Archive for the ‘Website Design Advice’ Category

Businesses tired of website design companies who fail them

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Website Designers claiming to be the best – but are they?

Your business is faced with a tough task when trying to choose the right website agency.

What sort of vehicle do you want your website pages to drive around in, so that they can be found?

Do you as the business owner needing a website have a pretty good idea as to what you are looking for.

Maybe, you have seen this ideal vehicle we speak of here, that is already out there on the road which is your competitor.

But, where can you test drive the website vehicle that is called a Content Management Software CMS solution to house your next website?

Where is the place you can not only read the literature about new CMS models?
Is there anything in the website literature that gives you an indication of the how good your website platform will be when expected to give you the miles to the gallon you will want to get from your website vehicle?

Here is a video that could help you choose the perfect website platform

What would be interesting is a place you can come to where there are sufficient testimonials written about the website vehicle you may considering purchasing.

Will you website CMS platform come with any guarantees.

Choosing a website can be a minefield. Yes, there are websites that will give you an overview of the CMS and that does give some help in your decision making, but where the danger is are the people out there claiming to deliver successful websites using these available solutions whereby the ‘website designer’ is pulling together all the parts. Building websites is one thing, building a website that will achieve its marketing objectives is often overlooked.

The website design and website marketing industry is unregulated and it is therefore difficult for the business owner to know what guarantee he or she has from the choice they make when choosing someone to build their website.

And considering business owners could spend anything from £3k to £30k on a website project , then, how do you know what you are being sold is a fit for purpose website. How will you know?

This is the reason for an an initiative in Scotland called OnlineXcellence
Marketing expert associated with this initiative are leading edge practitioners with at least some pedigree behind those you can get access too.

Marketing experts that will help businesses on their planned journey towards putting in place a website that has to bring revenue into the business.

The journey starts by helping the MD plan for the investment needed to put in place a website.

A key step in the initial stages is to look at whether the MD’s plan to have an online presence is actually viable.

The assistance provided also helps the MD choose a website design team, and hand hold them during the design stages of the website to ensure the chosen web agency is implementing a website design that is fit for purpose to support your marketing strategy.

This marketing support service even helps the business train a member of staff to become the company’s ‘Website Author’.

Altogether, experts from OnlineXcellence assist and help the business owner research and then plan to prepare a specification to brief either their incumbent web developers or choose a new web design team. Once the website is in build, the OnlineXcellence marketing expert will oversee the acceptance of key pages, and then after the site launch help the business owner and their staff market the website.

The OnlineXcellence marketing expert is on the side of the business owner every step of the way to ensure they get what is required to support their online objectives and not what the web agency thinks it should provide.

If you are trying to plan your website development and don’t know where to turn to have someone design your website, or market it, we recommend you acquire the assistance of the OnlineXcellence team.

The OnlineXcellence marketing expert will help your business measure the professional capability of the website design company, questioning and probing whether they can demonstrate their capability to build your website, whether they fully understand Internet Marketing to ensure that what they build is fit for purpose.

CONTACT US TO FIND OUT MORE 

Flash Site Guide

Friday, October 15th, 2010

The use of flash in websites has been around for over a decade and is increasing with each year.   These websites are entertaining, visually appealing, and much more user interactive than the typical web site you run across.  It seems that most programmers have been enlisted to make a flash site or two and learning flash can be really good for business.  Web site owners have to ask themselves though, is flash really better for their website, or should they stick with their old tried and true methods of Internet marketing?  I wrote this article to cover the pros and cons of adding flash to your existing websites and new websites so that you can determine what is best for you.

I’ll give you the “bad news” first and then we’ll cover the “good news” in relation to flash.   The main drawback of flash sites are that they can be resource intensive.  Dial up connections couldn’t easily access resource intensive flash based web sites.   Also web site host providers did not always offer enough additional bandwidth and expanding bandwidth can raise the price of web hosting.

Another draw back is that many people who decide to use flash tend to create long flash introductions that go on forever.  These sites tend to lose people who may have decided to stick around and read the content or buy the product, but were too impatient to watch the long flash introduction.  The visitors that did not want to watch may have wanted to make a quick purchase.

One key advantage of flash is that it usually extends the visitors time spent on your website and increases their chances of making a purchase.   These sites are much more interactive and a visitor that was only looking for quick information may become so impressed that he or she sticks around and is eventually persuaded to buy something.

Flash sites can even be free of charge to create.  If you go to a nice site called http://www.wix.com, you’ll be able to build your own amazing flash website for free.   I don’t know too many people that wouldn’t want to increase the prestige of their web site at no additional cost to them.

Thank you for reading this article on the pros and cons of making a web site with flash elements.   Please add this web page to your social book marks and come back to it as often as you like.

Guidelines for a Brochure Design

Friday, June 18th, 2010

If consumers know what you can do, they may consider obtaining your services and brochures make this happen. Get started right away in conceptualizing that brochure design, and you will be on your way to quality brochures that are not only cheap but have been printed from your very own colored printer. Instead of improving their business situation, most brochures only see the light of the trash bins because of these erroneous beliefs people continue to possess. You will find that further information on company brochure design is on that site.

Limited options are available for small businesses and so they rely on brochures to make their presence felt, but there have been more occasions where these businesses were not able to achieve their goal. Basically, without skilled professionals helping them out, the best brochures most of them may produce remain mediocre. Given that it is a crucial aspect involved in brochure making, the brochure design can easily affect the way people react when they go through your company brochure.

A brochure design encompasses everything from the selected context, layout, and use of graphics, text styles, color schemes, and even the folding style of a particular brochure. Do not attempt to finish a brochure with lightning speed as this can cause you to leave out pertinent information that could make or break your reputation in the industry not only for consumers but for investors, suppliers, and employees too. Several steps need to be followed to produce an effective brochure and this article will teach you what to do.

The way a customer reacts to a company brochure usually corresponds to whether or not he will consider doing business with you. The reason why much value is given to the brochure design is because it can make or break any attempt to get a client’s attention. You may resort to the do it yourself kind in the beginning but later on you should consider hiring qualified professionals to do the work. You will gain a deeper understanding about creative brochure design by checking out that resource.

Your brochure should be sent out to the type of customers that may be interested in what you have to offer. Find out what can influence your potential customers to take some time to read your company brochure. Your clientele will respond positively to the brochure design if it encapsulates certain things that are meaningful to them.

It is also important that you consider other options to market your products and services together with the brochures you made. Pick up several of the larger companies’ brochures and use them to have an idea on how you can use the brochure design to say something. By referencing your personal company brochure from the brochures you obtained from bigger businesses, it is as if you hired professionals to help you out as well but the difference is that these businesses paid huge sums of money and you got everything for free.

You created your business to cater to a particular group of people as you offer a line of products and services intended to satisfy them, and so you should remember to provide all the necessary information with regard to these. As you work on your brochure design, remember that a consumer becomes more interested not only if what you have to offer is nothing like the rest but also if he can benefit more from the product so use this to your advantage. Corresponding with a customer is the best way to promote a service and generate the interest that will lead to a sale.

Limit the use of charts and figures that pertain to the industry, and not specifically your business, in your brochure design as a client is more concerned about what your company is all about. You want the clients to retain certain information about your company so it is important that you keep the brochure brief but complete. The brochure should come with contact headlines making it more attractive for a client to call you up.

As your company begins to thrive, let experienced hands help you out with your brochure design. In the end, it is your job to proofread, finalize, and approve of the brochure. The brochures should do their job well without compromising the set deadlines as well as the budget, and these are things you should be strict about since you are paying for professional services.

Finally, The True Cost of Logo Design.

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Nearly anyone can create a logo, it’s true. However, we must also admit that some logos seem to carry more power than others, more attraction, more recognition. The secret bullet to logo design is the designer’s ability to create an image that conveys its meaning across language, religion, and culture.

Search Google for “logo design” and you will see 8 million listings and advertisements claiming “6 logos for $50” and “Build your own logo using our software!”  Some claims are worthwhile, of course, such as “unlimited revisions” and “money back guarantee”, claims that are needed to create that initial trust and confidence to choose that design company.

So how much should a logo cost your company? First define cost:

  • A logo is made to represent your company and its philosophy and spirit, so what is your first impression worth?
  • The style of a logo is best made as timeless as possible, so trendy styles are okay, but the very essence of the logo needs to be able to be seen and interpreted in plain black and white – from there effects and styles, colours and positioning can be changed.
  • How well does the logo transfer from one medium to another? Think about how it will look on a business card to your car’s signage to a newspaper ad. If you don’t consider the consistency and strength of this transfer, then you will be wasting money on a weaker design.
  • Cost is also dependent on the originality of the logo design. Your logo should capture your unique vision, but balance that with a universal timelessness that not many logos can capture. 

So the cost of a logo is largely the initial cost to create it, but equally important is the cost to your company’s image if the logo does not capture the essence of your company in a clean, iconic design.  Some of the most powerful and recognizable logos are also the simplest in design – they allow for space, for imagination, for communication to flow between the intender and the intendee. A company needs a logo as a touchstone for its singular vision and purpose. A logo is needed if you want your company to grow and prosper because we (humans, consumers) all need focal points to help each other find the way through life. The ones that help the most will prosper the most.

Perhaps the simple act of logo creation reveals that all logos are already made and we just “tune in” to these thought forms and make them ours with a “TM” tag. But the more you can define the nature of your own life’s purpose and that of your company’s, the more you will see its creative nature becomes realized. Is a logo ever a finished product? No, because it is always being defined by what it represents, it is always being projected upon and used to project on others and what that projection is will, to some degree, continue to shift. This is not bad, nor good, but a logo needs to maintain the paradox of a fluctuating fixture – a constant for change.

Looking for a creative solution for your Calgary graphic design and/or Calgary Web Design needs?
You can find it all at www.blinddrop.com.

Learn the Top Tips to Preparing for Your Web Design Project

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Are you looking around to begin the job of getting your Web site made by a professional Web design team? If your company is in Calgary, Alberta or anywhere else in the world , you can help your Web design team , and your company , if you do a bit of preparation before you go seeking Web design quotes and buying domain names . Preparing for your Web project will make things more economical and efficient , since you will be clear on what you want and where you feel comfortable in letting the project go in the hands of the Web design team.

Consider these tips before contacting Calgary Web Design companies .

  1. Know your business niche. If you are starting a business or in business already , it is critical for you to know your business niche . Define your location, unique services, what you specialize in, and what areas you see having the most future potential. Are you tied to one location, like Calgary, Alberta? If it does, can you see a place for your company in the global market? This information will help define your Search Engine Optimization strategy.
  2. Review your current marketing plan and branding collateral such as logo, slogan, stationary, business cards, posters, signage, etc. Make sure to consider the costs of redoing your print material to align them with your new Web presence. Make all of your material as consistently branded as possible.
  3. Search out your competitors, both local and global online . Good Web design will appeal to local and global audiences and will be accessible to as many visitors as possible , although your focus is more local than global .
  4. Make a short list of 3 to 6 web sites that you like for a variety of reasons . They may or may not be in the same business niche as you . Focus on layout, navigation, functionality (e.g. galleries, blogs, etc.) .
  5. Decide if you prefer a light site (basically dark text on a light background) or a dark site (light text on a dark background). Consider your corporate brand and what will best suit your unique vision. If you are unsure, make a note to discuss this further with your web designer when you meet.
  6. Think about what you want the Web site to do : will it be a simple static website ? Or does it have more interactivity and user involvement ? Or do you need it to be an e-commerce solution right out of the gate ?
  7. How deep are you willing to go into the development of the site? Are you going to be able to produce professional grade content for the website? Getting a new web site designed is great, but if your content is poorly written then the web design won’t matter! Content is King, so make sure you invest properly in this area and consider hiring a professional Web copywriter for the job. This might be your web design team, but you may decide to find a specialist who can write about your business niche and prepare it best for the search engines and human readers.
  8. Create a hierarchy of sections, pages and subpages. An easy way to do this is to look at websites in your niche who have a very similar navigation structure. This will help your Web designer define a realistic timeline for development.
  9. Have your logo ready in the highest format possible, preferably a vector (print-ready) format.
  10. Gather any photos that you’d like to submit to be included in the actual web design itself and also in the content. Make sure you note on which page you’d like each photo to be included.
  11. Clarify your budget. Your website should hold for at least three years with little change needed to maintain its structure. Make sure you also budget for hosting, SSL certificate installation and renewals and ongoing marketing once the site is live.

You can save yourself time and money and provide clear communication with your Web designer if you take a couple of hours to plan out your ideas for your new site. You will be more confident and happy with the final outcome.

Entrust any of your Calgary Web Design requirements to BlindDrop Design Inc. BlindDrop serves Cochrane and Calgary, Alberta by providing professional Web design and graphic design services.

 

 

Selling more and Paying Less best Shopping Cart Solutions

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Best Value Shoppingcart

It can be relatively simple to enhance the search engine rankings for one minor niche Internet site with Twenty or 30 pages of content and it will not amount to an lot of money for this. However an e-commerce web site efficient at exhibiting all your products is a different issue all together. Here are a number of the critical components that you will have to implement if you need to have great results with your e-commerce internet site. SEO or seo is often a key part to your internet success, it isn’t the only method to generate clients to your store yet all things being equall this is essentially the most powerful. Set aside a high percentage of your spending budget for SEO plus spend this wisely using a good business. Pick a qualified company to build your own shop, fortunately nowadays you do not need to spend the vast aounts of money which you did a short time back. There are many of free products available currently which may considerably reduce your costs. Magento is but one such program and it is highly recommended. Making use of open source e-commerce platforms drastically lessen the charges, they have a wider community motivated support base, it’s also possible to uncover a lot of inexpensive or perhaps free plug inns to improve your website. Your e-commerce web site design will be specially important and has a great deal more to that than just making a great looking web site. You ought to take care that the platform which you decide on will be Search engine optimization friendly understanding that whenever achievable this company designing your website is in charge of the actual Search engine optimization, they’re rarely likely to make issues more difficult with regard to itself. Any dependable SEO company will certainly start with a mixture of long tail and short tail keywords and phrases, the long tail keywords can get your natural targeted visitors moving more speedily plus the short tail can allow you to get the quantities later on. Content material is king within SEO terminology and on an e-commerce web site the content material is the merchandise description, creating a connection with the web design and Search engine optimization company is important because they’ll advise you on merchandise descriptions and the way to incorporate important search phrases into them. This can make sure that you are maximising the on page optimisation of the site. Another option is always to get the company to write the descriptions for you this will not surprisingly cost more money but if you lack enough time are merely dislike writing it could be an advisable investment. Navigation of your website from visitors is critical your website may well look incredible yet individuals lose interest very quickly when they can not locate the things they are searching for ask yourself what we do with difficult to navigate web sites you simply leave right. . .

Small Business Website Owners not seeking advice

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Small business owners in the UK are becoming increasingly aware that to be competitive online means putting aside a reasonable budget if they are to have some success from having a website. But, as always the stumbling point with small businesses is the limited budget they try and work too. How much to spend on building a website and then what is the cost towards marketing that website. 

Business owners should look at budgeting for a website like how they would invest towards putting in place a reliable delivery vehicle. Then, once the vehicle (in this case a website) has been purchased, consider how much ‘fuel’ it will take to run the website for 12 months.

How Much to spend on building and Marketing a Website

The Internet Business Marketing team often get asked two questions. The first is how do I choose the right website design company to build a website? And the second is, just how much money should be committed towards marketing the website?

To start with, the website needs to be a ‘reliable vehicle’ that is both user friendly and search engine friendly. The most important thing about having a user friendly website, means being able to edit pages easily. Ideally, you would want to invest in a content managed website, more commonly known as a CMS.

This CMS software needs to have a ‘dashboard’ of features that will help generate search engine friendly website pages that must include generating proper URL addresses. So, what you DON’T want is your website page address to read:
 www.domainname.com/page1 or
www.domainname.com/dept.asp?mode=dept&cid=5
neither of these are going to help search engines understand what the page topic or theme is about.

So ensure you purchase a website that will a) generate search engine friendly URL addresses and b) provide a host of other important ‘editing’ features to help market the website and construct proper page URLs .

Choosing a Domain Name to support your Website

We may as well throw in at this point the importance of choosing a domain name. Small businesses must consider securing their brand online, so just purchasing the .CO.UK domain is not going to be suffice. To ensure you lock down your brand and no one else rides on the back of it, we recommend you also purchase the .COM and .EU version of the domain name you choose. If you have chosen a name that is easily hyphenated and could be just as strong a brand online, then consider buying those versions of the domain name also.

Once you secured your domain name decide upon which one will be the primary domain name and get your web developer to ‘canonicalise’ the others. This, is in simple terms, if I type in the .CO.UK domain into a browser, then when the website appears and the .COM is the primary domain, then the website should display in the browser on www.domainname.com.

OK, you have the domain names in place. One other thing, you must ensure , and that is your website is hosted in country of origin, this is very important

What will it cost to purchase a search engine friendly website?

With domain names and hosting in place, let’s build a website. You can get started by going and signing up for a ‘starter pack’ website, currently being offered FREE  for 1 year through a government backed initiative scheme called (Get British Business Online). But please remember your business must be based in UK.

The GBBO offer is an ideal starter kit website for young new businesses, allowing them to dip their toe in the water towards having an online presence.

But if you are seeking to be more ‘aggessive’ and much more competitive online, well you might need a bigger more powerful vehicle (website).

So, lets look at this way. How much you would spend on a small van for example? A van that had to be reliable and not let you down after every mile? If you depend on this website like the small van in keeping your customers satisfied with your services, you will know within yourself that proper investment is going to be needed. So, the price of the van can be as much as what the above link suggests when it comes to putting in place an all singing all dancing ecommerce website. You might of course get away paying less if its just a brochure website that you need.

Why do we expect you to pay this sort of price for a website? Well if the price of a website comes in at £500 or £1000, is that not the price of a cheap run around that doesn’t have all the luxury of what you would like? And in the case of your website, it probably lacks the controls and feature rich dashboard you need to assist in the proper marketing of your website. 

Get advice before building a website

So, this is the problem we see many small business owners faced with everyday. Business owners don’t know where or who to turn to in order to seek advice and get the proper assistance before building their website or indeed deciding on how much ‘marketing fuel’ will be needed to power the website along everyday.

WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO TALK TO IBMC?

Let us leave you with a recent website case study.

A company needed a website. They were unsure what the price might be, but had a budget tucked in the back of their mind of around £20k-£25k (including marketing costs). They approached a website agency who quoted them a staggering £75k. A figure which can be expected if you don’t provide a website agency with a proper specification document outlining your needs.

The business owner was advised to talk to the IBMC team who reviewed the quote provided by the website agency. 

The IBMC team spent time exploring the specific needs of the business owner. This led to the provision of a proper specification document done by IBMC who submitted it to the web design agency. So now the website agency were properly briefed about requirements.

The agency submitted their revised quote. This time it came in at £39k, nearly half the price of the original quote submitted. But, still offering exactly the same number of services. Like the IBMC team, you are going to look upon this revised quote with some suspicion. 

Closer inspection of the quote was carried out. Only to find more ‘hidden charges’ within the quote that now added up to a staggering £92k!! It was also found the company did not understand the brief as some specific answers being sought were not addressed.

Finally, IBMC through this structured process to find a ‘reliable’ website design team, received a few more quotes for comparison, and found a company who delivered the project for £15k. Plus this gave the client business a very reasonable £10k marketing budget for their website.

The morale of the story, get sound advice. You would not buy a van or truck for your business without getting some reliable second opinions. And not necessarily from the ‘salesman’ trying desperately to sell you the vehicle!