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questions you should ask a web design & development company

Questions You Should Ask A Web Design & Development Company

Most of our client are great business owners who know nothing about web design or development. Naturally, they come to us with a ton of questions you should ask a web design & development company. Having an educated client aids in making sure that we exceed their expectations. It also makes them more likely to become a steady, ongoing part of our family-like network.

 

This will be a multi-part series where we have compiled a list of the most important questions you should ask a web design & development company. Knowing the answers or what to expect should help to make the best decision for you. Some of the questions are self-directed, while others are mentioned for the developer, or red flags you should avoid.

 

  1. Does their Portfolio reflect the style you like?
    • Are there examples on their portfolio that reflect your style or your vision? Does their finished work look great, or is there some experience left to be had? Most companies do not display all of their work; however, you should be able to tell if they are capable of the look you want to achieve. If it isn’t apparent, do not be afraid to ask-they may have something up their sleeves to show you.
  2. Does the company have a knowledgeable process for work completion?
    • A company that has a proven process that works will not hesitate in explaining to you the way they work. A clear and well established work plan does not have to be detailed in writing. However, it should be able to easily be explained in a way that you understand. Look for a company that asks a ton of questions; it shows they are listening and the wheels in their head are turning a solution specifically for you.
  3. Does the company have reviews or references?
    • People usually leave reviews when they were either really impressed, or very disappointed. Take some time to check not just their own supplied reviews, but those on social media, Google, and other review sites. The ones published by a third party are less likely to be modified and may truly reflect their business. Privacy issues may affect the ability to provide direct references, but a portfolio should be readily available. References that are provided should have nothing but good to say about them.
  4. What is your experience?
    • In other words, can they do the work requested? How can they assure you that they can perform the work? A web design or development company will be able to understand your requirements with ease, and be quick to discuss follow-up questions or concerns to make sure that they get it right. They will not lead your discussion with their offers, rather let you explain what is needed. Then they are prepared to offer a solution that covers everything you planned, and everything you did not. It is easy to get distracted by bells and whistles of those who seem to have a preplanned go-to. Watch for companies that try to steer you away from building from your core business process in order to fit the mold they use.
  5. What is the lead time for starting a project?
    • Some may say that a free web developer, or one that does not have at least 1-2 weeks waiting time before starting should be meet with skepticism. However, many companies have a large team and resources to start a project. Plan to start within one month of beginning your search or run the risk of quotes expiring or other potential issues. DO consider the project deadline so that you leave enough time to complete the project without rushing.
  6. Does the company outsource their work?
    • This is a highly discussed subject in IT, and is sometimes a sore spot. Some companies do all of the work themselves (in-house), either in their office or by offshore development (their employees). Others may outsource some or all of their work to another company, which is usually offshore. Knowing which model they follow can help avoid going through any issues commonly associated with outsourced projects. Why go through a middle man when you can go directly to the source?
  7. How do you determine pricing or what is the cost?
    • Pricing is different for any web development or design company you meet. Costs usually depend on the total time and resources required. Some projects or tasks need to be billed hourly or can be charged a flat rate. Pricing can also vary according to the number of employees required, API integration, or even the speed you need it completed. Everyone has heard the horror stories of being told one price, and then later having to pay more. Just be sure to get a clear understanding of ALL fees involved, when they are expected, and what is the refund process in the event that things just don’t work out.
  8. Are they local?
    • A very important factor, we can’t stress enough how much easier a project can be with someone local. Choosing a local web design or development company is recommended because it enables you to sit down face to face with someone. Companies not local to you can lead to more frustrations when it’s  time discuss requirements, details, or changes. In the event that there is an issue, you can bring it directly to them because you know who and where they are.

We are about halfway through this list, but the best is yet to come. Check back next week for part two of most important questions you should ask a web design & development company. We plan on wrapping up with topics that really set web design and development companies apart, including why you should use MediaLinkers for your next project!

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g&g cycles of roswell

G & G Cycles of Roswell – A new shop in town!

[Roswell, Georgia] – G & G Cycles of Roswell, a motorcycle repair shop, opened its doors in 2017 after owner Shawn Guinther branched off independently. Following 13 years in the industry, Guinther pursued his dreams to open an independently owned, dealership alternative, offering quality work at affordable prices. “We are a one-stop, full service shop for all American V-Twin and Metric models,” said Guinther, stating that they believe in treating your motorcycle like their own.

 

Prior to opening G & G Cycles of Roswell, Guinther co-owned another motorcycle repair shop in Woodstock with a friend. Two years of co-running the business gave Guinther the experience and confidence to open his own shop under the independent brand. Guinther, who graduated from Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) in 2004, is a family man, who enjoys spending time with his wife and two children when he isn’t at work.

 

G & G Cycles of Roswell takes pleasure in being locally owned and operated. They don’t have shareholders, so there is no need to inflate prices to meet a quota. The convenience and personal relationship tendered is easy and authentic, with Guinther being available in the shop most days for you to meet. MediaLinkers Web Design’s owner even stopped by with short notice to congratulate Guinther on his successful website launch, and assisted in filming a short video on services offered by G & G Cycles of Roswell, which can be seen here.

 

Motorcycle enthusiasts with a repair need will love the services that G & G Cycles of Roswell has to offer. In honor of their launch, they are offering a special on LED lighting! They are a distributor for Custom Dynamics LEDs, and also offer a free installation of any LED turn signal kit when purchased with your LED headlight kit. This offer ends soon, so don’t wait!

 

About G & G Cycles of Roswell

Shawn Guinther opened the doors to G & G Cycles of Roswell in 2017 and offer a full range of services, maintenance, and accessories for most makes and models of motorcycles. Locally owned and operated, G & G Cycles of Roswell takes pride in affordable prices and quality workmanship.  For more information, visit our web site at http://www.gandgcyclesofroswell.com/.

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View and Ask Launches New Type of Buy & Sale Site!

[Kennesaw, Georgia] – Zachary Jensen, CEO and Founder of View and Ask launched ViewandAsk.com, an online marketplace where you, the buyer, can view and ask questions about the item for sale. You can also list your own items, such as an old watch, a sports collection, or even a car, and then add pictures or video of it.   “I was sick and tired of being burned online seller after seller” said Jensen. “I always seemed to be giving the seller the benefit of the doubt, and after wasting so much time and money, I set out to find a solution to the online buying problem.”

 

View and Ask incorporates live two-way video conferencing so that you can see for yourself how the item looks or works, which is useful in cases such as if you are making a sale that requires you to drive a bit to meet. You can search for items by keyword, the state you reside in, or a specific category. Privacy was a concern for each step of the development process, noting that each user has control over what information they allow others to see.

 

“Along the way, I have added a few extra features like the Blooper Zone,” chuckled Jensen. “My goal for this idea is to bring the trust back to online buying one sell at a time.” Jensen hopes to add additional features and functionality as they grow, through the help of MediaLinkers Web Design, who was contracted for the branding, web design, and development of the website. Charlie Jensen, Zach’s father, and part of his team was thankful to MediaLinkers for their “vision, experience, and guidance leading to the successful launch of viewandask.com”.

 

In honor of their launch, View and Ask is offering FREE listings for all items, so list away! However it is not mentioned for how long, so make your way over to ViewandAsk.com now before this deal is expired.

 

 

About View and Ask

ViewandAsk.com is committed to offering a premier online buying and selling platform that integrates the latest technologies for user economy, honesty, integrity, and security. Launching its new website this past summer, ViewandAsk.com’s online system provides an anonymous, two-way visual communications system that allows a buyer to see and speak with a seller in real time and, at the same time, to visually inspect the item being sold without exchanging personally identifying information. For more information, visit our web site at www.viewandask.com.

 

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Cherrypickprices.com

CherryPickPrices.com is Now Live!

Cherrypickprices.com was a six month project which has successfully been launched thanks to long hours, and intense dedication from all parties. Looking to save time and money within his own business, Dave DeSantis, CEO and Founder of Cherrypickprices.com and local business The Jammin Pie, decided to develop a macro interface that allowed him to analyze and determine the best price of his regular inventory purchased. This proved to be exhausting and extremely time consuming.

 

“The worst part about the four hours it took just going through two vendor lists, was knowing that when Friday came, most of the prices would change based on market fluctuation,” said DeSantis.

 

The successfulness behind his initial experiment led to savings of over $12K for the first year, approximately 12% in his supply costs. Realizing the additional benefits that occurred from competition, and the basic economics behind supply and demand, DeSantis ventured out to find a web development company who could replicate and improve his spreadsheet on a BIGGER scale.

 

After talks with various web development companies, MediaLinkers Web Design‘s small business approach appealed to DeSantis.

 

“I realized a lot of different companies are overpaying for goods.” DeSantis worked alongside MediaLinkers‘ Chief Technical Officer M. Sajjad in improving his original spreadsheet, and converting it over to an easy to use web interface. Profitability can be achieved much easier with technology and competition working for you. There are various ways that Cherrypickprices.com can benefit your business; don’t miss out on the free trial from now until the end of June 2015.

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Mobilegeddon: What Does Your Mobile Site Needs to Incorporate For Countering the Mobile Update?

There are factors other than mobile responsiveness in which you need to look at for passing the Mobile-Friendly test. Other than mobile responsiveness, there are other SEO mistakes which include things such as blocked CSS, JavaScript, poor image optimization, slow mobile pages, irrelevant cross-linking, and the mobile only 404s.

 

On April 21st, Google’s John Mueller confirmed through Google+ at the 4:40 mark about the roll out which has begun, and is live in various Google data centers.

 

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As a solution to the mobile update, you need to make the following changes into your site before it starts declining.

Understand How Google’s Mobile Bot Indexes your Pages

Through Google Webmaster Tools

Google webmaster tools are essential to anyone interested in SEO, as it helps in reviewing your site the way Google does. The first thing to check is whether you are seen as mobile friendly or not. Go to Search Traffic on the main navigation bar for finding the “Mobile Usability” function. It will tell you if your site is mobile friendly or not.

Also, check if the bot can index the important pages of your site. For that, you need to go to “Crawl” and then “Fetch as Google.” Then change the options in the dropdown to see how the Googlebot indexes your site. You can also select the option XHTML/WML to see if the Google indexes your pages on a feature phone.

Type in the URL Test

A green tick means that the URL has been submitted successfully, whereas something other than this means you are required to resolve an issue.

Review the Cross Device Engagement on Your Site

Another good means of reviewing your desktop and mobile users is to separate the Analytics statistics into mobile, desktop and tablet view.  The Google webmaster tool allows you to see the data filtered for Mobile devices, enabling the ability to compare and further identify the differences in the behavior of users on Mobile and Web.

Review if Googlebot Can Access All Your Files

Google has exclusively mentioned in their technical webmaster guidelines to allow the Googlebot access to the JS, image files and CSS for a better indexation and rendering of your website. In other words, the way JS and the CSS files work is how Google’s algorithm looks at the mobile sites, and if these are blocked from being reviewed by Google, then you are landing yourself in a lot of trouble.

 

This is why you need to remove anything that is blocking the CSS, images, and JS from being crawled by the algorithm in the robots.txt, if at all possible. Some sites cannot remove the render-blocking JS because of their website’s functions, which is understandable.

Avoiding Sitemap and Duplicate Content Issues

This only applies to your site if you have a separate version of mobile instead of a responsive site. If your pages are identical to your desktop site, you need to tell Google about it, or else you would be in for a duplicate content penalty. This you can do with the help of rel=”alternate” and rel=”canonical” tags.

 

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Last but not least, make sure that your site does not contain common SEO mistakes, such as having device dependent unplayable content (Flash), mobile only 404s, and slow mobile pages, among other things.

If you are unsure as to how to handle this all, you can consult with an Atlanta web design company in order to get this done in the most professional way.

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Google Planning for Huge Mobile Optimization Update, Starting April 21st

Search engine optimization is no longer limited to how well your website performs on  regular desktop machines. According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Zineb Ait Bahajji, a new update (ready to be released on April 21st) is specially designed to have a major impact even stronger than the Panda update on all websites that do not offer a healthy mobile experience. However, as a result, the users are going to easily get high quality and relevant results from the sites which are optimized for mobile devices.

Rand Fishkin, also recently shared on Google+ about the different sections of the Moz site and the traffic number generating from mobile searches was very low (less than 1%). Being a big name in the Internet Marketing Industry, they are still making their site mobile friendly to counter the impact of the Mobile Update.

What Factors to Know About Regarding the Mobile Rankings?

In order to prepare your website for the upcoming mobile update, you need to know the following factors:

 

–    The exact status of your mobile performance

–    How to improve the mobile performance

–    What your competitors are doing?

 

MediaLinkers, one of the top Atlanta Web Design and SEO Companies, is there to offer you all the help that you need for making your site a fully responsive and mobile-friendly site.  For countering the effects of the Google update, there is no better way to use the Google’s own set of webmaster tools, which show results keeping in mind the way Googlebot views the pages.

By checking your website through a Mobile-friendly test, we will tie up all the loose ends for your site. Furthermore, if you require the mobile usability issues in full detail, we can also provide you with a Mobile Usability Report, which we then can compare the differences that lie between Mobile and Desktop visibility to prepare your site for the April 21 – Google Mobile Update.

medialinkers mobile

 

We all know how quickly Smartphone access is increasing. It’s a starting point for businesses to follow in the footsteps of Moz’s, by making their site mobile friendly, even if they are only at risk of losing less than 5% of their total traffic. We all know that Google is planning to take the mobile ranking factor to the next level, and MediaLinkers is ready to help you follow suit.

Sources of Credit: Search Engine Land, Search Metrics, Google Webmaster Central Blog

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Newly Launched Websites

MediaLinkers has been hard at work, creating new designs for their client’s visions. In the last few months, the Project Coordinators and programmers at MediaLinkers had a total of five newly launched websites in Fall of 2014, of which three of those were redesigned websites, and the other two were new to the online world.  The value of your talent to create custom designed websites lies in your ability to work in any field, and MediaLinkers does just that. We worked with non-profit organization Georgia Cares, new author Marilyn Pierce, MacConnell Research, a marketing research firm, JPsBears.com, an online store for state souvenirs and collectibles, and Advanced Ops International, a company that creates less-lethal proprietary weapons and other security devices.

 

MediaLinkers worked with all five clients to find out their individual needs and wants, and created a proposal and quote, free of charge, before drafting a contract and starting on their project. Each client viewed a few custom prototype designs of website layouts, including their choice color scheme, navigational links, and home page features, and they were allowed unlimited changes to achieve their desired look. Once design changes, if any, were made, their prototype went to a short development stage, where our developers created and built the code for all of the needed pages. All of the newly launched websites chose to have some version of a content management system, either our CMS tailored to fit their website needs, WordPress with a design we build and integrate solely for that client, or both.

 

Specific features were requested or included to add flair to each website. Georgia Cares, using a custom content management system, has PayPal integration for their donations. Marilyn Pierce, who has a design with WordPress integrated for her blog, and a custom CMS for the other pages of her site, has a moving testimonial flip book and PayPal integration for purchasing her book. Advanced Ops International has a product setup similar to an e-Commerce website, however we have changed the purchase option to a web form that a potential buyer can fill out to contact them for purchasing, something that is only easy to do with a custom CMS. They also took advantage of MediaLinkers’ content writing and videography services for the content on their site.

 

MacConnell Research opted to have a brand new design to match their brand new office, located in Lenox Square Mall. A custom CMS allows new registration through their website, and the information is sent to their online database. JPsBears.com wanted a redesigned website that included a dynamic U.S. map to showcase their state souvenirs, and their products are easily managed through a  e-Commerce plugin with a custom-programmed design. MediaLinkers was able to then successfully merge the site’s PayPal Pro, security enabled features, and its WordPress CMS together.

 

The option of choosing a CMS built according to your requested features, or using a platform such as WordPress, is always up to the client. Usually, it depends on the budget set for each project, but many chose to use MediaLinkers’ CMS, as it is more user friendly, and can be easily modified, added on to, and programmed to control specific features on your website. No project is too complicated or out of reach for us, and we are completely upfront as to the cost and time involved. Every client that works with us is given a time frame for MediaLinkers to complete their project, and we work hard to stick to it. The owners of MediaLinkers newly launched websites worked together with us, day and night, to make sure everything was perfect and ready when it was time to flip the switch. And the support does not stop when your site goes live; before we even start the design, we include a set term of tech support for your newly launched website free of charge!

 

Striving for affordable, dependable, and one-stop services, MediaLinkers has options for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you want a newly launched website, marketing, or a database,  content writing, mobile app development, or hosting/domain services, MediaLinkers has it all covered. Contact us today for a FREE consultation, and let us show you how we can improve your online business tools!

 

 

 

newly launched websites newly launched websites newly launched websites newly launched websites newly launched websites

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Choosing a Web Design Company

If your small business needs a new website or a website redesign then your options can be truly limitless. There is a large number of web design and development companies out there to choose from. Here are a few pointers on a good process for choosing the right web design company for you.

1. Assess your needs and budget – The first step in choosing a web design company is examining your own business needs. Why do you need a website? What will the site be used for? Do you need to redesign an existing site that is no longer current with today’s technology and style? Will you be in need of an eCommerce solution, or custom-programmed functionality? Do you have a budget and time frame in mind for this project? Determining your needs and budget will later help in evaluating your options.

2. Evaluate your options – Can you get away with a cheap do-it-yourself template based solution, or do you need a professionally designed, custom built website with functionality tailored exactly to your business’s needs? When looking at custom web design companies ask yourself first: Do I like their website? Do I like the work shown in their portfolio? If you do then try contacting them by phone to discuss the details of a possible project. After contacting a few companies you should be able to narrow the list down to a few finalists for which you would like to schedule a face-to-face meeting.

3. Compare finalists – Meeting with the finalists for a web design project is an essential step. Come prepared to discuss your project in an organized and thorough manner. Try to discuss the entire scope of project, and then determine which finalists you feel most confident in communicating with and working with. Ask for a written proposal from each finalist. When comparing companies you will want to determine which company volunteered the best ideas, which company seemed most capable, and of course which company offers you the best value.

4. Come to an Agreement – Upon selecting your final choice you will want to have the web design company supply a written contract agreement that covers all aspects of the project’s scope, and clearly defines the payment terms and expected time frame. If you haven’t previously you will need to discuss related services like hosting, domain registration, and SEO to determine if these will also be handled by the web design company or if you will need to seek these services separately. It is vitally important that any company you work with will transfer the source code of the project to your ownership once the project is completed and paid-for. You should also always have ownership of your chosen domain, and access to the website files on the live server.

Good luck in your next web design project.

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