Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Simple Web Design

by Dustin Schwerman

You have your content. Text, graphics, media. You know a simple color scheme and layout. You don't want to use a template, because you want a professional in the web design field to not only create the ideal code but also offer suggestions on improving interactivity, SEO, navigation, and other key points of a website. Fortunately, you've done all the writing and obtained the graphics already, so you should be able to get a pretty good deal.

This is simple web design. An easy process for most web designers, consisting mainly of laying out the pages with style sheets, linking them together, and perhaps a few simple javascript functions. In this case, you aren't paying for the designer's effort or hours; you're paying for its expertise and experience. This article will point out some of the things you should expect to get from the web designer.

First, the layout. Don't be afraid to ask for changes. Laying out a site is not difficult, and adjustments can be made almost instantaneously in many cases. A professional web designer is not going to expect you to be satisfied with the first thing it comes out with. Here's a tip: the designer is using style sheets to adjust all the pages of the site by changing one. It's not hard to setup or adjust a large number of pages in this way, so unless you need a different layout for every page, a designer can easily make changes (if you do need a different layout for every page, the site design is no longer simple and you should expect a higher cost).

Expect--and request--advice about how to make your layout better. Remember, a lot of web designers will be linking to other websites they have designed from their own sites. They will want every site they make to be impressive. You are paying for the designer's experience in web standards. Use it.

The linking structure. If your web designer is not offering a linking structure with a simple website, find another designer. Specifically, your linking structure should include any button links that you plan to utilize, as well as text links. Ask for a site map. A user (or search engine spider) should be able to get from any page in your site to any other page in a couple of clicks.

SEO. Although web designers may require additional charges for detailed SEO work or research, if you know what keywords you are targeting, let your designer know. The designer can implement those keywords in ideal places in your web pages. You should also ask the designer to look over your content and make sure it is credibly optimized. Although on-page optimization is only one part of SEO, it is an important part, and one that even simple sites should be aware of.

Basic web design can be very advantageous, since you don't have to pay for much of the content, but you are still benefiting from a web designer's experience. Remember, though, that a professional web designer is going to charge a professional rate even for a simple task. You are paying for the web designer's knowledge and expertise. Don't make the mistake of ignoring it.

About the Author

Dustin Schwerman is the head web designer for Truly Unique--Affordable Custom Website Design. Truly Unique specializes in creating highly customized, visually impressive websites at affordable prices.