Four Reasons Why Custom Websites Can Mean More Business Success 

By Steve Hoag

custom website promote business success

A custom website is essentially a must-have today. The benefits it provides for businesses are profound when the website is properly designed/developed. So how does a custom website promote business success? Read on!

Unique brand presence

Arguably the most important advantage of a custom website is that it provides a unique brand presence for any company. You don’t have to worry about anyone else’s website looking exactly like yours. Custom websites allow you to leverage unique layouts, color schemes, and branding that can truly transform consumer perception.

Websites are the new brick and mortar storefront

Company websites are steadily becoming the first interaction consumers have with businesses. Long gone are the days that prospective customers had to travel to a shop to take a look at your wares. Nowadays all they need is an internet connection to decide to buy or not. That is why it is important to create a great first impression. Custom websites blow everything else out of the water when it comes to impressing customers online because of the endless design possibilities they offer.

Scalable solutions

Depending on the type of content management system you use, a custom website can offer a long term solution that is hard to match. A scalable solution brings a ton of benefits to businesses. For instance, you won’t need to invest in a new option as your website needs grow. Adding more features and pages is simple as long as the solution you pick has enough flexibility. By investing in a scalable custom website you free up more money in the long term to use in other areas.

Custom functionality

Another awesome benefit of a custom website is that you can add custom features and modules to support core business functions and your online presence. Having options like implementing custom e-commerce store fronts, blogs, forms etc, can catapult your online presence to a whole new level. Your chances of wowing a customer are much higher when you have a custom website that leverages the newest technologies and features.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, October 31, 2013 9:11:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SMB web design web development website

Increasing Revenue: Increasing Design Agency Productivity By Outsourcing 

By Sherry Kinavey

Outsourcing web development

Outsourcing web development or web management is great - as long as you’ve taken the time to understand the vendor. There are some horror stories out there, and a lot of those experiences begin with not enough research beforehand. As with any important business decision, doing your homework is critical to success. With the right company, outsourcing has the potential of being enormously profitable. Here’s how:

Outsourcing can be cheaper.

The average salary of a web developer in the U.S. is about $64k. The average salary in India is $9.2K, and even lower at $4.2K in the Philippines.  Partnering with domestic developers can really slim down your profit margins.

Why pay someone hundreds more per project when a developer from another country with comparable skills can save you some serious money? Even doing the work yourself can take a lot of time. And, everyone knows that time is money.

Let the professionals handle the development issues while you get valuable advice.

Web development can be bothersome for designers. Outsourced web development removes all these headaches. I’m not saying you don’t know your way around coding, but why not focus on what you love rather than what you potentially dislike? By using an expert, technical issues can be resolved quickly. And, your development team is usually willing to provide valuable project advice.

Outsourcing can also let you take on more projects.  We all know that more projects means more money.

You'll have access to a larger talent pool.

By not restricting yourself to talent that you can find locally, you open yourself up to more business. Believe it or not, some of the most technically proficient people live abroad and because the cost and standard of living in those areas are different than here, many are able to work for less.

Outsourcing also gives you access to expertise.

What do you do when you have a strict time constraints and there isn’t enough time to do all the work yourself? Well, outsource of course. 

Why?  Outsourcing can give you immediate access to industry best practices in very short order.

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Posted by Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:18:00 PM Categories: B2B web design web development website

How To Improve Your Site Evaluator Accessibility Score 

By Steve Hoag

Site accessibility

Site accessibility is all about making sure your website can be used by any user, regardless of what browser, device, or possible disabilities they may have. Compliance with W3C guidelines is critical in making your site accessible to different types of users. Here are three ways can improve your Site Evaluator’s accessibility score.

 Ensure your site navigation and structure is logical and intuitive

Making your site’s layout and overall navigation logical and intuitive is imperative for making your site accessible. Viewers need to be able to easily discern between main headings, subheadings, and content. An intuitive main navigation system is important so that users can easily move throughout your website without any confusion

Use contextual links for disabled users

Many users who are disabled use screen readers that read out loud links on a page. Text links within copy will be read out as the term that as the hyperlink attached to it, rather than the page/content it is linking to. Make any contextual links in copy as descriptive as possible so that disabled users may easily navigate throughout your site. Use a descriptive link like ‘click here to see a list of products’ versus just ‘click here.’

Provide Alternative Content

Make sure your content can be used by anyone regardless of special needs. Some easy ways of doing this are allowing users to choose different font sizes, levels of contrast for colors, and providing text for non-text content like images.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, October 23, 2013 6:27:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise Site Evaluator SMB web design web development web trends website

Five Things to Look For When Choosing A Web Designer 

By Steve Hoag

Choosing a website designer

Choosing a website designer is an extremely important decision when building a new website. As a business, you need to ensure you do all your research and find the closest thing to a perfect candidate possible. Here are five tips to do just that!

Technical Skills

Whenever looking at different web designer options, it is important to take note of what they are adept at. If you want infinite scrolling/page-less design, find a designer who knows how to do that. The most valuable designers are ones with some experience coding and programming, because they know the limitations and advantages of different content management systems. They will be able to confidently say ‘choose this solution because it will work perfectly with what you want.’

Web Designer’s Website

The best indicator of a web designer’s abilities is usually their website. This is essentially their portfolio, and will tend to be reflect the full scope of their expertise. Pay attention to things like their use of color, graphics, layout, and navigation scheme. Combined, do they create a compelling website?

Familiarity with Business/Industry

Finding a designer with previous work in your industry is very important. You need to find someone who knows your target audience and how to appeal to them. Do they share or understand your business vision? If they don’t, move on!

Internet Marketing Knowledge

Websites are one of, if not the most important piece of internet marketing. They are becoming the brick and mortar storefront of the 21st century. The web designer you choose must have a working knowledge of internet marketing tactics like color schemes, SEO, layout, social media etc.

Experience

An experienced website designer is usually more valuable to any company. They have been around the block, have best practices in place, and know the ins and outs of website design. However, an experienced website designer may be more expensive, and may not always have exactly what you are looking for. If you are looking for new, unbridled, fresh, outside the box thinking it can be worth taking a look at younger designers. This is especially true if your audience consists of younger generations.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Tuesday, October 22, 2013 5:35:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SMB web design website

How Increasing Your Service Offerings Can Increase Your Web Design Sales 

By Sherry Kinavey

sales tactics

More business equals more profits. There are many ways to increase sales, but a lot of these can be quite troublesome. One of the easiest methods available is to increase your service offerings. By becoming a one stop shop, you can capture every single dimension of a client’s project, and not lose any revenue to other businesses.

Here are three ways to accomplish just that:

Add on-going service offerings to retain business

Cash flow is extremely important for business. Building consistent revenue is crucial to ensuring business survival. Adding ongoing service options such as SEO, content optimization or design alterations can go a long way to stabilizing cash flow. This is even more important if you see that your competitors are employing similar methods. Monthly subscription packages also allow you to maintain close relationships with companies. Eventually, they will have another large project to do and you’ll already be top of mind.

Become proficient in multiple web platforms

WordPress designers are a dime a dozen. The problem is that not every business wants a WordPress site.

And this doesn’t only apply to WordPress. There are quite a number of designers that specialize in only one platform.  They fail to realize that they are potentially limiting their business by doing this. Larger enterprises may want something based on .NET or another platform. Becoming proficient in multiple platforms will open up more doors, meaning more sales.

Outsource development to increase profits and secure more contracts

This ties in to the idea of becoming a one-stop shop for clients. While offering great design services can lead to business success, tying in good development services to the mix is essential. Offering to do both design and development for clients will streamline their processes and minimize costs, while creating more profit for you.

Outsourcing development is cheaper than it has ever been before. There are tons of companies both local and abroad that are looking for work and are willing to provide great deals.

Also, outsourcing development work goes both ways. As your business relationships grow, you development partners may approach you with potential design opportunities.

Definitely a win-win for all parties involved.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Monday, October 21, 2013 7:22:00 PM Categories: B2B SEO social media social media marketing web design web development web trends website
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