How To Choose A Web Designer

A little while back I had a bit of a discussion about a certain profession that I will not mention here in case someone from the industry in question takes it the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong, every major profession is there for a reason and adds a tremendous amount of value to society. The fact of the matter is that every industry and profession has good aspects and bad. When you think of a doctor, lawyer, architect, accountant, etc, you tend to have a personal frame of reference, as well as a more widely held stereotype. There are usually some aspects of that profession that irritate you, or that you think could do with some improvement. Perhaps you don’t make use of certain professional services because of these perceptions, whether or not they are commonly held or based on fact.

That got me thinking about my own industry, and what it is about the internet consulting and web design and development industry that drives people nuts, and that if things were different, people would utilize these services more often. What would people change about the industry if they had a magic wand? What would you do differently if you were, for example, a web developer, to differentiate yourself?

These are some of the things I have been told hold people back when discussing this topic with some small businesses:

– Web design and development is too expensive for the average small business

– Apprehension over how qualified an internet professional really is

– There is too much jargon in the industry, which makes it confusing to assess as a non-technical business person

– There is a shortage of internet programming skills relative to visual design skills in the industry

Personally, my big wish is that a certain level of qualification (a degree combining computer science, design and business) was a requirement to practice, the same way that older professions are required to, like accountants, doctors, lawyers, etc. The low barrier to entry makes it difficult for businesses to distinguish experts from hobbyists. Imagine having to choose your doctor based on what he tells you he knows how to do for you!

So, how then does one assess a potential internet partner, who can and should be a long-time partner in the online success of your business? Here are some things to look at carefully when choosing a web designer, web developer, internet business consultant, or related service provider, from my experience:

Technical and business qualifications and experience. Is the business comprised of an inexperienced person with a web design hobby, or has the business got people with tertiary level business, programming and design skills in-house? Make sure they have real-world business experience in developing e-commerce solutions, and look into how far back that goes.

What online business applications has the business developed previously, and how does this match your requirements? Some web design businesses will give you a very nice looking static brochure site, while others will be able to offer advanced functionality, such as a database and content management capabilities, e-commerce functionality, internet business consulting services, site promotion, site management, hosting, domain registration, design, application development, site optimization, newsletter systems, form processing capabilities, logging of user activity, online surveys and polls, user registration and authentication, advertising management, content syndication, and the like. Check how many of these are optional extras an how many are included in the price you are quoted up front. You should always get a detailed proposal up front, and compare apples for apples rather than being too subjective initially. My business, for example, differentiates by bundling over 250 enterprise-level applications into our small business package, at a lower price than most web designers will charge just for the design and some basic functionality.

Long term cost/benefit. What is it going to cost you the next time you need to make a modification? I’ve never yet come across a successful website that was designed and left as it was created on day one. Your site needs to change with your business, so make sure you know how you will be billed for those changes, and what the time frame for them will be. Every site also has hosting, bandwidth and maintenance costs that most people don’t think of when first creating a site. Look into what these will be, and what you get for them, so that you can budget for them when starting your project. Also keep in mind that a cheap solution with one or two features will probably not serve you as well as a slightly more expensive one with extensive built-in capabilities.

Personal style and preference. Different businesses will bring different styles and methodologies to the party. Make sure that the one you go with suits your personal preferences. If your internet specialist loves graphic-intensive Flash-based sites, they will probably develop your informative content-based solution, just not as well as someone who specializes in your preferred style.

Online promotion. Make sure that the business you choose is good at promoting their own online presence. Google, Yahoo, and MSN are the three most popular search engines, so make use of them when choosing a provider. If you are looking for a web developer in your local area, search for the terms you find most important and include the name of your area. For example, I optimize my services for the Joondalup area of Perth, Western Australia, so a search for “web design Joondalup” or “web development Joondalup”, or many other internet-based services, brings me to the top when people are searching for local service providers. An internet business that is no good at promoting itself online will be worse at helping you get yours up to full potential.

Satisfaction guarantees. No website can make a flawed business model work, but an online expert should be able to help you make it everything it can be over time, much the same way a personal trainer can’t make you fit overnight, but they can help you become a top athlete with focused ongoing attention. Find out what guarantees, if any, are provided. This is a real differentiator, because, understandably, many web design businesses won’t do this. Those that do are at least serious and confident in their abilities to ensure that their clients are happy and successful.

Management of expectations. Any internet business that claims excessive short term success rates is probably overselling themselves. Make sure that they (and you) are realistic about the time frames in which your online presence will start producing results.

Consulting skills. Make sure that you are dealing with an internet consultancy, not just a web design house. Experienced internet consultants have the business experience to help you make your business successful online in ways a web designer will probably not.

Find successful web sites online. Many will have the site developer’s details in the footer, or in a credits section of the site.

5 Basic Parameters That You Should Look For In A Website Development Company

A website is a vital marketing tool which has become necessary for every business owner today. With the growing trend of website development, several web development companies have been launched so as to provide high-quality services. Business owners have a wide range to make a choice from because of the presence of a big number of service providers in the market. When it comes to finding the right and suitable firm for the development of your business website, you need to focus on plenty of things. In this post, I have made a great effort to cover 5 basic parameters that you should look forward to in a Website Development Company and these include:

Portfolio: An experienced and knowledgeable web design company will have an exuberant portfolio, which is worth showcasing to a potential customer or client. A company that is experienced in managing various types of the project successfully can be the best route to your final end.

Web Designs Sample: Going through sample designs provided by a web development firm can help you in making an opinion, an outlook and an impression about the service quality. So, asking the service provider about the samples can be of great help for you.

Understands Your Business: Remember, a good sense of business understanding proves to be a vital factor. A web development firm needs to understand your business so as to suggest the best website design and User Interface. An attractive design appeals directly to your future clients and sets up a mental bond. Ensure that the development company executes the right method for the development of your website.

Cost Effectiveness: Keep in mind that a great quality web design is a long-term investment and cost you some more money in the initial stages compared to an average one. A professional service provider will always advise you on a dynamic design, bearing in mind the future aspect of your business.

Reference Of Clients: Business requirements vary from entity to entity but talking to previous clients will provide you the idea about work quality of the service provider. You need to ask relevant questions to them in order to analyze the kind of experience they had while working with them. Some relevant questions that you should ask are how was their experience with the firm? Was the web development process easily carried out? Was the project completed on time? How were the support and guidance? Was transparency maintained at every stage of the process?

These fundamental parameters mentioned above are important to consider while choosing a professional web development company that suits best for your business needs and your budget.

Things You Need To Consider During E-Commerce Website Development

Web development is complicated. In any project, there are a multitude of aspects to consider, from user experience to performance.

Here are a few other aspects of an E-Commerce site that developers will want to be sure to consider during the development process.

Things to consider during E-Commerce Development are:

1. Responsive Web Design:

For the most part, more customers are shopping whenever they choose and in the most convenient manner for them. However, if customers are able to, they will access your store via their tablet PC’s or smart phones which are where responsive web design India comes into play. Responsive design is going to make your site more accessible on a variety of platforms and devices. This will make the site usable to more people and that could potentially increase your sales.

2. Adding Guest Checkouts Options:

To be honest, people don’t always want to create accounts with every site they make a purchase from. The biggest reason is because of the amount of spam and junk emails they get through to their email accounts each week and it can become very much an annoyance. However, if you are able to offer a guest check-out feature, that may prove to be a hit with more customers. Custom web development can be varied but who’s to say you can’t add a guest check-out? This will attract more people and make them feel at ease shopping at your store too.

3. Site search is important:

it’s important to make sure the search functionality is available and easy to use. In addition, it’s a good idea to utilize features like autocomplete to help users find popular products or items related to their searches.

Faceted search is another important way to help users find products. This functionality allows them to narrow their search in a variety of ways, including by department, size, price range, manufacturer, etc. Providing this functionality gives users more power to find what they need, letting them limit their searches to exactly what they are looking for.

4. Security is essential:

This is especially true for credit card and payment information, but also any customer information like address, phone number, email, etc. Customers have an expectation that their personal information will remain secure when they make a purchase online, so ensuring that SSL is implemented is not just a good idea, but something that is absolutely essential for ensuring that your customers trust that their information will remain secure. In addition, security is required to meet PCI compliance for any business which accepts credit card payments.

5. Optimize Site Performance and Speed:

Have you ever been stuck on a website waiting for the page to load? For most, they switch off after a few seconds because it’s a waste of their time. However, if this happens on your site you’re essentially losing business and that isn’t good. Your E-Commerce web development really must deal with the site’s performance and speed issues. If these things are not optimized then users will look elsewhere.

6. Develop Wisely:

Too many website owners think development means getting more customers or expanding the site’s product pages but in truth, it’s so much more. The above are just five simple things to consider when you are developing your E-Commerce website. When you develop well, you get more customers. E-Commerce website development can be simple; don’t let it catch you out.

Keeping these aspects of an E-Commerce site in mind during development will help you ensure that you are providing the best experience for your customers, but there are many more elements to consider when developing your site. Almost every business owner has to deal with the challenge of E-Commerce web development. This is not easy no matter how experienced you are with the internet or how great your business ideas are. Since users will be coming to the site to learn about and purchase products, developers will want to do everything they can to make this process easy and intuitive. But alongside the considerations of usability.