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How To Create that Quintessential Portfolio

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A portfolio is not only limited to actual copies of your work, but it is also another avenue for you to show the world who you are and what your future web design projects are. By creating your own web portfolio, you will also create your own brand as a web designer. You might ask, how do I create that ideal portfolio?

Follow these tips in making a captivating portfolio:

  • Present a TEASER on the homepage.

    As you go along, you will have a number of web design projects. You won’t have all day to present your designs and a website visitor will only have seconds to check your web profile. So, make sure your best works are ready to welcome any potential customers. Create a great first impression by showcasing your personal favorites.

  • Easy Navigation.

    You are a web designer. You should know that no one likes an unorganized websites. So, keep it simple. Your website must be straightforward and the navigation must be consistent throughout the entire website. There should be a dedicated page for all your web design projects. Most importantly, the contact page must be obvious for everyone to see.

  • Your STORY makes you unique.

    There are a lot of web designers who handled numerous projects. So, what makes you different? To offer stand out from the rest, share your own journey. Create your ABOUT page and cite some personal trivia. Narrate your humble beginnings and career milestones.

  • Present your DETAILED work.

    This is the important part of your portfolio. There should be a page for all your work. Ideally, you need to need first provide a preview of around 45 to 75 characters. Once clicked, there should be ample information about it. You should state the purpose of creating each design and why it’s the appropriate choice.

  • Describe your design process.

    You may have similar works with fellow designers, but your design process is different from the others.  Let people understand how you deal with the given problem. Show how and why you chose a particular design. It should address a certain purpose and it should provide benefits to your client.

  • Organize your work.

    To help your clients choose a design they prefer, classify your work. Don’t let them choose a needle from a haystack. Group similar web designs together. Make a list of your personal favorites, most recently completed, minimalistic style, and more.

  • Don’t complicate things.

    Non-disclosure agreement (NDAs) may cause an obstacle to your promising portfolio. What you show through your website must be readily accessible. To prevent problems concerning NDAs, it’s better to remove specific details. Present the designs but remove names that would like to remain private. Censor information in a tactful manner and assign a generic placeholder.

  • Highlight what the customers say.

    An excellent way to gain trust to provide testimonials from your clients. These testimonies will encourage website visitors to inquire about your web design services. What should you include ask in a testimonial?

    • Ask the client what they like best about your work. How the new web design improved their website
    • Let the client talk about what they love about working with you. Do not let them talk about jargon.
  • Contact page must be concise.

    What is a web portfolio without its contact page? Make sure that your contact form is easy to use and short. If there are specific information you need to ask, please be specific about them.

  • Last, but not the least, do NOT lie!

    Do NOT claim a group project as your own. You can put a note that you are the lead designer and then mention your team members.

 

 

6 Web Design Facts That May Surprise You

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Web design is more than the aesthetic appearance of a website. One must look beyond the surface and consider different factors such as web browsers interpret code differently, images and videos affect a website’s loading time, a certain code may affect the user experience.

Here are some web design facts that you may not know:

  • Different web browsers will render websites differently.

    • Websites are shown differently because of such factors like parsing and rendering. It means that  different web browsers translate codes diversely. A display on this web browser will be different from this other web browser. They will NEVER have the same result as different web browsers are distinctly programmed.
    • Just because one website runs smoothly in Google Chrome, it does not automatically mean that it will run well in Safari, Opera, or others. It is best to do a browser compatibility test to ensure that your website will render well on all major web browsers.
  • Templates are a huge NO.

    • You should say no to templates as much as possible because it limits you from modifying certain elements to your liking. Yes, templates may be the easier option for someone who is not familiar with coding, but depending too much on templates will affect your website’s performance and will make your website seem unreliable.
  • Codes are extremely important.

    • Without specific codes, your website will not be visible in various search engines. Once someone searches using certain keywords that applies to your website, without proper coding, your website will not appear as one of the search results.
    • Hire a team of web designers that would ensure your website will show up once someone types words from your domain name to meta tags, headers, and descriptions.
  • Web design guides visitors where to look.

    • A colorful design may attract web visitors, but a clear design is preferred. If a design is cluttered, visitors will abandon the page and just find another website instead. According to a report, successful websites are websites that are convenient to use. Website visitors can easily find important information quickly.
  • Images and videos are helpful, but…

    • Yes, images and videos add color to websites. When not properly used, they  improperly, they can also undoubtedly affect your website’s performance. Large multimedia files will take time to load. We all know that website visitors don’t like to wait too long. They might grow impatient and move to another website.
    • To ensure that your images and videos will load faster, web designers should web-optimized images and videos. Also, stay away from obselete formats like Flash. Most web browsers nowadays do not support this format.
  • Updates are neccessary.

    • A 2-year-old website may be too old. Web browsers are evolving fast and updates are released frequently. You should do the same for your website. Keep up with technology by developing and designing newer website.
    • An old website may not run properly on an updated web browser because of obselete codes and browser incompatibility. Aside from that, the search engine algorithms are not updated. So, most probably, your website will not be one of the top search engine results.

Questions to Ask Before Building Website

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Nowadays, creating a website is as easy as 1-2-3! There many people who can design websites and even a teenager could. Numerous website builders provide you countless of options. But before you jump in and create one for yourself, ask yourself these important questions.

  • What is the website for?

    It is crucial to identify the purpose. You will be able to save time because you already know where your business is going.  In the online world of businesses, there are three main classifications of your site:

    • A Brochure Website –  This type goes well if you have utilize offline marketing too. You will mention your website, along with your social media links, in your offline ads. More details about the products and services are reflected on your website.
    • A Lead Generator Website – This is an upgrade from just having a brochure website. You will want people to locate your website while they browsing and once they have seen your website, they will most likely contact you. After an inquiry, most likely a sale will follow.
    • A Website That Serves As A Shop – The third type will allow people to easily buy from your website. They will not need to go to your actual store.  They can avail the products and services with just a few clicks. Once people see your wide collection of products for sale, they will most likely click that Buy Now button.
  • How will the world find your website?

    It’s like a needing in a haystack. Just having a website is not enough because let’s face it: THERE ARE MILLIONS OF WEBSITES AND NEW ONES ARE ADDED EVERY SINGLE DAY. How will you stand out from the rest? You really need to strategize on how you can make your online presence felt.

  • Visibility is important online. You need to know the basics of online advertising and SEO. You can also collaborate with other online brands. Social media is a good online marketing tool too!
  • Support your website by including some offline strategies. Networking and public relations makes a  difference too. Share your website to friends and people close to you.
  • How do you make website visitors stay?

    According to a study, a person’s average time in a website is only 68 seconds. How many of your call-to-action buttons will actually generate sales?

    One sure way to let them stay is content. You should be able to find ways to provide quality content. You need to give the people what they want. Inform and educate your website visitors. Once they know that they will learn something from your website, be it an instructional video or an infographic, they will surely stay.

  • What will the website visitors do?

    Of course, you would want people to buy a lot products from your website. A first time website visitor will surely not click that BUY button immediately because they don’t know your website. So, a relationship should built first. They will maybe inquire about a product first. Be sure to be able to answer them right away.

    You could also offer free downloads in exchange of their email address. That way when you something new to offer, you can share it all to your email subscribers.

  • How to maintain website visitors?

    According to a research, 4 out of 5 web visitors will never visit the same site again. So, how do you sustain web visits? To convince people to come back, you need to:

     

    1. Having numerous high quality content. It’s not more of the numbers, but kind of content.
    2. Frequently add new things to your website. Little changes will do.
    3. Give free stuffs or discount coupons to your email subscribers. That will surely convince them to visit again.

  • How are to monitor your website?

    Measure your statistics and know what works best for your website. You should know the number of website visitors, the exact time they viewed your website, how they found your website, and etc. Basing from these stats given, you can generate an online marketing campaign that fits your site.

How to Apply Minimalism on Website Designs

The best website design is not necessarily the fanciest one. There is beauty in simplicity. Lesser web elements speak more. When applying minimalism to your website design, you will be stripping away unnecessary elements and focus more on what is important. Minimalism will make you think what about your goals and priorities in creating a website.

Minimalism may seem too simple for some, but there are numerous benefits of this design technique. It will give allow your website to have a  faster loading time and with minimalism, you are sure the website is compatible to different screen sizes. Both desktop and mobile browsing are guaranteed smooth.

Believe it or not, a minimalist design requires more production time. So, here are some tips for you to consider:

  • Consistency is key.

    Use the same color palette, pattern, typography throughout the entire website. Be sure to apply the same technique on the different social media accounts. That way you are sure that people will have an easier time remembering your brand.

  • Icons are visuals too.

    Are you worried that lesser pictures would mean a dull website? Don’t worry! Why not improve your icons instead? Create something unique that can be used both on your website and on your downloadable app. When done right, icons can improve navigation and at the same time, add an artistic design.

  • Explore typography.

    Aside from icons, typography helps too. You can get creative by experimenting on different styles, making some text bigger, or smaller. When you apply minimalism, it is really about the little things. Minor changes can sometimes create a bigger impact.

  • Don’t forget content.

    This why you started a website in the first place: you wanted to share something. Make your content the highlight. Focus the attention of the viewers to what is important and that is the content of your website.

  • Connect the dots.

    Doing a minimalist design is not tantamount to boring. You can find relationships between your design elements and connect them all together. For example, you can play with images. These pictures may appear irrelevant, but when grouped together, they serve a purpose and create a something bigger.

  • It’s in the details.

    Knowing what elements put and where to put them are crucial when following minimalism. You have to clever in deciding on these important aspects. The logo should be able to blend well with its typography used. The text should be clear despite any color changes. These web elements may seem unimportant at first, but in the long run, they will have a huge impact on your brand.

  • Form follows function.

    When design is uncluttered and clean, navigation becomes easier. Because there aren’t any distracting elements, you are sure that your customers can focus on your products and services.

  • Be frank.

    I know your name is not Frank, but when creating a minimalist website, you have to be frank and direct. Aesthetics should not be competing with your purpose. If you want to connect with your audience, immediately give out your email address and social media accounts. If you are selling something, show your bestselling products on your homepage.

When a website has fewer elements, it has a lesser chance to go out of style. Applying the minimalist approach does not mean you will get rid of decorative elements. Minimalism is simply focusing on what is significant.

 

Know Why It Is Important to Invest in Your Own Website

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Most people will stop in just having a website and won’t even bother updating it. Not caring of how your website looks is bad for business because web design is one of the vital aspects of your brand. It speaks for you. It does not mean that you have to exhaust all your budget in creating a good-looking website. You just need to look for a right style that complements well with your business.

Here are the reasons why it is important to invest in your own website:

  • DRESS TO IMPRESS.

    The homepage of your website is your very own window display. Like in actual shops, the window display needs to always be fresh and new so you will be able to invite new customers in. You have to dress to impress and display your best work. Show the world what you can do through your website. It will likewise show your work ethics and how well you approach your business.

    Having an updated website is your chance to get everyone’s attention. Potential clients will judge your website the moment they view your homepage. If what they see is the opposite of clean and organized, they will definitely hit the “back” button before you even know it. Your website should be friendly and engaging to attract more customers.

  • CLIENT’S SERVICE AND TRUST.

    Your website is your customer service representative and you want to make a good digital impression. A website that is poorly designed can be compared to a rude customer service representative. A well-dressed website can be compared to a polite, friendly service representative who is ready to help. A good web design can move clients towards the sales funnel. You won’t be doing much because your website will speak for you.

  • WHO YOU ARE RIGHT NOW.

    Over the years, you expand your services making you more proficient and skilled. This could also mean a shift in clientele. If your website is out of date, the services you are advertising is now different from the company that you are now. Therefore the kind of work you get are the ones you wanted years ago. The thing here is that your new clients does not see the new you and so you end up taking the jobs just because they are there.

  • YOU ARE THE BOSS.

    No one is to blame on how your brand is perceived online but you. Update your blog, post on the different social media sites, and keep your website portfolio current. Soon, clients will see that dedication and they will surely look for that kind of work. Conversion into sales is easier because the website was able to showcase your work. Clients will know what they from you even before scheduling a meeting.

  • YOU TAKE CONTROL.

    When you update your website, you will soon realize that when you put your best work in front of people, you can now point your business in the direction you want. This means that you finally found the kind of work and the clients you want. Surely, you will create more of something you are truly excited about.

10 Web Design Tips to Boost Sales

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When your website is not bringing in any money, there are many factors the problem.  One thing is you might want to change is website design. The truth is that a great web design can make a statement. It will encourage visitors to try your products. This process is called conversion.  A website can have a lot of traffic but only a few conversions.

You have to understand that 94% of website visitors base their first impression to the website’s design. Additionally, 75% of them will decide on the brand’s credibility just by examining the website. This is why you need to assess your website’s design and make necessary changes to draw more sales.

Below are a list of things to consider when upgrading your website:

 

  • DEVELOP A UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION (UVP)

    • Promise your customers that your brand can deliver. Give them a concrete reason why they should buy from you and not from another website. Make it very clear and obvious that your products are a cut above the rest.
  • SPACE IS NOT BAD.

    • Embrace the white space. Keep your homepage clutter-free. Too much web elements can scare people away. Do not bombard your customers with too man options. Help them decide by keeping the design simple.
  • EASIER NAVIGATION.

    • Website design is not game of hide and seek. You should throw important information for the world to see. Products details should include the size, the color, the weight, the height, and so on. Remember to put contact numbers also. In case buyers have a problem with the product, they can easily get help.
  • ADD VIDEOS.

    • If you want to spice things up, adding a short video might help. Instead of showing a picture of the product, why not attach a video? Set aside a space for videos. Some companies indicated a 144% increase in sales by adding instructional videos.
  • COLOR IT UP!

    • When a site looks dull, maybe it’s time to paint the town red. You have to carefully choose your color palette though. Take note that color blind people struggle with the colors red ang green. Consider your target market and choose a color scheme that will attract them. A change in color might lead to an expanded conversion rate.
  • ADD A CHAT OPTION.

    • Aside from giving out contact numbers and email addresses, make it personal and chat with your customers. It will definitely increase the trust and confidence. Future buyers will opt to choose your website over other competing brands.
  • SAY NO TO LONG FORMS.

    • Customers does not want to give too much information just to be able to buy one small item. Make their shopping experience easier. Go for an email, password, and a name first. Then, they can provide the other details later. See if the conversion rate is higher when you shorten the forms.
  • BIG HEADLINES.

    • The headlines should lessen the potential customers’ doubts. Your statement should address their concern. It is should bold and clear. It should increase their confidence on your products.
  • TRIAL AND ERROR.

    • Constantly add small changes to your website. These little changes might bring out better improvements. Change web elements one at a time and observe their outcome. You might want change the BUY NOW button color, you might want to make some text bigger or smaller, or you might consider adding a new feature. Adding a SHOP AS GUEST feature may draw more web visitors to buy your products because they can check out without needing to go through long forms.
  • FREE STUFFS!

    • Give away free items to your loyal customers. Offer a 10% discount on their next purchase. Everyone loves the word “free” and “sale.” Encourage them to buy more and in return, they will get a free item. Make sure your FREE banner is visible for everyone to see.

Website Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Should Avoid

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Several businesses just create their websites without thinking thoroughly. Numerous information are just dump into the website. So, if you are business owner, allocate a budget in building a website for your business. Yes, there are free and ease to use website builders today. But if you are not knowledgeable about the concepts of web design, you will surely make serious mistakes. Instead of helping your business, the website will not attract any potential clients.

You should avoid these website mistakes:

  • THE WEBSITE’S PURPOSE IS NOT CLEAR
    Having a website will not magically conjure customers. You have to plan carefully and you have to know the goal. Are you making a site to expand your physical store? Are you creating one to gain online exposure? Build a website according to your desired purpose.
  • THINKING ANY WEBSITE DESIGN WILL DO
    Nope. As stated above, you need to know the website’s purpose. Do you want to sell your products online? If not, then, focus on having an active online presence first. Do not waste money on something you will not utilize. Set up a simple and neat website that has the essential business information like store address, email address, links to different social media accounts, phone numbers, and more.
  • WHEN YOU STRIVE TO BE DIFFERENT
    All great websites have a common ground. They all have a straightforward navigation. Clicking the Contact Us will redirect you to contact numbers and email addresses. The About page will indicate the company information. Do not try to deviate from this standard structure because most people will choose comfort than style. Adding your own flair won’t do any harm, but make sure you do not compromise the quality of your content.
  • STRUGGLING TO MAKE IT EXTREMELY PRETTY
    Use Yahoo! as an example. Their website only uses the color violet. The most visited websites are not too flashy and they just maintain a neat and simple homepage. Striking colors are compulsory. A neat and professional looking website is enough. Besides, clients will not dwell on the design. They care about the information on your website more.
  • WHEN NAVIGATION IS NOT A  MAIN PRIORITY
    When you make a website,  navigation should be number one on the list. Make sure visitors can navigate with ease. When potential clients browse your website, they won’t have time to figure out everything out. If they can’t find what they need, they will leave and find another website.
  • ATTACHING .PDF FILES
    If you plan to include brochures on your website, please do not include .PDF or any other file that requires an independent file viewer. Use a file that is universal. Perhaps, you can attach a document or an image. Surely, every device can view image files. Not everyone has the patience to download a specific file viewer.
  • ANNOYING ADVERTISEMENTS
    Yes, you earn through ads, but, limit them to a few. It is very distracting when visitors try to read and an ad shows up in the middle of the screen. Furthermore, banner ads on the sides cover some of the text. Make sure ads do not compromise your content.
  • THINKING IT’S AN ONLINE NOTEPAD
    Your website is not a place for you to indicate everything from A to Z. Do not place a gigantic block of text on your website. Surely, your clients will hurriedly leave your site.
  • WHEN YOU DESIGN A WEBSITE THAT’S ONLY FOR COMPUTERS
    Mobile users are growing at an exceptional rate. Not considering the huge number of people using their mobile everyday is a fatal mistake. Consider all users, whether they using a desktop, tablet, or a mobile. Make sure all devices can connect to your website with ease.

 

How To Be A Successful Web Designer

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Web designing can be an exciting career. You start out with a blank slate and turn texts and images into an awesome website. The project starts small and slowly, it will grow into this enormous web of connected information glued together. Though it is more on designing and creating art, there are other things to consider in web designing. Success doesn’t come overnight. The list below will help you get closer to becoming an accomplished web designer.

Follow these 10 helpful tips to reach your goal in becoming a web designer:

  1. Communication skills are crucial.

    You need to get your points crossed to your client and your art director. You should be able to justify your design choices. If problems occur along the way,  good communication can surely fix that.

  2. Learn to effectively sell your skills.

    You need to learn how to survive in the competitive world of web design.  Yes, things may get tough, but you should know your value. Stick on promoting your strengths and pointing out your unique skill sets. Use social media to your advantage and show the world your talent.

  3. Plan first, design later.

    When you plan, you get ideas and it can spark new concepts. Plan how to go about a particular project. Research about your client’s company and know what is desired from you as the designer. In order to come up with a good design, look into the company’s competitors to know more about the latest industry trends.

  4. Ask for feedback.

    Evaluate your work first and then, ask help from trusted and respected people. Accept and implement their criticism to improve your work. They may be able to spot your mistakes easily and this will help you save time. You can dedicate more time on other aspects of the project.

  5. You are a Web Designer, and not a Graphic Designer.

    Graphic designers are NOT web designers and vice versa. The two are completely different and each has its own field of expertise. For you to be successful in web design, you should dedicate your time to it and hire a part-time graphics artist for a specific task.

  6. Stay informed.

    Technology evolves fast. What may be trendy today might become obsolete tomorrow. Like fashion, the web design changes over time. Find time to learn new things and follow the latest news.

  7. Be organized.

    Like in any other field of profession, being organized is important to effectively get the job done. Begin with organizing your computer by properly labeling files and folders.

  8. Update your portfolio.

    Always keep your portfolio current. It should show potential clients that you have more recent, active, and relevant projects. Web design projects years ago may not be what is trendy now. This will justify project costs if you charge a relatively hefty web design fee.

  9. Learn to be a team player.

    Two heads are better than one. Know how to work with others and see how your teamwork will greatly improve the end product.

  10. Be business minded.

    Apart from being a web designer, you must also know learn to balance costs, and make significant assessments. Then, you can earn more and lessen expenses.

Once you have grasped the basics of web design, do not stop there. Learn new tricks and slowly apply it your design process. Aside from web design skills, you may want to dig deeper into HTML/CSS, Java, SQL, and other coding techniques to acquire more skill sets to add to your growing portfolio.

Tips When Starting Your Own Home Base Web Design Business

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Businesses can now easily create their own website through website builders. However, many still opt to hire a web design team not just to build but also manage the website. This means that the web design jobs will continue to be a growing trend.

You may ask yourself, “Do I have what it takes to be a web designer?” You need to be a bit of a computer geek and an  artist at the same time. The good thing about it is that web designers don’t need a specific training or certification as long as you have the skills.

These are the qualities will give you a huge advantage:

  • Number 1 is the eye for design. This includes both color and layout. Web design should be appealing and everything needs to be precise. You just don’t include it because it looks good. It should have a purpose.
  • Knowing the uses of colors and fonts will also help you in choosing the appropriate details for a particular website.
  • The skill to organize isn’t just helpful in real life. It will also greatly aid making navigation easier.
  • Be familiar with coding languages like Ruby, SQL, HTML/CSS, ASP. These can help in increasing marketability.

What are the advantages of starting a web design business?

  • Web design is very in demand.
  • This job can be done anywhere for as long as there is an internet access.
  • You can venture to other related services like content writing, copywriting, SEO, and so on.
  • Most importantly, this field pays well.

Of course, there are downsides to every business. In website design, these are the cons:

  • You need to stay on the loop regarding the latest on software and coding.
  • The constant change may encourage clients to create their own web design team.
  • Because it offers a hefty salary, the competition is tough.
  • Say goodbye to night outs because most of the time, it’s just you and your computer. Not an ideal job for social beings!

When starting your Web Design Business, it is implied that you already have the knowledge and experience.

You also need these things to kickstart your business:

  • Choose a part of your house where you can freely work.
  • A computer that is strictly for work and can handle heavy editing programs. You may also a good quality monitor, scanner, a camera and a printer.
  • Invest in editing softwares. These may cost you hundreds of dollars, but it can enhance photo and video quality.
  • A high speed internet connection is important. Uploading large photos and videos may take time if your connection is slow.
  • Have a business plan that includes your short-term and long-term goals.
  • Create a marketing plan that indicates ways to reach your target market.
  • Your own website that includes all your work.
  • You should also list of all your products and services.
  • Give details on your design process and how you work.
  • Material for marketing like brochures and business cards. You should include your official social  media accounts in your various print ads.
  • Connect with other people that may lead to more possible clients and referrals. You refer businesses to your clients and the businesses will in turn refer you their clients.

Getting your first client may be a real challenge for you. Use this time to expand your network. Interact with people by joining conventions or be active on social media. Post your work online and reach people from different parts of the globe. Constantly get your content out there and you will surely attract your market.