Web design services are required by everybody that is trying to run a successful online business. Without a good functional website, your business will crash before it can take off. The great demand has lead to a sharp increase in the web design services. So how do you choose from the hundreds of web design services available today? It is not very difficult to find good web design services as long as you know what you are looking for.
Outsourcing your web design needs
Web design services cost the least when outsourced. When you let professionals take care of it, you are assured of the quality as well. Designing your own website is a great challenge and a risk as you are not very experienced in the field.
You should always choose a web design company that has experienced staff. When you discuss your specifications, they should come across like they know what to do. The number of years they have been in the business is also a good indicator of how well their service is. Although highly experienced ones that are under a lot of demand probably charge high, you will be able to find a balance between charges and experience that will suit your budget.
Choose the features
One of the best ways to choose an affordable web design service is by signing up for just enough number of pages that you require. Always make sure your webpage comes across as professional and should designed keeping the target market in mind. A lot of extra features can be added for a small amount as well which makes it cheaper for you. For any business, managing the budget is quite important and this is why you should skip the features that are not absolutely necessary for your business.
The designing services must come across as very professional. Most will offer to show you a mock layout of the page before finalizing the design. This can help you make changes if you aren’t happy with it. You should check the reviews and make sure they deliver on time as well. Audio, video integration to your website may cost you more but if it will help business, you should consider it. Good customer service is also very important as this will keep you at ease and knowing you can contact them at all times with changes if any is also a relief.
March 19, 2010 ISSUE #39
It is pretty annoying when you try to open a website that takes ages to load. Not everyone is blessed with good internet speed and in the world where everything runs in the fast lane, slow loading websites are the worst mistake anyone can make. The worst thing that could happen with slow loading sites is losing the potential clients. There are thousands of competitors on the World Wide Web and the visitor will be easily driven to the competitor’s site. To avoid this you can follow few things to make your website load faster.
Large sized images could be blamed for slow loading sites. Images are an essential part of your website. In order to let the images load faster you need to follow these steps:
- The first thing you need to do is size your image correctly. You cannot decrease the size of an image by just decreasing the height and width. If you have an image of size 40k, decreasing its width and height will still make it the same 40k size. I was making the same mistake on my blog till someone pointed it out to me. When I did this the image’s quality degraded. You can use image editor like Adobe Photoshop to decrease the size of the image.
- The second important thing is to use proper format. If you have complex pictures .jpg format works the best. For simple images with fewer colors .gif files are appropriate. .png format works for both but they could have larger file size.
- You can even slice images in order to decrease its size. Image slicing is the process of slicing a larger image into smaller images and then putting them back together using an HTML table. This reduces the file size of the image and makes the web page download faster.
- Using thumbnails is also a good idea to make the pages load faster. You can use Java Script and display only the thumbnail size of the picture and let the user see the larger image only when he clicks on the image.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) Files:
Table based sites might take longer time to load. The better alternative is using CSS files. The advantage in using these files is that the browser cache can directly read the .css file which makes it convenient and takes lesser time than to read each tag every time the page loads. You can also compress your CSS files. Continue reading
There has been an age old debate over which one’s better, a dedicated IP address of a shared one. A dedicated or a static IP address is a unique IP address that represents your website. Whether you type in your IP address or your webpage name it’ll open the same page. A shared IP address on the other hand is the one where you website will reside on a shared server and share the same IP as the ones on the server. On the shared IP you have to type in your web page name. Relying on the definition alone having something personalized is always luxurious than having to share it. With this luxury comes the price. Dedicated IP is more expensive (few bucks extra) than the shared one. But the debate over which ones better is not only about the price but from the SEO point of view as well.
In general, having a shared IP address does not harm your site rank at all. However, SEO experts usually suggest a dedicated server. According to them, search engines give more preference to a static IP. After a bit of research this is what I found out about how search engine spiders like Google bots differentiate between the IP addresses. When these spiders come across your site they divide it with basic html 1.0. With a dedicated IP address the spiders are able to do so with html 1.0 alone and they get indexed as soon as it is parsed. On the other hand with a shared IP these spiders may have to use html 2,3 and so on until they are able to find the address for your site taking as long as 3 months or even more. During this phase the spiders will use the IP of the main site on the server, usually the host’s site. They keep crawling back until they find your site. The links build by you for your site during this phase is accredited on the main site rather than yours. You will get these links back after that phase is through. So the bad thing here is some other site gets all the credit for your hard work, which could be frustrating.
The other advantages of having a dedicated IP are as follows: Continue reading
You have probably heard about W3C validation many times or came across its icon on many sites. If you don’t know what W3C stands for, it is World Wide Web (3 Ws) Consortium and was formed in October 1994 by Tim Berners-lee (he is the inventor of the World Wide Web). The W3C validates your website by checking your documents against a formal Standard for HTML, CSS and XML derived web documents or by the WapForum for WML. They oversee internet development and bring standards and practices when designing for the internet. W3C also aims to make websites accessible to handicapped people. You can find more information on their website.
Validation, is it really important?
It is a terror to most website owners to go through the validation process as you need to make your website confirm for these sites which includes following the standard specifications and practices for languages like HTML, CSS and XML. W3C validation might give you better search engine ranking but before the errors in your code can cause big problems Over 90% of websites don’t conform to these standards as so many programs and scripts run on websites these days. Some famous sites like Amazon.com fail W3C Validator.
To be able to pass the validation and fulfill client’s requirements is a huge problem for web developers. While clients might want to add some features in their website, this might fail validation. On the other hand there are so many browsers these days and each might interpret the code differently. It becomes a tedious job to be able to design a website compatible with all these browsers and pass the validation. I personally prefer browser compatibility over W3C validation.
It is important that people focus more on the objective of the website than the W3C validation. It’s always better to let your customer find what they want in your website than just giving them the assurance that your website passes the standardization. It is however good if you can fulfill both, but validation should not be the goal of your website. Your website should focus more on browser compatibility, better traffic and client satisfaction.
NOTE: It is important to note that validation has a very precise meaning. Unfortunately the issue is confused by the fact that some products falsely claim to “validate”, whilst in fact applying an arbitrary selection of tests that are not derived from any standard. Such tools may be genuinely useful, but should be used alongside true validation, not in place of it.
AUGUST 8, 2008 ISSUE #22
Web Content Management System is a computer software system which can be used by anyone, with or without IT background to create, manage, edit and publish the content of a website. The user can do this without the help of the web master. With CMS you can even generate new pages, manage users, modify the layout, categorize the content and manage many other things. There are two elements of CMS front-end and back-end. The front-end is the one which represents the appearance of the website as viewed by the users like the web pages, images, content, forms and other content. The back-end is the interface with the system’s database that holds the content and the templates that define the outlook of the website. Only the authorized users are able to reach the back-end of the website. These are protected by passwords. The figure below shows the principle elements of the content management system.
Benefits of using WCMS:
- With WCMS you can manage and update the content of your website without having any HTML knowledge. Most WCMS software use WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing tools for people without any technical knowledge.
- You can create standard automated templates which could be applied to new or old content.
WCMS software comes with easy and frequent upgrades.
- You can provide specific or selective content access.
- You can manage the life cycle of a document with the help of WCMS software from the creation time till the document destructions.
- You can enhance search engine optimization.
- WCMS provides better consistency and security for your website.
- With this there is lesser possibility of duplication of content.
- You can also provide backup with version control with the help of these content management software. Continue reading