A lot of my website design clients ask me who I recommend for web hosting. As far as pricing, most web hosts charge the same amount, within a dollar or two. Since it’s such a competitive market, they usually stay within the same range. It’s rare that a web host raises their rates unless they add or improve significant features to their hosting packages.
The real difference comes with the quality of their customer service, the maintenance they perform to keep their servers up and running, and the tools they provide to make managing your account easy.
I’ve used A Small Orange to host my own website for years and have consistently been impressed with their services. In my line of work, I work with a lot of web hosts, and most of them are a pain. But A Small Orange has been wonderful, so I always recommend them to my clients, and since I use them myself, it says a lot about their reliability.
Their web hosting packages begin as low as $20 per year. But I have an even better offer!
Click this link and enter coupon code NATHANGRIMESDESIGN during checkout to receive 15% off your order when you sign up with A Small Orange web hosting.
That’s all you have to do! There are no long-term contracts or early cancellation fees if you change your mind later. But as my own experience has proven, you’ll be so happy with A Small Orange that you’ll never need to cancel your hosting.
Then when you’re ready for your web design, come back here for a free consultation.
There are 3 things people tell me during the free website design consultation I provide:
- They want a clean, professional website design
There are a lot of really bad website designs out there in Nashville. Cluttered navigation and poorly written text that is riddled with typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Generic graphics made from templates or using excessive bevel and drop shadow filters. It’s just not a pretty sight and people don’t want it.
- They want a talented, experienced website designer
Another seemingly obvious choice. A lot of designers out there aren’t really sure what they’re doing and don’t have the foresight to build a strong website design plan that will help their clients exceed limitations over time.
- They want a website design that utilizes SEO and is compatible with iPads, iPhones and other mobile and tablet devices
Search engine optimization (SEO) means your website contains the right keywords and structure to get it indexed on major search engines. It’s shocking how many beautiful website designs out there are held together by awful, poorly written HTML and CSS code. When it comes to SEO, it doesn’t matter how nice the site looks if the code holding it together is bad. Likewise, if a website isn’t compatible with mobile and touch technology, you could be losing out on a big chunk of your customers.
In response, I’m happy to tell them that I can help with all 3 requests:
- Every website design I build is clean and professional
I hate bad design as much as my clients do. I’m also a stickler for good website copy, as it really sets the tone for a company. Every website design I create is built from scratch using beautiful, harmonious color palettes that are both functional and easy on the eyes. I also review the content my clients provide and offer suggestions, advice, and corrections to make sure everything reads the way it should.
- I have 13 years of industry experience in website design
It takes a sharp, experienced designer to ride the waves of changing trends and website needs. But through it all, I’ve been there. Just think back to what the internet was like in 1998, when I first started my business. Remember all the ways it’s changed. I’ve been here ever since, evolving right along with it. This matters because your website design needs to be built for growth. Sure, there are features of your site that may go out of style after a few years. That’s why the business model needs to be flexible enough to accomodate new direction and new trends too. I can provide the experience and insight to make this happen.
- I can help your website improve its SEO and all of my work is compatible with mobile devices
Nothing bugs me more than being on the go and trying to pull up a website on my iPhone, only to find the site isn’t compatible. Bad, bad, bad website design! It’s 2011 and there is no reason to build a website that hasn’t been tested on all modern computers, browsers, mobile and tablet devices. It just doesn’t make sense, and sure, bad designers will try to rationalize it every which way. But a good design should be both attraction AND functional; meaning the design itself shouldn’t hinder the user experience. I test my website design rigorously to make it as compatible as possible, and I can even build special mobile friendly versions of sites if you want to offer an additional level of customization for your customers. I also utilize SEO best practices to make your website easy to index on search engines.
If you’re looking for a good website designer in Nashville, you’ve come to the right place. Contact me today for a free, no risk, no hassle consultation.
If you’re having a problem with multiple designers bailing on you, ignoring your phone calls and emails, it may be time to evaluate what really went wrong.
It’s a very tough spot to be in. A potential client calls me to discuss his or her website design. Before I get one word in, they go off on a tangent about how they’ve been wronged by so many designers.
“Everything was going so well,” they explain. “Then one day, my designer just disappeared. It happens over and over again, and I just don’t understand why these designers keep ripping me off.”
Maybe you really did get ripped off. There are some bad eggs out there, after all. But more often than not, designers disappear because they’ve reached their limit. And unless they are under a contractual obligation to you, or have been paid for work that wasn’t delivered, they technically have the freedom to walk away.
Explaining this to a perfect stranger is very hard. But we have to look at this objectively. Multiple people have disappeared and you’re the common denominator. There’s either a serial killer at large, picking off designers one by one in some Friday the 13th storyline, or more realistically, you’re probably just hard to work with.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
- Were you unneccessarily critical or downright rude to your designer? Or is it possible you came across as rude without intending to?
- Were you unreliable, did you skip meetings, and/or were you late with payments?
- Were you scattered or disorganized with planning the website?
- Were you constantly calling or emailing the designer throughout the day?
These are just a few possible scenarios. Whether you think they’re right or wrong, the reality is that they can cause a designer to abandon a client. And since many designers live paycheck to paycheck, they have to make tough decisions about whether or not to stay with a client. If the client is difficult, or takes up too much time, the designer might have to sever that relationship so they can focus on more productive and lucrative projects.
Clients who are late with payments, even if just by a few days, are an especially big factor. Designers work hard to meet your deadlines and expectations. Once the project is finished, they want their client to be just as quick to pay them. Again, this isn’t a matter of right or wrong. It’s simply a statement of what many designers expect from their clients.
So why don’t designers just tell you there’s a problem?
In a perfect world, that would be the best solution. Open, honest communication is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, many clients are not too enthusiastic about being told by their designer that they are very difficult to work with. The conversation can backfire, get heated or aggressive, and often times ends very badly. In the long run, by trying to be honest, the designer has created an enemy for life.
As crazy as it sounds, it’s almost better to just leave a client confused and bewildered. It’s the lesser of two evils because there is no actual verbal confirmation that you were the problem. You may be a little upset, but at least you won’t have the overwhelming anger from having somebody tell you that you’re difficult.
So how can you fix it?
Let’s say you’ve evaluated the situation, and concluded that yes, you may have been difficult to work with. First of all, make amends. Send them an email, let them know that you’ve thought about things and want to apologize. Offer to talk about it, while remaining calm and open minded, and maybe you’ll be able to start working together again.
Maybe the designer will be open to it, maybe he won’t. And hey, maybe the designer is just a bad guy. Like I said, not every designer is a saint. Whatever the case, it’s good to resolve issues, if at all possible.
And moving forward:
Next time you’re looking for a designer to hire, don’t start off with a rant about what went wrong in the past. It sets a negative tone for working together. Instead, focus on the positive, discuss the goals you’d like to accomplish, and be mindful of some of the things that caused problems in the past so they aren’t repeated. You may be really shocked to see things take a very different path next time around.
Planning a website design is a detailed process with one client. It’s more difficult, and significantly more likely to fail, when mystery management is thrown in.
Communication is the secret to producing a successful website design. Sure, it’s very important to have a talented, experienced professional like Nathan Grimes Design. But that’s just the beginning. Without a clear hierarchy of who’s in charge, who’s making the decisions, and who’s giving final approval, the whole design process can fall apart. The result? A mediocre website design, a poorly planned content structure, and a potentially negative client/designer relationship.
Let’s start with an all too common example. Jane Doe contacts me for a company website design. She loves my work, enjoys our conversation, and we both feel really good about working together on this project. Several weeks have passed and we’ve made excellent progress with the web design. In fact, we’re close enough to see the finish line.
Then one day I receive an e-mail from Jane. She regrets to inform me that even though she loves everything about the website, her boss, Joe Schmoe, would like to make some changes. His favorite color is green, not blue, so he’d like me to plan a whole new palette. The logo is nice, but it’s not quite what he had in mind. A different font, perhaps? And he’d really like the navigation to go down the side of the page instead of across.
Who, whoa, whoa. But I was told that everything was good to go with the site. I was told we were almost ready for launch. What’s all this?
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Jane explains. “But he’s the owner of the company. If we don’t make these changes, the site can’t go live.”
Now if you like green instead of blue, I’m happy to use it. I’m also happy to make the navigation go any direction you want, as well as use any font you prefer on the logo. But I want to know where this mystery management came from?
If Joe was the one making the final decisions, why wasn’t he involved in any of our phone conversations or e-mail exchanges? Why didn’t we have meetings as a collective group, rather than one-on-one?
This, ladies and gentleman, is bait and switch. Sadly, it’s quite common with website design. The reasoning has to do with time management. Joe doesn’t think he’d have enough time to interact with the designer during the building stages, so he puts Jane in charge. That’s absolutely fine, as long as Jane’s decisions have value. But apparently they don’t. So Joe swoops in at the 11th hour and undoes weeks of hard work and collaboration.
Don’t let your project become the victim of bait and switch website design!
It’s bad all the way around. I promise. It’s in your best interest as a company to be crystal clear from the start who needs to be involved in the planning, building, and execution of your website design. And make sure they stay involved every step of the way.
You will have a stronger, more polished web design in the end. You will also have a happier, healthier relationship with your designer, who you are likely going to need to hire again in the future. If your designer wraps the project on positive terms, he’s going to be much more attentive and enthusiastic about working with you next time you need his help.
It is my goal at Nathan Grimes Design to produce successful outcomes with my clients. This includes a work ethic that avoids bait and switch scenarios. I want to know exactly who is going to be involved in the website design process so we can build an open flow of communication from day one. Contact me today to discuss how we can work together as a team.
Hiring someone to build your website design can be a long process. There are hundreds of prospects who specialize in Nashville website design, and even more if you broaden your search to the Middle Tennessee area.
Tips for hiring the right person for your website design:
Every designer has unique strengths and weaknesses. The right person for the job should be someone who is specifically compatible with your personality type, your work and communication style, as well as your company’s goals. Here are some clues to look for—
- Does the designer have examples of websites he’s designed for real people?
You can learn a lot just from looking at the work he’s done. If his portfolio is filled with links to legitimate sites for real businesses, that’s a good sign. It shows he isn’t afraid to share the names of companies who have hired him in the past. Check to see if the sites have contact names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses… Basically some way to confirm that the client is real. (By the way, you can check out the Nathan Grimes Design portfolio to see live examples of many website designs I’ve completed.)
- Does the designer maintain a public persona?
It’s reasonable to conclude that someone who specializes in website design would probably be at least somewhat active in social networking. At very minimum, there should be some type of Facebook business page or Twitter account that is used to publish news and information. (You can find Nathan Grimes Design on Facebook and Twitter.) Having a public persona provide an extra level of transparency.
- Does the designer have testimonials readily available?
A testimonial is about as effective as a job reference. Your prospective designer is obviously only going to publish positive testimonials, just like a job applicant is only going to refer you to people who are going to say positive things about his work. But there is still a lot of power in reading testimonials because they can reveal hidden gems about what it’s like to work with a designer. For example, in some of the testimonials for Nathan Grimes Design, clients brag about my ability to read their mind and being able to quickly grasp their concepts. These are traits I didn’t realize about myself, and therefore don’t actively advertise them. But knowing that other clients felt that way gives you some insight into what you might expect from me. From that viewpoint, being able to read testimonials can really help with your decision.
How much does a website design cost?
Another important factor in hiring a professional to plan and build your website design is understanding how a website is built and how that will affect the cost.
A template website design uses a pre-built layout. The graphics have already been created and empty boxes are filled in with information about your company. There isn’t much customization involved and the finished website usually won’t reflect the unique personality of your company. A template website design is probably not very high quality and may be quite limited if your business grows and expands. Because it’s a template, it will probably also be sold to other clients, meaning that your competitors could have a website design that looks exactly like yours. The main benefit and appeal for templates is that they are usually offered at rock-bottom prices, sometimes as low as $50. However, there may be hidden fees associated with them, such as a monthly charge to “rent” them from the designer.
A custom website design is built from a completely blank slate. The designer will take time to get to know you and your business, as well as your industry, so he can build a website design that accurately showcases your company’s strengths. He will usually work with you through every step of the process to ensure the outcome is successful and satisfactory. If done correctly, the custom website design should also be very expandable and built for future growth of your company. A custom website designer wants you to be successful and will plan ahead to empower you with the tools to grow. He probably also has more experience and wisdom, which will be beneficial to you as the client. But his services come at a premium, with the average custom website design starting at $2,000 and going up, depending on the type of site. It’s a business investment, but well worth the cost.
Nathan Grimes Design only provides custom website designs. Study after study has shown that templates are perceived as cheap, generic, and ultimately harm the clients in the long-run. Afterall, if you think about the most popular and most successful websites on the web, they all utilize a custom website design. It’s unlikely that a company will grow and thrive if they are not equipped with a strong website presence.
To learn more, I recommend another article written by Nathan Grimes Design, titled How Much Does a Website Design Cost? It offers free and valuable advice to help you plan for your website design.
Ready to get started? Contact me today for a free, no-risk consultation.
Mobile web browsing is huge! By the end of 2010, Apple’s iPad had cannibalized 95% of the table PC market — and it just came out last April! The numbers are staggering. iPhone and Droid have dominated the smartphone market and the numbers are multiplying by the day. It looks like mobile web browsing is here to stay, and as that’s the case, mobile website design is on the rise.
If your website design is not compatible, you are bleeding money. Who knows how many customers you are losing? I have always been very critical of websites that do not display properly on all modern browsers. With the technology and resources out there, I see no excuse for a website that won’t work universally on Mac and PC, Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari. As that’s the case, I’ve made certain to test every website I design on multiple computers and platforms.
But now the stakes are even higher. We must make sure websites work correctly on mobile devices, and that can be an uphill challenge, as the rules and standards for the mobile market are constantly changing and evolving.
Nathan Grimes Design is working to stay on the forefront of new website design trends. Not only to the Nashville website design clients, but to clients around the globe. Most of the sites I have designed in the past are already mobile-friendly with no tweaks required. But as an extra precaution, I’ve also started designing special mobile-specific versions of websites to maximize compatibility.
Do you want to be on top of the future of technology too? Contact me to schedule a free, no-risk website design consultation. We can work together to make your website the best it can be.
The world of web design has evolved and so has the way we do business. But there are certain old-school rules that are still important today. One of them is how we communicate with our website designers.
Text messaging is quick, convenient, and is allows you to get your thoughts out there about your website design. But it’s a medium that can quickly become a problem if you don’t understand the boundaries.
If you and your designer have explicitly discussed and agreed to communicate via text message, then that is acceptable. But if you have your designer’s phone number, and you assume it’s their cell, you shouldn’t automatically start sending off your feedback and changes for your website.
Problem #1: Text messages cannot be stored in folders.
As I’ve discussed in prior articles, e-mail is an important part of getting the job done, and folders are a big part of productivity. I keep all projects organized by folder so I can easily reference them later. If you send correspondence by text, it suddenly becomes harder to organize, harder to track, and it’s just not a very good way to manage a project. I don’t recommend it as an option for giving feedback or changes on a site.
Problem #2: Text messages cannot be flagged for follow-up or added to your calendar.
Although text messages have come a long way, they are still not nearly as evolved as e-mail. They can’t be flagged or easily added to your calendar. It makes the job of managing your website design much harder. Text messages may never reach the sophistication of e-mail. But that’s okay. It’s important to accept each technology for its strengths and utilize them accordingly.
Problem #3: E-mail is not dead, contrary to what hype says.
I think we’ve all heard cynics say that e-mail is a dying trend. Don’t fall for it. The truth is that e-mail is used less often, but it’s nowhere near dead. As stated above, we should utilize all technologies for their strengths. There are some tasks that can be done faster without e-mail. But the bottom line is that a strong, quality website design still requires in-depth notes and conversations; something e-mail happens to be very good at managing.
The Nashville website design that Nathan Grimes provides is done efficiently and effectively. Hire a designer that knows what he’s doing and how to communicate. The end result will be much more positive!
It’s a common request and seems quite reasonable. A client asks if I can make sure their whole frontpage can be seen without any scrolling. If we really wanted to explore bad website design, then yes, we could accomplish that. For example, if the website design was forced to be no taller than 300 pixels high, then it would most likely show on all monitors without a scrollbar… assuming the end-user has their browser window open enough to display it. But that wouldn’t be a very productive or attractive design. It’s unlikely that very much useful content could fit into that space.
The reality is that you can never guarantee a website design will all fit on the screen. Why? Because monitor sizes vary so drastically. A page may show up completely on a large, widescreen monitor, but require a little bit of scrolling on a laptop. It’s an uphill battle that can never really be won.
Instead, I always encourage my clients to go with the web design that feels right. Is it user-friendly? Does it look good and entice users to explore further? If so, chances are that visitors will continue through the site, even if they have to scroll to read some of the content.
The Huffington Post is a really great example of scrolling website design. The dominating news story usually takes up most of the screen on some monitors. But the information is so captivating that millions of visitors access the site at least once per day, and gladly scroll through rows and rows of news stories.
So embrace the scrollbar! Build a strong web site design with meaningful content, and the rest will work itself out. With the experience, guidance, and talent of Nathan Grimes Design, the leader in Nashville website design, you can rest assured that you’ll have a powerful product.
The true story of how a major corporation took a great design and trashed it.
Flash is the most misused and abused technology on the web. It tanks search engine results because search engines can’t read it. That means if your website design is only available in Flash, you’re pretty much getting zero results when people search for it.
It’s slow, buggy, and outdated. The only thing it was ever really good for was displaying music and video, and now that can be done seamlessly with HTML5. That’s why thousands of major sites, including YouTube and Netflix, are offering HTML5 alternatives to their video players. By 2015, Flash will probably be almost non-existent.
The good news is that Nathan Grimes Design does not use any unnecessary Flash in your website design. So there’s no need to worry about your site being buggy, outdated, or incompatible with smartphone devices. I build sites using the technology of the future, not the past. Contact me today for a free, no-risk consultation.
Let’s start by exploring the differences in services. Some website designers use templates to build your website, while others custom-build everything. There are pros and cons to both types, but it’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting.
Template Website vs. Custom Designed Website
You’ve probably seen ads online for websites that cost as low as $50. Wow, what a deal! You probably spend almost that much just filling up your gas tank. For the same price, you can get a complete website design to promote your business?
Not so fast. As the saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true…” There’s a good reason you’re being charged so little for a service that seems like it should cost so much more.
The design you’re paying for is called a template. A template is a generic website design that will be re-sold to dozens, maybe even hundreds of businesses. The designer uses the template for your site and changes a few small things like the title of your business, your contact information, and probably the text that describes your company.
The first problem with templates is… well… they look like templates. The customers that visit your site will immediately recognize how unprofessional and unoriginal the design is. This reflects poorly on your company. First impressions make a big impact. If you didn’t care to take the time, money, and effort to build a unique website, how can they trust that you are serious about your business?
The other problem is flexibility. Most templates are pretty rigid and don’t allow space for adding new buttons, new pages, and making edits. You’ll most likely be stuck with the same website no matter how much your company grows. Ouch. Talk about suffocating.
You’ll also find that there are hidden costs. Your designer may charge a monthly fee to “rent” the template. Suddenly that $50 has turned into $500 or $1000. That’s a lot of money for a design that you’ll never own!
What Are the Benefits of a Custom Website Design?
First, and foremost, a custom design will reflect the true spirit and integrity of your company. You have something unique to offer and you know it. That’s what gave you the passion to start a business in the first place. Your website design should reflect these special services your business offers. With a customized website, your designer is going to work with you to make sure everything about your site matches your company. The colors, the fonts, the logo, the photos. It should all be an extension of your business and the service it provides.
You’ll also have room to grow. Every site that Nathan Grimes Design builds comes equipped with a Client Control Panel that allows you to quickly and easily make updates to your site. Want to add a new page? No problem. Want more buttons on the navigation bar? Done. Afterall, your business is going to grow and change over time. Shouldn’t your website do the same?
The Average Cost for a Custom Website Design
The national average for a customized website design is $2,000 – $3,000 for small businesses. Larger corporate websites and e-commerce sites may cost more because of the labor intensive requirements. But for most business websites, you should plan on spending somewhere in that range.
When you think about how important your website really is, and what the long-term benefits are of it, the price is very reasonable. You’re paying for a strong, attractive design that will leave a positive impression with your customers. You’re also receiving years worth of expert advice and experience from your designer, which can help avoid mistakes that could hurt your business.
Let’s Get Started Today
Nathan Grimes Design offers a free, no-risk phone consultation. There are no strong-arming, high-pressure sales tactics during the conversation. I’ll just talk to you, listen to what your needs are, and work with you to decide if we are a good match for what you want to accomplish with your site. Contact me today.