Choosing a web designer

A guide to choosing a web designer

Choosing a web designer

Choosing a web designer is very difficult for a business

As I’ve recently opened for business as a freelance web designer, I now have a far better idea of how difficult it is for a business in choosing a web designer for their business.

Firstly business owners are experts in their field, and probably a number of others. But very few have much knowledge as to the often very confusing technical world of web design. So I will use this post to explain a little about what we do.

CMS and other indiscriminate uses of capital letters

CMS stands for ‘content management system’. Back in the old days of the web, about six years ago – I know! – a business would contact a web designer and they would build a website with your content in, and then it was finished. If you wanted a change to your content, you’d contact the web designer and he or she would update it.

So CMSs were created to allow a business to change their own content. A CMS will have a log in, which allows you, the business owner, the ability to go into what is called the ‘back end’ of the website, and edit and add new content. The ‘back ends’ are now very user friendly, and with a little training this is relatively simple to do.

There are a number of different CMS systems. Drupla, Joomla, DotNetNuke, WordPress. You have no reason to know, or care, what this means. I use one called WordPress. It is the world’s most used, and the one largely regarded as being the most user friendly for the ‘back end’. It currently powers 18% of the web. The additional benefit to a web designer is, these systems come with a number of the website’s core functions already built in. Allowing the web designer to concentrate on the visual side of the website.

SEO, yet another abbreviation

SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’. This is the ability for the website to rank highly in search engines. To rank highly on Google when a potential visitor to your website Googles either the name of your business, or the services you provide.

Recently this area has become much more simple as Google has changed the way it rates sites to a much fairer system, whereby good quality content, and regular new content, are the best ways to aid your site’s google rating. There are other areas that are important. The title, description and keyword phrases being added to each page. Plus using the keyword phrases (the phrases you think potential customers will Google to find you) through your pages’ content.

It’s a tricky balance between making your content readable, and being search engine friendly

By way of example. Take this article, or ‘post’ as WordPress prefers to call it. The URL (The page’s address) http://iaincameron.dk/a-guide-to-choosing-a-web-designer/, the page title is ‘A guide to choosing a web designer‘, and dropped through the content is ‘choosing a web designer‘. Good phrases for anyone googling ‘choosing a web designer‘. ‘Choosing a web designer‘ is also in the page’s external title (the top of your browser). Why on earth do I keep repeating the phrase, ‘choosing a web designer‘!

The importance of a blog

A blog within a business website is something I recommend to all my clients. A blog is simply a collection of articles on one page in reverse chronological order. The latest article is always on the top. This is very good for your site’s Google rating (see above) and allows your potential customers to learn more about you and your business. A blog can be a diary, an events page, a place for your opinions on your business area, a way to extend your brand, a place to give more information on your product(s), a way to provide support for your customers, and gain feedback through comments. There are any number of other potential uses. You are currently reading an article on my blog!

How much should a website cost?

There are free websites out there, you can set up your own relatively simple. You can learn through www.lynda.com or WordPress.org or just Googling what you need to know. There are companies who will charge thousands, and others who will charge a little, every month, forever.

However if you come to me, I charge for the website, and we are done. A contract is agreed in advance, there are no extra charges. This will include 12 months support, where I will happily advise you, or help you with any issues. I will listen to your business needs, and your thoughts on how your website should be. I will ensure your website looks fantastic. I will ensure you rank highly on Google.

I am a one person business. I am not aiming to get the Coca-Cola account. I understand, and have my own small business. With a number of years experience working in Web Design Bureaus, the same expertise, without the overheads.

I see every piece of design I create as an extension of my business, and of myself. It is in my interests to ensure you are a satisfied customer, as you are my best source for my next customers, and through sheer personal pride/vanity!

You can read more on web design from my web design service page, in particular why a responsive website is now essential. My web design portfolio is at the foot of the page. Internal and external links are also excellent for SEO!