Easy Tips to Use When Searching for Web Designers

If you think that finding a designer that can help you with website development is going to be a length or difficult process, think again. There are many companies that are offering website design and development services and finding the right one is a fairly simple matter. All you need to do is look around and see who has created the sites you like best. Here are a few tips you can also use in order to find a web developer that will give you the site you have been hoping for.

Word of mouth can be fantastic
Word of mouth can be a great way to find a website development company that you can work with. If you know other business owners that have sites you like you can simply ask them who did the work for them. Many web designers will put their names on the bottom of the sites so it can be worthwhile to look there.

Once you have the name of the company it can be helpful to ask others what they think of the company. Keep in mind that not everyone will be satisfied with a company but if you hear a lot of negative comments you may want to work with a different company.

Look online
Many website development companies advertise online. If you click on a few sites you should be able to get a look at their portfolio. You may want to go to a site and look to see if they are still using a website design that is advertised in a portfolio. If a company has switched their website again soon after having it designed it can be a sign that you may want to work with another company.

Once you have a few potential service providers that you want to work with you may want to do some background checking. See if you can get references for clients that a company has done work for in the past. They may have many things (good or bad) to tell you about what they think of the website, how it functions and what they like or do not like about it.

By doing some checking and research you should be able to avoid the companies that cannot deliver a functioning, visually attractive website to you. Instead, you will be able to concentrate on the companies that marry beauty and functionality in the sites that they deliver.

Homepage Tips For Web Design

Your home is the most important page on your website. This statement can be true or false. But one thing that is true is that you home page is probably the most viewed webpage on your site. It can either grab your visitor’s attention or scare them away. Also note if your homepage is great and your other pages have problems, then you site will still fail. Your homepage should be your doorway to your content. It is good to put some extra time and attention to the front page, but remember that your other pages need their own attention.

Home isn’t the Most Important

Website designers put more time into the homepage than any other webpage on the site. And why shouldn’t they? This is the most unique page of a website and also your most popular. The homepage should summarize all your content and information and that lead your visitors to your other pages. It is as important for a visitor to know what your website is about as soon as they view it. You have about 3 seconds to capture your audience.

Content is just as Important

Giving visitors the impression of what your site is about is a good start. The second phase is giving them a reason to stay. What can your website offer them? Content, information services, products or entertainment. You only have a couple of seconds to answer these questions. Visitors will stay longer and come back regularly if you have something to offer. Quality content is the key. The better content you have the more traffic you will receive. Remember Google rewards quality content.

Homepage Tips – Simple, Easy and Clean Design

Having a simple and clean web design can slow them down. Have your navigation either at the top or at the left side. These are the most common places in web development and surfers have gotten use to having them there. Have common font through your whole site and a font size that is big enough to read. Watch the colors you have for your background and text color. These small easy fixes could slow down your web surfers to stay and see what you have to offer. If some of these simple tips are not addressed, you could be losing potential customers.

Try to Keep things Updated

Ok, you have traffic coming in and they are staying, Congratulations! Now some of your visitors are coming back to see what else you got. It is important to have up to date content. Try to add more and more content and information. Keeping your homepage your aggregation point, but give them something new. If you have an ecommerce website, give them banners, special deals or product pictures. If you have news, keep them posted on what is going on recently. People are only looking for things that are relative to today’s society.

These Homepage Tips are just a Start

Doing some of these techniques for your pages could change the way your visitors react. The goal of your website is to have people visit and use what resources you have. As a designer, try to keep your mind in the state of a first timer web surfer finding your site. It is hard to do, but finding this could change the whole look of your website. Try to think were the user looks first, second and so on. Just keep it simple, clean and unique.

5 Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Developing a Website

There are well over a hundred million websites on the internet. The number is increasing by the minute, but most web surfers will see a tiny fraction of these sites because of some common mistakes. The following is a list of 5 common pitfalls to avoid when developing a new website.

1. Choosing a domain name / buying related domain names

It’s easy to get carried away with very (too) creative or long domain names, especially since most simple domains are already in use. Be sure that you keep the domain as short and relevant as possible, and make sure it makes sense when you look at it. And, please don’t buy a domain name ending in .tv, .biz or .mobi because your preferred .com is unavailable. It is poor form and it will look like an attempt to ride the coattails of a successful .com domain. Consumers who stumble upon your site in the search for the .com domain will feel like you are trying to dupe them into visiting your site whether you intended to or not.

By the same token, when you purchase your .com domain, don’t be afraid to pick up your domain ending in .info, .biz, and / or .org (if appropriate to the nature of your business), especially if you think your site will attract copycats. As mentioned above, successful .com sites will often see their domain name popping up ending in .biz, .info, etc, because the owners of those sites really are hoping to ride your coattails by duping your visitors into coming to their site.

2. Spending too little or too much on your website

We can’t tell you in one article how much you should spend on your site, but we can give you some ranges and guidelines. If you pay under $1000, you are dealing with a price leader, which is ok. Just know that this individual or company is in the business of getting customers based solely on lowest price and not much else. You are going to get an extremely basic website or what we call an “online brochure” that doesn’t change much and doesn’t compel visitors to do business with you. And that is the best case scenario- if you pay this little for a site, chances are you aren’t dealing with a seasoned expert who knows the fine ins and outs of inserting metadata for search engine indexing, or who utilizes professional copy writers, designers or project managers. Your site design will likely be a template, and probably will lack the functional and interactive elements that consumers are looking for online these days.

Conversely, there are developers that charge staggering hourly rates, and huge companies who have to support major overhead. These companies may charge upwards of $50,000 or more for a site with all the bells and whistles and ongoing maintenance retainers. If you work with a creative, successful developer or company, they should be able to prioritize your immediate needs with future wants and give you a firm estimate and solid contract.

Talented, professional web developers know that their time (and yours) is valuable- they charge more than the “price-leader” for an effective online marketing tool, and they will work hard to give you exactly what you need. However, be leery of large companies and all the bells and whistles they throw at you- you may end up supplementing their sky high overhead. A fantastic, effective website doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

3. Too many “dynamic” elements

Dynamic elements are FABULOUS ways to get your visitors interested in your website by allowing them to learn new things or interact with you. For example, you may have a weekly column on your site written by a guest expert in your field- your loyal and interested patrons will subscribe to a feed or visit your site often for this information and they will think of your business anytime a similar topic comes to mind.

However, if you also add a blog to share your personal musings, a photo gallery, calendar of events, an invitation to ask questions and…. How can you keep up with all of this? Pretty soon visitors notice that the information is stale and they don’t come back anymore, and don’t think of you or your company. At worst, the information that you no longer update will look stale and become a turn off to visitors.

Using all of these elements appropriately can send the message to a visitor that your business is the expert in your industry, that you are professional, and makes you stand out among the competition. But, it is crucial to have a plan to manage these elements, and choose which of them to use very carefully based on what you can handle. For instance, a reputable company (ahem, MetaMorph!) can manage your updates for you, or train one of your employees to manage these updates for you.

4. Lack of relevant, useful or entertaining content

The previous example is what happens when trying to manage too much content. Another common pitfall is not having enough information that the visitor finds useful, relevant or interesting to read. Make sure that articles are updated often and that they contain the kinds of information your target audience is looking for on your site- answer common questions about your product or service, address trends and developments or your industry in the news.

5. Typos, misspellings, dead links

This is a pet peeve for us! There is an incredible invention called Spell Check and it is your friend. Check and double check everything you publish. Have some other people read it before posting it, and go back and read things you have posted in the past. Test your links often (both those leading to other pages on your site and those going to outside sites) and make sure they are functioning properly.

A note on linking to other sites- make sure that those sites also link back to you unless you think the other site is such an amazing resource that you must share it with your visitors. Having too many links to other sites and not enough links coming to your site can make you rank lower in natural or “organic” search rankings. Also, make sure that your links don’t jettison your visitors to other sites- set your links to open in a new window or you risk another abandoned shopping cart and losing your customer’s attention forever.