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 includes the appearance of the website and how the customers interact 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 of the site’s ease of use.

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 site, or 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 ubiquitous languages such as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), PHP (recursively known as PHP Hypertext Preprocessor), and CGI (Common Gateway Interface). 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 be attractive at the same time, both the design and development must be sound. Colors, graphics, and content need to reflect the product, brand, or service that you are offering.

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.

Most Common Mistakes That Happen In Website Design

Did you know that every hour thousands of website are being published? There are so many useful resources freely available online, that building a website is no longer a daunting task for any designer. Many designers forget about the practical aspect of creating a web site. Here are the most common mistakes that happen when creating a website.

Missing The  ‘Search Box’

Websites are full of vital information! A business website or a personal blog it’s essential to have a search box. What most don’t realize is that visitors search for specific information on the website and with the search box in place, your visitors will be able to easily get the information they are seeking. As a helpful hint, it makes sense to get a search function right on the home page of website to make it easy for your users to search your site in an efficient manner. Remember, a missing search box feature on your website could play down its popularity and possibly the usability.

Incorrect Use Of Font

The most critical error that designers tend to overlook while in the process of creating a good interface design is the use of incorrect font. Some designers use unconventional font styles that can eventually make it very hard for the users to read the text on the website. What you can do is ensure the proper font size and format when creating the website.

Incoherent Interface Design

The interface design is what drives visitors to your site. In fact it shows how consistent the interface design of a website is and what makes it a successful or what makes it a failure. It’s been known that many designers do create different designs for every single web page in that site. Having the incoherence annoys the users, compelling them to not want to visit the site again. This is why you need to ensure consistency in the overall look and feel of the website.

Concealed Contact Details

Contact information should be placed on the header or footer of any web page! Designers do not pay attention to this and create a contact page that is not easy locatable. This annoys the visitors and seriously does affect the credibility and popularity of a company and diverts the users away. It’s very important to embed a contact details right on the home page to build the trust and credibility.

Way Too Many Graphics

Having too many graphics (images) on a website can make it look uninteresting. Images are important on a website but using too many images may distract and eventually turn off the visitors. Images are a medium to illustrate various products, and services you have to offer for you business. Only use the correct amount of images, and if you have any questions contact Windy City Web Designs for more details.

Why You Should Have A Website For Your Business

Many small business owners find that they do not need a website. They feel they’re selling their products and services in the neighborhood just fine to their loyal customers. What they don’t understand is that having a website, can potential drag MORE customers to there business from all over! Every business needs to have that competitive edge! No matter how specialized or concentrated you think your business is going, there will always be a competitor that is popping up to have their slice of the profit.

Having a business without a website is going to make it very hard to get new customers coming to you. If your a fast food restaurant and don’t have a site for people to order online or even find your number on the internet is really going to hurt your business.

Having A Business Without A Site: If you are like anyone else that is from the 21st century you will understand the frustration of looking up a number though Google, and you can’t seem to find it, because the business doesn’t even have a site! So then your directed to another company of your liking to find whatever it is you needed in the first place. This company could have had amazing food, or great customer service or even the cutest trinkets, but the fact that they didn’t have a website, pushes the potential clients away. Which could possible harm your business. Check out these techniques on why you should have a website for your business.

  1. Contacting Your Business: Your small business will be missing out on a lot of customers, if they can’t reach you! About 80% of Internet users in the United States from the ages of 14 and up look up products or services online.
  2. People Who Know Your Business: With the new generation of children nowadays, no one is going to pick up a phone book, and check the yellow pages for your business. They are going to search it on the Internet. If they don’t see you anywhere, they might think you are no longer in business. Having an online presence will show your customers you do care, and you want them to continue coming to you for merchandise. That’s why having a website is very important for your business!
  3. Broadening Your Horizon: With the money you make from your local customers, can increase exponentially by making your products and services available online. Have you thought about the profits you will be making if you fraction in the user base?
  4. Your Targeted Audience: The joys of having the Internet at your fingertips! Your able to retrieve feedback from emails, online surveys and social media functions that can tell you how good your market is doing. There is also software that you can use to determine the type of people who visit your site. You can use this information to build better business strategies.

It bothers many designers that some businesses that are out there that do not have a website. They don’t seem to take advantage of this relatively cheap but highly effective business technique! If you have any questions about why you need a website for your business, contact Windy City Web Designs!

Starting Your First Blog!

Starting a blog doesn’t cost anything and it’s not complicated. More people start blogging daily, and it seems everyone or business related is doing this! You get to see what they are thinking or what their business has to offer, and it draws their attention. The more and more you do blogging the more likely to have customers coming to your doorsteps asking for your business. They can like and share blogs, or learn from them!

Step 1: Setting Your Blog Up

Using WordPress is a great platform to use; you can use this on any smartphone, computer or tablet. WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms out there and with very good reasons.

Step 2: Choosing A Topic

This is the part where you decide what you want to talk about to your users. Pick a topic to talk about and just write about. Share some thoughts, ideas, trends, and images to go along with the content. If your business is related to Graphic Design, or Web Design share some ideas, thoughts and trends to go along with that. Keep it in your range of business.

Step 3: Learning From Your Peers

Don’t be afraid to admit that when you first started to learn how to blog that you made many countless mistakes. That’s perfectly okay and normal! Blogging can be tricky at first, but after you get the hang of it, you’ll be a pro through out your career/ personal life when it comes down to it. Benefit the knowledge you get from users, and your peers when they visit your site. If your images are too large, you can learn how to fix that issue. If you have spelling or grammar issues you can fix that also.

You can also look up other blogs from other sites, and see what they are doing, and how it’s become effective. Get some ideas and try it out for yourself on your own site.  Just DO NOT copy someone else blogs!! That is a big no! You can look at what they have, and take their topic idea but put everything in your own words as much as possible. Search engines don’t like seeing copyrighted material on the Internet, you can lose rankings by doing that.

If you have any other questions about starting a blog today contact, Windy City Web Designs.

Having Issues Searching The Web On Your Phone, Or Finding A Website?

Google has made a change to there website! Most people are having issues searching the web on there smartphones without getting the results they are wanting, it is either, irrelevant, or worst then what you were searching in the first place.

They are rolling out to fix and improve how people view mobile search results. They have been updating the algorithms that show the URLs in your search results to show a better reflect on the actual website name. With this new format it reveals the real-world name of the site instead of just the domain name, and with the URL structure it shows the sites in what’s called breadcrumb style.

  • A breadcrumb is a trail of many links that can help many users to understand and navigate through your site’s hierarchy. For example: Books > Authors > Nicholas Sparks

When Google is unveiling their support for schema.org structured data for the Websites, this will help them signal to the algorithms to show the website names for domain names and using the URL structure as breadcrumbs.

Results are gradually taking effect and with many websites they are going mobile. If your website is made for desktop and you do not have a mobile version, people that look up your site on a computer will see your site. If they try to look up your site on there smartphone it’s not going to show. So now that Google has created search results more effective for mobile phones, it’s best to also go mobile with your website, and help get better search results for your business.

For more information contact, Windy City Web Designs if you don’t have a mobile site and would like to have one for your business!

Helpful Tips For Web Designers

Developing and Designing can be time consuming including if there is a dead line that involves a new challenge. Or putting your team and freelancer into some unknown territory. Time, is a key factor in getting the job done effectively.

This enables us to deliver the better value at any competitive price. The steps can be repeated for all other projects, and with these steps we should be able to make things quick as possible, so you have more time to experiment with new and improved solutions. Follow these tips, that can make your standard workflow as fast and practical as it should be.

Your Design Work Flow

  • Color Schemes: A secret to having a cohesive color schemes is to have a bunch of colors that want, pick the overall color as a tint you want towards everything. Then overlay that color over your work, and play around with the opacity until you find what works best.

Photoshop Work Space

  • Document setup you should start out with a canvas size of 1400 pixels. Therefore, you will have your canvas in the middle and the tool bar on the left side, along with the right side will have more tools.
  • Layer Comps will come great for presentations and it is handy to put together.
  • History and Snapshots this allows you to go back in time based on your settings. Snapshots are something you can view at a previous state.
  • Folders are great to keep your workspace clean and organized. Try setting up folders with content, header, footer and background.
  • Color Palette this helps you set up colors you want, and it gives easy access on the right side of your screen.

Your Coding Work Flow

If you are having issues, remembering certain codes you can always look it up on w3schools.com. This website is great to use for reference. When coding in Dreamweaver make sure to keep every code aligned and in order.  Make sure your links are correct and you have no errors, one little div or bracket can mess up the whole site. Always upload your files to the server and double check how things look before you decided to launch your site. Make it the way you want, and if things do not look the way you had in mind change it.

Saving Your Files

Always save your files every five minutes. Every designer should know that if you lose a file it is not going to be pretty. The main rule of being any type of designer when you are working on the computer, is to save your files in three different places! SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! You will be thankful and happy when you do so. Saving yourself the many hours of hard work. The main online storage you can use are Dropbox, IDrive, Google Drive, and the cloud.


For more information about how to manage your workflow as a web designer contact, Windy City Web Designs.

Quick Facts About Web Design

Most popular and profitable industry today would be Web Design. Every single day there are thousands of sites being launched live on the internet. Doesn’t surprise me that web designers are in a high demand. Here are some interesting facts about some field work in web designs.

  1. Flash is no good. Flash programming makes a site visually appealing and interesting, but in the last few decades a flash-based website have lost tons of followers due to the flash applications not loading.

  2. It’s much more than just a design. Major components is SEO (search engine optimization), which is defined as a webmaster who works with on a design has knowledge about the web development languages. Compatibility with social media is another way for effective web design.

  3. Pages that take longer than a few seconds to load is already a failed design. No one wants to wait for your page to load if it doesn’t open within a short amount of time and they move on to the next.

  4. Imagery is what every visitor likes. Researchers have stated that web users like pages with images of animals, people and birds than a simple cartoon. Images that show happiness brings more attention. Bad part is, ads were the most neglected elements on the site.

  5. Future maintenance. The whole purpose of a web design is to set future goals of a website owners. Professionally designed website design is expected to feature the content as most important of a site.

For more information on how to have an effective and professional web design page, contact Windy City Web Designs 

How To Improve The Speed Of Your Website

It is a question that has had website owners asking for years, “how can I make my website run faster?” And there actually multiple ways to improve the speed of your website. After ruling out the main reasons why your website would be running slow: the server, the connection, and the client, its time to look at the design aspects. Making sure you have an optimized website will increase the chances of a viewer staying on your website longer. People don’t like waiting for a website to load and will leave if it is taking too long.

Images: The size of an image has a great impact on how fast or slow your website is performing. In order to get a faster website it is a good idea to compress the images that you put on your website and to remember to specify the image dimensions as well. Compressing these images will optimize your site, which will make it run at a faster speed.

Javascript: When running a javascript code on an HTML page it is important to remember where to put the code. Putting it in the wrong spot could increase the chances of your website to start running slower.  All javascript operations should be placed in the footer of your HTML page or just before the ending body tag. Doing this will allow your website to be displayed even if the javascript is still loading.

Using CSS3: Using an external style sheet can keep all of your code organized within your pages and can help your website run faster than if it was all coded in just HTML5.  Keeping all of your CSS code in one document will keep everything condensed and be easier to load for your server.

For more information regarding the speed of your website or if you need help with your website running at a faster speed, contact the professionals at Windy City Web Designs.

Is A Content Management System Right For You?

Windy City Web Designs has worked with a variety of clients doing website design work, creating logos, remarketing ads, business cards and more. Our clients range from doctors, lawyers, electricians, and plumbers. Depending on the client we have, some will request a hand coded website versus using a Content Management System. If you are having trouble deciding which one to choose for your website, here are a few pros and cons of having either a Content Management System or a hand coded website.

Content Management System

A Content Management System or CMS, is a better choice for businesses who are looking to do many edits to their website after it is created. You are given login information so you can make the necessary changes at your leisure. Some businesses such as restaurants need to update their website as often as once a week to change out the weekly specials and would rather make the changes on their own. CMS allows you to have full access to your website 24 hours a day.

There are many plugins that you are able to install with a CMS that are quick and easy and allows you to customize it if necessary. Such plugins include calendars, SEO friendly plugins, and social media plugins that automatically post to your Twitter and Facebook accounts if you blog. Some clients also use CMS if they have an E-commerce website or need a shopping cart. WordPress and other Content Management Systems allow you to import products for your business and link it to your PayPal account.

Hand Coded Websites

HTML5 hand coded websites are more versatile than content management systems. They allow you to have more freedom as far as the way you want your website to look whereas a CMS website is more of a template version and you have to stick with that specific theme throughout the whole website. HTML5 websites are coded so they run faster on the Internet so your users aren’t waiting as long to get to your site. We encourage our clients to use this web development style if they are looking for a redesign or a brand new website mainly because we are able to customize the website to exactly the way you want it to look. And our main goal is for our clients to be happy with the website we have created for them.

For more information about the options Windy City Web Designs has to offer visit our website or call us today and a representative would be happy to speak with you about any questions regarding Content Management Systems and HTML5 and what choice would be right for you.

How to attract customers to your website

There’s no question about it, that trying to get customers to your website can be a challenge. Getting them to stay on your site or come back as a returning customer is an even harder quest.  Windy City Web Designs can help by giving a few pointers as to how to attract clients and customers to your website and leave them coming back for more.

Trust:  In order to get people to your site you have to build a bond with the client and give them a reason to trust you. Whether this means to present testimonials of others who have used your product or service, or to reveal some personal information about the company. Either option will work and by disclosing information about the company will remind the customer that it’s not just about the logo and the company, but it’s about the people who work for the company who make it successful.

Contact:  Getting customers to stay on your website may be a different story. Staying in contact with previous customers such as offering a sale or discount for being a member can be an incentive for them to return. Giving the customer a reason to come back to your site may eventually lead them to telling other friends about the product or service you offer.

Experience:  Leaving the customer wanting more is the way you want to end things with the customer until the next time they visit your site. One thing you don’t want to have happen is a customer who has had a bad experience. It’s easier for a customer to report a bad experience than it is for them to report a pleasant one. And it happens more often than not. Make sure they are happy with the product or service you provided them and that you give them a reason to come back. Unhappy customers are highly unlikely to return to a website that provided bad service, so it is important to take care of the customer.

Windy City Web Designs offers services to help draw attention to your website and use certain strategies in order to do this. Contact us for more information or for assistance in getting your website noticed.