Five Tips to Choosing the Right Digital Agency For You

With the growth of the internet still at a peak and e-commerce sales at a 13% increase for February 2009, typical of the year on year growth of e-commerce sales, a digital agency could be a vital factor in the survival of many businesses already online or looking to launch themselves onto the internet. Some digital agencies will try to sell you cheap services, and the result is normally a cheap looking campaign. Pushing your business on the internet is an expensive and time consuming process, however, if you work in partnership with a successful digital agency, the outcome can be extremely profitable.

But how do you spot the good from the bad? These five simple tips could be the most important advice you take in regards to the future online success of your business, saving you from wasting your money on an ill fated campaign by directing you towards a digital agency that will work with you for the long haul.

1. Look at their website: If a digital agency has a poorly designed or inaccessible website advertising themselves, how do they expect to sell themselves as a web design agency to potential clients? During the decision making progress, take time to navigate around the website of possible digital agencies. If their site is well designed and uses new technology such as flash, you know that these features will be available to you. If the digital agency has the staff and the technological resources to create an impressive website for themselves, they should apply this to their clients and their clients projects.

2. Look at their previous work and their other clients: Most digital agencies will be eager to show off their previous and ongoing work. Their website will probably contain a portfolio or links to the websites they have designed and marketed. It is a good sign if a digital agency has large and small businesses in the client portfolio as this shows dedication to any work they are employed with, and the ability to manage large scale launches and marketing campaigns. Do you like the work that the digital agency has done for these clients? Has it won awards or been effective in selling more products? If you like the work they have done in the past, it will make it easier for you to work together in the management of your online business features.

3. Are they in it for the long haul? Having a profitable presence on the internet is more than just a successful website launch. If you are looking for a sustainable income from your website, through an e-commerce store for example, you will need continuous marketing support. If an agency offers marketing strategies along side its web design/development services, take advantage of this. The best digital agencies will employ marketing professionals to ensure that once your website has been launched onto the internet, it achieves maximum publicity. There are a number of different ways to achieve this which can be discussed during the proposal stage.

4. Take a look at the team: When you are considering a digital agency and what you want them to do for you, take a look at the staff they employ. Smaller digital agencies with a handful of staff members may find themselves overstretched. Ideally, staff members will specialise in one field be it website design, website development, web content writing, online marketing, and accounts management. Under this process, each member of staff dealing with your account will have a brief to work to and can focus on their task instead of spreading themselves too thinly over the project. The less work a member of staff has to do, the better they will do it.

5. Points mean prizes! Professional awards are difficult to be nominated for, let alone win. There is huge competition for every nomination and judging panels take the process very seriously. Awards and qualifications from search engines are impressive, as are specialist accolades from media publications, regional business awards and industry awards. Recognition from others in their own field should be taken notice of when choosing the right digital agency for you.

By following these tips you are sure to find a digital agency that will be a useful ally on the World Wide Web, increasing traffic to your website and thus boosting your profits.

Web Site Development – The Roles of Web Designers and Web Programmers

A web site is a software package. By definition, a package is a ready-made program that is available to users for use to perform some tasks. These users include non-IT professionals. Thus, a web site qualifies to be a package like Microsoft Office, Peachtree Accounting packages.

Before the revolution of The Web (WWW), development of software package was the exclusive preserve of skillful programmers. Programmers or software developers develop the logic of programs which a package will eventually use to function. This logic building aspect of software development requires high level of intellect. This together with the intricacies of mastering programming languages made the development of packages uninteresting and unattractive to a large spectrum of people.

Following the revolution of The Web, it became possible for non-programmers to develop packages right from the inception. These are web-based packages and of course, web sites, requiring no programming skills. The result was the creation of a new type of profession called Web Design. A web designer is someone who organizes a web page by arranging texts, pictures, animations, forms etc on a page and formats them to produce good presentation. All he needs do is to make use of any of the appropriate web development tools like Macromedia Visual Studio and Microsoft FrontPage. Through the Design section of Macromedia Dreamweaver, for example, you can design a whole web page without using HTML codes. What you have is a web site. A web site is one or more web pages. These web development tools are the equivalent of what the popular package Adobe PageMaker does which is to organize and format pages of books, magazines, newspapers etc. No programming is required.

The limitation of web designing is the creation of static web sites which may be suitable for some applications but not all. They produce non-interactive and non-dynamic web sites that are unsuitable for certain applications and needs. For example, online registration. The role of a web designer stops at this point and that of a web programmer begins. As a result of the limitation of static web sites, the need to move further arose. People wanted sites where they could post forms for tasks like creating accounts online and authentication of passwords. This led to the development of web programming languages otherwise known as scripts. Examples are JavaScript, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, PHP, ColdFusion etc. The result was the creation of the profession of web programming. A web programmer is someone who develops programs for the purpose of performing automated tasks on a web site. Some prefer to call them software developers. Example of such tasks are:

  1. Data validation.
  2. Form submission.
  3. Sign Up.
  4. Database search.

Thus, it became possible to develop dynamic and interactive web sites capable of doing what conventional software could do on stand-alone computer and network using non-internet technologies. Online banking, stock broking are examples. These functions can now be carried out entirely on internet. To develop functional scripts for such automated tasks, logic building and mastery of the programming language to use in terms of syntax are required. Most of the programs are written from scratch.

Can you be a web designer and a web programmer? Yes, you can. There are people who double as web designer and web programmer but specialists are noted for doing better in their respective fields of specialization than non-specialists. Some sites do not require more than web designing but many sites nowadays require both web designing and web programming like the multi-tier applications that have presentation layer, the logic layer that interfaces the presentation layer with the database, and the data layer that contains the database. There are even database specialists who design database and write what is called stored procedures and triggers right inside the database. The use of stored procedures increases the overall efficiency of site execution as it minimizes the number of times SQL statements are parsed, compiled, and optimized during execution. You can see that site development is quite deep.

The roles of web designers and web programmers are complementary in the development of web site. You need to identify where your ability lies and allow that to inform your choice of area of specialization. If you know you have the ability to write programs, you can go beyond web designing and become a web programmer but if it is otherwise, stick to web designing and continue to grow and sharpen your skills. The truth of the matter is that programming is not for everybody.

If you are a conventional graphic artist, you will find it easy to crossover to web designing and if you are a conventional programmer, you can readily crossover to web programming. What I mean by conventional graphic artists are those who have the expertise in the use of tools like CorelDraw, Photoshop, and PageMaker to perform Desktop Publishing tasks. By conventional programmers, I mean the experts in programming languages like C++, FoxPro, COBOL, and Dbase.

As long as you can determine where your ability lies, you will surely overcome frustrations in your tasks of developing web sites and you will continue to enjoy what you are doing. If you are a web designer and you have a job that involves programming which you cannot handle, look for assistance from a web programmer. If you are a web programmer and you are having issues with web designing in your task, seek the assistance of a web designer. If you can handle both areas to a very large extent, well and good.

Points to Consider When Selecting the Most Appropriate Web Design Agency

As soon as a large number of company owners are contending to have their internet sites registered and also hosted, it is natural that the amount of website design services will certainly improve. Every web design company will certainly tell you they are the number one, however is there any accurate test to spot which website design service is best? Below are a couple of the crucial issues which could very well lead you to the very best web design firm.

1. Past Experiences

Is the website design service aware of the attitude of your prospective buyers? It is the customer that really needs to be ultimately attended to, via the website. The consumers character and also inclinations ought to be taken into consideration when designing the website.

2. Pricing

Are the services offered by the web design agency truly worth what’s quoted by it? You must clarify the product price and services contained in it. Comprehensive information about the pricing can be gained through comparison of prices of different web design firms on the web.

3. Search Engine Optimization

Is the web design company amply trained on the techniques for search engine optimization? This aspect is critical because this could bring up the website to be listed in top of the search engine results. This is crucial for increasing the number of clicks. It’s volume of clicks which have a huge impact on the purchase done through the website. An internet site can sell the products only once an individual visits and gets persuaded from the description on the online site.

4. Efficiency:

Is the website design agency constructing internet sites that are efficient at switching the site visitors into buyers? This is very important for profit generation and then finally return on investment incurred to design this internet site.

5. Visuals

It’s a common fact that appearance carry more impact when compared to the text. There are many cases where the products or perhaps the services offered by your website should be presented by illustrations or photos, animated graphics and also clips. It is also correct that these visuals don’t have any specific influence on the search engines. A decent website design agency understands how to stabilize the text and visuals. The web design service provider ought to be adept at techniques that will facilitate the embedding of images with little effect on the speed of downloading.

6. Content and Layout

The web design agency to whom you give the work of website building ought to understand how to create a good content and layout. The content should be persuading. It must know the value of embedding the responses from the former buyers upon the website. The firm must be able to build a layout that is simple to navigate and simple to download. Should the page layout is messed up and confusing, it can create a bad effect. The website needs to be appropriate for the web browser so it could be downloaded quickly.

7. Flexibility

The web design firm should be able to design such a internet site which is a bit flexible to upgrade too.