Common Questions When Working With A Web Agency

If you’re relatively new to the world of websites, digital marketing and other online services, you will probably be working with professional freelancers or an agency to help you achieve your goals. That could be to set up your first company website, overhaul your brand image or simply reach a wider audience online. Either way, working with a web agency for the first time can raise a lot of very valid questions. Here is a guide to the most frequently asked ones, along with our best answers.

How can I decide who to work with?

It’s important not to be immediately taken in with the first company you consider. Many web hosting companies, designers, marketing agencies and so on will prioritise having a flashy website, but that does not necessarily reflect the level of service offered.

Check for past work of theirs and follow up on recommendations before enquiring, and then try to arrange a transparent discussion about what they can offer you given your budget and any other restraints.

How much should I spend?

This will vary depending on your project, but if you want to create a professional website for your business, it’s likely that you will need to spend around £1,000 on design. Web hosting, domain name registration and so on are typically much cheaper than that, but remember they are an ongoing cost which must be managed and budgeted for.

Where will my website content come from?

Usually, the writing and images used on your site will be provided by yourself. Web designers are not going to be familiar enough with your company to produce these without help, and they certainly wouldn’t include these services for free. You may be able to pay extra to have content created for you, but it’s good value if you can handle it in-house.

What do I need to know when the website is done?

Once your web design is complete, you need to establish whether your relationship with the design agency is effectively over, or whether they will continue to support you later. Ideally you should have full access and control over every aspect of your website, so steer clear of companies who would retain ownership of the site once it has been completed. You should at least know the basics of how to update and manage your website, or have someone in-house with this expertise.

Time saving tricks for web designers

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Having the pressure of finishing a project on time shows how stressful and this job can be. So we’ve come up with some tips and tricks that can help web designers save time and get faster at work. Following the tips will help you meet deadlines while still delivering a quality work.

Tips and Tricks

Organise correctly – It is important that your files are named and labelled in separate documents for each of your projects. Therefore it will be easier when you need to make any future changes.

Grid Systems – When using Photoshop, it is ideal to take advantage of the grid systems. Using this feature can easily save you a lot of time in the process of designing.

Organise Layers – It’s advisable to label your layers and organise each of them into a folder. It allows quick navigation or movement for each group.

Shortcuts – Web designers should always use the keyboard shortcuts as they are great for saving time. Designers can even personalise the shortcuts to their needs to fit their designing process.

Masking Images – By masking the folder with images, it will help you save time on cropping, sizing or styling a particular image, especially if all images needs to be in the same size or style.

Customise applications – Adobe allows all users to create and customises their design applications to suit their preference or needs.

To end, applying the tips can easily save time and make the work process go smoothly and faster for web designers.

Creative Web Design

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What is creative web design? They websites that still contain the necessary information and functionality but with an added artistic touch on presentation. The design will more likely catch the attention of many users.

Hiring a creative web design company over a traditional web company will benefit you more. Mainly due to a more appealing image compare to your competitors. Especially today, many customers are more attracted to a modern and unique design on the web.

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About ten years ago, the demand for web services was at its highest peak. Most of the company, however, had little experience on the traditional side of the web design. This includes the functionality, SEO and compatibility. They didn’t realise that the design and functionality both work hand in hand. Soon enough, most companies found that it is essential to have a designer and a developer work together.  The designer will plan the look of the web while the developer’s job is to apply it using the web formats.

Traditional Web Design

A traditional web design company only showcases the relevant information and functionality needed for the website to run correctly. Traditional does not focus on the image and design of the overall site.

Creative vs. Traditional

To compare both designs, we will use a billboard as an example. Imagine an advertisement with a few images with an added graphic and a matching theme. Now compare the billboard with the one next to it that contains only a number and a name. On comparison, you will soon realise that the creative billboard with images is more eye-catching than the other one.

Choosing a creative web design company

When finding the right company, be sure to check up on their design, implementation, portfolio, reliability, cost and the quality of their services. A company should be able to meet all your needs and build a creative web design that best suits you.

A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing a Hosting Package

Web hosting is an essential element of owning a website, but it’s not the most exciting aspect for most people, and many new website owners may have no idea how to go about selecting and paying for a hosting package. Prices across the market will vary wildly, and whether it’s for personal or business use it can be very confusing trying to make sense of what’s on offer. Here is a very basic guide to help you work out your requirements and compare them against any hosting package.

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Traffic – Do you know how many visitors you will be getting per day, or per month? It’s important to be realistic here, as a higher level package will definitely come at a higher cost, but it will give your site the capacity to deal with high levels of traffic with sudden increases. Cheap web hosting packages will support lower numbers of visitors, but still offer enough support for most sites.

Location – To optimise the loading speed of your website and its ability to handle high levels of traffic, you will need the server (where your site is hosted) to be geographically close to your users. If they are all likely to be from one country, ensure the server is located there. Your choice of country may also depend on laws regarding data protection and other legal issues that could affect your website.

 

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Software – Depending on what programs and systems your website will require to function, your choice of free web hosting package could change. Some content management systems (or CMS, commonly used as user-friendly frameworks for websites) will be better suited to certain servers, depending on how demanding they are.

Security – You always need to factor in security when it comes to your personal or business information, so it will always apply to web hosting no matter what your objectives are. Shared web hosting is the cheapest type but also the most vulnerable to attack. More expensive options may be a lot more secure, so you need to understand and quantify the risk involved.

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Price – For a large proportion of people, this may be the most important factor, but it has to be stacked up against everything else for you to make a wise choice. Not only do different web hosting providers offer different features, but you may be enticed in with attractive introductory offers but fall victim to hidden costs later. Do your research to confirm what constitutes good value for money once you know your requirements.

Building a Website for Dummies

Trying to build a website is a daunting task. Looking at other websites and seeing all the cool moving parts and fabulous artwork, it can be very intimidating for a beginner. But is must be known, building a website for dummies is actually not that difficult. Years of software innovation have focused in making the process simpler and simpler. It used to be that a web designer would need to be fluent in HTML and be able to work in it the entire time. This obviously made building a website for dummies a long and arduous project. Nowadays, however, it can be learned in a relatively short amount of time.

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The first and most vital thing you must do is get an applicable software for web design. Older softwares were very involved, but today’s web design software is highly advanced and very visual. Most have what is called ‘What you see is what you get’ interface. This means that most functions can be made as simply as Microsoft Office applications. Many features can be implemented using simple drag and drop functions. Some more advanced features are even made easy through little ‘set-up wizards’ that will ask what you want to do in simple plain language. Such complex things as Facebook or Twitter live feeds can be implemented graphically. So what software should be used? That is largely up to the consumer, but some recommendations are WebPlus, WebEasy or Adobe’s design programs. These all allow for deep and complex web design, while still making building a website for dummies easy and quick.

The next thing to do when building a website for dummies is get a clear and defined idea. It is often helpful to do three things before beginning to build your website. The first is to play around with the software and learn what it can do. This means looking up videos on the basics. Try to make a few sample projects that will teach the basics. Bruce Lee once said “If you want to learn to swim jump into the water.” It is not enough to simply watch the program but to understand all of its functions.

Next go to other sites to get ideas. This means going to a wide variety of sites. Visit possible competitor sites, or sites that serve a similar purpose to yours. This means especially finding the most successful of these websites and seeing how well their site works. Also visit your own favorite sites, or sites you know have a good design. Figure out why you like these sites and their design. This will help you figure out what is convenient and makes content easy to find, and what is messy, over complicated and frustrating. And finally draw the site out on paper. Plan where things will go and where they will take you. Plan out many pages, especially ones that people will use frequently. Be sure to make the site memorable but keep in mind that functionality is the most important thing to a site’s success.

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Finally it is time to actually start building a website for dummies. This means that all your ideas should start coming together. Any drawings you made should now be brought to life. Find out how to execute the ideas you have. Find feedback for yourself and even your competitors. If you can implement functions that your competitors do not you could start to receive traffic that they are losing from not implementing such functions into their own site. While learning from other sites is important also keep in mind that your site should be unique. This means implementing features that will keep traffic coming back. Do not rush the work and ensure that the site actually works the way you want. Have friends go through it with no extra knowledge and see if they can work it easily. This is essentially what should be considered when building a website for dummies.

A Brief Overview of a Web Design Career

Web design is an area of the creative arts that is growing in demand. A web designer has the job of arranging how a website is setup. This means that that they are in charge of both how a website looks and how it functions. This means that the website’s visual appeal cannot overpower the actual functionality of the site.

However if you want people to pay attention to the site and respect it, it is also important to make it look attractive, as well. This is where a web design career becomes difficult, or at least complicated. How does one balance a page’s aesthetic appeal with usability? Years of training go into this, as well as having the natural ability to think creatively and also work with software that is constantly updating.

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First is to work with the software pre-training. This is best for people aspiring to become web designers. Before you have a chance to start your real training learn some of the basics. One trying to get into a web design career could start by learning some of the basics of HTML. While this knowledge may not be directly used in modern projects it can be an essential tool for anyone with a web design career to know. It is much like learning the basics of any language.

Understanding how to use HTML is the first step in web design. Next play around with whatever modern editor you can get your hands on. Learning on a variety of softwares is good, especially when this includes the software used by professionals. Perhaps try a few sample projects from online tutorials, or ‘fun projects’ just for the practice.

Next is to get formal training. This means finding a certification or degree program that covers web design. Be sure to get a certification or program that is specific to web design. From here you must take the path that most professionals take, which is internship. This will entail working with existing web designers in order to learn even more about web design, which especially includes learning how to work in a real life web design office, with all the complications that come along with that.

There is an alternative to all of this formal training however. This is self-training, and is a faster, but less ‘safe’ path for those hoping to begin a web design career. This entails entirely self-taught web design skills. You will not likely be able to find an actual job as a web designer at first. When comparing your resume to others who have certifications, yours will seem quite lacking. Thus you must build it by working in other areas such as marketing or administration where you will have web design responsibilities.

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It is notable that these are not really equal paths in getting into a web design career. While it is possible to be an excellent and very hirable self-taught designer, it is unlikely. Often this is done when people have already started in one area and then change into web design, usually still with a focus on their original field. A real certification program will always be the best way to get into a web design career.

There are 3 levels of web design careers. First is a junior designer. This is the lowest level of graduated designer, and is the title given to designers from the time they leave school up until their third year of work. From here you become a ‘real’ web designer. This is the full-fledged job with individual projects. Finally, there is the senior web designer, who will be in charge of large teams of designers and will train junior designers. Of course, each promotion will bring more money than the previous one, starting at about $21 an hour for a junior designer and ending at about $36 an hour at median for a senior designer.

A web design career is a lucrative and rewarding one. But in this same way it is a demanding one, with training, talent and creativity all being important considerations.

 

A Tough Question: How Much do Web Designers Make?

The first thing that must be taken into account when asking ‘how much do web designers make’ is what kind of web designer? Like most jobs, there are different levels of web designer. All these levels have different experience, but have different pay scales based on a number of factors. So the first thing to consider in answering how much do web designers make is to ask how much each type of web designer makes.

The first ‘career level’ is that of a junior web designer. This category of web designer is defined as having three or fewer years of experience out of school. These sorts of people can only work under supervision of other higher up designers in a company setting. This means they are paid the least. But don’t let that fool you; it is still a good wage.

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The median salary is $42,000 per annum for a junior designer. This can also be expressed as $21 per hour. But once again ‘how much do web designers make’ is not a simple question. Next bonuses and commissions account for maybe another $3,000. This means that a total beginner’s salary of about $45,000 is the average for a junior designer.

Next up is the lead designer. These are the next step up, having spent time as a junior designer and having several years of experience.  of experience are designers. This means that they are capable and experienced enough to be working on independent projects or aspects of projects with larger teams. Here the pay goes up. The average paycheck now rises to $52,000 a year or $26 per hour. And of course the bonuses and commissions still apply adding another $3000 estimated to their paycheck. A total pay comes out to about $55,000 per each year.

Finally is the highest of the designers, the senior designer or art director and the most impressive answer to ‘how much do web designers make’. The senior designer is the most experienced of designers. This means that they have worked long enough and have an extensive enough portfolio that they can be trusted with being in charge of large teams of other web designers. This also usually means training junior designers. All this is sure to bring in the highest paycheck. The median falls in at $72,000 a year or $36 per hour. The bonuses are also higher at $5000 making a total median estimate of $77,000 a year. In addition to this other fees are estimated to add up to another $2,200, meaning that it could be said that it is as high as $79,200.

It is also worth mentioning that it of course also depends on the company that a designer works for. Some companies will pay more highly than others. Companies that are larger will likely pay more especially to higher positions in order to keep the best designers available for important projects.

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A last consideration on ‘how much do web designers make’ is figuring out how much a freelance web designer will make. This is the most subjective, as the prices can vary wildly. A freelance web designer just starting out could be the cheapest option for many clients and thus be paid less than the usual designer in an attempt to remain competitive and build a strong portfolio. And conversely, a very experienced freelance web designer may ask for far more. It is possible that this could also be the source of the most highly paid web designer, all depending on the case.

When considering how much do web designers make it is important to consider all the factors. It can be difficult to predict, but a general medians can be used to try and figure out how much a web designer can be expected to make and the answer is at all levels it really is quite a lucrative career.

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