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What the internet can do for your business

A few website and web design questions that have been put to us over the years, combined below to give you a better sense of what's happening on the web

How much does a website cost to design and build?

Because of the nature and the scope of websites it's a very difficult question to answer without drilling down into the nature of the project and what is required. There are so many variables involved in the building of a website. One analogy would be houses; You can't go into an estate agent and ask how much a house costs. You can't even ask how much a semi-detached house costs because an enormous number of factors need to be taken into consideration - its location, has it got a garden, and if so, how big is the garden? Whether it has double glazing and central heating, what the decor is like. How new is the boiler, and is it in an area prone to flooding? Once you get into specifics, then the estate agent could quite easily tell you that a house in this location, in this condition with these fixtures and fittings and a garden this size is worth X, and it's the same with a website.

What Maddison Creative web design Newcastle can do, though, is once we've had a chat about what you're looking for, we can work out how long it will all take and give you an up-front cost with the guarantee that if the project takes longer, or is more work than anticipated, then providing the scope of the work involved doesn't change (ie there are no further requests or changes to the original brief), then the cost will not escalate, so you can budget in advance of the work, safe in the knowledge that it will not escalate.

Is it worth investing time and money into getting the web design of my website right?

One recent survey showed that on average, people will stay on a single web page for just eleven seconds, which is an incredibly short space of time for you, as a website owner, to grab someone's attention and convince them that your website is worth investigating further. In that length of time it is incredibly difficult to get that message across using written content alone, and so the design of your website becomes absolutely critical to the success of your site.

Another recent survey has suggested that two thirds of people, given a short time to browse a page (11 or so seconds) would rather read something that is well designed that something that is plain. The same survey revealed that 40% of internet users say they will click away from a website if the images are broken or if they take too long to load, while 38% will be turned off from a website if the site is poorly designed or not appealing.

What technologies do you use to design websites?

For functionality, we use php, an open-source, commonly used scripting language that is particularly well suited to web development and that can be inserted into HTML. For Content Managed Websites we use Wordpress, an open source, online website creation tool built in php. We use HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript to develop front-end website interaction, functionality and animation. We use SQL and MYSQL wherever we need a database, and from a design perspective we use the Adobe Creative suite to create for the web.

How do we go about building a website, and what web design is involved?

The process that ends up with a successful, beautifully designed, fully functional, well marketed and promoted usually begins with a great idea. Whether this idea is a product or service, or something to plug a gap in the market, a way of making money or something that entertains people - this idea is the key to making your project a success. You need to have a realistic expectation of what success looks like and a plan of how you're going to get there. You could have the best website in the world, and if your idea is a duffer, it's going to flop.

Once you have this idea and plan, an idea of how you're going to measure success, backed up with a good bit of market research you can think about how you're going to push your idea online. (The internet has become that significant that to not have a website in this day and age is not an option!). That's when Maddison Creative web design Newcastle comes in. We can help you with expert industry knowledge of what works and what doesn't. What can be achieved, and how we can achieve it. What you're going to need, how long it will take and how much it's all going to cost. We will generally then come up with a site structure, with a number of levels, and a flat design/visual/creative. Once these two key elements have been agreed then we set to work putting the two together and voila! You have a website. The hard work doesn't stop there though. Many people think that you build a website, and you can then sit back and watch it work its magic year after year. Unfortunately it's not like that - a website (and its search engine performance) are a living, breathing animal. You have to tend to it, update it, improve it, add to it and love it, otherwise it won't perform to it's maximum and you won't get most from it.

From a practical point of view, you need a domain (an address for your website so people can find it), you need a hosting company to provide you with space on one of their servers (a computer that you can access via the internet) and you need the files you create, nicely arranged into folders. Once you have all these, you attach your domain name to your server, and software that allows you to FTP (File transfer protocol) or upload your files onto your server. Once they're up there then the world can see your site and you're off!

Maddison Creative web design Newcastle can arrange all of this for you - we have great relationships with a number of hosting companies, and we use the latest FTP software, so it's not something you need to worry you - it's included in all new website packages. If you have an existing website and you like to keep the domain name and/or hosting provider, that's not a problem either, we can simply use your existing setup to upload the new site to.

What about good web design and Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization, or SEO is the process whereby you make your site as finely tuned as possible in order to ensure that Search Engines such as Google and Bing consider your website worthy enough to show ahead of all the competition.

This involves writing the content in such a way that it relates to the words (keywords) your potential customers will be searching to find whatever it is you're doing/selling/saying. It also entails making sure that all the key elements of what makes up a good website are there and put together properly. Titles, images, framework of your site, links - they all have to be right.

This also includes things you can't see - the invisible tags that sit behind your webpage, but that do an important job nonetheless. A good web designer will do all of this as a matter of course, but there's always room for improvement, especially as time marches on, and best-practice and guidelines change and what used to be the done thing is now frowned upon.

Is it possible to work remotely with Maddison Creative web design Newcastle?

So you're based in Manchester - wouldn't it be better to recruit a Manchester based web designer to build your new website rather than Maddison Creative web design Newcastle?

Because of the nature of the web, of web design and the technologies we have at our disposal nowadays there really is no necessity to physically restrict yourself to people and businesses that happen to be based around you any longer. You can choose a company based anywhere in the world and it won't be any more difficult to work with them than it would be the company next door.

150 years ago in the California gold rush, people flocked to the rivers of the Sierra Nevada in order to make their fortunes. So many people relocated in fact that it was said that it wasn't the gold prospectors who made fortunes, it was the hoteliers, and the bars and the stores selling picks and shovels and bedding that cleaned up, because of the massive influx of people. Nowadays, the 'gold rush' would more than likely be a digital one (think of the dot com bubble in the early 2000s), and those hoteliers and traders would go without because the 'prospectors' would search for 'gold' from the comfort of their own homes and offices.

If we were building a website for someone it's not uncommon to have a teleconference over the internet in the morning with three people hundreds or even thousands of miles apart, once we're all happy, we all switch off and get to work at our desks, by the end of the day some progress has been made, we jump on to a product design program like InVision where we can share screens and attach comments to a visual, we'll continue to instant message each other via Skype, have another Webex call over the net the following morning, the website will then be built, sanity checked by sharing it around our closed group on Slack, user tested via What Users Do and launched and despite being in constant contact throughout the entire process, the first time any of us meet is at the launch party!

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