Creating Animated Pins for Pinterest

Pinterest continues to be one of the fastest growing social networks and if your services or products are very visual it can be a great internet marketing tool.

It is ever evolving and recently launched the support of animated gif pins, giving marketers another dimension to play with.


Creating an animated pin is an easy process.

  1. Start by putting together a collection of photographs. make sure all the photos have the same dimensions.
  2. Upload the photos to making sure the order you upload them matches the order you would like to see them.
  3. Adjust the canvas size to match your photos and set the animation speed at a level that suits the nature of the animation.
  4. Click CREATE and download your animated gif.
  5. Upload to Pinterest. The animated Gif will have a small button automatically added. This allows visitors to click and watch your animation.

Here is the animated GIF of this tutorial on Pinterest. If you click it you will see the button


How much does a website cost?

how much does a website cost

How much does a website cost?  If you are visiting this page looking for a definitive answer then I am going to disappoint because pricing a website can be a complicated process but it is a question on every potential client’s mind. The cost of a web site is a little bit like the cost of  a house, the  bigger and more complex the heftier the price tag.  So lets break things down a bit to give you an insight as to where the costs lie and walk through some client scenarios.

Lets first consider the type of company quoting your project. A design agency with a portfolio full of fortune 500 companies and a trendy studio in a skyscraper in down town Chicago is going to charge more …well.. because they have to to cover their costs. If you are large company with mega$$ they may be a good fit. An offshore, say,  Indian based web design company, may give you an unbelievably cheap quote but how comfortable are you doing business that way?

A good approach to selecting a company to quote your project is to take a good look at their portfolio and services and if their offerings match what you are after, they are worth a call. Also don’t be afraid to check out any testimonials.

Any decent web design company will lead you through a discovery process (ours is free) to understand what it is you want to accomplish with your web presence. Come prepared to talk about your marketing objectives, the type of functionality you’d like on your site ( e.g shopping cart, content management, video integration, social media, blogging capabilities etc.), who your customers are, who you competition is and what makes you unique. The more information you can provide at this stage the better, as the information  will be used to create a comprehensive proposal which will outline the best plan of action to achieve your goals and a realistic price.

Whatever the goals of the project, the cost to create it can generally be broken down into the following categories


  • A captivating design to engage you site visitors
  • Home page and inner pages of the site
  • email template design
  • Imagery selection
  • Navigation design
  • Definition of branding assets e.g color palette, typefaces
  • Working from a predefined brand style guide


  • Converting your design to a form which can be understood by web browsers
  • Integrating all content
  • Building and integrating functionality e.g  shopping carts, databases
  • Integrating with a Content Management System (CMS) e.g WordPress
  • Integrating 3rd party application e.g newsletter management, Google analytics
  • Mobile version of site
  • Browser compatibility testing


  • Domain registration/configuration
  • Hosting setup
  • Email setup
  • Upload to server
  • SSL certificate
  • uploading data ( e.g for e commerce)


  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Submission to basic search engines
  • More extensive search engine, directory, portal submission e.g Targeting Local directories
  • Social media profiles e.g Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest
  • Email campaigns
  • Paid Advertising Campaigns e.g Google Adwords
  • RSS subscription

Now not every project is going to require all aspects of these categories so lets take a look at a few client scenarios

Client A: Online Brochure Website

A small interior design business requires a simple online brochure type website to market their services. They would like to set up a Facebook page, an email management tool so they can send out a newsletter and a Pinterst account to pin photographs of their design work. They serve a local area and would like to rank well for anyone carrying out a local search for an interior designer- they are not interested in paid advertising although this may change depending upon the site traffic. They already have an offline brand image but require a domain name. The site will be between 10 and 12 pages in total.

Project Estimate

Design: 12 hrs
Programing: 18 hrs
Launch: 4 hrs
Marketing: 10 hrs

Total: 44 hrs = $4,400

Client B: Content Management Website

A company offering summer camps wants a web site they can manage themselves. The would like to upload photographs of camp events and allow parents to register their children – they already have an online application to allow this through a 3rd party but this need to be integrated seamlessly into the site. They would also like to be able to write a blog. They have a Facebook profile already set up but this to be linked to the site.  Most of their customers are by word of mouth but they would like a basic SEO and search engine submission.  They have a comprehensive offline style guide and already have a domain name. The site will be approximately 25 pages.

Project Estimate

Design: 24 hrs
Programming: 50 hrs
Launch: 8 hrs
Marketing: 5hrs

Total: 87 hrs = $8,700

Client C: E commerce Website

A small business want to launch an online store to sell their products. They also want the ability for their clients to sign up for an e-newsletter which will offer monthly promotions. They need assistance in selecting a provider for these email blasts and a custom template designed for the newsletter.They already have a merchant account set up and are interested in paid advertising to generate traffic. They have a logo and all copy for the website ready.

Design: 35 hrs
Programming: 70 hrs
Launch: 20 hrs
Marketing: 20 hrs

Total: 145 hrs = $14,500

As you can see the price range for a website can vary dramatically depending on what you want it do do and want to achieve.  If you would like us to quote on your next website give “The Chicago web Designer” a call at 847 607 8679, we may be a Chicago web design company but we don’t have a trendy studio in the city and don’t charge ridiculous prices!

Extreme Couponing for Web Designers

I watched my first episode of  TLC’s Extreme Couponing last week and was amazed at the ingenuity and lengths some people go to,  to get stuff for free. The internet plays a huge part in their ability to get the best deals on all sorts of products.

So in the spirit of that program I thought I’d do a series on Extreme Couponing for web designers.

Let kick off with What you can get for FREE – no coupons required for this stuff

Google Products:  Google offers a load of free products, from the  igoogle home pageyou can fill with gadgets to manage your bookmarks ( even have a folder for all your coupon web sites), see the weather for the week, read the news etc, to Gmail for your email needs. They even offer free storage of photographs through Picasa and you can build a basic website using Google sites

Blogging Platforms
Google’s blogger is great for simple blogs but WordPress is better for the more complex.

Content Management Systems
WordPress is being used more and more these days as a CMS system ( I read recently that 14% of all new web site being built today are built using WordPress).  Joomla is a great application for building member type web sites, Drupal is another good contender.

Internet Marketing
Set up free social networking  accounts with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and monitor traffic and SEO efforts with the wonderful Google Analytics

Next time coupons for domain names hosting and stock photography.

© 2011 Chicago web designer

Does your web designer do this?

Creating a great web site is only the start of an online presence for many business.

Does your web designer take care of:-

  • Domain name registration
  • Hosting
  • Email setup
  • Web Analytics – see how many hits your site is getting, where they are coming from, how long your visitors are staying etc.
  • Social Media Avenues – what is best for your business
  • Social Media Profiles, setting up Twitter, Facebook YouTube, Flikr …
  • Social Media Training
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Getting your site listed and ranked in the search engines
  • Getting your site listed on local directories e.g Yelp
  • Email campaigns

If not then you are using the wrong web design company.

We take care of all the nuts and bolts to make your web presence work for you.

©: 2011 Chicago Web Designer

Where are you reading this blog post?

Are you making the most of your blog posts?

Did you know that it is really easy to extend the reach of each post you write, by importing your blog feed into your social network profiles like Facebook or LinkedIn. By doing so your new  posts get automatically published.

So today we have a little poll.

This dandy  poll was whipped up in 30 seconds at If you are not reading this via our site and can’t see it click here.

© 2011 Chicago web designer

What ever happened to Second Life?

I was revisiting some old blog posts this morning, interested to see what I was up to on March 7th in previous years and came across this post written on March 7th 2007.
Second Life investigation continues

In early 2007, Second Life was the “latest thing” and everyone was clamoring to be part of this virtual land. It was in every newspaper and magazine and  big retail stores like Circuit City and Sears  had set up Second Life store fronts.  Clearly something  “this big” warranted an investigation so I created an avatar, Indigo Oh, and dropped in to see the action.  I did a lot of wandering around and it appeared that some big bucks were being dropped in this pixel dimension.

But now it has disappeared from media view and I have considered revisiting to see just what is happening there but after reading this article it seems Second life is driven by adult orientated pastimes, so I think I will pass!

©: 2011 Chicago Web Designer

Social Media in your Marketing Mix

After my last post Is your small business on board the social media wagon? I’d thought I’d share with you today some of my clients who are well on board the social media wagon.

Here is a shout out to my clients embracing social media.

We definitely practice what we preach when it come to social media. You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or subscribe to our blog

©: 2011 Chicago Web Designer

Is your small business on board the social media wagon?

The internet is ever evolving and as a web designer an important part of my job is to stay current with the tools and applications.  One of the hottest trends over the last few years has been  social media. It is a trend that is here to stay.

What can I do with social media

Sharing: From a video on YouTube, a simple 140 character tweet or a submission to a news sharing site like  Digg. Social media sites offer the ultimate platforms for freely sharing ideas, knowledge.

Opportunity: Your clients and customers are using social media. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to converse with them on these platforms.

Conversation: If I had to chose just one word to encapsulate social media it would be conversation. Those conversations can build trust, give higher visibility and ultimately generate sales.

Interaction: Collaborate, combine and connect. Ask questions, offer solutions to  questions posed by others. Join in discussions.

Awareness: Use social media to build, maintain and create awareness of your brand.

Listen: The art of a great conversation is to be able to listen.

Marketing: Build a focused fan base through networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. You have a ready made target audience for your marketing campaigns.

Engage: Generate responses from your followers by including open ended questions, polls and offering information that will be truly useful to them.

Dialogue: Social media is not a single voice. If you tweet join in conversations.  If someone comments on a blog post post a comment back and generate a dialogue.

Involve: Ask for feedback on products/ideas/services.

Appropriate: Is Facebooking what you ate for lunch appropriate material for you social media profile. Do not dissolve your brand image with inappropriate information!

©: 2011 Chicago web designer