Tag Archive: web design

Drive Traffic to your Website

Website TrafficAs a web designer I frequently get asked: “How do I get traffic to my website?” and “How can I get my website to come up on page 1 of Google, Yahoo or other major search engines?” Well, there are many methods of driving traffic to your website. When these methods are combined and implemented successfully, you will reap the benefits of search engines and traffic. Most people do not understand this process. It is a hard and time-consuming process, it will not happen overnight. The following methods will be suggestions to help you in your quest for website traffic.

First and foremost, you need to have your title, keywords and meta tags in your website correctly done. Each page of your website contains different content so they should be labeled as such in the title, keywords and meta tags.  Website pages should contain between 10-14 keywords at the most. Please refrain from repeating keywords or trying to “trick” the search engines. The major search engines and their “spiders” have become extremely smart and too many keywords or tricks will actually work against you rather than in your favor.

I am going to pretty much list the methods here and in future posts, I will go into much more detail for each in future posts.

Social Media and Bookmarking:

  • Blog(s)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • YouTube
  • Stumble Upon
  • Foursquare
  • LinkedIn

Place your link in your e-mail signature

Every e-mail you send out (or is forwarded on) will have the potential of someone visiting your website.

Use your link on all printed media and advertising:

  • Business Cards
  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Billboards
  • Signs
  • Vehicle Graphics

Reciprocating Links (Affiliates)

Exchange links with quality businesses and websites.

Business Directories

  • Google Maps / Google Local
  • Yellow Pages
  • Super Pages
  • Yellow Book

E-mail blasts and/or newsletters

Send e-mail blasts to clients/customers and opt-in subscribers with relevant information. (Company News, Sales, etc .. )

My website: Should I do it myself or hire a professional?

lady with laptop

In today’s world, with advanced technology and affordable software it is extremely tempting to make your own website. Just because you can, does it mean you should? Well that’s what I will be discussing here.

Creating your own website has it’s benefits. You will keep your costs down. You will feel a sense of pride, because you were able to do it yourself. You will be familiar with the content and be able to make updates and changes as you wish. Now does that mean that you should? That’s a loaded question and the answer will vary from person to person. There are also some drawbacks to creating your own website. Creating and maintaining a website takes dedication, motivation and time. If you are a sole proprietor or a small business with only a few employees, chances are your time is valuable.  You may not have time to run the daily operations, handle customers and clients, take care of bookkeeping and add your website into the mix. In today’s world of instant delivery and information, you will want your website current at all times. Knowledge of website designing elements is also a necessity, and you would need the proper training. Using WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) software may give you the look you want, but that’s only a part of the web building process. There are many other parts of the process and those are things that a professional would know.

Hiring a professional to do your website would give you the solution to the drawbacks of creating your own website.  You will get the web designprofessional look and feel that you desire for your website. Your website will become the online “face” of your business. You want people to be attracted to your company and have their interest peaked within the initial 3 seconds of contact with your website. The general population’s attention span grows less and less the more technology advances. You only have 3 seconds to “grab” their attention. A professional designer will help make that happen for you. Professional designers have the knowledge of increasing your load time, through many outlets. They will also help in getting your website discovered through the ability of having proper meta tags, keywords, alt tags on images and proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization). These things will help increase your rankings with search engines.  A professional designer will also know how to make your website compatible with all browsers including, but not limited to: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome  and Opera.

Now, as you see, there are benefits to both sides of the question here.  I think that it would be in most people’s best interest to hire a professional web designer. The best possible comparison I can think of is the following. If you own a car and are mechanically inclined, you may be able to change your own oil or replace your brake pads. But if your transmission needs to be replaced, you will be bringing your car to your local mechanic or dealership because they are the professionals that have the right equipment, tools and knowledge to get it done.

Basic Guidelines and Tips for Hiring a Web Designer

Web DesignThis is just a basic guideline and some tips for those persons or businesses looking for a website. I hope that you will find it helpful in your quest for finding a web designer and make the process of your website design smoother and easier. I have dealt with many clients over the past 6 years of doing web design and this is speaking from experience and my personal thoughts in making the process simpler. Most people do not understand the process of getting a website, as they are not in the field of web design. That is why, as a person in the field and with experience, I have written this article.

Outline

First, you should have a basic idea of what you will want and need on your website. Make an outline or a guideline of things to include on your new website. (ie: home page, contact page, contact form,  picture gallery, blog, products and/or services page, customer or client testimonials page, etc …)  This will be a big help to you when contacting a potential designer for a price quote. Some designers will charge by the page or might have a basic package price for a certain amount of pages and then a per page price for every page after. Try and make it as much of a final copy as best as you can, as making additional changes or additions down the road can or may incur more charges.

Having an outline or guideline will also help you in regards to getting your content together to send or give your designer during the building process.

Research

When you are you looking to hire a web designer (whether it be a freelance artist or a company) you should make sure you research your potential hire thoroughly. Web design is not a cheap investment, but will give you a nice return if done correctly. Reputable designers will have portfolio samples available to you and most will have testimonials from their past and current clients. You should browse their portfolio and see their websites in action. Feel free to read testimonials written by clients, but keep in mind, you will only be seeing the positive feedback from this freelance designer or business. When browsing through their portfolio you should make a note of clients and contact them directly regarding their experience with the designer or business. The research end of the process is critical as you will see what the designer has done previously, their style of work and their customer satisfaction rate.

Contact

OK, now that you have chosen your freelance designer or company, you should contact them and get a price quote. You may wantWeb Designto choose a few to contact so that you can compare prices. Have your budget in mind when you call or e-mail them and be sure to have your outline or guideline readily available so that you may give them an accurate description of what you need. The more prepared you are, the easier things will go and the designer will see you as serious and be more willing to work with you then somebody that is unprepared. In the initial contact you may also want to question the timeline it would take to get your website done. This will depend on you AND the designer working together. You will have to be efficient in getting the designer your desired content and the designer should give a reasonable timeframe in order to get it done. Please be reasonable in your expectations and deadlines as web design is not something that should be done overnight and like anything else, will take time if you want it done right.

Meeting

So now you have chosen and contacted a web designer and are ready to begin the process with your choice. Next step is a meeting with the designer. You should bring with you to the meeting, your guideline or outline, your checkbook (as most designers will require some sort of deposit to start work) and as much content as possible. A CD or DVD with your final copy of pictures and text would be preferred. (leave a copy of this disc for yourself at home or at your business as the designer may want to keep this disc for their files).  Be as thorough and precise as to what you want so that there are no communication errors. If you would like specific colors, a certain look, etc … Explain that now so that the designer is fully aware of what you are looking for. In most cases, you will be signing a contract at this meeting as well, should you choose to proceed.

Contract

A contract is very important. It will protect you in the event of the designer straying from any agreed terms and will provide a guideline to what you may need to know and what you are responsible for. Most designers won’t operate without a contract, as it protects them too.  You may take a copy of the contract with you to review it before signing it and you can even have your lawyer look it over.

Hosting

You will have your choice as to what hosting company you will want to use. Some designers may provide hosting as part of their web design package, some may provide it at an additional cost. Other designers may suggest a hosting provider to you or you may choose your own. Examples of hosting companies are www.godaddy.com www.netfirms.com & www.bluehost.com There are many hosting companies out there, you will have to find one that suits your needs and is within your budget. There are some that you may pay monthly, some that you will pay yearly. The choice is yours. If you are specific in explaining to the designer what it is you are looking for in your website, your designer can help you make the choice.

Content

Web DesignYou are responsible for the content to give to your web designer. (unless you are paying the designer extra to come up with the content) You know your business better than anyone. Content such as write-up (About Us, Products and/or Services and their explanations, etc … ) You will also be responsible to provide any pictures necessary to your business. If you would like to have a gallery (for example, a construction company might want to show before and after pictures) you should provide them in an orderly fashion to your designer and have them properly labeled. When providing written content, it is essential that you send over final copy text. Use spell-check and make sure grammar is correct.  It will make the process, so much easier.

Maintenance

Once your website is completed, you will probably need some kind of changes done down the road. Updated content, additional products and/or services, additional pictures, etc …  Discuss with your designer what the maintenance procedure is that they use so that you understand the process.