We’re never wrong but…

Occasionally, just occasionally mind you, we have to admit, that maybe we have to re-evaluate some thinking and values that we’ve previously held. But we’re never wrong. Just to be clear.

So, what is this great epiphany you’re wondering? In this case it comes from the world of design and imagery.

For those of you who know us and even those who don’t, here at HITS Towers we’re huge fans of WordPress, it’s a great product for developing and managing websites but regardless of what platform you’re using its really important to have good quality design and ideally professional photography.

Now, those two last statements will have most small businesses running for their wallets and to be honest we can’t entirely blame them.

Just speaking from personal experience, we’ve come across some ( in our opinion ) very expensive websites / design projects, certainly at prices that many can’t afford or justify.

This probably won’t win us any friends in the local design community but we feel that, to a certain extent, the prices charged are too expensive and some design agencies are over valuing their work. The ‘grants industry’ probably hasn’t helped, more on that another time.

We’ve seen quite a few examples over the years of prices from some North East design companies that have been a trifle eye watering.  Having said that, going cheapest isn’t always best either. We’ve also seen some really bad examples of companies using outsourced designers in other countries and the whole project has just imploded.

There’s a great deal to be said for hiring a company in the U.K. and ideally locally. At the very least you’ll have U.K. law on your side and you’ll both be having a tea break in the same time zone….

Anyway, back to our blinding vision and now seeing the light, as it were.

In the past when we’ve been building a WordPress website we’ve always focused on the technical aspects ( the behind the scenes stuff ), making sure it functions correctly and is secure but we always left the images and design down to the client.

Not being arty farty designer types we’ve been guilty of going along with ‘that’ll do’ kind of cameramentality. Especially when working with a small business on a very tight budget.

So, what brought this change of heart, we hear you cry.

Just recently we’ve worked on a couple of website with a professional designer and a professional photographer and have to say, it’s been a real eye opener.

The end results of both websites went way beyond what we were expecting.

Working with both a designer and photographer meant we were able to have images produced exactly the way we wanted from a technical point of view ( size, layout etc. ) but it worked the other way as well. Our tame design team were asking us questions and how we could produce a website that did what they wanted.

Safe to say, thinking caps were dusted off and placed in to overdrive.

Also, from our point of view, no stock images. After 20 years of websites we can all spot a stock image or two. At the other end of scale, images from your camera phone are probably not the best choice either.  Unless you’re very good, camera phone images rarely do a business any kind of justice.

So, if you’re in the market for some design work, some points worth thinking about:

  • Are they local / UK ? Shop around, you’re bound to find some high quality local independent people. Using a smaller company may save on costs and you won’t get lost in the bigger projects.

    Use your social media platforms for a good rummage, LinkedIn being the first port of call.

  • Obviously, have a look at past projects and recommendations.

  • All images are included and you get to keep them. None of this copyright nonsense and you have to pay to re-use. In our opinion, you paid for the work, you own it. Anyone who says no, walk away, you’ll find someone else.  This is bound to get us struck off the ‘ Graphic Designers Union’ Christmas card list.

  • Can you work with them? Price is not the only factor.

  • Give yourself a realistic budget and timescale. Some small business can expect miracles for £ 2.50. By the same token we’re all on a tight budget.

  • Do a bit of prep work. As the client, it really is up to you to have a rough idea of what you’re after. Go in with some example websites of what you like, but just as important, what you don’t like. This will help your project to stay a bit more focussed and not wander off topic.

  • Get some training. A sizable chunk of all websites are built on some kind of Content Management platform. The number of companies who haven’t got the first clue on how to update their website is bigger than you think. Don’t be one of them.

  • Keep it up to date. It’s always worth keeping your website site fresh and interesting.  Negotiate ahead to see what it would cost for new photography and images. The good suppliers will offer discount.

 

Anyway, that’s probably more than enough from us for now.

Hopefully that’s given more than enough food for thought and in the future you’ll have another look at your current website design and photo’s.

If you’ve managed to get this far then you might be wondering who we worked with:

www.ohpc.co.uk for design

www.gforsterphoto.co.uk/ for photography.

So, now you’re primed to go you can always get in touch with us here at Harrison I.T. Services, we have all websites solutions available and we’d be delighted to hear from you.