• The Cost of Running a Web Design Agency

    The Cost of Running a Web Design AgencyThere’s one question that bugs us web designers: Am I charging clients enough? Each one has a different approach to this question and may feel comfortable with his approach for quite some time, but there will always be points in the business where the issue resurfaces. And then we see ourselves with a pen and paper trying to come up with comfortable estimates for fees.

    When scaling up our business, do we count the cost in? When a client asks for inclusion of certain features not stated in the contract, do we point him to the contract and push for additional charges? These are only two examples. The list is still long, but beyond those not-so- pleasant times, we have to take care of the daily needs of running the business, and that equates to expenses. You can’t keep the money long, because for one reason or another, it just has to be spent.

    You Must Spend Money

    A web design business startup usually starts out lean, and for many, it can be exceptionally lean. One may be able to generate a profit in the range of $30,000 or $40,000 in their initial year, which isn’t bad at all for that period. However, expect to incur higher expenses for the coming years. Huge amounts of cash have to be spent on a host of items – expensive design software, new iMacs, various applications, insurance payments, backup solutions, salaries, accountants, etc.

    Don’t overspend – that’s the key. The moment you tip the balance and cause a huge difference between expenses and revenues, you will begin to ask yourself whether the business is still worth keeping. Remember also the lunch meetings with prospective clients and the new chairs to account for. Yes, you need new chairs, as furniture naturally goes through wear and tear. And yes, there’s still the free coffee for visitors and employees alike. You are never to serve cheap coffee. It’s bad for business.

    Startup Cost

    For startups, a couple of things need to be done before you even sit down to calculate cost. Identify the particular website design projects that you don’t have trouble handling. Determine your market. If you are starting small, make a plan for targeting small businesses in your locality, for example. Client location matters, which means that you will use more fuel and time for customers that are based outside your city.

    Next is calculating the manpower you need to accomplish your projects within specified deadlines. Figure out the cost afterwards. Set aside a substantial amount of cash for company registration, assembling of development and marketing teams and office spaces.

    On the average, businesses spend about $6000 a month for a rental space that can accommodate a maximum of 10 people. Security deposit may be required, which is usually 5–10 times of that amount. Company registration fees can go up to $630, depending on the state you intend to operate in.

    You may start with only one employee who you will task to do most of the marketing. $12K – $15K will be allocated for his/her salary. A few thousand dollars goes to items like electricity, phone and internet.

    More Cost Downsides

    Through the years, I, together with others in the web design industry, have come to know more downsides to the business—all of them directly or indirectly related to cost. Much as I like to give my employees the average salary of $55000, it just isn’t possible. If the overhead costs, stat holidays, holidays, and sick days are to be factored in, meeting the average salary goal will push us to charge clients not less than $100 per hour.

    There are more that put burden on the budget. There are difficult clients to please, non-peak seasons to overcome, and deadbeat clients to chase down. It’s just a matter of learning the ropes, I guess. Luckily, our Brighton-based accountants, ACA, have come to our rescue here on more than one occasion, and it does help that they have offices in London!

    Just Doing Good Business

    It’s no wonder why we charge fees the way we do. We guarantee that this is all in the name of doing business the way it should be done. We understand everyone’s just trying to cut costs to have a little more for the family and employees to enjoy, but then again, prices are always negotiable and hopefully, with every transaction and agreement that we sign, nothing in the business relations and services are compromised.

  • Is the Cloud Really Safer Than On Site Storage?

    imagesIn a recent explanation to reassure professionals, Greg DeMichillie, Cloud Product Development Director at Google, said, somewhat peremptorily, that data stored on site were much less safe than most people thought. And in any case less safe than in the Cloud, Google’s in particular. It is not the only one to say so, and this is not the first time that Google has made these claims. The recent US news also seems to prove him right. “There was a time when security was discussed as a reason to not go in the Cloud. But with the incidents at Home Depot, Target and Sony Pictures – not to mention the vulnerabilities of the Personnel Management Office of the Government of the United States – the customers realize that security is an argument to the contrary,” he has declared.

    “We build our own servers, we design ourselves the specifications of our hardware and our software layers. All this reduces the attack surface because you can not buy a server used by Google, mount it at home and analyze it to find flaws… in our cloud, you are more safe.” Basically, they are saying that no one can get ahold of these things, not even the best cloud computing resellers in London.

    Yes but now, several specialists in the good old field of “on site” data storage point out that this assertion forgets several risks involved with the cloud, including a fundamental fact: trust. For security and privacy are not the same. This is the case of Mark Hall, an expert who works for the British Council in Cloud Computing Redcentric. It points out that where the data are stored once they have been relinquished to Google is never clear. “This poses the problem of sovereignty data. Google moves your data permanently to maximize the use of its infrastructure resources. But you never know when or where this is going,” he argues.

    The same was done publicly by a major French player in retail who had realized, during a test phase, that Google’s data transitioned to the United States when they were not supposed to. As a result, the distributor has chosen Microsoft Azure cloud instead, AWS having been excluded because of its eCommerce industry in direct competition with the project. Passing data from one area to another does indeed pose the problem of the change in regulations applicable to them. Now businesses and organizations, especially those in the public sector – Domain Redcentric – do not want their information to be governed by the law of another country.

    The answer to the question “which is safer- the Cloud or on-premise data storage” is a difficult one to answer properly. It depends both upon the situation of the company storing the data, and the ethics and practices of the company offering the cloud storage. Security is ultimately more a matter of corporate culture and good practice, whether with an infrastructure onsite or infrastructure managed by third parties.

  • Google Improves The Positioning Of Websites With Responsive Design

    Google has just announced that the fact that a website is responsive (be adapted to mobile and tablets) will count as one factor in their ranking algorithm. The change began to be implements last April 21, 2015, according to the official announcement.

    Keep in mind that this new algorithm factor will only affect the searches made from mobile devices, and not in general search results (desktop). It also does not mean that the web will disappear of said mobile search results, but this factor will be at a disadvantage to other websites that are mobile-whether friendly or have a responsive design. Note that when you are changing your website design it is best to have a back up of files and data, just incase things go haywire. Sometimes a simple backup tool can be downloaded in the internet, but when you are dealing with large files, it is best to employ the help of people who are experts in this field.

    Does it get removed from my web search engine if it is not responsive?

    No, although many insist on forums and blogs about SEO catastrophic launch messages, there will be no missing or penalty for those sites that are not adapted to be responsive. Do not be fooled. Simply will be a plus in one of the ranking factors (over 200) and only in the group of searches relating to mobile (smartphones and tablets). In desktop search as usual.

    This strategy aims to improve the experience of users accessing Google through mobile devices, showing results that respond to search adapting to the resolution of access.

    What if my web improvements will have the responsive design?

    Still unknown in the level of influence of this new algorithm, which is to accompany the change introduced previous months, where close to mobile search results notice “mobile-friendly” for the results to suit the user’s resolution appears.

    Surely if your site is already responsive, you have noticed a slight increase in traffic from mobile devices. (This notice should increase the CTR of clicks from mobile search).

    To check if this is so, you just have to do a search of your site from a mobile or tablet, to see if Google displays the warning “Adapted mobile”. If this is not, this may be a good time to adjust your website to mobile devices and overtake some competitors who have not yet adapted their website.

    You can check in extra testing tool for mobile of Google

    How do I make my design responsive?

    Having a responsive website is a clear improvement, and not only for the new Google algorithm, which will help improve the positioning, but also for the user experience to visit our website and do not have to zoom in to see the contents.

    Several strategies responsive design. Mobile First (depart first design for smaller resolution) is perhaps the best load performance and behavior gives us. Here’s an article with all the information.

    But beyond that, it is always good to check if images behave correctly in responsive, adjusting the width of the screen as well as videos and other multimedia content. If you still are unsure of what steps you should take, usually an IT Support company can help you with these sort of things. Try contacting one that’s near you now.

    Each web project is different, and therefore, before making good decisions based on the data pertaining to each website or blog to discuss whether an implementation like this deserves to become a target. The most direct way to check this is through Google Analytics.

    We can filter visitors by type of device, and check how many of them are classified as mobile, tablet or desktop. This will give us an insight into the current mobile traffic on our website. If this is a significant percentage of the total and we aim to increase these visitors, it is time to move to responsive. Google and your visitors will thank you.

  • Top 5: Web Design Programs For Beginners

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    There is no doubt that the web has become vital for most sectors as a resource of professionals. Today, having an Internet presence is a must for all companies and individuals that need to be recognized or attract customers to develop their economic activity requirement. However, not surprisingly, not all in the world has the knowledge required to open and create its own page. That is the main reason why Web designers and web developers are in demand nowadays.

    For this reason, we decided to introduce this small collection of 5 web design programs that will get you started on an activity that, who knows? could become your future career.

    1 – HTML Editor: Adobe Dreamweaver

    I know what you’re thinking: Adobe Dreamweaver is a very complex tool with many options and possibilities to be exploited by an amateur user. Well, you are right … in part. However, this is no impediment to also be really intuitive, very easy to use and to have the added value (due to its popularity) to have a huge amount of tutorials on the Internet.

    Thus, this program will help you create the skeleton of your site, i.e. architecture that will hold the remaining contents. In addition, different editing modes allow you to learn to include your first HTML tags, familiarize yourself with the different lines of code and understand the basics of building Web. You can always consult experts if you really don’t know where to begin.

    2 – Web Templates: Artisteer

    Of course, once you’ve established the skeleton and the navigation map, it will be time to decorate. There are many alternatives and web designers generally choose to create all the graphics and multimedia elements manually and entirely from scratch. However, there is also an easy way: the predesigned templates.

    Basically, these templates have default modules and spaces that can quickly add to your site without having to worry about configuring all the graphics. In this sense, one of the best programs for creating templates in an intuitive way is Artisteer.

    This is because it has many elements that can pre-select and combine as you like to shape the final appearance of your site. At the end, you just have to export your work and use it on your website. This can get a little bit tricky so be sure to ask for help to those who specialise on technical support whenever you can especially if you are a small business.

    3 – Editor of web images Adobe Fireworks

    There is no doubt that the Internet has become an essentially visual medium so much so, that the image processing is crucial for the work of any designer. Therefore, you need a powerful and complete enough program to work on all your images and prepare them for Web tool. Contrary to what you’re thinking, the ideal choice is Adobe Photoshop.

    The perfect place for this kind of program issues, however, it is an Adobe: Fireworks. For those who are still wondering why part of the Creative Suite, the reason is that this program allows you to edit images in a very simple and directly export them for use on the web.

    This last point is crucial, because it is what differentiates Fireworks Photoshop: while the latter lets you edit images to any media, Fireworks focuses on materials for the Internet, making it possible for you to design buttons, banners and other elements essential in this type of work.

    4 – Logo Design: Logo Cre8or

    One of the key elements in building a website is the logo needed to identify it. This component is one of the most important challenges for the web designer because they must transmit all representing the company, the product, the artist or brand. In this sense, the best thing would be to create it from scratch, however, if you are taking your first steps into the exciting world of design, Logo Cre8or can help you find it.

    This program, like Artisteer, lets you combine graphics predesigned items to create your own logo. So, you find all kinds of tables and fonts that will serve as a basis on which to build this critical part of your website.

    5 – FTP client: Filezilla

    Finally, your site must be hosted on an FTP server so that users can find it. In this way, you must place at this location all content you’ve designed and configured with the help of the above tools. For this there is what is known as FTP clients.

    Among the vast range of possibilities that can be found on the market, Filezilla is one of the most reliable and secure.  Just fill in a few fields, you can drag and drop the files you’ve created for your site and make them available on the Web. Filezilla sometimes can be a very delicate program. You need to have some basic developer skills when you go through it. If you are unsure of what to do, try employing ht help of an IT company. They can help you and support you in this endeavour because they are experts when it comes to these things.

  • 5 Tips To Simplify The Design Of A Website And Gain Traffic

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    Achieve effective simplicity by making your website stylish but still reducing confusing navigation. This helps boost subscriptions and lets you reach sales objectives. But its not so easy to achieve an effective simplified website and get the results that you wanted. The following five points that are mentioned needs to be considered when you are simplifying a website.

    1. Focus only on the essential elements.

    This first step that appears to be very obvious, that we should definitely put the focus on the essential elements on the site, but it does not always get implemented often in practice on a surprising large number of websites. To the websites that can not achieve this, the result is a great mess of important and unimportant elements, jumbled up and mixed throughout the page. Sometimes it’s hard to be objective and prioritize what is important, because everything seems essential. If you want your website design to be simple and effective, clearly identify what you need to focus on, as with any good visual design or a piece of art. And that means putting the focus solely on what you intend your blog to be about.

    2. Get rid of all the unnecessary items

    Following the application the 80-20 rule and now it has identified 20% of website elements that are earning 80% of the desired results, it is time to get rid of all unnecessary items. In other words, eliminate 80% of website elements which allow getting only 20% of the results. It could be sharing widgets media, elements of the sidebar, blog message information (date, time, author, number of comments, etc) or links in the footer (this is especially a major culprit many times, especially when the visitor is looking for an excuse to navigate away from the page).

    3. Reduce the number of pages.

    Much of the task when simplifying the design of your website is to simply have fewer places to explore and having to click around. You should try to cut the number of pages. Since getting rid of unnecessary pages that basically you know are not important, or try to merge fewer pages fuse into one. That is, the idea is not to atomize the site pages “on site” and “About Us”.

    4.Get more content at the top of the page.

    Studies have shown that most people spend most of their time at the top of the web page (which appears on the screen without scrolling down). So if you want to increase the effectiveness of your website, the main content and elements of call to action should be placed in this strategic location. You can do something as simple as shortening the height of the head, if you have a logo and a navigation menu at the top of your website.

    5. Limit your color scheme

    It’s easy to get carried away by the colors. Why settle for 2 or 3 colors when you can have 12 or 13? But to simplify the design of your website visually, you need to limit your color scheme. If in doubt, use fewer colors. It will vary depending on their design, of course, but try to stick to no more than 2 or 3 colors to start. If you need more subtlety and texture to your visual design, the use of shades of the same color – light blue for the background and dark blue for the header items and the menu is advisable.

    Here is a cool video explaining more on the topic that has been discussed: