Do’s & Dont’s for web designers / entrepreneurs

The focus in web design is not discovering or expressing yourself, it is about solving business and communications issues! Of course you can ensure that the websites you created will look good, but many times it is important for the customer that he does what he should do. When things go well with a customer then you pick yourself the benefits!

Do’s and don’ts

As in life there are certain things you should not do as a freelance web designer (or entrepreneurs in general), and things you can do better. In this blog I will post some dos and don’ts that are you can do to be a better web designer/entrepreneur!

Do’s: ask for a deposit

A deposit ensures that a customer never in the middle of a project may decide that he prefers the sea to go with another agency or something. A major customer has a budget ready for a project, and there will be no trouble to get a deposit. You need not be uncertain about whether the customer is going to pay, and the customer knows where to stand.

The amount of the deposit is somewhat dependent on the size of the project. I use for smaller projects itself a deposit of 50% and a larger down payment of 30% of the entire project. For larger projects I work with a number of “milestones”, once a certain goal is get the customer an invoice and will be continued to the next phase of the project.

Do’s: quote as much details as possible

As the title suggests, you should make an offer of your work as detailed as possible. Try all elements of the project to specify in the offer so you have something to fall back on if the client desires additional gain in the course of the project. My experience shows that virtually all customers at some point in the project want something extra, and if you are the project components are not properly specified then you can sometimes get in a mess.

For example, you send a bid to broker a showing “Website for customers, $ 400.00.” The customer accepts the offer and it’s go time. You discuss with the customer in detail the project you will design, this works out to xHTML and CSS, and implements it within a CMS of choice. Okay, I’m done thinking to yourself, and mail your customers satisfied with the message that the website is ready. After a few days you get the following answer:

Dear Web Designer,

Last time I visited http://www.clientdomainname.com, I saw there is still a nice system which I can easily add homes where people can see immediately the house with a Google Street View thing, or something!

Can you do this as quickly as possible and make it free because this is also part of my website!

Sincerely,
Client

The above example might be a little extreme, but you know what I want to go. Suddenly you are confronted with a problem because you are making a similar system too much time / cannot make yourself / and is too expensive to outsource. You are mailing the customer back that unfortunately this is not possible, but not up to the customer. He demands that you make it because it belongs to a “website” and that he would not want the site if its not included! And oops, you’ve spent quite some time that you are not going to get paid, and since you’re obviously not been to your quote you’re not strong in your shoes (let’s assume that you not have asked for a deposit).

In short, if you clearly specify in your quote the components of the project, you ensure that your additional services are billed separately from the quote. Clients often choose to wait before implementing these changes until the project is completed, or they do not want to use the extra services. It does not matter, the original project is protected and you have no extra unpaid work.

Dont’s: do not overcharge the customer with unnecessary information

Keep it simple for the customer. Do not narrate unnecessary technical information or send files no matter what it is because you just want to sound like a professional. The client will only start whining and asking why everything is needed and how he can best use them. If you simply tell the customer what he needs to know exactly, then, he will be happy.

Dont’s: make infinite respond to requests from the client

Yes, of course you can do things for customers that are not described in the project. Especially if you still have hours left (assuming that you are going project based on a fixed-price), but watch out with it. Often a customer will order a few small things, and that therefore you should expect it. If you go once to indicate that the next small thing will cost money, they will not be happy and they will wonder why this has not previously cost money. Of course there are plenty of customers being so reasonable in order to understand this, but surprisingly often not.

Finish the project

You heard it right. For whatever projects you encounter, make sure you accomplish it in timely manner.

How to make a professional business card?

I have to mention the importance of business cards especially to all freelance designers. We know that this simple piece of paper is the key to success and can give us a “look” of a professional to any potential customer and it’s definitely much better to say: “Write my phone on …”

This is why we must always remember their importance on reminding our customers. But above all, strive to create the card clearly, so this really looks professional.

Now, remember these key features:

Do not make the card at home: This goes for customers of the designer. It is ok if you have designed it on your home. But please do not print on your home printer, take them to print to a professional printer.

Make Your Own Logo: If you do not know to how to use clip art, best leave without Logo or make some kind of name with the initials of the person.

Put your name in the middle: The most important part of your business card is your name, put it in the middle of the card where the whole world could see and have a size that stands out the rest of the elements, but please do not exaggerate.

Forget your pager: Is it really necessary that all know your beeper number if you have given your mobile number? Keep the information relevant to the card.

If any information changes, throw it away: I know several cases they mark the information rather than make a new card. Believe me, this looks very unprofessional.

Keep the card simple: Placing a phone and an email address is sufficient, but remember to put the website address too. There are cards that look great without the physical address. But it is not necessary to remove this information.

Use both sides of the card: If needed, you can put information services on the other side.

Use the white part: The white represents a business card’s business.

Never leave home without it: I think there is no more to say about it.

So here you go, remember these things and you’ll have great businesses starting with your business card.

10 Important Questions you should ask yourself before you become a Freelancer

Freelance work is becoming more popular. Day after day I hear people switching to freelancing, regardless of several details of what this way of working means.

In this article, I found 10 strategic questions you should ask yourself before you became a freelancer. As always, keeping the subject of the article, I will give my opinion on each item, tried it, and I hope you readers will too.

1. Are you comfortable working alone?

It is perhaps one of the discussion that most interests me, because I, unlike most, went from working as an employee in a private company to freelancer and the question is: Are you comfortable working alone? You can organize your time, your schedule, your ways and places of work. It’s all at your pace that suits you and you tend to get used to be organize. You’ll gain and lose things in freelance like having peers, events or free coffee in the company. I think part of being a freelancer goes through the personality of each person.

2. Are you naturally motivated?

This article refers to being a freelancer allows you to organize and take your time but we must respect the customer. We must meet deadlines and take responsibility 100% alone for this is important to gain customers and to build confidence and satisfaction with them.

3. How much money do you need?

It is also important to calculate how much money we count all the months, weeks or years to keep our home, pay our taxes and food / dress / live in general. We should be clear that freelancers may be risky for some time and perhaps not something that generates a steady monthly entry. Another thing to consider is setting a goal, think how much you want to do, to work hard and achieve that goal.

4. What are your skills?

You should know what field you will develop and if you want to continue doing what you had been working. You could try to explore new areas. You should also consider whether there is a market for your job. If there’s no demand, you will not get customers.

5. What kind of job you want to do?

Will you be a generalist or will specialize in one activity?. Think of what types of clients will work for you.

6. Will you work locally?

Do not forget that the freelancer has the opportunity to work online and through this you can expand your customer base to almost anywhere in the world.

7. Do you have a good website?

This is a time where for any job or profession, it is very important to have an internet presence especially if you are a freelancer. You must have not only a website but a well designed website. It attracts customers that much.

8. Do you have a good working environment?

While being a freelancer can make you work at your home, your dining room or bedroom, it is good to set aside an office, a room intended for that purpose where you can concentrate on your work.

9. Where do you want to be in 5 years?

Setting goals helps a lot with your motivation and enthusiasm. Achievement is synonymous with progress and above of it all you’ll gain experience which is an important point for the freelancer and that selling point is also a plus in your end to have demonstrable experience in the field.

10. Should you Freelance?

This point is simply a personal reflection, thinking if you are really willing to throw the consequences of being a freelancer, and above all to assume the responsibilities you’ll have. Freelancing is serious, it is not for everyone, it is a way of working which if you know how to exploit, you can get much benefit.

Source: freelancefolder.com

How to make your designs sellable?

1. Understand and know the nature of the client.

The first step is to know your client especially his taste, because in the end he shall choose the design, and we save time if from the beginning our design is based on the client’s taste. Of course we can provide our touch of originality, but basically the nature of the client must be reflected in the design.

2. Consider some of the client’s design brief

Sometimes it’s good to hear ideas and instructions what the client has to offer. Paying attention to their ideas and instructions can lead us to perform a job that suits your needs.

3. Go with a good idea and concept

It is very clear that we will not design something with the idea that the customer does not want, we will always do our best to design the project to his expectation. From the interviews I personally (either interview via chat, video call or staff) have, I try to go with ideas and proposals already defined by the customer to know that we are working on his project.

4. Make a visually appealing design

It is good to keep the norms and applied theory. There are design rules, and most designers know them, but sometimes rules are made to be broken, and sometimes we have to break the rules to achieve visually appealing designs, make it bold and stand out.

5. Show only the best work

As a portfolio, it is important to show only the best jobs. Not just to hide those works of which we are not 100% proud of but also to make a summary of quality content containing our best work.

6. Have a good justification for designs

There are times when the rules are necessary and it will allow us to apply a proper justification for each design presented. This shows to have a good reason that we know what we are working and designing.

7. Learning to defend our designs

It is not always to have our submitted design please the customer and this becomes important to have the justification and knowledge about the work done. We must learn that although the customer is “always right” we can defend and justify the design presented so that the client understands and accepts, without imposing something that does not like.

8. Be patient with your customers

Patience over all things. Answer your customer’s questions and doubts a number of times as necessary. Clarify guidelines and forms of work, budgets. Be organize and respect deadlines. This really helps the customer not to get impatient.

9. Comment Request

In meetings, it is important to talk to the client. Asking for comments is a good technique to know what the client thinks about the design presented and what he intends.

10. Do not display too much content

Sometimes a few concise words and images convey more information than a plain text length and a composite picture of many figures. An overloaded design tire the user’s view and this does not display the most relevant information quickly. It loses interest and does not look at the brochure. The design should contain the most relevant information clearly and prominently.

11. Complete design-time or before deadline

It is always important to be ahead of deadlines. Not only speaks well of us as professionals, but allows us to have a margin of error and gives us time to correct it.

12. Suggest a good production plan

After completion of the work, the client may suggest other ways to improve production. It is important to not just stick with what we were asked but to offer more and explain why it would be good to add or modify certain aspects.

How to improve your website if you’re freelancing

This is an article with 8 tips on how to improve your website if you are freelancing and I would like to share and tell you a little about these 8 tips.

1. Aim towards your target audience

The first thing to do is to look at the goal you want to achieve with your website. For example, some freelancers want to attract new customers while others want to focus on the customers who only see their work. Design something according to public purpose.

2. Professional design and update

We always aim to design professional, neat, basic, and the most important no need to fill the information site. Only show the latest works and the best and ensure that contact information is clear and accessible. A sleek, professional and sexy site can be very minimalistic but if properly designed could transmit trust with the customer visiting the site.

3. Texts care

Give some special care in drafting, maintaining consistency and good spelling. The texts should not be too long because no one will read. It should contain the most relevant information.

4. Multimedia Support

As websites are becoming cheaper and easier to integrate multimedia content, we must always remember to add some video information. The media gives the site a touch of animation, interaction with the visitor.
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5. Use the blog

Blogs are helpful and allow direct interaction with the client or potential client. It is also one of the best ways to keep customers informed of any changes.

6. Integration of social networks

Being present in them will improve almost instant Marketing. At least be present in those more than million known social networking sites and your traffic will increase and will always be present.
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7. Ease of use

Site navigation should be simple and intuitive. We should not complicate but to simplify life for users. They come to our site looking for a solution to a need and must find it fast and easy.

8. Build a relationship

It is an integration of the above tips. Have the contact information on hand visible to the user to find quickly, be present in social networks, respond to blog posts and keeping the site updated.

How to beat discouragement when working as a freelancer

In my site, I want to speak of designers and freelancers. I want to learn and teach what I know. I want to publish helpful articles for professionals and freelancers, and in this occasion I want to tell a post that talks about the causes of discouragement when working as a freelance.

While there are many factors that hinder the work on a freelance, one can depend on us, and by that I mean our state of mind when working.

Our mood can be influenced by factors such as:

Reviews :

It is impossible in this area of work not to have criticism, it can be both good and bad. In most cases, the reviews are not good because the customer did not like something or because someone did not get anything as they wanted. For any reason, criticisms should be taken as a constructive factor. It can make us improve and not get discouraged if we do not receive good reviews.

Personal Causes :

The life of every person is different from one another and often personal life has moments of difficulty that affects our work. The thing to consider in these cases is that everything happens, and after the storm, the sun rises.

Boredom :

Sometimes the work is similar, repetitive or routine and eventually we get tired and bored. Try to work something out in various ways to be always active and be more original and not get bored.

Health Issues :

It is very likely that sometime in the year we have health problems, albeit slight, we too are human beings. In those days in bed, we do not always feel our mind to tackle the job. I try to use those days to really clear out my mind so I can get back to work asap.

Overload :

Too much work can also vary our mood and everything can hurt us both mentally and physically. It can affect our performance to do good work and will eventually do a few bad work. By taking a few projects we can better focus on them, pay more attention, we will have more time to learn and know the customer and end up doing a better job.

Excessive Expectations :

Although our self-esteem is important, we should not raise false expectations with a project. For this I suggest you always do a market study covering the project, namely the extent to which medium can have the project and then if you try to improve it and make it grow, but do not generate excessive expectations from the start (which does not mean not be eager to do) to not let us down at the end and not get the spectacular results we thought we were going to get.

Perfectionism :

I think you should try to always improve, but never to the point of being obsessed with perfection and you never reach it and is more likely to leave things in half baked is not considered perfect. It’s better than not doing them well.

Comparing with others :

Not good nor healthy. One can admire the work of a colleague, but just enough to make an example and inspiration. We cannot do the same thing as they did because the techniques that work for some do not work for others and they will just end up frustrated and discouraged.

Pessimism :

Not all people are positive, there are many who are pessimistic and that makes it very difficult not only on work but life. Believe me when I say that while the world is not pink, it’s not black, nature is wise, some things happen as it should be and others can improve, let us focus on what is within our reach, covering projects that we know we can perform as successfully completing a project to increase our self-esteem.

Unrealistic :

Similar to create false expectations. We have a ground wire, something to remind us how far we can reach so we can work on projects that really are within our reach, and can successfully complete a job and not let down any customer or ourselves. Not bad, but always want to overcome specific and achievable goals.

These are the reasons to beat the discouragement when working. I think these will play the biggest roles. Trying to improve and change is always good.

Designing is like cooking. A good chef not only knows the recipe, for a delicious food to come out, it must be done with courage and love, and the designer is just the same … it is not enough to know the theory. We must practice, we have to like what we do, we have to be willing to implement the project, we need to be motivated to work as a freelancer.

Things to remember before launching a site

I come across an excellent post that outlines 8 points that designers often forgot when creating a new site. Do we look at it? So often these are the kind of things that are inadvertently overlooked.

1. Include Google Analytics


Whatever the statistics system we prefer, I personally have no doubt that this is the most reliable today. Installation is extremely simple and only requires us to login to our gmail and insert the analytics code to the site. Within hours, visits and general statistics of our website are recorded.

2. Browser Testing


We must not forget that while you may be able to use Chrome, some people still prefer Firefox, Opera or the worst (and let’s face it, especially in those who may not know too much about the Internet: p), Explorer. It is important that we take time to test our project in these major browsers, thus ensuring the desired cross browsing. For this we can use services like BrowserShots.

3. Testing on mobile


Smartphones are now everywhere and every day more people surf the Web and reviewing sites from this platform. So no doubt we added this to the list of points required before the official release of our sites. Mainly, the idea is that despite being a much smaller device than a PC, we can offer convenience and accessibility to the user.

4. Error Page


The page “default” error 404 does not look good and it is a must to create a page for everyone working in the field. Perhaps add links to other content can help the reader not to leave the site and can find something that interests them.

5. Meta description


Meta Descriptions and Meta tags are an important part in the positioning of a site, and always think ideally to pay attention to the given words.

6. Favicon


I admit that this is one of the most striking points. It’s annoying to enter a site and see that it has no favicon, thus, giving aspect that the site is not yet finished. A favicon is just easy to make and this image in the tab identifies the loading our site visually. DynamicDrive has an easily usable tool if you need one.

7. Site map


The sitemap will make our site properly indexed faster, something we all seek when we started a new project. There are several types of generators, and even WordPress plugins handle the job.

8. Validate HTML


A clean and valid code always improves the stability of the site as well also be a good place to improve the SEO aspect of it.