10 Questions To Ask Your Prospective Web Designer

It can be a daunting task setting up your on-line presence for most. The whole prospect of talking about “domain-name registration”, “hosting services”, “arranging content”, “payment gateways” and “merchant accounts” etc… can seem a totally alien experience for even those initiated with plenty of on-line experience.

So, to help those that are seriously thinking about getting their business hosted on the Internet here are some Top Ten Tips you should be asking a Web Company before you consider taking on their service.

1) “How long have you been in business?”

While there is nothing wrong with going to a one man start up company (we all started somewhere) you may feel safer going with an established company where you can gather testimonials and feel more secure that the company has a history with hosting etc. You don’t want to lose your hard-earned website if the developer decides to close down.

2) “Do you have a portfolio?”

First and foremost you have to see samples of work, without seeing this how do you know the Web Developer can do what you’re asking? Also, make sure these are live sites and that they actually work!

“Do you have any testimonials?”

All good should be able to provide you with testimonials from previous satisfied clients. An established web design company will be happy to provide you with a list of testimonials if requested.

4) “Who works for you and can I meet them?”

You need to know that the company you are hiring can deliver what they claim, ask questions such as “What are your designers histories?” and “How many years of experience do they have in this field?”. While all companies out-source at one point or another you need to be safe in the knowledge that your prospective company has staff on hand to deal with urgent queries etc and do not constantly have to rely on a freelancer. Finally, any company worth their salt will willingly let you go into their office and meet with the designers, beware of companies who refuse…what are they hiding?

5) “What is the process in developing a site?”

You and the web design company have to be clear right from the word go what part each of you have to play in developing the site. At certain points your designer will require content and feedback from yourselves and you have to be aware when this will be required.

6) “What happens if I need changes?”

All websites will need updated at one point or another, find out whether this is included in the price or an additional cost.

7)”What can you do to make my site visible?”

If your web design company also offers Search Engine Optimization and you are considering this service, ask if it’s possible to have a short meeting with the SEO specialist. You’ll know quickly if they are up to scratch and they should also be able to supply you with previous Search Engine reports and show signs of successful SEO results.

8) “Do I own my site at the end?”

You don’t want to go through the process of developing a website only to lose the rights to it if you decide to get hosting from another company after a few months. Ask if its possible to obtain a full copy of your website on completion.

9) “What software/languages do you use?”

You probably don’t really care about the answer to this but it is good for you to know your site will be created using industry standard software etc to allow the files to be worked on at a later date with a different company if needs be. Look for software names such as Adobe Macromedia and try to get developers with more than just basic HTML knowledge such as ASP, PHP – should you wish to upgrade your site to a dynamic site it will comfort you to know that your designer will be able to oblige without you having to go elsewhere.

10) “Do you provide hosting?”

All good web design agencies should be able to set you up with hosting and emails and you shouldn’t feel that you are paying over-the-top for this service. If they say they can’t and you feel the costs are high then be extremely suspicious!

Cheaper Web Design For Your Business – A New Era is Upon Us

And we can wave goodbye to the extortionate prices of the old days. As with anything computer related, web design and online commerce is a fast growing market with new technology coming out all the time. Tasks are becoming easier and quicker with the end products more robust and better looking. As such the old age of needlessly convoluted web development is drawing to a close. Let’s not get too hasty. The requirement for web programmers will always be there. The biggest of the biggest businesses and corporate entities will need expansive web development and back end databases which require a lot of work to build and even more to maintain. However, Jim’s ceramics shop from down the road is not in need of such an extensive website.

Small Business Web Design for the Modern Era

Many of the small businesses I speak to in and around London realise the benefits of operating online. Chances are that your business will gain an advantage in some form by providing an online service; even if it is as simple as saying – where we are, what we do, and how to find us. The Internet is a beautifully integrated medium and nowadays websites such as Yelp and Google Maps can tell us where to shop and make the whole process that little bit easier. This is a vital medium for any business looking to expand, and could very be the defining feature that puts you above your competitors.

But what are the costs involved? Surely it’s an expensive thing to get done?

Should you forgo the standard route and find a web agency to create your site end to end from nothing. You will be told that a budget of at least a couple grand is required. Starting from the drawing board consumes many man hours and requires a lot of hard work. Many of my clients do not require such a process, and I am happy to advise them that this is not the only way. The chances are that if your business needs a website, even with quite specific functionality, someone else has already been in the same boat as you already. There is a wealth of open source applications, widgets and other material that make many of the tasks that would have been time consuming, quick easy and professional.

As a freelance web designer specifically for small businesses, I can provide a different route.

Many of the sites I build take advantage of open source technology, and my savings in time translate to your savings in money. And this is great news for my clients who are happy to still retain the professional build quality that they expect, at a fraction of the price.

5 Trends in Web Design You Might Like to Try for 2013

If you have not done it yet, the month of March may just be when you will start thinking of revamping the look of your website. You are probably thinking that the third month of the New Year is just the right time to scout the web and see what trends have come to stay for the year.

You might like to pick one or two of these trends to apply on your site, so you will have an improved design to present to your audience. It might also be that you will make use of these trends to prepare your website for the possible changes that may happen in the course of the year when it comes to new CSS or HTML features.

So, here are the newest trends in web design that you will face and have to decide about this year:

Minimalistic Single Tone Site Colours

This means using a single tone of colour all throughout your site. This minimalistic trend is great at getting your readers to pay attention more on your content rather on your colours or your design. See the redesigned site of Mashable where a single colour is consistently used to determine the theme of its new look.

Going the Responsive Direction

In 2013, you need to have a responsive or fluid design that will shift and adjust itself so its entire content will be seen in mobile devices such as an iPhone or an iPad. This is very important because more and more people have smartphones and other mobile gadgets that they use to access the Internet.

Cool Typography

This is the year for you to stop using the Arial font and change it for something more creative and eye-catching. You can use CSS 3’s FontFace to get any kind of template from the Internet just by using the URL as reference and try it out to enhance your site’s look.

Go with Highlight Boxes

Instead of sticking with Javascript sliders, why don’t you use highlight boxes instead. This is a static box that has an image for its background and comes with an article header or punch line at the top. You can even use different colour tones for these boxes when you decide to replace your old sliders with them.

Influx of More Web Development Companies

If you think there were already a lot of web development companies before, think again. This year, you will see more. This is mainly because more and more designers are emerging to offer quality services at more affordable prices and to counter those companies that are offering their services at prices not everyone can afford.

The only problem you will have with this is being able to decide which firm to go for when you plan on having your website redesigned. If you will do your research carefully and pore over portfolios thoroughly, you will find one that will cater to your needs well.