Getting your website designed can be a frustrating experience, not only for you, but for your designer as well. Having been at both ends of the process, as a designer and a client, I get that the process is not always easy. Here are some problems you may have experienced and solutions on how to overcome them.
1. Your website designer’s inability to convert your ideas into the perfect website.
This would have to be one of the biggest frustrations experienced by business owners getting online for the first time. It is important to understand that having a website designed is not like getting a brochure created. There are many variations that website designers have to take into consideration, such as ensuring the website:
- Displays correctly on as many different browsers as possible, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc (including older versions of those browsers).
- Looks good not only on desktop computers with large monitors, but also on laptops, notebooks and Smartphones.
- Functions properly on all devices. For example, flash animations do not work on iPads and iPhones.
- Navigation structure is properly set up.
- The website is not only visitor-friendly, but also search engine-friendly.
The key to overcoming this frustration is to provide your designer with examples of websites that you like and more specifically what components you really want included on your site, for example a specific type of background, special effects, graphic & image layout, number of columns, navigation type, etc. It is also helpful to show websites you do not like and clarify why.
Simply saying to your designer “I want a website that is blue and that has a lot of flair and pizazz” is probably not going to get you exactly what you want. Design is very subjective and what your designer perceives as having flair is most likely different from your idea.
2. Time it takes to get the website designed
Website design process can take time. Designers have hundreds of fonts and millions of colors to choose from. There are many possible layout combinations, graphic components etc.
In most cases, the initial process to get draft layouts completed takes several days. Then, depending on the amount of changes required to those layouts, it can take extra time.
Once the layout is finalized, the designer needs to code the site (do all the behind-the-scenes technical stuff) in order for the website to function properly. This can take a few days or even weeks, particularly if your website requires advanced functionality such as database management, shopping cart installation etc.
In most cases, what slows down the process is the client’s request to make “minor” changes. Sometimes what appears as a “minor” change, is in fact more complex, as it can impact the look and/or function of the whole website.
To ensure your website is up and running as quickly as possible, talk to your designer and work out a schedule of what is going to happen and when. Agree on dates when:
- You will provide a brief to your designer about the functionality and layout your require.
- The developer will supply the initial layouts.
- How long changes will take to the layouts.
- When you will provide text / images to be included on your site.
- How long coding and testing will take.
It is also important to advise the designer if you are going to be away on holidays during the website development time or if you have any specific deadlines, such as launch of a new product etc.
Have a schedule in writing and adjust it if need be. Just like building a house, things occasionally crop up and delays happen, so be somewhat flexible and keep the communication open.
3. Time it takes to get changes made after the website is completed
Once your website has been live for a while and you have received feedback or things have changed in your business or industry, you may find you need changes. Unless they are major changes, generally your developer should be able to complete them within three to five business days. However, much will depend on his or her workload at the time.
If the changes are minor and you are not fussed when they are done, then it’s no problem, but if you do need specific updates completed, it may be worthwhile to contact your developer ahead of time and alert them to expect those changes on a particular day. Let them know when you need them finalized, so he/she can work them into his or her schedule.
The other alternative is to get a content management system, which will allow you to update the website yourself. It may initially cost you more to have it set up and you will need to learn how to use it but, in the long run, it may save you time, money and frustration.
4. Having to pay more than what is initially quoted
Most website designers will provide you with a service agreement that outlines exactly what you will get for your money, so make sure you read it before you sign it and ask your developer to clarify anything you do not understand. If you decide half way through the project that you want to have extra functionality added or the design changed completely, expect to pay extra. As I mentioned earlier, what may seem like a minor update may, in fact, have impact on the whole website.
5. Additional expectations
Your website designer cannot read your mind and if you want something included as part of the design or functionality, it is important that you tell your developer upfront. Once your website is completed, saying “but I thought I could update the website myself” is not going to help you. Sure the designer can add extra features, but you will have to pay more.
6. Not coming up on top of search engines
A common request I get from first-time entrepreneurs is to have their website come up on the first page of search engine results as soon as their site is launched.
The only way to do this is to run pay per click marketing campaigns, such as Google Adwords, but there is almost no way that your website can rank highly in organic search results a week after it goes live.
Your website designer can include certain elements such as titles, headings, page names with your keywords in them, but those will only help slightly with how well you rank in search engines.
Please understand that search engines such as Google ask more than 200 questions of each page before they deliver it to someone doing a search. Questions such as:
- Does the search term appear in the title of the page.
- Is it in the heading and content of the website.
- Does it appear in the image alt tags.
- How many relevant websites link to this page
And many more.
The search engine optimization process takes time — first you need to find the best keywords — keywords that are searched often, but don’t have a lot of competition, and then you need to work them into your website and also build links from other websites to yours. I recommend you leave this to a specialist search engine optimization company. Most web developers will be able to recommend someone reputable.
Unless the contract you sign with your website designer specifically includes search engine optimization, don’t expect your site to rank high when you first launch.
Getting a new website designed can be exciting and fun, but it is critical that you are clear with your expectations and communicate them to your web developer before you start. Do your homework prior to hiring someone — look at his or her previous work, check out testimonials and perhaps even contact his or her previous clients. Also, understand your website designer has most likely been doing such work for a while and has some knowledge about what works on the Internet and what doesn’t. So listen to his or her advice, be flexible with your ideas and you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
Ivana Katz can get your business online within seven days. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, visit www.web4business.com.au and download a free website plan or connect with Ivana on Facebook.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
I talk a lot of smack about Google, but I need to come clean with you guys about something. I simply adore the Google Chrome browser for general web surfing. It’s lightweight, highly intuitive, and a downright pleasure to use. However, I never sign into my Google account on Chrome. Google always gripes me out, chastising me by taunting, “You’re missing out!” as soon as I hit the homepage.
At first, I thought this was nothing more than a minor annoyance, but then I learned that Google recently placed a job ad with a description specifically aimed at driving up user sign-in rates. Brian Ussery discovered the listing and reported his findings on his personal blog. The most interesting part of the story, however, is Brian’s uuber-provocative write-up dissecting Big G’s motives.
Looking at the Listing
Brian was smart enough to grab the following screenshot before the Google listing disappeared into the Internet abyss:
It’s a little small, so here’s a close-up of the portion Brian highlighted above:
“The mission of the search growth marketing team is to make that information universally accessible by enabling and educating users around the world to search on Google, search more often, and search while signed-in. Research and analysis has shown that putting Google search access points at the fingertips of users is an effective way of achieving these goals. And the more users that are signed in to Google, the better we can tailor their search results and create a unified experience across all of the Google products that they use.”
Long story short, Google’s so hungry to get you signed in that the company’s willing to pay someone good money to figure out how to convince you. And do you blame ‘em? If you’re signed in, then Google gets the juicy insider info needed to provide super-personalized search results for you, and (as Brian points out) better target ads. Google+, he notes, is a major component of the search giant’s sign-in plan. However, much to the company’s chagrin, the social network has nowhere near the viral likability of rivals such as Facebook and Twitter. G+ is growing, yes, but most of the people who use the service do so for the business benefits alone.
As Brian pointed out in his post, Google has a serious setback hindering its growth: rival social networks block G from accessing their astronomical database of user-generated content. This lockout is detrimental to Big G’s bottom line. The majority of the blocked content contains valuable personal info that Google would love to use in order to serve relevant ads.
Hence, Google+ jumped to the top of G’s list of priorities. Although the company has a much greater audience reach than Facebook, Facebook has exponentially more personal data on each member. Google+ is a way for Big G to counteract this problem by harvesting more personal data from searchers than it could uncover otherwise.
But Google’s still waiting for that goldmine. James Whittaker, a former development director for Google, wrote about the company’s new direction in a blog post manifesto defending his decision to leave. James grew frustrated with G’s shift from innovator to relentless competitor, and he noted this about the company’s push to make G+ a success:
“A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.” Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google’s party became the elephant in the room.”
Obviously, Google needed to do something bold to make G+ catch on. The answer? Tie all Google’s offerings together under the umbrella of a verified Google account and focus on forcing sign-ins.
Google: Multiple Services, One Goal
Last January, ZDNet reported that Google was testing the idea of automatically creating a Gmail account and a Google+ profile for people who set up new Google accounts. The author updated the post in November, stating that Google began a full-scale (and very hush-hush) rollout of the new automatic signup feature. This is the statement G’s PR people issued when questioned about the quiet new change:
If you’ve signed up for a Google account any time during the last year or so, you have a Gmail account and a Google+ profile – whether or not you decide to use it. But Google’s not stopping there. According to Google Support, if you want to use Google Play on any of your mobile devices, you’ll need a Google account for that as well. Plus, you’ll need a Google Wallet account tied to your Google account if you want to buy apps or any other paid content.
See what they did there? Google is slowly filling in every possible escape hatch for users who want to avoid signing in. That’s their answer to their whole “lack of personal user data” conundrum. G’s given up on trying to entice you to use its services – the search titan has opted to pursue the easy route instead: leveraging its reach and Internet domination to penetrate every aspect of your online life and quite literally force your hand.
Nell Terry is a tech news junkie, fledgling Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She thrives on social media, web design, and uncovering the truth about all the newest marketing fads that pop up all over the ‘net. Find out more about Nell by visiting her online portfolio at Content by Nell.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
If you have a product to sell, and in many cases even a service, it makes great sense to ensure your company’s website has an e-commerce component.
A recent report on TechCrunch cites 38 percent of people shop online at least once per month. That is greater than one in three people, and a strong indication of how consumers are trusting e-commerce solutions more and more.
Here are several great reasons your company’s website should accept online payments for your product or service:
It will keep you modern: Consumers are coming to expect the option to buy products online, even if you also have a brick-and-mortar store. People are busy and, as consumers trust the online shopping experience more and more, it can be far more convenient to simply pop over to a website and buy the products they need rather than traveling to the store to obtain the product. Customers can easily be turned off by a brand that doesn’t appear to be keeping up with business trends and leveraging modern technology where possible.
It will allow you to track sales in real time: Most e-commerce solutions now offer fantastic reporting and tracking mechanisms, many of which can also be linked with offline sales reporting should you so desire. When an online sale is made, it is immediately reported in your e-commerce interface and the process of fulfillment can be managed entirely online.
Know your audience better: Many e-commerce solutions can pull together demographic information and reporting on your customers. It could be as simple as asking questions like birthday, gender and zip code when a person is registering to buy your products online, but allowing for online transactions gives you the opportunity to learn a great deal more about who your target audience is.
Never be closed: Having an online store means never being closed. Make money while you are sleeping simply by ensuring your site accepts credit cards. Many people don’t have time to shop during normal business hours, so allowing the option for them to shop at night enables the possibility for more sales.
Expose your offering to new markets: If you only sell your product offline, you are limiting yourself to a much smaller audience. Broaden your products’ or service’s reach by allowing people to purchase them online.
Save money: If you have a new business, you can test the viability of your product or service by starting with an online store, as opposed to making the massive investment involved in selling in a brick-and-mortar setting. You may ultimately decide that it will always be more effective to sell your products online because you can reach so many more people, and forego having physical location altogether.
In short, enabling your site to accept credit cards for online transactions is one of the smarter things you can do for your business. It will broaden your reach to your customer base, and will allow your business to be open 24/7. What do you have to lose?
Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from digital marketing strategies to health and wellness.
Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources
Beware the Panda. According to a tweet from the official @Google Twitter account this morning, a new data refresh is rolling out today. This update, according to the notice, should only affect 1.2 percent of English language queries.
Google’s Chrome web browser sends search results from its Omnibox – the box used to type in URLs – to Google. Now the web browser will use SSL to encrypt web search input before sending it to Google, whether or not users are signed into Google.