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What Is Website Design?

What Is Website Design?

Your business needs a snazzy new website pronto. Thankfully, expert web development and web design in Tweed Heads, Big Rock Graphics has got you covered.

However, before you start on the journey of creating your website, you need to make sure you know what web design is so that you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Web design is often conflated with web development, but the two concepts are quite different and require different sets of skills. To put it simply, web design revolves around the aesthetics of the website, whereas web development revolves around the functionality of the website. If web development is the engine of a car, web design is the car’s beautiful body and paint job.

Web designers need to ensure a balanced layout with contrasting colours to create an appealing look and feel to the website that doesn’t feel overstuffed nor empty. They need to know which elements need highlighting and then how to do so without making users feel herded like cattle towards clickbait. They need to ensure that the website feels internally consistent and that it aligns with your brand.

Most importantly, they need to ensure that the website conveys a sense of unity and wholeness.

These are the overlapping yet distinct aspects of web design:

User Experience

Web designers specialise in crafting a pleasing user experience. Good web design will be based on extensive research into the aesthetic sensibilities and website needs of your target audience. This might involve a degree of testing and revision to get it just right. The user experience aspect of web design is focused on a holistic approach to the conceptualisation of the website.

User Interface

Where the user experience aspect of web design is about crafting a good overall foundation on which to build the concept of the website, the user interface development is all about crafting the specific look and feel of the website. This involves designing individual elements and ways for users to interact with those elements in ways that serve the user experience.

Visual Design

Visual design is precisely what the term implies. It involves visual creativity and artistry to draw, design or source imagery and other visual elements of your website – all in service to the overarching user experience and user interface that has been carefully and strategically developed. Here designers will use specialised software and training to bring the creative vision to life and also to iron out any other design problems that might be encountered.

To bring your website to life, you need professional web design in Tweed Heads. Contact Big Rock Graphics to find out how we can make your website dream a reality!

What You Need to Know for Your First Website Build Part 2: Functions, Approval and Maintenance

What You Need to Know for Your First Website Build Part 2: Functions, Approval and Maintenance

Recently we released a blog titled, ‘What I Need to Know for My First Website Build which discussed the basics of putting your website together. The blog provided first-timers a good idea of what they would be in for with regards to the web building process and starting a new website from scratch.

In this follow-up blog, we will delve into what you will need to know about the final stages of your website build once you have completed all the steps in our blog Part 1.

Functions

So, you’ve hired a professional web designer who has completed the layout, design, and web pages of your new website. It has all been finalised, and your site is taking shape and is looking great!

Now it is time to think about the functionality of your site. Have you tried out your website for yourself? How does it function?

No matter the type of website, it needs to be fully functional and incorporate functions that add extra value. When it comes to sites, after all, functionality is critical. A professional web designer should be able to advise you on which functional features will suit your brand’s goals and visions.

Let us outline a few recommended functional features you need within your website:

  • Social Integration: Social media is essential to your success in the digital sphere, and there should be an encouragement for your website viewers to pop over to your social media profiles. You can do this by social integration, a function that automatically displays a few of your latest social media posts on your site.
  • Navigation Tools and Tabs: Functionality through website navigation should be easy and visible. Have clearly defined navigational tools will ensure effective website functionality and usability.
  • Intuitive Website Forms: With the use of cutting-edge technology, web builders can create intuitive website forms that appeal to the individual based on time spent on the site, pages looked at, demographics, etc. Your online forms must be easy, quick, and functional as this will turn viewers into customers and guarantee filled-in forms.
  • Information Architecture and Layout: Content affects functionality, so it’s essential to have high-quality information as well as neat, streamlined information architecture. This improves the functionality, readability, and usability of your company’s website.
  • Page Loading Speed: How does each web page function in terms of loading? Does your website function fast with each page boasting fast page loading speed?

There are many more functions and capabilities that websites can handle but it all boils down to the needs of your target market, and how to make your site accessible, enjoyable, and easy to use for them.

What you need to do is research your functionality options and discuss them with your site builder.

Final Build

The final build of your website will entail the web builders and designers putting all the finishing details on your site to ensure that it is in optimal working condition and exactly what you envisioned. Some of the most important of these finishing touches include:

  • Mobile Compatibility
  • Accessibility
  • Fast Page Loading Times
  • Well Planned Information Architecture
  • Browser Consistency
  • Effective Navigation.
  • Good Error Handling
  • SEO friendly and/or an SEO campaign
  • Well-Formatted Pages
  • Testing of Functions

The final build stage may require you to add tweaks here and there to ensure that your site is exactly as you want it. If there are a few things that you’re unsure about, you shouldn’t stress as you can always make further tweaks at a later stage.

You want your final product to be a fully optimised and fast loading website.

Optimised Content

Before your site goes live, it is highly recommended that all your pages make their debut into the world wide web with optimisation already in place. SEO is very content dependent, and you should ensure that the web copy on your site has been written by a SEO professional, with all the necessary keywords being used to up your site’s rankings from the get-go.

SEO is one of the only effective ways to get organic traffic, which should be on of your aims!

Approval

The approval stage of your site build includes having you, the client, approve the final product that the site builders and designers have come up with. If you have other members on your team that are involved in the website build, you may need to show them the final product too before confirmation of approval. You may be given a certain time-frame by which you need to approve the site.

At this point, the site would have been fully tested for any flaws, had its browser compatibility checked, as well as all its functionality. It should be running in perfect order.

Take your time on approving your site. Future adjustments can easily be made but it is better that you are happy the first time around. Upon approval, you will most likely be required to pay the site builder for their billable hours.

Each website design and development company works differently. Some may offer you an all-inclusive package with a set number of changes, while others will include ongoing changes for monthly or yearly subscription fees. Make sure you choose the right billing system that will suit your business model.

Maintenance

Unfortunately, once your website is up and running it is not the end of the work that you need to put into it. Look at a website like a living thing that needs to be looked after to function correctly. A timeless and effective site should not require much maintenance, but there will be tweaks and checks needed if you want to continue to see growth in your traffic, customers, and Google rankings.

Keeping your website up to scratch will ensure that you stay ahead of the curve and well ahead of your competitors. While it may be tempting to cut corners and let a few maintenance tasks fly off the radar, it would be an insult to your original investment if you did not take your website maintenance seriously.

You don’t purchase a new vehicle and not have it serviced regularly; do you?

Do not let your web maintenance needs be forgotten about. Your site builder will most likely offer a maintenance package for tasks that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. It is best to stick with the website developers and designers who created your site as they will know how it works inside out and be able to provide effective maintenance.

Each site is unique and will require slightly different maintenance. Higher traffic eCommerce websites for example may require full daily server backups. For instance, as a guide, maintenance checks should be inclusive of the following:

Daily Maintenance

  • Malware and vulnerable framework/plugin scans. Remove, update, or replace as required.
  • Review attempted intrusion attempts and take appropriate steps to close potential vulnerabilities

Weekly Maintenance

  • Look for any 404 errors and fix them
  • Search for broken links and them
  • Backup your website database
  • Check how each page loads
  • Post a blog post to keep your audience interested. Use the blog for SEO purposes to insert your marketing keywords too.
  • Get rid of any spam in the comments and reviews
  • Respond to comments and reviews if need be
  • Ensure forms are working correctly
  • Make any necessary software updates

Monthly Maintenance

  • Review your security features
  • Website database optimisation
  • Image optimisation. Preferably, this should be done before upload
  • Check website analytics and analyse all data and statistics (eg. Google Analytics)
  • Update any info on blogs or throughout your site that may need to be changed.
  • Full off-site website framework and content backups

Yearly Maintenance

  • Reference should include the current year
  • Review the content of the entire site
  • Complete off-site server backup
  • Renew your website domain name (2 yearly in the case of .AU domains)
  • Improve some design elements as needed

It is important to set aside some of your marketing/operational budget for your website maintenance. It is worth it to provide it with fresh content, to assist with search engine rankings, and to keep your website secure.

Looking for the best company to build your very first website and assist with all of those final touches, as well as website maintenance?

At Big Rock Graphics, we have dealt with many first-time clients and have a true passion for bringing brand new website concepts to life.

Allow us to be the team that creates an extraordinary website for your brand.

Contact Big Rock Graphics today!

I’ve Never Ordered A Website Before. What Do I Need to Know?

I’ve Never Ordered A Website Before. What Do I Need to Know?

Whether you are having a new website built for a brand-new company, or you’re venturing out for the first time into the online world of websites, there are definitely a few things that you’ll need to know before you get started.  While you need not know the technical details that go into website building, it’s beneficial to have an idea of the project requirements as well as the building and designing process.

But first, ensure that you choose an expert website designer so that they can offer guidance along the way, and so that the end product is a site you can be proud of!

As professional website designers and builders, Big Rock Graphics has dealt with many first time website clients, and we have used this experience to provide you with the following information.

Why You Need a Website

Well done on realising that your brand needs a website: because it does. In the digital age that we live in, a business would suffer greatly if they did not have a fully optimised website where their details, products and services were listed.

What Information You Will Need to Provide: Before the Build

Before your professional website designer starts building your website, there are some things that you’ll definitely need to know, and some information that you will need to provide the designer with. This may include:

  • Define Your Purpose – What is the purpose of the site that you want to build? Is it an e-commerce site designed to sell your products or is the site you wish to create purely informative.
  • Choose a Platform – Most professional web designers will work with a variety of platforms and give you options when it comes to platforms for your site. While the web builder may be able to recommend a platform that suits your brand, it is best to do some of your own research about the different platforms available so that you can make a completely informed decision.
  • Choose A Website Name, Address and Register A Domain – Choose a web address that has your brand’s name in it and that is easy to remember. You may get thrown off a bit if your first choice of web address is not available, but ensure that you think clearly before settling on a web address.
  • Know Your Budget – While your budget should not be too small when investing in a quality website, you want to ensure that you can afford the web designer services as well as the monthly web hosting fees before you agree to anything. Remember that you can always add more advanced and costly features at a later stage.
    Big Rock Graphics offer a range of solutions for payments, from interest-free set contract periods, to low cost ongoing monthly packages which include ongoing hosting and maintenance fees.

To expedite the process, it is best that you gather all this information before you start talking to a web designer. With the information above, a website developer should be able to secure a domain name for you. This can be done at the very early stages of a business idea, and you could even wait a while to develop your business strategies and goals before starting the design stage.

What Information You’ll Need To Provide: In The Beginning Stages

Now it’s time for the design process! And no better time to have a detailed brief ready to go. During the beginning stages of a website, your website designer should be in regular contact with you to discuss different site features, the look and feel, the content and images etc. During this stage you may need to provide the following information:

  • Template – The web designer may show you a variety of templates appropriate for your business and you will have the final say of which template is used. In order to make the decision easier, you should have a clear vision for your site and what features it will need in order to serve your customers effectively. Research a few websites from other businesses similar to yours and get a feel for what templates they use.
  • Colour Scheme – If your business is fully fledged already, your marketing department could provide the web designer with the colour schemes of your current marketing material for inspiration. If not, you may have to come up with a colour scheme on your own, or ask your web designer for their thoughts. Perhaps save links of existing websites that have colour schemes that you think could work well for your busines website.
  • Logo – Your business logo is something that should appear multiple times throughout your website. If you are not proud of your logo, you may want to consider having it redesigned. If you do not have a logo at all, most web designers also provide graphic design services and can probably create an eye-catching logo that works cohesively with your site for an additional fee. Your logo should also be in the correct file formats so be sure to have those handy.
  • Target Audience – Who is your website aimed at? Having a defined target audience is very important for every aspect of your site; from the layout to the language that is used in the content. If you don’t know who your target audience is, it’s imperative that you do some market research to find out a bit more about your ideal customer before the beginning stages of your website take place. It would be futile to market towards the wrong audience.
  • All Brand Details – It’s important for the web designer to know as much about your company as possible. If you have a company profile, be sure to send it through to them. Also ensure that you have all of your basic info, such as location and contact information easily accessible as this will need to be loaded onto the site.
  • Photos – Do you have high-quality images of your business premises, products, staff and services? While you can always use stock images on your site (there are some great ones out there), it is always best to allow your individual brand voice speak for itself through your own photographs. You may want to consider hiring a professional photographer to get some high-quality shots of your premises, staff and products before embarking on creating a brand new website.
  • Email Address and Social Media – If you do not already have a dedicated email address for your business, you may want to look at creating one so that it can be added to your website. You should also seriously consider creating social media profiles on various social platforms for your business so that social media links can be added to your site, and website links can be added to your social media pages. A website and social pages work best when in unison.

Having all this information ready for your website developer (builder) will assist in giving them a clear and concise idea about what you want and make the entire process of building your website easier, and faster.

What to Expect During the First Stages of the Process?

While your excitement to have your very first website ready and live on the web may override your patience, it is important to remember that great website design and development takes time. The process, while not too lengthy, can take time.

Also remember that the process of website development is a cohesive one so be prepared to work closely with your designer and be readily available to review drafts, check changes and approve different elements of the website. The process also involves, or should involve, many drafts.

Professional designers always ensure that different website options are provided to allow for choice, along with different drafts throughout the different building stages.

A Website is an Investment

A website can stay with your business for life. While it may require ongoing platform/framework updates or initiating SEO/SEM campaigns, if you invest in a quality website in the beginning you won’t need it redone in the future. Your website acts as the online face of your brand, so you want to create the right impression with an optimally-functioning, attractive website.

Knowing the details of your company and having a clear vision for your website will help ensure that your site accurately reflects your brand’s voice.

Need to know more?

Looking for the best company to build your very first website?

At Big Rock Graphics, we have dealt with many first-time clients and have a true passion for bringing brand new sites to life. Allow us to be the team that brings your website vision to life.

Contact Big Rock Graphics today!

7 Top Elements of Good Quality, Impactful Website Design

7 Top Elements of Good Quality, Impactful Website Design

“First impressions last.” A saying that many of us use daily, but don’t always live up to. It’s one thing to dress smartly to work or to rent professional-looking office premises to run a business from. However, what happens when it’s an online business platform at stake?

Every day, website designers around the globe set out to create virtual platforms that attract and keep the attention of potential clients. What exactly is it that they do to make these websites useful? This article explores the top elements that make for effective web design.

#1: A Platform with A Layout That’s Easy on The Eye

The most crucial function of web design (or any other type of design, for that matter) is to create a visually appealing product. Keep this in mind, because traffic is more likely to convert into leads if website users like what they see. Also, make sure the design is simple and uncluttered so that navigation is easy for users.

#2: Consistency in Visuals, Copy, Throughout the Website

There must be a golden thread that runs through the website so that it tells a coherent story about the business. This message can be contained in the copy, images, graphics, and other content on each webpage.

#3: Attaching the Right Images to Communicate the Intended Message

Careful consideration must be paid when selecting images that go with the text, as every piece of communication – visual or otherwise – must be intentional. Quality stock images or brand-specific photoshoots work best.

#4: A Colour Scheme That Is Carefully Thought Out

Colour is a crucial aspect of visual communication. It’s essential to choose the right ones while putting together the graphics for a website.

#5: Navigation That Users Can Follow Naturally

The last thing you want is for your website’s users to be confused about where to go and what to do. Create a flow of content that makes sense, from information to action-based pages.

#6: The Most Important Information Comes First

Whatever you do, place the copy with the most crucial information at the top of the page. Users process information from the top-down and from left to right, so make sure you answer significant questions from the onset.

#7: Compatibility with A Variety of Devices

Last, but not least, make sure that the website will present beautifully from a smartphone to a laptop. If it means tweaking the design slightly from platform to platform, then so be it. Just focus on a consistently appealing and usable platform.

Every profession has its own rules, both written and unwritten. These are a few of our most important ones. Looking for great website designer and developer near you? Contact Big Rock Graphics today.

Why Using Video Production Services For Point-of-Sale Is A Growing Trend

Why Using Video Production Services For Point-of-Sale Is A Growing Trend

In an age where technology improves the lives of people all around the world, businesses can stand to similar benefit, with a little creativity and planning. Many are increasingly using it to advance the way business transactions are done, face to face.

The way we make purchases at our favourite restaurants and retail stores have improved over the years, and we now can complete purchases quicker and ever before. Savvy businesses are starting to realise that point-of-sale (POS) systems can be further enhanced to create an even speedier and more efficient shopping experience for customers.

How? Through video production services.

What Makes Video Production POS (Point-Of-Sale) Great?

Nobody likes to spend time in a queue, no matter how short it is. There isn’t much to see or do as you approach the POS area, which means that as a business owner this is valuable time and space being wasted – where a captive audience is all but guaranteed.

Enlisting video production services to create content that people can watch at this point is incredibly useful, for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s Novel – the modern consumer isn’t used to seeing adverts in a store – or any video content for that matter. This means they’re more likely to pay attention to the message being broadcast, as unlike watching TV or browsing YouTube, it can’t be skipped. According to research, over 70% of consumers surveyed cite the checkout process as instrumental in influencing how they view a store. Why not try improving this experience for them?
  • It Can Communicate Unique Concepts – some concepts are challenging to explain or demonstrate without video or are simply more effective with video. Think about a new stain remover product – will reading about it convince you to buy it, or will seeing before and after images of a shirt cleaned using it be more effective?
  • It’s Easy To Track – if you create video content to promote something specific, you can directly track its efficacy by broadcasting a special discount code on the product or service and tracking how often it’s used.

When it comes to creating POS videos, the sky is the limit as to what you can create.

Do you want to promote your CSI efforts? An upcoming event or anniversary? A seasonal sale?

For more information on how you can make your business grow, and provide better in-store services for your clients through video production, call Big Rock Graphics today.

Graphic Design Trends That Will Dominate 2019

Graphic Design Trends That Will Dominate 2019

When it comes to website design, the right colours, typography and spacing can communicate a concept or idea better than a thousand words can – if executed correctly and with a bigger picture in mind. It’s something that impacts how people view your brand and can encourage or discourage them from leaving their email address or buying something.

While the fundamentals of website design might change, its visual approach will evolve over time. After all, one only needs to look at a website from as little as ten years ago to see what an impact this can make. To keep your site from being seen as old and outdated, it helps to keep up with graphic design trends.

Here are a few that are worth implementing this 2019.

3D Design and Typography

The beauty of three-dimensional designs is that they add an incredible amount of depth, making the words or images being used seem like they’re leaping out towards you. Abstract compositions and shapes also work well here. #D typography can work with a variety of fonts, and Skinny, Bold, Consolas or Script fonts are well suited to be delivered in 3D.

For a simple but effective update, you could create a 3D version of your brand logo or mascot.

Asymmetrical Layouts

Grid-based designs are falling away as bespoke asymmetrical designs are becoming more popular. Using asymmetrical layouts, however, demands attention to detail. If done correctly it will grab the attention of anyone visiting your site as it creates visual tension and is something they wouldn’t be expecting to see.

Make sure that this approach carefully balances big, small, contrasting and neutral elements to prevent it from becoming an eyesore.

Art Deco

Modern isn’t always better, and Art Deco is an example of a style born decades ago that can still be used today. As certain brands realise they can capitalise on the potential of their classic or retro appeal, art deco has become a popular choice of style for website design. Think delicately lined artwork, metallic hues and aerodynamic curves.

These are just three possible design design trends that you could apply to your online presence. Of course, it will depend on your brand identity, target market and many other factors. Your best bet is to contact a professional design company like Big Rock Graphics. We’ll help you select and apply the most appropriate design trends to your website – for a cohesive finish that attracts the right kind of attention.

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