Website Design Blog



Why start a blog?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Blog Items | 0 comments

Everyone likes the concept of having a blog, but to actually be dedicated enough to continue is the difficult part. What makes the blog worthwhile? The obvious reason is to communicate information to your viewers. Information about your services and the industry you are in are always helpful for clients. What is the best hidden reason to start a blog? That would beef up your Google 0r Bing rankings. When you write blogs and increase your websites informational value search engines will eventually take notice. When a blog is submitted it will be picked up by these engines and eventually allow your website more opportunity to be hit on a search. The only drawback is it isn’t a clear science. It isn’t like if you have over 200 blog entries you are guaranteed to be ranked. The better way to look at it is write topics that people will search on and those particular blogs may be found. It is also good to write blog topics that integrate the main keywords you would like to be searched on. For example if you are Chicago based website design company, it would behoove you to write an article here and there regarding your experiences. Include the words such as “Chicago” and “website” and “design” to your blog so they can also be searched on through the different engines. Another important factor is to try and get links. Links from bigger sites to your website is the best, but I find it is not a bad idea to have links to other sites from your blog articles. Once you got a handful of blogs you can submit your blog articles to various online publications such as ezinearticles.com or goarticles.com. This way you will have articles out there that can lead back to your website. Overall spending a few hours a week on writing a blog can be well worth it in the long...

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Website Sponsorship or Paid Ranking using Google Adwords

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in Blog Items | 0 comments

Paid keyword advertisement is such a foreign world to most business owner, but the basics should definitely be understood by them – so one can determine if they should pursue it further. The main thing to understand about Google Adwords is that it allows you to generate potential customers to your website using targeted keywords. For example if you keywords are “Chicago Dog Grooming” – if you are a paid Adwords business, your website will be seen on the first page for that search.  Does this type of advertisement using targeted keywords work? Absolutely, it is a given that if your site ranks high on Google searches it will be clicked on and it will generate business.  What is the difference between Google Adwords sponsorship and regular search results? The sponsorship comes before the organic search results. It is a slightly different section, but definitely prominent on the top and right side of the results page. The sponsorship has a slightly pale backdrop. Sponsorship ranking is paid for, whereas organic ranking is not paid for.  What is the cost of Adwords? The cost is determined by a bidding process for the particular keywords. For example if hundreds of companies are bidding on the same keyword the cost of it will be higher, but if only a few bid on it the cost will be relatively low. Just to show an example, it might be normal to pay for $10 per click for a set of keywords. This may seem like a lot to someone but if that click means a long term business with that potential client, it may be the best investment you make.  How are Adwords paid out? As mentioned it depends on the number of clicks. If your ad is clicked thousands of times at a rate of $10 per click, your cost may start to escalate. However you can set a budget for your Adword campaign which will limit you whatever cost you are comfortable with. Once that budget is set for the month they will deliver your sponsored advertisement spread out over the month to match your budget. How to get started and see if it is worth while? There is a keyword tool provided by Google that will allow you to determine how many times those keywords you are interested in has been searched on per month. Those are real numbers and can really give you a clear understanding if it is worth pursuing. Also there is no cost in just signing up and setting up a campaign. In doing this you can determine what your general monthly cost might be and see if it matches closely to your...

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Websites Management – A Long Term Consideration

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Blog Items | 0 comments

There seems to be always an immediate reason for creating a website. This can fall in the category of getting something up there to appear as an established business or making sure the proper logo and services are displayed online. The thing that is usually not thought through is the long term consideration. Mainly that being the website content management. There can easily be a situation where not much changes are needed except for the occasional updates in personnel or maybe changing a particular product or service that becomes out dated. Sometimes a website can stay the same for years. This blog is written to make a case for a longer view regarding your website. It is critical that the website content be current, but for many businesses their importance is not very high, it is more or less just a necessity that can be checked off and forgotten. One thing that business my not consider is a longer view on trying to rank their website through various search engines. It may not be within days or months but maybe after a year if your website is properly tended to, it can slowly move up the rankings for certain keywords. How do you make this happen? One smart idea would be to start a blog or an online newsletter that you constantly update, perhaps 2 to 3 times a month. This may seem like a lot of work, but just a few hours each month may be all that is needed to slowly move your website into a better ranking position. The secret is to try and use keywords that relate to your business and that you can write various online blogs or articles regarding. For example if your business is based around “dog grooming in Chicago” – try to write various articles about dog grooming. It is important to mention your location and develop useful information that people might search for and find helpful. It may seem crazy to spend your time providing free information, but as long as it allows the traffic to slowly flow towards your website, ultimately website search engines such as Google will reward you with better rankings. Another long game would be to try to syndicate your information to other website that publish and have readership that is larger than yours. Once you have a collection of various topics you have written about, it is easier to go about finding these online resources for your piggy back off of. Doing this will also extend your reach. One such avenue may be Ezine Articles. Slowly chip away and different avenues to promote your website – this may even involve dabbling in Google Adwords. Sometimes there are coupons for $100 and with a small budget you can launch a campaign that can give you some idea how well these campaign will work. This is in terms of both revenues collected, but also how much was spent on it. Lastly – putting your website onto as many different website – perhaps chamber of commerce sites or other related groups can lend more credibility to your site. Don’t neglect your website – if done right it may become the best long term investment you have. If you diligently update and extend your online network – you may...

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Website design and social media footing

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Blog Items | 0 comments

Can social media replace traditional search engines when it comes to promoting or getting click-throughs to your website? I think it is a definite possibility with consumer based products or services, but I have more doubts with business to business products or services. When a consumer likes or dislikes a product and they are and active participant in social media, they will definitely relay this information to their friends. Also information that is collected in the social network can be farm properly by companies to display the correct desired products to the end consumer. Both these scenarios seem like logical events where social media can become a dominate player in the chain of making a final purchase. When it comes to B2B or Business to Business, I wonder how this works. Their usually is not a particular person who is on such a social media networks. Also unless it is a very small business, any usage or updates to a social media site would probably require a committee which would probably make the process not viable. Most Chicago business we have worked with see very little need to setup a social media website and in addition have very little resources to do so. These are people that in their private lives are pretty active using Facebook or Twitter, but in relation to their business they see very little reason to participate. Now there are talks of all search engines just going through a social media portal, such as Facebook. For example, some where down the line, instead of getting on to google.com or bing.com you would just get into your Facebook page first to start the search for products or services. In this case I can see the power of social media exploding where the control of Internet can be shifted to a more social media driven experience. The best stance to probably take is to be a ready for change. If there is enough rumbling about social media revolution, it is prudent for any business – especially those that cater to a consumer base to be prepared for the social media tsunami to...

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What are the 5 most important things to consider for a website design in Chicago?

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Blog Items | 0 comments

1. Chicago business’ website has to be seen The most important purpose for a website is it has to be seen, without being seen it seems to defeat the purpose of even having a website. How do you get seen? You must load up your website with great content and also clearly state your geographical location for example Chicago if you are local Chicago based business. This is done by having text within your website that contains your keywords that relate to your business and also make clear the location of your business. This is an over simplification but the end goal is to be content rich and location centralized. If you complete this goal you are sure to rank better in the keywords you search for. 2. It has to pass the professional website design test The design has to be up to par, a bad or outdated website will give a first impression that may cause potential clients to bypass your website and move onto the next one. Let’s face it if you have 2 websites and one looks better than the other – just aesthetically – it might sound superficial, but the viewer may never bother to read the content. 3. Ability to keep the website fresh The difference between a website that ultimately will work for you and one that will slowly start losing in ranking and relevance is the ability to update and revise your website. A content management website will allow you to constantly update your website with new information that will reap great benefits in the long run, the most important benefit being able to rank better in various search engines such as Google. 4. Make sure website is organized and friendly The basic mechanics and sitemap layout needs to be organized and easy to navigate. Over complicated websites have a few drawbacks: One it can befuddle the viewer to the point of annoyance. Secondly it causes issues with search engines, whereas there can be missing links, or incorrectly structures. Also simple issues like having Flash or not optimizing images may impair the speed and viewing of your website. 5. Website should get to the point Many websites try to be and do too much. We believe it is best to just have a simple message of exactly what you do and leave it at that. The focus will allow you to capture the viewer, and then as they see other areas of the website you can expand on your services and capabilities. These are general thoughts on making a relevant website, however even more important than all of these is to get started. Too many business want things to be perfect before they start and overall it is best to get started and gradually perfect your...

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Website design with WordPress

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Blog Items | 0 comments

As a website designer based in Chicago, we have setup numerous website from scratch, even basic one to two page websites all the way up to complex WordPress websites. Some of the best results are when business owners and designers collaborate to create a final product. The “start from scratch websites” however seems to be slowly replaced by template or theme based approach such as WordPress. This seems like a logical progression since website features are universally needed and anything to make those functions easier to setup and manage make sense. Since things like navigation menu, layout and general distinction from homepage to other interior pages are such a universal norm, WordPress has adapted these concepts into their themes to easily produce them. They also go much further including the ability to update pages with a simple web based interface. Things like blog functions are also available where it will keep track of posting, comments and cataloging of blogs for easy consumption. For me the most impressive addition to WordPress is the sliders and nice design features. These are ways to transition your images with various captions to create a dynamic banner on the home page. These dynamic banners for most website are the crux of the website. What I mean is most people walk away from the website with the message that is smartly displayed in those banners more than anything else. On top of the nice built in design functions, there are some amazing WordPress templates; Website designs that are eye catching and layouts that have been carefully put together. Examples are designs from Elegant Themes and other various providers of themes. There may be a cookie cutter aspect to WordPress website, but overall the combination of ease of use, cost and functionality should eventually persuade a majority of business to start using WordPress to get them ready go...

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How a typical website design process works

Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in Blog Items | 0 comments

In this blog we would like to just go through a typical process of how a website design and final product is completed. This should help new clients get a clearer idea of what to expect. Most clients do have some idea about how their website should look like. This is because they have looked around to competitor’s websites or have worked a little with a designer to get a logo started.  If this is the case that is a good starting point to build on. Any logos or images that a client has already vetted will assist in the look and feel of the website. If these items are not setup – it might make some sense for a client to spend some time looking over various website to perhaps get a gage of what they would like. Content is another important aspect of a website design. Reading the services and history of a client’s business can give the website designer “the inspiration” for a design. For example if the business is related to safety products for kids, the designer may start thinking about websites that look friendly for mothers looking for such products. The design may have images of kids and colors that relate to kids products. It may have a simple message of caring or warning. Once some general logo or image guidelines are given and website content, a website design will be created. This design should be pretty flushed out, designs that are flushed out fully make it easier for client to understand the completely picture. From this initial design the client will have the option to stick with that design with minor adjustments or to completely do a new design.  Usually this initial design is a great tool to bounce ideas and use as a stepping stone for the next design which is typically the path towards a final design. Once the 2nd design is completed with clients input, it is a matter of fine tuning and filling in the other interior pages.  All these design and sub-pages can be completed and shown in a hidden website page for client review and approval. Once everything is signed off on, it can then be set...

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Static and Dynamic Website Design

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in Blog Items | 0 comments

What is the difference between a static and dynamic website design? Basically a static websites are like a print brochure that is online. It is created once and pretty much stays the same as far as its content and images. A dynamic website however, usually has some changing element on the website. It can be content, news or blog information. Sometimes it is products and features that the business wants to promote. It is easy to say everyone should maintain a dynamic website, but usually you find small business owners don’t have the time or inclination to constantly manage and update their website. Most of the Chicago businesses that we have setup blogs or news sections have always had great intentions in the beginning but quickly drop off after a few months. It isn’t even a lack of things to say or knowledge about their business; it is more just a lack of time and out of site out of mind mentality. I think another reason why websites are not updated regularly is most small business owner understand that they are not getting thousands of hits to their site or getting return viewers. They probably feel putting a lot of work to keep it updated, might not matter in lieu of the lower volume of viewers. This is however unfortunate. One powerful reason to keep your website updated with new content should be for the sake of ranking on search engines like Google or Bing. These search engines do check your website regularly for various things, including updates and new back links. In this process they also catalog your website keywords to try to give you a fair shake at ranking your site. A website content that stays static may be looked down upon by these search engines. Another dynamic element to mention might be usage of transition on the home page.  This has less to do with new content, but more to do with presenting a series of images and messages to guide your viewer to the various contents of your website. Having a dynamic banner will allow a more eye catching website design, which is always a benefit. These dynamic elements can be setup in Flash or...

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WordPress taking a template approach

Posted by on Aug 7, 2013 in Blog Items | 0 comments

WordPress is an amazing advancement in the creation of website. The main reason for this is it’s built in ability to add content such as articles and blog. It does democratize the ability to manage a website where regular web owners with a little bit of effort should be able to maintain a professional blog with regular updates. The other benefit is the ability to choose from hundred if not thousands of sophisticated website designs. These can range from simple blog sites to polished corporate websites. The cost of these design are nominal, but since you are just getting the template, it still involve your time to complete and get it up and going. Such a template approach to website design and development allows users to quickly get their site going, but it does have its drawbacks. The main drawback is if you want to break out of the template. It is possible to do so, but in most cases figuring out how to do it, might not be worth the trouble. Also you have to be careful not to break something while fumbling around under the hood. Luckily most WordPress templates allow for a wide range of flexible configuration capability. It allows users for example to add / remove widgets and really change around layout of the website if they want to. It also allows users to customize the home page so it looks different then the interior pages. In essence if you have thought of a certain change WordPress probably has a way for you to do it, since it has been already requested previously. Overall we are bullish on WordPress websites. They are amazing in their design look and despite a few compromises to adhere to the template approach; the end result will be a professional, well designed website for your...

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Top 3 important things about website design

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 in Blog Items | 0 comments

A numbering of things make up a great website, but this blog is just to highlight 3 important items. Never underestimate a great image to make the entire website stand out. I’ve seen websites that seem absolutely perfect, but once you recreate them without the same key images then it seems like just another ordinary website. It is this interplay of words, layout and images, but the images for me is what ties thing together, it is the main impression you will walk away with. The layout design, including the colors, navigation menu, transitional banner, logo, side bar, footer and background are important in the fact that if they are badly done, they can have a negative impact on your side. The website layout should be clean, simple and unobtrusive. Once it become too complex or clever, I feel it can detract from the main purpose of the website. Simple message of what you do is always important. Once you get too vague or too detailed, the audience can get confused. In general I think it is best to clearly state what your product or services is on the home page and it is probably what the audience reads...

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