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Archive for September, 2009

A Busy Website Design Company is a Company in Demand

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

choosingdesignerWhether your website designer is a local developer or part of a big national company, one of the important factors that you should take into consideration in your search for the right website design company is how busy they are; the size of their order book. This can actually be a double edged sword because on the one hand a busy website design company may have to quote longer lead-in times, but the activity does of course indicate that their services are in demand. If their services are in demand, the logic is that their product must be good. Based in Norfolk we know there are lots of super companies around but it should be easy to find the best developer for your site?

There are certain cases where a big order book or the long lead-time a busy website designer quotes can be misleading. If this apparently busy website design company is a relatively new start up for example, the clientele may not yet have had the time to evaluate the designer’s performance, so look out to make sure that there is a client list that you can follow up to interrogate. Any local developer, Norfolk or beyond should be happy to assist as they want your business.

A short order book, and a therefore rapid response time could be a sign that nobody wants to use them, or it could simply mean that they are very fast and efficient in keeping up with things, either way the presence of testimonials and following them up is again an invaluable process and one that perhaps should not be rushed but done methodically if you have the time.

Any local developer or designer would tell you that design is not something that should be hurried and a busy website design company will not only know this, but will stick firmly to their guns and refuse to be hurried. This is actually good brand marketing in progress and whilst at times this sort of attitude can be very frustrating, it speaks volumes for their integrity, and if they won’t allow other projects to get rushed along they will not permit yours to be rushed either.

A busy website design company that holds to this principle is worth their weight in gold. It should however be made very clear through the tendering process just exactly what their lead times are, and at that early stage you have the opportunity to question this and to perhaps seek permission to even talk to some of their current project owners for real-time feedback – see our testimonials article for assistance with this part.

Any sort of design work is a process where there will be discoveries along the way: new suggestions about the best way to lay a site out, or how to arrange the navigation etc. which is all part of developing the best product for your business. A busy website designer may even adopt a new technology in the process of fulfilling your design, to stay at the forefront of website design and to ensure that they offer state of the art product. It would actually be very annoying if your website were to just miss out on a new innovation simply because your chosen local developer couldn’t make time to incorporate it.

They do say that patience is a virtue, and in the case of good website design this is very true. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your website is your shop-front. Once it’s out there in cyberspace you need it to do an effective job for you. The “window dressing” is key and fashions change, as do new technologies, and in order to stay at the cutting edge you will want to incorporate these changes in your website. A busy website design company will be busy partly because clients return to them again and again for these state of art or fashion updates; another thing you can check out amongst their client list be it Norfolk, London or anywhere else.

In the majority of instances, a busy website design company is a good design company; it’s a local web design or graphic design company with integrity, with flair, and with dedication. If and when you find one, stick with them for the best site that works for your business.

Affordable Web Design – Comparing Website Prices and Value for Money

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

choosing designerTypical website prices in the UK vary a tremendous amount but what kind of company do you choose when looking find affordable web design locally or within the UK?

A company that gives you an on the spot quote for a designed website instantly isn’t doing their homework. Though this kind of fee is exactly what some people want they perhaps also do not understand entirely how a website really can work to increase business, profitability and to raise a business profile.

Per page flat rate prices advertised on their site or in advertising literature should be a slight warning sign if you are looking for a website that is more involved than perhaps a small ten page information site. This might appear value for money and might work for some but not all businesses understand in depth how a good website can really help their business expand. So website prices, without being obviously excessive, should reflect exactly how your finished site will work for you.

Finding affordable web design in the UK really depends on the type of value you are looking for. A fixed price custom made website which includes a specified number of pages which costs a few hundred pounds is fine – if that works for your business – but what about finding a custom web designer that can create a website that works for your business and brings in more profit? How about branding, marketing your website online and what about hosting a large site?

Value can only be measured on how much time and money you spend with your designer and how much they put into the site so that the outcome works for you. Maybe the whole aim of your website is to sell more of your products, to advertise your business and create a modern business identity, or even a straight forward way of bringing a long-standing company out of the nineties. Whichever your reason, affordable web design should reflect what you want the finished product to do and get you there.

An Example of Bad Research and Overspend
I cringe every time I think of this, an old employer in a multi-million pound company could never sell products on his website due to the industry and services they offered, would not generate profit simply using the website and only employing around ten people there was never exactly daily news or events to announce.

Spending circa £6,000 on two versions of a custom made website he did not shop around or gain advice and simply chose a UK company that was local to the office. He spent in the region of a week specifying what he wanted, writing text for a few pages of the new site and learning how to use the content management system they had built in and also paid the company to host it on their servers etc

The finished site looked okay though he was not happy to market the site, it does not generate extra customers or profit, fails to give visitors any exciting information and was simply an exercise to modernise an old site. Visiting this site as I write this, its last piece of news piece was something that was added almost two years ago – has it increased the companies online presence? The answer is a certain no!

Value for money in this case there definitely was not, the website prices might have been fine had the owner used the site as an expansion of the business or to generate more business (it was a site made for ecommerce and incorporated an admin area to make it easy to use and update quickly), what an oversight and obvious lack of communication between two parties, had this company shopped around and gained advice from even just one more company they may have realised how not to do it!

This example should help you to see that affordable web design is dependant on your final requirements and what you aim to do with a new custom made website. We know that you want to know the price of web design immediately and a good design company should keep no secrets about pricing however a site design should come with a tailored price and at the very least a good indication of website prices on fixed websites (specified amount of pages and extras).

Finding a Website Designer that Excels

Monday, September 28th, 2009

choosingdesignerChoosing a good supplier is never easy at the best of times, but choosing a web design company that employs a good web designer is even tougher. The fact of the matter is that your website is your company. To many people it is the only way that they will ever come face to face with your business – online; so you have to be happy that the face it shows to the public is the face that you want people to see.

Of course if you are in the process of redesigning your website, or launching a brand new one, you are well and truly in the hands of your chosen website design company and this makes it doubly important that you use a website designer from a busy web design company which should be seen as a good web designer that excels which doesn’t just meet your expectations, but that surpasses them.

I am sure that you will do your due diligence when it comes down to assessing your potential candidate companies but you cannot afford to get this one wrong. The whole balance of the success of your own business is dependent on getting your new website absolutely spot on. Finding a website designer that excels is not just desirable, it’s essential!

The actual proof of the pudding as they say is in the eating, problem being that you don’t want to end up with food poisoning! Of course, you can check out some of the other websites that your chosen web design company have designed, and yes you can arrange a meeting with the people you hope to work with to see if you’re compatible; in fact it’s essential that you do so but even if that all checks out, it still doesn’t mean to say that you’ve found a website designer that excels; you’ve merely got a good web designer who looks as if they excel, and sounds as if they do. This is your business future that we’re talking about so the final selection has to be 110% right.

The last opportunity that you have before you commit yourself and your web design company, is to talk to previous clients (see our testimonials page for more help). They will undoubtedly have a string of glowing testimonials on their own website, or will be happy to refer you to one of their satisfied clients.
Your last resort in the search for that elusive website designer that excels is to talk to some of their past clients that you alone can select at random which you may find on their website. If you don’t, ask for one. You can be totally honest as to the whys and wherefores of your questions and if a supposed good web designer won’t provide you with a list of names, there’s something wrong and you can simply short cut the final test; they are not that website designer that you need after all.

If you do get your list however, and it all checks out as you hope it will; together with all the other prerequisites that they will have fulfilled, it’s a pretty sure thing that you’ve found the company you were searching for and you’ve found your perfect choice – a good web designer that excels.

Using Portfolios When Selecting a Web Designer

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

choosingdesignerIf you are thinking of having a web designer build your website then viewing the websites of various web design companies of course is the first step, then moving on to check out their portfolios of web designs should help with your search.

A web design agency should be confident at putting together the right design to suit you and your business needs as well as offering additional services – is he/she an insightful online marketer or can they offer help with printed off-line marketing? View their website pages to get a feel of the kind of client they have worked with previously and look for a variation – brochure websites, e-shops, information or charity websites etc

Your website should be designed for just your business, your web designer should arrange the site and its practical aspects around that, and in doing so should also keep your visitors happy. A good website designer is worth their weight in gold and especially they mention extra services such as online marketing, shop setup etc. Your website is your shop front or your ‘welcome’ to potential or new shoppers who may return to spend money or simply revisit for the information on your site so finding a web designer with varying experience is good.

A web developer needs to wear many hats – that is offer more than one service – from being programmer to website marketer, or from PR representative to researcher. Putting together your site can be much more involved than slotting together a few images and stylish graphics into a couple of pages, tons of hard work goes into building a site and your chosen web developer will take lots of time on your site just through research and discussions as well as styling it and then consideration for longer term issues such as marketing.

A web developer has a great skill and should have the experience and knowledge to be able to put together a fabulous site that works with you and for you. Look at other websites that the company or individual has built and go into that a little deeper – any sign of marketing, search engine optimisation and longer term web maintenance is definitely a positive thing and may give you that indication that web designer has much more to offer.

Selecting a Local Website Designer

Friday, September 18th, 2009

choosingdesignerIf you are in need of a new website and your preference is to have a new custom built website designed especially for you, selecting the right supplier poses quite a problem if you are starting from scratch. Without a personal recommendation or testimonial, you will be reliant solely on your own research skills and abilities.

Some people have a preference for using a local website design company. In support of this limitation they cite things such as having local geographic and demographic knowledge that only a locally based company can develop after years of being immersed in the local business community. Another advantage often cited is that it is easier to arrange meetings with a local website designer rather than having to possibly arrange transport and perhaps travel for hundreds of miles. However, being a part of what today we call the Global Village created by the ease of use that the internet has brought, distance is no longer such an issue, and with the development of video conference calls and webcams, a virtual meeting is as effective as an actual physical meeting.

However, in order to give our research some sort of starting position, we shall assume that a local website designer is in this instance, to be preferred. The first stage in the selection process is to draw up a schedule of suppliers to be evaluated. This can be done in one of two ways, or even a combination of both.

1. Firstly you can use the local business trade directory to look up the names of a few locally based website design companies.

2. Search google for web designers in your local area for instance the county so ‘Web designer Norfolk’ in our instance.

3. Select some businesses  local to your area, and go and have a look at their websites, bearing in mind that they may or may not have been designed by local companies.  It is usual for the website design company to put their name and contact details at the foot of the home page of every website that they design.

Having drawn up a shortlist of potential website design companies by one method or the other, the next stage in the selection process is to visit some of the sites that have been designed by your chosen companies to carry out an evaluation of the sites.

Evaluating a Local Website Designer
In evaluating websites in this “cold call” manner, one is looking in the first instance, for design flair, and originality. People searching online for various services and skills are in themselves notoriously fickle. What they first see when they arrive at what is called the landing page of a website, will determine if they tarry there or if they dismiss it and shoot off to another website. In other words the landing page must have stunning design, must look thoroughly professional, and should be pleasing to the eye both in terms of colour scheme, and layout. The copy displayed on the landing page must be helpful and informative, and should tempt the visitor inside the website to explore further. Finally the site should be easily navigable.

In the final reckoning it is the eye catching design and the ease with which the site can be explored that are the most important issues. Most companies will provide their chosen local website designer with the text they wish to use, in which case in is down to them to ensure it is captivating. If a local company can be found that satisfies the design and navigation criteria, then all well and good. If however you have to cast your net wider, so be it. You want the best, and you must explore the options to find the best website design company for your specific needs.