How to Choose Web Design Company?

Web Design Company

There are many people on internet who call themselves as web designers and web design companies. Many people do it for fun, as a hobby or part-time. Web design companies full-time operations are way to go.. Web design companies doing it for living will take your project seriously. Make sure your web design company has done enough research on internet technologies.

5 firm steps for finding the right Web design company for you

1. Assess your needs:

A professional Web design company will work with you rather than for you. It will help you in defining your organization’s requirements. Still, you should have a basic idea of what your web site can do for you. Will it serve as an informative catalog? Will it grab new clients? Will it strengthen relationship with your existing clients? Will it serve the needs of your workers?

There are few initial requirements your organization should aware of:

The intended audience for the Web site

The intended goal of the project

Anticipated budget for the Web site

How the project will fit into a larger marketing/corporate scheme

The individuals/departments within your organization responsible for the project

These initial requirements will help you finding web design firm best suited for your project. You should document them and use them as a basis for evaluating each web design firm. This document will serve as your benchmark to measure each web design firm.

2. List Generation:

You can use many ways to search web design firm. There are strengths and weaknesses on selecting a method to search for web design firm. Combination of different approaches will be your best bet in hunt of web design firm for your project.

Competitors’ web sites:

Look for web sites of organizations that you like, mainly web sites of your competitors. Sometimes you have to look for web sites other than your industry. Mostly, web design firm includes site credits (example: developed by 4MDESIGNERS). You can simply visit web design firm’s web site and carry on your analysis. If you cannot find the credits on the site, feel free to contact the organization and ask which Web design firm is responsible for the web site? You can at least have some comments about that web design firm from the organization you will be contacting.

Ask your Social Circle and Family:

Ask your friends, colleagues and family which web design firm designed their web site, or if they otherwise recommend a web design firm. Find out what they liked or disliked about web design firm and about web site they developed for them. Few companies’ produces better results when they are given Start-Finish task while few are more inclined towards doing particular task.

3. Short List

By considering above mentioned you organization should create a short list of 4-5 web design firms that are best suited for your project.

Evaluate their work:

When its said evaluate, it means you have to evaluate their portfolio, kind of web sites they have developed. If you want to sell products online, you should look for proven ecommerce solutions web design firm has developed.

It’s essential that you research a web design firm’s work so you can evaluate their potential and quality standards. A web site does not have to be flashy or very interactive to hit the deck, but you must appreciate web design firm’s design sense. Also, consider hiring a firm familiar with your particular industry.

When evaluating web design firms, note geographical location of their clients. A Web design firm that has worked with clients in many geographical locations will have a more global approach to your Web site.

Avoid Freelancers:

Don’t select a freelancer for your project on a freelance basis, to design and develop your organization’s web site. It is rare to find a single person capable of handling all development, visual, technical and web marketing elements that make an effective web presence. More over, by depending on an individual, your organization is at risk of losing its time and money should anything occur to that one individual?

Determine what other products/services the Web design company can offer

What kind of value-added products or services can the design firm offer? Internet Marketing and Web site promotion? Newsletter or email campaigns? If your organization is not currently dealing with a print design agency, for example, this might be a factor for dealing with one group over another. Similarly, can the firm provide database and software development should your organization wish to Web-enable some of its existing systems or processes?

During this stage, your organization should make contact with the potential Web design firms that are on your shortlist.

4. Get Quote/Proposals

Good web design firm will always be ready to submit a proposal for your website along with defined timeline, deliverables and terms & conditions. When evaluating proposal, look how they communicate with you using their website and digital documents.

Maintain a list for each proposal, consisting of its strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of the respective Web design firm based on its other materials (Web site, portfolio, brochure, case studies, etc.).

5. Evaluate Proposals

After your organization has received all proposals, review and compare them with each other. How do they fare in terms of presentation? Do they present upgrade paths for your project, going beyond the needs of the immediate goals outlined?

6. Think ahead.

Over the past year, many of web design companies of different sizes have emerged, closed their operations or cut back. It’s important to ask web design company about long-term relationship.

Web Page Hosting – How Hosting For Web Pages Works

Web page hosting is something that every single web page on the internet has to have since web hosting services are required to have your site seen on the internet. If you want to host a web page on the internet, you will have to wade through thousands of hosting companies in order to find one to suit your needs.

If you are not armed with knowledge of web hosting terminology and technology, how can you possibly make an educated decision on which company should host your web page?

First, you should learn about the different types of web page hosting that are available on the internet. There are a lot of different kinds of web hosting but there are the most common ones used by web pages on the internet.

Shared Web Hosting
With shared web page hosting, numerous web pages are hosted on the same web server. All of these pages will share the same resources available on the server such as internet connection, hard drive space, CPU speed, RAM, etc.

While this is the most common kind of web hosting, it can be dangerous for a professional business because of the sometimes unreliable nature of shared web page hosting.

Virtual Dedicated Server
Virtual dedicated servers are also called virtual private servers. With this type of web hosting account, you are still sharing a server with other web pages but this time you have your own piece of the server’s resources that are dedicated to your site.

In all other aspects, it functions just like a dedicated server where you generally have your own IP address, can host numerous web pages, and have root access to your server.

Dedicated Server Hosting
A dedicated server hosting account is where you have an entire web server that only you get to use and you do not have to share anything with any other web pages.

Dedicated web hosting servers are offered in a number of different formats to suit the needs of a client. You usually get to choose the server specifications depending on your budget.

Colocation dedicated servers are purchased instead of leased servers that are maintained, connected to the internet and stored by a web hosting company.

Dedicated servers are generally assumed to be leased servers where you make a monthly payment to the web hosting service to have use of the web server.

Managed dedicated servers are higher priced leased servers that are managed and controlled by a web hosting company similar to the way a shared hosting account would be managed. Managed dedicated servers do not receive root access but will keep you from landing in a situation where you have messed up a server setting by playing around with something you didn’t have the knowledge to be doing.

Unmanaged dedicated servers are for webmasters that have the knowledge to maintain and even perform software updates to their own web server. This is the cheapest web server leasing option available but you will be responsible for your own machine.

Web Page Hosting Technologies
It is also important that you have a thorough understanding of web hosting technologies before you proceed with purchasing your web hosting account. Again, this is not a complete listing of the different technologies used by web servers and web site hosts, but they are the most important features that you should know about when choosing a web host.

Web Hosting Control Panels
There are actually quite a few different control panel software systems being used by hosting companies these days. Some of these control panels are designed by the companies using them so they can limit access to certain features of their choosing. Other control panels are widely used, powerful pieces of software that give you full control over your web site and the newest technologies available.

It is essential that you select a web hosting service that will give you full access to your site or else you may find yourself needing features that are not available to you. This is especially true when you start trying to install software scripts on your site.

CPanel is probably the most widely used web hosting control panel and is the recommended control panel that you should look for when selecting a hosting service provider.

Web Page Programming Languages and Databases
It is absolutely essential that you are aware of what programming languages and databases you may want to use before you choose a web host. Different scripts that are used for sites on the internet may only be compatible with specific versions of programming languages and databases.

Once you have determined what programming languages and databases you will need, you can search out a web host that can provide you with what your web site will need to run properly. Different web servers will have different versions of programming languages and databases installed on them, so you want to be sure that you will have access to the versions that you need.

Factors to Consider When Buying Bearings

In this guide, we are going to talk about the basic factors that you may want to consider when buying bearings for the first time. The factors we are going to talk about will have an impact on the cost and performance of the unit. Read on to find out more.

Size

Size matters when you are going to make this purchase. Based on the application, you may want to choose the right size bearing. For example, for most skating applications, 608 bearings are used. They are more common than the 7mm 627 bearings. On the other hand, other sizes like 688 are not that common.

As a general rule, we suggest that you consider a size that is designed for your wheels and axles. This way you can easily get the right size.

Materials

The efficiency of a bearing depends upon the friction. Bearings made of high-quality material can tolerate a high level of friction. For example, bearings made of steel alloys offer the highest level of toughness.

Aside from this, steel bearings are also very affordable. Moreover, coatings and components made from Titanium, ceramic or bronze can improve the performance, durability, and resilience of the product. If you want to get the best deal, ceramic is your best bet.

Rating

Some people consider the ABEC rating on a scale of 1 to 9 when purchasing bearings. But keep in mind that this system is designed for industrial applications. Therefore, if you need bearings for skating, you can choose “skate rated” products. In this case, you don’t need to invest in high-end, industry-standard products. It’s not worth the price you are going to pay.

Number of Balls

Traditionally, most bearings contain 7 balls for better balance, durability, roll, and speed. On the other hand, 6 ball bearings roll much longer and produce less friction, which makes them a great choice if you are looking for high speed and sustained skating.

Bearings that have eight balls in them can help you tolerate side loads. Aside from this, they are ideal for aggressive turning and high speed. Therefore, you may want to choose the right type based on your needs. With a little bit of research, you can choose that magic number.

Sealed vs Serviceable

Here you have two options to choose from. If you go for serviceable bearings, you can remove the plastic retainers or shields to access the bearings and re-lubricate them. The majority of high-end units fall in this category. You can clean and lubricate them for better performance. Plus, this practice can extend the life of your product.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Web Site

The old adage “if you build it, they will come” at one time applied to web sites right up until the internet bubble shattered into a million soapy shards. Now-a-days if the web site is used as a marketing tool (electronic brochure) and the objective of your web site is to produce sales, the site has to be different and stand out from other web sites – something that no one else has thought of and has brought to the web. That’s a very tough thing to do and will usually take a lot of hard work and maybe a venture capitalist or two to help with development costs of your latest and greatest widget. In today’s economy, the homeless are richer than most banks so to find a venture capitalist that will sink money into the web you better have more than just a what-if, if you build it, they will come (IYBI-TWC) rhetoric.

A service is tougher to sell to a customer because it isn’t a thing. A customer can’t touch it or control it. A service is not objective but subjective. A customer can’t have a free trial download of a service to test it out. So how should the executive protection/security industry sell a service on the web and do it at a reasonable cost?

As an example let’s take a look at two industry web sites. The first company, Company A, has a web site that contains high end graphics; fancy action shots, and in there is a list of services that they provide and contact information. Company A web site cost to build was $10,000. The second company, Company B, has low end graphics – simple design, no fancy action shots, list of services with prices, and contact information. Company B web site cost to build was $2,000. Now which industry web site is getting more out of their web site? One would naturally think the fancy, high end brochure on the web, right? But that is not necessarily the case.

The Company A web site is three years old and has the exact same content as day one. Same services, same content information, same old, same old. The company has applied the IYBI-TWC principle. Yes, it does get potential clients to use their services; but most of their clients have always used this industry service company for x amount of years so why change. Don’t get me wrong, this company is making money, but the same money, from the same clients. Same eyes looking at the site, same eyes buying the services. I call this approach the even keel – just hums along thinking everything is going great – but watch out for those icebergs.

Company B’s web site is also three years old, however, the company is always updating the site with new services, new schedules maybe a couple of articles related to client feedback or the services they provide. In other words the company is being proactive by managing their web site – keeping it fresh with new content. This does bring to the web site fresh eyes, and maybe new clients. But there is something else this company is doing – looking over the web site statistics. Web statistics sounds like a college math course, but in reality, most Web Hosting Companies make it real easy for you. Company B is getting the following information from visitors to their web site:

• What pages visitors look at and how often
• How often visitors stay on a page
• What time a day most visitors come to the site
• What web site referred their web site
• What search keywords led visitors to their site
• What country or state visitors are from
• Visitor ISP’s – military, government, education, commercial

Most of the information is standard and the hosting provider puts the data into nice bar and circle graphs. So how does Company B make stats work for them? Let me give you a few practical examples.

Search Keywords

Search keywords are key words that visitors have typed into Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc. and clicked a search result that led to the Company B web site. For example, Joe the Plumber is looking for a defensive driving course for his teenage son so he typed in Defensive Driving; Company B comes up in the search results. Joe the Plumber clicks the Company B link and visits the site. The upside for using this data is that Company B uses these keyword results to introduce new services and new content so that these visitors will purchase these services rather than continuing their search elsewhere. Now you wouldn’t want to do too many new services as that wouldn’t be financially prudent, but even posting new information such as links to articles or writing your own is doing two things – keeping visitors on your site and potentially getting new clients.

Visitor ISP’s

This bit of data tells the company what ISP’s people are using while visiting the site. Some are the usual suspects – Cox, Time Warner, Verizon, but a few might stand out like an ISP that ends with ‘.mil.’ or ‘.gov.’ Let’s put this to work for Company B. In checking the web statistics for December, Company B notices several visits from an ISP named bragg.army.mil. At the weekly Company B meeting the web statistics are reviewed with staff. A staff member knows someone over in Fort Bragg who does some training. She places the call, and gets Company B and Fort Bragg talking about some of their services. Fort Bragg says they have gone with Company A for several years and are satisfied with their services, but are interested in what Company B can do for them. Now in this hypothetical situation Company A’s even keel approach could be steering right into an iceberg and Company B could be starting a long term partnership with Fort Bragg.

Some visitor ISP could be commercial like Raytheon, Fidelity or Starbucks. Large companies like these run their own ISP’s and could also provide potential leads for clients. One word on Starbucks though, they rent out their ISP at local coffee shops, so if you see Starbucks in your Visitor ISP data, it most likely means someone logged into the Starbucks ISP and visited your site.

Referrals

Web referrals work like this: Company B posted an article related to their services but also gave good practical advice; another company, abc.com, put a link to Company B’s article on their web site. The web statistics will show a referral from abc.com. These statistics are also a good aide in garnering new eyes and potential new clients. It also does something else – networking and potentially supplemental income. Now that Company B knows that abc.com posts articles a dialogue has begun. Company B and abc.com now post articles and shared services on each other’s web sites. Things are going well between them they are talking about putting referral finder’s fees for the referral traffic.

A Thing about Hits

All Company B activities are going on while Company A sits and waits for the phone to ring or the email to ping. Company A has web statistics available but they don’t think the data is important – except for hits. They have a counter on their home page for all to see. 129,582 hits – looks and sounds quite impressive. But hits can be deceiving.

Technically speaking, a hit is a call to the server where the file is hosted and presents that file on the browser. So what does that mean? Let’s say there are 15 images on Company A’s web site home page. If one visitor clicks on the home page, that produces 16 hits – 15 for the image files, and 1 for the page itself. Now the counter will go up only one notch, but the web stats hit data for Company A will add sixteen. Let’s say that one visitor clicked on the home page ten times, the counter goes up ten – the hit data goes up to 160. Company A is thinking several different visitors went to their site, when it actually was only one person. So when you look at hits as a gauge on how your web site is doing – bigger isn’t always better.

Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Fundraising

Nonprofit fundraising is a complicated topic and a critical function. Nonprofits are in a unique position from businesses in that they cannot price their products and services to, well, make a profit. Operating budgets must be conceived from other sources than program revenues.

This is a guide focused on fundraising for nonprofits. It will discuss the following major topics:

1. Crafting a nonprofit fundraising strategy

2. Optimizing your organization

3. Kickstarting your donor development

4. Developing your marketing campaign

5. Leveraging grants and other funding opportunities

Before we begin, here is a brief background on funding.

How are nonprofits funded?

The following categories make up the bulk of funding for nonprofits:

Fees for Goods/Services from Private Sources – this is driven largely by hospitals and higher-education nonprofits who charge fees for services, tuition, etc.
Fees for Goods/Services from Government Sources – includes things like Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements
Government Grants – cash awarded to organizations with varying stipulations attached
Private Contributions – charitable donations and grants from private individuals, corporations, etc.
Investment Income – endowments make up a significant portion of income, especially among foundations

Where do donations come from?

Private contributions make up the largest portion of non-program-related revenue streams for nonprofits. These donations totaled $373.25 billion in 2015.

Of this amount, 71% came from individuals, while the rest came from foundation grants, bequests and other corporate philanthropy.

While this represents enormous potential, it brings even more enormous challenges for nonprofits looking to focus marketing and fundraising strategies on specific channels. The need for personal touch with most individual donors makes it hard to scale funding strategies focused on individual donors.

Craft the perfect nonprofit fundraising strategy

Any successful initiative requires a plan. To maximize your organization’s potential, it is important to understand where you are today and define specific paths to where you need to be in the future. A useful strategic plan for your fundraising function will provide a sense of direction for your organization and outline measurable goals to assess progress.

1. Establish a vision

The first thing you want to do is create an ideal version of your organization. Leslie Allen from Front Range Source published a good guide on the topic where she suggests you ask yourself the following questions:

A bit of administrative work should also be done now… specifically setting a budget for how much you wish to spend on this nonprofit fundraising strategy and an implementation timeline that you wish to achieve your goals by.

2. Understand your current state

Describe your organization as it exists today. This will form the foundation for which your strategy will be executed against.

You should take inventory of all the different funding sources you currently use and have used in the past. Try to rank and prioritize the effectiveness and quantity of funds raised from each one. Take note of what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t.

Take an external perspective if possible. If you can afford to audit your organization, do it. If not, be as unbiased as possible in determining how effective your organization performs in this area, and compare it to other organizations. Use either current employees or colleagues from outside the organization to get a picture of how other nonprofits perform.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses! If you are too overly funded by a specific source-let’s say a specific government grant that comes in each year and funds 90% of your budget-you need to address this. Like any business overly concentrated on one customer, you run the risk of being shut down, should the government grant stop.

Don’t limit yourself to single or few funding sources whenever possible. Make your organization invulnerable to things you can’t control.

3. Envision your future state

Use the answers produced in your vision creation to help craft your future state. Where the vision phase is about creating conceptual ideals for what your organization should look like, this phase should be about quantifying them.

Decide exactly what you want to concentrate on. If you decided that a focused nonprofit fundraising strategy was the way to go, make sure to document why it is the best course and what the benefits of this choice will be.

The result of this phase should be a set of goals that you want your organization to achieve.

4. Perform a gap analysis

By quantifying your future state and documenting where you stand today, your next step is to perform a gap analysis. It is critical to understand where all the major gaps are in your organization.

If you have 90% of your revenue coming from one government grant and your future state involves diversifying your revenue streams, then obviously here is a major gap in your strategy.

Always know your organization’s vulnerabilities. Prioritize what you think are the most critical gaps and areas that could produce the most impactful change if they are closed.

5. Connect the dots

The final step requires determining exactly what actions need to be done to achieve your desired state.

Break up the goals into key initiatives. You should ideally come up with a list of projects that can be executed on, each with different rankings for cost, effort, time, and impact.

Create a matrix that assesses each project against these four dimensions and rank the projects according to your priorities. If your strategy needs to be completed quickly with less regard to cost, then rank projects requiring less time higher. If you want the biggest impact of your initiatives, then rank those ones higher, with the understanding it might take longer and cost more than other projects.

Always understand the project management triangle of cost vs. scope vs. time. Any strategic decision will be based on these three constraints. Any change to one constraint necessitates a change in the others. Or else quality suffers.

Be sure to get all the right stakeholders involved in this priority setting process to make sure your strategic alignment matches your organization’s vision and your board’s idea of what needs to be done.

Optimize your organization for change

A common mistake among nonprofits is the lack of a single person who oversees the entire “money function” of the organization. It isn’t enough to have an individual who manages only government contracts, or only individual donors – you absolutely must have someone who oversees all cash flows into the organization.

Development director office

To ensure you hire or promote from within the right candidate for the job, you must be able to offer enough of a salary to entice someone to stay and grow the organization. Check competitive rates of not only nonprofit development directors, but also nonprofit CFOs, for-profit CFOs, etc.

It may be painful trying to come up with the money to pay someone to do this job-which is typically lower than executive director or other high-ranking positions in your organization-but it’s worth it.

You’re paying for people who spend 100% of their time focused on money. And in a few years’ time, they should be paying their own salaries with the work they’ve done to increase your organization’s capacity.

Build a business environment that enables development.

Beyond just funding the salary of your rock-star fundraiser, it is important to give this person authority over creating a team and office within your organization. By choosing the right person, you can ensure that they know exactly how many staff they need and what roles they need to hire to perform specific tasks (marketing plans, technology upgrades, cold calling, etc.).

Additionally, you must budget for costs like software, computer upgrades, marketing collateral, association dues, professional development, and so forth.

You want to create an environment that enables development success. In this way, you help retain top talent that can executive on longer-term strategies that have the highest potential for organizational growth.