"It has been a pleasure working with Canfield Design Studios in creating my website. Like many, I had a list of things I wanted but did not have the picture of what it should look like. Sort of "I'll know it when I see it." Kathy did not make me feel like a computer ignoramus as we discussed what I wanted and what it could be. Canfield Design Studios helped me take my mental un-image and turn it into something that was there, in two dimensional form, for all to see. I have received many compliments on the site and through Canfield's expertise, I am constantly popping up at the top when people Google me. I heartily recommend them to anyone."

Kathrine Gregory
Mi Kitchen es su Kitchen
www.mikitchenessukitchen.com

TIPS


TOP 10 WEBSITE MISTAKES & HOW TO AVOID THEM

1. NOT HAVING A CONTRACT

Always work under a signed contract. The contract should spell out exactly what the designer/developer will deliver to you, as well as the process they will follow, costs, time frame and payment schedule. It will also detail what the designer will need from you, the client, and by when, as well as what will be required of you as far as feedback and approvals. Ownership is very important in this agreement. It should be spelled out who owns the site and all content. I always sign over everything to the client, although many designers do not do this as they want to own the graphic design. The web is such a gray area though, with content owned by the client anyway, it is difficult to draw the line of who owns what. I prefer an easy "the client owns everything" approach! Having a signed contract will prevent misunderstandings once your website project is underway, as well as hidden costs that you may be unaware of.

2. WORKING WITH SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT UNDERSTAND YOUR VISION

Find a designer who will collaborate with you, and who will learn about and understand your business or enterprise. Your website should be a reflection of you/your company, not of your designer.

3. WORKING WITH A TECHNICIAN, NOT A DESIGNER

Work with a design professional. Someone who just "understands the software" will not give you a professional look and feel. They need to be trained in and have an aptitude for excellent design!

4. NOT UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUDIENCE

Know your audience! Technologies that are inappropriate can drive your audience away. Will your audience be using a dial-up connection or have cable access? A cable connection will allow you to use Flash or other high-bandwidth options. Will they need to print out your content, such as a concert schedule? Then Flash could be deadly. For a musical ensemble, you will want to consider sound clip samples of their work. The list goes on and on.

5. NOT USING A PROFESSIONAL WRITER

Use a professional writer for your content. People surfing the Web are usually looking for information quickly - just using your existing brochure or print media copy may be too involved to hold their attention. Also, grammar is extremely important - a poorly worded sentence can drive people away.

6. NEGLECTING TO CHANGE YOUR COPY REGULARLY

Keep your site updated. If people repeatedly go to your site and see the same information each time they go, they will assume it has been abandoned and may not return. A 2001 concert schedule for 2004 just will not work!

7. ALLOWING YOUR DESIGNER TO OWN YOUR DOMAIN NAME

Own your own domain name, and be sure you - NOT your designer - are the main technical and billing contact. If you want to change your hosting or designer down the road, or if they go out of business, you do not want to face difficulties in retrieving this important information. You can always give your designer the access they need, but you need to be in control of that information.

8. BEING INCONSISTENT WITH YOUR BRAND IDENTITY

Be consistent with your brand identity. Your site, printed materials and all promotional materials should be unified and consistent in their design and message. If you do not have printed materials before you begin your website design you might want to consider having them created before or at the same time as your site.

9. OFFERING HARD-TO-FIND CONTACT INFORMATION

Your contact information should be clear. This seems obvious, but from the number of sites I visit and cannot find a simple phone number, people are not paying attention to this!

10. BEING SLOW TO RESPOND

Be responsive when people contact you through your site. This includes answering email requests and fulfillment of merchandise orders in an appropriately timely fashion.



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