How to Choose a Good Web Designer

How do you choose a web designer when you know almost nothing about web design, what you need, how to build it and where to go to to find good one.

This article will help you make an informed decision instead of just selecting the first one you find.

Steps for choosing a good web designer:

1. Know the purpose of your website

Before searching for a web designer it’s a good idea to know what you want your website to do for your business. It will help the designer to know your needs. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you want to generate leads?
  • Do you want to an online presence for your offline store?
  • Do you wish to sell products and/or services?
  • Do you want to interact with your customers?
  • Do you want to build long term relationships?

2. Experienced professional

There are many amateur designers who want to become professional. The problem is they don’t have many years of experience. For example they may create a pretty design but don’t know how to build search engine friendly pages. Look for a designer that has several years of experience, the longer the better. Visit their website to see the portfolio of websites they have already designed.

3. Qualifications

By viewing their portfolio you have a good idea of the types of websites they have built, however some amateur designers will simply get a template, modify it a little then charge you for a complete design.

A professional web designer should at least have these skill requirements:

  • html/xhtml
  • cascading style sheets (CSS)
  • javascript
  • graphic design
  • ecommerce design
  • php script installation and customization
  • search engine optimization
  • email marketing
  • FTP

Other design qualifications
CIW (Certified Internet Web Professional) is the world’s leading Web technology certification and curriculum program. The Master CIW Designer Certification shows the designer has taken the time and made the investment to become a Master Designer. You can’t go wrong if you find a designer that has been awarded this certification.

5. Testimonials

Reading the recommendations from satisfied clients shows they trust in the designer’s services. Visit the designer’s website to read the testimonials. Ask for them if they are not displayed.

6. Pricing

This is going to be all over the map because it depends on the complexity of the work involved and who is doing it. An online store containing 100s of products is going to cost more than a 5 page html website. A corporate design firm with many employees is going to charge more than a freelance web designer because they have to pay salaries. Ask for a preliminary proposal from the designer before hiring him or her.

7. Ask for a contract

The contract should clearly state what’s involved in the design of the website, prices, maintenance and hosting fees. It should also include who owns the website and the timetable for completion.

If your web designer fulfills all these requirements, is friendly, helpful, polite and easy to work then hire hime/her. You’ll be glad you made the right choice.
Hire a professional web designer for building your website by visiting
Professional Web Designer

Herman Drost is a Master CIW Designer,
owner and author of:

Website Redesign: Top 7 Reasons to Get Your Web Pages Redesigned

Is your website looking a little stale and not performing well for you?
Do you want it to look more professional?

If so, it’s time to redesign your website so it will clearly reflect your business image, attract more visitors and generate more sales.

Let’s look at the top 7 reasons to redesign your website

1. Out of date design

If your website was designed several years ago it probably has an old design that no longer appeals to your visitors (or yourself). Even if you get lots of visitors they are not purchasing your products or services. Your website should provide the best experience for first time visitors so they’ll want to do business with you.

2. Out of date content

If the content no longer grabs your visitor’s attention you need to rewrite it. Why not redesign your website while you rewrite the content so your design will harmonize or enhance it.

3. Ineffective navigation

If your visitors can’t quickly and easily access the information they’ll go to your competitor’s site. Your information should be within 3 clicks from the home page. Old navigation menus use images which search engines can’t index. Convert your pages over to a CSS (cascading style sheets) navigation system. It loads fast and is search engine friendly.

4. Slow loading web pages

Google has added loading speed as a rankling factor for the search engines. If your website doesn’t load fast you may not only lose rankings but lose impatient visitors. Some of the factors that affect load times include:

  • flash objects: flash introductions or flash images
  • large images or too many of them on the page
  • code errors: javascript or html errors
  • slow server: not enough space or bandwidth or too many sites on one server
  • multi media: video and audio take up a lot of server resources

5. Not optimized for the search engines

Your web designer may not have designed your web pages to be search engine friendly so they won’t attract much traffic. Many web designers know how to design a website but are not familiar with promotion strategies. When redesigning your website be sure to select a web designer that knows about search engine marketing.

6. Converting static website to content management system (CMS)

If your static html website contains hundreds of pages that need updating you’ll have to edit them one at a time unless you use server side includes files. Many site owners are now using content management system because of these features:

  • separate content creation from design
  • easy to update/add/edit/delete pages from backend administration panel
  • create unlimited pages
  • no html knowledge needed

Two popular CMS editors are WordPress and Joomla. Both are open source and freely available

7. Creating an interactive website

Most static html websites are not built for interaction with your visitors. For example with a CMS such as a blog the visitor can leave comments, subscribe to RSS feeds, create multiple editors to add content, plus a blog automatically alerts the search engines of new content.

If your current website fits any these criteria consider a redesign. You’ll have the opportunity to create an up to date professional design that is search engine friendly, fast loading and attracts more visitors and sales.

Get a professional website design or redesign
for your online business by visiting:
Professional Website Design Company

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

Top 12 Web Design Mistakes and How to Correct Them

There are many websites on the Net that are highly ineffective in terms of attracting business because mistakes were made in the original design. You may have paid a lot of money for a beautiful design but it’s useless if it’s not profitable.

Top 12 mistakes in web design

1. Unclear purpose

You may have been pressured to build a website for your business but failed to clearly define its purpose. Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to clarify your website’s purpose:

Do I want to generate leads?
Do I want to display or sell products and services?
Do I want to interact with my visitors?
Do I want to build a relationship with my website customers?
Do I want to offer tips, articles, coupons, etc from your website?

2. No long term plan

You may have heard the saying “if you fail to plan your plan will fail.” The purpose of your website should integrate with your business plan. For example if you want to generate leads, determine how many new leads you want each month, how you will acquire and build a relationship with them. You’ll also need to create a marketing plan.

3. Unclear navigation

Visitors need to easily access all parts of your website from the home page. If not they will click away to your competitors. Avoid using images, flash or javascript if possible. Search engines can’t index these files. Use CSS navigation instead. It contains clean code, loads fast and can be spidered by the search engines.

4. Cluttered pages

Web pages filled with images, videos, flash objects and text makes it difficult for visitors to read the page or understand what is most important. Web pages should contain plenty of white space between all the objects and be clear what you’re offering. The images should enhance the value of the content. Separate your content into short paragraphs. Use numbers or bullets to clearly define your ideas.

5. Inconsistent appearance

All web pages should have a consistent appearance so the visitor is not distracted from the purpose of the website or thinks he or she is on a different one. All the website components (ie images, text, navigation) should be in harmony with each other.

6. Poorly written web copy

Visitors arrive at your website to read what you have to offer. For example your home page should clearly state the purpose of your website. If you sell products, write good descriptions about them. If you sell a service try to pre-sell the visitor by talking about the benefits of your services.

7. Not optimized for the search engines

Most site owners want to generate traffic to their websites. One of the main strategies for achieving this is to optimize the web pages before the site is active. People find your website by entering keywords in the search engines. These keywords should be included in the content, meta tags, links, heading and subheadings of your web pages. Do your keyword research first so you can incorporate them into the design before the site goes live.

8. Slow loading

Typical visitors will only wait 3 seconds for your website to load. Many site owners want to fill their pages with lots of images, videos, flash objects and javascript. This may dramatically slow web page loading times and cause you to lose visitors. Reduce the amount of content on your web pages if your site has slow loading times.

9. Too much scrolling

Avoid horizontal or long vertical scrolling. Horizontal scrolling shows the site was not created professionally and will annoy visitors. Most visitors do not want to scroll down 10 pages to view information. Instead use links to direct them to another page. This helps break up the content and makes it easier to read.

10. Code errors and broken links

Errors in html, xhtml, php, javascript can influence the appearance, usability, loading and indexing of your website by the search engines. Make sure the code correctly validates before uploading it to the server.

11. Broken links

Broken links prevent visitors from correctly navigating your website. Search engines will not be able to find your content. A large site contains lots of images and links. It will be easy to miss some of them. Run the website through a link checker and repair them before it goes public.

12. Doesn’t render well across major browsers

Your website may look good in the browser on your own computer (ie Internet Explorer) but look terrible in browsers (ie FireFox, Safari, Google Chrome) your visitors are using. Check if your website renders well in all the major browsers before uploading it to the Web.

If you want to build a successful long term business online you need to get a professional website designed that doesn’t contain top 12 design mistakes. Use this list when hiring a web designer to help you make an informed decision before spending your hard earned money.

Get a professional website design or redesign
for your online business by visiting:
Professional Web Site Company

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

Web Site Design – How to Create a Background Image for a 3 Column Template

Recently I was asked to design a 3 column web site for Handyman Services Loudoun County. The purpose of the web site was to create a professional online appearance for the business that clearly illustrates who they are, what services they offer and the locations they cover.

I first created a few image designs in Fireworks to give my client a number of options to choose from…e.g. design, colors, layout of images and content. He chose a 3 column design (2 outer green coloums, middle white column) with a a green gradient background.

How to create the css background images

Step 1. Green gradient image for web site background

I created a green gradient image (fading from green to white) for the background color of the web site using Fireworks then positioned it on the web site with CSS.

CSS code for body background:

body {
font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
background-image: url(images/bg_green_outer.jpg);

Step 2. Background image for content

The 3 columns consist of a white middle column for the main content and 2 light green outer columns to prominently display photos of construction projects. I sliced a 1px wide by 2000 pixel length from the original image I had created in Step 1 then positioned it with CSS

CSS code for content background:

width: 1000px;
margin-left: auto;
margin-right: auto;
padding: 0px;
background-image: url(images/bg_inner.gif);
background-repeat: repeat-y;

Step 3. Create header background

I positioned the logo as a background image in the header with CSS

margin: 0;
padding: 0;
height: 150px;
background-image: url(images/All%20Seasons272.gif);
background-repeat: no-repeat;
background-position: 50px 0px;


Step 4. Create menu background color

The web site has top and bottom navigation menus with a dark green background.

#topnav ul{
margin: 0;
background-color: #336633;

The background images help present a nice layout for the web site that can easily be altered or changed using CSS positioning.