Web Design Tips & Advice Blog

Our web design blog covers a huge range of topics including web site design and development, search engine optimisation (SEO), internet marketing, social media and much more.

We hope it will provide our visitors with a valuable source of information and guidance to help each of you get the very most from your web site... and your web designers! We write for all experience levels, so whether you're planning your first web site or looking for new ideas, we're sure you'll find something you can apply to your website.


Simple Web Design Layout

You know, over the years I’ve written lots about web design, good web design, intuitive web design and more. Indeed often my mindset is that of economics and improving the performance of a business via a website, although this time I was thinking about the most simple approach to design for brochure sites.

To that end I have to bring to your attention to the very, very simple “3 block” concept. Now I’m sure those fabulous designers out there will yawn and tell me to think of a more interesting thing to write about, but in fairness there are youngsters and novices eh?

Ok, so you’re sure to think its much too simple, but bear with me here. Of course there’s space across the top for the (very) usual navigation to home, contact, about and more, but the top block will probably be a large image or even scrolling images of your product perhaps. Importantly though, don’t forget the speed of those scrolling images. Too fast and no-one can read them and you’ll need a call to action on each or its wasted.

Indeed each (and particularly the bottom two boxes) can include images, text, a sales message or any of the above, often navigating to a more detail about your products or services.

Importantly this most simple of design layouts is fantastic for a portfolio or a consultant business, so don’t knock “simple”Simple layout pciture-1





Simple layout pciture-3Simple layout pciture-2


Do we work better in Starbucks?

So I sit here in Starbucks… Continue reading “Do we work better in Starbucks?” »


Developing an e- commerce site…

Or perhaps I should title this “trying to develop…” as my business partner and I have been considering developing an e-commerce website Continue reading “Developing an e- commerce site…” »


Top five presentation don’ts

I must confess that reading an article on the very same subject, reminded me of some public speaking blunders I had made, which drove me to write my own list of “Don’ts. Continue reading “Top five presentation don’ts” »


Tax Deductions For Home Expenses- Self Employed Working From Home

I am often asked by freelancers about how they can easily calculate a total amount to claim for the self-employed business they run from home, to name but a few ,the total amount of usage for rent, gas, insurance, council tax, internet usage and broadband as an example. Continue reading “Tax Deductions For Home Expenses- Self Employed Working From Home” »


Do you need chill-out time?

My better half enjoys baking bread. He spends ages in the kitchen kneading dough and reading new recipes. His latest potato and rosemary bread was a real treat, but I digress.

The point is, that he says that not only does he enjoy it and takes pride in the finished product, but he finds it relaxing and a great way to switch off from work for a while and it made me think about the constant focus one needs when designing or building a website. Continue reading “Do you need chill-out time?” »


The Importance of an Client Agreement

In my experience (and at the risk of inviting your wroth) some of the best designers don’t spend too much time formally learning, but seem to spend most of their life working and working and working all the hours God made to become a great web developer – so hopefully no wroth.

Many of those same people go on to run their own web development agencies too and spend just as much time dragging their fledgling business together by the scruff of its neck, somehow finding even more time than they did before, but what if after everything their Clients do not want to or can’t pay? Continue reading “The Importance of an Client Agreement” »


Cheap Usability and Conversion Testing

Its almost old hat now to say “what’s the point of a website if it doesn’t improve your profits”. To that end it’s important to keep a constant eye on the performance of your site, constantly checking things like conversion rates and return on investment. One of the great challenges with such testing is it can cost money, but you don’t have to spend a fortune. Continue reading “Cheap Usability and Conversion Testing” »


So why aren’t my sales higher?

I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life working with websites – well, often working with people who work with websites might be more truthful and accurate, but I did for sure have responsibility for the performance of those websites (ok, as well as the people who work on those websites…) but I digress.

Putting my marketing hat on for a moment, our core aim and the reason people retained us was in very simple terms, to increase their revenue – to help them sell more of the products they wanted to sell, to those they wanted to sell to.

Of course in this drive to sell more, we needed to get prominence for the website and in the good old days of AltaVista’s reign that wasn’t too difficult, but I’m thinking of the point when a prospect has found the website and wants to buy – it’s at this point that things can go horribly wrong when it should be a straight forward process. For big business there is software that will measure everything and monitor everything it can’t measure, but what if you’re a small business? What if money is too tight to buy such software and even if you did, you have to spend the time to learn how to use it!

I advocate a simpler, cheaper solution, which will show returns quicker than you could learn how to use the alternatives and that’s testing. Yes, testing, sounds simple, but it is a question of who tests and what they test that is the difference, so here are some simple rules to increasing sales from your website:

Find friends and family or advertise for people to sit and make a purchase from your website. You could advertise at a local collage, but importantly you do not want tech students. Ideally recruit people who reflect your target audience. If you sell kitchen design for example, you would ideally look for a Mom who cooks for her children, or likes entertaining.

Importantly you would need 8 or 10 such people so you’re probably only going to employ them once and you could remunerate them with a gift certificate or supper for two. It would not be expensive to retain a few good people with the right advertisement on a notice board in the library or local collage.

Do not tell them the URL of your website, instead explain that you will be asking them to sit in front of a computer and make a purchase or book an appointment. Explain that whilst they do so you will record them on a video and interview them afterwards.

Trust me, their cusses as they can’t find the “buy” button or can’t find how to move from one page to the next, or frustration that they get to the end only to find they need some piece of information they don’t have with them, will be invaluable and correcting these simple things that you’ve missed because you’re too close to it all will improve sales overnight.


How to Price Future Projects with Post Costing

A web designer friend of mine said on Facebook and I quote “Some people run a mile when you quote them £25k for a website. Others are just cool with it.”   Continue reading “How to Price Future Projects with Post Costing” »

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