Choosing the Right Web Designer

So, you’ve finally decided that you need a web site for your business? Well, there are a few key-points to remember BEFORE you make one of the most crucial decisions for your business.

Choosing the right designer for your new business web site:

When it comes to choosing the right web designer for your web site, you should always shop around first to check out all of the available options. There are many web design companies out there to choose from. And most of them are pretty good at what they do.

Always ask to see samples of a web designer’s previous work and examine their portfolio. This will help you get a better feel for the style of sites any particular web designer is capable of doing. Most of the time, web designers have their own unique style and you can easily spot which designs they’ve done in the past. I mean, it’s similar to any other artist’s style; you can definitely spot their previous works based on the general layout, color scheme, and over-all visual appearance of the sites.

Experience is also a key factor here. Just like any other craft, web designers get better with experience. So naturally, you’ll be better off by choosing a web designer who has more experience under his or her belt.

Another key point you should define is whether or not the web designer can make you a 100% custom web site. Or will it be just a basic template web design that 100’s or even 1,000’s of people already have across the Internet. Pretty much anybody these days can create a basic HTML web page in Microsoft Word or Publisher and change the title of it to reflect their Branson business. But you must ask yourself: “is this really what I’m looking for”?

Web sites that are truly custom built will stand out more the rest of the basic template web designs that so many people are using these days. A custom web design will catch the eye of your potential customers and show them that you have a really professional web presence and you mean business.

A lot of web designers these days choose to do the template web sites for one of 2 reasons:

It’s cheaper to use a basic template web design. They might be lacking the necessary skills needed to develop a fully custom web site. Whatever the case may be, make sure you go with a designer who is capable of creating a custom web design for you. It will inevitably cost you more for a custom site. But it is totally worth the extra money spent. Trust me, in the end you will be much happier with your web site if it is a site that’s unique and created for just your business and not everybody else’s.

Communication with a potential web designer is also critical in the development of your web site. You need to be perfectly clear and define your goals up-front, before you actually sign a web design service contract with a designer. Make sure you know what you are getting for your money and make sure you get it in writing! I have a 9-page web site design contract that I use every single time I design a new web site. Included in this contract is an itemized list of all work that is to be performed during the development of the web site. Things like the exact number of pages, the exact number of graphics to be designed, whether or not I need to create a logo, the estimated time before completion, whether or not routine site maintenance will be performed after the site is 6 months or 1 year old, etc.

Defining these things will help you in the long run and will also make sure you and the web designer are on the same page.

I also use what I call my “web design planning worksheet”. This worksheet gives “milestones” or deadlines for each phase of the web design project. Things like “In 2 weeks the general layout will be done” and “2 weeks after that, the site will be coded and launched” and then “In one moth after the web site is launched, we will evaluate it to see what needs to be adjusted”, etc. (these are just examples, by the way. the details included in one of my actual worksheets gives exact dates and more specific milestones).

And what about the web hosting for your new web site? Usually, a web designer will provide some kind of insight as to which hosting company they recommend. Web designers in general have a preference for a hosting company that they know will be a good choice for your web site and they should assist you in making this selection.

Fortunately, we have our own web server here at Digital Spiral Web Design so we can do all of the hosting ourselves. This is very beneficial because we can make sure the web server stays up and running and if there is any maintenance that needs to be performed on the server, we can do it ourselves in a timely manner. Plus, we will always cut a deal for our web site hosting services to any new business who chooses us to do their web design.

Will your new web site require any specialized web programming? Well, the answer to that question is based solely on the needs of your Branson web site. What kind of site will it be? Does it need a shopping cart for e-commerce? Will you be implementing any special web applications or online forms for your viewers to fill out? Will it be a web site that requires your viewers to fill out registrations and sign up so they can login? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then chances are you’ll need a web designer who can also program.

Web developers and designers must be skilled in the art of web PROGRAMMING (something that is very different from regular web DESIGN). Web programming involves the implementation of different web programming languages like JAVA, PHP, Flash, SQL, or.NET. All of these web programming languages need highly skilled individuals to code them and develop web programs with them.

I personally love PHP! I use it for pretty much everything. I won’t go into the details of PHP in this article (I would have to write an entire book about it to cover all of it). But with PHP, I can create pretty much any web application that is logically possible.

So, make sure you choose a web designer who is also capable of coding any special functions that your new web site needs. This decision needs to be discussed and gone over by any potential web designer you might use to create your Branson web site.

And finally, you should always check with the potential web designer’s previous clients to make sure they give him or her a good reference. Remember: it just like any other service. You need to verify a web designer’s references and make sure they can do what they say they can do.

So, just to summarize all of the tips I’ve mentioned:

Ask questions, questions, and more questions before you choose a web designer. Clearly define your goals from the beginning. Ask to see the web designer’s portfolio and samples of their previous work. Make sure they can help you with choosing a web hosting provider. Get documentation to show exactly how many pages will be included in the project and the estimated time before completion. If your Branson web site requires special web programming, make sure the designer can handle it. I hope this article helps anybody who is getting ready to have a new web site designed. A good web site can really do wonders for your business!

How to Find the Right Web Designer For Your Web Development Project

Finding a web designer is the easy part- all you need to do is perform a quick search online and bingo, you’re presented with pages and pages of them in the search engine results. The hard part is choosing the right web designer for your individual project. Every web design project has a specific set of requirements and every web designer has a unique set of skills that may, or may not, be suitable for your needs. In this article, I’ll list some key factors that will help you find the right web designer and how you determine if they have the necessary skills to undertake your web development project.

Research the Web Designers Website and Online Portfolio

Every web designer should have a functioning website and an online portfolio of their work. If they don’t, you can scratch them off the list. After you have found some web designers in your area, or anywhere else for that matter, you should research each of their websites and check out samples of their work. Different web designers take different approaches to their work and use a variety of technologies. You should read up on their skills and approach to web design, to make sure they suit your requirements. Viewing completed websites and samples of the web designer’s work is also essential to get a good idea of the design style and skills they have. Make sure the websites function correctly. If some of the web designer’s recent samples are not working, there is a good chance that, if you use them, your website might have the same issues. Look at the design style of their portfolio samples. Most web designers tend to stick to a particular style. If you like the look of their websites, and their website text sounds appealing, you’re onto a winner. Take the next step and call them, or send a project brief through.

Speak to Your Chosen Web Designers

Another key point to determine which web designer is best for you, is finding out whether you can communicate with them. You will need to explain your vision to the designer and they should be able to respond with ideas and suggestions for your project. If you call your designer and there is, for example, a language barrier between you, that could be a problem throughout the development process. Talking to a potential web designer also gives you a good idea whether you are going to get on with them or not. If you call to speak with your chosen web design company and you are put on the phone to a rude or uninterested individual – in my books, that would not be somebody you would want to deal with on an ongoing basis. If they are enthusiastic, keen and communicate well you are more likely to have a successful ongoing professional relationship.

Qualification and Experience

Qualifications and experience are not always essential but they do give you some security that the web designer knows what they are doing and has the skills to undertake your project. It’s really up to your judgment whether you want to use a web designer with no experience but you never know, they might be a young gun with tons of talent and is just waiting for that first project to unleash their skills on to. Whether you prefer your web designer to have qualifications or not is also up to you. Qualifications just mean they have had some formal recognition of their skills. My preference would be experience beats qualifications any day. Your web designer may have undertaken a six month course which has got them a certificate of some sort but that does not make them a good designer. There is so much information online and ways to hone your design talents now, that needing somebody to teach you is not essential.

Creative Vision

It is very important the web designer you speak to understands your creative vision. To create a website that truly serves a purpose and business goal, the designer need to understand the nature of the website and relate to your overall vision. Take note on whether the web designer offers any ideas or suggestions when you’re talking to them. This is a good indication of whether they understand the project and are enthusiastic about it.

The Right Technology

Different web projects need different technology behind them. Not all web designers have all the necessary skills for some types of web development. For example you may need a full content management system with database driven content and advanced search engine optimisation. This is something not all web designers can provide. Most designer’s will tell you straight away if they are unable to complete the project, due to technical limitations. It is up to you as a client to inform the designer of all the feature’s you anticipate your website to have so they can tell you whether they can complete it.

A Reasonable Cost

The cost of the web project is normally the key factor in how people choose their web designer. The scope of your project and what budget you have can limit what designer you choose. If you have a very small budget but want to build the next Facebook, any sane web designer will tell you they can’t help you. However, it is always good to get a few quotes and see which designer can offer the best package, for a reasonable cost. If they’re too expensive, it might be because they are a larger company with more overheads, or they are simply very good at what they do. If they are cheap, do a bit more investigation before committing – Cheap web design may end up costing you more in the long run, as it probably won’t serve its purpose very well and you will need to get it rebuilt. The cost of web design is often open ended… ‘how long is a piece of string?’… A good web designer should be able to explain the reason why they have quoted a certain price, and discuss what they can do within your budget – Just because you have received an initial quote that may be higher than you originally anticipated, talk to your designer about it. Quite often, there could be features or aspects of the quote than can be removed, or modified, to get the project back within your budget – If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

At Big Click Studios we can turn your web development vision into a functioning web site that looks great, works perfectly and ranks well. Our web designers take the time to understand each and every project to make sure, you as a client, gets a return on your investment.

Web Design Trends for 2017

Website trends have always kept changing depending on user’s feedback, SEO and coding methods. 2016 has been great for website design with people trying to come up with unique ideas. Here we run down few promising trends that we predict for the coming year:

  • Visual appeal with flat design

Flat design has gained popularity in 2016 and will become even more popular in 2017. In flat design the sections are arranged next to each other neatly which makes the website easy to interact with. Clean appearance which has been liked by users visually will be a major focus. Simplicity will be the key to make the website visually appealing.

  • Responsive design everywhere

Knowing the benefits of responsive websites, developers have embraced this change more since past 2 years. There will be hardly any websites that will be non-responsive. The design approach will always have mobile view in mind. UI patterns will be created such that they are not very difficult to align them in responsive view. User’s journey will be the prime focus for desktop, smartphones and tablets.

  • Video banner

I am personally not a fan of auto play videos on websites but video backgrounds are gaining immense popularity since few months. Having video slider along with image slider is a versatile marketing trend which will rise in 2017. Users are liking the idea of instantly watching the video to gain information about the company.

  • Less use of stock photos

Its high time to change the same old idea of stuffing stock photos in the site. Some photos are so common that they are seen on many other websites also. Customers will be more picky about having unique images for their brand. People are tired of seeing typical bespoke stock images and hence original custom photos will be welcomed.

  • Bold typography and colors

We have seen rich colors being quite a rage in 2016 which is a nice stereotype break from the typical web standard colors. The trend has finally changed. Brands will make efforts to look unique and showcase clearly who they are. We will have more bold choice of typography too. The typography will be make statements, clear and sharper. We will see big hero image with a beautiful big typography with nice animations and layers in the text.

  • Less full parallax websites

We have seen a lot of parallax website in past 2-3 years. This trend is about to vanish because of its side effects with SEO. Parallax websites are usually long one page websites which do not generate URLs separately for inner pages and hence are not crawled by search engines. Also the use of heavy script reduces the speed of the site and mobile view is not so good either. Parallax is not going anywhere. Rather it will be used smartly for certain sections of the site for that excellent Visual treat.

With the above trends, 2017 seems to be a great year ahead for interesting website concepts to come into market. Creative thinkers are likely to experiment more and build fresh looking websites.