Sunday 31 July 2011

How to Specify Web Design Quote Request for Your Website

You wouldn't phone up a plumber and say "Please can you give me a quote on a small plumbing job", and then expect him/her to get back to you with an exact figure and how long it's going to take him/her. Web design company, however face this obstacle from a good 80% of their clients. A potential client will email/phone up a web designer and say "what will you charge to design me a small website? And when can you have it done by?" If you want a concise quote, you will need to give them a concise brief, and here's how...

What Type of Website is it?

First specify what type of website you're after...HTML, Flash, database enabled or e-commerce. HTML would be your average standard website. Flash would be 'flashy' with animation, database enabled is for either very large catalogue type websites or websites that the owner would like to be able to update themselves, and for forums, portals, blogs etc. E-commerce web design is for online shopping capability.

Do you Have/Need a Domain or Web Host?

If you do not already have a domain name or web host, chances are your website design company either offers this service or will have contacts in this field and will be able to organize this for you at a decent rate. But first you need to ask yourself if you really need it. If the website is an intranet (internal company website...not viewable on the World Wide Web), you will not need a domain or a webhost. All you will need here is to confirm with your IT department whether they are able to host the site on the company server. If, however, the website does need to be viewable by the World Wide Web, you will need firstly a domain, which would be the website address, usually and a webhost, which is the permanently on-line server that the physical files of your website will be located on. A domain name has a yearly fee and the price depends on the extension (.com .net .org .co. in etc) and what marks up you are charged by whoever registers it for you. A webhost will also charge you on a monthly basis, and prices vary drastically.

How Many Pages?

Determining this is not as easy as it sounds...many clients make the mistake by counting the number of sections they want on the site and imagining this will be the number of pages. A page is defined by every time you click on a link and see different information in the browser. So, if you have a product page, with three products on, that when the user clicks on the product they see more information, then you already have four pages. Usually web design company will charge you less for a sub page than a main section page, so a good, concise way to ask for a brief is to state how many main sections the website will have and how many pages per section.

Does it need to be Marketed?

Do you require it to be optimized for search engines and have it submitted to engines and directories? A good web design company will keep search engines in mind when they are designing and optimize it for this purpose, but actually submitting it to engines and directories is quite time consuming and usually requires an extra cost. Also submission is not a once off task, and in order for good rankings to be obtained, you will need to contract the web design company to do submissions on a regular basis. Every 2 or 3 months is a good option, but anything more regular than that can result in penalization from engines.


In terms text, will you supply the content? If not, perhaps the web design company offers copywriting or has contacts in the copywriting industry...either way, it will more than likely cost you extra. Pictures especially can be a pricey ordeal, if you yourself are not supplying them but want specific pictures included. Unless the web designer offers photographic services, he/she will have to purchase the pictures from a stock art company.


Would you like your website designed for a specific resolution? The industry standard is 1024x768 but is slowly shifting to 1360x768. If you have an entirely flash website, it can be scaled up or down to fit any resolution, but the drawback is that many search engines can't read flash so your ranking will suffer. Another way to achieve this scaling is if your websites design company uses relatively sized tables in the design, but this is not always possible and it almost always looks bad in the very high resolutions of 1600x1200. The best option is to ask your web designer to design for either 1024x768 or 1360x768 but to centre the website in the browser with attractive scalable borders. This way your site will look great in all resolutions, and it avoids the problem of that stretched look.

Checklist Summary:

Here's a brief checklist to go through before asking for a quote or supplying a brief...

  1. Is it going to be plain HTML, Flash, Database enabled or e-commerce?

  2. Are you in need of a domain and/or web host?
  3. Exactly how many sections, subsections and pages are there going to be?
  4. Do you need your site submitted to engines & directories?
  5. Are you going to supply all the content?
  6. What resolution would you like the site to be designed for?

Monday 25 July 2011

How to Identify a Quality Website Design Company

The website design industry is highly competitive with many different businesses all-competing for your clientele. This provides a great buyers market for web design services and you should utilize this buyer's advantage to secure the right company for you. When choosing the right website design company you should consider the following:

  1. How Many Questions Do They Ask: A website design company that asks many questions about your business, customers, products and goals is more likely to produce a web design you are happy with. When they don't ask you many questions it is highly probably they will be using templates to design your website from.

  2. View Their Complete Portfolio: Ensure that you request to view their complete portfolio and in conducting the review note the use of colors and styles in their design. It the website design company appears to use only one style or limited colors then gauge whether these colors and styles suit your business.

  3. Do They Have A Plan: A quality web design company will have a planning document which walks you through the process of building your website. The more comprehensive the plan the more likely you are to be working with a professional web design company.

  4. Ask Them About SEO: While the actual web designer does not need to know search engine optimization it's important that someone within the company can clearly articulate the benefits of SEO. All website designs now need basic SEO integration to ensure traffic generation and success

  5. Call Their Recent Clients: Choose 2 recent clients of the web design company to call and ask them about their experience. Specifically find out how smooth the process was and any potential sticking points you should know about.

  6. Who Owns the Copyright: This can be a major problem with some web design companies as they wish to maintain copyright on all their work. Unfortunately this is not what you desire, you want to own full copyright to the materials produced for you.

  7. Set The Deadline: Prior to engaging the website design company makes sure you tell them of your set deadline of delivery. Ask them if they can confidently deliver on time and meet your targets. If they are unable to then you need to find a company that will.

  8. Source File Access: A quality website design company will give you full unrestricted access to the source files which run your site. By having this access you can always have another designer edit your files rather than engaging the same company.

When you find a website design company that fits these major criteria you are most probably working with a quality company. It's important to remember that you need to like the company you are working with so ensure their personality style meets yours!

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Guide to Choosing the Right Web Design Company

Choosing a web design company can be a little tricky, and many times it's a gamble, but if you know what to look for, you can save yourself a lot of stress and frustration. If you don't, however, you could be stuck with poor service and empty promises as well as being faced with ridiculous bills. Take time to empower yourself with the following knowledge, and learn to spot a bad choice in web design companies from a mile...


This is one of those times that judging a book by it's cover is in your best interests. A web design company's website is its book cover, so naturally if their website is not stimulating...chances are that they will create an unstimulating design for your website...which in turn is YOUR book cover. If your book cover is amateurish, your potential client may very well pass you by, imagining that your service or product to be as exciting as the site they've just seen...not very!

Looks vs Prices:

A common question from most business owners is "how much does a website cost?"...

Well, that's actually a pretty difficult question to answer because it depends on so many factors. websites can range from practically free to tens or even hundreds of thousands, depending on the company you work with and the technology you require. The best option for any business wanting to get results from the internet is to choose an established website design company with a team that understands what works online for businesses and has sophisticated business software.


If the web design company does not supply examples of their work or some form of portfolio, it can mean one of two things. Either the company is just starting out and has no work to showcase yet, or they are not confident to display their work because it is not very good. The other problem I've come across here is when a web design company has a long list of clients that they have allegedly done work for, but no links to the work itself. In cases like these, you can rest assured that at least half of their clientele are made up and the other half of their clientele are upset by their shoddy workmanship. Bottom line is: If the company is any good, they will proudly display examples of their work. If the company just doesn't have any work to display, you're taking a gamble. It's your call.


There are three kinds of service you will come across in the web design industry. The first kinds are lazy and unreliable, the second kinds are very enthusiastic and will promise you the world, but won't deliver and the last kind (which is the kind you are looking for) will get back to you promptly, and meet or even exceed your expectations. The latter is very difficult to come by. Here's how you can spot the different kinds...Should you ask for a quote from a web design company or get in touch with them via email and they do not get back to you within twelve hours, then you can expect this kind of service for the entirety of the job. They are lazy and do not feel that you are important enough for them to reply promptly. The second kind is more difficult to spot. This kind are skilled in promotional talking but lack the technical skill/knowledge to deliver, so asking a few technical questions should do the trick. Instead of listening to the words they use to reply, watch their body language to see if they look uncomfortable with the question.


A good internet connection for both parties, in most cases, rules out the significance of where the designers’ offices are located. In fact, if you have a tight deadline, it is probably better to have an online relationship because when you send an email with instructions, the web designer is already at his/her computer to make the changes, as opposed to having to drive back to their premises and prepare themselves for work mode again. Even material for the job can be emailed because unlike their graphic designer counterparts, the files are low resolution, therefore small in size. One thing to keep in mind though, is that if their offices are in a very exclusive area/office park, you can probably expect to pay "exclusive" prices.

Search Engine Optimization:

A good web design company will design your website with W3C web standards, cross browser compliance & search engine optimization in mind. It is no good to have a beautiful website that no one is ever going to see because search engines can't read the format in which it was designed. Ask your designer about their website marketing options. A lot of companies say they offer this but really don't know much about it. If a designer can't tell you exactly how they have optimized your site for search engines, then they probably have not.


The last factor to take into consideration is the web designers’ ability to work within given deadlines. In a deadline situation it is almost always better to deal directly with the person/s who are going to be doing the work. In many large corporations, they will send a client liaison to receive instruction from the client, but in many cases the client liaison is only trained to appease the client, by saying "yes we can do that", "sure, you will have it tomorrow", but does not have an inkling of what the work entails, and then will go back to the designer only to be told that there are problems with what was promised. This back-and-forth liaising lends itself to miscommunication and is ultimately a waste of valuable time. The best way to see if a web design company can meet your deadline is to give them a smaller job first, with its own deadline.