We would rather not focus on the negative, but unless you are aware of how things can go wrong for a website, how can you hope to avoid them?
Here is a little guide to some of the most common mistakes and myths that people come across when having their websites built:
What is web design?
The term "web design" is used broadly to describe everything involved in getting a website up and running. However, DESIGN is only about how the site will look, how the navigation will work, what pages you will have and how they will function. This needs the skills of a graphic artist, a writer, and an editor.
Then the design has to be implemented into web pages. This is a completely different skill-set. Expertise in programming are used to turn your design into the code to make it work on the world-wide-web. The coding undergoes many hours of development to ensure your chosen design looks just right.
Then we thoroughly test your site. There is a lot more to our testing methods than just a visual check. The pages must load in a reasonable time. They must be accessible, and comply with the law. The code must be checked for standards compliance. The pages must be "search engine-friendly".
So as you can see, there is much more to "Web design" than the design!
"Graphics are not all that important"
Well if that were true, then the internet would be a very dull place. Of course, graphics are not as important as the content itself, but they are necessary because they focus the attention of the reader and draw them to key areas of the site.
It is often said that too many graphics can be detrimental to a website, because they take too long to load. Well yes, that somewhat true. However when used correctly, graphics are what makes a website stand out from the crowd and be noticed. They also maintain the visitors' interest, and that means they will stay on your site, look around, and most likely return regularly. If the design and associated artwork is properly optimized, this is not a problem.
"A website built in Flash is better than an Html site, right?"
The purpose of Html is to allow transfer of information (in the form of text), and files (such as PDF and pictures) across the world wide web. Flash is something different. It's basically a graphical representation of your web content. The problem is that there is nothing for a browser to read, so anyone who uses a screen reader will see nothing. Search engines will also see nothing, and will not be able to follow any links.
Flash does have it's uses, such as streaming video clips audio files. However, it most certainly should not be used as the platform on which to build your website, nor as any part of the site navigation.
A good implementation of a website design works well in any browser that a visitor cares to use. As web designers and developers, it is not our place to dictate what browser someone should use to view our sites!
Your domain name and hosting
This is your address on the world-wide-web. It should be as unique to you as the address to your house, and it is vital that you get this right. We can help you choose the right domain name, at a price that suits you. You may be offered a "sub-domain" by your chosen web designer. This means your website address will contain part of their website address too. This is a cheap method of getting a website address. Unfortunately it looks cheap too! This may discourage people from your site.
Equally important is your choice of hosting. Another cheap answer, which is to be avoided, is to use "free" web hosting space. For example, you might get some free space with your Internet service provider (ISP). This space is fine for putting your family photo album on, but for a serious business website you will need some dedicated hosting services. Dedicated hosting uses servers that are more robust, and have built-in failsafe systems to maintain "up-time". Our servers are dedicated to our websites only, and are housed within one of the UK's largest data-centres. You can be sure that your site is hosted safely, and backed up regularly by qualified engineers.