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The Economy: What we have noticed

Recessions and business

I believe everyone by now has heard of the recession that we are all in. Some businesses have fared just fine. Some have gone out of business but one thing is certain, it is not pretty out there. We have also felt the recession mainly because we work with businesses of all shapes and sizes and some have been hit pretty hard. Lately though, we have seen some light on the horizon and it seems as though things are picking up out there.

What we have noticed

The time frame I’m speaking within is about January 1, 2009 through August 24, 2009. We talk to many businesses and early this year we heard many stories that businesses were cutting back. Any B2B (business-to-business) can most likely agree that it has been a little slower lately. Lately though, the business owners we have been chatting with are opening up to the idea of spending more money and increasing their business. This is a great sign for anyone in the advertising industry, partly because in a recession scenario, advertising is one of the first things to be cut.

What you can expect

While businesses deal with the current economic conditions, you can bet they are looking for ways to stay in business. This usually means that businesses that can help them spend less and be more efficient will be in demand. You can also expect that most of the businesses that are choosing to do nothing during a recession will be going out of business. This will also mean that the customers that those businesses served will be looking for other companies to complete the work. If your businesses is able to pull through these tough times, I imagine the internet and a great sales staff will be key to the survival. You can also expect the internet to grow, even through the recession. People will tend to stay at home and use tools that they are already paying for. They will also be looking for additional ways to save money, ways to educate themselves, cheaper products and services and coupon shop. All of this brought to their doorstep by the internet, courtesy of web designers everywhere.

Bootstrap marketing ideas

If your business is in rough shape, you may find help on the internet for some ways to get the word out about what you offer. I would recommend sitting with key decision makers in your organization and brain storming for ideas that could help you get the word out. Here are a few:

  • PPC (pay per click) search engine campaign
  • SEO (search engine optimization) optimize your business for the search engines
  • Write articles for your website
  • Restructure your website
  • Keyword research
  • Call your current clients and ask how they are doing and if they need additional services
  • Add some additional services to your business
  • Go to a few tradeshows and strike up conversations with business owners that could use your services
  • Send out a mailer to businesses you’d like to work with. Add on a great offer.
  • Think of where your potential customers might go to find more information about the industry you serve. Send an article to a magazine that they read.

Chin up! Charge the mountain!

Staying motivated is necessary in a recession climate. Keeping all sales staff on top of their game and looking at the bright side of what is happening can have a positive effect on your business. Recessions are part of today’s economy. If you structure your business the right way, you will roll right though a down economy and be in a position and pick up business that your used-to-be competitors dropped.



What is the process for having a website done by Midwest Web Design?

Website Design Process

  1. Get in touch with us via phone or email

    The first step of the process is to get in touch with us when you have some time.

  2. Set up an appointment

    We will set up an appointment with you to discuss your goals for your website in more detail.

  3. Goals for the website
    Our staff will go over goals that are important for you and your website and discuss many options available including:

    • Budget constraints
    • A professional, custom, look and feel for your website
    • Custom website programming
    • Mobile website
    • Domain name registration
    • Hosting
    • Navigation on the website
    • Website structure
    • Email setup
    • Search engine optimization
  4. Decide to move forward
    When all the necessary topics are covered, if it makes sense, both parties move forward and your professional website design will start to be built.
  5. Start the project

    Midwest Web Design Inc will talk with you to figure out the look and feel of your professional web design and give you some samples of what your website
    will look like.

  6. Get information from client
    After the look and feel is complete, the client will give us the necessary information (text, pictures, etc) for the website to be completed.
  7. Wrap up the website project

    After all the pages are built and loose ends tied up, the project will be complete. It’s that simple.



5 Critical Key Factors to Keep In Mind When Building an Affordable Website Design

Affordable Website Design

When building an affordable website design, there are 5 key factors that can help guide the project to completion while keeping it affordable. These factors tame the project from going out of control and spending unnecessary money. Follow these factors and you will be well prepared and shouldn’t have a problem building an affordable website design:

  1. Know the goal of the website before you get started with the project.

    This rule is listed first for a reason. It is very important to know where you would like to go or what you would like to do before you put out any money to get something done. It may seem like a no-brainer, but people sometimes jump into building an affordable website without any idea of what to do. When this step is skipped, there isn’t a focus and clients tend to get a little of everything and often not in the areas that they had expected. This step is crucial when trying to keep within the boundaries of an affordable website design.

  2. Building an affordable website design can take time.

    There is an old saying in the design business: “quality, price or time, pick any two.” This explains the trade-offs when working on a design project. For example, the project can be made with “price” and “time” as factors, but the “quality” of the project will suffer. Another example, the project can be made with “price” and “quality”, but the “time” or the quickness of getting the project done will suffer. With an affordable website design, the “cheap” or price is the focus of the project right away, pick the other factor: “good” or “fast.”

    “…it is important to focus on providing easy ways for the customer to get the information they want.”
  3. Put less focus on the overall design and make sure the usability of the website is clear.

    When building an affordable website design, it is important to focus on providing easy ways for the customer to get the information they want. The design of your website doesn’t have to be revolutionary. We have seen websites that offer “cutting edge” design, but when it is placed in front of users they get confused and leave to find the information they were looking for on a competitor’s website. Most of the time in business, your customers don’t care about how fancy your website is, they want to know what you can do for them. Information that is readily available and easy to read helps them with their decision making process.

    “It may seem like a no-brainer, but people sometimes jump into building an affordable website without any idea of what to do.”
  4. Help your affordable website design grow by including it in your other advertising.

    This is one area where you can help, that not every business takes advantage of. It seems like a no-brainer, but some businesses do not put their website address on their other marketing items. We see this as a huge waste of such a valuable resource. It is similar to shutting the door in the face of a person who wants to do business with you and then sitting down and wondering why your business is struggling. It takes very little effort to include a website address on all your marketing materials for your business and it helps tremendously. An affordable website design can help convert traffic from your other marketing activities to your front door.

  5. Talk with your professional website designer to see what options might be available for you.

    When you deal with a professional web site designer, they know what certain items and features cost and can make suggestions of what is possible within a certain budget. This can be a very useful tool when trying to build an affordable website design. It is best to know what options are available to you so you can make the best decision when utilizing your resources.

In conclusion, keep these 5 factors in mind when building an affordable website design. Know the goal of the project. Realizing that the project will take time to complete. Focus on usability for your customer. Include the website address in your other advertising and keep the lines of communication open with your website designer. These factors will help guide the project and make sure that it gets done effectively, efficiently, on time and on budget.



Web Site Redesign: Redesign Your Web Site and See Astonishing Results

Web Site Redesign

We see many web sites that need redesigns. We call them “cob webs.” There is nothing more annoying (well, within reason : -)) than a web site that scrolls horizontally, uses flashing text, has pictures from the 80’s, loads slowly and is hard to navigate. I’m sure you all are familiar with the web sites I’m talking about. Well, these sites not only reflect poorly on the designer, but also on the company image. When you, a business person, think about all the money that is tied up into your business, the last thing you want is customers to look at your image and gasp in horror at confusing messages and leave your web site and go to a competitor. Especially when building a professional looking web site is so easy to have done.

Deciding to get the web site redesign

When a web site redesign is started, there is a quick sigh of relief! A poorly designed web site is equivalent to showing up to your movie premier in Hollywood with an 80’s style afro wearing a light blue and brown striped polyester suit, with pink leg-warmers. You get the idea. What type of business image do you want to leave with a customer?

“What type of business image do you want to leave with a customer?”

When a web site is designed properly, the results can be dramatic. One of the “good” things about your web site online is that your domain name has been maturing on the internet, and is probably indexed with some of the search engines. This is a HUGE plus. Newly purchased domain names usually have a delay for indexing on the internet, called a “Sand Box Effect.” This means that Google is trying to make sure that the organization (business, non-profit, personal site) behind the domain name is “reputable.” What happens is that the domain name will not show up in Google searches anywhere between 3-9 months. Yes, 3-9 months.

A word of warning about some “SEO Professionals” and their infamous promise of a #1 Google spot

Don’t be fooled by those “seo professionals” that promise you fast #1 spots on Google. They often make unrealistic promises, take your money and before you know it, your site will be banned from Google. And with Google getting approximately 90% of the search engine market share, being banned is definitely not where you want to be. So with a mature domain name, businesses can be found on the search engines faster than a newly designed web site. Also, when users get to your site they should know how to get around to find the products or services that you offer.

“We also highly recommend that all of our clients have contact information (phone number, email address, instant message, etc) on each page.”

Navigation is extremely important for visitors

Another aspect the professional web design company will look at is the number of web pages your web site needs and the resulting type of navigation that should be used. This step is critical in order to see great results from a redesign campaign. It is very important for the user to know relatively where they are in a web site. It’s even more important to know how to get around (and where you would like to lead them!). The user should know where the navigation is and it should be consistent on each page. We also highly recommend that all of our clients have contact information (phone number, email address, instant message, etc) on each page, so in the event that a user would like to contact the company, they don’t have to leave the page they are on and navigate back to the page they are interested in. Navigation is a definite key in seeing impressive results from a web site redesign. Navigation is also part of the overall design of the web site and when critiqued correctly, your visitors will thank you in the form of referrals and repeat sales.

Last but not necessarily least, the overall design

Finally, the other important detail of having your web site redesigned is the “look and feel.” You may be asking “Well, why is this part last? Isn’t it the most important?” and the answer is most likely “no.” As any web design professional will tell you, one of the main goals of having a web site is being able to see some ROI. We have talked to countless CEO’s and business owners and they have all expressed the same concerns:

  1. How can I use this to make money?
  2. How can I justify spending the money?

Many web sites online make money. How? Most likely they were ranking in the search engines and they were easy to navigate, so the user could find the product or service and contact the business. The overall design has little to do with making the sale, but it still is am important piece. The design should be:

  • Consistent
  • Crisp
  • Flowing
  • Not confusing
  • Clear

A word of wisdom from a professional web design company

As a web design and SEO professional, I encourage you to be aware of the needs of your viewer. It is they who you are building the site for in the first place. Make it easy for them to find your products and/or services, contact you and do business with and you will see the great results or your investment.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a web site redesign can be an extremely valuable investment when done correctly. Optimizing for the search engines will ensure viewers easily come across your web site. Making the web site easy to navigate will make sure the viewer can easily navigate where they want, when they want. The overall design of the site is important. It should be clean and crisp, but it shouldn’t be the main focus. Having your web site built by a professional web site company will make sure that all these areas are covered and you will be on your way to converting more users to customers from your web site redesign.