Thriving With Web Design and Development

If you are a Web Designer or Web Developer, you most likely have asked yourself “Where is the work? How can I utilize my skills for a living?” The first answer that comes to your mind is “new businesses”. This in many cases is not accurate and you will not succeed or gain new clients with a marketing goal only targeted to new businesses. You have heard that you must find or achieve a niche when marketing a business or product right? The same rules apply.

Web Designers and Developers seem to compete for projects, so it seems only natural to find the source of business from the start and hopefully bid and win the job over “the other guy”. Other industry specialists such as Domain Investors and other Web Developers already have the projects and established capital, marketing plan, and usually a concept for their project or campaign and you better believe they need your assistance. This is not going to be the time to bid on a project and make $4,000.00 per job but instead is ideal for you to reply to their plea for help and offer “assistance” at a reasonable business to business rate.

So, where do you find other established Internet Professionals? Your first thought is probably SitePoint or some other forum or marketplace and while these are excellent establishments and offer a huge community of diverse web professionals. I feel that jumping into an existing community to solidify your brand or services from ground zero is not appealing and typically attracts the wrong attention. Realizing that exposure and conversions will not happen over night will prevent bogus attempts to get your name out. Create a task list for your promotion efforts and reserve a slot in each workday dedicated to writing helpful articles, providing scripts or designs for public use, and offering relevant insight in areas where help is needed while displaying your contact information (without over-doing it).

Remember every key stroke represents your business, you will achieve richer more targeted, quality results with a patient, proactive approach.

Web Hosting – The Final Step in Website Development

You have pondered all the web development books, gone through tons of online tutorials and finally managed to create your own state of the art website. But then again you are not done yet as your website cannot be accessed over the Internet by your targeted audience. The final missing step you have to do is Web Hosting.

Web hosting refers to the process where you acquire a web space to publish your website so that it can be accessed from anywhere over the Internet. There are many web host companies out there that can host your website. Some for free and others for a small fee depending on the size of your website and as well as additional features you want to add on to your account.

Now that you know what web hosting is you might be wondering how to find a web host company. Worry not, as this is very easy. All you have to do is search “Web Hosting” on your web browser. Scan through the numerous web host companies listed and find one that best suits your need, choose a plan and pay. For more accurate and reliable advice on the web host company it is advisable to go through some review sites that reviews various web hosting companies and their services.

Always look for a reliable web host companies that offer good customer service, less downtime, with state of the art infrastructure because no one wants to have a website that is frequently down due to poor service by the web hosting company. This is because a significant downtime may cause loss of business, income or credibility from your website visitors.

When you are done creating an account with your chosen host, it is time to publish your website that you worked hard on. Make sure to update regularly, do routine maintenance and advertise or market your website in order to keep it fresh and increase website traffic. You can incorporate money making programs into your website. Some web host packages includes tools to create galleries, blogs, e-shops and other features that you can use to enhance the functionality and appearance of your website.

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.