Archive for November 26, 2012

Custom CMS Web Design Budget

November 26, 2012

Consider our expert custom CMS web design budget tips when asking for a quote on a new custom CMS website or the redesign of an existing site. A custom CMS content management system is a good choice to keep down future costs because you or a staff member may manage new site content without technical skills or paying each time for changes.

Web Design Price, Quality, and Value Compared

Our CMS Design Tip #1: Budget funds for as much quality as you can afford for the initial development and launch of your custom CMS web design.

Like any consumer product, paying more for quality that lasts provides value for money spent. This is true for a custom CMS web design, also. To establish a design budget our advice for analyzing web design prices may help you avoid the mistakes others make.

Value depends on quality, so an expensive price for a nice looking website could be misleading. A cheap price even though nice looking could be a mistake, also. If you look for the cheapest price and lack the technical skills to analyze quality, you may end up with a clunker that just doesn’t perform. Websites and knockoff consumer products can appear like the real deal until they fall apart.

A quick test of quality for any website is to validate the code, so Google the phrase “validate html” to locate the free W3C online tool. Check out a potential designer’s work by testing their design. If the site is in xhtml and complies to W3C without errors, that’s a good indicator the designer cares about quality. The next tip provides more advice for evaluating a CMS web designer.

Choices When Selecting a CMS Web Designer

Our CMS Design Tip #2: Evaluate your options for a source to create the custom CMS web design based on their quality and experience.

An amateur CMS web designer who states “I can do web design” is probably correct. Children 10 years old or younger at grade school level can design websites. Creating an attractive custom CMS web design may seem easy, yet creating a website that performs well attracting business and search engines is different.

Here are CMS web design service options to consider. The first 3 could be free except for the time needed to setup, manage, and update your website. The other web designer options involve cost.

1. Do It Yourself Web Design
2. Trust a Friend or Relative
3. Use a Free Standard Template
4. Purchase a Premium CMS Template
5. Hire a Freelance CMS Web Designer

If you lack experience, the first 4 options for free or nearly free web design involve climbing a steep learning curve to have a quality CMS website that performs well. With zero experience, it may take 200 or more hours just to research, evaluate, and select a good CMS software package, and then modify it to your unique look in preparation for installation and launch.

Hiring a freelance web designer may be the best choice, yet use due diligence to verify their quality and experience. Have them provide performance evidence for their website. Ask for links to customer CMS design projects that demonstrate quality and performance for their clients, too.

Inexperienced designers may exaggerate or overpromise. Many prefer to discuss what they will do for you without real evidence. This has been proven by catching the lies of firms begging for web design work as subcontractors, yet they cannot prove results for their site or their customers. If a person or company can truly provide a quality custom design solution that performs well, they will have evidence.

Another test is asking if the designer can create a custom CMS in xhtml in a tableless design with valid code to W3C with the ability to add new pages in plain text without learning advanced technical skills. A custom design meeting that sentence should display well now and on new computing inventions for years to come. You may want to ask for evidence that their designs are cross-browser compatible and will display well in all major browsers, too.

Plan Details of Your Site Launch and Growth

Our CMS Design Tip #3: Plan to add original quality content often to your new custom CMS web design to attract repeat visitors.

A website launch and forget it strategy cannot succeed unless your product or service is one-of-a-kind or extremely unique. If you have competition and a one-shot web design budget, your competitor may outperform your website by constantly adding fresh content that gives visitors a reason to return. That site traffic will include repeat shoppers and search engines eager to access that new content.

The purpose of a CMS content management system is the ability to add original quality content often. Before a single line of code is written, our advice is mapping out the site navigation of the initial launch, and pencil in future site growth. The navigation outline will allow you to envision where to add content in the future while keeping a logical site structure so visitors don’t get lost.

During the custom design planning phase, avoid the temptation of having just something or anything online like an under construction one-pager as a place holder. A more developed site with very general information is nearly as bad. Think of a brick and mortar store having a grand opening while half their shelves are empty. You need to make a positive first impression, so do not launch your until you have provided sufficient details of your product or service to convince visitors to consider you.

In summary when choosing a custom CMS web design, budget as much quality as you can afford, use due diligence in selecting your design team, and invest ongoing time or money for future development of your design. Online success of your website depends on planning ahead and implementing our “add original quality content often” strategy along with these custom CMS web design budget tips.
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Joomla For Car Dealers – Using Joomla to Build Car Dealer Websites

November 18, 2012

Joomla is a free, open source content management system that is the most popular software program of its kind available on the internet today. Open source means that any third party can write an extension to the core components of the software which will then expand the software’s capabilities. Because of this, the possibilities and capabilities of the initial Joomla core software are absolutely endless.

This software program is easy to use. You don’t have to be extremely knowledgeable in computers, programming, etc or you don’t have to be an IT expert to operate this software program. It is built to be used by computer illiterate people as well. It is pretty self explanatory and as long as you follow the steps, you will be able to do pretty much anything with this software program.

Joomla is the perfect software to build a Car Dealer website. The options for use on the site are limitless. You can upload as many pictures as you want. On the back end of the website, you will be able to manage every aspect of the website with ease. Joomla has already been used for projects such as this and proves to be the best choice.

This software program is absolutely free for you to download. The newest version, Joomla 1.5, would probably be your best bet. Even though the version1.0 is still available, the long term use can be limited since designers are beginning to focus more on v. 1.5. This all means that they are not designing as many extensions for v. 1.0 as they are the 1.5 version. You will be able to use version 1.5 for a longer period of time before you will have to completely upgrade your entire website.

There are thousands of available extensions for the software on the web. Most of these you can acquire for free. Some you may have to purchase. Basically, this all means, that you can customize your website to best suit your needs and to make it unique, compared to others. Even though you may use templates and pre-existing extensions that have been downloaded and installed on thousands of websites across the internet, you can still develop a truly unique website.

The template that you decide to use will help to define the layout and style of your website. So, what kind of “feel” are you going for? Nine chances out of 10, the “feel” you are looking for has already been developed and is available somewhere on the web. You can choose between Flash templates and plain Jane templates. The choice is yours. When trying to locate your template, search for Realtor templates, as there is a wide variety of these templates that are already available and will represent your business in the best possible way. Don’t forget that you can customize a template that has been downloaded 500 times already by adding modules, plugins, components and more.

Have fun developing your website using the Joomla open source software. In the end, you’ll be glad that you decided to use Joomla and not the others.
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2 Reasons Why You a Need Content Managed Website

November 14, 2012

Many companies approach us looking for a content management website. It is however our experience that giving them a content managed website just because they asked for it is not always offering them the best solution.

A few of our customers have insisted on a content managed website and they have never changed their content, it is a waste of money, not to mention the time for training that will probably need to be repeated in the future.  

We have clients that have previously bought a cheaper “make your own website”. Looking to improve their website they approach us and automatically believe that content managed websites is the best way forward. When looking at the website most clients actually never used the content managed facility.

So why would they need it on the new website?   We highly recommend having a content manage website if:  

1.)    You need to make frequent changes to your website. ‘Frequent’ is not changing the odd telephone number or adding a new paragraph occasionally. If this is all the changes you need, make sure you find a web design company that offers good prices for editing. It will be more cost effective this way and takes the stress off of you. If however you need to manage the content on your website frequently for example you have new products each month, monthly promotions or events in the future then managing your own website is the right solution for you.  

2.)    If you have different departments or staff with different responsibilities and they all need to make regular contributions to the website. You can then set up various user levels leaving them to get on with the changes and you won’t waste precious time consolidating all the information for your website designer.

There are many other reasons to content manage your website. My point today is don’t have a content managed website unless you know that the content needs to change frequently and you have the staff that are well trained and confident to use the content managed website.

I hope that this information is helpful in making your decision whether content managed website is necessary for your needs.

Free Templates For Joomla Can Help You Create a Business Class Website For Free!

November 7, 2012

Joomla is a highly popular open source software program. It is General Public Licence, or GPL, which means that it is freely distributed and can be downloaded without cost and used pretty much in any way you choose. Free templates for Joomla are available, as well as a range of modular extensions, which all combine to make this an extremely flexible choice.

The Joomla software comprises a content management system that is extremely robust and ideally suited for large websites. It can just as easily be used to create a simple one page website, though that is a little bit like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

The basic software should be considered as the basic building blocks of your website. It manages your content, which means everything on your website, controlling page flow, categories and the insertion of new pages quite seamlessly. Members of an organisation can be given access rights depending on which tasks they need to perform.

What makes any particular website different from all the others is primarily the template. This provides the look and feel of the entire site and as such it is an extremely important component. You can make your website quite unique by having a template specially developed. It won’t come cheap though. However, there is a much simpler option: choose one of the many free templates for Joomla.

Perhaps you are wondering how a free template that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others will also use can possibly produce a unique website. Granted that the degree of uniqueness will perhaps not be as great as when using a specially created template, but there are plenty of ways that you can customise free templates for Joomla to be your very own.

Templates that can be used in Joomla 1.5 come in two basic sets: site templates and administrator templates. The site templates control what the website looks like to the visitor, and the administrator template controls what the administrator sees, but not the visitor. It should be obvious that the site template is usually what we mean when we refer to free templates for Joomla.

Joomla templates each have a directory structure as they require more than one single document. The file that handles the presentation aspect of the template is the CSS, or cascading style sheet, file. This file controls the details of fonts, where margins begin and end, colours, and how lists are formatted, as well as many other things. With even a basic understanding of CSS you can quite easily customise a free template to be something surprisingly unique.

Of course, no template file should be modified in isolation. It needs to be edited in such a way that it agrees with all the other bits of information contained within the various other files. This is easier than it sounds, however. The trick is to change a little bit and check the result before moving on the change something else. Before long you will be making unique free templates for Joomla that will help you to create business class websites, and they will be totally free too!
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