Thursday, April 9, 2009

Design Challenge

Websites are crucial to the success of most businesses. The proliferation of Websites have dominated the success of at least 90% of businesses. In fact in the late 90s business who were slow to get on the website craze saw significant revenue loss. Websites have taken the place of most advertising and basically serve as a receptionist to your business. If your website is appealing and informative chances are you have earned a client. While websites are vital to the marketing of any business, it should also be considered a task that is not lightly taken.

Ions ago in the mid to late 90s Internet programmers were a rarity and once found were paid a pretty steep premium. Then came sites like, GoDaddy, Office Live, etc. in which website templates are offered almost free of charge. Although these templates may save a small business tons of money upfront there is the image problem of your website looking very similar to other sites. The other issue with templates is that they are limited and you will often find yourself not being able to tweak them to your liking. This frustration is time consuming which makes you think am I really saving money if I'm wasting my time on this??

When it comes to designing a Website here are few things to consider:

1. Hiring a designer - Unless you are a designer, graphic artist or a computer programmer who also designs then don't attempt this. There are issues with fonts, colors, backgrounds and placement that only a designer would be privy to know. It takes a real knack to design a website. It's not as simple as throwing some links together and voila. Remember your site is the receptionist to your business. You want to make a great impression!

2. Make Sure You're Not Getting Punked - Ashton Kutchner may be popular and all but Punked is not what you want to be when creating a website. Beware of designers who charge outrageous prices. We are no longer in the 90s and their craft is now pretty much generic. Be prepare to spend a $1000-$3000 on a site but depending on what you need, do not exceed those numbers. Designers are not writing code or actually creating colors. Most designers just borrow code from other sites. Basically you're paying to design but not for coding which they can get from anywhere. Don't let them fool and punk you into thinking they're working on your website from scratch!

3. Research other sites and find their designer - If you come across a site that looks good try to find out who created it. Chances are you can look in the web code if you click on View, Source and maybe find out the name of the designer. Also don't hesitate to call the company whose site you like. You never know they may get a bonus referral for recommending others. It doesn't hurt to try.

4. Consider the 8 Second Rule - A website should be appealing, it should immediately grasp the attention of a potential customer. Try to trim the fat when building a website. Ideally you don't need tons of colors, pictures, animation and a dissertation of what your business is about. Sleek, simple and inviting is most appealing.

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