Selecting a web designer.

Selecting a web designer to work on your project can be a daunting task. Where to start?

A Google search? The phrase “St Louis web designer” yields a whopping 2,270,000 returns. Clicking through and visiting the sites on just the first pages can be overwhelming (as a result of excellent SEO we do feature on that page!) Once on the sites you can check out the portfolio, evaluate the skill set of the company but often the most telling way to get a feel if they are a company you’d feel comfortable working with is to see if there are any client testimonials.

Here is glowing testimonial from St Louis celebrant, Ruth Hasser, which really speaks volumes about how we can help clients with their projects.

“Zoe Feast worked with me every step of the way to design and optimize my first website. She listened to me, understood what I was going for, was wonderfully patient with my inexperience, and delivered what I needed in a professional and timely manner. As a result I get regular compliments on my website and, more importantly, customers are finding me! I will continue to rely on her expertise and thoughtful support. Thanks so much, Zoe.”

Thanks Ruth for taking the time to write this!

Interested in more client testimonials ?

© St Louis web designer

Google Sidewiki and the Webmaster

On the whole I love the applications offered by Google but they have recently launched one that stops me in my tracks and makes me ask “why?”. I am talking about Google Sidewiki.

Google Sidewiki can be downloaded with Google tool bar and enables anyone with a Google profile (if you use gmail you have one) to write comments on any web page they visit. The results of anyone who has commented on the page show up in a sidebar which is layered above the page.

Google has essentially introduced a comments forum for every web site on the internet. You can gets comments on your site for the whole world to see whether you like it or not.

As the owner of a Google Validated site (which is achieved using Google Webmaster tools) you get the chance to have “first say” with a comment which will always feature as the first post. But as far as being able to control what visitors see in the Sidewiki, the buck stops there. As a webmaster there is no easy option to turn off the Sidewiki and no functionality to moderate the comments. If you get a spam or a detrimental comment there appears to be be very little you can do about it. Also there is no functionality to let webmasters know they have new comments. The only way to find out is to visit each and every page of your site. How useful is that?

I have put in a complaint to Google and hope that if they continue with Sidewiki they address these problems soon.

© 2009 St Louis Web Designer

Custom Cartoon Illustrations for your Website?

As a graphic and website designer sometimes my design tool of choice is simply a piece of paper and a pencil. This is especially so when a web site calls for custom cartoon illustrations, these work really well on websites targeted towards kids. The result is a very original feel to the graphics of the final site.

Here are some examples of custom illustrations I created for children’s author Cynthia Reeg. I let my pencil flow freely, scanned the drawings and imported them into Adobe Photoshop. Then they were brought to life with the magic of color.

custom cartoon illustrations

The graphics for Cynthia’s site are incorporated into the template of the page, used as navigational elements and add interest to sections of the site. Although all different they have a very branded feel due to the hand drawn and colorization techniques used.

Are you looking for custom illustrations for your new or existing web site? We can help

© 2009 St Louis Web Designer

I can’t see the changes to my website: Browser refresh

You have just heard from your web designer that all the changes you wanted made to your web site have been made. You visit your site to check things over and nothing appears to have changed. Does that sound familiar?

If so, the most probable cause is that you are looking at a cached version of your web site. The solution is easy – simply refresh your browser.

If you are using one of the more common browsers, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome, it is as easy as clicking on the refresh button and to make it even easier we have put together a set of graphics below to show you the location of each button

Internet Explorer
Explorer Browser refresh

Firefox Browser refresh

Safari Browser refresh

Google Chrome
google Chrome Browser refresh

The St Louis Web Designer’s tip of the day

© 2009 St Louis Web Designer

Can Twitter Help my Business?

I have been using Twitter on a regular basis for nearly 7 months now, the results of my experiment started back in April are ready to be published! In that time I have tweeted 315 times and amassed 343 followers and followed 442 tweeters. Not huge numbers but I belong to the quality vs quantity school of thought.

Here are the questions I asked myself at the start

  1. This is the big one. Can I use twitter to secure new projects?
    Too good to be true. The answer is no… not yet anyway
  2. Can Tweeting increase the traffic to my website?
    I have promoted every new blog post using to shorten URL’s and track click though rates. I have seen a definite increase in traffic to my blog, so the answer is YES! More traffic is a good thing.
    A client of mine recently experienced the viral nature of Twitter with an enormous spike of hits to their site. It was due to a British actor picking up on a blog post they had written and tweeting about it.
  3. What other ways can I use Twitter to help my business?
    Twitter has been a useful tool for trouble shooting. I have had questions quickly answered on problems I was having with Quickbooks and a Dreamweaver quirk. Tweets pertaining to problems really benefit from using # tags e.g #dreamweaver or #HTML.

All in all it has been a successful experiment and I will continue to use Twitter. Be warned though, if you tweet about the weather, what you are eating for lunch, or start tweeting philosophical quotes, I am very likely to “unfollow”. If you are interested in following me click stlwebdesign

Free Credits for istockphoto

Here is a great tip if you are looking for free credits for

I regularly use them to source images for web and graphic design projects. They have a wealth of very reasonable priced images which is always popular with my clients. The cost of stock photography can really rocket if you are not looking in the right places.

Their stock is priced in terms of credits and they offer three options to purchase these credits via “pay as you go”, subscriptions or via a corporate account. Pay as you go works well for me.

However there is also a way to earn free credits. If you have incorporated some istockphoto stock into a project you can submit it via the Designers Spotlight page, you do need to be a member but membership is free. Every piece goes through an approval process but if it is approved it gets added to the new projects album and you are awards five free credits.

Don’t you love free stuff!

View My Portfolio