Making the Designer Work For You

Written by Sean Rice

Wanted: Web Designer. Must know PhotoShop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, .ASP, PHP, JSP. Needed to build ‘brochure-style’ web site for small business.


I made this classified ‘help wanted’ ad up out of my head, but every freelance designer recognizes it. Many experienced clients do, too: They used to write classified ads just like that before they learned what a designer was and how to getrepparttar most out ofrepparttar 148395 ones they hire.

This article is a guideline for clients who plan to hire a web designer for their business. It is also written for designers as a guideline of what is expected of them in a world that expectsrepparttar 148396 mere ‘designer’ to wear many new hats.

First, what is a designer?

Design is a field based on ideas and concepts. Designers do not merely come up with ideas and execute them (more on what a production artist is, later). A good designer works withrepparttar 148397 client to definerepparttar 148398 problems that need to be solved, finds new opportunities that a client may not have considered, and managesrepparttar 148399 business resources needed to makerepparttar 148400 solution a reality. A good designer also breathes life and vividness into what could be merely a good idea.

The client that expects a designer merely to layout a good-looking page with cool graphics may get that. However,repparttar 148401 client will get only a ‘cool web site’ and will miss out on all ofrepparttar 148402 business value a designer has to offer.

So, how do work with a Designer to getrepparttar 148403 most bang for, what some consider, a lot of bucks?

You get what you ask for.

If you want a generic, thoughtless web site, then write a generic, thoughtless classified ad.

Considerrepparttar 148404 advertisement atrepparttar 148405 beginning of this article. The ad asks for nothing, really. I haven’t personally met a designer that didn’t fit every one ofrepparttar 148406 graphic software requirements, and haven’t met many that were good at all ofrepparttar 148407 programming languages. So essentially,repparttar 148408 client has made a call for any and all web designers that know how to make images and web sites.

Step 1. Articulate a very clear and actionable design brief.

Period. End of story. If you get this one step wrong, you will be asking for (and getting) uninspired, derivative work which will impact your business negatively for years to come. When you hire an experienced designer (and you will, because you have read this article) they will be able to help you distillrepparttar 148409 problem down to its essentials and even explore issues you may not have thought of.

The design brief containsrepparttar 148410 following information:

Who are you?
  • What your business does
  • How long has your business been around and how large is it (employees and staff)
  • What is your niche market?
  • How does your company fit withinrepparttar 148411 industry sector?

  • What objectives does your business hope to achieve? Be specific if you can, but if not, let your designer help you set realistic objectives. Let him/her know that your objectives are vague and that they need to be defined. Are you trying to generate sales? Gather information? Generate name and brand recognition?

  • Who isrepparttar 148412 designer trying to communicate to? What gender, age, demographic, income… any information you give helpsrepparttar 148413 designer visualizerepparttar 148414 audience.


Inexperienced clients hate this part. Two issues come up: The client doesn’t know how much a web site is supposed to cost, orrepparttar 148415 client is afraid thatrepparttar 148416 unscrupulous designer will run uprepparttar 148417 cost. The first issue I will write about, later. Forrepparttar 148418 second, I will say thatrepparttar 148419 client should be aware of who they are hiring. References help weed outrepparttar 148420 unsavory to a certain extent. Simply understanding what you are paying for also helps.

In any case,repparttar 148421 cost of a designer that creates a Golden Gate bridge made out of real gold when you only have a budget for steel…? Alternately,repparttar 148422 designer who figures for a $3500 e-Commerce site when you have $1,000,000 set aside to becomerepparttar 148423 next Victoria’s Secret isn’t saving money.
  • What is your budget range? High, low, target.
  • Time Frame. What’srepparttar 148424 deadline, what milestones are you planning for thatrepparttar 148425 designer needs to know about?
  • Other info that will help. (Please! If you haterepparttar 148426 color Yellow, now would be a good time to mention it.)


The roadmap.

Here, again, your designer may be able to help you design repparttar 148427 path that will get you fromrepparttar 148428 ‘Point A’ of your objective, to ‘Point B’. Do not be afraid to rely on a designer’s ability to scrap every vision you had of your future web site (includingrepparttar 148429 daydream about repparttar 148430 animated Flash Introductions).

Step 2. Develop a well articulated strategy for achieving your objectives. Also, remember to go back after you’ve developed your strategy and ask, "Does it actually achieverepparttar 148431 objectives?" Sometimes, allrepparttar 148432 brainstorming and writing will cause us to forget whatrepparttar 148433 strategy was all about inrepparttar 148434 first place.

Getting Support from within your organization

Designers and Client contacts always miss this step and always act surprised when all their work is met with stony silence byrepparttar 148435 rest ofrepparttar 148436 organization. If you arerepparttar 148437 owner, don’t get arrogant about your employees’ approval. I’ve seen great designs become sources of low moral forrepparttar 148438 simple reason thatrepparttar 148439 owner was trying to shove it downrepparttar 148440 company’s throat. If your employees / colleagues / bosses do not like a design, it will never succeed as well as it could.

Get their input and advice.

Letting your designer move in with you.

Ifrepparttar 148441 designer asks for a tour of your business and time to wander around and get a feel for your business culture, you already know that you’ve struck gold. Let them. Give them a hard hat if you need to and let

Converting Visitors into Subscribers

Written by Javier Salces

Copyright 2005 Javier Salces

Visitor conversion is a challenge faced by every marketer.

If you're spending money to generate traffic, you want to do everything possible to ensure that traffic isn't wasted. This means getting more bang for your buck by convincing more visitors to subscribe to your list.

In other words, conversion improves your return on investment and limitsrepparttar temptation of spending more money on more traffic.

If your opt-in list isn't converting as well you expected, there are several target elements you can experiment with to improve your opt-in rates:

1. Web Copy

Isrepparttar 148372 copy on your site effective? Poorly written copy is one ofrepparttar 148373 first culprits to investigate. Start by evaluating your headline. Is it enticing? Does it pullrepparttar 148374 reader in? A boring headline can cause people to click away without even readingrepparttar 148375 rest ofrepparttar 148376 page. Check your main copy as well.

Do you explainrepparttar 148377 benefits of list membership? People always want to know what's in it for them. Make sure you offer them plenty of reasons to sign up.

2. Incentives

Incentives provide additional benefits and additional reasons to join your list. If you aren't doing so already, offer a unique course, e-book or piece of software for free as a bonus to subscribers. Many times this will convert hesitant visitors into subscribers.

People love freebies and they also can't resist satisfying their curiosity.

3. Make it easy to join

Have you placed your subscription box in a prominent place onrepparttar 148378 page? Some list owners always place their subscription box atrepparttar 148379 top ofrepparttar 148380 page, while others place it atrepparttar 148381 very bottom. Either position can work well, but if you have a lot of copy to wade through, you might consider placingrepparttar 148382 box withinrepparttar 148383 body copy at logical points. Remind your readers why they are there and what action you want them to take.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
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