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Your Company's Web Site – Quality Approach

team plannning a websiteTeam Planning a WebsiteThis is the second segment of a three-part series that addresses the guidelines on how to plan, present and develop your company’s website. In part one; we explored the importance of having a professional website that represents your company online. In part two; we will identify the quality approach of planning your company’s website.

Designing and developing a quality website. When you hire a team to create or redesign your company’s website, keep in mind that the basic concepts of quality also apply. They are:

Continuous Improvement

Leave space to grow, and make what is good now, even better. Your company will improve through the years, and so should your website, but this does not mean you need a new design every year! Leave room for improvement; build a quality website that can be easily updated to reflect the changes in your company.

Value of Quality

A well-designed and developed website does not cost; it pays! This is an investment that will bring you return in the form of satisfied clients. On the other hand, the cost of a poorly developed website can be a price that most companies pay for unknowingly – that is the price of non-quality. If your company’s website reflects the high standards of your company, it will bring you more clients; however, if your company’s website does not mirror the image you are trying to build, it will drive visitors and potential clients away.

How to Build an Engaged Audience for Your WebsiteBuild an Engaged Audience for Your WebsiteVisitor Satisfaction

Nothing is worse than getting lost within in a poor quality website, or being on a site and unable to find the information you need. Or when text is difficult to read because of site colour combinations. Have you ever been frustrated after clicking on a link and finding that the page no longer exists?

These and other website issues reflect on your company’s image. If a website is not well built, it sends the message that your company is not well structured; if your website has dead ends, it suggests that your company is not well managed.

Raise the bar – provide a well-structured and well managed, quality website, and exceed your client’s expectations.

Problem Solving

A quality website must anticipate the needs of the visitor. Since a company representative is unavailable to deal with any prospective problems that may occur while a visitor is browsing your site, plan ahead and crosscheck all possible scenarios. Let’s translate this into Quality terms:

1. Define the problem: Make a list of potential problems users may experience when browsing your website. This will maximize the solutions and keep a quality focus.

2. Generate alternative solutions: Once potential problems have been identified, make a list of possible solutions that deal with each problem. Implement this procedure to ensure that your visitors have an enjoyable visit to your site.

find a solutionFind a Solution3. Evaluate and select alternatives: Choose a solution that is right for your website, to ensure that your target audience will know what to expect, should a problem arise, and how to use the feature you provided. It is unhelpful if the solutions you provide are causing a visitor more problems. Example: Your Company manufactures hardware and a website visitor would like a copy of your catalogue; you provide an online form for visitors to complete in order to receive the catalogue in the mail. Sufficient? Not really. It may take a week for that catalogue to reach your prospective client. Consider providing visitors with a version of the catalogue online that can either be printed or downloaded as a PDF.

4. Implement and follow up on the solution: Simply adding solutions will not fix the problem; you must ensure that each solution works. For example, if you request an online form to be completed in order to download the above-mentioned PDF catalogue, how can you be certain people are actually submitting the form? Are they finding it easy to complete? Are they hitting the “Submit” button and downloading the catalogue in PDF format? This is where “follow up” becomes important. But how can a company follow up if website visitors never submitted the form that would have allowed for an easy follow up in the first place? You (or your webmaster or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultant) should monitor the stats of your website and compare how many visitors your form page had, against the visitors your PDF catalogue page had. If you have 70% less visitors on your PDF catalogue page than on your form page, this would suggest a problem that has not been thoroughly solved.

planning a website designPlanning a Website DesignPlanning for the Future

Plan your website to grow with your company. When a facility is built to house a company for 10 years, plans include a good-sized parking lot, ideal kitchen facilities, more than one washroom, several plugs for countless electronic devices, etc. The same rings true for your website– it should be built to evolve. As products and services develop, or contact information changes, your website changes too. Build to grow!

Quality Website -- Quality Assurance and Quality Control

A website design company should ensure that a website will be built to the complete satisfaction of the client (you), and be customized to that client’s needs. Make sure your website is functional and user friendly, and that usability testing takes place. Usability testing is a form of website quality control, and it ensures that your site is visible by different types of browsers and that visitors will not get lost.

properly designed for all appsProperly Designed for All AppsSupplier Quality

Finally, a website design company must provide good service and a custom product that matches all your needs. This does not have to cost a fortune, nor does the company requesting a new or redesigned website need to be a large one. Ask questions before committing to a design team; make sure they understand your needs. Check their portfolio and references. Nothing speaks louder than current clients who are satisfied with the results of their new website.

Summary: Planning a quality website and seeking the company that will undertake its creation, is a major step in promoting your company, and the products and services you offer. The same care you take in planning the growth of your company, and the quality provided by the products and/or services you offer should be transmitted in a professional, well-planned website. List your priorities. Search for a good design company. Discuss your company needs, products and services. Plan for the future.

Don’t delay, give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements or send him an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.' to request a free quotation.

Contact us for a free quotation, or more information

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Why CSS Is Good For Your Web Site

css style sheetsCSS Style SheetsCascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used within the HTML behind your Web site as a way of controlling how each page is laid out and what elements on it look like. For instance, you can use CSS to make headings in your copy a standard size across the whole of your site.

CSS has been around for several years and is supported by all the major browsers available today, including Internet Explorer for the PC and Mac, Firefox, Safari and Opera.

Using CSS to control your Web site will give you several benefits:

Makes your Web pages snappier

By using CSS and writing your HTML code to match standards like 'XHTML Transitional' or 'XHTML Strict' you can decrease the 'render time' of your pages. This is the time it takes between downloading the page and actually showing it on screen to your Web site visitor.

When using tables for layout - the traditional alternative to using CSS - and 'font' tags to control how the text on the page looks, the browsers have a lot more work to do before they show the page. Using CSS and the proper DocType for the pages means the browser knows what to expect from the code and can display it much more quickly.

In practice, converting to a standards based CSS layout on one client's Web site reduced the time it took the page to display by almost a quarter of a second. Although this is a very small amount of time, it is more than enough to make a Web site feel much more snappy and responsive, helping it give a good impression to your potential customers.

red nose dayRed Nose DayMakes your Web site quicker to update

As well as making your pages display quicker, CSS makes it easier to make global updates to your Web site. Say you're having a minor change in corporate image and want all your page headings changed from blue to green. With CSS controlling how your headings look, that means changing the colour in one file and the whole site shows the change - a two minute job rather than having to edit every page on the site.

This flexibility gives you the opportunity to do more with your Web site. Want to show your support for Red Nose Day? Again, one file change can put a little red nose next to all of your headers, turn the text red and even make them display in a silly typeface. Turning them back to normal for the next day is, once again, a single file change.

Good for Search Engine Optimisation

Because using CSS removes lots of HTML from your pages as layout and the look of text is controlled through the CSS file, it makes your textual content much more prominent within your HTML. This means the search engine spiders can easily find your textual content, and that your content is generally displayed in one block, rather than being split up into less readable chunks by HTML just to fit it in to your design.

Using 'semantically correct XHTML' - ie heading tags around the headings and sub-headings in your copy, and bold or strong tags around content you wish to highlight - tells the search engines those words are the most important on the page. This helps give the page a boost for searches which match the words which are marked as more important in this way.

disability awarenessDisability AwarenessHelps in passing the Disability Discrimination Act

Using good CSS and XHTML makes it easy for people with disabilities to change your pages the way they may need to for easy reading. This may be through increasing or decreasing the font size, or having it read to them through a screen reader. The clean page coding that goes along with using CSS means screen readers can easily navigate through your page and find the content, giving a good experience to visually impaired users.

Using CSS and XHTML also helps you comply with the UK Disability Discrimination Act rules for accessible Web sites. This is a valuable side-effect of using this kind of coding and takes no extra development time to be compliant.

Helps browsing from different devices

As well as helping screen readers, using CSS means alternative devices like mobile phones and PDAs can show your content effectively and easily. Although the current market in the West for browsing the Web through mobiles is small, it is growing and by using CSS you can create a Web site which is easily viewable on these devices with little extra effort,. So as more people use them it will be simple to convert your site to work with current or future devices..

cross browser testingCross Browser TestingDownsides

Currently, Web browsers treat CSS slightly differently, so when your Web site is created you may need slightly more cross-browser testing, and you will need to find a Web designer who understands how to build a site in CSS correctly. Most professional designers and developers are now seeing the benefits of creating standards based CSS sites, but it is worth ensuring that anyone you hire to make your Web site does know CSS before starting a project.

But the downsides are small when compared to the immediate and ongoing benefits of a CSS-based Web site

Please contact us today to request a free quotation

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Why Your Organisation Needs A Website

customer buying onlineCustomer Buying OnlineIn this age of electronic communication, more and more consumers are turning to the internet to purchase products or services in the comfort and convenience of their own homes. Research suggests that there are well over 500 million people who access the internet world wide, and that 70% of consumers who browsed online in the UK alone, went on to make a purchase. As technology progresses, consumers feel more reassured that online shopping is safe.

Does your competitor have one?

As markets are constantly changing, keeping an eye on your competitors gives you an insight into industry specific market trends, and can show you any offers they may be promoting. If your competitor has a website, so should you. If you don’t, they could be taking potential business away from you.

24/7 Shopping

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your shop open all the time, without having to pay extra staff wages. Not all businesses can stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. An online presence means you can take orders and enquiries, even when you sleep. Online credit card transactions mean you can get paid too.

International Markets

global internet usersGlobal Internet UsersWith your website up and running,your products or services can be accessed by anyone using an internet ready computer, from all over the globe, any time day or night. It’s like having a shop or office in every town, in every country, all over the world.

Email – Fast and Efficient

There is no need to wait for the postman for that important document you have been waiting for, and no more lost mail. Email can often be delivered in less than 15 seconds, anywhere in the world.

Feedback

Knowing what your customers really want, or what they are thinking about your company, is very important information. By including feedback forms and surveys on your website, you can gather valuable information, which in turn could improve your organisation.

Interaction with your customers

Keeping your customers up to date with company news, special offers, polls and forums, can keep existing customers returning to your website and using your products.

people want online shoppingPeople Want Online ShoppingCompany information online

There is no need to be constantly repeating all the products or services that your company offers, and giving directions to your shop or office to people who call. Your website can hold all this information, including mission statements, terms and conditions, office locations and phone numbers, maps, product prices and more, freeing up time to focus on your business affairs.

websiteWebsiteCustomers Expect Websites

The internet is the fastest growing source of information, growing bigger and stronger every day. Without a website your business runs the risk of never being found by potential customers. Also, a business without a website can seem to be less successful than a business that has an online presence.

The internet is a form of media that attracts more and more people everyday. As competition between website designers and web hosting company’s increases, and prices become more competitive, it makes sense to market your organization online. Don’t lose out on all that potential business.

For more information, or a free quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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How to Avoid the 12 Common Web Design Mistakes

Website Redesign ChecklistWebsite Redesign Checklist

Are people visiting your web site, but not buying? This may be a sign, and the time to do some redesign of your web site. Often you are so close to what you have created, that you can’t see obvious design mistakes. I have done the same when writing an article – everything looks fine when I have finished, yet when I review it the next day, I am amazed at how many mistakes I have made.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common Web Design mistakes:

1. Sloppy Web Site Copy – your heading and first paragraph should clearly indicate the purpose of your web site. “Content is King” on the Net, so make sure there is plenty of focused information for your visitors. The content should draw the visitor through the site, to take action in the end. Include contact information on every page in case people have questions..

2. Bad Colour Coordination – avoid using dark text on a dark background. Use dark text on a light background, such as black on white. Use colours that blend well together.   Observe nature, or look at paintings to get some idea of good colour combination's.

web design coloursWeb Design Colours3. Pages Load Too Slowly - using too many images, or inserting large images on a web page, slow down the loading times of your web page. Optimize your images, (reduce their size) before you insert them on your site, otherwise your visitors will leave before your site is loaded.

4. Poor Navigation – this means visitors can’t easily find the information. They experience broken links, error pages, or discover too many moving objects (animations, flash, scrolling text, marquees) – all these will annoy the visitor, and cause him to click elsewhere. Keep your navigation simple by creating clear links on all web pages.

5. Orphan Pages – these are pages other than your homepage, where the visitor has no idea how it fits in with the overall structure of your web site. You should always have a link to the homepage, so that visitors know where they are on your web site.

6. Long Scrolling – the visitor has to scroll horizontally, or many pages vertically to view them.

7. Meta Tags Missing – without optimizing your web page with a description or keywords, people can’t find you on the search engines. Research key words or phrases relevant to your site content. Include them in your title, description, and Web Site copy.

8. Lack of Marketing Strategy – a beautiful lawn without sun or water, will soon die. A Web Site without visitors will soon die too. Visitors are the life blood for your website. Create numerous marketing strategies to attract visitors to your web site – you never know which one will be the most effective.

9. Poor Layout and Design – create an aesthetically pleasing design to keep the visitors on your site. Create enough white space between your text and images by using margins. Don’t overlap text and images, and avoid capitalizing all text – it gives the impression you are shouting at your visitors. Use font type such as Arial, or Verdana, to make it easier to read on your computer screen.

web frameWeb Frame10. Avoid Using Frames – frames don’t allow you to bookmark the page or return to it, and sometimes the URLS stop working.

11. No Cross Browser Compatibility – you may be losing many customers, if your Web Site is not compatible to the browsers most people are using. Internet Explorer (IE 4, 5, 6) is currently the dominant browser, and most users are displaying 800x600 pixels or more, with a colour depth of at least 65K colours. .Therefore check your design with these statistics in mind.

12.Outdated Information – your web site is like a garden. If you allow weeds to block out the sun and take over your garden, it will be destroyed. Attracting, and keeping web site visitors, means continually adding new information (i.e. latest news), deleting irrelevant, outdated information, and removing broken links.
Continuous maintenance of your web site is crucial to attracting, and retaining Web Site visitors, as without visitors your web site will soon die. They are the life blood for your website. Remember to create numerous marketing strategies to attract visitors to your web site – you never know which one will be the most effective.

For more information, or a free quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us

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The Importance Of A Good Header

city skylineCity SkylineFirst impressions are important - when you first see a city you've never been before, what do you notice? That's right, the skyline. Similarly, the first thing you see in the newspaper is the headline, and whenever you think of a TV show, you most likely think of the opening credits.

People tend to assess things based on these first impressions of them. Your website is treated just as anything else people see, they will tend to make a judgment based on the header at the top of your page. If your visitors see a header which has a professional appearance, they will assume that the content of your site is also of high quality.

wildlife website headerWildlife Website HeaderThough it isn't usually a functional part of the site, the header of a web page is one of the most important parts. With a professional and engaging header on a web page, visitors to that site will want to stay, because they will have been assured that if the header is up to a certain level of excellence, then the content they'll read there will be too.

While this may, or may not be true, it is what the reader will assume from seeing a well designed header. This reassurance will benefit you, in that the visitors to your site will not only stay to read your content during that initial visit, but will also return for future visits, and hopefully recommend you to others, and possibly link to you as well.

The header performs two basic functions on your website. It gives the viewer a quick overview of what your website is about, and it also provides an idea of the quality of your site.

Website headersWebsite HeadersEach of these functions are greatly important, but the second may be even more important than the first. There are millions of websites out there, and possibly hundreds or thousands compete with yours. If the style, or make-up of your header gives your website the look that it lacks quality or professionalism, your traffic will go to your competitors instead.

You may not realize exactly what is getting more traffic to your site, and increasing the length of the stays of visitors to your site.

Keeping visitors coming back, and staying on your site longer, is something which you can ascribe to many factors: content, better search engine rankings, new features and the like. However, in many cases it is your header which is doing all of this work: out in the open, yet behind the scenes.

For more information, or a free quotation, please contact us

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