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The Key To Great Custom Design

by Maryam Piracha

Once you’ve settled the fact that in this time and place, operating a business without a corporate website is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard (join the club, so to speak), and have located the right web design company for your needs, it’s time to get down to it.

You now need to get the most value out of your money by having a great custom website design. Of course, the key to that is a consistent and constant stream of communication between you and the mediating professional.

As with everything, there is a process to getting what you need from a company outlined below.

The consultation which happens right after selection and involves you handing over an overall corporate statement of your business description, objectives and what goals you plan to achieve with your website. This meeting will also take into account your target audience, your marketing strategy and your personal requirements and preferences for the website.

The proposal is usually written before project selection but involves the company’s rebuttal to the previous step by developing an outline of their solution, the timeframe needed to accomplish such a thing, the tools used and the overall budget for such a project.

Once the contract has been signed, the real work begins. You will need to provide your brand items like logos, color schemes, professional images, slogans and various other brand-related details. Why? Because these items will inevitably shape the form and flow of your website with your existing business.

Develop a prototype which is the initial implementation of your website and will usually just contain the index and one other page for uniformity and consistency and an idea of what the other pages will look like. A point to consider is that this will only be a design prototype not a functional representation of how the website will work. That comes later in the process.

Modifying the prototype according to your needs is essential. By remaining in consistent touch with the project manager you can have the design tweaked according to your preferences, change the specific use of the color, where certain images are situated, etc. Of course, if you’re absolutely satisfied with the prototype (very rare, so you might be one in a million) you can give the green light and the development can begin from there. The company usually provides you with a few options including different color schemes and design layouts.

The development goes underway once the prototype has been confirmed and is the functional representation of all links that were dummies before, incorporating all requirements and specifications using the agreed upon technologies and tools.

Search Engine Optimisation at some basic level usually always forms a part of any web design and development proposal and will be incorporated during or at the end of website development. You must ensure that the important content is placed before or very near to the top of the page so that your site ranks at or near the top. Another important factor to consider is whether your website has been submitted to the four key search engines – Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask. Anyone who suggests they will submit it to over five is fooling you.

Testing. Never leave this step completely to the web development company since it might look different on their monitors than it does on yours, so ensure that you’ve completely tested the system before it goes live.

Reviewing and Suggesting Corrections is part of your job, so don’t hesitate to point out system flaws. There is no such thing as a perfect system, so look for the holes. Better solve them now and delay production than have a user detecting them and turning away.

Now Take it Live but only once you’ve ensured everything is as it should be. Ensure that the table transfer from the company’s host and servers to yours is undertaken seamlessly and without a hitch remembering that although any glitch is their concern, it can muck up the production phase and delay operations. Time is money, so you need to ensure they get it right the first time!

That’s it. That’s all it takes to ensure you have a great custom website design according to your preferences and needs.

You’re all set. Now just sit back and let the clients roll in.

Tuesday, Dec 26th, 2006