Top 3 Things To Get Results With A Web Design Company

Posted by markpage on Thursday Nov 17, 2011 Under Business Articles

Top 3 Things To Get Results With Your Web Design CompanyEveryone now has heard how easy it is to start a business online. After trying to start your own website and not receiving any visitors the first year, most business owners look for a website designer to help them make money online.  Don’t worry this article is here to help you get the biggest bang for your buck since your first professional web design can be scary even though it shouldn’t be.

With each year passing the percentage of people who connect to the internet becomes larger. With this, the amount of competition will grow online so the sooner you get your foot in the door, the better off your business will do online in the future. The vast amount of money that is being spent every year online is driving more and more people to become entrepreneurs and have website built to try and dip into the pot. Keep in mind that your website is a direct reflection of your business, if your website is homemade or thrown together visitors will be less likely to trust your business. A professional web designer will know what it takes to correctly lay out a website and make it user friendly.

Since almost everyone with internet access uses the web to research and purchase products every day. Some online business depend 100% on advertising online and without it they probably wouldn’t exist. Even if your business will not depend on all of its business coming from the website, it can be surprising how much extra revenue the internet can bring you. A professional website designer will be able to provide you with a visually striking and user friendly site that will entice visitors to use your business. Keep in mind that what you pay for a website will typically reflect the quality of website you will receive. If a building contractor told you it would take $5,000 to replace the furnace in your house and another guy came along and said he can do it for $500, who would you trust? Generally lower priced websites are either outsourced to web designers in other countries outside of the US or the website designer is fresh out of school and therefore might not fully understand the impact the small things can make when it comes to marketing your website online.

Make Sure You Explain All of Your Expectations Up Front

Be Up Front About ExpectationsHaving worked with hundreds of clients, I cannot stress this step enough. When the web design company isn’t notified in the beginning about what the expectations and requirements are with the website the website always falls short of what the business owner originally imagined. This is of course not fun for anyone and is not what web design companies want to happen. This can also wind up causing a change of the original quote and cost hundreds if not thousands more than originally estimated. A change in the original quote can also change in the middle of the project if the clients ideas have changed from what they originally wanted.

Supplying example websites to the web design company always helps. You can choose a small handful of websites that you really like the look and feel of to help show your web designer what it is that you are looking for. Having too many web site examples can some time cloud the direction so usually 2-3 website are fine. These website also do not have to be within your industry, if you sell coins it’s ok to like Wal-Mart’s website.

Keep Track of Your Own Project

Keep Track of Your Own ProjectYou can pay a company to do everything for you so you can have a fully furnished website created for you while you focus on other areas of your business. But most of the time this is not the case and most business owners want a hand in the website design process.

Keeping your project on time is important because sometimes you might slip through the cracks because you’re usually not the only customer the web designer is working with. During the web site development process you will be able to request changes at the correct times to save money and time. You will also be able to test out the website to make sure it functions how you envisioned it to.

Most web design companies and even freelance website designers will be able to give you a timeline for the different phases of your project. This will make sure that your website is completed in a timely manner.

Beta Test Your Website Before Launching It

Beta Test Your WebsiteBefore you finish up the project with your web design company make at least one good go through of your website to make sure that everything works correctly and that all of the information you provided has been included. If you find issues down the road this can make you to run into additional charges since you have already approved of the design and signed off on it. After your website has been reviewed and you’re ready to launch it request a copy of your website design files (developer files used to create the design and graphics, along with all code files) on a disk but most web design companies will charge you a fee for this.

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The Google search button that states “I’m feeling lucky” makes the company Google loose over $110 Million a year by not showing their ads on these pages. This button when pressed generally shows the first page in the results. Which means that if you page is ranked #1 in the Google results when this button is pressed, 1% of all Google users will visit your page. This is not only big news for analysts, but also big news for Google.

If you would like to learn more, you can always visit Wikipedia’s Google Page and read all about it…

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WordCamp St. Louis 2011

Posted by markpage on Sunday Aug 7, 2011 Under Business Articles, Photography Articles

WordCamp St. Louis 2011 was a wonderful experience that inspired me to become not only a better designer but a better business man. I would highly suggest that any designer that is worth their weight in salt should attend a local WordCamp meeting to figure out how to help your career and in essence help your family. And while you’re there you get a free WordCamp t-shirt!

WordCamp St. Louis offered three different rooms at Maryville University in Missouri that offered lectures for either development or business & marketing. I personally split my time while I was there so half the time I was in development lectures and the other half I was in business & marketing. Which was frustrating for me because I enjoy both development and marketing so very much, it was hard to choose what to attend.

From 10:00 – 10:50AM I attended the “Show Me the Money! How to Make a Living with WordPress and Web Design” that was led by James Dalman the WP Design Coach. He was a great speaker and touched on many things on how to better yourself as a business person and knowing when to either take a client or let a client go. His big piece of advice which I loved is to not take a client without some upfront payment. If the site is less than $2,000 he spoke about getting the whole payment upfront. He also spoke about how to better serve customers with the limited amount of time that all of us have. It truly was one of the most inspirational hours I’ve had as a business owner.

From 11:00 – 11:50AM I was in the “WP SEO Tricks Your Competitors Wish They Knew”, led by Will Hanke. I have been heavily concentrating on my search engine optimization skills for quite a few years now, so to me this lecture was a little basic but I’m sure many other SEO beginners were enlightened by the content of the lecture. I understand that giving away trade secrets is not the business that Mr. Hanke is in, so it made sense to me.

From 12:00 – 1:00 I enjoyed the company of lead developer for WordPress, Peter Westwood. This generally was a Q&A for people to ask whatever questions they had about the core and the future of WordPress. Not a whole lot was shared about the future of WordPress because it sounds like they typically listen to the open source community for suggestions and address major or unified suggestions first.

Lunch break! The lunch supplied was actually a lot better than I had expected. What do you think of when you hear ‘free lunch’? A thick slice of cheese on stale bread with a bag of Lay’s potato chips with a fruit juice cup and a pudding? Oh no, not at WordCamp! We each received a sandwich of our choice, I grabbed the roast beef and it came with a slice of cheese on top of it and a slice of tomato and leaf of romaine lettuce in a separate baggy. It also came with a small side of macaroni salad, a small soda and a slice of cake of your choosing, I took the lemon cake. I really appreciate WordCamp for supplying such a wonderful lunch!

From 2:00 – 2:50PM the lecture I attended was “The Anatomy of a Premium WordPress Theme” that was hosted by Brian Fegter. I would have to say that Mr. Fegter intrigued me on the core of WordPress and explained how a lot of plugins are unnecessary because the core already has a lot of the features that plugins create, already built in. He also spoke on basic template creation and file hierarchy when creating a WordPress theme that will be distributed. I don’t create themes that are sold or distributed, but it made me think differently about how I can help my own customers and help myself when it comes to saving time and money.

After this time, I spent most of the time hanging out with a little Q&A session. So after I went home, the research commenced on how I can take all of the information I took in for the day can be applied to my everyday life in the freelance world. I can’t wait till next year’s WordCamp, which I will not miss unless the world is on fire. I would once again suggest that if anyone has any interest in developing or designing for WordPress or want to learn how to become a blogger to attend WordCamp in your nearby city.

Checkout WordCamps website for dates on upcoming events >>

WordCamp Photos

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How Can Social Networking Help My Online Business?

Posted by markpage on Sunday Oct 31, 2010 Under Business Articles

After launching your website you try and figure out ways to drive traffic to your site. So you look into online advertising and you ask yourself, how can social networking help my online business? If you don’t know what social networking might be this article will explain to you what it is and how to utilize its powers. If you aren’t taking advantage of this form of advertising, you are missing out on major amounts of traffic, the more traffic you drive to your website the better the odds of making that sale! With social networking’s growing popularity, the sooner you start the better odds that you will pick up the most visitors you can.

What is social networking?

Social NetworkingWhat is social networking? Well answered simply, social networking is a form of advertising online that will allow you to reach many people online that want to follow your business. When someone wants to ‘follow’ your business, every time you post anything your post will show in front of them when they go to their social networking account, this means that whoever is following you wants to know more about your business or what you are offering. Unlike a blog, social networking works through community websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn just to name a few of the bigger social networking websites.

A great use of social networking (that we use here at is to advertise your new offering, features or updates to your website. Every time we do almost anything, we post it on our Facebook & Twitter pages to let everyone know what’s going on with our company.

How Does Social Networking Benefit My Online Business?

Social NetworkingHow does social networking benefit my online business? It’s a great question that is pretty simple to answer. You get to see all of your followers and they get to see your business inner workings and they get to contact your business directly with any issues or questions that they might have. With this type of advertising you get to build a rapport with your clients and get them to entrust in you.

Trust is an important factor when it comes to which providers of services or products consumers choose from online. If they think that your website or business sounds and looks like a shady operation, they will very easily click onto the next website and forget all about yours. To build a rapport with your customers is invaluable and all it takes is a little time out of your day to do so.

After you build the rapport with your followers they will eventually become loyal customers and will use your products and services on a more consistent basis. Provide all of your customers with great value and great customer service, they will come back more and more often and they will even tell their friends and family about you!

We all have our certain websites that we know and trust and continue to purchase from and use services through them and this is what social networking can do for people that don’t know all about your business just yet. Once you gain their trust once, that’s all it takes. You take your car to the same mechanic all the time, you have the same company cut your grass and even have the same company clean your pool, you yourself are a loyal customer.

Social Networking Demands That You Stay Active!

Social NetworkingOnce you setup your social networking accounts they demand that you stay active, so you need to post a quick introduction and suggest your business link to all of your friends. Just like with a workout routine you need to keep up with it by continuing to run everyday. Without posting often, your biggest competitors will continue to post new products, or updates to the site, perhaps even some free gift card giveaways and your business will be drowned out by them. Even small posts count as a post, just don’t let your posts be something small all the time or posts that don’t give your followers the chance to reply or comment on your post. Posting photos and videos on your social networking accounts are also a great way to draw in your followers and entice them to want to learn more or pay you for your services or products.

Keeping up with your competition might require you to log in a few times a day. This could be difficult for some business owners because of location or constantly on the road, for instances like this there are some free programs out there that will allow you to write posts beforehand and the software can be programmed to post a specific message or link at a specific time on a specific date. So you can write months worth of posts in an afternoon and let the software post everything to your accounts for you.

Social Networking Makes The World Your Oyster!

Social NetworkingSocial networking makes the world your oyster, after all the hard work has been completed of your website design being finalized and put live, after you submitted your site to every search engine you think of, after creating your social networking accounts, posting to them and then gaining a community of loyal followers and they’ve helped your business grow almost overnight, so remember who helped you get as far as you will. Give back to your local community of followers as they will continue to follow you for years to come, treat them well.

If you have enjoyed reading this article and think it could help out anyone you know, please feel free to post a link to this page, or share it within your StumbleUpon, Facebook or twitter accounts!

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5 Ways to Go Green & Make Green

Posted by markpage on Sunday Oct 24, 2010 Under Business Articles

Everywhere you turn, businesses have closed up shop or they have been shut down due to the dismal nature of the economy over the last few years; but green enterprises are booming — continuing to buck the downward trend. There is much to be learned by adopting the ideologies, both old and new, that eco businesses are setting forth – tips that can help your small business, whether you are an “eco” business or not. Here’s a look at five green business types that are turning big profits in a down economy, and how you can cash in by following their sage business practices.

Read the whole story: Green Business is Booming: 5 Ways to Go Green & Make Green

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5 Easy Steps To Start An Online Business

Posted by markpage on Saturday Apr 24, 2010 Under Business Articles

Select A Business & Domain Name

5 Easy Steps To Start An Online BusinessWhen it comes to selecting an online business name there are many things to take into consideration. You need to think of the type of product and/or service that you are offering your visitors. The more niche of a market you are selling to, the higher of the odds that people who find your site and purchasing are significantly increased.

When choosing a domain name you would use what your product and/or service offers within the domain name. This helps the search engines to figure out exactly what you are trying to sell and direct the correct customers to your site.

If you are selling something such as electronics, this would be a hard market to break into because of current over saturation. Being a little bit more specific, buy selling only televisions might help. So when it comes to the domain name you would want to be creative with your domain name. You want to keep this name sweet and simple, something easy for everyone to read and understand like Your domain name should never be more than 4-6 words at most, most people will not be able to remember you at a later date, such as


Adding a descriptive term to a domain name will always help. A lot of people search for items using terms like the following:

  • Online
  • Cheap
  • Buy
  • Used
  • Best
  • Discount

Hire A Web Design Professional

Select A Domain NameThis can be one of the trickiest parts of starting your business since there are so many options out there for new entrepreneurs. A lot of people try and start off with free options that are available to everyone who wants to ‘just get online’. This of course is the worst route to take and 99.9% of the time it doesn’t work at all. These free options usually are not streamlined for search engines they’re more geared towards being easy for someone to copy and paste their content into a template.

After most people try the free options they look into paying a freelance web designer or corporate design company to design and put together their sites for them. Figuring out which one to go with can be tricky because there are both pros and cons with each.

Freelance web designers (non-corporate design companies) can offer a lot of hand holding, advanced graphic development, access to the newest and most advanced development techniques and expert support with web designers that always care about their clients. Without their clients, they wouldn’t be in business either. This is typically the option that most business owners go with but typically freelance designers are more expensive.

A lot of the time a freelance designer has more years of experience within the web design industry than the corporate web design companies who usually hire low paid employees out of high school, use out-sourced employees in other countries or they have unpaid college interns.

Choose A Web Hosting Company

Web Site HostingThis step is pretty simple to get through. There are a lot of options out there but you should know what options you need upfront. If you are a start up business that isn’t going to get a lot of traffic at first, buy the cheapest package that a company offers. Never spend more than $10 per month on web hosting when you first start out. There are a few exceptions to this rule such as; needing a mail exchange, needing a dedicated server, needing daily/weekly backups or having website update (having a web designer make monthly changes to your site) time rolled into your monthly hosting. When you can save on your overhead, this is just money in your pocket.

When looking to find a hosting company you should first look at what they offer compared to other companies and look at their price difference. There should always be a reason for a price difference. All web hosts should offer 24/7 technical support that should either be accessible by phone or web chat. Always test out a webhost before choosing them, give them a call or try to chat with them at obscure times or multiple times, like in the middle of the night just to say “hello”.

Your web hosting company should also offer a money back guarantee for the first 30 days. This will allow you to ‘test drive’ the hosting to see if you would like to stay with them. Always keep in mind that paying for hosting for a year or more in advance will save you a lot of cash. But look into the terms of paying upfront, some companies will allow you to pay for a year upfront, but if you want to cancel 6 months into your contract you may not be entitled to any refund. This is a great scam that a lot of companies like to use, but you can always find this somewhere in their Terms Of Service (TOS).

A really big thing to look for, though most people don’t think of it, is making sure that your host can handle any upgrades that you will most likely need in the future. As people’s website grows, they normally add additional enhanced features such as databases with the ability to handle coding languages such as PHP, ASP and Ruby. Most web hosts should offer a large abundance of extra features, such as a large number of email addresses, Spam and Virus scanning within emails, protected directories and more.

You can also look through a web host directory listing, most now rate how well a web host scores by certain factors, but then again most web host directories are run by major corporations to advertise their own hosting, or some just pay for the listing.

I offer Web Hosting in Metro St. Louis with the cheapest prices you will ever see, considering what you get. Technical support and emails are totally free.

Setup A Form of Communication

Setup A Form of CommunicationYour customers are going to need to contact you, of course. But how customers want to contact you can vary greatly because everyone is different. Having a broad range of ways a customer can contact you is highly suggested. If you can offer your customers an email address, a phone number, a chat system and even a fax or physical address, your customers will trust you a lot more and will be more inclined to use your service or purchase your products.


Setting up an email address is of course the easiest and everyone on the internet has at least one email address. Every web hosting package should come with at least one email address for free. You should create a general box for all customers such as, but if you can have more specific email addresses this might help your employees as well, so if you can create others such as or it will help both parties.

Phone Number

Phone numbers are also a great form of communication that most people look for when purchasing from a website or wanting to contact a company about more questions or purchasing. Having a toll free number would be the best case because not everyone pays for long distance and people normally don’t want to pay for a phone call. A fax number would also be good to have because there are a lot of people that still like to use this service. In some cases it is necessary for things such as signing documents. But if it is not truly necessary for your business you don’t need to have one for a website.

Live Chat

Having a live chat system is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to satisfy your customer’s needs to contact you. A live chat system will allow a business owner or an employee to sit behind a computer and take individual chats with customers. The great thing about this option is the employee doesn’t even have to be in an office to answer chats, saving money for themselves and money for the company.

Start To Advertise Your Website

Start to Advertise Your SiteJust because this is the last step doesn’t mean that as a business owner you should consider your website done. Having a website on the internet is kind of like having a brick and mortar store in an alley with no parking and no signs. How many people do you think will find you? Not many, we assure you.

After your site has been setup and all of your means of contact have been setup, you need to start to advertise your website. Now business owners have a lot more options as to how they want to go about doing this. Search engine optimization, pay-per-click, press releases and social networking are just a few ways that you can go about getting the word out about your website.

Most businesses owners don’t have time. Time is what we all fight to make the most of but never have enough of. When it comes to advertising for your website, it’s best to leave it to the professionals who do it every day for a living. They will always know what’s best for your online business and typically they want to offer services that will make you want to come back and repurchase. But sometimes you will run into companies that offer a whole lot but deliver something inferior.

Search Engine Optimization

When it comes to search engine optimization, beware of working with companies who offer to get you to the number one spot and that say they can do it within a month or less.  These companies use techniques to complete their procedures that are considered ‘black hat techniques’ and if search engines catch on (and they always do), they can ban you and you will never be unbanned. It all reality if you pay for search engine optimization it can take up to 10 months for the changes the company made to start populating results. This of course is on the long end of the scale, but 6 months would be a good average. The reason for this is the algorithm that search engines use, not everything is constantly updated. Search engines are slow, which makes them a reliable source for everyone to use. If every person signed up for $50 to get ranked #1 there wouldn’t be any trust within the search engines because every result would be a paid result. It’s all about quality content that is fresh. This option is expensive typically but it’s a long term investment that will pay off in the end. Most users click on organic search results more often than paid search results. Having both organic and paid search results is optimal.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay-per-click advertising is a great way to drive traffic instantly to your site if you don’t want or can’t wait for search engine optimization to start working. This option is a lot cheaper than email blasting and a lot more effective. With pay-per-click advertising you can target very specific traffic, down to a specific city/state/zip, age range and other great options. These listings will also be seen above and to the right of the organic listings to these listing will stick out more. The more visible your link is the better the odds that someone will click on it. These clicks, though they can be expensive at times, are quality leads. If your ad is worded correctly and clearly the person who clicked on the link is giving you the chance to make a sale because you are offering what they are looking for.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing (email blasts) are a great way to advertise to current customers or customers that have shown an interest in your product or service. In some forms, this can be considered spamming so who you advertise to and how to do this needs to be kept legitimate. Mass marketing to an email database that you purchased is using a shotgun effect that rarely works. If your email is sent to the spam box, your emails will most likely not be read. How many times have you gone through your spam box and read the messages? But if you have an email list of people who want to receive your emails, this is a great opportunity to sell to them. Sending large amounts of emails is cheap so the main cost for this would be the development and design of these emails. Having a designer create these using your branding will create a more professional feel and a highly desirable look to these emails.

Social Networking

Social networking is one of the many ways you should advertise your site, but this should not be the only way you advertise.  If you have a MySpace or Facebook account, you most likely have a business in your liked groups. This will post any updates from that business directly into your news feed. This type of marketing is totally free, unless you pay someone to write and post these ads for you. If you could have a Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and a few other social networking account and you are posting through them, you will get visitors. People are receptive to what is written, so the more you write the better off you will be. A lot of companies are now hiring writers to do this for them all day long, the results are always positive when companies do this.

Taking everything in all at once can be overwhelming so any professional will always recommend having someone do it for you. This will always be faster and more effective.

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