Design Blogs

Content Management Systems

Creating websites through dreamweaver or any other page-per-page design program unfortunately is becoming obsolete. This is due to CMS (Content Management Systems) as they allow webpages to be edited and updated online, and instantly; rather than re-editing every page then uploading them back to the server.

The current frontrunners for CMS programs are WordPress and Joomla. Learning to use and design with CMS is incredibly valuable, but don’t disregard your dreamweaver or html editing skills as these will come in handy while designing with CMS also.

I highly recommend that if you’re interested in web deisgn, to start reading up on WordPress/Joomla and watching online tutorials, see how you like it and give it a go. Once you get the hang of it and start to master it your designing life will become much easier

Image Quality

A major thing i notice a fair bit both in web and print design is the lack of adequate image quality. Image quality is incredibly important as the difference in reaction to seeing a beautiful, clear picture and trying to decipher what those blurs are supposed to be is phenomenal.

Some key points to remember:

Print Design (Business cards, flyers, book covers etc)

  • Images in CMYK
  • DPI (Dots per inch) set at 300, or 150 for newspaper designs.
  • Always have a bleed if your images are going to the edge of the design (make the image go over the edge by atleast 5mm

Web Design

  • Images in RGB
  • DPI can be set at anything from 72 upwards (not neccessary for higher than 72 in most cases)
  • Save for Web and Devices; For images that are going to be a part of a website, make sure you save for web and devices (ctrl+shift+alt+S in photoshop), this will reduce the file size drastically, but mkae sure you also save a hardcopy (PSD, JPG etc) as the web and devices version will not open in preview etc.

I’ll leave you on this note, remember reducing an image’s size is fine, and will retain most of its quality, however INCREASING the size of an image can become problematic if there are not enough pixels (usually happens at 72 DPI), so always make your original image much larger than need be, then save smaller versions of it.

SEO Tips

With SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) becoming increasingly more important with each passing day; designing a website that looks good just isn’t enough. Making sure that your website is both user-friendly (good for people) and Search Engine-friendly is incredibly vital to the success of the website.

Without good SEO for a website, the amazing design you’ve created will go to waste as no one will be able to even find your site on google or any other search engine. Some basic tips include:

Do not double-up your site!

 If it works with www. as a prefix AND without www. then your site is doubling up, which SPLITS your ranking in half. To fix this, you need to edit the .htaccess file via notepadd ++ or any other textedit program.

1. Rename the .htaccess to .htaccess.txt
2. Open with your textedit program
3. Add the lines (for no www. just enter the web domain in the two lines without www.)

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

4. Save the file, and rename to .htaccess
5. Upload to your server (root)

Relevant titles and descriptions

Make sure your titles and descriptions are short and sweet, containing relevant keywords, but dont overload them; generally do not go over 140 characters for descriptions and 70 characters for titles. Any characters after the 70/140 limit will NOT be read by googlebot, therefore not taken into account for ranking.

Alt tags on images

Googlebot and other crawlers cannot tell what an image is unless it has an alt tag, this is what you want the bots to see your image as, for example if your image is of a chocolate cake, you would make the alt tag “chocolate cake” or something along those lines. This will allow your images to be found on google images, and boosts your sites ranking greatly. So make sure your images arent sitting there with no alt tag or an alt tag like DSC_2012!

That’s all for now, not all the secrets can be given away, but i sincrely hope these tips help you along your way, and if you have any questions; feel free to contact me

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