How to Find the Right Web Design Company?

“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.”

What does the above quotation convey? To have a portal, you have to commit mistakes. Isn’t that funny? No, not at all. It may be a motivating sentence, but in business it can turn out to be doomsday for small start-ups with little investments. This article has been done especially for small start-ups who want to make it in their respective fields and are planning to launch their website or looking for a facelift or adding new functionalities to there existing site or aren’t sure about their design requirements.

Choosing a Web Design Company

With a multitude of web designers and developers out there, from freelancers, to agencies, to online templates, how do you know what the right fit is for your company, and more importantly, for your goals and objectives? Choosing a web design company is not that a serious job. But choosing a good web design company is a real serious challenge. People say that Internet has made business processes simple and global, but how about the complexities that Internet offers which are unique. Just Search for the term “Good Web Design Firm” on Google, and it comes up with millions of results. For normal human being it’s impossible to search through every result. We will go through the entire process of selecting a Web Design and Development company in a structured way.

STEP 1 – Planning

The first step involves defining your needs. While searching for the right web designer, it is important to have a clear idea what role your new Web site or a redesigned one will fill. Will it provide information to your customers? Will it serve the needs of your employees? Or will it include an online shopping section so that you can sell your products to visitors? Most Web designers will need to know the following:

o The role of your new Web site.

o The intended market or audience of your Web site.

o Your budget.

Take time to consider what you expect from your Web site and the type of information you want to communicate to your potential clients before you approach your designer. This will save you and the designer a considerable amount of time and effort.

STEP 2 – Searching and Creating a Primary list

Searching is a vigorous process and does not require any special skill other than diligence to effectively come up with good results that fulfill your requirements. Just scan through directories, check Google listings on specific key word searches and ask for referrals from your friends or business partners. It does not have to be a very extensive research work.

Referral: Ask business acquaintances, friends, and family which web design firm designed the website for their respective organizations, or if they can otherwise recommend a web design firm.

Web sites: Determine the web design firm that is responsible for the websites of organizations that you admire. These organizations may be your competitors, or in related or unrelated industries. Sometimes the web design firm is included in the site credits, or is listed elsewhere on the website. If you cannot find the credits on the site itself, feel free to contact the organization and ask which web design firm is responsible for the website. This can also be a good source for references for that web design firm.

STEP 3 – Evaluating and Short listing

Once you have gathered a list of potential web design firms you are ready to pare them down to a shortlist. This requires a bit of research work.

o Portfolio – It’s about the three C’s – Credibility, Consistency and Capability. How consistent they are? What are the parameters on which the company is capable enough to fulfill your requirement? Are there any testimonials that speak about their credibility? Do the projects in the portfolio have a consistent quality? Have they consistently given good results in the given time frame? Has the Web design company provided solutions to other companies in your industry? Have they dealt with similar challenges to those faced by your organization? These are some important factors to consider. When you’ve narrowed your search to a few design sources (through recommendations, web directories, or your competitors’ sites), evaluate their online portfolios and their rate structure. A web site doesn’t have to be flashy or animated to do its job. Browse sites they have built, check ease of navigation, organization of information, overall cleanliness and visitor-friendliness. Also, consider hiring a firm that demonstrates some familiarity with your type of business. Just go through the success stories/case studies that have been made available on their web site and corroborate the credentials through references if possible.

o Experience and Fees – This is called the EF of web design firm. Experience and fees are very much inter-related. The general norm is the more experienced you are, the more you are paid. This interesting story can tell you what experience is all about.

Once upon a time there was a steam generating plant that was not producing much steam. After a frustrating search for the cause, the plant manager, in desperation, called in an expert. After only two hours on site, the expert found the problem and placed “X’s” on two pipes that were causing the problem, saying that they had to be removed. When presented with the bill, the plant manager asked the consultant how he could charge $5,000.00 for only two hours of work. When he asked for an itemized bill, this is what he got:

1. $400.00 – Placing “X’s” on two pipes.

2. $4,600.00 – Knowing where to place the “X’s”.

The plant manager got what he paid for and probably a lot more. He had already used up more than that amount on his own staff not to mention the loss in revenue while the plant was shut down. For him, securing the advisory services of a consultant was the right thing to do.

It matters a lot if the company has a good experience in diverse business domains and has professionals and specialists from variegated backgrounds. As such they will have an understanding of different business verticals that may be an advantageous point for your website. Another important factor is budget. What you pay is what you get – WYPIWYG. Never compromise with the quality of your website just for saving few quick bucks. In the long run you will end up on a losing side. Have you ever imagined why American diamonds cost less and than real diamonds when at times it’s difficult to differentiate between the two? It’s obvious – the brilliance and hardness of diamond. This makes another interesting point, you can get a cosmetic surgery done for your website for a lesser cost, but it will lack the functionalities and effectiveness. It can draw visitors but can not turn them into business. So when you pay for something, you definitely get a good deal in return.

o Technology – What is their technological competence? Does this match with your requirement? How many projects they have worked on using the same? How frequently their technology is upgraded- both in terms of software and hardware?

o Deadlines – Has the company carried out the projects in stipulated time? Time is one of the most important factors as the longer it takes, the higher the input costs get. Some companies may offer you a shorter time period and may be ready with the design. But after that starts the long and torrid journey of finding and fixing bugs which may turn your visitors off.

o Responsiveness – How promptly the company responds to your queries? Does it listen to your queries? Are they responsive to my suggestions and questions? Do they explain issues in ways you can understand? Do they share your general vision for the site? Are they interested in Return on Investment for the web site? Do they possess the skills necessary to achieve your goals?

o Communication Process – Poor communication is one of the major bottlenecks for business processes. Ensure that the company with which you are working is comfortable with your language. Generally, English (US/UK) is taken as the preferred language to communicate with each other. What are the tools and technologies they use for communicating? How will they keep you updated with the developments with regards your project? These are some of the important factors that should be kept in mind while deciding about the communication process while choosing a Web Design partner.

o Services – What are the other services that company can offer other than designing? What kind of value-added products or services can the design firm offer?

All these points will help you to narrow down to the list of companies that may offer you viable solutions and help your cause. The next step involves inviting proposals from the short listed parties. Just check through as many cross references that you find justifiable or will satisfy your curiosity. The more time you will invest in this phase, the sweeter will be the returns afterwards.

STEP 4- Proposals

Once you have selected your short-list of top web development firms, request that they send you a proposal. Ask that their proposal include an overview of your requirements and their proposed solution. This will help to determine which web design firm understands your requirements best. Also ask that each web design firm include a description of their development process and a price breakdown for the various aspects of the website project.

STEP 5 – Evaluating Proposals

Evaluate each proposal individually on the basis of merit. Take the following points into consideration:

a) Wellness of the proposal.

b) Respective strength and weaknesses of the companies.

c) Evaluate the presentation and format style.

STEP 6 – Selecting the Company

After your organization has reviewed all proposals, compare them with each other. How do they fare in terms of presentation? How do their processes appear in terms of project management? Do they present scalability and/or upgrade paths for your project, which go beyond the needs of the immediate goals outlined?

After going through all the above process, you should be able to zero in on to a particular company. If the doubt persists, establish communication process between the likely companies to understand their process and commitments.

[NOTE: Avoid selecting an individual designer, on a freelance basis, to design and develop your organization's Web site. It is rare to find a single person capable of handling the combined visual and technical elements that make an effective Web presence. Additionally, by depending on an individual, your organization is at risk of losing its investment should anything occur to that one individual - or down the road they simply can't find time to help when you need it.]

I simply love the web. According to me, it’s the most happening place in the world and the best place to interact and gain knowledge. My strong attraction towards site analysis from users as well as search engines perspective made me to pursue the career in Internet Marketing. I started as SEO but now I work as an Internet Marketing Specialist.

SEO For Business Development – Aspects of Search Engine Listings

There are many aspects of SEO for business development purposes that have to be considered before determining the best search engine optimization strategies to use on your website, and understanding how search engines list your website is one of these.Before discussing that, however, it is important that you understand some basic concepts of search engine optimization, particularly of SEO for business development as opposed to sales. This starts with your choice of keywords which should be those that visitors seeking information on your business would use. An important aspect of business development involves attracting and then nurturing potential customers, so not only is your choice of keywords important but also the landing page.A landing page is one that has been optimized for the keyword you have chosen, and each of your keywords should refer to an associated page that has been SEO optimized for that specific keyword. From herein we shall use Google as the example of a search engine (Google takes about 80% of search engine traffic).When prospects use Google to seek information, they use a form of words in the search box that we generally refer to as a keyword. The keyword can be a single word or a phrase, and that provides the searcher with a list of results that Google calculates to be the most relevant to the search term or keyword used. When your prospective customer clicks on your listed link they will be led to your landing page for that keyword.While it is likely that more than one keyword will lead to any one page on your website, that page should be optimized only for keywords that are very close to each other in their meaning. Thus, if your niche is dog training, then the keywords ‘dog training’ and ‘training dogs’ can each lead to your home page on Dog Training. However, the keywords ‘training guard dogs’ and ‘training poodles’ should lead the visitor to different pages specific to these keywords.This is very important, particularly in the development of your business where you want to differentiate between different types of customers and their needs. Search engine optimization refers to optimizing each page on your website such that Google and the other search engines list your web pages as offering the best solution to what Google’s user is looking for.However, there is another form of optimization that does not receive enough publicity: business development optimization. This is specifically SEO for business development whereby each of your web pages is optimized to provide live visitors with what they are seeking rather than to keep snippets of code known as spiders or crawlers happy. In fact, in many respects, human visitors are more important since it is they that help to develop your business and are ultimately converted to customers.A squeeze page, for example, is one that collects the names and email addresses of visitors, whom you can develop and nurture by means of emails and informative courses to ultimately become customers. This is a critical aspect of online business development that is more involved with web page design than the SEO that specifically focuses on maximizing your search engine listing position.Which brings us to the initial objective: how search engines such as Google list your website. Like the other search engines, Google does not list domains but individual web pages. Check any search engine results page and you will discover a mixture of Home Pages, ending with the top level domain ‘.com’ or ‘.net’ for example, and website files or individual web pages ending in the file reference ‘.html’ or ‘.php’. There are other file types but these are the most common.What this is telling you is that search engines list individual pages and not entire websites. It is theoretically possible for every page on your website to be listed separately, but highly unlikely. The easiest page to get listed is generally your home page, because that is the page to which most external and internal links will be pointing.Although SEO linking strategy is another topic, you will likely notice that more pages on your own website link to your home page than to any other internal page, and the same is true of links to your website from other websites: most are to your home or index page. Little wonder, then, that your home page will generally have the highest Google PageRank score and also the highest search engine listing.SEO for business development involves providing good relevant links to specific business pages on your website, and focusing on pages within your site that offer valuable information to customers and also perhaps collects their contact details to enable you to nurture and develop them as customers.

Selecting the Best Contractor For Your Home Improvement Project

Maintaining or renovating a home can be a very daunting task for most people. However, after all the hard work and investment in time and resources you have allocated for a home improvement project, the satisfaction of seeing a superbly crafted home that you can call your own can be priceless indeed. Such is the importance of choosing the best and most qualified contractor who is knowledgeable and capable enough to turn your vision into a remarkable work of art.When choosing a contractor for repairs or renovations for your home improvement project, it is vital that you first acquire all the important information about a particular contractor before ever committing in getting their services. You need to make sure that they are capable of performing all the inclusive work, including customized builds and improvements that you would want your home to have. To get all these pertinent information, you should ask your contractors a strategic set of questions designed to extract all the data that you will need. To help you start in this direction, you should ask the following set of questions:* Does the contractor have the appropriate knowledge and experience with the type of home improvement project that you have in mind?According to recent information from the industry, approximately 80 percent of contractors and builders are knowledgeable and are adequately trained in the latest construction and building techniques. However, even though they may have the training with these new techniques and the certifications to show for it (ex: techniques in energy-saving green building technologies, etc), their actual experience may have just been picked up or even achieved as they work on new projects. On some cases, the home renovation projects may involve a historic home with irreplaceable artifacts or sections. A contractor may not have the expertise in dealing with such a home nor could they match the craftsmanship involved with these historic masterpieces.* Is there an existing relationship between your contractor and architect/designer and have they worked together on a project before?For your home improvement project, you may take on the services of some of the best architects and interior designers in the whole of Massachusetts. To complement the expertise of these professionals, it is but proper to also get the services of the best contractors for the project. In such cases, it would be best to choose a contractor whom your architect or designer knows. They may be aware of the track record of these contractors and may be comfortable working with some that they can identify. With such arrangements, you can be assured of a timely completion of your project and in the manner that you envisioned it to be.* When you inquire something about the project, does the contractor communicate well with you?It is a normal thing for homeowners to ask something about a home remodeling project from their contractors. However, if all you get is a hasty answer without much details and it would appear that they want you off their faces, then be careful of such contractors. A good contractor should be receptive of the needs of their clients and should be ready to discuss every detail of the project should you ask for it.* Is the contractor experienced in working with your kind of home?A commercial construction is different from a home construction in terms of details and even on building and safety codes. The contractor should be adept in the type of home that you have, otherwise they might turn your priced possession into their laboratory for trial-and-error building methods.* How fast can the contractor start and how soon can they complete the job?Finding the best contractor is one thing, but having them start on your home as per schedule is another. You might be at the end of a long list of clients and would have to sit it out for months on end. You should weigh the urgency of having the work done as soon as possible or getting the services of the best contractor that you can get.* Is there a guarantee for their work after completion?A competent contractor will give you the assurance of an excellent renovation or repair work and will provide you with a guarantee on the work done. They should be confident enough of the quality of their work and give their clients the assurance that they need.Conducting a one-of-a-kind home improvement project for your Massachusetts home entails the best services from the best professionals available for the job. Taking a few extra moments in checking out your contractors before hiring them can spell the difference between a disastrous undertakings or a magnificent work of art you can call your home.