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How Do I Choose a Web Designer for My Business?

web designHow Do I Choose a Web Designer for My Business?With the proliferation of the world wide web and independent businesses, it is literally a 'jungle' out there when it comes to locating affordable website design services. If you don't know the difference between a web host and a website, how are you supposed to figure out which web design company will be capable and worth the outlay from your fixed budget. Let's face it, start-ups, independent entrepreneurs and small businesses do not have the large budgets of corporations and every rand counts. Making informed decisions when it comes to your business' marketing expenditures can be the difference between business success and failure.

Having an online component for your company is an established low cost tool to build your company brand, keep in touch with your customers and reach out to new ones. Nielsen/Net Ratings found that the overall at-home global active Internet universe for 12 selected countries swelled by more than 2.8 million users from June 2004 to July 2004 bringing the total to 291,986,237 users. Having a website is necessary to reach these users.

Since I self-designed my first company website, my time was spent trying to figure out who should host my site, but the method of search is comparable with looking for a website designer: asking around, looking in search engines, poring through over 30 sites comparing services, prices and added value (if there was any). I didn't really know what I was looking for, even though I had some technical background, but in general I knew I wanted a host who was affordable and had good customer service. So, considering those of you who are starting from the beginning and need someone to help you Plan your site, Design it and Put it up for the world to see, there are specific concerns that you will need to address.

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How important is a responsive website

responsive web designResponsive Web DesignAs more people are beginning to use mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, for every task that used to be only capable on desktop, one thing has become clear: mobile is taking over Internet surfing. And, it's not even just surfing. It's everything from browsing social media outlets, checking emails and doing some online shopping.

Because mobile Internet usage is increasing steadily, it's extremely important that your website is mobile friendly. Usually this isn't a major concern. You have a website designed for desktop users and another site specifically developed for mobile users. But, is it possible to have a site that is equally favorable for both desktop and mobile users?

There actually is a design that can handle both types of users. And it's called responsive web design.

What is responsive design?

A responsive design simply means a website that has been constructed so that all of the content, images and structure of the site remains the same on any device. For example, when a user accesses a site on their desktop, they are getting the full view of the site. But when that same user goes to visit the site from their smartphone or tablet, the site will retract to fit on the smaller screen.

In other words, with a responsive website design, you don't have to have worry about having different websites for various devices or making sure that your site runs properly on a mobile device.

But there are some other really important reasons why you should make the switch to responsive design for your website.

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Web Site Theme - Is your sites theme search engine friendly?

choosing website DesignChoosing Website DesignYour websites theme is very important to its success. When your site is indexed by search engines, they actually review your sites theme as well as other content. The theme must be carefully planned. Here are some tips for developing a proper web site theme that will make search engines happy as well.

Choose a design that revolves around keywords and keyword phrases. For example, if your sites keywords are sporting goods, choose design elements that are associated with sporting goods. Use bright colors such as red and yellow. Use elements that are high impact and exciting, similar to thoughts associated with sporting goods.

Focus on the types of products, services, and information you seek to promote. You are selling sporting goods, not bedding. Focus on sporting goods and stay on that approach. Don’t get side tracked with a certain color theme you favor. Make your keywords the main focus of your theme. Make them bigger, and make them stand out against all the other content.

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Web Site Turn-Offs

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There are a number of ways guaranteed to turn-off visitors to your website. These are worth consideringas you either design a site, or revise a site. Turn-offs generally can be defined as anything that impedes the user from quick and easy (intuitive) use of your site. Turn-offs also are often the result of gratuitous use of technical 'bells and whistles'.

One of the major turn-offs is a sloooow loading site. There can be a number of contributing factors to this:

* Large graphics files (meaning the file size in bytes). Graphics files need to be optimised to reduce the file size to a minimum to enable them to travel through the Internet in minimum time.

* Splash Screens. These are often Flash graphics and can take a long time to 'load', especially where there is limited bandwidth. Bandwidth is the carry capacity of the Internet, the bigger the faster - a bit like comparing a fire hose and a garden hose. Unfortunately in Australia bandwidth tends to be at the smaller end of the scale. Splash screens also annoy repeat visitors, as they revisit the site and have to wait for the screen to load (not everyone knows how to properly Bookmark).

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Web Templates: Replacing Designers?

web designer equipmentWeb Designer EcquipmentI’ve seen articles (and websites) that suggest you can buy a website template and skip the expense of hiring a professional website designer. Recently, I read several testimonials from the very satisfied customers of a website template vendor that mentioned how quickly they were able to get their sites done. The template vendor commented that he/she had known people to complete their websites in around two hours.

With experiences and statements like these, it not surprising that more and more people are attempting to build websites themselves. I think that’s great in a way. For those of us who are concerned about the trends in the web industry and community, it’s great to see more people becoming web oriented and involved.

However, I think there is a misunderstanding by many of these people about what a website template really is – and is not. At this point, I think it only fair that I should mention that I am a professional website designer (the person you supposedly don’t need anymore). I should also mention that this is not my sole motivation for questioning this idea of templates replacing web designers. As a matter of fact, I think website templates are extremely useful. I recommend using them to my clients as a way of getting a great graphical look for their site. What I hope to convey is that template consumers need to know what they are and what they aren’t getting with a template.

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