Evaluate your web site with our easy website check list.

Got a website?

Use this quick checklist to evaluate it’s performance.

  1. Does the site look appealing and engaging?
  2. Is it consistent with the rest of your branding elements?
  3. Are you archiving your website goals?
  4. Does the site load quickly?
  5. Is it easy to navigate around?
  6. Is the content fresh?
  7. Are there any broken links?
  8. If you have a blog have you written a post within the last week?
  9. If you are using any social media tools such a Twitter or Facebook does your site provide a link to them?
  10. Do you have a custom 404 error page?
  11. Is your site performing well in the search engines for your targeted key phrases?

If you have all those areas covered you are doing well. If not we can definitely help you.

2009 © St Louis Web Designer

What is the difference between web design and web development.

Web design and web development are two completely different jobs required to produce a web site. To someone looking to hire a company to create their web site this can be confusing.

What does a web designer do?

Web design is an art. A web designer is responsible for creating the look and feel of a web site, creating an intuitive navigational tool, laying out the copy and images and producing an overall look which is appealing and engages the user. A web designer needs to understand how to create design elements to influence the user, whether to get them to fill out a form and share their information, or lead them effortlessly through the checkout process of an e commerce site. Typically a web designer will use Adobe Photoshop.

What does a web developer do?

Web development is technical. A web developer will take the file produced by the web designer and render it in a form that can be understood by web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Safari etc. They do this by coding it. Basic web sites require just HTML and CSS with maybe some snippets of PHP and java. More complicated sites, such as dynamically driven e commerce ones, require more advance coding languages.

The crossover
Many web designer are also web developers, which is the case here at Indigo Image. There are various level of web development from basic to advanced and we are capable of handling intermediate requirements. However for projects requiring advance development we collaborate with a local St Louis web development company.

2009 © St Louis Web Designer

ipod earbuds fall out of my ears. Do yours?

Music can often be a great inspiration to me when I am in designing and my ipod is always on my desk. However, hands up if your ipod earbuds fall out of your ears? Mine do, the standard ipod earbuds were swiftly replaced with an in-ear pair but I still have problems with “fall out”.

A St Louis company, Yurtopia™ has come up with a fabulous novel product to end this misery: the yurbuds™. They convert the standard ipod earbuds to custom fitting earbuds which are not only more comfortable but they DO NOT FALL OUT!

A pair costs just $19.99



and get free shipping with this code: QF5SG

2009 © St Louis Web Designer

How to Subscribe to a Blog: St Louis web designers tip of the day

If you, are like me, and read a lot of blogs, it is not a good use of time to visit your favorite blogs every day just on the off chance there is something new to enjoy. A far more effective way is to subscribe to the blog and have new content delivered to you as and when it is published.

For those of us who have been blogging for many years this may seem like second nature but there are plenty of people out there for this is a whole new arena.

On a well designed blog there will be a button looking something like this

which is the universal icon for RSS feeds – a file associated with your blog.

Clicking the button will lead you to a page like this

Once on this page you are offered an abundance of ways to receive the content from the blog. One of my favorite is Google reader, which sends the new content of all your subscribed blogs to a single page – you can visit this page or set up a simple widget on your Google home page which allows you to read your content from there.

If you prefer you can subscribe to receive content from your favorite blogs via email.

The St Louis Web Designer’s tip of the day!

2009 © St Louis Web Designer

Can blogging help my business?

Last month I wrote “Can twitter help my business?” this month question is
“Can blogging help my business?”

webdesigner blog

Blogging regularly about topics relevant to your business and target audience is a fabulous way to increase your visibility among the search engines. Over the last year the client web sites I have launched with blogs, get listed faster and rank higher with the major search engines. For search engines, content is king and blogs, by their very nature, rule the day with their fresh new content.

Whatever your area of business blogging is a great platform on which to build your authority and reputation. Write about issues relevant to your services, use your blog to pose questions to your readers, offer solutions to problems. Your expertise will show through.

Engage with your readers through blog comments and don’t worry about your blog being blighted by spam. All good blog platforms have the ability to moderate comments, they can be configured so you can see the comments and approve them before they appear on your site.

If you can commit to writing a post at least once a week then a blog can definitely help your business.

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 www.bit.ly 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 iStockphoto.com

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

Generate revenue from your websites: AdSense

Looking for an easy way to make some additional revenue from your web site? Try Google AdSense.

A small snippet of code placed on your web site will generate Goggle ads earning you revenue based on a cost per click or cost per impression basis. You can fine tune the look and feel of the ads to compliment your site, have control over the size and shape and even block competitors ads from appearing on your pages. It is completely FREE .

Is Adsense right for your website? Here are a few things to consider

  • What levels of traffic does your site experience? Sites with a high volume of traffic will bring in more revenue.
  • Does your site rank highly for any popular keywords or phrases? Our site on counterfeit detection ranks very highly for the key phrase “counterfeit detection”. Due to the popularity of this phrase there are plenty of Google advertisers bidding on this phrase for the display of their adverts and hence no shortage of ads to display on the site.
  • Are you comfortable having advertisements on your site? Despite the high traffic and favorable key phrase ranking Indigo Image gets, we are not comfortable having Google Ads featured on our site. They could offer our visitors a reason to leave and explore the services offered by another web design/ graphics arts company. It is possible to block competitors sites but blocking all advertisers bidding on a generic key phrase, e.g. in our case something like logo design, is not feasible.
  • Do you have a suitable area on your site to display ads? To get the most out of the ads they need to be placed in a prominent place. Does the design of your site accommodate this?

I have a couple of personal site with pretty high traffic and excellent rankings on the search engines that are a perfect platform to display Google ads. The ads were configured to compliment their color schemes and feature prominently at the top of each site without being too intrusive. They provide a steady stream of revenue.