Posts Tagged ‘online presence’

Thinking About Hiring a Graphic Designer?

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Here are four questions to ask yourself before you do…

So, you want to hire a professional graphic designer for your website and marketing materials. You have narrowed it down to three graphic designers, but you are not sure who to hire for your project. Before you hire any graphic designer, there are a few questions you will want to ask yourself. Here they are below:

1) Is the graphic designer talented enough?

Most graphic designers are very talented, however, when you need graphic design work done for your business, you will want to make sure the designer is right for the job. Remember, first impressions are everything. Your company’s image has to be impeccable. Start by reviewing the graphic designer’s portfolio and decide if they are the right fit for your project.

2) Does the graphic designer have experience?

In addition to reviewing graphic design samples, you will want to ask the designer to provide you with 1 or 2 client references.  This will help you determine if he/she is someone you will want to do business with.

3) Are the graphic design rates reasonable?

In other words, are the graphic designer’s rates extremely expensive or very cheap? When a person’s rates are ridiculously low or too high than normal, this is usually a red flag.  For example, let’s say the average price of your design project is around $700-$900. A designer gives you a quote for $100. Naturally, anyone would want to go with the person who charges the cheapest rates …but you may not receive quality work. Always go with the happy medium when it comes to pricing.

4) Will the graphic designer provide me with quality work?

This is why you should never hire a graphic designer based solely on price. You will want to make sure the designer is capable of providing quality design work. Believe it or not, your website visitors and potential customers will judge the appearance of your website design and your marketing materials. So, you will want to make certain the graphic designer is able to produce quality work.

5 Important Questions to Ask a Web Designer

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

When choosing a web designer, it is recommended that you compare services and rates from at least 3-4 designers before making a final decision.  If you want your website built the proper way, you will need to take it one step further and ask the web designer a few important questions before signing the dotted line.

Here are 5 important questions to ask a web designer:

  1. Have you ever built websites like the one I want built? Let’s say that you want an ecommerce site built. You will want someone who specializes in building ecommerce sites. If you hire someone who has never built an ecommerce site, you are wasting your time and money.
  2. Can you provide me with at least 2 references from companies that you have built websites for? Sometimes consumers will read the website testimonials and call it a day. You will want to ask for verifiable references from previous customers.
  3. Does your web design company only use web templates? Many web design companies use only web templates. If you want a professional looking website with maximum functionality, you will want a web designer who can provide custom web design services.
  4. Can you create a logo for my website? Having a well designed logo for your website is important for your brand image. Ask your prospective web designer if he or she provides logo design services. You will find that many web design companies like 8Consulting provides logo design services.
  5. What is the time frame? The amount of time it takes for your site to be built depends on the complexity of the site. Normally, a small professional website takes up to 20 days.

Finding the right web designer to build your site doesn’t have to be complicated. When you ask your prospective web designer the questions above, their answers will help you determine who to hire.  Remember, the key to having a well

What to consider when deciding between a static or dynamic website

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Now that you’ve decided to make a website for your business, you are ready to take the next big decision: the scope. How thorough or detailed your website is going to be? What features and functionality do you want it to provide? Will it also be an e-commerce solution? Questions like these and many others will need to be answered in the planning stage to ensure that your website is created exactly according to your requirements, functions smoothly and fulfills its purpose.

A major decision in website creation is choosing between a static and dynamic website. These two don’t have to be mutually exclusive- you could have static as well as dynamic sections or pages within the same website. But on the whole, websites can usually be categorized as either ‘static’ or ‘dynamic’. What these words essentially mean for your website is that a static website is one that is developed using just html and is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get): whatever you develop in html is exactly what will appear to the end user without any functions like individual customization or interactivity.  A dynamic website, on the other hand, is one that is developed with server-side languages (such as PHP, ASP, Coldfusion etc). These scripts draw content from your website’s internal database- or content management system- and display it based on the end user’s actions. This allows for a ‘dynamic’ experience for your visitors who can interact with your website- whether it’s through forms, blog postings, message boards, an online store or personalized user accounts etc. This is a sharp contrast from content on a static website which is just displayed to the user and they can’t ‘play around with it’.

The best option for your website could be either static or dynamic- and even a mixture of both. But what it really depends on is your requirements and constraints. If your website will be used for just providing information (for instance, you just want to have pages that tell a little about yourself, display a bunch of images and provide contact information), a static website is probably the right choice for you. Static websites also usually cost less and provide you with flexibility to change up the design on every page of your website. On the down side, you’ll always need to update the website’s development code to make changes, extensions or updates. And that might require you to call upon your developer, time and time again.

If you want to enable user interaction for your site (especially if you want to have an e-commerce component) and make it a dynamic experience, you may need to pay a bit more for a dynamic website. However, a dynamic website is generally far more engaging and useful for your visitors and you can usually easily make updates and changes yourself by simply using your browser. You could add additional product categories and items without the need to changing existing code or creating more pages. You could post news and updates by just clicking the ‘post’ button. Moreover, your users could personalize your website according to their preferences. The possibilities of a dynamic website are endless.

Both static and dynamic websites serve certain purposes and either could be a complete solution for your needs. Take the time to discuss what will be the right choice for you with your designer.

Why is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Important?

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Let’s suppose you’ve just put the finishing touches on your own website and it’s amazing. The design’s great, the content’s compelling and it represents your business really well. After you’ve poured in significant resources to get to this point, you’re finally able to launch it on the Internet. You invest in a domain and ample hosting space, and then start uploading your website. Once the process is complete, you even take the time to submit your website to search engines and directories. And then starts the wait for visitors. The only problem is that the visitors don’t come.

The scenario described above is one of the worst fears and nightmares of companies when they go online. The purpose of creating and launching your website is to attract potential customers in the form of heavy ‘traffic’ (an Internet term for ‘number of visitors- or hits- your website gets’). And, a lot of times, even if you try to get the word out through your employees and friends, online and offline, you’re just not able to lure the required number of visitors to your site.

You might discover one of the reasons for low traffic very early on: When you search for keywords related to your offered services on popular search engines like Google and Bing, your website does not show up in the first batch of results- and perhaps not even in the first ten pages. Clearly, if potential customers aren’t able to find your website easily when they’re performing Internet searches to look for the services you and your competitors offer, they are not likely to ever stumble across your website.

The solution to improving your website’s visibility in search engines results is an internet marketing strategy known as ‘Search Engine Optimization’ (SEO). One of the techniques used in Search Engine Optimization entails the creation of web content in a way that makes smart and abundant usage of the keywords you’re business is trying to target. So for instance if you’re selling quality bed linen in Boston, you’ll need content on your website that not only uses related keywords but is also a rich relevant resource on the topic. Only then will search engines like Google pick on your website and make it one of the top results for search engine users looking for ‘quality bed linen in Boston’.

The above mentioned strategy is just one of the techniques used by SEO experts to put your website right in front of your customers. Professional SEO companies like 8 Consulting offer a whole array of such methods that can improve your website’s page rank. Find out more by contacting us.

What makes a great website?

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Your company’s website is a very important component of your business. Just like with any other major organizational decision, you need to plan your website very carefully. However, with so many things to cover and so many options to choose from, it can all get very overwhelming. It’s also easy to lose focus of your actual objectives and end up with a website that does not meet your company’s requirements or provides no returns on your investment. To help you stay on track and make the perfect website for your business, we made a list of the three major areas you should work on:

1. INFORMATION

The primary purpose of your website is to provide visitors- and especially potential customers- with information about your business and your product/service offerings. You should convey all the relevant information that your customers tend to look for, in a clear and concise manner. Your website should ideally have pages that include content on:

-          Company Profile

-          Overview of offered products and services

-          Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive and you should try to provide all the information that you deem important and that you think is seminal in purchase decisions. In other words, the information conveyed should be presented in such a manner that it not only represents your company positively but also tempts customers to make purchases. That’s where powerful web copy comes in play which entails the calculated use of smart and effective text content for display on your website. Also, make sure you include complete and up-to-date contact information.

2. DESIGN

Your website is a reflection of your company’s level of quality, professionalism and success. With such key measures on stake, you can not afford to launch an aesthetically repellant website. That being said, remember to choose a website design that is not only visually appealing (and complementary to your company’s overall branding strategy) but also convenient to use. A well-designed, smartly-structured and easy-to-use website will not only make a positive impression on potential customers but also please existing ones.

3. PROMOTION

You could have a visually stunning website with compelling web copy but it would be useless if your potential customers are not able to find it. And that’s why promoting your website is of fundamental importance. It is not enough to just submit your website to various search engines and notify your employees and friends of the launch. To ensure that you get the requisite volume of Internet traffic, you need web copy that is not only well-written but also ‘Search Engine Optimized’. Submitting your website to industry directories, announcing its launch in a press release and making it a fixture on your company’s stationary are some more ways to promote your website.

To avail SEO services as well as other Internet Marketing strategies for promoting your website, contact a professional web design company like 8 Consulting which can not only design a great website for you but also make sure that your website gains enough visibility to attract customers. After all, the greatest website is the one that brings you the biggest profits!