Tag Archive: web design


Webdesign Ninja Techsnoop

Starting or updating a small business website? Interview your web designers like you would for employees. Here’s some tips.

Small business owners are busy wearing multiple hats running a business. So when it comes to technical solutions, most small business owners choose to outsource their website creation. To select a great designer or agency, you need to know some designer-speak. If terms like SEO, SEM, newsletters and list building are foreign to you, keep reading.

The purpose of your website is to increase your business income. Even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, bringing customers to your store or enticing them to call is the primary focus of a website. But if your site is not found by potential customers, no conversions can happen.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization; the process of having your site appear in search results high enough to cause clicks by customers.

SEM = Search Engine Marketing; the process of using paid search results to drive marketing activity.

To prepare for the web designer interview process, make a list of goals for your website. Decide on a color scheme and branding that you think reflects your business. Next, write a description of your ideal target customer. Having a picture of who you want to target helps direct the design process.

Does the designer communicate well?

Every tech person communicates differently. But when developing your website, the designer must be able to understand your goals and communicate how they will accomplish this. Is the designer clear, using normal English or do they use technobabble to make themselves sound smarter? This is a sign that working with the designer will be difficult.

Is there a portfolio you can review?

Does the designer have a range of work styles? Or do all their projects look exactly alike? It is ok for a designer to specialize in one area of design, but if your web site does not fall into their speciality, it won’t be a good match. Also see if the designer can do other things such as business cards to match your site. A web designer with multiple talents helps you to keep your branding consistent.

How will the web site be managed?

What platform will the designer use? Will you use an administration board to update the site or will the designer make updates for you? Will the designer train you to use the back-end? Most designers can offer a flat monthly fee for updating your site. But there are many options for making small updates to content, photos and prices yourself. Consider if you have the time to do this task.

Responsive Website Techsnoop

Will the Designer create a wire frame or mock-up of the site?

There are many wire frame or prototyping tools available so that you can get a good view of how the site will look and behave. Does the price include creating a wire frame or mock-up? If not, this is an important add-on feature that you should consider. You don’t want to be surprised with a difficult to navigate site that is not user-friendly.

How Much Will It Cost and What does it include?

Know what your budget is for a website and what features you need to accomplish your goals. Be sure to get a written proposal of the functions included and the total price. Understand that any changes will come at an increased cost.

Does the price include editing photos, uploading starter content and training? What about a logo? These are usually extra features that may cost more.

If the web designer is good to communicate with, offers the services you need and is within your budget, you are most of the way to your new website!

Need more help? DKemp Designs is always happy to help with a free consultation call.

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So Mobilegeddon has arrived and you are not ready.

What is a small business owner to do? First, call a web designer now. Not next week, now. DKemp Designs offers free 15 minute phone consultations to any business owner on all types of technology solutions. Next, make a list of business goals that can be met with technology and prioritize according to importance.

Customers should be able to:

Locate you
Call you
See hours
Know what type of business you offer

All on the home page of your mobile site. If any of these are missing, you need an immediate makeover.

If your business does not have a mobile ready website yet, here are some facts on future mobile usage from DR4WARD to get you going.

mobile data usage by 2020

 

Superhero SEO Help

Are you a small business owner completely confused by SEO? Does the new Google algorithm keep you awake at night? Well this great infographic from VAYU Media should help sort out the confusion. While SEO is best left in the hands of professionals, your web designer should be savvy enough to get you started. And if you are short on budget, you can always hire an intern or recent grad part-time to get set up.

Once you are raking in the dough from your newly optimized, mobile-ready website, hire a professional to boost you further. And remember, DKemp Designs is always happy to give you a free 15 minute consultation on your web presence.

Questions? Post them in the comments and Techsnoop will be happy to help.

The SEO Puzzle

(Credit: DKemp Designs)

Are you a web designer who needs to understand how to integrate jQuery into your web designs?

Techsnoop is here with timely tutorials on how to link jQuery files to your sites so they work smoothly.

The first tutorial is a basic one of how to add jQuery to your site so it works properly.  The second is a bit advanced, but it gives you a simple demonstration of how jQuery can jazz up your sites without using Flash.  Since many mobile devices do not support Flash, it is important to be device neutral in your designing.

Whatever your design role is, understanding how jQuery adds dynamic movement to the web is important.  Movement and interaction are key concepts that “sell” your site to customers.  Anything that results in higher conversions is a best practice for future of web development.

Have a great week and get your skills polished.

 

Techsnoop is a comic geek among other things.  Justice League, Superman, Iron Man and Avengers are among my very favorites.  So, you may imagine that this is a bonzai summer for me and other comic, sci-fi, and action geeks.  With the advent of Avengers, Prometheus, Battleship, Spiderman, Batman, and MIB3, this will be one busy box office season.  Techsnoop cautions to go easy on the popcorn, pop and nachos so as not to end the summer with “movie gut”.

Tony-AvengersAvengers not only set some box office milestones, but one of the lead characters has proven to be a great story of rising from the ashes.  Mr. Downey is a classic case of learning life lessons from comic characters.  Robert Downey, Jr. was once an unemployable has been.  But due to hard work and taking necessary small steps toward success, he became not only a superstar, but a great ensemble actor.  He works well alone and in teams.

How many designers and developers can say that?  Achieving such versatility brings success in any field and requires the incorporation of many “soft” skills that technical experts often do not value.  Teamwork (Justice League, Avengers), attention to detail (Batman) and ability to meet deadlines are critical skills for entrepreneurs.  Being able to network and describe in non-tech language (Spiderman) what you can bring to a client is what brings in cash for your business.  Techsnoop is convinced that the great effects and artwork achieved in Avengers movie did not happen with designers and techs coming in “whenever” and zoning out in meetings.

Design is hard work and continuous education on the latest technology and techniques.  One small image can take days to create with the right mood, lighting and effects to fit the scope of the project.  This is not done by slackers.  Designers may be creatives, but we are creatives on a deadline and with tight budgets.  The trade off for flexible hours and working in jeans is being able to deliver high-quality product on demand and in budget.

Anyone who doesn’t take designers seriously should take a moment and try to create just one of the thousands of images from any hit movie.  Let me know how easy that is for you.

Designers and comic geeks unite, our superheros have taught us well so let’s “Assemble”.

If editing hair in Photoshop gives you fits, take a look at this use of the refine edge tool.  Many thanks to LordReserei01 for the help.

Take a little time this weekend to work on your craft and also view the Supermoon and meteor shower.

Happy Designing!

Smutty WorksResponsive, HTML5, CSS3, mobile-optimized.  If these terms mean nothing to you, you must not be a web designer.  If you are a web designer today is a fantastic day to start logging resources.

If you have not bookmarked the Unstoppable Robot Ninja, go do it now!  Brilliant, easy reading details for getting your sites optimized for responsive design.  Another great resource is Web Designer Wall.  This site provides freebies and great tutorials to get you kick-started in leveling up your designs.  And here is a Smutty approved site; Cats Who Code.  This is a must read for anyone who dreams of being a designer or developer.

And the ultimate must-have for responsive design; a FREE responsive slider.  Many thanks to Smashing Mag for coming through as usual.

Need to create a WordPress site, but don’t know how?  Visit ThemePURE, a great site with low cost templates for WordPress designs.

Once you have your responsive design created, test it out at responsive px.  Make sizing adjustments accordingly and publish!

Network with great people like my Cybermap.  And if you need inspiration on starting a freelance design business, click here.  The story will inspire you to get up and get started now.  If not now, when?

Techsnoop wishes you great design.

skylineGood Morning!  Ready to roar into 2012?  Well, if you’re looking to start or increase a small business for the New Year, here are some great tools.  Better, some are FREE!

Yep, that’s right.  You can still get help for your design or development business for free.

First up, GetJar.  A great collection of apps for your Android devices that are always free.  Some are normally paid apps, so before buying, check GetJar and find out if you can save a few bucks.

Next, Web Designer Depot, a great blog site with tons of free brushes, templates, fonts and other tools necessary to any Graphic Designer.  They are launching a new feature called Zero Bundle soon, so get to their site and sign up quick!

Site Grinder is not a completely free service, but they do have a 30 day free trial that is most worth checking out.  This is a plug in for Photoshop that automates creating your web pages.  Increase productivity and make money for 2012!

Then there is Template Monster.  While many of their templates are paid, they feature free ones all the time.  They also offer blogs and tutorials for free to get your skills polished up.  And if you’re a seasoned developer, you can sign up and sell some of your own templates and make some merry New Year cash.

Finally, there is good old DKemp Designs where tips and freebies are listed every day.  If you appreciate the help, donate $1-100 to keep the site going.

Have a Very Productive New Year!

No matter what business area you are in, you need a website.  Web presence makes your business larger and global immediately, for a relatively small cost.  Factors to consider are cost to build and set up, hosting fees and maintenance of the site.  Maintenance is the area least considered by small businesses.  Everyone knows that Google analytics exist, but few understand that fresh and updated content factor into your search rankings.

If your business is very small and service oriented, you may make do with one of the free template sites until you can afford a web designer.  Keep in mind that you won’t be able to develop a “brand” look with this, but it can quickly get you up and running so that you can market yourself.

Next, learn how to use social media for your business exposure.  If y0u have a Facebook page, you will need a new one for your business with only business related p0sts and commentary.  Invite your friends and family to “like” your page, but hide their posts unless they are responding to your business comments.

Find meaningful tips and content to share on Facebook and Twitter.  There is a wealth of information on optimizing your social media.  Google “how to use Twitter” and see how many listings come up.  Search the Twitter listings by tag or topic and find specialists in your business area.  Follow them, converse with them and mention them.  You will gain knowledge and followers.

Part 3 coming soon.  Missed part one?  Find it here.