Design Online Concept Gathers Pace

The design online concept has been around for a long time. Customers have been able to design their own business cards, birthday cards, mugs and t shirts for years. It has taken a while but the concept looks to be coming more widespread with even small bespoke furniture makers offering design online facilities for items such as oak coffee tables.

Clearly the customer will pay a premium for such a service, but the benefits, to me, justify spending that bit extra. Whilst researching the design online concept I came across a number of products that would typically cost double their mass produced equivalent, yet the personalised end product represents fantastic value. A good example would be the door mat my sister purchased recently. She’s one of those people who goes that extra yard to make her home as welcoming as possible, and now she’s the proud owner of a door mat which states “Welcome to the Critchley’s” – how much more welcoming can you get?

Another example would be the major sportswear manufacturer offering a design online service for sports shoes. This has got me well and truly hooked. I will be ordering a pair a trainers once I’ve finally decided exactly how I want them, but there’s just so much choice available it’s taking a while.

In my opinion the concept appears to be evolving. Firstly, from my research, we had the business cards and t shirts etc. From my limited knowledge of both products, I can quite easily see how they can be custom made with modern technology and both are easily transportable. Second, we have the huge multinational companies making products such as sports shoes exactly to the customers requirements. Again with my limited knowledge, I struggle to see how this could be profitable initially – certainly compared with mass producing by the million. I wonder if such companies have seen a future whereby the customer, rather than seeing the concept as niche, demands custom design and views it as standard?

Now, small companies are getting in on the act. Online trade is becoming overcrowded – it’s not as easy as it used to be. Therefore some smaller companies look to be going down the design online root, rather than compete with larger companies selling identical products. Home Farm Oak is such a company, they offer a design online facility where customers design their own solid oak coffee tables [http://www.homefarmoak.co.uk/available-now.html] online. Typically the customer pays a small deposit when ordering and pays the balance just prior to delivery. Whilst this clearly isn’t as simple as designing your own business card and I doubt it will be as exciting as designing your own sports shoes, it is a fantastic example of how small companies are fighting for market share. It also, in my opinion, offers an insight into how online trade will evolve in the future – where the customer will demand what they want – exactly how they want it.

Good Web Design

What is Web Design?
A Web site is the final output of a Web design. The Web site sits on a Web server where electronic files are stored. The Web site presents the contents and interactive features or interfaces to the end user in the form of Web pages. How the information requested is displayed to the user is par of the Web design process. Additional controls are embedded in order to display more complex media like animations, sounds and other forms.

Whats New? The Clouds of Course!
Everybody wants something new from time to time and yet some need a fix of something totally different. In the realm of the internet, that is quite a common occurrence with the many innovations that are always popping up and with all of them, none can be as exciting as the move into the clouds.

The Open Design Community: Free CSS Templates!
If youre most people out there who dont know CSS and have no time, or care, on how to do one for your blog, then the next action for you would be to find a place where you can download one for free. Thank goodness that there are a lot of sites out there that give them away for free. The only problem is, that since you were not the one who created it, you will be subject to their designs and whims.

One of the sites that give free CSS of cool web designs is The Open Design Community (TODC). The Open Design Community is a hub for open source website designers from around the world providing thousands of XHTML and CSS based free web design templates available for download. So, please feel free to take a minute or two and browse through the designs that our fabulous designers have submitted and see if one might work for you! And remember they are free!

Bad Web Design
Here are some features that can really mar the over all concept of your web design. It is important to take notice of the most common mistakes web designers commit. You might be able to use some insights into creating an effective web design which might be simple but can invoke your projected image. Backgrounds that are gray in color by default presents so many problems most especially with the pages readability. Avoid color combinations that can render the characters unreadable. Backgrounds are mostly effective when it is left simple and does not interfere with reading. Texts must be readable. Avoid small characters. Keep the links colored blue as much as possible because common users are already used with the color.

DIY Web Design
Do it yourself design projects are proliferating in the internet these days. There are a number of web sites that practically teaches you what to do without hiring a web designer. A do it yourself web site design applies perfectly for young professionals who are just starting to learn stuff in business or trying to reformat the existing business that they are running. DIY web site design offers you total control over the project and over the site that is why its simply gaining popularity. It takes the work out of dealing with consultants, designer, contractor landscaper and the likes. In DIY design, your ideas are sure to be heard and taken careful attention to. You get to express your style and personality. because at the end of the day, it still will be your website, selling your products. This has solved constant problems with web designers who are truly passionate in their work who sometime can get overly sensitive to a small correction or observation of his work. Do it yourself web designing surely saves you money and time and energy.

Benefits of Web 2.0 Applications
Web 2.0 applications are the latest trend in website design . Many Internet companies and users are turning to web 2.0 for its added features. It has also increased functionality. It has brought about a new wave in how sites are to be built, designed and applied hands-on. It makes the users enjoy blogging, download, RSS feeds etc. These developments give added excitement to online experience. It is said that Web 2.0 companies sites get higher ranking in search engines, like Google, yahoo and countless others. Web 2.0 benefits are countless. You can post photos, albums, help guides and maps for planning your travel abroad.

It has radically changed the quality of social interaction worldwide. Blogs proliferate. marketing online costs much less. And it has created networking success stories. Web 2.0 gives you full control over your business while adding smaller but very useful features to it.

Website design is of course not giving the visitors with another plain piece of text. Go as per the old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Here the beholder is the visitor of the website that you are going to design. So as a skilled website designer you should have mastered all the skills needed to create classy and attractive graphics, colors and shapes placed in perfect balance to catch the eye of the visitor together with drawing his focus to the most important sections of your website. Your job as a website designer is to make use of colors, text and graphics and translate into a visually appealing layout, logo, banner, and button system.

As a professional website designer, you need to chalk out a well-devised approach for creating the website. First, you need to understand the specific business necessities of your client and lay out the basic structure of the website. In order to minimize the cost of the set up, the website designer should be equipped with predefined web templates. Having this feature in your armory, you don’t need to go hog-wild with the designs for the reason that you are not designing a website by tinkering.

Internet Marketing (Part 2)

Start a blog. Blogs have now become a favorite for search engines. If you go ahead and launch a blog, link it into your main site, print blocks of information and float RSS feeds. If you do these then most of the search engines can locate you much faster. Design some copies of digital books that you can send out to everyone. You can write for articles or courses online that could be submitted elsewhere. Then, create your own write-up in a manner that you can use them in any possible type of media, whether online or offline.

Marketing Small Business Online – Will It Work?

Will marketing your small business online work? This is hard question to answer because there are so many complex factors involved. Specifically the techniques you employ in your Internet marketing as well as the how well you execute these techniques can determine whether or not Internet marketing will work for your business.

The likelihood of your target audience using the Internet and responding to your marketing efforts should also be considered into the equation. This article will outline the potential for success in marketing your small business online.

Before making the decision to embark on an Internet marketing campaign, you should consider your target audience. The Internet is used widely around the world but whether or not members of your target audience are likely to use the Internet to research or purchase the products or services you sell is not guaranteed. This is important because investing a great deal of time, effort and money into Internet marketing when your target audience is not likely to respond to these efforts is a waste of time.

Conducting market research can do a great deal to help you determine whether or not you should invest in Internet marketing for your small business. This step is very important because it will give you a good indication of whether or not you should even begin marketing your business on the Internet.

Hiring a firm specializing in market research is recommended because they can conduct this research quickly and efficiently and will likely gain a great deal of valuable information as a result of their research efforts. If they determine your small or emerging business can benefit from an Internet marketing , it is time to start thinking about how you want to advertise your business online.

Seeking the help of professionals can be an extremely worthwhile investment. If you are not well versed in Internet marketing, hiring a firm with a great deal of expertise in this industry can be very helpful. They can assist you by consulting with you to determine which marketing strategies will be most effective, designing advertisements for your campaign, helping you to orchestrate your Internet marketing campaign and evaluating the results of marketing efforts to determine which strategies work and which don’t.

The potential for success with Internet marketing for small business is virtually limitless. The success you enjoy is only limited by your ability to promote your products and services and execute effective marketing strategies. Some of the marketing strategies you may wish to employ may include optimizing your website for relevant search terms, placing links to your website on other sites on the Internet, writing and publishing e-newsletters and utilizing affiliates to promote your website.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of any Internet marketing program. SEO is so important because it determines the ranking of your website on popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN.

Internet users are not likely to seek out websites which do not rank well with search engines. High ranking websites can enjoy a great deal of increased website traffic from potential clients and customers as a result of these rankings.

Inbound links to your website are also important in Internet marketing. Inbound links are links on other websites which direct users to your website. These links are important in an Internet marketing campaign for small businesses for two reasons. First of all many search engines factor inbound links into their ranking algorithms which means inbound links can result in your website getting higher search engines rankings. These links can also be used directly by website users to access your website. This means you can gain customer or client traffic directly from these links.

Typically, affiliates are only compensated on performance. When the advertisement on their website produces a desired effect, such as enticing the users to click through the advertisement and a sale occurs or results in another action such as filling out a survey or registering with your website.

Think of affiliates as online distributors that use their online skills to push traffic to your site. Affiliate marketing can not only be highly effective but it is also cost effective because you only pay the affiliates when they produce results.

How Do You Become a Web Designer? Do You Have What It Takes?

Web design can be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. It’s a trade that combines technical skills with creative ability. If you feel comfortable with computer technology and you enjoy creating documents, web design can be a great way to combine the two interests.

That being said, it’s always overwhelming to consider learning a new skill. Before learning how to become a web designer, you should ask yourself, “Should I become a web designer?”

I’ve been learning web design since I was ten years old, in 1994. I now do a lot of web design for myself and for some small business clients. There have been plenty of pleasures, but also plenty of frustrations. If you’re considering becoming a web designer, there are some things you should keep in mind.

If you have a lot of time to devote to learning HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Photoshop, it’s possible to learn the basics in a couple of months. Be ready to spend some money on manuals, books, and applications.

No matter how you decide to learn web design and how you decide to enter the field, some people have better potential to become web designers than others.
When you’re programming, even if you’re using a simple language like HTML and using a helpful application like Dreamweaver, you’re going to encounter some frustrations. Sometimes, when I create an HTML document, I spend a lot more time making corrections and problem solving than doing fun stuff. Are you prepared to spend a lot of time testing and making little changes? No matter how you approach web design, tedium can’t be completely avoided. If you’re easily frustrated and discouraged, web design might not be for you.

Unless web design is going to be just a hobby for you, you will have clients you have to work with. Sometimes clients have a lot of specific expectations. Some clients have experience with web design themselves, but others may demand things without knowing the technical limitations involved. Before you start any project for clients, it’s best to have a thorough conversation with them about what they want and what they need. That can save you a lot of time. How would you like to spend weeks developing a website, only to discover that your client wants completely different fonts, colors, graphics, site organization and content? If you’re going to get into designing web pages for other people, you’re going to have to be ready to make a lot of compromises and take a lot of criticism. Are you ready for that?

Finally, ask yourself if you have the time and energy to promote yourself. If you want to be hired by a web design firm, in addition to learning skills and possibly obtaining certifications, you’ve also got to be ready to pound the pavement with your resume and portfolio. It might take you over a year to find a job. Be ready to attend a lot of job interviews, and possibly get a lot of rejections.

If you’re going to become a freelancer, like I am, you’ve really got to devote a lot of energy to self-promotion. Set up a website, preferably with your own domain. Be ready to spend some money on advertising. Spend a lot of time promoting your services with social media – Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, and so on. Scan classified ads, particularly online classifieds. Print business cards and distribute them wherever you can. Use your connections and word-of-mouth to your advantage. Tell everyone you know that you’re a web designer, and maybe someone knows someone who could be your first client. Sometimes I spend more time promoting myself than I do actually doing the work itself.

If you’re ready to spend a little bit of money, do a lot of tedious work, take some criticism, and do a lot of self-promotion, then web design may be the field for you.

First, you’ve got to start the learning process. If you enjoy classroom instruction and having teachers, sign up for some web design and graphic design courses through your local community college. If you’d rather start learning on your own, buy some good books, look at the source codes of the web pages you visit, and go through some online tutorials. Even if you’re going to start learning web design in a school setting, be prepared to do a lot of learning in your free time, as well.

It’s important to learn HTML, especially HTML5. Learn Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), up to CSS3. JavaScript, possibly some server side scripting languages, and Flash are very useful, too. Don’t forget to learn how to use Photoshop. If you don’t have the money to buy Photoshop right away, start by downloading some free graphic design programs like Paint.Net and GIMP. You can learn some of the basics of graphic design that way, and possibly be better prepared when you finally buy the most recent version of Photoshop.

These days, people access the web in more ways than were ever possible before. When you’re web designing, you not only want to make your web pages work in multiple browsers, but also on multiple devices. Even basic cell phones can access the web today, not just smart phones such as BlackBerrys and iPhones. Even some video game playing devices like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DSi have web browsers. Web surfers could be using tiny screens or enormous screens. They could be using a variety of different browsers and versions of browsers. Users may have completely different plug-ins and fonts; Adobe Flash is a browser plug-in, for instance. When you’re learning web design, try surfing the web in as many ways as you can.

There are many helpful resources for learning web design online, and there are many helpful online tools for web designers, many of which I use.

The W3C is an excellent place to start. They’re the non-profit organization founded by Tim Berners-Lee, the man who started the World Wide Web. The W3C sets standards for HTML, XML and CSS. In addition to information about coding languages and standards, they have handy tools to validate your code.

HTML Goodies has a lot of excellent tutorials and articles.

I’ve learned a lot so far, but I’m always learning more, and I’ll always be a student of web design and media technology. As technology advances, things change. There’ll always be new programming languages and applications. Learning is a constant process.

Web design has been an engaging experience for me, and if you decide to get into it yourself, I hope you take it seriously and have a lot of fun.

Email Marketing (List Building): Starting a Small Business Online

Starting a small business online is not as complicated as most people are meant to believe.

In fact, the internet is an ocean of opportunities for all.

Though your success is not guaranteed, at least there is a high chance of growing your venture if you get a few things right.

The problem with most start-ups is the hunger for overnight success.

Most successful businesses today were started by people who dared to dream and think big.

If you have a passion for business, feel free to pursue it and you will make it.

The ingredients to your success may vary, but it all starts with the nature and future plans of your business.

To get started, build a mailing list for effective email marketing.

No Restrictions

There are no limitations and stringent requirements for starting a small business online.

Under normal circumstances, you will be required to comply with a long list of government regulations, register the business, acquire a permit or license, have the business premise inspected and much more.

This is however not the case with online businesses; you can get started in a few hours from the time you make up your mind that it is something you truly want to do.

You are not restricted to any geographical area because you can target anyone in the world.

In short, anyone is a prospect on the internet; the possibilities for your success are unlimited.

It is upon you to exploit them.

Identify a Niche Or Product You Are Passionate About

Before starting a small business online it is paramount that you identify a niche you are comfortable with.

Ideally, go for something you have some passion for and not just because of the money.

Successful businesses are built on a solid foundation of passion and love for what you do.

Save yourself the hassle and find a product or a service you wouldn’t mind offering twenty years later.

Think about Bill Gates and his passion for computers and software.

See the passion Mark Zuckerberg shows whenever he talks about his toy project that has changed how the world interacts online, Facebook.

How about the late Steve Jobs whose legacy will live with us forever with world-class Apple products.

The Market Availability

One of the most important areas you must consider before starting a small business online is the market availability.

A simple Google search is enough to enable you understand what can really sell.

There are many business ideas, but not all will live to see the following year.

If there is demand for a service or product, seek to fill that gap and you will forever be in business.

Website and Marketing

Your website is your shop or office.

Start by designing a website and filling it with content.

This should be done long before the business is launched.

A small investment is all you need to have a website designed and hosted.

Thereafter, start exploring various internet marketing strategies like email marketing, social media marketing, article marketing and an array of other available avenues to announce your arrival.

Finally, don’t get comfortable when you eventually start recording sales.

The business has just started, have an expansion plan.

Just because you are starting a small business doesn’t mean you have to remain small.

Stay focused and keep growing your business until it can sustain itself with minimal upkeep from you.

With the internet and email marketing you can automate your business and let the system work for you.

Best wishes!