9 Effective steps to finding a professional web design services firm
There are many small businesses that choose not to invest money into a professional web design services firm, even though a well-designed website may raise the company’s level of professionalism and exposure — not to mention drive leads, customers and sales!
Make sure you’re receiving the following:
Usability: Ensure that your users to get the most out of your website. This means that the website’s main navigation is consistent, easy and clear to follow; links and forms are in perfect working order; and the content on the website is up-to-date and provides answers to incoming clients’ potential questions. This is probably one of the most important of our small business web design tips.
Searchable: If individuals can’t find your website, then they won’t be able to buy products or services from you. Bottom line. You need to to make sure that your website pages have content coded in HTML instead of embedded within the graphics. This is to ensure that search engines, such as Google, can read it. You can also put “ALT” tags on the images that you do have — search engines do look at these, and they can definitely improve your search engine rankings. You must include “META tags” in your code and submit them to the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL at the minimum. This can be done for free — ask me how! Last but not least, locate some online directories where your website would be a good fit and add your URL to those directories. This is just one more way potential customers can find your website; having directories and other websites linked to yours can also be a major factor for increasing your website’s ranking in the major search engines.
Legible text/fonts: Sized for ease of reading on different computer platforms (Mac/PC) and browsers (IE, Safari, Firefox). Also, make sure your font is either lighter or darker than the background color or pattern of your website, so that your it is readable for colorblind people, as well. If you’re using a background pattern, make sure that it doesn’t clash with the text/font.
Clean design, with graphics that visually enhance the website’s content, instead of detracting the reader from it. This applies to animations and flash as well, which should be designed with a purpose in mind.
Iterates and repeats elements of your brand, building upon the design of your corporate logo and colors or other materials and repeating your company’s message. Consistency of your company’s brand and color is extremely important across all media.
High-quality graphics that are optimized and saved in the correct format for their content — JPEG format should be used for color gradients or photographs while GIF format should be used for images with areas of solid color or transparency.
Fast loading: Optimizing your images and writing “clean code” will ensure that your users only wait a minimal amount of time for the page to come up in their browser. If people can’t see your website quickly, they’re more likely to click away from it or not return in the future. Believe it or not there are folks out there that are still on a 56k dial up internet connection.
Cross-platform compatible: Make sure that your website visually looks the same on both PC and Macintosh systems, and on Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla and all the other browsers — this way, you’re targeting a larger audience! You’ll also want to make sure that the website looks equally as good in older versions of the browsers we mentioned here — not everyone updates their browser software when new versions come out. Another way to rectify this is to have your website designer create an optional cascading style sheet (CSS) to display different aspects of your website based on the version of the browser that the visitor is using.
Clean code will load fast! Well-written code is also less likely to load incorrectly in different browsers or platforms. Clean code will also enable other website designers to handle the maintenance of your website easily if you decide to transfer those responsibilities to a new company.
A well thought out website works as a qualifying agent and also provides information 24/7 about your business to all your potential customers. It is an extremely vital resource and marketing tool for doing business in today’s global marketplace plus it’s a fraction of the cost of most marketing tools such as the yellow pages.