Author Archives: hesty

Website Design Services

If you have ever had an involvement with a website design company, you may well have experienced a great deal of mis-communication, mis-interpretation and missed deadlines.

What seems like the simplest of notions, turns into a 6 month headache.

As an integral part of a web design agency, i would like to offer up some suggestions as to why this can happen.

Let me firstly give you the web agencies argument, then i will reveal how this whole sorry process can be avoided and save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds at the same time.

An agency works to a spec document, usually prepared by the client or as a joint effort. A paper sitemap is created so we can see the site hierarchy and what links to where.

When this phase is complete, our web designers will begin to create a graphical interface to display your content in the best possible way.

This is where the first MAJOR problem occurs.

As professional web designers, we will proceed to create a website that delivers your business or personal goals, this has a direct impact on site design and layout.

Let me give you an example:

If we are tasked with creating an ecommerce site for selling a product, we will create a homepage where the visitor is guided into the sales process, every click they make takes them further down the path to the sale, after all, an ecommerce website should sell right?

Not according to some clients no, far better in their eyes, to have a beautifully sculpted landing page showcasing the latest and greatest web 2.0 or flash movie intro, culminating in the inevitable ‘click here to enter’ button, centred on the page.

To hell with search engine optimisation, they want their site to look the best!

This is always a bad start to a client / designer relationship and sets alarm bells ringing at web design hq with distant cries of ‘Oh no. we’ve got another one..’ emanating from the design office.

Sure, if you’re a big brand looking to release and market a new product then knock yourself out, but for Joe Bloggs paperclip sales? I think not.

This brings me to my second point – logo’s.

Do you really think that your company is SO important to the end user that they MUST be subjected to the monstrously oversized logo you are forcing the design team to integrate. What’s more, after we submit the site to you for initial sign off – 99% percent of the time we are sat waiting for the ‘can you just make the logo a bit bigger’ phone call.

Your site should be about the product or service, it’s not about your logo, keep this in mind next time you think half a page is ‘reasonable’ logo space.

It’s amazing how many clients play at ‘designer’ once the ball starts rolling.

So after wasting days or weeks on design tweaks that detract from your business goals, we finally submit and give you what you want, a site based on ‘this great site i saw on xyz.com’, a site i should mention that is already old fashioned and already out of date. We work for the future, not the past.

Just to point out that i’m not ranting here, this is cold hard fact, drawn from actual daily experiences.

The next stage can be even more disastrous, the integrating of content.

Now we are getting to the nuts and bolts of the project, the promise of content and imagery suddenly seems like a distant dream. We hear week upon week that the content is nearly finished, but it isn’t, it isn’t even started.

Many clients are under the illusion that writing content is easy, until they begin the task. Nobody likes writing content. Every word or paragraph is important and can be the difference between delivering the right or wrong message to your audience.

It’s not unusual for a web design agency to wait 6 months for content to materialise, it’s even less unusual for us to be asked to write the content. Why not just ask us to do this in the first place?

All the procrastrination is costing money.

For those that do bite the bullet and write the content themselves, they become lost in the Sitemap, many convince themselves that the sitemap is actually incorrect and that a new one should be generated?

This has massive implications, the web site design could well have to be broken down and re-started in order to accommodate the ‘small changes’ to the structure.

It’s not unusual to re-start a project several times, as the real aims of a website finally dawn on the client. By this time, the ever humble web agency is so brow beaten, that they simply agree, in the hope that the project will at some stage be put to bed.

I can fully empathise with the client, i realise that intervention isn’t intentionally done to upset the applecart, it’s just a lack if education and i don’t mean that in an offensive way.

To really drive this point home, imagine that you are a roofing contractor, highly specialised and having gone through years of professional training. You are half way through fitting my new fandangled roof when i casually pop outside and tell you that i think it will look better if you put it on upside down.

Now here’s the good part.

There is a new breed of web design agency surfacing. One where the client is rewarded for allowing the agency to perform their task without interruptions.
The client is asked to create a list of page titles and create content for those pages in advance. The also collect and imagery they wish to use. Design wise they provide a suggested colour scheme and a list of website they find inspiring (for design cues). Lastly they provide a list of keywords that will shape the tone of the site i.e fun, modern, contemporary, corporate.

All this material is submitted to the agency and that is the last input the client has.
The agency can then use the submitted material to create a fully functional website within a very short timeframe.

The client has to trust that both his submitted information is correct and that the agency will do a professional job.
The clients reward for this is a huge cost saving, sometimes thousands of pounds on a single project.

The agency is allowed to provide a professional service with a lightning fast turnaround time.
Now in the real world, there will always be clients out there who want to control the web design process, but for those who recognise that the job should be left to the experts, the rewards are multiple.
It certainly pays to be prepared doesn’t it?

Choosing a Web Design Company – Aspects to Consider

Recognize the significance of content

For whatever reasons, you may decide to make some alterations to your existing website or to have a totally new site. The idea that next comes in your mind is the functioning and looks of your site. While the importance of these factors can’t be denied, the significance of content, the most vital factor, often gets overlooked.

In case your provider emphasizes more on design than content, you are dealing with the wrong agency.

Your provider must have a proper and adequate understanding of your business. It should know the kind of customers likely to patronize your products or services. An agency that doesn’t question its clients on these lines is not the best choice for you.

The agency must understand the relevance of content. They may generate the content on their own, or ask a copywriter to do it for them. The content forms the structure of your site, so the agency should be able to foresee how the visitors to your site will relate to the content. They should particularly understand how you are going to handle the content in the future. These are the measures necessary for ensuring that your site keeps delivering the correct message, without sacrificing its quality.

What you should do?

The users of your website should find the content informative, and thus helpful. The content comprises of a written copy, and also includes photos and videos. The web agency should give precedence to art. If needed, the agency should have access to a marketing team. If the agency is not generating content on its own, it should contact copywriters.

Define your goal and have realistic expectations

Understand and define your goals. Explain your expectations to your agency. Let the agency know what results you expect within the next 6 months or one year to justify the expense you are incurring.

You could define your goals on these lines:

  • Generating additional leads
  • Enhancing online sales
  • Maintaining contact with your customers
  • Enhancing awareness of your product/brand

What can you do?

Inquire the kind of services and tools that the agency can provide to obtain traffic to your website, and how will the volume of traffic be measured. The agency must comprehend the process of selling, enabling them to suggest ways which can make the sale more efficient.

Recognize your plan

A superior web agency should be competent in giving you a comprehensible brief web strategy. A superior plan has the ability to influence your business, make it relevant and trustworthy. The outcome of your plan should be measurable. Unless you get real data, you can’t revise or modify the strategies that help transforming the prospective visitors into customers.

What can you do?

Let your agency explain you their approach in detail. Make sure that their plan can help you reach your goal. It is imperative for the expected results to be delivered without exceeding the budget.

Availing the Best Web Development Firm

Websites are high on demand as it is through a website or web portal that more and more people are finding ways to earn some extra bucks. Besides these part timers, there are more serious people who wish to eke out a flourishing business through deft usage of Internet. The monetary prospects have resulted in a wide surge in the requirements of websites. This huge demand has subsequently led to the mushrooming of numerous agencies and individuals. This huge pool of providers can leave you perplexed in choosing a suitable firm or person.

If you are not able to decide from the number of proposals that you received from firms and individuals then you should better take decisions after considering the following things.

Go for an Experienced Firm

I have seen many people opting for freelancers and ruing their decisions later. Freelancers might come cheap but they are not trustworthy, they stretch a project too long (I have seen several instances where a person struck a unique idea and sourced it to freelancers which took it so long that the project lost its relevance), and they often tend to stop in mid-way. On the contrary, I know some freelancers who have truly satisfied the clients. My point is- if you have the money, choose a firm and that too an experienced one.

Prototyping

A genuine and experienced firm adept in the required technology will soon provide you the prototype of the website. Even if they ask for some amount for prototyping, you can pay them as it will help you to save larger sum in later stages. Firms that somehow manage a project would refrain from providing the entire solution as they have a system which manages the projects in bits and pieces. In fact, a prototype would tell you what to expect.

Signing of NDA

The more unique your project, the more protective you should be, as in case of any spillage you would lose the first-mover advantage. It has been seen that many small and ill-managed firms leak the project details or they try to copy it for their usage. So, it is advised to go for the firm which is willing and prompt in signing an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement).

There are other things like cross-checking the references etc to help you get a professionally developed website.