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Art Attack Computer Designs

What you should know before you choose someone for your website.

With limited industry regulation and thousands of people out there claiming to be ‘web designers’ or ‘web developers’ ranging from large advertising agencies to students working from their bedrooms, how do you pick one that will be right for your business? Here are some tips if you want to be sure your website and your web designer to be professional:

  • Industry experience – the web industry is relatively young, but it also didn’t start yesterday. Make sure your designer has been around for at least a few years as so many don’t last long enough to support you once your site is up, or even before it is up!
  • Experience in web design, development and usability – websites are a combination of good looks, technical build and flow of information. Make sure the company building your site has a balance of graphic design and technical skills, as well as knowledge about how people navigate and search online. In most cases, a team with these individual skills creates the best outcome together.
    A ‘developer’ usually has a programming or similar background which means that your site will work well technically, but look unprofessional, lack impact or be very ‘techy’. On the other hand, a web designer with a graphic design background may make the site look professional, but often lacks the knowledge of the correct way to build the site for search engines and other technical issues which may cause problems later or restrict how you use the site in the future. Usability or ‘information design’ is not something most web design companies know very much about. It is about understanding how your users will navigate and find information on your site and putting their needs first. Ideally, look for a company with in-house graphic design, web development/programming and usability skills available who all work together on your website.
  • Size of the company – so many clients come to us when they have lost everything to do with their website. They have paid a one-man-show to develop their site and the person has then vanished overseas when they have problems with their site, or even before it is up. If ongoing support is important to you and you don’t want to risk losing your whole site, make sure the company you use is not a single operator who could leave you in the lurch should anything happen to them.
  • Range of clients – your web company should be able to provide you with a list of clients and references they have worked for in a broad range of industries. The broader the range of industries, they broader their range of experience they can bring to your work.
  • Portfolio – the company you choose should be able to show you a portfolio of their work and explain the background and reasoning behind the designs.
  • Industry accreditation – Accreditation and industry association membership is not widespread in Australia, but it does indicate that a company is committed to certain standards and ongoing professional development. Check if your web company is a member of a recognised organsiation such as the Web Standards Group (WSG), Australian Web Industry Association (AWIA) or Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA).
  • Clear processes – Does the company have clear, documented information on how your project will proceed, what they will do and by when?
  • Expectations – Do they have a Customer Service Charter or an outline of their commitment to you? What are their expectations of you as the customer and what you need to provide before and during the project?
  • Listening – Do they listen to your needs? Are they asking questions that make you feel comfortable that they what to do what you need, not what they want or have done before? Are they really listening to you?
  • Clear & Simple – Do they explain everything in clear, simple language you can understand? The web industry is full of jargon and technical information, but there are simple ways to explain things without taking down to you.
  • Advice – Do they offer advice and information or are they a bit ‘secretive’?
  • Information – Do they have free planning guides, information sheets, etc. which you have access to?
  • Support – Do they provide ongoing support? Do they have options for different levels of support you may want in the future?
  • Training – Do they provide training and written instructions with their products, particularly with any content management systems (CMS)?
  • More for later – Do they provide options to add ‘modules’ to your website later as your business grows, such as e-marketing, a photo gallery, a Blog or more to full e-commerce?


© Article by Fiona Morsink-Ryan, Communications Director, Art Attack Web & Graphic Design, Sydney, Australia (

Tips for getting people to your website.

So your new or updated website is finally up and running. Yippee! It looks great and works really well for your customers, staff and suppliers thanks to all your planning, and to the Art Attack team. But just because you have a website doesn’t mean everyone in cyberspace will automatically find you!

Netcraft claims the total number of websites worldwide now exceeds 182 million (11/08). Of course depending upon what you do and don’t include, this number could be disputed, but of less dispute is that the figure has almost doubled in the past two years. Last year in the Asia-Pacific region alone, 258 million unique searchers conducted 20.3 billion searches monthly. So with all these websites and searches, how can you ensure some of that traffic is directed your way?

Well, it may sound basic, but all the marketing fundamentals still hold true. Here are some simple things you can do before you even start looking at Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for your site:

  • Tell people about your new website – tell customers, staff, suppliers, potential customers, family, friends, networking groups, local businesses – tell everyone!
  • Make sure your web address is prominently displayed on all your marketing material, stationery and signage – on brochures, letterhead, business cards, newsletters, email tags, signage, cars, everywhere. Nobody will find you if they don’t know your address and you don’t remind them on everything. The launch of your website is a great time to update your marketing material to ensure everything is current and directing traffic to your site. Everything you hand out which doesn’t have your web address is a lost promotional or sales opportunity.
  • Get some publicity for your new website. Write an article for your newsletter, send an e-newsletter, contact the local paper about a story, make up a banner, hand out flyers or do some advertising giving people a reason to go to your website. Make sure there is information they will find really useful on the site and keep the content fresh and current so they keep coming back. Even better, give them a special offer only available online.
  • Send an email newsletter or email to your database of business contacts with a link introducing the new site. Include a special deal or offer here as well to encourage them to have a good look around your site.

…And Keep Them Coming Back

Here are some other ideas for generating repeat visitors to your website:

  • Use a ‘What’s New’ section or page to keep customers up to date with developments in your products or services, company or industry. Ask if they would like to be notified of updates which gives you permission to contact them.
  • Establish yourself as an expert with regular advice columns, information sheets, handy hints or information your customers will find really useful. It makes their visit to your site worthwhile and gives you credibility by showing you know your stuff.
  • Free stuff. Everyone loves something for nothing! Try to give away something only people interested in your field would be interested in so that it is relevant to your target market. Make sure your logo and web address are on whatever you give away, be it screensavers, shareware games, utilities or PDF downloads of information. Something downloadable saves on handling and postage costs. Change your freebie regularly and let visitors know how often you do this to keep them coming back to your site. ‘New free downloads every week’ or ‘Click here to receive email notification of new downloads’ work really well. A ‘Tell as friend’ option spreads the word even further.
  • Free samples may work for you if you have a product your customers won’t be able to resist after trying. A small sample in exchange for an email address allows you to follow up, test customer reactions and hopefully take an order.
  • Coupons or discount vouchers which ban be placed on your website and printed off can make your customers feel they are getting an extra special offer. Customers are beginning to expect free extras or a cheaper price if they are shopping online. ‘Coupon banner ads’ for your product or service on non-competing websites with the same target market also enhances your SEO through links. Have a reciprocal arrangement where you exchange linking banner ads to benefit both of you. Make sure you have a short expiry date on the coupon to encourage customers to act quickly, and think about a ‘Send this coupon to a friend’ option too.
  • Consider a special promotions section that you update regularly.
  • A calendar of events keeps visitors informed of what your company is up to, what’s happening in your industry and also reinforces that your content and company are ‘up to date’.
  • Regular contests and competitions build traffic to your website. Answering a few simple questions to enter a contest allows you to gather information from your target market for research or to add to your database (as long as you ask permission). You can use the ‘tell a friend’ method or encourage customers even further by giving them an extra entry for every so many friends that sign up.
  • A ‘Tip of the Day’ or ‘Site of the Day’ may help with repeat visits.
  • An employment opportunities page may also encourage job seekers who are interested in your company or industry.
  • Encourage visitors to bookmark your site or relevant pages which are regularly updated – ‘Bookmark me now!’
  • Useful links from your site adds to the usefulness of your site as well as your SEO. Make sure visitors must move through at least part of your site before clicking away from you though.
  • Online chat sessions are becoming increasingly important for getting your product or company name out there, so invest some time in relevant online forums.
  • Bulletin boards or Blogs encourage interaction form visitors all over the world and are also becoming more critical to a website’s success every day.
  • Short surveys allow visitors to provide feedback and interact with you. Make sure they are short, simple, don’t include sensitive material and gather some relevant facts for you. Be clear on what you will do with the information, give a deadline and make sure you post the results if they are of interest to your audience.
  • Add some fun to your site with a cartoon, joke or some trivia as long as it is still professional and in keeping with your image. Don’t use anything which could offend your customers, but not being too serious could set your website apart.
  • More websites are using fun activities or games to keep people interested.
  • An email reminder service for updates or special events makes sure customers keep you in mind more often and visit your website more regularly.

© Article by Fiona Morsink-Ryan, Communications Director, Art Attack Web & Graphic Design, Sydney, Australia ( 

Further Reading – Internet Resources

Here are a few facts about the World Wide Web to get you thinking:

  • The Web turned 15 years young in April 2008.
  • In 2007, over 61 billion web searches were conducted every month worldwide.
  • The Asia-Pacific region had the most searchers – 258 million unique searchers conducted 20.3 billion searches monthly.
  • Netcraft claims the total number of websites worldwide now exceeds 182 million, which has doubled in the last two years.
  • 2008 e-commerce revenue is expected to total $230 billion in the US and $166 billion in Europe.
  • 2008 Australia/New Zealand e-commerce revenue is expected to reach $56 billion.
  • E-commerce revenue are expected to continue rising by at least 25% annually over the next 5 years worldwide.
  • Australians are the third largest online shoppers in the world behind only the US and UK.
  • Australians spent 38% more buying products and services over the internet than a year ago.

Depending upon what you do and don’t include, some of these figures could be disputed, but the online market is clearly huge and growing rapidly. What experts do not disagree about is:

  • Most commerce will be e-commerce someday very soon – i.e. the majority of transactions will be technology-based, so companies without a strong web presence will fall further behind.
  • Businesses without websites are already missing out on customers. More people every day routinely search websites for phone numbers, company and product information before contacting anyone. If you aren’t there, they will find your competitors!
  • Having a bad website is even worse that having no website at all! If your website looks bad, is confusing, or isn’t what your users want, they just won’t want to deal with you.

So how can you justify not investing a big part of your marketing budget on your website?

© Article by Fiona Morsink-Ryan, Communications Director, Art Attack Web & Graphic Design, Sydney, Australia (