• Why do I need a custom built website?
With a custom website, you don’t simply receive a nice visual that looks good. The web designer has spent hours researching your market, your competitors and other industry related, high quality website designs. Quality web designers acquire inspiration from around the internet, nature and every-day life, and combine it all to develop a concept design that will ensure a powerful online presence and performance for your company’s new website. Each area of a custom website design is formatted with your customers and potential customers in mind. Everything from the colours, the layout, and the style of the design is tailored specifically for your market.
Pre-made website templates fail to deliver on each aspect discussed above. A template design is created with the goal of selling as many copies of the template as possible. With pre-made website templates you often have limited design and feature options, and out-dated styles of coding which impacts negatively with the indexing of your website on Google. You never meet the template website designer, in fact, the template is most likely designed before you even think about needing a new site. The designer knows nothing about your customers, your business or you.
• What is responsive design?
Responsive design is an approach to web design aimed at crafting a website to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience, regardless of what device it is being viewed from/on. Responsive web pages automatically adjust themselves to any screen size and reorder content based on the device, allowing users to navigate with ease. In early 2014, the number of mobile users accessing the internet surpassed the number of desktop users, which means that responsive design has now become a necessity. One of the best ways to reach your customers is by designing your site using responsive web design, ensuring clarity, convenience and accessibility.
• Why is SEO important?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.
When you perform a search on Google the order by which the returning results are displayed, is based on complex algorithms. These algorithms take a number of factors into account to decide how to rank websites. Optimising your web site for search engines will give you an advantage over non-optimised sites and you increase your chances to rank higher, ultimately increasing traffic to your website.
There are various methods to optimise websites, including the addition of dynamic content, keywords and meta-data.
• Why hire a freelance graphic designer?
A growing number of clients prefer using a freelance graphic designer to using a design agency – and this due to a few main benefits. The biggest benefit being that the work delivered by a skilled freelance designer can be exactly the same as you’d get from a top branding agency but at a fraction of the price – because a freelancer has less overheads. You also get to work much more closely with your designer, instead of relaying everything through an account manager.
• How does the design process work?
I believe that good quality design requires more than just creativity. It requires research, analysis and close collaboration with the client to reflect their organisation’s vision, strengths, messages and priorities. I have four phases that I implement in every design project – research, design, development and evaluation.
The first phase, based on initial consultation will purely be fact finding and market research into a client’s competitors and targeted clientele. The client is provided with a mood board which references various style inspirations – colours, typeface, texture and imagery. This is so the client can assess the stylistic direction of the site and determine if they are happy with the over-arching design concepts.
A collection of mockups will be created representative of how the website will look. These designs will be based on the approved mood boards. Before beginning the design phase I require all website content and images provided. Upon presenting the initial design mockups to the client, the client will have the opportunity review the designs, think about them for a few days and come back with a list of alterations/amendments should you so desire. I only request that all changes be listed in one email, to maximise time efficiency.
The design is sliced up and modulated into a working wireframe (initial draft) of the site. The initial draft of the site involves studying the specification and site plan in detail and integrating each module to work with each other to produce a fully functioning website including all the features and functionalities detailed within the websites specification. While this is in the development process, a holding page will be put up, so should a client wish to direct anyone to their site, they will be presented with a shop face, and relevant contact details.
Once all of the relevant pages are integrated and working, you are welcome to give final feedback. Feedback is noted down with any amendments that you might wish to implement into the site; these amendments are then carried out. Once the final edits are made the website is ready for Final Sign off, Testing & Go-Live.
• How much does a project cost?
One of the most common misconceptions is that web development is easy. This is very far from true. The actual design and development of a website is complex and multifaceted. Beyond that there is web maintenance. As with all technology, it changes rapidly, and the quality companies change with the technology, and some are even at the forefront of it.
More and more businesses are relying on their online presence for a large portion of their marketing and advertisement. If you really want to get true value out of the commodity that is your website, find an experienced website designer and make the most of your website investment.
Any decent, experienced web design firm or web design freelancer will charge you at least £300 for a very basic website. If tools like content management systems or blog platforms are included, the quote should be at least £700.
• What do I need to supply before beginning a project?
For website projects I require all written content and images provided before I begin design work. If required, I can obtain stock images at an additional cost. A domain name and hosting will need to be purchased by the client. I am happy to advise on the most suitable hosting providers and packages should a client need assistance.
For business cards, flyers, letterheads etc I require a high resolution logo and all relevant information such as contact details before beginning the project.
Any further additions to the provided content after the design process has begun will occur extra charges.