Website templates : Part IDo Tradesmen Like Plumbers Need A Basic Website?The answer to the above question, “Do tradesmen like plumbers need a basic website?” is a resounding“yes!” Even tradesmen can benefit from having an easy-to-navigate, informative website. Small tradersgain a number of advantages when they use a web builder to create an informative website. In fact, itmay be surprising to find out just how many benefits a business can derive by promoting their businesson the Internet. Let’s review some of the benefits one derives from using a web builder to promote theirsmall business.Creating a website with a web builder takes a matter of minutes: minutes that equates to real moneyand profit for the small business. First, when a small business uses the Internet to advertise, they canimmediately reach a broader audience. A website established with a web builder is promoting one’sbusiness 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long. There’s no better advertisement than ads thatwork extra-hard for the business it is promoting.Secondly, a website provides vital business information to current and future clients; and it does soimmediately. The minute a website is accessed, a client or customer can get the business’ locationinformation, its hours of operation, and in most cases, can get information about products or servicesthat are available. Moreover, if the web master creates a website that offers the answers to frequentlyasked questions or contact information, then clients and customers can easily get any questions theyhave addressed. Plus, online customers can become familiar with the types of products or services that abusiness offers and they are therefore given an opportunity to browse. Finally, if the business includespersonal information on the site, new customers can get a chance to know the operators of the businessand will feel more comfortable ordering from them.Advertising products or services on the web makes such products and services easily accessible.Consequently, having a website and creating a website with a web builder is a wise business move.Customers can order products online with ease and happy customers will pass the word to their friendsand family members. Clearly, having a website allows one to improve the bottom line of any business.Moreover, using a web builder to create a website save the small trader a significant amount of moneyin the way of overhead: smaller traders can actually create and entire store containing their availableproducts online. This means that no employees are needed to manage the store and the online store isopen all day every day; maximizing the business’ earning potential.
Undoubtedly, having a website gives the smaller trader the edge over other small traders that do nothave a website. Those businesses that take advantage of online advertising reach more people thanthose businesses that don’t. In fact, it’s possible to reach an international audience when using a webbuilder to create a website: once the website is picked up by major search engines there’s no limit tohow many customers a website will attract. Plus, a website gives small traders an opportunity to providespecial offers for their web-based clients and customers only. This is another way of increasing webvisitors and subsequent ordering of products or services.In the end, everyone that is in business can benefit from having a website, whether it is a corporation ora small business. Extensive advertising, reaching a broader audience earning customer confidence, andimproving the bottom line of the business are just a few of the many benefits gained from having awebsite. It only takes a few minutes to create a website with a web builder and the time spent doing sois more than worth it!Hiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!Website templates : End of Part IDo You Need a Website or a Web Designer?Never underestimate the power of the internet. An increasing number of people use the internet tosearch for a business or service so having a web presence is an important media for promoting yourcompany. Web design is a real skill and if your website is to not only look good but work well, it shouldbe constructed by a professional web designer.Have you noticed these days that so many websites all look the same – square box in the middle of thescreen? That’s because it’s fairly easy and cheap to use the many templates available to build a simplewebsite. There are many web designers or friends of a friend out there that will offer to do you awebsite for a few hundred pounds but there are many technical issues to consider to ensure reallyprofessional results.
A good website should have the following attributes:Strong corporate identityUser friendly navigationQuick to downloadA useful resourceExpandable – needs to incorporate technology that allowsscalabilityVisually attractive to encourage usageMust work in all browsers on all computers PC and MACGood investment / value for moneySearch engine friendlyRemember that first impressions count and a badly designed website is worse than having no website atall. You wouldn’t get a friend of a friend to do your company brochures or service your nice new car youwould go to a specialist, so why take the risk and compromise on quality with your website.A well designed website with good graphics and strong corporate branding will last for years and shouldbe a good investment for your company. Updating the content is simple and inexpensive.You can start with a small but well designed website that fits within your budget. The key is to ensurethat your website is expandable so that as your business grows it can be added to – you may even wishto add a database or e commerce functionality at a later stage.We believe that Flash is really designed for use in the entertainments industry and we do notrecommend using it on a business website. Even with the increasing availability of broadband Flash canbe very irritating for users, it serves no purpose, it can detract attention away from the importantmessages on your website and it will adversely affect your search engine rankings. Strong visual affectscan be achieved using other methods.
Using HTML is the most popular and cost effective way to design a website. These can include originalgraphic designs and are text driven to incorporate relevant search terms, which is good for getting yoursite recognised by search engines.DYNAMIC websites incorporate a database and offers more user functionality. A dynamic website can beclassed as a web application and is a powerful tool for gathering and providing data for your customerswho will be able to log in and search the site quickly for information. If you require a dynamic databasedriven web design you will have to budget for the back end coding required to build the database. Thiswill be more expensive than a HTML site and will need specialist hosting.As a less expensive alternative it is possible to build a HTML site which links to a third party databasewhich you can access through your existing ISP.An E-COMMERCE WEBSITE is an online secure shopping facility so that customers can purchase yourgoods by credit card over the web.<a href="http://www.multimedia-scotland.com/">graphic design Scotland</a> and <ahref="http://www.sundial.dircon.co.uk/">web design Scotland</a>Hiring a web designer to come up with the custom solution that you need can set you back a fewthousand bucks. But you can do the whole thing yourself and make it drag and drop simple for merepennies with a tool like Breezy Websites. See http://breezywebsites.com for details!Website templates : End of Part IIDo You Really Own Your Web Site? Maybe NotHere are some important tips for you to remember and some questions to ask your web site design ordevelopment company. If you dont understand the ownership issues when you are buying a web sitedesign or web based application, this is must read material for you! Dont get caught paying twice.
I recently interviewed a new client who was looking to add the functionality of a database to theirexisting web site. Their current webmaster had completed a business logo and designed the initialinterface for the site. The clients asked their webmaster for a quote to add the functionality to the siteand he returned a price that far exceeded the clients’ budget.Long story made short, we found a great application that already exists that would meet the clients’needs for substantially less than custom development. The client advised the previous webmaster thatthey were moving services. Do you think they got to keep their original web site? Nope. We had to startover again, which unfortunately meant that this customer had to pay for extra design time that they hadeffectively already paid for.Here are some important tips for you to remember and some questions to ask your web site design ordevelopment company.Web Design Source CodeWhen you hire a web designer or a developer they are going to produce a web site or web basedapplication that your business is going to be dependant on. In fact, a web application may be your wholebusiness. This is absolutely the case where a business is 100% online and depends on the process builtinto their web site. E-commerce stores are a perfect example of a whole business online.Web designers create web pages with a compilation of images and hyper-text markup language (HTML).The HTML is a text based standard language that most every web designer in the world knows. TheHTML is what is used to hold the structure of your web site together. It keeps the pretty pictures andtext all in the right places. Your web browser interprets that HTML and shows you the web site imagesand text.Your web designer will start your design by “drawing” your web site in a graphics program. MacromediaFireworks and Photoshop are two tools that are very often used by professionals. Your designer willdraw the site using shapes, colors, images and fonts that are all piled up in layers to create the final“look and feel” for your new web site design. The designers will then slice up the images and use theresulting smaller images to build your working website using HTML to hold it all together.
Here is the key. You need the original art file that was used to design your web site in MacromediaFireworks or Photoshop or whatever software your designer uses. If you don’t get the source file, yournext web designer will have to start your design from scratch if you want artwork changes. This is nowalk in the park if the original images that were used are not available. Macromedia Fireworks sourcefiles have the extension .PNG (yourWebsite.PNG). Photoshop files have the extension .PSD(yourWebsite.PSD).Another design issue that you may run into in the future is fonts. If your designer uses fancy fonts thatare not installed by default on your computer or your future designers computer, you will have tosubstitute different fonts. In some cases, choosing a new font is not a big issue. However, if you couldimage that the font used in the logo for Coca-Cola® became unavailable because Coke® changeddesigners it would most likely cause them real damage. They need the font used in their logo orcorporate branding and so do you!Questions to ask your web designer1) When you are finished designing my web site will you provide me with the source files used in thedesign of my new web site?2) Will you transfer the ownership (copyright) of these source files to me or my company? Or at leastgive me perpetual license to continue using them and to make revisions?3) Will you provide me with the names and files for all non-windows fonts used in the design of my newweb site? At the very least, because there may be real copyright issues with transferring the fonts, youneed to know the names of the fonts and where you can buy copies of them for your project archive.Web Application Source CodeWeb developers create programs that work as applications on the internet. They create code that iscompiled, usually in real-time, at the web server. The code will, for example, connect to a database andextract a set of data. The data will then be compiled into an HTML table (so that it is readable) and then
sent from the web server to your web browser as pure HTML. You will not be able to “view source” andread the scripting language because it never leaves the web server. If you “view source” from the webbrowser, you will only see the HTML.Some of the code that your developer writes will be protected by copyright. Your developer may alsobuy code in the form of server components, use code blocks for functionality from other programmersor purchase complete application in order to finish your program. You need to ensure that thedeveloper tells you that you can continue to use the software that they develop for your business for anunlimited period of time, and that if there are any licensing restrictions or reoccurring licensing coststhat they are disclosed to you before you start the project. Find out if you will be bound forever to ahosting or server plan for you application.Here are some questions you may want to ask your web developer1) Will you transfer an unlimited a perpetual license to me or my company to use the application thatyou develop for me?2) Will you disclose any licensing restrictions to me regarding the application?3) Will you write code using common standards or languages that I will be able to move to anotherhosting provider or eventually to my own server?4) Can I move my application to another server in the future if it is necessary?Use of EncryptionSo your web developer says “yes” to the last four questions and you think, “great, I’m home free, let’sget started”. Then two years later you decide it’s time to move your web application to your own serversbecause your e-commerce store is screaming busy and the cost of bandwidth and hosting is killing yourprofits.
You start the process to move your application to your new server and call up your webmaster for help,but he has gone to University in the states and “isn’t doing that anymore”. You think to yourself, “I guessI should have used a more established company…” So you find a new webmaster. Incidentally, I amoften told by new clients that I am their second, third and sometimes even fourth web developer. So wego to move the web site, but wait, something is wrong… portions of the source code are encrypted.Even the government couldn’t decrypt it. We have to rewrite those blocks of code and the client has topay… again.If your web sites source HTML or application scripting language is encrypted then it may have to berewritten or you will have no way to add functionality, or to fix bugs, without involving the originaldeveloper who holds the key to the encryption. They are quite clever, aren’t they?There are some good reasons to encrypt some portions of the source code, even on in a webapplication. Most web applications will contain, in the source code, the database, username andpassword within one of the files. This is a great example of a code block that should be encrypted beforeit is placed into a shared hosting environment.If your web developer is going to encrypt portions of the source code, make sure you get a copy of theunencrypted source code for your project archive. In this manner you will be able to work with a newdeveloper.Questions to ask your web developer regarding encryption1) Will you be encrypting any or all of the source code in the application you are developing for me?2) Will you provide me with a copy of the original source code prior to being encrypted?TechnologiesThere are a number of technologies used in the development of web sites and web applications theyinclude Pre-Hypertext Processor (PHP), Active Server Pages (ASP), Active Sever Pages dot Net (ASP.NET),
and Cold Fusion to name a few. All of these scripting languages facilitate connecting web sites todatabases and accessing functionality on the web server such as sending mail or uploading files. All ofthese technologies are widely used, widely available and there is a great number of developers thatknow these languages. There are some lesser known programming and scripting languages that may beable to do a lot of the same things as the more widely used languages. The pitfall is that you may have amore difficult time finding a programmer that knows the language.Some web scripting or programming languages like Microsoft’s® Active Server Page or Active ServerPage dot Net technologies are developed specifically for use on the Mircrosoft operating systems. Thesetechnologies are difficult, if not impossible, to run on a Linux operating system. When your programmerselects a language to develop your web application with, he may be marrying you to a long termrelationship with a particular operating systems and software vendor. This is okay as long as yourecognize the long term ramifications of these choices, some of which may be greater costs to you in thefuture.Questions to ask your web developer regarding programming languages1) Is the technology you use tied to one particular operating system or can I host my web site on mychoice of servers with my choice of operating system? More specifically, can I host my application on aMicrosoft web server and a Linux server?TransferabilityMake sure that you are able to move your web site to a server with comparable standards in the futureshould you wish to do so. Moving a web site to a new server is not necessarily due to a break down inthe relationship with your web designer. You may be forced to move if your existing server can nolonger handle your traffic bandwidth. If your costs become too high in a shared hosting environmentyou may find it more economical to setup your own web server and host your own application.If you do choose to host your own application this is where the cost ramifications of your earlier choiceswill hit your pocket book. For example if your site was developed using PHP, an open-source scriptinglanguage for websites, then the cost of your new server will likely not include any software licensingbecause the operating system (Linux) is free. If on the other hand your site is developed using .ASP or.ASP.NET, you are going to have to buy expensive server licenses from the big guy.