Posts Tagged "web design"

Free and Low-Cost Web Design Options

Strapped for cash? You’re not alone. In fact, a low budget is the most universally familiar obstacle to small business owners. There are many ways to safely cut costs when setting up your web space, and finding less-costly web design options falls into this category. Here, we’ll take a look at the best ways to approach low-cost web design while maintaining a polished, professional appearance.

Free Options

There are two main free options available to you—an unpaid worker and a ready-made design built into a web space package you’re already purchasing. As with any budget option, there are disadvantages and advantages to both options.

Going with a ready-made design for your web space is a reliable option. Keep in mind, however, that a creativity-based business can suffer from an obviously-stock template. If, for example, you are a painter selling canvases online, customers will be a bit confused by a standard, boring web space design. Thankfully, there are many excellent bundled designs to be found via our top hosting picks. These designs are included in your purchase price, but still offer customizable and exciting visual options.

Your next free option is to find a skilled designer who’s just starting out. They are rather easy to find if you look in the right places—college campuses are a great place to begin. Place ads on the bulletin boards—real-world and online—of some local colleges and universities. You’ll probably receive more than a few offers, which gives you a nice selection. Just be sure to check the work over very carefully before it ‘goes live’ on your web space. Taking advantage of a fellow start-up is never good business, so be sure to use the barter system—offer a gift card, discount code or even profit-sharing potential in exchange for services.

Low-Cost Options

The most readily available low-cost web space design options are, essentially, enhanced versions of free options. You can find a great deal of customizable, yet ready-made, web space designs available through many different platforms. Many of these options can be customized to the point that they are unrecognizable as ready-made designs, lending your site that all-important air of creativity.

Another low-cost option involves seeking out a talented, yet undiscovered, individual or company. These individuals are in the same boat as you—just getting started. Services can often be obtained at a significantly reduced cost, or through bartering. Just be careful to pay fairly; after all, your business is worth a reasonable investment.

For a world of attractive, professional-looking templates which don’t require an IT degree to set up, visit sites such as ThemeForest. Even those brand-new to the world of web design can customize beautiful designs with just a few clicks!

Safety Comes First

Glitches can occur when utilizing the services of a less-than-professional individual or company. However, there’s no reason to get paranoid.

In order to keep costs down and stay sane, have your web space checked over by an internet safety professional before it goes live. This can usually be done at a very reasonable cost, and very quickly. This is a step best left to professionals backed by a well-regarded company. The money you spend is an investment in your and your customers’ safety—well worth every penny.

The Bottom Line

With so many low- and no-cost options out there, finding the right one for you should be an easy task. However, keep in mind that a professionally designed web space is your ultimate goal. These sites are easy to spot, and they immediately foster a sense of consumer trust. They cost more but, ultimately, that cost is neutralized by increased traffic and sales. Check out our best budget-friendly picks and start building your best site right away!

How to Find the Right Web Designer

Creating a website is an important project for your company, since a website can either make or break a potential client’s first impression online about your company. You have literally just a few seconds to capture the attention of a potential client, present benefit-oriented messages about your products or services, and persuade them to buy what you’re selling. Keeping this in mind, unless you have web design skills, to create your own website, it’s important to ensure you look for and choose the right web designer for your web space business needs.

The first thing you need to do is to find a few different web designers and research on their services, cost, reputation, experience, and customer service before selecting the one that suits your needs.

Where to Find Web Designers

  • Search engines. A good reputable web designing company should have a website to sell their services. Choose web designers based on your geographical location to make things easier and cheaper for you. Meeting with a local designer will be helpful to help them understand your vision for your web space.
  • Referrals. This is a good way of finding web designers as you will get firsthand information concerning the best designers. Ask friends and family about the best designer they have had an experience with. If you’re active on social media, you could post the question online to your followers.
  • Freelance job sites. There are various sites where you could browse to look for web designers. Some of the reputable sites online include Elance, Guru, oDesk, and Freelancer. Go through the profiles a number of designers and look for the one that has the qualities you want in a website designer based on education, experience, and proof of finished works
  • Directories. These contain listings of different companies or individuals who offer website designing services.
  • Existing partners. Ask your trusted partners, such as your IT services, if they know anyone who does web design.

How to Choose the Right Web Designer for Your Needs

Once you’ve selected a list of web designers you would like to work with, below are tips to help you choose the best.

  • Look through the portfolio of different designers and a list of recently completed projects to have a feel of the designer’s style and the type of projects they have completed
  • Ask for references. Don’t rely too much on the testimonials on the designers’ website as some may control these testimonials to only show the positive ones.
  • Determine their skills. Web designers usually specialize in a few skills. Some are better at programming, some are better at visual design. Ideally, a good designer should have expertise on both.
  • Choose a website designer who has experience in search engine optimization as well as other online marketing techniques to ensure that your website is optimized to improve your business.

After choosing the best website designer for your needs, ask for a quote. Ensure that you provide the designer with all the necessary information to provide an accurate quote. You may want to include the following in your brief:

  • Examples of designs you like
  • Your website audience and goals
  • Your business’s background
  • Specific project deliverables such as logos, templates, etc.
  • Any necessary back-end integration with an existing portal or database
  • Ideal delivery dates

It’s important to communicate your needs with the website designer to ensure a good relationship and rapport between you and the designer.

If you’re just starting out and aren’t ready to hire a web designer just yet, our recommended web hosts offer free site-building tools that let you build and design your own website without having to know any code.

Should You Hire a Web Designer?

If you own a business and want to step into the Internet to sell your products and services to a global market, you may want a website designed to enable you get to potential customers. You may choose to design a website for your business if you have web design skills, or decide to hire a website designer.

Should you hire a professional to design your web space for you? This is a question that many people ask. Below are advantages and disadvantages to hiring a web designer to help you in making your decision.

Advantages of Hiring a Web Designer

  • You get a professional-looking website. To help you achieve your business goals, you need to have an efficient functional website. Potential customers visiting your site should find it easy to browse through the site. The site should also have a professional look and feel to gain the trust of potential clients. A designer should ensure your web space is professional to help you gain a competitive edge.
  • You save time. Hiring a reputable web design company will help you save time. By setting a deadline, the web designer should be able to deliver quality services within the stipulated time.
  • Software and design updates are easier. A good web designer not only creates and publishes a website for you; they can also ensure that the site stays up-to-date and fresh to appeal potential customers.
  • It costs money. Hiring a good reputable web designer is not a cheap affair. They normally charge anywhere from a hundred to thousands of dollars for a good website.
  • You need to know and explain your vision. No one can understand the vision you have for your site as well as you. This might result in a website that doesn’t meet your requirements. So even if you hire a web designer, you still have to explain your vision to them clearly.
  • You’re dependent on them for changes. If you want to make changes, you sometimes have to contact them and wait for the changes to be done. This depends on the type of website they create for you. If they create a website that has a content management system, the cost will be more expensive, but you’ll be able to make changes easily on your own.

Disadvantages of Hiring a Web Designer

There are situations that make it necessary to hire a web designer. You may not have the time to design the website yourself or you may want to see various ideas on the look. Other reasons that may necessitate the need for a professional designer include lost opportunity for initial sales due to lack of a good website, and loss of sales to competitors who have used a good website to market their product and services.

The best ways to find website designers include looking at freelancing sites, doing Google searches, asking friends for referrals, and researching existing local businesses.

If you don’t need or can’t afford the services of a professional web designer, there are many alternatives to get a website. For example, you can use website builders bundled with your web hosting. The best web hosts usually offer free site builders. You could also install WordPress and just buy a premium theme for a generally good design.

Custom Web Design vs. Website Templates

You want your website to reflect your brand, entice visitors, and make customers feel welcome. Appearances matter a great deal. Your web space’s visual appeal can make or break your success.

The two main options for web design are custom design and website templates. We’ll discuss both in this article.

Custom Web Design

Your first option is to hire a web design agency or professional to design and code a custom website for you. Make sure you’re working with a professional individual or firm, so that you’ll still be very involved in the process. You can expect to provide your own content, make strategic decisions, and generally collaborate with them on the website.

Website Templates

A website template is a pre-made website design you can buy and use. You can use a template directly, or customize it to meet special design needs. Since the same template is available to a lot of people, this option is more affordable.

There are thousands of website templates online. You can buy them directly from template shops. Also, some web space hosts, such as the ones on our recommended list, bundle website templates for free with their hosting plans.

Website Builders

We need to mention another option which combines website templates and custom design. Many web hosts include website builders free with hosting plans. This allows you to start from a template and customize your website design, all within your browser and without having to know how to code. Site builders allow you to build your web space one component at a time, making the entire process simpler.

Which One Is Right for You?

When choosing between custom web design or website templates, take these into consideration:

Branding

If you want a unique brand, then you have to invest in custom design. After all, anybody can use a template—and you may just go online one day and discover that a competitor is using the exact template you’ve chosen. With all the websites online, you really want yours to stand out from the crowd.

Nature of Business

It just so happens that most website templates available have a sleek and modern look and feel. Now, if you’re selling discounted computer parts, this is perfect. But if you’re a boutique selling vintage pieces, a modern look will detract from your brand image. Vintage necklaces just don’t look at home in the standard Web 2.0 web design style.

Website Size

In general, large sites are better suited to custom design, simply because you want to ensure that all sections and components work together according to your needs. Small sites can do just fine with a template.

Conclusion

Do your research and think of the considerations above when choosing between custom design and templates. Whatever you decide, make sure you choose a good web host that can meet all your web space needs.