Website Design

Making Satisfied Customers

At TOD we are Creating Great Websites & Making Satisfied Customers. We are not designing websites just based on pretty pictures and bright colors. There is a method to creating websites that involves a knowledge brought about by years of development experience. Your site could provide customer support, sell a product or service, capture visitor information, manage memberships. Documents, files, and so much more. We look forward to putting our knowledge and experience to work for you

Your website is the face of your business!

You’ve spent hard earned money on equipment, office space, employees. Don't launch a website design that squanders the precious seconds you have to make a first impression.

Website Design Goals

  • Are visitors comforted by intuitive navigation?
  • Is the website design interactive and interesting enough to hold a visitors attention?
  • Is the content rich enough to add value to your brand?
  • Is the layout responsive enough to be viewed on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones?
  • Is your site structured in a framework that performs well when indexed by search engines and social media so you get found?

Getting Started!

When defining your project, it is best not to become tied up in technology. This means that you need only know what goals your website needs to achieve, and communicate this to a development team. Technology statements such as "I need an e-commerce store, so I need to hire someone who knows Java Script.". are actually sometimes used by prospective clients and are really not necessarily accurate. Determining what technologies should be used is best left to a professional developer. At TOD we have the experience and knowledge to employ the best technologies to achieve your websites goals., We look forward to hearing about what goals your site needs to meet. Prepare yourself by thinking in terms of what you want your site to do by creating user stories. More about user stories | More about Website Goals

Hosting & Domain Names too!

Hosting - More than just Web design - There are ads on TV that tell you all sorts of things. But they don't mention basic things your web developer will need to consider regarding hosting your website. What operating system will the server use? How reliable are the servers? And the mail servers? Is their package a good value? A good web developer in addition to being an expert in website design, has real experience running on different hosts and server environments and KNOWS where to go of the best hosting based on the needs of the website they're building for you. I have even seen clients purchase hosting contracts that are unable to run applications used in their website.  The Developer can be left in a situation where additional time and money is billed trying a workaround or making changes to the hosting environment. - See our Hosting Packages

E-commerce

E-commerce used to be complex and costly. Websites designed with Web stores were either custom built or were run by cart software with hard to understand controls. Today with CMS platforms like Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, and more, the process is much more streamlined and many clients can run their own stores with a minimal learning curve. Fact is, many people these days want to sell online and TOD has platforms and even strategies that can make all the difference in your online success. We have detailed answers to all of your questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions: How will you get paid? How will you deliver? How does sales tax work? How to track inventory? How to make your site secure?

SEO & SEM - Search Engine Optimization & Search Engine Marketing Services

Get Your Business Found by Searchers on Google Yahoo and Bing.

Local area targeted Services are available for Local Business too.

Most recent artcle

  • Hiring Web Designers on Craigslist

    The Dangers

    I'm not about to say that Craigslist is full of scam artists and charlatans; by and large, my experience with the site has been very positive as both a consumer and a poster. However, there are a still a couple of things you want to guard yourself against.

    In the Web design field in particular, these are the things to be watching out for:

     What to Watch For

    Before you delve into researching potential candidates for building your site, you can check for a couple of easy-to-spot warning signs.

    • Unreasonably low rates. I know, a $50 website sounds like a dream come true, but if you save your $50 and add another $50 to it next month, you'll be likely to get something of infinitely better quality. Someone charging that little for a site doesn't value their time, meaning they either have tons of it because they don't do this professionally, or they aren't taking any time to build your site. Neither one speaks of professionalism, and neither deserves your money.
    • A generic ad title with lots of weird characters or excessive capitalization. An ad titled: “******YOU WANT TO CALL US TODAY because we're THE BEST!!******” is probably not written by someone with a lot of business experience. If they use a few fancy characters, it's not necessarily a bad sign (after all, even professionals want to be noticed), but if the text is generic as well it could add up to a warning sign. Look instead for an ad that clearly says what's being offered, without a large amount of hyperbole or generic, un-directed excitement.
    • Misspellings and typos. While an “a” where an “s” should be isn't the end of the world, keep in mind that this ad represents the person with whom you're about to trust your online reputation. Their ad is a direct income-generator for them, and is probably more directly important to them than your site will be. If they can't even spell-check an ad, what kind of attention to detail will they have for your site?
    • Creepy behavior. If the person insists on meeting in a private location, requires your credit card before you've signed a contract, or just generally makes you uncomfortable, don't hesitate to break off the connection. It's more important to protect yourself than to be polite.

    Do Your Dues

    First and foremost, remember that it's your responsibility to do your Due Diligence. That means it's up to you to make sure you don't get scammed! There are a few things you do to screen advertisers before you even call them.

    • Check for a business license.Not all competent Web designers display business licenses, but if they do, it's a good sign they are serious about what they do. You have to jump through a lot of hoops and pay a lot of fees to get properly licensed, and if a designer has one, it shows he or she means business and isn't just in it for a little summer cash. It also shows concern with doing things right on all levels. Go to the applicable city's main .gov website and look for a link to “verify” or “check” a business license to make sure it's legit.
    • Check out their website. Any Web professional who doesn't have a website of his or her own should not be trusted to make yours, plain and simple. Assuming he or she has one, you can see what kind of work they do by looking at the site's quality. What you're looking for here (besides just the fact it exists) is not necessarily the style of the site; after all, this is their site, not yours. You want to see the quality of the site. Is it easy to get around? Does the design feel like it accomplished what the designer was going for? Can you find what you need? Does it feel finished?
    • View their portfolio. This should be on their site under a heading such as "profile", “portfolio,”. This is where you can see what they've done for other people. See if the styles vary or if they all look similar with just a few colors swapped out. Obviously every blog will probably have a header, posts and a sidebar, but they won't necessarily all have an image in that same spot on every page, or the same font type and size, or the exact same positioning of the “comments” link. Excessive similarity of the structure of a site could be a sign of either lack of creativity (not good) or use of a template (definitely not good).
    • Run a Google search. Put the designer's name and the name of the business he or she represents (if applicable) through Google and see what pops up. Do you find numerous consumer complaints or scam warnings? Do you find the designer at all? Be especially wary of anyone claiming to perform SEO who either doesn't show up in a search for their own name or shows up with a wash of negative reviews. If you see a lot of social media profiles, some guest blog posts and press releases – or at the very least, their own main site and nothing outstandingly negative on the first three pages – it's a good sign they're safe to consider doing business with.

     

    Things to Ask

    Now that you've looked into the designer a bit on your own, it's time to ask a few questions straight out. While it's always possible for the designer to lie, if you've looked into the things above you're probably dealing with someone at least somewhat trustworthy.

    • Do you have references? Most reputable web designers will have a list of sites they have done and a list of satisfied customers to go with it. Many times you can hear the answer itself and read a lot into it. If they respond to a reference request with "..um well yes, I could, but...(insert excuse here)".
    • Do you use templates? This one can be a bit sketchy since some designers start with a template but do so much editing that once they're done, it might as well have been built from scratch. What you want to make sure of is that your site will be unique and worth the money you're about to spend.
    • Do you use HTML or Flash, or both? Flash has allowed the quick creation of “flashy” websites for years. Unfortunately, it is also not supported on iDevices (iPhone, iPad, iPod) because Apple has a beef with the technology. It's also poorly understood by search engines, so you're not likely to come up in a search on Google if your site was built using just Flash. Some really neat effects can be created using Flash, and it's not a bad thing in moderation. However, a lot of those effects can also be achieved using other technologies such as JavaScript and HTML5/CSS3, many of which will show up in any browser and all of which will be more search engine friendly. If you want an animated banner on your site and your designer wants to use Flash, that's no problem; but if you find a designer that wants to use a different technology to achieve the same effect, that's even better. And if your designer wants to build your whole site in Flash? Find someone else; too many people use mobile devices to make it worth your while to pay for a site they can't see.
    • Will you cover ongoing maintenance? Some people mistakenly assume that once a designer builds a site, he or she is obligated to maintain it indefinitely. This is most certainly not the case, and a contract including maintenance will usually run hundreds of dollars more than one which concludes once the site is built. Another possible arrangement is often to have a contract detailing the initial work and an agreement of hourly rates for future adjustments. Just make sure you know what you're getting in this regard so you aren't surprised down the road.
    • Is there a contract? No one likes legalese, but a proper contract shows professionalism and will protect you as well as the designer. Different designers will present the contract at different points (after the consultation, before they begin writing code, etc.), but make sure one exists.
    • Read your contract. I know, it's not a question, but it's important and will answer some questions you didn't even know you had. When the designer gives you a contract, don't just sign at the bottom to get the work rolling. Read it through and make sure you understand the terms of what you're getting. Will you have exclusive or non-exclusive rights to your design? Will they be placing a “designed by” link at the bottom the site, and will they be using it in their portfolio (and does either matter to you)? Will you get all the assets (art, logos, etc.) when they're done? Are you required to write your own website copy (text)? All this and more is included in the contract, and it's there so you and the designer both know what you're getting into.

    Concluding Thoughts

    Finally, make sure the person has a personality you can work with. You need to be able to communicate your company personality and vision to this person and trust him or her to express it. Whether you prefer friendly or formal, cheerful or down-to-business, you can probably find someone who both designs well and doesn't clash with you. Often reliable companies also offer other related services such as SEO or Web Hosting.

    This isn't an exhaustive list; in fact, I'd love to hear your thoughts on other things to ask or watch for when hiring someone from Craigslist. The important thing is to make sure you do your research and look into the person you choose to build your online presence. For many, it may be your business' first impression, and you want it to be a good one!