Choosing a Web Package – A Guideline

One of the very first questions you need to ask yourself is: Why do I need a web site? Several answers might pop up; to boost my sales, to make myself known, to have a reference for my clients, to start a new business,…the list can go on and on…but how do you determine what’s right for you and your business?

The way to evaluate possible contenders for the job is to ask the right questions. Here are some questions you cannot afford not to ask.

In reference to the company that provides web services, you should ask…

1. Are they offering just web development, or, just web hosting, or do they have a vast range of services linked to the web industry?…i.e. do they offer the whole spectrum of services linked with web sites?

2. How do their prices compare to other companies who are providing the same services?

3. How flexible are they to my requirements…a) do they offer extra pages? b) do they offer additional hosting? c) is support part of the price I’m paying?

4. Do they offer dynamic sites? Normally this would give an indication of how experienced their programmers are in developing sites.

5. Are there any references to ‘search engine optimization’ on their site? If not, most probably they are not going to write my site in a way that major search engines can find it and rank it highly.

6. Do they offer search engine optimization? This is very important if I need to rank high and make the task for prospective customers to find me an easy one.

These are questions you should ask and if in doubt don’t hesitate to contact the company before investing your money in them. Most importantly they need to have fast and reliable support, although this can only be verified when it’s too late, i.e. you have already paid for it.

Other decisions you need to take is how your web site should look like. Do you require a static site with a lot of content, or minimum content with impressive graphics, sounds and animations? This would obviously depend on the nature of your business and the way you need to promote your image. The company you choose need to have enough experience to help you make this decision based on your business’ perspectives.

Whatever the case, as in nearly all things in life, a moment of reflection and some research are fundamental in order to make the right decision.

Getting Web Page Headings and Titles Correct

Often overlooked is the hierarchical structure and labelling of information on a web page. The two most important of these are page titles and page headings. Research has shown that the usability of a website is significantly effected by getting these two concepts correct.

Page headings
Most website users spend most of their time scanning web pages rather than reading the information on the web page. With this in mind it is important that the web designer makes sure that headings are well-designed to facilitate the user being able to both scan and read the written material.

The web designer should constantly strive to use distinguishing and descriptive headings and also to use as many headings as necessary to facilitate the web site user finding what they are looking for. A rule of thumb for this is that it is usually better to use more rather than fewer heading.
The web designer or the web developer should also create the headings in hierarchical order and because of this it is broadly speaking best not to skip heading levels.

Designers should also make that the site headings, e.g. the html h1, h2, h3, provide strong cues that will provide orientation to the web site users and also categorise the information that is contained on the page. This will provide the end user the ability to scan quickly and locate the information that they are seeking. If the user has to stop scanning and start reading the text on the page there is a strong likelihood that they will move away from the page if the limited text they have read is not relevant to them. It should also be noted that older internet users tend to scan less than younger internet users which can cause a conflict in design requirements. However hopefully the web designer will take into account the demographics of the end user of the website.

Page Titles
Page titles differ from headings in that whilst a web page may (and should) have several headings providing for the demarcation of content, there will only be one page title. Research at various universities has established that descriptive page titles are a fundamental requirement of any website. Whilst many people do not pay attention to the page title they have actually landed on (it appears at the very top of browser in the title bar), they certainly do when they are scanning through a search engines results page, as it is the text of the page title that normally appears as a link. It is this text that also appears as the text when someone bookmarks a page. It is therefore a necessity that the web design company who is preparing the web page provides a page title that is not only meaningful, but also descriptive, unique and concise. By providing clear and concise page titles the web developer will be orientating users as they browse a list a page or even scanning a list of pages in their browser bookmarks or browsing history.

Normally is it common practice that the title of the page is the same as the top level heading of the page. The significant advantage of this is that consistency is preserved so that the user avoids being confused.

Unfortunately many people address the issues relating to page titles and page headings from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) point of view, when in reality they should be a fundamental part of the design of any page for a users benefit (which is probably why search engines pay so much attention to them!)
If you think about the content of your page and the users requirements you will be a long way along the road to designing a great website!

How To Find Freelance Work

How many people do you know that don’t have computers or use the Internet? If you are like most, the number is between one and zero. Everyone today is turning towards this resource for information and business in order to find new areas of success. If you are one that is familiar with the Internet, you may also know that getting involved in this virtual community can bring you success!

Where to Find Clients?

After you have gathered together your information, it’s time to find customers! Building your own website will be the best way to advertise your services. It will let others see what you have available and will give several the opportunity of finding you through the Internet. The more websites you build for companies and individuals, the more you will be able to advertise, leaving you with a full time business. Several online freelance job sites have new projects looking for freelancers posted daily.

One of the opportunities that arise with web development is the ability to work on your own time. Usually, one website will take a few days to build, giving you the ability to work at your own pace, and set your own hours. Even with this, you can expect to make an average of $250 – $500 for every individual website, and more for more complicated websites that will need to be made for corporations and companies.

Web development is a business that is needed by other businesses and individuals today. Most that have any type of information or a product that they want to give to the community are working on building a web site. Being computer savvy with the Internet will give you possibilities to help businesses and individuals to profit, as well as your own business.

When you begin to get into web development, you will need to invest in specific things. The first will be the knowledge that you will need in order to develop websites. You will need programs such as Dream Weaver in order to put together the information for a website. If you don’t know how to work with this software, it might be in your best interests to take a class on building websites, or to begin studying the books that will best help you. Depending on the program and class you take, this may cost from $200-$500.

If you enjoy the Internet, why stop with looking at how others are building it? You can be a part of putting together cyber space by creating your own space for building websites. This will help others to advertise their product, and can build profit for you by offering information and products that you find valuable to the web.