How To Use A Portfolio To Find A Good Web Designer

website imagesWhen you are ready to build an online business, you will probably need a web design company to help you turn this into a reality. This designer or design company has to be able to understand your specific needs and has to have the ability to implement these needs. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to find a good designer to do this for you. You are effectively placing the future of your business in the hands of someone else. One failed website could mean the end of your entire operation. Indeed, your future and your reputation are what are at stake here. So, how do you make the right choice, with so many designers around? Quite a bit of research is actually needed for this, which encompasses many different elements. One of these elements is the portfolio of the designer. This is what you can use in order to see what sort of work has been done before, and whether that is something you are impressed by, or that is relevant to you and your business. A portfolio goes above and beyond verbal promises. It is a visual demonstration, proof if you like, of the ability to keep those promises. But just what should you look for in a portfolio?

Firstly, do they have a portfolio at all? This seems like an obvious question, but every designer has a portfolio. Be weary of those that don’t. Secondly, how much work is in the portfolio? Is this their full body of work, or have they chosen not to include some examples. If this is the case, make sure you find out why certain examples were not included. Thirdly, look into the type of work that has been done before. If, for instance, the designer has created various retail shop websites, whereas you want to offer a counseling website in environmental activism, their skills may not be relevant to you, no matter how well-designed the other pages are. Fourthly, you need to look at the actual quality of the work. Next, look into references by contacting the actual owners of the site. Finally, find out who gets to own the website once the design is completed.

These are the six main tips that can help you in terms of choosing the right web designer. Try not to rush your decision in terms of which designer to go with. It is better to spend a long time analyzing and researching and ending up with the best, than to be quick about it and settle, ending up with less than good quality results. Remember that your website is your public face, it is what your customers will first see and what they will use to create a first impression of who you are. This must be done properly.

Understanding WordPress Plugins And How To Use Them

wordpress road signWordPress is a fantastic platform that is used all over the world. It is incredibly user-friendly and has various features that anybody can use. One of the things that makes WordPress so strong is the fact that it has a variety of plugins, some of them developed by WordPress while others were developed by third parties. Indeed, you can even build your own code, which would allow you to extend the various WordPress features. A plugin is basically a piece of code that allows you to improve the functionality of the standard WordPress platform. There are different types of plugins out there, but the best ones tend to be simple drag and drop. This means you don’t have to make any changes to the actual WordPress core code. The platform uses a modular design, which means that a plugin makes it possible for you to completely change the site so that it looks exactly the way you want it to look. Plugins were made available after the 1.2 version of WordPress. Since there are now so many different ones available, they can be categorized to make it easier to find the ones you need. They offer a range of different features, so think about what you actually need before you start installing them.

The first feature is administration. Some of the things this allows you to customize include anti-spam, admin tools, meta, comments, statistics, restriction, syndication, syntax highlighting, tweaking and more. Then, there are plugins that focus on design, layout and style. This means you can really change how your site looks. You can change things such as calendars, archives, navigation, events, styles and randomness. Then, there are the graphics, sounds and video plugins. These allow you to add media to your blog. There are also post plugins. These allow you to edit, format and do other things with your posts. Link plugins also exist, which are designed to allow you to decide how a link behaves. Finally, there are miscellaneous plugins. Most of these focus on how external information and links are displayed on your site.

It is also very easy to install your plugins. Indeed, it tends to only take five steps to complete. Although these are the standard steps, it is recommended to look into the instructions of the plugins you have chosen, just in case additional actions are required. First, you need to upload the plugin you have chosen to the relevant folder on your dashboard. Next, use your browser to go to WordPress and log in. At the top in your main menu, there is a Plugins link, which you need to click on. You will then see the full list of plugins that are available to you, including the one you have just uploaded. Simply click on “activate” and your plugin will get to work.

Updating Your Web Design Tool Box

Internet Website Design Bulletin BoardThe world has quickly become dependent on the internet, and with this dependence comes the need for easy to use, interesting, and convenient sites for businesses, organizations, personal use, and marketing. This asset has been used in a multitude of ways in countries all across the world, but it has certainly become more than just another “about us” page in terms of where website development has gone. For this reason, among many others, it’s important to update your web design tool box from time to time and consider new options and attitudes that are being directed at building the best possible sites.

Time Is Money

Websites have become advanced in ways that consumers never thought possible with secure pages, the ability to shop, bank, and provide personal information. This isn’t just the age of information, it’s the age of power, but with that power comes the golden rule; time is money. This means that you have to get your bottom line across to customers and potential clients as quickly as possible. When internet users view your web page they can easily hit the back button in a matter of seconds, so you need to catch their attention in that same time spam. Compelling copy is the first way to do this, and that information that you provide needs to be up-to-date, specific to your site in relevance and content, and must also be interesting. This gives your readers a reason to stick around and see what else you have to offer, so that maybe they will scan product pages, shop, call for more information or send your link to a friend.

Keep It Short Not Simple

Okay, so this is one of the more intimidating rules of updating your website and keeping your content interesting to your readers. Think about the most popular form of communication at the moment; it isn’t long form hand written letters anymore, and it certainly isn’t lengthy e-mails. The latest and greatest way of communicating within businesses and with the public is through text and instant messaging. One thing that sets this format of conversation apart from others is that it is short and easy to take in quickly. Your website should be formatted in much the same way, with short paragraphs that can be read quickly, but still featuring information that is clear and to the point. This is especially true of your home page, which is essentially the doorway into your website; if visitors have to take half an hour to get through the introduction to your company, they won’t have time or interest to continue on with your list of products and services, or anything else you want to share.

Don’t Skimp On Your Call To Action

Your call to action (CTA) is basically a way of telling consumers what it is you do and what you can offer in a simple phrase. So “Work with us!” or “Buy Today!” are good examples, at least in terms of simplicity and common knowledge. This offers people the information that they want to see as soon as they arrive rather than searching your site to determine who you are and what you can do for them. A call to action can help them determine whether or not they can even perform certain actions on your site, and can also draw in new consumers who might be interested in what your CTA had to say. This is usually a point that is repeated at least twice throughout your landing page, giving customers a clear idea not just through your top masthead, but also somewhere within the written body content of the page.

Make Your Customer Want Your Business

So yes, you’re selling something on your webpage, be it a product or a service, but you’re also selling yourself to your client as a brand name and a business they can trust. Building trust isn’t always easy, but there are ways that you can make this happen without going overboard. Building trust with consumers can be as simple as letting them know that you care about how much they like your product. If a buyer believes you will take their opinion into consideration in regards to how well something has worked for them they are far more likely to stick with your business for more purchases. Think about offering free shipping, an easy to use return or exchange policy, and provide an area for customer feedback, ratings, or a star ranking system so people can let you know what they think. Some companies build this loyalty through promotions or loyalty programs, offering customers points to save money, coupon deals, or other offers that make it worthwhile to continue utilizing your service or products.

Update Update Update

It’s not just important to keep your methods of web design up-to-date, you also have to keep your content updated constantly. Outdated content can turn potential consumers off, because there are so many websites online that are no longer active, and if your content doesn’t match your bottom line it could cause people to think that you are no longer providing the products or services that you were offering in the past. Keep informed of trends and activities that are ongoing in your industry and create new content on a regular basis. One way to do this is to start a blog based out of your main site, this allows you to give updates and new data once or twice a week so that consumers are aware of how active you are in your field of work.

Start Experimenting With New Customer Interaction

Yes, your website is your bottom line, and this is where a lot of your sales might come from, but there are other ways to interact with your customers and clients regularly outside of this site. Social media has become a real phenomenon not just for people looking to interact with high school classmates from ten years ago, but for businesses and companies across the globe as well. This is a way to get personal with your customers and show them that your brand is one of them. There are different ways to pump up your brand through the integration of social networking, and depending on your industry you may not have as wide of a selection of account types and sites to choose from. Whether you go with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any of the other varieties of sites that give you the ability to connect with consumers, there are ways to link them back to your webpage, share pertinent blog and site information via posts through these outlets, or give your customers the ability to share with their friends and family through the simple click of a button.

Social networking can be a bit intimidating for those who are new to it, but it’s an easy to use tool that provides free marketing if you can understand it and use it to your advantage. For small businesses it might be best to operate your own social networking page, while larger companies can afford to hire somebody to oversee this and other alternative marketing methods with a professional background in website management and social networking.

Give Them Something To Look At

The online world is advancing at an alarming rate and along with it comes the ability to visit websites at speeds that weren’t available even five years ago. This means that almost every user can watch a video, and this can be a great way to keep up-to-date and give customers a visual on why your business is worth a second look. It also makes you relate-able, and sets you apart from your competition in a way that just can’t be achieved through copy or images alone. If you’re working toward a more mobile friendly website you might want to consider keeping these videos mobile friendly as well, although most phones now have operating systems that will allow them to play a number of different video formats. You can also make your site more visually appealing, especially to your own local market by including photos of the people who are behind your company. Staff, salesman, and representatives, along with business related contact info make your company seem very approachable, friendly, and down to earth, which many clients and consumers are looking for in this busy world of hustle and bustle.

The key to updating your web design tool box is to think outside of the box without going overboard and trying to completely reinvent the web page. You need to go with the times, not try and surpass them through some completely new form of web marketing. Using the tips above can certainly help you get closer to the online action, but you should also take ideas from inside your business, and use them to make your content and your landing page more relevant to your industry, and also to your community. It is certainly true that big business means being available at a national or global level, but you have to start somewhere.