Critical Considerations For Killer Web Design

killer website design

Some people think that throwing up any type of design for their website will be sufficient to start a successful online business. They are greatly mistaken because your website should reflect the business you’re trying to promote. Before you even begin the design certain questions should be asked.

Will your website be personal, professional or for pleasure?

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Top 12 Questions To Ask A Web Designer Before Building Your Website

Your website is the very first thing visitors see before doing business with you so you need to find a professional web designer who will design a website that reflects your business. The first impression visitors get of your site will either inspire them to contact you or click away to one of your competitor’s websites.

Top 12 questions to ask a web designer before building your website

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How to Choose a Web Designer: Step-By-Step

maryland web designer

So you decided to get a professional website designed for your business but don’t know what to look for and where to find a web designer that will meet your needs.

Here are the 10 steps for sorting through the process of choosing a web designer.

1. Know the purpose of your website

Is the goal of your site to display information (informational website), sell products (e-commerce website) or to generate new leads (landing page)? Knowing this information before you call a web designer will speed up the hiring process.

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Why Hire A Web Designer?

maryland web designer
Why hire a web designer when there are free pre-made templates or website building software available on the Net? Wouldn’t one of these free options be sufficient for your needs? Won’t it save you time and money?

Let’s look into this topic more deeply.

Here are the top 7 reasons why you should hire a web designer?

1. Design a website that reflects your business

Designing a website that reflects your specific business helps differentiate it from your competitors. For example if you specialize in dog training your website may include a matching logo, background, images and copy that reflects everything about dog training.

2. Place your trust in an experienced professional

When you need your car repaired would you prefer to hire a professional who works on them everyday for a living or ask your do-it-yourself neighbor to repair it? When you hire a professional web designer you benefit from his or her years of experience. He knows what elements go into creating a profitable website and have the confidence to get any of your questions answered.

3. Save time

A professional website contains many parts so hiring a web designer enables you to quickly and easily pull them all together. Some of these parts include:

  • Select the correct domain name
  • Design graphics that match your business
  • Optimize your web pages for the search engines
  • Optimize your images for the web
  • Make sure your site is mobile friendly
  • Make sure your website displays correctly in all browsers
  • Display web page information so it’s easy to read
  • Create web pages that load fast
  • Create clean html code

If you purchase a pre-made template you don’t know what you’re getting. For example it may not display correctly in all browsers because it contains bloated code or the pages load slowly because the graphics are not optimized for the web causing impatient visitors to click away to your competitors’ sites.

4. Save money

There are many technical details included in building a website. You may think you’ll save money by building it yourself, but if you’re not technically inclined (know HTML and CSS) you’ll waste a lot of time and money getting your page to function correctly. A professional web designer will save you a ton of time because he has the knowledge, skills and experience to design, build and test your website.

5. Receive ongoing maintenance

Maintaining your site on a regular basis is a necessity if you want it to function smoothly 100% of the time. For example you may want to change images, install a script, add an e-commerce section or maintain security updates to prevent it getting hacked.

If your website gets hacked it can be a nightmare to restore it back to it’s original state. When you hire a professional web designer he’ll be able to diagnose any problems and offer solutions.

6. Utilize the latest design technologies

The web is constantly changing. A website designed several years ago may no longer generate sales because visitors are turned off by it’s outdated design, slow loading pages or lack of interactivity. Current web designers need to constantly keep abreast of changing technologies so they can implement them in their clients’ designs.

For instance several years ago static HTML pages were sufficient to market your products on the Net however nowadays websites need to include interactive elements (ie social media elements) so the owners can interact with their visitors.

7. Stay ahead of your competitors

Designing a professional website will give your business the edge that no pre-made template can provide. It will be viewed by thousands of people around the world therefore you want it to reflect what you want the world to see. A pre-made template may seem cost efficient and easy, but in the long run, it’s more beneficial to your business to hire a professional web designer.

Want to Hire a Professional Web Designer?
Visit: Maryland Web Design

Watch Why Hire a Web Designer on YouTube

Related Articles

How to Choose a Good Web Designer
Website Design Options: Free Template, Do-It-Yourself or Professional Web Designer?
Professional Web Site Redesign
What Clients Should Expect from Web Designers
How to Plan a Website – 7 Frequently Asked Questions
Top 12 Web Design Mistakes and How to Correct Them

Why Hire a Web Designer When I Could Buy a Template

web designer
* Why hire a web designer when there are 100s of template designs on the Net?
* Why invest money in a web designer when you can download a free template?
* Why wait weeks or months to have a site designed when you can get a ready-made template?

These are some of the frequently asked questions business owners have when deciding on building a website to sell their products and/or services.

7 top reasons to hire a web designer

1. Professional knowledge

A professional web designer who has been designing websites for 10 years has accumulated a ton of knowledge about what works well on the Net. He will be familiar with the common mistakes new site owners make when establishing an online presence and will know how to design a profitable website.

2. Customized design

If you want your site to stand out from your competitors you should not use a template. Chances are many other online users will have the same design. A customized website enables you to have a unique design that matches what you’re selling.

3. Less costs in the long term

A professional design can be less expensive in the long run because it was built with a solid foundation. This means it contains clean code, the web pages load quickly and are search engine friendly. Templates often contain proprietary code that contains html errors, loads slowly and are not optimized for the search engines.

4. Search engine optimization

A professional web designer will make sure your web pages are optimized for the search engines. This means the pages will validate for correct html, css, contain appropriate meta tags, heading tags, descriptive file names, clear navigational structure and image descriptions. Even though you may find a pretty template you won’t understand what’s in the code underneath the design unless you’re a web designer.

5. Familiar with marketing strategies

A beautiful website will not attract visitors on its own. It needs to be marketed frequently and consistently to generate a continuous stream of traffic. A professional web designer can help you implement powerful traffic generation strategies.

6. Website maintenance

Business owners often don’t have the time, knowledge or desire to update their websites. They prefer to have a webmaster who knows what they are doing and can quickly and easily add new content whether it’s text, videos, audios or images. The web designer can also install scripts to capture email addresses, add a forum, blog, RSS feeds or social media tools. He or she can track the progress of the website by monitoring site statistics.

7. Cross browser compatibility

If your website doesn’t display correctly in all the major browsers you’ll miss out on lots of visitors. A web designer will make sure your site appears correctly in Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari and Chrome.

When you buy a template you may save time and money in the short term however it may cost you dearly in the long term. Hiring a professional web designer will guarantee a top notch design that will help brand your business and give you peace of mind knowing that it’s been built correctly.

Get a professional website designed for your business by visiting:
Professional Website Design

Website Design Options: Free Template, Do-It-Yourself or Professional Web Designer?

How do you decide what option to choose for website design

  • Free Template
  • Do-It-Yourself
  • Web Designer

If you don’t know the pros and cons of each option you could make a big mistake that will affect your long term business success. Often the easiest and cheapest method is not the best one. It may work well in the short term but you’ll run into problems later.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of these three design options:

Free template

If you search Google you’ll find hundreds of free templates available to you but how do you know if these are any good?


  • Easy to build a website
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to customize
  • Freely accessible


  • Contains proprietary or bloated code
  • Code errors ie html/xhtml code doesn’t validate
  • Must not remove links to template owner’s website
  • Doesn’t present unique image for your business
  • Template may look the same as 100s of others sites

Do it yourself

The do-it-yourself kind of person likes to learn, get their hands dirty and makes time to do the work themselves.


  • Build a customized website
  • Learn how to code html/xhtml, css, javascript or learn how to use html software ie Dreamweaver
  • Easily update, modify and/or maintain the website yourself
  • Save money
  • Attain skills that can be used for future projects


  • You’re not a professional web designer who has many years of experience
  • Learning curve: it can take weeks or months to learn how to code or master html software
  • Create an unprofessional looking website
  • Create a website that is not search engine friendly

Professional web designer

Although a professional web designer costs you money you have the satisfaction that you’re getting a design from a person or company that designs websites for a living. They live a breath website design (and probably website marketing) every day.


  • Experienced professional
  • Has extensive knowledge of current design technologies and how to use them effectively
  • Knows how to design a website that is search engine friendly
  • Knows how to design a website that is profitable
  • Obtain a unique custom design that reflects your online business
  • Receive ongoing technical support
  • Design flexibility: easy to make design changes in the future
  • Takes care of website maintenance so client can focus on attending customers and building the business.


  • Initial design costs can be expensive
  • Takes time to build a professional website the client is happy with
  • Ongoing maintenance costs if you don’t maintain it yourself
  • If the designer disappears or closes down you’ll need to find alternative solutions

My recommendation

  • If you don’t need a unique design or simply want a blog to add content to…get a free template or use WordPress dot com to get a free blog.
  • If you can afford the time and money to learn the skills needed to build a professional website select the do-it-yourself option.
  • If you’re looking for a unique design that you’ll be happy with and want a person who knows all the intricacies of designing and marketing websites, hire a professional web designer. You’ll be glad you did.

Get a professional website designed for your online business by visiting:
Professional Web Site Company

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of

What Do I Need to Design a Website?

Offline businesses are realizing they need to be online to reach a larger audience and expand their profits however they have little or no idea what it involves. They often ask the question “What do I need to design a web site?” After receiving a few answers from their relatives or a friend they ask one of their kids (who is proud of their computer skills) to design the site instead of hiring a professional web designer.

Before contacting a web designer answer these frequently asked questions about the requirements for designing a website

  • Have you registered a domain name?
  • How many pages do you need?
  • Will you maintain the website yourself?
  • Will you update the website yourself?
  • Do you need a contact form?
  • Do you have the content and images to go on the site?
  • What are the names of the links for each page?
  • Do you need a web hosting plan?
  • Here is a basic list for setting up a website

Here’s what you need to design a website

1. Register a domain name

If you’re establishing a business online select a .com domain name. The one you want is probably not available so you’ll need to get creative. Consider .org, .net, .us, .info or try dashes between the words e.g. It only costs approximately $10.00 to register a domain name. Enter “domain name registration” in Google to find a domain name registrar.

2. Select a reliable web hosting service

Choose a web hosting service that has a 99% uptime (allows 1% downtime for server upgrades) and has enough disc space and bandwidth to host your site. Check the customer service response rate whether it’s by phone or email so you can quickly resolve any hosting problems.

Beware of companies that offer unlimited space and bandwidth because you will be sharing the same server with many other websites. If one or more of these websites receive a surge of traffic the server may overload and shut down. This means your website will not be available and you’ll lose sales.

For more information read: How to Choose a Web Hosting Company

3. Web building software

Free Templates
If you don’t have the design skills and don’t need a custom built site that uniquely identifies your online business, you could use free templates. For example or enable you to start a blog using free templates.

Free HTML software
If you have html skills or want to learn them consider these free html editors.



Coffee Cup html editor


Hire a Professional Web Designer
If you’re doing business on the Net you need a website that not only looks professional but loads fast, has a clear navigation system and is optimized for the search engines. Designing and building the site yourself or using a free template may save you some money upfront but hiring a professional is a wise investment if you want a website that is sustainable and grows with your business.


A domain name costs between $10.00-$25.00 depending on the domain name registrar you select.

Web hosting costs vary depending on how much space and bandwidth you need. For most websites 100MB of space and 3GB of bandwidth is sufficient. The cost ranges from$15-$25 per month depending on the web hosting company.

Web building software is free unless you use professional software such as Dreamweaver which costs $399.00.

Web designers charge based on the size and features needed for your site. For example a 5 page informational website may only cost $300-$500 to build however a large site containing 100s of pages may cost you 1000s of dollars.

If you have further questions about what you need to design a website please contact Web Design Maryland

How to Plan a Website – 7 Frequently Asked Questions

The success of your website depends a lot on how much planning you do beforehand. It can be compared to having a road map to reach your destination. If the map is unclear you may not reach your destination or it may take a long time to get there.

plan a web site

Frequently asked questions to plan a website

1. What is your site’s purpose?

You may say you just want to make money however think a little deeper. What will you use the money for e.g. buy a house, spend more time with your family, overseas travel, etc? Once you’ve defined your purpose you need to select a niche you feel passionate about. The more passionate you feel about the subject matter of your site the easier it will be to add content and maintain it.

2. What is your niche?

Create a list of topics you’re interested in. Keep going until you’ve exhausted all the topics then prioritize them. Give priority to the ones you are most passionate about.

3. What and how many keywords are being searched?

Use the free wordtracker tool or the google keyword tool to create a list of keywords people are using to find your topic on the search engines. This list will help you develop content that can be added to your web site. A site containing lots of content has a better chance of doing well in the search engines.

The number of searches each keyword has will help determine the profitability of your future website. Look for keywords that contain many searches but don’t have many competing websites.

4. What type of website do you want or need?

Will it be an informational or e-commerce website? An informational one will consist of pages of information but won’t be selling anything whereas an e-commerce one will be selling products. An ecommerce site will need a merchant account, payment gateway, shopping cart and an SSL certificate plus you’ll need to calculate the tax and delivery fees of all your products.

5. What software will you use?

If your site has 10-20 pages you can use html software to build the web pages. Google ‘free html software” if you don’t want to purchase software. Dreamweaver is the software of choice for professional web designers. You can view the web site as you build it, creates clean code and manage the web site within Dreamweaver.

If your website contains 100s of pages that need constant updating consider using a content management system (CMS) such as Joomla, WordPress or Drupal.

6. How to select a good web designer?

If you’re not a do-it-yourself person, don’t have time or prefer a professional to design your website search for a web designer in your local area. This gives you the freedom to meet and discuss your ideas. Look at the designers portfolio and read the testimonials from satisfied customers before making your selection. Call or email them to check the response times, how friendly and knowledgeable they are. Ask for a preliminary proposal and quote before making your final decision.

7. Do you have a marketing plan?

Even if you have a beautifully designed website it won’t be successful without creating a marketing plan to attract visitors to it. There are 100s of ways to market a website however some of the best methods include, search engine optimization, article marketing, pay per click advertising, social media marketing, video marketing or a combination of these. Learn one of these methods thoroughly before learning other strategies. Don’t rely on one method of marketing in case one strategy becomes ineffective. If you promote your website constantly and consistently you’ll build a steady stream of traffic that will generate sales.

Related articles
How to Choose a Web Site Designer
How to Create Your Web Site Marketing Plan
Website Structure – What is Best?
If you need help planning, designing and marketing your website visit:
Affordable Web Site Design

Blogging or SBI ..Which is right for your business?

Ken Envoy has been (and still is) one of biggest fans for teaching me how to build profitable web sites and how to write high quality content. His formula of pre-selling your visitor before selling to them has stayed with me throughout the years because it works very well.

Recently he wrote an article saying that blogging is the wrong choice for building a business.

Instead he advocates using SiteBuiltIt to build your business.


Because 35% of Site Build It! sites are in the Top 1% of all Web sites.

That’s pretty good proof.

As a web designer I don’t use SBI but have a main site and a blog. The purpose of my main site (static) is to offer my web design services and write long term content…articles. The blog takes more work however I enjoy writing so it’s actually a joy to do it.

Whatever you use depends on your purpose…it’s not really the tools you use but how you use them. The purpose of my blog is to freely and easily write quick posts, even articles that provide traffic to my main site and provide fresh content for visitors. The beauty of the blog is that I can spend only 15 min updating it with good content without knowing or using FTP.

I highly recommend his action guide for anyone thinking about starting a business online even if you don’t intend to use SBI.

His mantra is “don’t build a web site build a business

SBI gives you all the tools you need to research your niche, build a web site and market it to get lots of traffic. The forum is very active and helpful. The people there genuinely wish to help you build your online business.

If you’re reading this post and wish decide to go with SBI you’re lucky because he’s currently running a Mother’s Day Special where you can purchase SBI then get the second one for $100. You could give the second one to a friend or use it to build a second web site.

Check out the powerful SBI video to decide for yourself.

Why do you blog?

If you want to attract a continuous stream of NEW visitors to
your website without spending a dime on advertising pick up a copy of
my new ebook”Article Marketing Strategies“…
to receive immediate and long-term traffic.

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Web Site Design, Web Hosting, SEO

Increase Link Popularity – 7 ways to improve link structure

Web designers often focus on the aesthetics of a web site without creating a link structure that will increase link popularity and get more visitors. When the site owner contacts an SEO specialist to market his site to the search engines, the specialist may have to optimize the link structure-a task the designer should have included in the original design.

How does the link structure of your website effect your rankings?

The internal link structure of your site allows you to spread the link power of your home page to the individual pages of your site.

For example, if 1000 other websites link to your home page, then your home page has a certain link power that can be spread to the other pages of your site. If you link to 50 pages on your home page then each page will get 1/50 of the link power. If you link to only 10 pages, then each page will get much more link power passed to it (1/10).

The more link power a page receives, the more likely it is that the page will get high rankings on search engines. Your internal link structure allows you to direct search engines to your most important pages.

How to improve the internal link structure of your website

There are several things that you can do to improve the rankings of special pages on your website:

1) Make sure that the most important pages on your site can be reached with as few clicks as possible from your home page. The fewer clicks you need to get to a web page, the more important it looks to search engines.

2) Link to the pages for which you want to have high rankings from all pages of your website that are related to that page. The easiest way to get related links to a web page is to link from your own website.

3) Use your targeted keywords in the links to these pages. Make sure that you use keywords that are highly relevant and targeted.

Show search engines for which keywords your web pages are relevant.

4) Make the links on your website absolute. Do not link to mypage.htm but to If other people scrape your web page contents, you’ll get backlinks from these sites.

5) Add a nofollow attribute to all links that aren’t important for your search engine rankings. For example, your privacy policy page or the web page with your terms and conditions probably needn’t be listed in search engines.

The fewer links you have on a page, the more important is the single link to the other pages on your site. If possible, remove unnecessary links from your web pages.

6) Use your robots.txt file or the robots meta tag to exclude duplicate or irrelevant pages from indexing. This is very similar to tip 5. If search engines don’t have to parse your unimportant pages they can take a close look at the pages for which you want to be ranked.

7) Check your website for 404 not found errors and redirect these old links to the most appropriate pages. You might want to use the link checker that you can access in the new IBP 10 beta.

By optimizing the structure of how your web pages pass their link power, you can influence how search engines treat the content of your website.

Once you have optimized the link structure of your website, you should try to get more links from other websites.

It’s hard to beat a website with a great internal and external link structure.

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Web Development, SEO, Hosting

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