Learn the Truth about Your Web Design Company by Its Portfolio

When you start building your online business and search for a web design company that will implement all your needs for the web site you must understand that it is a very serious step because you are entrusting your business along with its reputation and future.

That’s why it’s very important to make the right choice.
There are several factors that must define your choice, and one of them is portfolio of previous web design works the company has done. It can tell you more than all words and promises, just be attentive and try to analyze. I will tell you what you must pay attention to:

1) Presence of portfolio

Yes, it seems to be obvious that web design company must have own web site with portfolio of previous works. But don’t be astonished too much when you see one without it. There can be various reasons for this but I wouldn’t recommend you to tempt fate. Portfolio is like a “face” and it’s pride of web design company, it must be full, substantial, and routinely updated…and IT MUST BE!

2) Total number of works

This can tell you much however there is no standard number that will guarantee you are going to deal with web design guru. Yes, 50 successfully finished projects is better than 5, but their quality is also important. Compare the number with period of time during which the company operates in the market and calculate average number of projects per year, month, or week. Remember that average web site design takes 2-4 weeks to be finished.

What this information can give you? Firstly, you can see that the company has got enough expertise. Then this shows that it has stable flow of works, adjusted schedule of development process, and enough staff to perform it, so if you commit your web site design to the company you can be sure that the work won’t be for them like a bolt from the blue or well-paid but not feasible overloading.

3) Type of works

Look attentively at each work in the portfolio. How many projects are similar to the one you need by type of site, technology used, industry, and look and feel?
At least 2-3? Good!
More than 5? Excellent!!
None? There can be a reason for this – owner didn’t want to make it published, or web site is no more live – so if all other works show professionalism and expertise, you should ask the
company if they have ever done the task you need.

If you need any particular technology to be used for your web site implementation it’s more than necessary to see examples how the web design company worked with it. However sometimes it happens if the technology is not common used and very popular that the web design company hasn’t had chance to work with it for commercial purpose but it might be used for internal projects development, so you will loose nothing if ask the company to show you some examples if they exist.

If you need a web site for exact business, for example dating site or real estate site, it’s also better to view such previous works in the portfolio because there are can be specific features and it’s better to make sure that the web design company is experienced with them. Also some web design companies make demo packages that also can show you the abilities and experience.

4) Quality of works

Learn carefully each live site (or the ones which are similar to the site you need). How long does it take to load the site home page?
A few seconds? Great, the web designer knows how to optimize images.
A few minutes? It’s normal if this is a Flash site because usually the whole site is loaded at one time, not only the home page; or it’s a Flash intro which goes ahead entering the site
and also can load longer because of movie and sound.

But if a simple HTML web site loads more than 2-3 minutes and you can’t see all images or they are shown partially, you must be watchful. Check another HTML sites from the portfolio – if they are also loading for ages, it’s better to search for another web design company because this one is not professional.

All of the aforesaid is correct only if bandwidth of your Internet connection is normal and usually you don’t have problems with loading web sites.

Test the site for user-friendly navigation, pay attention to colors combination, and estimate general impression from the site – all this must reflect professional work. But sometimes a web design company is forced to design a site strictly according to the customer’s wishes, so if the customer lacks for good taste the site also looks tasteless. There can one or two such sites in the portfolio, but not all!

5) Happy owners

Web design business is a highly competitive area and as in any business there are honest and dishonest players. Sometimes it happens that you see the same site in portfolio of two different web design companies and it’s difficult to find the truth to which of them the work really belongs. Some quirky companies place cheap templates in their portfolio with fake owners’ contact info.

That’s why it’s very important to know real references of real owners of the web sites the web design company has made. Ideally this info must be accessible on the web design company site under Portfolio, Testimonials, or Clients sections. Try to contact ALL of the persons listed there and compare their opinions. You may get to know some interesting facts.

6) Own site of web design company

And finally compare the own site of the web design company to web sites presented in its portfolio. Are they similar by quality, technology used, and overall feeling? If the works from the portfolio look much poorer than the own site this can mean that the own site was ordered from another web design company, more professional. Yes, it happens sometimes in web design business that start-up amateur company commits its web site design to “older” professionals. In such case you better to continue searching for another web design company.

So these 6 rules can help you to make the right choice. Don’t be afraid to spend longer time for search and analysis, finally you will only benefit by getting perfect web site that will give new prospects to your business and make it more successful.

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Offshore Web Design and Development – Use Great Opportunities

Sooner or later every small or medium business owner realizes that he needs a web site for his business. And almost everybody wants to have great web site for affordable price because usually web site design budget is quite limited.

There are few ways to find the best solution.

Somebody prefers to design the site by himself – but it takes much time and labor, distracts from the general business, and let be frank – you have seen many of such “DIY” – web sites -they lack professional touch and look unfinished or overworked.
Somebody decides to hire a professional web design company but in case of limited budget he has to say “good-buy” to many features he wants to see on the web site, because web design companies are also businesses and they can’t work for “thank you very much” only.
So what to do when you want to have great web site but your web design budget is limited?

Think about IT-outsourcing and offshore web design and development!

There are many web design companies in other countries, mostly of Eastern Europe and East-Southern Asia that operate with small budgets and offer great web design works

How it is possible? There are different economical factors which condition on low internal expenses of the companies in these countries so they can do the same volume of work but for lower price than it costs in USA, Canada, UK, Western Europe or Australia. So offshore web site design and development helps to keep prices at least 3-5 times less.

You can say “Yes, this is cool that I can save my money but how they will do the work if I am here in USA but they are in Ukraine, for example?” Easily! In our age of Internet this is not a problem at all! Practice proves that for web site design project it’s enough to have communication through email, instant messenger (ICQ, AOL, MSN) or IP-phone.

You can say “How can I trust somebody whom I have never seen before and most likely will not ever see?” Actually this question must the web design companies ask, not you, because there are many of IT-outsourcing companies and competition is quite strong in this area, so to get a customer many companies allow the first payment after 30-50% of the project completion, i.e. you pay after you have seen good results and satisfied with the work.

And as in onshore web design you need to pay much attention while choosing web design company: look at their previous works in portfolio, and ask about previous customers’ references. Ideally all this information must be accessible on the company’s web site.

As for the rest there is not much difference between offshore and onshore web site design process. You see the results of work in the progress, make your comments, see changes, agree them. When the project is complete and the site is ready to be uploaded to your server, you make final payment. It’s also not a problem – you can make payment by credit card, PayPal, wire transfer, Western Union, etc.

So let’s resume what you must know when dealing with offshore web site design:

If you are on “tight budget” and can’t afford spending thousands of $$$ for your web site design you should think about trying offshore web site design opportunities.
There are many countries, which take part in offshore web site design; the most well known are India, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Philippines.
To make right choice of offshore web design company for your web site design take into consideration the company reputation, portfolio of previous works, previous customers’ references, quick and competent feedback to your initial request.
To avoid problems you must be attentive and ask exact questions about payment policy and method, timescale and milestones of the project, conditions of the ready site delivery, warranties, post-development support and maintenance.
At your first experience with offshore web design you can see it to be too risky and complicated, but this feeling will be replaced with real satisfaction when you will see your new great web site live in the Internet and you realize how much you have saved on its design.

Creating Hotel’s Web Design Keeping the Optimization Concept in Mind

Online marketing and online promotions have helped in gaining instant popularity. This has been proved again and again in different kinds of businesses and the hotel industry is also included in the same. Now for marketing and promoting a hotel online, it is very important that the hotel has a proper website of its own. Therefore the hotels web design is one of the very important things that must be kept in mind while developing the website. Starting from the home page of the hotel, all the internal pages should be excellently designed and developed so that the whole website can be optimized in the most effective manner. It is very important for developers and designers to understand the various things that can help in better optimization of the website and integrate things in the hotel’s website.The home page of the hotel’s website should be highly attractive. Being attractive does not mean that it needs to be highly colorful and bright with lots of elements, graphics and designs on it. Being attractive means that the customer should be able to find the things that he is looking for in the hotel’s website right on the home page. If he is glued to the home page, there are high chances that he will navigate to the other pages in the website. And if that is done, chances are high that bookings for the hotel will be done. Therefore hotels web design for the home page should be paid high attention. There are many things that the search engines look for in a hotel’s website and when those elements are present on the home page only, the website becomes easily optimized.The buttons that are displayed on the hotel’s home page should be properly visible and should direct customers to the right places. Redirecting the customer to the wrong place is detrimental for the online promotion of the hotel. Therefore, while creating the hotels web design, it should be clearly designed and developed as which button is directed to which sub page in the website. The developers should double check the directions before making the website go live on the internet. Optimizing the main home page is not only important for the promotion of the hotel. All the internal and sub-pages should also be duly optimized so that the overall position of the website in the web improves. With total optimization, the position of the website in the search engine will also improve greatly.Another thing that is very important while designing a hotel’s website is to keep a picture gallery of the hotel. Pictures and images of the different rooms or of the various other features should also be put on the website. People love to see images and make their decisions than reading about the same. Appropriate images and graphics are also good optimization tools that are used particularly for the websites of hotels. Nowadays most of the websites of hotels have online booking engine on the home page. This enables customers to make online bookings from their own homes and at any convenient time. Cancellations can also be made via the same process.

How Marketing Consultants Can Make the Difference In Your Web Design Project

Web design is an integral part of a modern marketing campaign. The quality of the design and coding work done on your website is incredibly important, as a DIY website simply cannot compete with a professionally created online presence. Even if the aesthetics were equal, which is unlikely, a professionally designed and well built website will always outperform a homegrown page because of the tremendous amount of coding and back-end work that goes into doing it right.Often, small business owners turn to web designers for help getting started, only to find that they don’t “speak the language” of web design, and this leaves them unsure of what to ask for, how to answer the web designer’s questions, and whether they’re truly getting a good deal. This is where a reliable marketing consultant comes in. By hiring a marketing consultant, business owners benefit from having an advisor and liaison who can translate the web design lingo, leverage their standing professional relationships for better pricing, and handle the day-to-day issues that arise during web development work so that you as the business owner can focus on your business, not your website.Marketing consultants are sometimes freelancers, but they are just as often team members working for advertising agencies. If you’re working with an independent web designer and have hired an advertising agency, they will fill this role for you and handle the minutiae, bringing you in periodically for the bigger decisions. Even then, a knowledgeable marketing consultant will narrow down two or four dozen options to an easily navigable top five, for example, explain the choices at hand, and make recommendations as to a path forward.Alternatively, small business owners sometimes hire advertising agencies or marketing consultants first, letting these companies bring in their own team members or freelancers for web design. Regardless of how the situation comes about, in addition to helping you navigate the waters of a web design project, an advertising agency and/or web consultant will bring one other major component to the table: cohesiveness.When building a website, it’s important to understand that while web development often seems to occur in a vacuum, it truly should not. Websites are key parts in a comprehensive marketing campaign that should typically integrate Internet and traditional marketing elements. Therefore, a great website is of even more value when it is the main piece in a large puzzle rather than a separate entity that does not align with the remaining pieces. That is, if a customer has been to your brick-and-mortar shop or has seen your TV, print, Internet, or direct mail advertisements and then visits your website, the branding should be consistent across all of those platforms. The site should immediately be identifiable as part of the whole, and that only happens when your web consultant and/or your advertising agency is intimately involved in your entire website design project.Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that web design projects are often bid without regard to content, which you’ll be expected to provide as the business owner. The right advertising agency or marketing consultant will have staff or freelancers who can provide solid, clean, engaging content that also addresses your needs for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) while ensuring that your branding and messaging remains cohesive across all platforms.