Finding a reliable web design service
Feb 23, 2012 // by // Blog
The foremost thing to understand is: what do we mean when we say that we are looking for a reliable web design service? In simple words, it means that we need to acquire the expertise of a company that will create a design to perfectly represent our business model. Plus, a reliable service also offers revisions to ensure your complete satisfaction. If for some reason you are not satisfied with the design, they will happily make modifications according to your needs and business requirements. It’s your satisfaction that matters to them the most.
So, how can you find a service that will take your project seriously and provide you with a design that you can truly admire? We are going to discuss a few important factors here that will help you figure out whether you should trust a particular design company or not.
Do they provide after sales support?
This is one of the most important factors that you should look for when you visit the website of a design service. Post Sales Support it is very important, otherwise it won’t be any better than a free template. When you download a free template you don’t receive any technical assistance with it. If you find any errors, you can’t go back to them and ask for help. So, a service that asks for money should always happily provide after sales support. They should take your feedback regarding the design that they create for you. They should happily make modifications to the design, if required by you, in a timely manner. Thus, they should ensure that you get sound after sales support.
Do they create new and unique designs?
Using clipart is a sin for professional web design services. So, when you select a design service, make sure that they create a design for you from scratch. Each business is unique and requires a unique look and identity. Copying someone else’s design won’t enable any business to create a unique identity. This is why it is crucial that you approach a company that offers unique and customized designs.
Do they offer 100% satisfaction guarantee?
When you spend money to get an eye-catching and attractive web design, you should receive a design that makes you happy. Reliable web design companies understand it, and they work closely with you to ensure that you are 100% satisfied with the design. If you think that some changes should be made, they’ll do it for you willingly. So, as you do your research, include this as one of the most important factors to determine the professionalism of a company.
Do they have in-house designers?
It is essential for a quality design company to hire in-house designers. This enables them to smoothly maintain and manage all their projects. This way, they can also make revisions for clients in a timely manner. So, avoid hiring a service that has freelance designers.
Don’t waste your money on cheap and unreliable web design services. Keep in mind the tips I have shared with you above to ensure that you manage to hire a reliable and top quality design company for your website design
Latest Trends in Web Design
Feb 23, 2012 // by // Blog
Web design has gone from a simple page presentation of certain information on the Internet to fancy design, with intricate details and complicated applications; hence it is an industry walking hand in hand with the increasing needs of the fast developing technology and trends.
Trends come and go, some of the old trends are hidden in a box, while other old trends come back to life and in some cases some totally new revolutionary trends appear that beat up all the rest. This is why web designers all over the world have to keep up with the latest trends in web design, because the client would always ask for this.
For example, you cannot ignore social network buttons. These popped up not so long ago as a trend, because social networks are very popular on the net nowadays and ignoring them would mean that you are practically not part of the crowd. Or else, you simply cannot forget about having a compatible design of your website for mobile phones and tablets. This is definitely one of the newest trends that cannot be ignored. The prediction is that soon the Internet will go mobile and if the future asks for it, a designer will have to keep up with that.
So this is why we have decided to let you know about the latest web design trends in 2011 and the upcoming trends of a new year. If you think you can add something to this list, we’d be glad to read it!
Using typography in web design has been pretty “trendy” lately and it doesn’t fade away yet. The alternation of big typography and small typography can create pretty impressive effect, without even using fancy graphics. The minimal effort of creating the typography you need for your website will save you some precious time, surprisingly creating a perfect design.
Of course this doesn’t work for all the types of websites, but you might still use some impressive typography in the headers, logos or footers. You never know how you end up liking this trend and including it in more designs, coming up with new ideas at the same time. Using extra-large fonts and mixing bold and scrolling letters has become a trend and it can easily grab the users’ attention.
Just like big and noticeable headers and footers, images and photos are used on backgrounds in order to attract the visitors’ attention. We have already written some posts about photograph backgrounds that you can check out for more information, and this is more or less a pretty popular trend taking up the web lately. Remember the most important rules: use only high quality photos and don’t let the background mix with your content.
As I have mentioned before, social media networks have conquered the web. People share and socialize and this is pretty much what life on the Big Web is. Hence don’t even try to forget about including social media icons and not just the most popular ones. People are different and there are so many social networks out there and it won’t hurt to include all of them so that people can share the information they like on their favorite websites.
Another thing to consider is the design of the social network icons. It all depends on the designer how cool and original they will look.
Don’t forget about creating personal pages on social networks. There is a greater chance that people will find your business there than your own website. This comes as a tip rather than a trend but it’s worth mentioning.
This is a trend that I have found on one website and I simply loved it. It looked so original and funky. This is, of course if you would be able to create a “hand-drawn” design. I read somewhere that this is an upcoming trend in web design and I would agree with that from an aesthetic point of view.
It is simply original to see a hand drawn web design, and I am sure people will be impressed to see it and remember it. Even though this is not a new trend, but many web designers avoid it. I think this is a great way to get closer to your design, considering the fact that it doesn’t have to be perfect but you will definitely add a personal touch to your website.
This trend is more suitable for personal profile websites. This will be like digital business cards, where one can present their most important information and contacts without creating some super website that in the end is kind of useless in this case. It’s all about going minimalist and present the information clearly but still in an elegant way. Go for one page layout if you are thinking of setting a personal profile on the web.
Besides the already “old” mobile format for websites, you don’t have to forget the compatibility with touchscreen devices. With the increasing popularity of tablets and smartphones, you cannot but just go mobile and have a version of your website for smaller screens. Overall the design has to be striking as well, but as seen on a small screen, hence having a smaller resolution but preserving the details that you would like people to focus on.
Although there are plenty designers who simply adore Flash, it is slowly giving way to the upcoming HTML5. Flash is not that compatible with mobile versions of websites and as Internet users migrate to smartphones and tablets, web designers need to find how to fix that and the answer to that is – HTML5. It gives web designers and developers a chance to deliver their designs faster, at the same time ensuring flexibility and connecting data.
CSS3 is another upcoming trend for web design and developers are glad to meet it. You can build content-rich web sites with lightweight code requirements and you will have clean and fast-loading pages – what else would you want? Mastering CSS3 is another must for further designs on the web.
To add more depth perception to your websites a 3D design is probably the best option. Yes, it is difficult to master animation and 3D, but once you do that, you can be sure your website will be special and unique in its own way. Users will appreciate websites that ”think out of the box” and that have that something that no other websites have.
Top 5 Benefits if Having Your Own Website
Feb 23, 2012 // by // Blog
The following list consists of 5 reasons you should have a website today and what you can really benefit from them. They represent the 5 most common ways in which a business can gain an advantage as a result of having a website. Here we go…
1. Providing information is key to any business and websites can be set up to provide all the info a customer could want regarding you business, it’s goals and its services. Websites are great platforms for keeping your information up to date whether it’s a change of address or an addition to a portfolio. For a lot of people going online is a lot easier that picking up a phone and speaking to someone and by having a website your potential customer can browse all day with no hassle from tele sales personnel at all.
2. Magazines, newspapers and the like all charge a fortune these days for advertisement. Even though it may seem cheaper in the short run, setting up a website will ultimately save you money on marketing your business in the long run. Online marketing can be free if gone about in the right fashion and of course the environment leans heavily towards electronic advertising which is always a winner in todays “greener” world.
Creating a brand
3. All big companies have an established brand and all have a successful online presence. It is near impossible to establish a brand offline for a small business. The global reach of the internet allows small businesses to build a reputation and brand at speed without the frustration of the catastrophic expense when approaching it offline. A well received and well built website is the beginning to setting up a successful brand.
Attract new customers
4. With the right web presence you can start to reach customers that you wouldn’t have offline. People today are using phones, tablets and the like to access the internet and your website could attract a different demographic of audience through this. It is key to reach all types of custom to gain the maximum return.
Increasing new business
5. Finally, increasing your new business is essential and if you were looking for a service that you hadn’t searched for you are most likely to search online to begin with. If you have no online presence then this rules you out of any new business from search engine results. Having a website is key to your business when finding new customers especially as the world pretty much revolves around the internet today.
Some Old School Web Design Practices You Should Avoid
Feb 23, 2012 // by // Blog
The first thing you need to know when designing a website is that you are not designing it for yourself but to solve the users needs. There are still some old school practices that people insist on utilising. This post will warn users of a few mistakes and blunders that regularly occur when building a successful site. These days you see far more badly designed websites than sites that make a really positive impact.
Firstly I want to talk about font. It’s all very well choosing or paying for a really fancy font that’s aesthetically pleasing but you need to be able to read it. I bet you remember the last website you were on which had copy that was pretty much unreadable. I certainly do and those no better deterrent. Back in the day wacky fonts were all the rage but, due to today’s minimalist trend most successful websites have clear cut font styles.
The issue of font moves me onto my next point of paragraphing. There’s always the issue of where to place paragraphs and long articles having no <p/> inserts. It is key not just for aesthetic reasons but for SEO as well. You see, search engines love short block style articles and will credit you for having more paragraphs than not.
Overloading on advertising is an age old technique that people use to gain a little extra income but believe me it makes things worse in the long run. For me if I visit a site that has pop ups all over the place and ads glaring at me from side banners left and right, I’ll close the site instantly. Never prioritize advertisement over content. Good websites always place advertisements in a proper place where they are not bothering the main content.
Heavy Flash usage is another thing… Almost any Flash usage will bring added value to your site. But unfortunately, Flash usage will only make your website slower to upload and will increase the chance of you visitors leaving the site. Reduce usage of Flash, unless it’s needed to explain something. These are just a few practices I though I’d bring to your attention as I see them all the time when I’m surfing. Feel free to comment on this post and I do hope it’s useful to all you budding web designers.
Web Design Inspiration
Feb 23, 2012 // by // Blog
I’ve compiled a list of some of the most innovative and inventive web design ideas from around the world. I hope they can inspire and compel you to go out there and get designing.
1. Reverend Danger
Reverend Danger are a digital agency who specialise in harmonious interactive design and their website showcases their skills. Scroll down to page to view some of their animations and interactive website elements.
Artua Design Agency create icons, websites, logos and user interfaces with a very high level of quality. Their portfolio speaks for itself!
3. Cake sweet cake
The Cake Sweet Cake website makes their products look good enough to eat. A fantastic design all round.
4. Autoglym high definition wax
The wonderful mix of strong red and dark grey colour scheme is complimented by clear product photography on the Autoglym High Definition Wax website.
5. Base app
A simple website to promote Base App with a beautiful purple space background.
6. Creative Boom
The colours and imagery jump out of the screen which help this online magazine stand out from the crowd.
7. Urban coffee company
The new Urban Coffee Company website mixes great design with some nice social network integration.
8. Wez Maynard
Wez launched his new website earlier in the year and the amount of work, time and effort put in to the site it is obvious!
The Guifx website is packed full of incredible examples of icon design and graphics.
10. Big Audio Ads
Big bold imagery and clear package pricing make the BigAudioAds website informative and easy to use.
Logo Design Tips
Feb 23, 2012 // by // Blog
Having an effective logo is key to any company in terms of recognition. Before designing a logo you must think about where to start and who to involve. A lot of people will copy logos or take short cuts. I wouldn’t advise this as logos need to be as unique as possible so it is well worth hiring a professional to help you design it. Many companies will download a clip art logo or template which is pretty useless as if you are able to use one the chances are it’ll be used by various other people too. So get researching and find a designer who’s right for you and work with them to create something unique. I’ve compiled some hints and tips to help you through the process of logo design.
Try not to be field specific
Firstly I must stress that your logo does not have to convey what your company does. For example the Apple logo has absolutely noting to do with computer technology. The Fedex logo has nothing to do with couriering. Both are very effective however as both logos look good on pretty much anything. While a lot of the time it helps to have a logo that represents exactly what you do your logo could represent a much wider range of products or services, that way your company can always branch out to different areas of expertise.
Make sure your logo can be clearly recognised on a large or small scale. For example the Nike swoosh may not be very complex but is just as easily recognisable on a jersey sleeve as it is blown up on the television. Keep it simple and perhaps have a one easy to replicate logo as well as a more complex, dynamic one similar to the other in case it is needed for something a little more high profile.
The aspect ratio is the relationship between the height and width and is critical in creating a visually pleasing logo. You don’t want a logo that is too tall and skinny or too wide and short as you’ll end up with all sorts of layout issues when it comes to setting up your logo in artwork, especially when combined with other graphic elements such as business cards and websites.
Taglines or straplines
Many companies incorporate taglines or straplines into their logos. This is a short amount of text stating the companies mission or selling point. This I wouldn’t advise. Taglines are a good thing, don’t get me wrong, and do involve them, perhaps underneath your logo, but having them set within the logo can cause all sorts of issues. For example once the logo is shrunk to fit on say a business card the font will also shrink and the text will probably become illegible and will therefore make the whole logo look scruffy and unprofessional.
It’s all about repetition – It’s all about repetition
You may think that the reason certain logos like the Nike swoosh or the Macdonalds M is purely down to the design. I’m afraid not. The reason they are so brilliant is because they are every where. You have to replicate your logo on as many things as possible. The Nike tick for example when sponsoring a team is on every shirt at least four times. It’s also plastered all over the television and their shop products. Yes I know this is down to marketing and money but you need to start somewhere. Every single product you produce or own should have your logo on it. Print stickers and put them round the office, slap them on lap top covers, stick them to table tops, just get them all over the place.
I hope you can go away now and start creating the right logo for you. One last tip though. Don’t change the logo once it is finished. They say that people will recognise a logo after just three times of seeing it and that it takes time to establish a recognisable logo so don’t go ruining your hard work by starting from scratch with new ideas.
On Page SEO – 5 Tips
Feb 23, 2012 // by // Blog
First of all, you may be asking: “What is SEO?”. SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation, and this refers to how del your website is optimised for major search engines such as Google. If your website is optimised well, it can more easily be picked up by Google, possible leading to higher rankings which can turn into a higher number of visitors / clients / customers. Listed below are five handy tips for your on-page SEO, to help make sure you website is optimised as well as it can be.
1. Focus Your Content
Google is going to respect and list your website if your content is informative, to the point, clear and not written with too many keywords (trying to game the search engine). It’s essential that you use keywords however, just not too many! The recommended keyword limit in an article for example is around 15.
Another technique is to make sure your content is formatted well. Use headings to break up paragraphs using the <h1><h2> tags for example. Also use bold, italic and underline throughout the article. Another great technique is to include internal and external links within your content. This brings us onto the next point.
2. Utilise Internal Linking
Internal linking is very important for SEO. It is essential that your website is well interlinked and all of your pages back each other up, Build up an easy to navigate linking system throughout your entire website. Another tip when using internal links is remembering to name the internal links using keywords. This once again brings us on neatly to our next tip.
3. Use a Good Navigational structure
Search engines such as Google, are more likely to list a website highly in their rankings if the website in question is easy to navigate. Make sure all of your important links are in your main navigation system, but try not to use too many and make it confusing. Add a few (and we don’t say a few lightly) links to your footer also, with internal links to pages with keywords. We wouldn’t recommend any more than five links with this technique, and make sure that all of these pages are relevant and hold strong content.
4. Use a Clean URL Structure
This is very important. Try to name all of your pages using keywords. For example, if you run an online computer repair website in London, try naming your ‘About’ page something like ‘computer-repairs-london.html’. This will be picked up by search engines, and utilises your keyword to the max. A highly recommended way of doing this is actually using directories. For example every single page will be held as an index file in a different directory. This way you can set up your pages in the following way: http://www.domain.com/computer-repairs-london or even better http://www.domain.com/computer-repairs-london/pc-repairs
5. Optimise Your Titles
You may have realised by now that all of your on-page SEO is utilised using keywords. Therefore every single title around your website should include as many keywords as possible. Try to keep titles relatively short, but maximise keyword effectiveness. The question you need to ask yourself is “What keywords do I want to be found with a search on Google?”. When you’ve answered that question you’ll have the keywords you need for optimising your titles and content.
Another good tip is to optimise the page title using keywords. This is done in the HTML code, and if you’re in-experienced with this, it’s very easy to edit with a quick Google for a tutorial. A final tip for page titles is to use a different title for every single page on your website. Utilise keywords for each individual page.
Website design mistakes to avoid
Feb 23, 2012 // by // Blog
Of course there are plenty of mistakes to be made when designing a website but there are a few that must be avoided like the plague.
Now, these days most websites are designed with search engine optimisation in mind and because of this it is important for the coding and layout to conform to the regulations that the search engine bots provide. The menus and interlinks have to be appropriate with regards to positioning especially on the home page.
The home page is usually the landing page so this needs to be intriguing and very well designed graphically. It needs to encourage new customers to stay on the site for as long as possible. A clear, welcoming site is always handy and the titles to the menus must accurately reflect the content of the web page. This will all help your search engine marketing greatly and is key to getting noticed within the major engines.
A very common mistake that search engines have become very strict about is irrelevant, uninformative and spam like content or copy. Copy that is poorly written is of no use and a lot of the time it is well worth hiring a professional copywriter to add fresh content. Links are also very important and it is not worth frustrating potential customers by directing them to irrelevant pages on your site.
It is ridiculous how many people don’t tag their images. Search engine robots can read text but not images so tagging images with relevant keywords is key for optimisation. Picture descriptions are also key.
If you are selling products then choose a shopping cart system which is very simple to use as, at the end of the day, you need them to be able to purchase your products as quickly and as easily as possible. Also make it simple for your customers to change their mind. This may sound strange but you need to stay on their side so keep options to opt out all over the place. Finally, choose a payment provider that offers plenty of alternative methods of payment including credit cards, charge cards and Paypal.
Keep the above on mind when designing a site and your search engine optimisation campaign will be a success.
Website Design Functionality Optimising
Feb 23, 2012 // by // Blog
Your website is designed and developed to serve a purpose to your visitors, customers or clients. This is the reason that your website should be performing functions that cater for the needs of your users, and also be meeting their expectations
The Design and functionality of your website can be the determining factor in the success and popularity of your website and some of the principles and functional design considerations that should be taken into account when building your website are as follows:
It’s essential that every website is designed with the human users of your website in mind. Obviously it’s impossible to cater for every single person that visits your website, because everybody is different, and has different levels of skill when using the internet. The critical outcome should be that you cater for yourtargeted visitors. Who are you aiming your business towards? What kind of age bracket would your average user fall into? What type of people are they? Take all of these factors into consideration.
Mistakes / Glitches:
If a section of your website isn’t working, don’t expect your visitors to keep trying. Many web surfers will be impatient, and if there are other businesses out there, they’ll simply leave your website and hit the next available link on Google. Ironing out errors is vital, and keeping an eye on it over time is just as essential. Sometimes things can go wrong further down the road. The same goes for mistakes in spelling and grammar for example. If you’re website is littered with spelling mistakes, this will make you look unprofessional and can turn many potential customers away.
It’s important that your website is as interactive with your users as possible. Add content and features that will keep your visitors interested. Use eye catching contact forms for example, and sub consciously people will be more inspired to fill it out. Make sure all interactive sections of your website are easy to use too. If a user encounters something difficult or slow to use, they won’t give you a chance, they are likely to just leave your website completely.
How clear the information provided is not only of huge importance to your visitors, and how easily they grasp your content, but it’s also vital for search engine optimisation and being ranked highly on major search engines such as Google. Make sure all of your content is straight to the point, and clear. If your visitor find the information they need within the first 2 minutes of being on your website, the chances are they’ll stay there.
All of the above factors are essential when developing and designing your website. Zeus Creative follow these important guidelines by working closely with customers and clients. If you would like any further information on this subject, feel free to contact us.
Welcome to the Zeus Creative Blog
Feb 23, 2012 // by // Blog
Welcome to the Zeus Creative blog. Zeus Creative are a London web design company, highly experienced in developing and designing bespoke, creative and highly functional websites for businesses all around London. The Zeus developers are advances in creating E-commerce and database driven websites, as well as intricate Content Management Systems, allowing you to edit and add content to your website without any development or design knowledge.
Follow our posts here for Website Design and Development news, our latest projects and loads more.