How to Create the Right Emotions with Color in WEB Design

“Color is one of the most important aspects of your website.”

However, far too often color enters the equation as an afterthought, or worse, not all all. This isn’t adequate. Color helps define how users perceive information. To add to the complexity of this issue, most of the judgements people make about your site’s color schemes are subconscious. They may not provide any feedback about your site’s color, but they’re always thinking about it- even if subconsciously…

color-emotion

 

Across human history, master painters and other artists have earned global recognition for their ability to manipulate colors. In the modern era, the artform now opens up a lot of new commercial and business applications, first in advertising, and now in web design.

Color plays a crucial role in User Experience. It transmits a psychological message to your users and choosing the right colors for your brand, logo or product can be vital as it helps your brand or product get easily recognized and identified with your industry.

Coca-Cola is red whilst AT&T is blue and this is not just a coincidence. The correct use of color is vital to creating a positive image among your users. Furthermore, color plays a huge role in recognition. It triggers all the senses, instantly delivering a message like no other communication method. In this article, I will be discussing the effect different colours have on user psychology. This can assist you in deciding which colors to user in order to convey a positive user experience for your users.

 

Have any tips or suggestions on how color can be used to better improve UX? Let us know below!

 

Website Pricing

pricingYou probably came here in the process of doing research. Are you a small business looking to build a website? Or maybe you’re a non-profit, looking to redesign your website in order to more effectively communicate your mission? Or, are you the marketing director for a multi-million dollar organization looking to improve customer relations and increase revenues?
Farm-O-lutions has worked with all of the above, helping to build websites and implement online marketing plans for organizations of all sizes. We’ve been professionally developing websites for over a decade and we love to educate the business (and consumer) market at large about what it takes to build a website and, perhaps most importantly…

 

Like the businesses they represent, websites are not all created equal. Websites serve various purposes, feature different technology and therefore they can vary greatly in cost as the level of design and functionality increases and becomes more complex to suit your company’s needs. At Farm-O-lutions our hourly rate is just $50, which is less than the price to get your car worked on at Jiffy Lube. We offer special discounts for partner companies, non-profits, and in select cases partner projects. All of our pricing is based on this hourly rate, our overall costs (wages + overhead) and the long-term costs of properly communicating and supporting our clientele.

This post is also written for web developers considering branching out on your own. We’ve found that the web community at large REALLY wants to know the going rate for website developments costs. Regardless of who you are, having a baseline to work with is always a good idea. Farm-O-lutions is always up front about pricing and we believe everyone needs to be too (although honestly many in the internet marketing field are not – charging clients different amounts based on their situation and income). Before we get to the pricing, I want to ask you… do you think you need a website?

WHAT DOES A WEBSITE CO$T?

SalestoolsReady to find out what YOUR website should cost? Low price, top quality, best customer service… Guaranteed!

CONTACT Farm-O-lutions FOR A FREE QUOTE

This is important… and let’s just get this out of the way… you need a website. Period.

And not just any website, but a great website with a clear, crisp easy to navigate design, with superb usability and functionality. Furthermore, YOU need to be able to easily update that website.  It doesn’t matter if you are a national corporate brand, a smaller brick and mortar with ‘plenty of business’, a brick and mortar with only local business, or an ice cream shop that only sells to people between 5’10 and 5’11 wearing baseball hats before 3 pm… you still need a website!

Your business can be broad or niche, it can be large or small, and despite what you may believe… you need a website!

Recently a California furniture company spent nearly a million dollars renovating their retail space in order to attract new business. But an investment in a great website and internet marketing plan costs a tiny fraction and brought in MORE BUSINESS!

 

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE PRICE OF A WEBSITE?

As we mentioned before, Farm-o-lutions works at an hourly rate of just $50, and we create our website price estimates based on this number, as do many other web design  companies out there. This hourly rate can vary from $25 to $200 per hour, and all depends on the experience and quality that each company delivers with each hour spent on your project. web design costs will usually be determined based on the estimated number of hours that will be spent on your site’s design, development, and maintenance. For this reason, it is important to have a good idea of the features that you would like for your site to include and where you will be obtaining your site’s content before getting a website cost estimate.

At Farm-O-lutions, we work under the assumption that websites will be made responsively, that is they will look great on all screen sizes and devices, and that sites will be built using a CMS, or content management system. Because Google punishes rankings for non-mobile-friendly sites, a business can no longer afford to have a website that is not responsive. Content management systems ensure that you will be able to make changes to your website after it is built with relative ease.

While the price of a website will vary depending on your individual needs, here is a breakdown of the general costs incurred by a website:

WHAT goes into a website?

  • Domain Name: $10-$100 per year for new domainsSome old domains can sell for millions, but you probably want your own new one.
  • Hosting:  $50 – $1,200/year  This depends on the type of hosting you choose (dedicated, shared, free).
    Additional fees may be required for additions like SSL (Secure Socket Layer certificate) or static IP Address.
  • Custom Design/Information Architecture: $1,00 – $10,000+This includes the visual design, UX design, imagery collection, and sitemap and page structure generation.
    This is generally a part of a larger website development package.
  • Shopping Cart Integration & Programming: $300 – $15,000 What kind of functionality do you want in your website? Shopping carts, paid plugins, and custom feature development can cost extra, but the benefits of a fully customized and unique website can outweigh the costs.
  • Custom Media: $200-$4,000. This can include professional photography and video produced and tailored to fit the needs of your website and can add additional value used as part of your social media campaign
  • Website Content Creation: $50-$200 per page, or hourlyYou can write your website’s content yourself, outsource it overseas for around $1 per page, or use a content writing firm which will charge around $100-$200 per page. Just like a website design, you get what you pay for when it comes to content creation that will rank your site high in search engines and engage your audience.
  • Project Management & Information Gathering: $600-$3,000We want to help you and your website succeed, and that means creating a line of communication between you and your developers. This price includes initial consultations, phone calls, and any time that it takes to obtain the information we need to get your site going.
  • Testing & Training: $100-$1,200 While most websites are built on easy-to-use CMS’ nowadays, not everyone knows how to get started with them. This price point includes the time spent training you how to use your new site, as well and ensuring that everything works properly and giving you the chance to make any necessary changes.
  • Website Managed Services: $49-$150+/month Managed services can include blog writing, post-launch testing, and content maintenance.May also include marketing and advertising services including AdWords, Pay Per Click Marketing, Social Media Advertising and more.

 

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BASIC WEBSITE | FREE – $50/MONTH+ OR $500 – $5,000

For Small Businesses and Individuals

DO IT YOURSELF: FREE – $50/MONTH

With advances in business models, content management systems, and software there are now (and really there have been) some amazing tools online some include Wix.com, SquareSpace.com among many. These tools are amazing. As a development agency it’s sometimes scary to see how far things have come.However, it’s important to note – these tools are often complicated and our (general) audience is still not comfortable learning and using these tools. Similar to the above – these sites are highly configurable, but still require some coding, graphic design, and other knowledge to cull out of them a custom, attractive look. However, these are excellent resources and I’d recommend these services for any business looking to save money by making a time investment and do it themselves.

 

IF YOU HIRE A DEVELOPER: $600 – $5,000

A professionally designed website acts primarily as an online brochure, establishing a necessary presence online to answer your customers’ questions “do you exist?”, “are you professional?” and “what do you do?” A basic website can be created in the $600 – $5,000 range. This website may or may not allow you to interact in a 2-way conversation with your audience (social networking, blog), transact business directly through your site (ecommerce), or enable you to manipulate and update the pages and content within your site without hiring a web programmer/designer to do it for you (Content Management System does enable this for more $$$).

This gets complicated to further elaborate on why this may or may not be included. For us, the complexities of using and designing around a content management system (or tool that allows you to update your own website) is usually a bit more time consuming then coding HTML from scratch – additionally there are a lot of customer service, content, and small testing requirements that eat up time and budgets for all projects – but which make up a significant fraction of smaller projects.

A basic website site will serve to help brand and market your company, showcase your products and services and inspire sales as a lead generating tool. The design of your website will, most likely, be templated at such low costs. This means that your site probably mirrors that of other sites on the web. With our firm, these sites will be responsive using the latest standards to allow your site to look the same on nearly every computer/device and will be Search Engine Optimized (SEO) for greater natural search engine ranking success.

But not all firms code the same and have search engine optimization or online marketing as a top priority. Also, web analytics are provided with every site we build to track and ensure your web success.

CMS WEBSITE | $1,200 – $5,000+

Depending on the level of aesthetic design that is requested as well as additional features Content Management System (CMS) websites will run at a on average around $2,500. These websites are created with both functionality and design in mind, as you will receive both custom art design and the ability to manage and update all content, images, and text contained within the pages of your site (infinite number of pages possible). With a CMS capable website, your site will have endless possibilities.

These websites are built with the idea that you will have a significant number of changes, additions or updates to be made to your site in the near future. Instead of being charged hourly rates to make such changes, a CMS system enables you to do a majority of the basic additions without prior coding or web designing knowledge.  Social interactivity with your site visitors is possible with a site of this caliber, as a BLOG will be present within your site enabling you to place posts of content that you believe is relevant and desired by your audience. Your audience can choose to respond to your blog posts and each others comments allowing for 2 dimensional interaction between you, your audience, and within your audience.

Some ecommerce and real state listing sites can be created within this price range depending upon level of functionality and design.  Also, sites of this caliber have varying prices with regard to design elements. These sites do have custom design work, but more expensive elements like Flash Art creation will affect pricing.  Again, with our firm, these sites will be CSS and XHTML Coded to allow your site to look the same on nearly every computer and will also be Search Engine Optimized (SEO) for greater natural search engine ranking success. But not all firms code the same and have SEO as a top priority. Also, web analytics are provided with every site we build to track and ensure your web success.

 

E-COMMERCE WEBSITES

For businesses that sell multiple products online

Similar to our above breakdown, E-Commerce sites, in and of themselves have many varying levels of pricing. For example the absolute simplest “e-commerce” site we come across, and one that actually accounts for most of the requests we get, is either a single paypal button – or the ability to accept payments/donations online (most often for a non-profit). Even with such a simple starting point, there’s a lot of questions to address – what was the existing site built on? Do you already have an account with paypal? Do you want to keep people on your website as they make their purchase? And the list goes on. But, at it’s absolute simplest (organization has a paypal account, and just needs a button added) this can generally be done in an hour or so and as such usually costs under $100 depending on the company setting things up or the relationship they have with their existing web development company.

However, when you start to add products, shipping, transactional email (thank you emails, etc.) things get a bit more complex.

If you’re JUST starting out and are comfortable with blogging and setting things up – we highly recommend shopify for ecommerce. However, it’s limitations, and your own limitations on management/setup might quickly be realized – and at that point you might want to go with a full service agency.

For our basic e-commerce websites, our own pricing starts at $1,600 and quickly scales up from there. Here’s why.

Generally most of our clients with e-commerce needs, also need guidance, education, and setup with the following:

  • Server Setup
  • SSL selection, purchase
  • Merchant Account Setup
  • Payment Processor Setup
  • Shipping Setup – Including coordination/setup of accounts
  • Transactional Email – What does each email your website send say “thank you for purchasing…”, “thank you for creating an account,” etc.

Basically an ecommerce site is like a normal website, on steroids, and most clients need a knowledgeable and reliable company to not just make the right decisions, but also to guide and hold their hand along the process.

 

pricing discrepancy

DISCREPANCY IN PRICING

WHY ARE SOME WEB DESIGN COMPANIES SO INEXPENSIVE WHILE OTHERS ARE OUTRAGEOUSLY PRICEY?

Why are prices so wildly different in the web design industry? We had a recent bid on a project. On the low-end there was a company vying for the project at $900. On the high end, $7,500. And then us, smack-dab in the middle. Our future client would go on to ask us… “What gives? Why are you so much more expensive than the low-end companies, and so much less expensive than the high-end companies, and why is there such a massive difference in the first place?” What is with this industry!!!!!

I suppose it works a lot like consulting. On the low-end you have people that frankly, have no idea what they’re doing, didn’t listen enough (or pay attention) and frankly are just throwing a number at a wall. I know even with razor thin margins and outsourcing that $900 will only allow for about 20 hours worth of time. And there is NO FREAKING WAY this client was going to get the system they needed (based on what they communicated to us) within 2 weeks’ worth of work. I explained as much and they agreed.

And, just like consultants, you have some operating on large margins, prestige, and a large (sometimes helpful, sometimes laborious) process that cost more. Is the $7,500 company twice as good as someone half as expensive? Probably not. At the end of the day it’s all about satisfying requirements. In my opinion it’s the company that can do that the best that wins. If the budget is one of those requirements, then that must be a factor. If on the other hand, budget is high – and a more important piece of the puzzle is that the new system “work” or that the future development company properly communicate progress along the way – then those extra thousands of dollars are well spent.

I can’t stress this enough, on projects where we see extremely low budget – elements always get left out – and future support was non-existent. Just months ago a new client came to us requesting a copy of their website as the company had gone with had disappeared and taken their website and email with them. Their email down-age cost them tens of thousands of dollars, and their website represented more than a $2,000 initial investment and lost marketing dollars.

We’re proud to continue to charge correctly, providing our clients with amazing support and technical know how. Even years after these clients ended the relationship due to price, they came back to us and we were around (with backup copies no less) of their sites, proving that “quality doesn’t cost… it pays“.

Unfortunately,  we continue to hear story after story where companies explain – “our web guy was great, but then he disappeared.

Too often us web folks are kind, caring people, who are new to business uncomfortable asking for a fair rate that will allow their company to grow and prosper and allow for flexibility when emergencies arise. So we charge too little (Farm-O-lutions did it at one point). Unfortunately that creates an eco-system where no one is accountable and – eventually – there’s no one there to pick up the phone or answer an email when shit hits the fan. And believe me, eventually, the shit always hits the fan.

Not to mention there are literally hundreds of tiny steps that you – as the purchaser or client – will never know that need to be done. Making sure analytics code is correctly installed, making sure goal tracking is setup, submitting the site to webmaster tools, etc. and if these aren’t done you are receiving a sub-par product (with potentially sub-par marketing results – learn more about your sites coding and its effect on your organizations overall marketing) and if they are done, even the simplest site will still take many hours to fully setup.

The bottom line is, like in many industries web design and development is definitely an area where you get what you pay for.

Infographic: The Clients Guide to Creating a Website

An effective website is your best salesperson.

Anyone can put together a website – even for free. But designing for both conversation and conversion is a special skill set that doesn’t come w/ out much effort.

Before you go looking for a web studio or developer to create your site, it helps to understand what goes into actually creating a website. This infographic gives an overview of the web development process so that you can make a more informed decision about the web studio or developer to choose, and later on, engage better with them.

inforgraphicwebprocess

The Design Process


farm-o-lutions custom web design processEffective Web design is the balancing between various types of clients with communication needs, technological understanding, and probably most importantly – budget. Each project will have set, strict needs – IE the name web design suggests that a design will have to be created and then all the steps that follow to get it up and working on the web. But things start to get tricky when you add contact forms, membership sections, forums, integrations with a company/clients’ existing tools.

  • “I want to accept payment automatically for invoices through my website.”
  • “I want members to be able to post courses, videos, etc. for sale, under their profile and take a commission.”
  • “We need to be able to pinpoint whether a particular restaurant delivers to any users exact location.”
  • “Can we get the website to list and sale our catalogue of over 2,000 dental supply and technology products in a way that actually is intuitive and looks attractive?!

So, as you can see none of the above really has anything to do with design. Additionally, one of the most interesting things about web design is that – unlike other mediums – the process or technicality of production – has an effect on its exposure. Basically – the way we structure code, the way we create and add stuff to a site – plays ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLES IN DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT IT WILL GET SEEN.farm-o-lutions custom web design

 

It would be akin to the process of designing a magazine ad – and saying that the way you build an indesign file, or photoshop file – will determine HOW the editor or designers place your ad in the magazine.

Never before has such a technical process had such an impact on marketing success (thanks Internet & Google).

Connecting the above two dots – not only is the line between web design and heavier – programming/engineering-centric tasks blurred – so is the line between design/development & marketing. I’d argue your web designer is responsible for the success of your website. The company you choose – their code – must take into account who you are, what you’re trying to accomplish and specifically, add (in the proper ways) the keywords for which you want to rank.

And this is just the beginning  – a company’s success online is determined less by it’s initial site, but more by what it continues to do – add content, network online, advertise online, etc.

 

THE WEB DESIGN PROCESS

PRE-PRODUCTION

Pre-production refers to everything that’s done before we touch software related to a project. It’s fact gathering, research, etc.

  1. Sales & Research – The sales process is one of the most intriguing steps to me (and the one I’m directly in charge of and I NEVER thought I would in any way be involved in sales). How do you get someone, or a company, to trust you? To spend their money with you? Our current average sales takes anywhere from 1-4 months from initial contact or connection to contract signing.
  2. Client Launch Meeting – Once all of the sales details have been formalized, and a general outline of what to be provided is created (IE the contract) we bring our clients in for a launch meeting. In the case of a website, we’ll re-review what was discussed during the sales process and dive deeper into specifics. We’ll then work with our clients over the coming days/months to completely flesh out our internal documentation that allows us to effectively execute a site (once approved) VERY quickly. This is most commonly the step where we discuss imagery, motifs, sitemaps, etc. with clients and help to guide them towards the site that works the best for their business and personal needs.
  3. Internal Launch Meeting – Once the above is completed we’ll have an internal launch meeting where, the team members dedicated to a particular project, are briefed on all of the details of said project.

PRODUCTION BEGINS

dudeatdeskProduction is where we “start doing stuff” although there’s usually between 2– 5 hours on the above steps alone, they’re mostly just planning steps, so Farm-O-lutions doesn’t have anything exciting to show off quite yet. But we think the planned & budgeted communication in this way is what differentiates us, what allows us to retain clients for years, and what allows us to execute not just what our clients want, but combine that with our understanding of the web – to provide what they need.

 

  1. Wireframes, Designs – The two steps at the beginning of production are really combined and often handled by separate resources. In this step we create a wireframe – literally a quick sketch on paper (or the computer) as to what will go where – navigation, etc. We’ll then take this, once approved by the client, and design an example of exactly what the site will look like once complete. This is a flat file, produced with Photoshop. This is probably the most exciting step in the process and we dedicate a lot of time for the actual presentation of the design, for feedback and updates in order to ensure our clients are happy. We’re actively communicating with clients during this and all steps in this process via email, phone calls, and our internal project management system.
  2. Hosting Setup, Front-End Development & Software Installation – This is “boring”.  That’s in quotes, because personally this used to be my favorite step in the process when I was doing it. I love the idea of actually taking a site from a flat file to a living site. There’s computer stuff in the background we have to do to make this happen. We allocate space on our server for the site, take care of domain name things for our clients, and just get it working.
  3. Site Launch – At this step, everything’s been green lighted, all text is in the site, all imagery is selected and in and we launch the site live.
  4. Post-Launch (Marketing) Steps – We’ve had this step since the beginning. The launching of the site is really the most critical phase in marketing your company or website online. At this step we go through 15 different steps to make sure the site is as search engine optimized as possible and to give it the best leg up online. This means configuring things like analytics, AdWords conversion tracking, submitting the site to webmaster tools, etc. At the end of day just doing all we can to improve the performance of our clients’ sites both initially and for the duration of their time online.
  5. Post-Launch Meeting – Finally we set a meeting with our clients for a coaching session on how to use their new site, SEO best practices, tips on blogging, etc. We also wrap up this meeting with a 3rd party review of our process. Someone from our team who our client hasn’t worked with directly asks a couple simple questions about our process, their experience with us, and at which time they provide feedback. From that feedback we adjust all of the above :)