Appropriate Prices for Web Design

Perhaps, you’ve been working with WordPress long enough that you’re ready to make a move. You’ve learned the ins and outs of Flash and you’re so good at Illustrator that it’s unbelievable! Those programs are really fun once you get the hang of it, and they are essential to web development.

But, if you are looking to take the leap to becoming a professional web designer, you have to start viewing this as a business. With that comes the most important part of a business, the pricing.

There are not exact or easy answers to how much you should charge for a particular design or project, but there are some factors you can take into consideration that will help you determine a good price.

One factor is the time factor. How long does it normally take you to complete a project? More specifically, how long would it take you to complete this certain project? If you’ve never logged your time, all you can do is estimate, so it might be a good idea to make a project for yourself and detail how long it took you to do what.

As a web designer and developer, many juggle more than one project at a time, which is another factor to take into consideration. Let’s say you’ve begun a project but have to stop because you need information from the client before proceeding any further. You shoot them an email, and start working on a different project in the meantime. Then they reply and want to speak on the phone, so you’re caught up in a conversation for several minutes. Here, it is difficult to determine how much time you spent on which project, but that’s just what you have to do. Log all the time, and each time, you worked on a project. You have to keep track of them all. More or less, this will become a habit and you’ll be able to see how much time you spend normally on things.

You may be thinking, “but why bother doing that?”

Here’s why: Someone may be willing to give you $500 for a web design project. However, if you spend 70 hours on this particular project, that $500 wouldn’t cover it. You would be quite sad to find out that equaled to about 7.5 cents per hour. However, if it only took you 5 hours to complete, you’d be making $100 an hour.

To be able to correctly get the right amount of money your project is worth, you have to track your time and know how long it takes you to do the simple things as well as the difficult tasks.

There are many ways to keep up with your time from creating an excel sheet to downloading time management tools and clocks via the Internet. Whatever you choose to do, keep the date, hours worked, exclude your lunch or other breaks and keep tracking. Sometimes you may only be logging certain minutes, but at the completion of a project, add them up to see your time spent.

After you’ve done this for a project, you’ll be able to properly estimate future projects, which will help you to determine an appropriate price for your services.

Five Crucial Components of Web Design

Professional website developers know the importance of web design and the role it plays in making a website successful. Designing a successful website is no easy task, especially for someone who is new to the world of web development. With the help of web development applications many people can and do create decent websites. But decent in most cases is not good enough to make a site successful from a traffic or financial standpoint. 

There are five crucial components of web design that you must focus on in order to make a site valuable to its visitors and successful for you.

– SEO – Getting free traffic to your site.

– Usability – Ease of navigating around the site and finding desired information quickly.

– Aesthetics – Visual appeal.

– Content – Valid, up to date, relevant information

– Graphics – Eye candy that relays relevant visual information to the visitor.

SEO

Before you ever lay down a byte of HTML code for a site you have to know and understand at least the basics of SEO and how it fits into the design. SEO is the art of designing a site in a fashion that gives the site an advantage for obtaining free and abundant traffic.

The number one aspect of SEO is selecting keywords relevant to your site. The keywords you select should be based on high usage, low competition and relevancy to your topic. Once you select keywords you can then begin the development of your site. Keep in mind keywords are a critical aspect of the design. The keywords you choose will be applied within the design in strategic fashion to benefit the flow of traffic to your site. To understand more on how to implement SEO you should read and learn more about this important subject. If you don’t, your website success will be difficult to achieve.    

Usability

Your website must be easy to navigate and designed in a way that makes it easy to find information. Visitors will not stay long if it takes more than one or two clicks to get the information they want or if it takes brain power to figure out how to get the information they want. One of the goals of your site design is to keep usability easy, and simple. To do this, apply the following three fundamentals of usability.

* Provide a site search tool. A visitor in a hurry can quickly find the info they desire then move on to the action they desire.

* Provide simple, intuitive and consistent site navigation.  This provides visitors the tool they need to leisurely explore their way through your site.

* Provide logical and simple to follow content. The message of a site should start off in a simple and basic fashion with well defined links pointing the way to more detailed information or explanation as needed. 

In the cases above the goal is to make it easy for your visitor to find the information they want without frustration or difficulty. Doing this well will have a positive effect on increasing the return of your visitors.

Aesthetics

A website has to look clean, uncomplicated and strike a balance in layout that is pleasant to the visitor. Pleasing aesthetics come about when the colors of a site complement each other, the graphics blend and lend continuation of the theme and the layout brings unity and openness to the page.

Often overlooked by novice designers is the color palette of the site. While you can select color in a willy-nilly fashion and still provide a visually appealing site, a better idea for color selection should be based on an understanding of the color wheel and proven color strategies.     

Many web designers often view a web page as an opportunity to blast a visitor with lots of information in hopes this will convince the visitor to take action. Usually this results in a quick exit due to the overwhelming visual effect and complicated look. A better approach is to provide less content and open space (referred to as white space) to allow visitors eyes to scan and explore with ease.

Content

An important feature of any website is the quality of the text content. Visitors come to a site expecting to find answers to their questions, solutions to their problems or for entertainment value. The content offered at your site must be well-written, without grammatical or spelling errors. It also has to be relevant to the theme of your site, with valid, up to date information for your visitors. Content is King!

Graphics

You can have a functional and usable website without graphic elements. However, if there are similar sites to yours that employ graphics, guess which site will get the most traffic. The necessary companions to any well-designed site are the images and illustrations that grace its pages. The images can’t be any willy-nilly graphic that you might think is cool. Graphic imagery has to support your branding, and communicate the message you are trying to convey. Before you incorporate graphic elements into your site, take some time to look around the web. Notice what looks good and how elements are laid out. These same layouts techniques can be used as models for your site. 

The Internet is a highly competitive business arena. To be successful with a commercial website, you have to keep these five crucial web design elements in mind. Contrary to what many will tell you, it is rarely possible to have commercial success without the benefit of a professional website. This is not to say that you must hire a professional, however you must implement professional design elements to improve your chances for success.

Developing a Website

Many people want to have a website. They do not have the technical expertise to put it together themselves. There is no need to panic. In a capitalistic economy where there is a need there is always someone to fill it. Web development is no different. You can hire these resources to be done or find resources to teach you how to do it yourself.

A search on the internet will find you resources. You can go more independent and hire someone to do a custom web design. They will help with the set up look and graphics on your site. They can even make some suggestions as to content. These services will cost you but may be a very good investment. If you want the best chance at making your site stand out and do what you want it to then hiring a web designer might just be the way to go. You will want to compare prices on what services they have to offer.

You can also choose to download software to use on a web hosting site and make your own design. This may not be as original but will cost less than hiring someone exclusively for your site and web development. The software that is offered is made for the non expert to use. You can even find resources to help you make a shopping cart if you want to set up a store. You can also set up blogs and forums. As noted earlier, if there is a desire for a resource then there is someone to fill that need. A lot of this software is free to download. You will want to compare prices of the hosting sites as well. They are usually relatively inexpensive.

If you want people to see your site you will need to think about website promotion. Web promotion is what gets people to your site. Using an SEO service may help you in this area. Search engines are what people use to find sites and you want to make sure your site comes up as one of the first on its list. You may pay for services to have your site listed. You can also use methods such as using keywords to get your website to be on a list from a search engine. Some hosting sites will also offer web promoting services.

When you develop your site you must be clear in your goals. Decide if you want it to be for personal satisfaction. You might just be sharing a blog about your life with your friends and family. On the other hand, you might have a goal of making money. Those are two distinct goals and you will have to decide which your focus is.