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Guide to choosing the right web design company

judge the book by its coverThis Time DO Judge The Book By It's CoverChoosing a web design company can be a little tricky, and many times it's a gamble, but if you know what to look for, you can save yourself a lot of stress and frustration. If you don't, however, you could be stuck with poor service and empty promises, as well as being faced with ridiculous bills. Take time to empower yourself with the following knowledge, and learn to spot a bad choice in web design companies from a mile...

LOOKS

This is one of those times, that judging a book by it's cover is in your best interests. A web design company's website is it's book cover, so naturally, if their website is not stimulating...chances are that they will create an unstimulating design for your website...which in turn, is YOUR book cover. If your book cover is amateurish, your potential client may very well pass you by, imagining that your service, or product, would be as exciting as the site they've just seen...

LOOKS vs PRICE

If the client liaison of the web design company drives a Ferrari, there's a very good chance that they are overcharging their customers. Web design prices vary greatly. There are no set guidelines for quality ,nor are there any recommended pricing structures, so one must use one's own discretion here. I can't tell you that R 4000 is a good price for a small website, because it depends on the web design itself. If I may use a fine art analogy here. R 1 million is a ridiculous price to pay for a Trechikoff, but an incredible bargain for a Van Gogh.

EXAMPLES

If the web design company does not supply examples of their work or some form of portfolio, it can mean one of two things. Either the company is just starting out and has no work to showcase yet, or they are not confident enough to display their work because it is not very good. The other problem I've come across here is when a web design agency has a long list of clients that they have allegedly done work for, but no links to the work itself. In cases like these, you can rest assured that at least half of their clientele are made up and the other half of their clientele are upset by their shoddy workmanship. Bottom line is: If the company is any good, they will proudly display examples of their work. If the company just doesn't have any work to display, you're taking a gamble. It's your call.

lazy and unreliable manLazy and Unreliable ManSERVICE

There are three kinds of service you will come across in the web design industry. The first kind are lazy and unreliable, the second kind are very enthusiastic and will promise you the world, but won't deliver, and the last kind (which is the kind you are looking for) will get back to you promptly, and meet, or even exceed your expectations. The latter is very difficult to come by. Here's how you can spot the different kinds...Should you ask for a quote from a web design company or get in touch with them via email and they do not get back to you within twelve hours, then you can expect this kind of service for the entirety of the job. They are lazy and do not feel that you are important enough for them to reply promptly. The second kind is more difficult to spot. This kind are skilled in promotional talking but lack the technical skill/knowledge to deliver, so asking a few technical questions should do the trick. Instead of listening to the words they use to reply, watch their body language to see if they look uncomfortable with the question.

LOCATION

A good internet connection for both parties, in most cases, rules out the significance of where the designers offices are located. In fact, if you have a tight deadline, it is probably better to have an online relationship because when you send an email with instructions, the web designer is already at his/her computer to make the changes, as opposed to having to drive back to their premises and prepare themselves for work mode again. Even material for the job can be emailed because unlike their graphic designer counterparts, the files are low resolution, therefore small in size. One thing to keep in mind though, is that if their offices are in a very exclusive area/office park, you can probably expect to pay "exclusive" prices.

SEO

A good web design company will design your website with search engine optimization in mind. It is no good to have a beautiful website that no one is ever going to see because search engines can't read the format in which it was designed. Ask your designer about their website marketing options. A lot of companies say they offer this but really don't know much about it. If a designer can't tell you exactly how they have optimized your site for search engines, then they probably have not.

meeting a deadlineMeeting a DeadlineDEADLINES

The last factor to take into consideration is the web designers ability to work within given deadlines. In a deadline situation it is almost always better to deal directly with the person/s who are going to be doing the work. In many large corporations, they will send a client liaison to receive instruction from the client, but in many cases the client liaison is only trained to appease the client, by saying "yes we can do that", "sure, you will have it tomorrow", but does not have an inkling of what the work entails, and then will go back to the designer only to be told that there are problems with what was promised. This back-and-forth liaising lends itself to miscommunication and is ultimately a waste of valuable time. The best way to see if a web design company can meet your deadline is to give them a smaller job first, with its own deadline. The Bible says "Those who can be trusted with little, can also be trusted with much".

For more information, or to request a free quotation, please contact us

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Why Does My Website Fail?

seo readyS.E.O Ready"My website has been live for 3 months, and yet I get no traffic to talk about?"

Being part of the website design and web hosting business for over 10 years, I have seen countless clients cancel their hosting services, and even throwing away their domain names.

Personally, I believe that there is no site that is designed, that cannot do well. Any site that has/can be made, can reach its full potential on the Internet.

What the owner of the website does not understand, is that you cannot just put up a website, and expect it to do well. Websites need to be nurtured, optimized, mobilized and marketed, otherwise they WILL fail!

Please view the 6 most important things to do, to get your website noticed, listed, and to make your website "work for you".

  1. When considering your website design, many clients overlook the most important aspect of reaching their target market... Mobile and Tablet friendly websites. Is your website viewed on a mobile device or tablet exactly the same as on a desktop? 90% of people will answer "Yes, is that not how it should be?". The answer is NO. If your website displays the same on mobile and tablet devices, then it has not been optimized for these devices, and 95% of the target market is leaving your page as soon as it is opened. The simple reason is that your website takes too long to load, and all your text is extremely small, and yes you can "zoom" on most devices, but have you ever tried to read a page where you constantly have to scroll left and right to view all the text? Your clients will move on and search for another company. So, most importantly, get your website mobile friendly.
  2. The second most important thing you can do for your website, is to get a company to optimize your website content and website links. Search engines need to know what your site is about, and honestly, optimization is a daunting task for the beginner / intermediate web builder.
  3. Once you have an optimized website, you should now ensure that your newly optimized website can be found by the search engines. A professional package to submit your website is key. BEWARE the catches on the Internet that state they will submit your site to thousands of search engines, this is not necessary, AND CAN HURT YOUR WEBSITE RANKINGS! Storm Biz's submission package is the ideal start to get the search engines to list your domain, and send out their crawlers/spiders or bots to come and add all your pages to their index!
  4. It is now important for you to take control of your website! To increase traffic, and to keep your visitors coming back to your site, you need to update your content, at least on a weekly basis. If you don’t care for your website, your users will pick up on this, and feel the same about coming back to visit your website! Try to add a new article, or discussion once a week, or if you are selling products, keep adding them on a constant basis. YOUR WEBSITE NEEDS TO GROW!
  5. Now that your website is growing, you need to market your website, get your brand out there, and ensure that you have incoming links to your site! Firstly, this is not yet the time to spend money on more marketing, now is the time to do some research, and get your website brand on all the business directories out there! There are many directories where you can add your business/website details, for free. Search for directories where you can add your details for free, there are many, and keep your listings in relative categories matching your site content!
  6. Your final step to succeed is to spend some money... advertise your website with banners or text adverts wherever you can. Use google Ads. This is a sure way to get to the top of search engines! The best form of advertising your website is electronically, so take the time to search for companies that offer banner advertising, or contextual advertising, and make sure that your brand is seen by your target traffic. NO BUSINESS CAN SUCCEED WITHOUT ADVERTISING!

seobannerS.E.Ohope that this article will convince you that it is possible to succeed, but only if you are willing to take the time and money, to care for your website! Looking after your site will only ensure that it looks after you in return. Your website should be your best salesman, after all it is out there 24/7, but can it be found if you have not taken the time to ensure its existence?

Please feel free to post this article on your site, as long as all links are left intact!

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Your Company's Web Site – Quality Approach

team plannning a websiteTeam Planning a WebsiteThis is the second segment of a three-part series that addresses the guidelines on how to plan, present and develop your company’s website. In part one; we explored the importance of having a professional website that represents your company online. In part two; we will identify the quality approach of planning your company’s website.

Designing and developing a quality website. When you hire a team to create or redesign your company’s website, keep in mind that the basic concepts of quality also apply. They are:

Continuous Improvement

Leave space to grow, and make what is good now, even better. Your company will improve through the years, and so should your website, but this does not mean you need a new design every year! Leave room for improvement; build a quality website that can be easily updated to reflect the changes in your company.

Value of Quality

A well-designed and developed website does not cost; it pays! This is an investment that will bring you return in the form of satisfied clients. On the other hand, the cost of a poorly developed website can be a price that most companies pay for unknowingly – that is the price of non-quality. If your company’s website reflects the high standards of your company, it will bring you more clients; however, if your company’s website does not mirror the image you are trying to build, it will drive visitors and potential clients away.

How to Build an Engaged Audience for Your WebsiteBuild an Engaged Audience for Your WebsiteVisitor Satisfaction

Nothing is worse than getting lost within in a poor quality website, or being on a site and unable to find the information you need. Or when text is difficult to read because of site colour combinations. Have you ever been frustrated after clicking on a link and finding that the page no longer exists?

These and other website issues reflect on your company’s image. If a website is not well built, it sends the message that your company is not well structured; if your website has dead ends, it suggests that your company is not well managed.

Raise the bar – provide a well-structured and well managed, quality website, and exceed your client’s expectations.

Problem Solving

A quality website must anticipate the needs of the visitor. Since a company representative is unavailable to deal with any prospective problems that may occur while a visitor is browsing your site, plan ahead and crosscheck all possible scenarios. Let’s translate this into Quality terms:

1. Define the problem: Make a list of potential problems users may experience when browsing your website. This will maximize the solutions and keep a quality focus.

2. Generate alternative solutions: Once potential problems have been identified, make a list of possible solutions that deal with each problem. Implement this procedure to ensure that your visitors have an enjoyable visit to your site.

find a solutionFind a Solution3. Evaluate and select alternatives: Choose a solution that is right for your website, to ensure that your target audience will know what to expect, should a problem arise, and how to use the feature you provided. It is unhelpful if the solutions you provide are causing a visitor more problems. Example: Your Company manufactures hardware and a website visitor would like a copy of your catalogue; you provide an online form for visitors to complete in order to receive the catalogue in the mail. Sufficient? Not really. It may take a week for that catalogue to reach your prospective client. Consider providing visitors with a version of the catalogue online that can either be printed or downloaded as a PDF.

4. Implement and follow up on the solution: Simply adding solutions will not fix the problem; you must ensure that each solution works. For example, if you request an online form to be completed in order to download the above-mentioned PDF catalogue, how can you be certain people are actually submitting the form? Are they finding it easy to complete? Are they hitting the “Submit” button and downloading the catalogue in PDF format? This is where “follow up” becomes important. But how can a company follow up if website visitors never submitted the form that would have allowed for an easy follow up in the first place? You (or your webmaster or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultant) should monitor the stats of your website and compare how many visitors your form page had, against the visitors your PDF catalogue page had. If you have 70% less visitors on your PDF catalogue page than on your form page, this would suggest a problem that has not been thoroughly solved.

planning a website designPlanning a Website DesignPlanning for the Future

Plan your website to grow with your company. When a facility is built to house a company for 10 years, plans include a good-sized parking lot, ideal kitchen facilities, more than one washroom, several plugs for countless electronic devices, etc. The same rings true for your website– it should be built to evolve. As products and services develop, or contact information changes, your website changes too. Build to grow!

Quality Website -- Quality Assurance and Quality Control

A website design company should ensure that a website will be built to the complete satisfaction of the client (you), and be customized to that client’s needs. Make sure your website is functional and user friendly, and that usability testing takes place. Usability testing is a form of website quality control, and it ensures that your site is visible by different types of browsers and that visitors will not get lost.

properly designed for all appsProperly Designed for All AppsSupplier Quality

Finally, a website design company must provide good service and a custom product that matches all your needs. This does not have to cost a fortune, nor does the company requesting a new or redesigned website need to be a large one. Ask questions before committing to a design team; make sure they understand your needs. Check their portfolio and references. Nothing speaks louder than current clients who are satisfied with the results of their new website.

Summary: Planning a quality website and seeking the company that will undertake its creation, is a major step in promoting your company, and the products and services you offer. The same care you take in planning the growth of your company, and the quality provided by the products and/or services you offer should be transmitted in a professional, well-planned website. List your priorities. Search for a good design company. Discuss your company needs, products and services. Plan for the future.

Contact us for a free quotation, or more information

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Is Free/Cheap Website Hosting Better?

You Get What You Pay ForYou Get What You Pay ForThe age old saying of "You get what you pay for" always stands true, especially when it comes to hosting company and design costs. There is no such thing as "FREE HOSTING"! you will pay for it in the end, and I will explain why!

Website hosting is a multi-million rand industry, and giving away hosting is not lucrative to any company. The only reasons that a hosting, or website design company would give you free hosting would be under the following conditions:

  1. The hosting company company has inflated it's prices to lure you in by giving you free hosting.
  2. The hosting company company gives you free hosting, but you will need to add banners to your website.
  3. The hosting company will offer x amount of months for free, if you sign a long term contract, or if you pay up front for 1 or 2 years.

The reason these companies give away free hosting, or charge very low costs for hosting your website, is solely because the advertising that goes on your website is where they turn a profit, and also the servers that your website will be hosted on will be highly overpopulated!

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