Archive for January, 2011

Design It Yourself Or Hire A Pro ?

Posted in Business on January 27, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Whether you should design that website yourself or hire a professional web designer depends on several very important factors. One of the most important things to consider is the level of expertise that you or your employees have in the necessary web technology needed to create an
attractive, professional looking website that functions the way you want it to be. The decision whether or not to do it yourself comes down to your skill levels, the features you want or need, the image you want to project for your web site and the amount of time you have to devote to building the website.

Some of the necessary skills to design and build a website are:

HTML knowledge – some basic knowledge is necessary but good web design software can help. Artistic ability – a good eye for color and generally good taste are necessary for a web designer to create an attractive web site. Graphic software expertise – some knowledge is necessary to produce attractive clean photos and site graphics. It is also needed to optimize the pictures to the smallest possible file size for quick loading.

Navigation Expertise – Understanding the functionality of website navigation design and implementation is a critical skill. Programming – you could possibly need CGI, JavaScript or database programming to add interactive web pages or integrate it with an online database.

Marketing and business experience – whether you are building a personal website, or a business website, there are some major business and marketing aspects that need to be taken into consideration right from the beginning deisgn stage of the website.

What if I Can’t Do All of That ?

If you don’t have either the time or the skills needed to build your own website, you can hire a professional to do all or part of it for you. A good
place to find a professional web designer is one of the many freelance jobs websites available. These freelance job boards allow you to hire individuals with the expertise you need: web designers, programmers, SEO specialist, copywriters and more. It can be one person or an entire team of individuals. Alternately, you can hire a local web design firm. Freelancers are usually cheaper because many of them live in countries where there is a 5:1 ration in salaries. That means $1 in the US is the equivalent of $5 in their country. So, paying them $5 an hour is like paying someone in the US $25 an hour, which is the minimum price you can hire people with the necessary knowledge.

Content writers who are native English speakers charge from $0.05 per word and up. Non-native English speakers can be hired for around $0.02 per word. But if your website is in English, you probably want to hire a native English speaker to write your content.

Make sure you communicate to the web designer, web developer or copywriter you hire exactly what you need to achieve. A good website designer understands how to build internet marketing into the site design to make it search engine friendly.

What does outsourcing cost ?

For a simple five or six page website, expect to pay anywhere between $100 for just the web page design and $1,500 for the entire site with graphics and content. For a more complex interactive website you may pay from $500 for just the programming to $10,000 and up for the entire website.

There is all a cost in your time as well. You will need to manage the project: writing the project specification, spending time writing emails to the freelancer, doing some quality assurance testing, etc. In some cases you will find that developing a website in-house can be cheaper then outsourcing it.

Remember, it’s not always about the money. If you already have an established company brand, you probably want to seriously consider hiring a professional web designer to be certain that you maintain your brand and present it professionally on your website.

Summary

The decision whether to hire a professional web designer or to build the site yourself depends on what skills you have, how much time you can spare and really whether or not you want to do the work yourself.

Source:
Warren Baker
Internet business consultant for WebDesigners123.

Four Ways to Find the Right Tone for Your Web Copy

Posted in Business on January 18, 2011 by wolfwomyn

You know online content should have a more conversational tone than other marketing materials. But remember that “informality” isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. “Conversational style has room for plenty of variation,” says Rick Sloboda of Webcopyplus. “For example, a conversation with your banker will differ from a conversation with your spouse.”

To find the right tone for your customers, Sloboda has tips like these:
Keep your voice active—not passive. A simple change from “You will be contacted by the next business day” to “We will contact you by the next business day” makes the statement appear less stiff and more trustworthy. “Web copy in passive voice sounds more formal,” he explains, “but it can also sound vague, unreliable and possibly deceptive.”

Recognize the importance of contractions. While you don’t want to overuse contractions, consider how they transform “Do not hesitate to give us a call. We would be happy to help you” into the far more inviting “Don’t hesitate to call us. We’d be happy to help.”

Keep paragraphs short. Big blocks of text look daunting when someone’s browsing online. So stick to brief paragraphs. And even include the occasional one-liner: “These are great for emphasis,” says Sloboda, “and invoke a casual tone.”

Mix formal and informal vocabulary. Real-world conversations tend to draw words from across the formal-informal spectrum. So make your content “sound” more realistic by balancing highbrow (substantial/myriad/numerous) with lowbrow (plenty/lots/tons).

The Po!nt: Reach out to your customers with a more relaxed online tone, but don’t get sloppy about grammar and spelling. It’s one thing to let your hair down—another entirely to look unkempt.

Source: Webcopyplus.

Annoying Website Design

Posted in Business on January 11, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Have you ever considered that your website may be annoying? When it’s comes to website design, knowing what visitors hate most is a must, unless you don’t want them to visit you again. This article describes what you should exclude from your website. If you know about an annoying website, feel free to send this article to its webmaster.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a colleague asking me to check one of the website he had developed. He is a web designer and his client wanted a nice attractive flash header. The flash header was great. You can’t miss it at all. Some nice graphics elements were flying in while sound effects created just the right atmosphere. However, after starting to explore the website, the header became very annoying because every time you clicked on the website the header restarted. What was pleasant initially became very annoying very quickly, disturbing your concentration and making it difficult to read what was on the page.

He is not the first to create what I like to call – “annoying website design”. Many webmasters, especially new webmasters are totally “in love” with their ideas and tend to go overboard with their design in one way or another. It’s nice to have an attractive header, but is it really necessary to assault the visitor’s mind with it? In my opinion, absolutely not!

Webmasters sometimes forget that their website design should send a message to the visitor that should reflect the website topic and not the programmer’s skill level.

Is Your Website Design Annoying?

Well…. It’s not that hard to be annoying. However, some webmasters are much better than others at annoying their visitors. Check my top 5 list and decide for yourself whether you have been annoying your visitors.

  • 1. Background music – Unless you are operating an online internet radio station or sell music CDs, why play a midi/wav file in the background continuously on every page?
  • 2. Huge font size – If you are designing a website for people with a disability then you are doing the right thing, but if not then you are shouting. People don’t like it when someone shouts at them.
  • 3. Small font size – Do you want to be heard? Keep a normal tone, don’t shout but “speak” in a reasonable volume.
  • 4. Overlapping layers – Layers can be very useful up to the point. But not when they are being used to put an annoying message in the visitor’s face.  Don’t try to force your visitor to read your messages. Try persuasion instead of brute force.
  • 5. Popup windows – Even though popup windows are now blocked by many add on tools, webmasters keep using them. The annoying part of popups is sometimes we actually miss important information because of those anti popup tools.  Haven’t you heard the old phrase “if you can’t beat him, join him”? Don’t use pop up windows. Put your important messages in a central place on your website.

Most likely each one of us has our own private top five lists. You probably have many more annoying design cases in mind. Well, you’re right, the list is much longer then that. I just wanted to describe some of the highlights in order to bring this important subject your attention.

Some of you are probably reading those lines and smiling while some others have a feeling a deja-vu. Keep in your mind that as a webmaster the last thing you want to do is put lots of effort into your website and then find out that your visitors hate it. It’s not a matter of taste, it’s more about being the same polite person we all try to be when we go to a party.

I tried to point out a few things that might be useful to some web designers and webmasters. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to send this article to my friend, hopefully he’ll send it to his client 🙂

About the Author:
Warren Baker is an Internet business consultant for WebDesigners123.
http://articles.webdesigners123.com/annoying-website-design.php