What a Web Designer Can Do For Your Site

With all the ready information found in the Internet about creating a website, anyone can practically create and have one to go with minimal effort. But creating a website and creating THE website that could make a real difference are not exactly the same. For those who are not inclined towards the technical side, getting the services of a competent web designer can be an option.

Much like how like a real spider can  weave magic with its web, so can a web designer with a site. Here’s what a web designer can do for you:

Develop the layout and overall look of the website

Web designers make use of graphic and media tools like Photoshop and Flash to do this as well as as other applications to create the layout and overall look of a website. The main task here centers on aesthetics which is in making sure that the site looks and feels right when viewed. That simply means creating a visual image that sends the right message to the audience in terms of what to expect from the site. Many people think that this is easy as pie or anything would do as long as a site has relevant content, but nothing can be farther from the truth. A website can actually turn off readers just by its physical look.

Determine and take care of technical requirements

Unfortunately, not everyone will have the skill nor the interest in attending to this. However, the technical side is a very critical aspect of maintaining a website. It is very necessary so it’s either one learns to deal with it or get someone who can. HTML, CSS, Javascipt, browsers, and OS platforms may sound foreign to many they are just part of everyday life for professional web designers. They can also solve coding problems create back up files. Of course, no one or nothing should stop you from learning it and eventually doing it yourself.

Writing and Editing Content

For those who would really prefer providing a personal touch to their website, delegating the task of writing content may be one of the last things to be considered. Having someone else do editing for quality purposes is quite common though since most people are ineffective in thoroughly checking out their own work. When time is not available, there may not be any other option but to have someone write for you. This can be done but just be sure that you and your web designer are on the same page when it comes to the approach and the result that you expect.

Finding a Suitable Web Designer

Web designers are not created equal. They will not only differ in skills and capability but also in experience, cost, working habits, and attitude. In finding the most suitable web designer for your site, it is important to choose one who you think you can actually work with.

Skills

There is no question that a web designer needs to be skilled and capable. That is the very reason why you are paying him in the first place. With the ready-made templates widely available today, anyone can actually attempt to do the task themselves.

The moment you think of hiring a web designer however, I’m sure you are looking for something more than what you can do yourself. A web designer with a good grasp of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, is a good bet. More so, if he or she has knowledge in SEO, Flash, content writing, and graphics designing. Since it is usually difficult to find someone who has knowledge in all these, someone who has a reliable sub-contractor for the other skills required is a good alternative.

Cost

Website owners often make the mistake of equating cost with a web designer’s capability. While it is true that many web designers are comfortable charging high rates because of their established reputation, it is important to remember that high rates do not necessarily equate to capabilities.

Web designers who may not have yet established their own reputation can deliver the same quality of work, if not better. The challenge will probably lie in finding them. It is always best to seek recommendation from friends, associates, and even relatives.

Working Habits and Attitude

A web designer’s extraordinary skills can establish a positive reputation in the same way that working habits and attitude can create negative reputation. In many business transactions, a negative attitude of a service provider can be seen as a major hindrance for customers to pursue the agreement. Poor working habits and bad attitude cannot be offset by even the most extraordinary skills for most customers.

What do customers do with exceptional work that does not come on time? What do customers stand to gain from services given at rock-bottom prices but will not allow for needed modifications or will not even entertain inputs from customers? What risks are there in transacting with web designers that require full payment even if the work promised is yet to be started?

In the end, website owners will just have to decide what is acceptable or not to them with regards to transacting with web designers.

DIY vs Custom-Made Website Designs

Should we or should we not, do our own website design that is? Many swear with the wisdom of going Do-It-Yourself (DIY) while a lot has opted to pay to have a custom-made design. Like in all things, each side will have its merits and demerits. To help you make up your mind, consider these.

Go DIY

If you are someone who is very much into details as to color, size, fonts, placements, and every little thing and big thing that goes into your website design, then you are definitely better-off going DIY. Not being able to allow a web designer some control over it makes the job a lot more tedious when delegated to him/her. Finishing the job would simply take too long if everything has to be consulted.

When you do DIY, you learn in the process what works and not for your own site. You have complete control so you would probably get the results you want, if you are willing to learn how to do it.  However, DIY takes up much time so you better be prepared to give it.

Hiring a Professional Web Designer

Hiring a professional web designer lets you avoid the bulk of work needed to come up with a physical design and site development. This would mean paying for it and the amount would vary depending on the designer you will choose to hire. Although a higher rate can give rise to a presumption of more expertise, it is not always so. It would be best to ask for recommendations from friends and be sure to look at his/her previous works. This is to determine if his/her style is something that you would want in your own site.

Hired web designers tend to retain some degree of control over the site unless the agreement was just for the initial design with no recurring service. It can be troublesome to be fully dependent on the web designer for every change that needs to be done. None the less, there are specific advantages to hiring a professional designer.

DIY or Hired Web Designer

IF you choose DIY, you need to provide time, lots of it. Money is the main consideration in hiring web designers. DIY requires real and actual work to be done by the site owner while hiring have certain control issues. Choose the one you’re more comfortable with.

5 Most Sensible Blog Design Tips for Beginners

You may not yet be a professional blogger but you can start by creating a professional-looking blog design. The right design can help you attract the right attention and audience. With the fitting content and attitude, reaching that professional status is not an impossibility.

The Mark of a Professional

The mark of a professional is often characterized by simplicity and elegance. These descriptions likewise apply to blog designs. More often than not, less is more.

Blog Design Tips

1. Avoid Using More than 3 Font Styles

If you have seen a blog or website that makes use of more than 3 font styles, you would probably end up feeling confused. Font styles in themselves have specific images they represent. It would be acceptable to combine 2 or 3 related or complementary font styles. To combine clashing styles would present such a visual challenge which could be displeasing at the very least or irritating at its worst. You wouldn’t want to end up irritating readers as they will never become among the loyal ones. That is definitely not a good way to start.

2. Limit Colors to a Maximum of 3

Color is such a nice element to experiment with in blog design. Like font styles however, too many is not advisable. You can choose one to be the dominant color, another to combine with it, and still another for those little call-to-action buttons you want your readers to notice. The dominant color occupies the most space so this will probably be the color that your readers will visually identify your blog with. The combination color puts just enough point of interest to the overall design. The call-to-action color stands out always to be noticed and easy to find.

3. Use Texture

In lieu of having too many colors, you can put texture into your design instead. This results to a different overall effect all-together in a subtle way. Texture is a design element that may not be readily seen but without it, the end result will not be the same.

4. Use White Space Properly

White space, simply out, is the space with no mark or the empty space on a page. Enthusiastic designers usually fall into the trap of filling every space with color, letters, and images but human eyes need a break. Blank spaces are often used to separate columns, images, graphics, and other page elements for a more pleasing look.

5. Observe Visual Hierarchy

There are page elements that are more important than others. In font size for example, the post title should be bigger than the text font or the name of the blog bigger than its byline on the header. The key is to give prominence to more important elements.

Differentiating Between a Personal and Business Blog

Why in heaven’s name should you make a distinction between your personal and business blog? Wouldn’t it be confusing to have more than one blog to maintain? Is there really a difference between a personal blog and a business blog?

Why Have a Personal Blog and a Business Blog

It goes without saying that this matter concerns only those that have business information to say aside from their personal experiences. A personal blog is just what it says – personal, and it can be a bit off to place business-related articles there. There is a big possibility that business information will get buried among the personal stuff and cannot be found by the target audience.

Some will argue that their business cannot be totally separated from their personal life. True, especially for single proprietorship businesses where the owner does everything. If you wish however to bring your business to a more professional level where readers will not be subjected to your personal rants and “sharings” that are way too personal, then a separate business blog is the way to go.

Difference Between Personal and Business Blog

1. Design and Content

Personal blogs come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and color. They are usually a reflection of the owner’s personality and choices. The content has no limitation as to topic, frequency or lack of posting, and the image that it projects to the public. Business blogs are generally more reined-in, controlled for some because of the need to project a certain image suitable for the product or service being offered.

2. Purpose

While personal blogs and business blogs both aim to send a message online, there are specific differences in the goals. The former may simply aim to express or to let others know about his or her opinion, views, and reasons. The latter, being a business, will always have a call to action which can either be to buy, to subscribe, or to connect professionally. Being that, business blogs need to be presented in a way that will accomplish such goals.

3. Structure

Although there are personal blogs that can be as structured as business blogs, knowing the difference between the two can always serve as a guide to what should be done and not. Structure can pertain to the manner of expressing ideas, consistency in posting and promotion, and language syntax.  Again, while personal blogs allow more freedom and the audience is more forgiving of technical mistakes, business blogs are expected to be more strictly self-regulated.

Advantages of Having a Professional Website Design

Many people who are just starting to put up a website or blog are probably contemplating on creating their own design. With the wide availability of ready made templates and assistance provided by blogging platforms and forums, this is actually not a very ambitious task. For websites however that require a professional image and functionality, paying for a professional website design will provide more advantages than disadvantages.

Professional Image

When businesses aspire to have a professional website, they must have enough respect for the task to hand it over to the experts or at least to the suitably skilled. Many companies makes the mistake of deciding to establish a website and giving the responsibility of creating and maintaining it to the first available existing employee. There is nothing wrong with that if such employee is equipped to handle the task. The lack of ability will show in the appearance and functionality (or lack of it) of the website.

Distinct Look

The main problem with using ready-made templates is the possibility that a company website will end up looking like another website. It is the primary goal of every business to establish a unique identity and having a website that possesses a distinct look identifiable to it goes a long way. Sure, you can try doing that on your own but you have other things to worry about in a business. A professional website designer will have a single goal in mind for your website which is to provide a distinct and professional look and feel which will prove useful to overall business goals.

Quality Content

Professional website designers can likewise provide quality and relevant if required by clients. Many will have their own pool of professional writers who can ensure that a website is regularly benefited by articles that are well-written and timely published. For website owners who have their own writers handling content, website designers can assist in making sure that contents are seen by the target audience through SEO application.

Brand Consistency

Working with professional website designers usually results to brand consistency specifically in online presentations. It is important for brands to retain consistency in form, color, and the purpose for which it is used. Foregoing with the services of professionals for budget considerations may actually work against long-term goals of establishing brand consistency.

There is nothing that can prevent website owners in handling website design themselves. It is worth noting however that time is best used for other priorities which one can confidently handle. Learn, why not? But learn as you deal with professionals.

Why it Makes Sense to Inject Your Personality in Your Blog Design

Showing one’s personality in a blog is inevitable. Whether it is a personal or a corporate personality, it is bound to show through a blog. Should blog owners allow this to happen? Why of course, since this is one way of differentiating a blog from all the rest.

Differentiation by Design

The first differentiating factor that readers will see in any website or blog is always the physical design. Some site owners make the very costly mistake of not giving proper attention to design, not realizing that a bad design can easily turn off readers because of the power of perception. A site that says it offers a particular niche or information should look the part and dress the part through its design. There is simply no room for confusion.

Website design that does not make a mark usually destines the website itself to the “unknown zone”. Though content will always be king, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to provide the fitting backdrop for such content. The design is also the most visible to the eye in one glance, allowing readers to form their own image of a website instantly.

Differentiation by Personality

Even among websites and blogs that appear to have uniform general designs, differentiation can still be a possibility. This is by injecting one’s personality in the design details and content. Color, texture, and atmosphere can be personalized by choosing combinations and options that best represent who the writer is or what the site is about.

Personally provided images are very effective in terms of truly personalizing a generic design theme. Unless another site is directly engaged in copying, it is a reasonable expectation that personal images provided will not be seen in any other site. In this case, sites attain a level of uniqueness in spite of the limitation of ready made templates.

Why Put Effort into Design

The main objective of putting efforts into website design is to present websites and blog in their best light physically. This is with the hope that readers will be able to appreciate them better enough to do more exploration and further reading. Exploration in turn is expected to convert into regular readership in time.

The personality of a website is important and the one thing that can make it unique is the personality of the person or people behind it. Copying can be a very easy and common thing in the online world. Copying a personality though may be a lot tougher even for the most professional copycat.

Responsive Web Design: Is it For Your Site?

The behavior of consumers today makes it very clear that moving between devices when making purchase decisions is a reality of life more than most of us care to admit. Moving from desktop to laptop to tablets to smartphone to view the same site is something many people do for a single task. How can websites cope up with such audience behavior? Many people say that the answer is found in Responsive Web Design.

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What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive Web Design or RWD is an approach in web design which seeks to provide optimal viewing experience to the audience across the different devices when accessing websites. In essence, the design lay out is made to adapt to different viewing environments through the use of the fluid grid concept, flexible images, and media queries.

Many sites are encountering problems with how they are seen by the mobile audience. This is because most websites are designed based on using the desk top or laptop computers as the medium for viewing. Once the same sites are viewed through smaller and mobile gadgets such as smartphones, the problem becomes evident.

The Solution

The offered solution here is for websites to maintain two versions to accommodate mobile devices. This option can be costly however. One remaining option is the use of Responsive Web Design.

It is also seen as a more cost-effective alternative to mobile applications. Even Google has recommended RWD for use of sites aiming for multi-device functionality. This option though does not come without problems and limitations. One of these is the lack of fluidity in banner advertisements and video.

The Multiscreen World of Today

There is no going back to the time when website owners only had to contend with making their sites look good and navigable in standard computers. More and more people are going mobile and this is expected to progress in time. There is a need therefore to do what needs to be done today in order not to lose out in competition.

Their is no question that the user experience needs to be prioritized here. The need for the audience to readily get their hands on a website’s offered content in whatever way they choose to is of paramount importance. Website owners will have to find the mobile solution which will fit their needs  based on their audience’s needs. Aside from budget concerns, there will be a need to determine the suitability of approach.

Designing an Effective Header Design

In a website or blog , the first thing that usually catches the attention of readers is the header and its design. This is a natural instinct since a first time reader would want to have an idea of what he is about to read. The shortest and the most visible way of getting this is by looking at the header.

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header1

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header2

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What comes to your mind when you look at these three header designs? Do they evoke the same idea from you? Probably not and rightly so because headers are meant to be unique and reflective of the very difference which a website or blog hopes to have.

What is an Effective Header Design?

An effective header design is that which succeeds in correctly representing what the site or blog is all about. It is also about combining images and text that will result to the desired image of the site. It is said to be effective as well when it manages to get the attention of the right audience thereby increasing exposure and readership.

A header is an instant summary to a site. When a reader sees the blue sky header with an accompanying title of “All About Weather”, it can be fairly surmised that the site will deal on climate, weather, and other atmospheric conditions. Using the same header design but this time using the title “Inspirations from Above”, clearly indicates that the site features inspirational posts with spiritual overtones.

What are the Elements of an Effective Header Design?

Header designs must possess clarity, image of trust, and real meaning. They must also project professionalism and a unique personality that can be easily identified with the site. It is highly desired that designs are able to command attention and encourage engagement. Some artistic elements need to be incorporated to make all these possible.

When coming up with a header design, it is not as easy as putting an image of the product and putting an obvious title. Consider the 3rd header above, the image and the title clearly show that it is about jewelry but specifically about artistic jewelry. Jewelry can be of many kinds but the intended audience here is identified which makes it a powerful design.

The 2nd header design above brings visions of sites about nature or black and white photography or birds. The end result will depend on the chosen title, topic, and content. This is why it makes sense to determine first what the site will be all about before attempting a header design.

Using the Psychology of Color in Blog Design

When creating blog designs, talks about color will never be far behind. Color is one of the primary elements in creating any finished design in any aspect that needs it. Much has been said about the importance of considering the psychology of color in matters like interior design. Apparently, the same logic is being followed by many web designers in creating the perfect look for websites and blogs.

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The Psychology of Color

The Psychology of Color attributes certain meanings and effects related to color, similar to the image shown above. In interior design, these attributes are more or less accepted and are in fact being followed by many designers and homeowners. Will the same logic apply to our Internet homes we call websites or blogs?

There is every reason to believe that it does because viewing websites and blogs also uses the sense of sight which sends messages to our brains of whether something that is in front of us is likable or not. Now, likability of sites is a major issue. When a user sees the physical presentation as uninteresting or offensive to the senses, chances are that the contents will never see the light of day.

Choosing the Color

A website owner’s favorite color may have to be set aside when it comes to decisions of creating appropriate web design. The choice of color will have to depend on the nature of the site and its intended audience. It has to be remembered that sites are designed primarily with the audience in mind except if the site has been created solely for the personal satisfaction of the owner then we need not quarrel about color and design choices.

It is not old wives’ tale when certain emotions and reactions are associated with colors. I am not really sure about any scientific findings to this effect but it has been proven time and again that color affects the perception of an object or a person. It is no accident therefore that we rarely see hardware tools in pink. While the object itself is targeting the male audience, pink generally appeals to females. This is not counting of course the exceptions to every rule.

Branding

Billion-dollar companies have long recognized the role of the right color in branding. Together with the logo design, color can set them apart from the rest while sending their desired message. Websites and blogs should learn to harness the same advantages in creating web design that will create automatic association and favorable reaction.