Web Design vs. Web Development

Many people often confuse the terms Web Design and Web Development, using them interchangeably. While they sound alike, and sound like they mean the same thing, their meanings are actually very different from each other.

When making the decision to build or design your website, it is important to know the difference between the two.

What Is Web Design? 

Web design is the part of the website referred to as the “front end”, or the customer-facing part. This part of the website is the appearance of the website, and how the customers are interacting with it.

A good web designer will know how to put together all the principles of design in order to create a site that is not only appealing, but modern as well. Designers also understand the importance of usability and how to create a site that customers want to navigate through because it’s easy.

It is important to know the importance of keeping your customers interested in your product or services that you have to offer. If your site is boring, your customers will likely think so too. Be sure to keep your website updated and fresh.

What Is Web Development?

Web development is the part of the website that refers to the back-end of the website, which is the programming and interactions side. A web developer focuses more on how a site works and how the customers get things done on the site.

A good web developer knows how to program and code with programs like HTML, CSS, PHP, and CGI. Web developers also understand how the web forms work, ensuring they are able to keep your site running smoothly and effectively.

Web Design vs. Web Development

Both Web Designers and Web Developers need to work together to achieve one goal, creating an effective and modern website or app that attracts potential customers to your business.

In order for a website to function properly and is attractive, both the design and development must be sound. Colors, graphics, and content need to reflect the product, brand, or service that you are offering.

The jobs of designers and developers are starting to become more blurred, especially since more designers are starting to learn how to hand code, and more developers are paying close attention to design theories.

If you have any questions, or need help with your web design or web development needs, contact the professional designers and developers at Windy City Web Designs.

Building Your Own Website Vs. Hiring A Web Design Company

A well laid out website can be helpful to potential clients and customers, building your business and taking it to another level, helping them pick your company over all the competition.

When it comes to making the decision to either build the website yourself, or contact a web design company to do so, it can be a difficult choice. However, once you review the pros and cons, you may find that hiring a professional may be the better choice.

Design

While there are many desktop and online applications that enable you to create websites quickly, some of these programs can be difficult to use or for use on a specific type of website, making them not ideal for your use. And since you are going to be producing a website with consumer-oriented tools, you must possess at least some type of experience in coding and programming.  If you need specific types of features, such as customer management solutions, shopping cart applications, or login abilities, then you might want to hire a professional web developer to do these things for you.

Shopping Carts

If you are planning to sell products online, or need a customer management system, implementing your website can be very time consuming, especially when you will want to ensure that every product has a description. This means that you have to design a new page or database entry for every product you are selling on your website.

Content

Meaningful content on your website not only attracts more visitors, but helps to make your website be found amongst the search engines. This means that writing articles or blogs for your site can require a substantial amount of time out of your daily schedule, which can take away the time necessary to running and growing your business.

Repairs And Maintenance 

A successful website requires more than just a name and great design. Once your website goes live, you will be required to make continuous maintenance checks, as well as updates in order to ensure your website is functioning properly and effectively. While it may be easy to create a website with today’s modern development software tools, these applications are not very useful if your site starts to have many problems.

Cost

The cost of creating a website on your own, compared to hiring a professional may be the major consideration in your decision. And while an experienced and professional website developers and designer may not be the cheapest option, it is a good idea to consider all of the time and effort creating a website requires, especially when an effective website may play an essential role in your business’s success.

For more information and to see how our professional designers at Windy City Web Designs can help create a customized website for your business, contact us today.

Helpful Tips When Creating Your Website

Creating the ideal website can be an intimidating process. From your logo design, to colors, to your content, your website must have all the right pieces in place in order to be effective. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when designing your perfect website:

Tip #1: Hire a professional web designer. Not only are web designers familiar with the right and wrong way to create a website, they are also experts in helping you to come up with the things your website will need in order to help your stand out for all the rest. Be sure to communicate regularly with your designer, as they will customize your site with your vision.

Tip #2: Know your audience. One of the most important things you will need to consider is who your targeted audience is going to be. A lot of the essential pieces in your website, like your content, design, and interior pages, are going to be dependant on who your audience is. For example, if your business is working with professionals, you may wish to have a more formal tone in their design, while certain retailers will require more of an informal design.

Tip #3: Get ideas from other websites. It is a good idea to search other websites that catch your eye, noting the things that you like or don’t like. For example, things like responsive websites, with clean and simple design, are easy for your visitors to use and follow. Simply by giving your designer a few different sites that you like, as well as sites that you don’t like, they can better determine what kind of website may be right for you.

Tip #4: Design the right logo. Something as simple as a logo can help to allow your website’s design to fall into place. With a logo, you will better be able to figure out the colors of your website, which can be a trying task in itself.

For more information and to see how Windy City Web Designs can create the ideal website for you and your business, contact us today!

9 Tips For Designing Your Website

When it comes to designing and creating an effective website, Windy City Web Designs has 9 important tips for you to consider:

  1. Make sure your website looks professional and is visually pleasing to your visitors. This means that it is essential that you use neat layouts, uniformed navigation, keeping your text in colors and sizes that are easy to read and are web friendly.

  2. Make sure the website displays and behaves properly on all major web browsers in various versions: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome and Safari.

  3. Be sure to optimize each page with include page titles and headings, using bullet points and shorter sentences, including relevant keywords on all pages.

  4. Do not auto-play music or videos.  Users overwhelmingly prefer to start these actions on their own.  If they are forced on them, more often than not, they will leave your site.

  5. Be sure that the contact phone number is in the header of all pages on the website. If you have multiple locations, each with a different phone number, have a clear ‘Contact Us’ section that is accessible from any page.

  6. Don’t overload the pages with heavy graphics and videos. These can cause some user’s browsers to operate slowly, or potentially crash.

  7. Be sure that all hyperlinks (both internal and external) are clearly visible and that they function correctly.

  8. Since 1/3 of internet traffic is now done on a mobile device, it is critical that your website is mobile-friendly. It is important to offer those visitors a version of your site that works within the phone, fits the phone screen and allows for easy tapping of phone numbers and maps. Also be sure you use code that detects when a visitor is coming to your site from a phone and automatically directs them to that version.

  9. Contact Windy City Web Designs today to get started on building or improving your website.

How Web Designers Drive Your Business

Small businesses often find themselves as the owners of under performing and unattractive websites. This is likely due to their small budgets, or hiring a web designer that lacks the expertise and knowledge to create an effective website.

It is a web designer’s job to drive the direction of your website, so while it is important to leave it to the professionals, it is critical that you find a web designer that can drive your website and business.

Find A Professional Web Designer

One thing to consider when looking to hire a web designer is their experience and education in web design. Ensure they have had plenty of time to learning the craft that you could not have, as well as a designer who has patience and communicates well.

Power Of Design & Your Business Strategy 

Once you’ve become comfortable with your web designer and have developed an understanding of your goals, then it is time to start implementing your business strategy in your design. Designers have much more creativity than your average business professional, which allows them to create something new and revolutionary, helping your website stand out from the rest.

Make Sure Your Website Makes A Good First Impression 

Everyone knows that a first impression is everything. You want to ensure your website users have an overall positive experience, which will make them want to purchase your goods or services, as well as come back time and time again. If they feel it is a bad design, you are going to lose potential customers.

Leave It To The Professional

Since web designers know what works and doesn’t work, be sure to trust them. However, if you are not happy or experiencing issues, be sure to communicate with them. It is also important to know that an effective and well designed website cannot be created in a half hour. Be sure to always keep your designer involved and have them do your web design work.

For more information about how our web designers can drive your business, visit Windy City Web Designs.

Things To Consider When Creating A Website

Creating a website can be a challenging task. That is why we here at Windy City Web Designs have a few tips for you, which will help to make creating a successful and functional website a bit easier and less stressful.

Create A Domain Name

First and foremost, you will need to create a web-housing plan and a domain name for your business. Your domain name should be your website name, making it easier for people to find your website when searching fro you through the major search engines.

Content Management System

CMS stands for Content Management System, which is the essential core function of visually presenting information on your website. We strongly suggest using WordPress, since it is both user-friendly and intuitive in nature. An added bonus, it is free to use!

Decide On A Theme

Web development has been growing for quite sometime. Everyone has their own type of website, those who have a theme and then those who don’t. For places that don’t have a theme those are the ones who makes things from scratch. As for the ones who do use a theme they start with a web browsing functionality and the design is taken into account.  The theme is defined as a set of files that contains everything for a website, from images, to colors, to fonts and styles.

What To Say

It is important to have an “About Us” section on your website, as it gives you the opportunity to speak directly to your audience, explaining what your brand represents and what your services are. Include certifications and awards as well, as these will help you to stand out from your competitors. Also include contact information, which will make it easier for your clients and to contact and find you.

Hire A Professional

When in doubt, consult with Windy City Web Designs. Not only can we help to create an effective, user-friendly website, but we can also ensure your clients are finding you, increasing your web presence.

Importance Of A Professional Website

Professional websites have become an intricate part in the success of today’s businesses. From selling your brand, to convenience, to high quality service, a website can do so much for you, your business, and your customers.

It Allows You To Showcase Your Brand

From medical practices, to retail, to service industries, no matter what type of business you run, a website is a great place to showcase your brand’s products or services. By including an image gallery, portfolio, testimonials, and blogs, you can demonstrate what makes your business unique, as well as why your products or services are the best compared to your competitors.

It Provides A Variety Of Conveniences

Providing essential information to your customers takes time. However, with a website, you can better provide the necessary information to your customers, all at their fingertips. With a website, your products and services are available to your customers indefinitely, which saves you time and money, as well as making it more convenient for your customers.

It Provides For A Better Customer Experience

Maybe you sell environmentally friendly products and would like to share tips on how to recycle, or perhaps you’re an accountant and want to give your clients advice on how to simplify their bookkeeping practices. By including a FAQ page, adding articles or uploading newsletters, you can not only answer all your customers’ questions, but you can provide them with critical and essential information, keeping them informed and up-to-date. What better way to provide them with value added service than by sharing information on your website.

If you are interested in the perfect website for your business’s needs, contact Windy City Web Designs today to get started.

Considering Pay Per Click?

While you may have an effective website, it is a s equally important to ensure that you have a solid Internet marketing campaign in place.  When it comes to ensuring you can be found on the search engines, there are limited options to provide you with results.

While there are paid searches, like search engine (SEO) that are available and commonly used, these campaigns will take time to deliver results. However, pay per click advertising (PPC) campaigns are rapidly growing, and can help you get the results you need, almost immediately.

Here are a several reasons why you may want to consider using a pay per click campaign:

Affordability- Since PPC campaigns are not only tailored to your budget, but you essentially pay per click on your ad.

Faster Results- Unlike organic search engine methods, PPC campaigns show almost immediate results since your ad will automatically receive top placement.

Real-time Tracking- With your PPC campaign, constant monitoring of your campaign will be performed. We will track things like the keywords that are, and are not, working, conversion rates, and which ads are driving the most traffic.

Exposure- Since your ad will be placed on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, your ad will be visible on well-known and reliable search engines, which reaches the vast majority of Internet users.

Target Your Customers- By placing a specific and eye-catching ad, you can directly target your customers and draw in only qualified and relevant traffic to your site.

It is important to know that building and maintaining a successful pay per click advertising campaign can be a difficult task, especially when you don’t understand how to manage these services. This is why hiring an experienced Internet marketing and web design firm, such as Windy City Web Designs, that specializes in PPC campaign, and can ensure that your website is achieving optimal results.

Windy City Web Designs Wins Business of the Year for Professional Services

Windy City Web Designs is proud to announce their earning of the Algonquin & Lake In The Hills Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year Award for our Professional Services.

From helping small businesses grow their online presence with our customized websites, to effective Internet marketing strategies, Windy City Web Designs has been working hard to help make businesses more successful.

One or our many great success stories is Dana Voyes and her website for her garden and landscape business, Gardens Done Right. Dana originally started with a 4-page website last year, and is now needing to add an additional 22-pages due to a successful year. Dana attributes a big portion of her success to her online presence.

With flexible payment options, our success in designing award winning sites that perform, and our ability to help your company grow, Windy City Web Designs is dedicated to making your website our next success story.

Windy City Web Designs is a full service web, marketing, and branding agency, proudly serving the Chicagoland area. Contact us for more in formation on how we can help increase your businesses online presence.

How A Blog Can Boost Your Business

Blogging has quickly become an effective form of content marketing for businesses of all sizes. Blogging has many benefits to a business, including perhaps the most important, increasing your web presence.

If your increased web presence is not enough of a reason to have Windy City Web Designs add a blog to your website, then here are several other ways a blog can boost your business:

  1. A blog is a simple and easy-to-use platform, which will allow you to connect with your customers.
  2. Your blog fuels search engine optimization (SEO).
  3. According to surveys, 60% of businesses who blog acquire more customers.
  4. Blogs gives your company a voice, creating a place to talk about new products and services, comment on timely news topics or market trends, and share company initiatives beyond your website, which will all help to let your customers know more about your brand.
  5. Blogs share your expertise, allowing you to become an expert in your industry.
  6. A blog creates a two-way conversation with customers, prospects and industry peers, encouraging interactions, comments and feedback.
  7. A blog keeps you focused on your content marketing strategy, especially since it is important to schedule and stick to it in order to continuously deliver purposeful content.
  8. A blog builds confidence, relationships and sales. Customers will look to you as a reliable resource for information on your industry.
  9. Blogs will help you stay ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to your competition.
  10. Blogs are cost-effective marketing investments. Every post you publish is a long-term asset that helps build brand awareness, as well as promote your expertise, products, and services.
  11. Blog analytics allow you to track your readers, links, popular topics, shares and comments, helping you to better know your audience.
  12. If you are not a writer, and prefer to have someone else do the blogging for you, there are Internet marketing firms out there that will do the hard work for you, like Windy City Web Designs. Whether you are interested in adding a blog, are in need of a custom website design, or are looking for an effective Internet marketing campaign, contact Windy City Web Designs for more information today.