professional and that will really engage your visitors, it’s important to set your budget realistically.

4. Research Your Options and Choose a Web Designer

Now you’re ready to begin searching for a web designer. Research your options and look for a web designer that has experience in building similar websites. Most web design companies keep an online portfolio where you can see examples of their past work and see their design styles. You can also check out reviews of designers on third party websites like Which Web Design Company. Again, it’s important to remember that quality web design requires an investment on your part. Web design is an area in which you truly get what you pay for.

Before hiring a web designer, make sure that you can communicate well with him or her. The designer will be an important part of your team as you work toward building your website and beyond. It’s also important that you and your web designer are able to see a similar vision so providing a detailed specification will be extremely helpful but we will cover that in a moment.

5. Work With Your Web Designer to Set Clear Expectations

Once you’ve hired a web designer, you should begin working together to develop a very specific idea of what the website will look like. Give the designer your list of what you do and don’t like, as well any particular elements it’s necessary for the website to have. Though the designer should be able to give you feedback about your design ideas and can offer great advice, it’s also important for you to directly communicate what you’re interested in. Some designers may try to persuade you to do things their way but stand your ground.

You should begin by giving the designer ideas about the general look and feel you want the website to have. Make notes about any specific colours or design elements you want, as well as the features it needs. Think about how many pages you’ll need for the website, as well as any content you already have or will need to develop. Working with a clear set of expectations can help the web designer to implement your vision quickly and on budget.

6. Launch Your Website and Begin Marketing Heavily

It’s a great idea to have your marketing strategy in place before you’re ready to launch the website. When launch day arrives, you’ll be ready to start off with a bang and begin receiving traffic instantly. You may want to write press releases to feature online or through local media. You can also utilize social media to spread the word about your website naturally through Twitter and Facebook.

You may also want to consider using Google AdWords and other pay per click advertising sites to build traffic to your website. Plan to spend around £300-£500 per month for the service so you get a good influx of traffic which will be essential to getting those orders flowing. It will help you to receive traffic instantly, which can help you greatly as you work to spread the word and promote your website. Even if the visitors you pay for don’t buy anything they may well tell others who will. If you want your website to be successful, it’s essential that you receive as many visitors as possible. If you’re having trouble getting traffic to your website, it will be difficult for you to make any sales.

7. Allow Time and Money for Search Engine Optimisation

Google AdWords is a great way to help you get started but it’s also important to use search engine optimisation, or SEO, to build organic traffic to your site. While AdWords will automatically place you at the top of search engine rankings with an advert you will have to continue doing that for ever. SEO can help you get to the first page of rankings naturally and eventually you will receive lots of traffic for free. This is important to increasing your traffic and building your site’s legitimacy and authority on your subject.

Be sure to budget the time and money for SEO. It’s not cheap and it can take 6-12 months to get your page to the first page of rankings for a number of keywords but it will generate a great amount of free traffic when you get there. It may cost about £300-£600 per month but SEO is truly the best way to start bringing in consistent traffic. Over time, your SEO efforts can help you build a reliable customer base and increase your sales. You’re website will now be a true competitor in your niche market and well on it’s way to success.

How to Choose a Cheap Web Designer

Choosing a web designer can be like choosing a tradesman. Who do you trust? Which ones are genuine and which ones will leave you feeling out of pocket? I have compiled a list of questions that we feel you should always ask before commissioning a website. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re going for an expensive site that is all singing and dancing or a simple site – you should still expect and receive a great service.

So here are the top questions that we think you should ask your web designer or check on their website. Please don’t be put off! There are thousands of honest, fantastic companies out there who want nothing more than to make their customers happy. However, as I search on Google, some companies aren’t perhaps quite what they appear…

1. Do the examples of their work click through to a website?

I have noticed that on some web designer’s sites, examples of work are displayed, but it is not possible to click through and actually view the site they are claiming to have created. I cannot think of any reason for this, other than:

a) They haven’t actually created the site – they have simply taken a screen shot of any website and added it to their “portfolio”.

b) They have created the site, but it isn’t very good and so don’t want you to see it.

c) They have created a site with a fantastic looking homepage, so that they can add the screenshot to their “portfolio”, but they can’t show the rest of the site, as it doesn’t exist!

If you can click through to the site, I recommend the first thing you do is scroll down to the bottom of the page. Most web designers stipulate in their terms and conditions that the website will have a “Created by… ” link at the bottom of the customer’s website. This is the norm in the industry. If then, you scroll down to the bottom and you don’t see this, I would be suspicious that the company who claim to have designed the site, possibly haven’t.

Also, if you can click through to examples sites, double check that they are genuine! I have seen “portfolio examples” that are clearly fabricated. Perhaps the telephone number of the web designer’s “customer” is 01234 5678910, or the domain name is a sub domain, rather than a real domain name. Be vigilant – it will be worth it!

2. Do they offer testimonials that can be verified?

As with tradesmen, often the best way to gauge a web designer is on testimonials from previous clients. I care about the work I do and I want to ensure that my customers are satisfied. On completion of their site, all my customers are sent a short questionnaire about the quality of my work, service, price etc and I am proud to display these on my site. Your web designer should be happy for you to contact previous clients, as this is truly the only way that the testimonials can be verified.

3. How much do they charge for hosting?

When you get a web design quote, you will often find that hosting is included free of charge for the first year. You must ensure that you know exactly how much your hosting is going to cost after this time. For example, I had a customer who had a great website that had cost GBP50, but they were being charged GBP30 per month for hosting! This is far too much (and in my opinion unethical). Their cheap web design ended up costing them a fortune.

You should expect to pay anything from GBP30-GBP60 per year for your hosting for an average site. More than this and I would walk away. Conversely, if you are told that hosting is “free forever”, then I would also be suspicious. Perhaps you will be charged a high fee to renew your domain name instead…

4. Will they accept payment from you, without having discussed your needs first?

I have seen some websites that send you directly to a payment page. I would never recommend making a payment for a website without having first discussed exactly what you want – either via telephone or email.

Before parting with any money you need to ensure that your web designer understands what you want from your website, how many pages it will be (you need to know what constitutes a “page”), what you need to supply and what they will source, what would be the best domain name etc etc etc. There’s a whole list of factors that should be decided before parting with your money. If a company is happy to receive payment before this, be wary.

5. Do they have Terms and Conditions?

You are entering into a contract with your web designer and as such, you should firstly ensure that they have T & Cs and secondly read them! They are there to protect both you as the customer and also the web designer themselves (yes, sadly sometimes the customer tries to rip the web designer off also). If they don’t have T & Cs and say not to worry, it is all based on trust, then be wary.

6. Whose name will the domain name be in?

This is really important. The domain name should always be registered in your name, not the web designer’s name. This means that you own the domain name. For example, an unethical designer may register the domain in their own name. If your business is successful (which hopefully it is!) and the time comes to renew your domain name if the domain name is not registered in your own name, the web designer can charge you whatever they like to use the domain name. This is not a situation you want to find yourself in.

Luckily, I think this practice is fading out but I still have the occasional customer who doesn’t own their domain name – their previous designer does. How do you check this? If the company’s portfolio is genuine, you can visit the website http://www.who.is, type in the domain name and it will tell you who the owner of the domain name is. The owner of the domain should not be the web design company (although they are often listed as the administrators, which is fine)

7. How much will you be charged to makes changes to your site in future?

This is a tricky one. Having your website designed is usually just the first step in. Once your site is up and running, you often want to make changes to it, add special offers, new pictures etc. Obviously it would be unfair to expect your web designer to carry out this work for you for nothing (although some customers do think that web designers should do updates for free!). On the other hand, you want to know that you’re not going to be ripped off every time you want to change your site.

You can expect to pay around GBP25 per hour for updates and this is around the norm for most ethical web designers. It’s possible get a lot done in an hour, so it generally works out pretty well for customers. Some companies will charge GBP25 per change however, so watch out for this. For example, a designer might alter some text for a customer, add 2 photos and an extra PayPal button. It could usually do this in approximately half an hour let’s say, so it would cost GBP12.50. If you were being charged per change, this would be GBP100! Again, just be aware of all the costs before committing.

Something else you may want to look at, is whether or not you have the option to be able to update your own site in the future. This means that you can log into your website and make changes to your own site as and when you like, without worrying about the cost each time. As technology becomes more user friendly, this type of service is becoming increasingly popular.

I hope that helps in your quest for a web designer. Please don’t be put off by any of the above. Like all industries, you will hear both good and bad stories and as long as you do your homework, trust your instincts and follow some basic principles, you will end up with an appealing, user friendly, navigable, SEO friendly website.

Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Web Designer

How to Choose a Web Design Firm

Simple. You do your homework on them. Then, you start asking questions and taking notes. There are plenty of web designers available. You want to go with the best because, in fact, your web designer is in essence your partner. You want to choose a designer that takes YOUR business seriously.

What questions do you ask?

There are several important questions to ask when choosing a web designer for your business web site.

Creating your web site can be a tricky process. Choosing the best web design firm for your business web site is a very important decision. And if your company is like most small businesses, you probably do not have web design experience. Building your web site will take time and work. And working with a web designer is no easy task. So choose the right web design company from the start and avoid do-over’s, which can be costly and time consuming.

1. What kind of web experience do you have?

For starters, find out what kind of design experience your potential design firm has. Do they have experience with content management systems such as Joomla or Drupal, do they have experience working with “raw” HTML? Has the web design company created web sites similar to yours? Do they have relevant industry experience? If you want to sell products through your web site and accept credit card payments, does the web design company you are considering have experience with ecommerce hosting?

2. Do you have a portfolio that I can review?

An experienced web design company will have a solid portfolio of web sites that they have created for other clients. Ask for links to other site the design company has created and review each one. Do you like what you see? Do the sites have a style that appeals to you?

3. Do you have any references?

In addition to reviewing web sites, ask for customer references. Contact their clients and ask them about their experience with the web design company. Were they happy with the results? Did they get what they paid for? How much did they pay? Would they recommend them? How long did it take? What didn’t they like about the company? How responsive was the company when they had questions?

4. What are your prices?

The most important step in pricing is to make sure the potential design company outline all of the prices associated with the work and puts it all in writing. Never enter into a deal unless all of the costs are well understood up front.

Ask them a bit about how they manage payments. If they respond in a very business-like and professional manner, this is a good sign. If they throw out answers like – “Don’t worry, we’ll manage” or “Whatever you are comfortable with”, don’t be fooled. This is trouble waiting to happen. Get the price in writing before you begin the project.

5. Do you have experience with search engine optimization?

Most small business owners do not have it in their budget to hire a separate marketing firm to work on search engine optimization (SEO), so it imperative that your web designer have experience in SEO. A good designer will know that design and SEO go hand-in-hand. Designing a web site for search engines with “clean” code that utilizes cascading style sheets is essential to getting your content indexed in the leading search engines, such as Google and Bing.

6. Do you have experience with social media marketing?

Many marketing firms do know the first thing about social media marketing. These firms are stuck in the past and are not as effective as they pretend to be. Be sure that you work with a designer that knows how to setup a Facebook fan page for your business and design a customized Twitter profile. This is important because you will want your social media properties to mesh with the design of your web site. The web site and social media pages should complement one-another.

7. What is your process for designing or building a web site?

Make sure you ask your potential web design company about the process that they use? Do they design a web site or do they build a web site? An experienced Internet professional should understand the difference between these two concepts. If they don’t, they’re probably not as experienced as they claim to be. Building a web site is a highly technical process, while designing a web site is a highly creative process. Many advertising firms specialize in web site design which does not necessarily require any web development skills whatsoever. At the same time, many firms design web sites, yet out-source the creative portion of the project. Find out from the beginning what the process if for the firm that you are considering.

8. How long will it take?

Perfectionism can be a huge stumbling block in the fast paced world of the Internet. Some designers are unable to compromise between quality and time to market needs. Test: See how long it takes until you receive a proposal.

9. What type of support is offered after web site launch?

If your design firm does not offer web site maintenance, you might want to continue looking. Most reputable design firms will offer “post-launch” maintenance for companies that do not have an in-house webmaster.

10. Which web hosting providers do you work with?

If your design firm does not know the first-names of the contact at their favorite web design firm, then this should raise a red flag. Most reputable web designers know not to choose a web host simply because they are the most popular or because they offer the cheapest web hosting. A reputable web design firm should know who to call and how to get results! Does your web designer work with a green hosting company? Environmentally-friendly web hosting is becoming more and more popular for business web sites looking to implement an eco-policy.

Getting a little recognition on the W3 is hard, even in a niche market (especially in a niche market). You have less than 10 seconds to convince a site visitor to stick around long enough to learn about the quality of your services, your products or your message. Web surfers are jagged out on information overload. If they don’t see what they want to see on your home page or a landing page, they bounce. So, making a statement about your corporate culture and your business’ core values has to happen in the blink of an eye. Visitors will never even see the “About Us” page if you don’t create a good impression – in 10 seconds. So, go green! An emblem or banner proclaiming that you employ green hosting makes an immediate statement about your on-line business. It says you care about the environment.

Do your homework when choosing a web design firm.

Good designers are creative people that need to think out of the box. Finding a good web designer is getting harder and harder. The good designers are being snatched by agencies and large projects. They are overloaded with work and often, you won’t know about them because they don’t have time (or need) to market themselves. Doing your homework and asking the right questions is important to decide if they are right for the job.