Demonetisation: Rs. 500, 1000 Notes Should Be Allowed for Purchase of Mobiles, Says ICA

Demonetisation: Rs. 500, 1000 Notes Should Be Allowed for Purchase of Mobiles, Says ICA
HIGHLIGHTS
Domino effect on the distribution trade and manufacturing
Cash crisis expected to pull down smartphone shipments by 17.5 percent
Mobile phones at the centre of digital payment economy
Mobile phone industry body Indian Cellular Association has asked the government to allow use of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes for the purchase of handsets and claimed that their sales have come down by 50 percent due to cash crunch post demonetisation.

In a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the association said, “The mobile handset sales have crashed and the sales are down in the brick and mortar channel, which is more than 80 percent of our turnover… the daily collection of our trade and industry, which should be around Rs. 350-400 crores is down by 50 percent.”

The cash flow has got affected and it is having a domino’s effect on the distribution trade and now manufacturing, the association said.

“The sales are down to 40-50 percent and the fall will even deepen in the coming days because of the sowing season, the limited cash is obviously essential like labour, seeds, fertiliser etc,” ICA National President Pankaj Mohindroo said.

As per market research firm IDC, the ongoing cash crisis is expected to pull down feature phone shipments sharply by 24.6 percent and that of smartphone by 17.5 percent during the quarter compared to the previous three-month period.
(Also see: Demonetisation, Seasonality to Keep Indian PC Market Sluggish, Says IDC)
Smartphone and feature phone shipment stood at 32.3 million units and 39.9 million units, respectively in the July-September 2016 quarter, as per IDC.

ICA has requested government to allow use of old currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 against a valid ID proof such as Aadhaar or election card for a period of 30 days.

The industry body said that purchase of mobile phones against valid ID card can be tracked using IMEI number. ICA said that government is making effort to promote India as digital payment economy and mobile phones are at the centre of this endeavour.

Mohindroo said that purchase of mobile phones will enable people move towards digital payment and ease pressure on cash transactions.

Government has allowed payment of some essential service in a limited manner like pre-paid mobile recharge, water, electricity bill, highway toll through old currency notes.

Tags: Demonetisation, Indian Cellular Association, ICA, Smartphone, Mobiles, Mobile Purchase, Mobile Shipment, IDC, India

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Zuk Edge Smartphone Will Be Launched Next Week, Confirms CEO Chang Cheng

Zuk Edge Smartphone Will Be Launched Next Week, Confirms CEO Chang Cheng

Zuk Edge Smartphone Will Be Launched Next Week, Confirms CEO Chang Cheng
HIGHLIGHTS
Smartphone expected to sport 5.5-inch full-HD display
Zuk Edge tipped to pack Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
Official renders of the smartphone shared by Zuk CEO
There have been several leaks and rumours regarding Lenovo’s upcoming Zuk Edge smartphone but now Zuk’s CEO has himself confirmed that the phone will be launched next week. Even though there is still no confirmation for exact launch date, we now have official renders of both the front and the back of the smartphone along with its packaging.

Former Lenovo VP and current Zuk CEO Chang Cheng on Monday posted the official renders and announced on Chinese social networking website Weibo (via GSMArena) of the company’s upcoming smartphone that it will be launched next week. Earlier this month, the smartphone was allegedly spotted in live images.

Further, Zuk Edge was spotted in a listing at the Chinese certification authority TENAA. As per the listing the Zuk Z2151 aka Zuk Edge sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display and will be powered by quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM. The Chinese publication which posted the live images of the smartphone made claims that the handset will also come with a 6GB of RAM variant.

The smartphone will reportedly be available in 32GB and 64GB storage models. In terms of optics, Zuk Edge is tipped to come with a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel camera at the front. As per the TENAA listing, the Zuk Edge will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ZUI 2.0 skin, and will house a 3000mAh battery. The smartphone is tipped to come with a fingerprint scanner as well.

Tags: Lenovo Zuk Edge Launch, Mobiles, Android, Lenovo Zuk CEO, Lenovo Zuk Edge Official Renders

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Don Bradman Cricket 17 Release Date for PC Announced; May Not Be Available on Disc

Don Bradman Cricket 17 Release Date for PC Announced; May Not Be Available on Disc

Don Bradman Cricket 17 Release Date for PC Announced; May Not Be Available on Disc
HIGHLIGHTS
Don Bradman Cricket 17’s PC release date is January 22
The game will be available for the PS4 and Xbox One on December 22
The PC version is probably digital only
If you thought you could play Don Bradman Cricket 17 on the PC at the same time as it hits the PS4 and Xbox One, think again. Developer Big Ant Studios has confirmed that the PC version of the game has been delayed to January 22.

“We have built completely new batting, bowling and fielding mechanics based on player feedback,” Big Ant Studios CEO, Ross Symons said in a prepared statement. “With Don Bradman 17 releasing right in the heart of the Aussie cricket season, we’re looking forward to players recreating the classic moments of the summer of cricket in their homes.”

(Also see: Don Bradman Cricket 17 Price in India and Release Date Confirmed)

“We were overwhelmed by the success of our first run at Don Bradman Cricket,” Symons added. “To this day players from around the world play it daily, whether they are simulating their favourite test team matchups, or playing games with as little as one over each side. We think they’re going to love the enhanced career mode, refined on-field mechanics, and enhanced visuals and animation. After all, many of the changes came as a direct result of feedback from our most dedicated fans.”

“The first Don Bradman Cricket game did a wonderful job of reflecting the heritage of The Don, and giving cricket fans around the world an authentic and accurate rendition of the sport on their gaming consoles,” Rina Hore from the Bradman Foundation said. “We’re looking forward to seeing how fans respond to this year’s greatly enhanced version.”

(Also see: Don Bradman Cricket Review: If Cricket Is a Religion, This Is Prayer)

Furthermore, it appears that Big Ant could be following the footsteps of bigger publishers like Ubisoft and EA by not having a disc version of the game available at retail for PC. Reason being, a press release from the studio mentions a retail and digital release of the game on the PS4 and Xbox One. All that’s said for PC is that it would be available on Steam a month later.

Tags: Big Ant Studios, Cricket Games, DBC, Don Bradman Cricket 17, DBC 17, PC games, PC gaming, Don Bradman Cricket 14, PS4, Xbox One, PC

[“source-ndtv”]

Oculus’s New Technology Enables Lower-Spec PCs to Be Rift-Ready

Oculus's New Technology Enables Lower-Spec PCs to Be Rift-ReadyOculus’s New Technology Enables Lower-Spec PCs to Be Rift-Ready
HIGHLIGHTS
Asynchronous Spacewarp extrapolates frames when PC performance drops
Nvidia GeForce 960 and Intel Core i3-6100 enough to run Oculus Rift
Cheapest Oculus Ready PC costs just $499
Oculus is introducing a new frame-extrapolation technique called Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) that has brought down the minimum PC requirements needed to run its Rift hardware. According to the Facebook-owned VR outfit, ASW “almost halves the CPU/GPU time required to produce nearly the same output from the same content”.

This means that users can now enjoy Oculus Rift on lesser hardware requirements than before – you now need an Nvidia GeForce 960 or higher, plus Intel Core i3-6100 / AMD FX4350 or greater. That’s a step down from the earlier minimum system specs: Nvidia GeForce 970, and Intel i5-4590. You can’t run that on Windows 7 SP1 though, as the new ASW technique only works on Windows 8 or higher.

“[ASW] will be enabled across all ranges of hardware and systems that support the feature, and activated for all applications,” Oculus said in a blog post.

To go with the announcement, the company also launched a new Oculus Ready PC at its Oculus Event on Sunday. The new CyberPowerPC is equipped with Radeon RX 470 and AMD FX 4350, and costs just $499 (Rs. 33,500). By comparison, when Oculus Rift launched in March this year, Oculus Ready PCs started at $949 (Rs. 63,500).
Oculus said ASW is meant to complement the existing Asynchronous Timewarp (ATW) feature, which tracks the user’s head rotation. ASW, meanwhile, covers “character movement, camera movement, Touch controller movement, and the player’s own positional movement”.

Put in simpler terms, while ATW is great for images at a distance, ASW is really good for objects rendered up close. ASW’s extrapolation technique lets VR experiences run “at up to half rate”, Oculus said.
A videograb from the new Oculus First Contact
Photo Credit: Oculus
Oculus also announced two new features – Oculus Avatars and Oculus First Contact.

Starting December 6, you can design your own avatar by choosing a face, hairstyle, eyewear, clothing and texture effects. Oculus said that avatars would soon be available on the Gear VR platform as well.

Oculus First Contact is meant as an initiation experience meant to get Rift users acquainted with Oculus Touch controllers – shipping December 6 as well – featuring an “’80s sci-fi throwback” robot. In it, you can fire toy guns or even 3D print holographic butterflies.

Tags: Oculus, Oculus Avatars, Oculus First Contact, Asynchronous Spacewarp, Oculus Rift, Facebook, Oculus Ready, CyberPowerPC

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Why Your Company Should Be Using Responsive Design

using responsive design

Is your website or e-commerce site using responsive design? If not, now’s the time to make a change.

An increasing amount of Internet traffic is coming from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Not only are users doing social networking, checking and sending email, and surfing the web on mobiles; they are also making more purchases from these devices.

However, conventional web designs rarely account for the small screen sizes and different ways people use mobile devices. Responsive design corrects for these issues. It makes websites more functional and attractive whether visitors access them on desktops, tablets, or smartphones.

Benefits of Responsive Design

Adding responsive design to an e-commerce site is a wise investment for businesses of any size and in every industry. When a site readily accommodates any screen size, the benefits are:

  • Increased traffic — When customers are on the go, they often pull up websites they can view quickly and easily to obtain the information they need. Responsive sites make this possible, which results in visitors that come more often and stick around longer. 
  • Improved customer satisfaction — Websites that don’t incorporate responsive design often appear clunky and disproportionately small. Text may be hard to read and links difficult to click. With responsive design, reading and navigating a site becomes a snap, which instills confidence in potential customers. 
  • Higher conversion rates — Website visitors are often looking for a way to distinguish you from your competition and purchase your product. The easier you are to locate, learn about, and place items in a shopping cart, the more likely your site will convert visitors to customers.

How Responsive Design Works and Why it’s Important

Modern websites need to accommodate users of a variety of devices, says Google. Although traditional websites may appear on mobile screens, they often do so at such small sizes that users must manually expand content to find what they need.

If you have responsive design, your website becomes capable of automatically retracting and expanding according to the screen size of the computer, tablet, or smartphone being used.  See image above for examples.

According to recent analytics, the average website received 40 percent of its traffic from mobile users in 2013. This number had doubled since the year before.  It seems only likely to increase into the future. With more than 60 percent of mobile users in the United States currently carrying smartphones, these devices are fast becoming the primary method of Internet usage.

Considerations for Implementing Responsive Design

As companies make the transition from traditional to responsive websites, they often do so over several stages. Stages go from (1) contemplation, to (2) implementation, to (3) evaluation. Along the way, they use several considerations to guide their decisions:

  • Determining value propositions — When companies take the time to clearly define a compelling reason for audiences to visit their websites and become their customers, they end up with designs that better what they need.  What is the customer looking for? What value does the customer get?  Everything from your product to your service to your website functionality — all should work in conjunction with that value proposition.
  • Considering a mobile website — Depending on the complexity and types of features on your site, it may not work well on mobile devices, even with responsive design. Should this be the case, a separate mobile website offers a useful alternative. Customers can choose which version of the site they prefer, which enables them to customize their experience.
  • Examining competitors’ sites — Although each company’s website should be unique, look at competitor websites. This is a smart way to understand what mobile customers might expect. You may also discover ideas for functions and features that would work well on your own site. 
  • Selecting a design — When it comes to responsive design, simple is best. Many modern responsive websites incorporate larger, high-quality images along with minimal text. They use features such as cards to organize information. Regardless of the design, it should work with the functionality of the new website.

Which Type of Responsive Design is Right for Your Site?

According to DigiTech Web Design, deciding how to include responsive design in your website “depends on multiple factors, including your website’s unique characteristics, staffing capabilities, how much time you have, and your budget.”

These details help businesses choose between one or more of the prevailing responsive design adoption techniques, including:

  • Mobile-first responsive design — Companies designing a new website — or doing a complete overhaul — may want to consider this strategy. It molds the desktop site to its mobile design for a simpler, cleaner look. Mobile-first responsive design works well for companies whose audiences use smartphones and tablets as their primary device.
  • Responsive mobile sites — When a website proves too complex to translate into a responsive version, companies opt instead to build separate mobile sites from scratch. This helps the site retain its unique aesthetics.  It takes into account the separate user experiences of mobile versus desktop users.
  • Responsive retrofitting — When a website already has features conducive to responsive design, programmers change things around on the “back end” to make the site responsive without having to do a complete redesign. This often presents a more affordable option for companies who have a limited budget, or those who have already invested a great deal in web design.
  • Piecemeal responsive design — Websites may offer certain pages that are more appealing to mobile users than other pages. Rather than designing the whole website for the desktop or mobile user, a piecemeal approach treats each page separately. This option can help companies save money, if all they really need isto change a few pages.

Once you’ve decided on an approach, using responsive design will likely pay out dividends in increased traffic, happier customers, and a healthier bottom line.

Will you be a “leader of the pack” among your competitors in incorporating responsive design?

Remix of responsive design illustration by Shutterstock

[“source-ndtv”]

12 Blogs Every Small Business Should Be Reading

Last month I encouraged everyone to make blog reading part of their day. While it’s easy to ignore your daily reading list or think it’s not a productive use of your time, the truth is staying up to date on blogs is a great way to stay in tune with what’s happening in your industry, educate yourself on new trends, and even to keep your own creative juices flowing for material. As mentioned yesterday, by becoming part of your local ecosystem, it also makes you a more attractive link/traffic target.

I thought today I would share a short list of blogs I think every small business owner would benefit from reading, regardless of your industry. Below are some of my personal recommendations.

Business Leadership/Entrepreneur Blogs

QuickSprout

QuickSprout is a blog penned by serial entrepreneur Neil Patel and covers a wide variety of tips from leadership, to social media, to search engine optimization, and everything in between. While it would arguably fit in any of the categories on this list, Neil’s posts on business best practices are some of his most valuable. But as an SMB, you’d be wise to listen to anything Neil talks about.

Harvard Business Review

The Harvard Business Review is a great place to head for general business advice, leadership tips, crisis management information, and a host of other topics. Articles are written by expert authors and I always leave with a few new takeaways and things I want to start implementing in my own work.

Killer Startups

As the name would suggest, you can find some ‘killer’ information here on everything you need to know to run a successful company. There’s information on the best tools, apps, how to build a great team, product reviews, etc. This blog has been in my feed reader for a long time, and with good reason.

Mixergy

I really enjoy checking out Mixergy to hear from other entrepreneurs who have created successful businesses, how they did it, and to get a sense of their personal stories. I think that’s something Mixery does really well – it lets you hear directly from the people holding the sweat equity. Right now there are more than 750 interviews on the site to benefit from.

Search Engine Optimization Advice

Mike Blumenthal Blog

Mike is a familiar face here at SmallBizTrends.com, as we often reference some of the great finds he comes across. If you’re a small business owner trying to understand all the changes associated with Google Places, local search, and what bugs are getting fixed when, Mike’s blog is among the best in the industry to follow and a huge resource. I think he may have a secret line to Google because he seems to know things before anyone else.

David Mihm

Known to many for his annual Local Search Rankings Survey, David Mihm is a constant source of expert local search information. He’s also known for his GetListed.org events, which bring noted local search experts to various towns across the country to help small business owners learn more about SEO, social media, and how to increase their Web presence.

Search Engine Land’s Local Search Category

Search Engine Land is a huge SEO resource for marketers of all levels. However, small business owners will want to pay special attention to the Local Search section which is designed with them specifically in mind. There’s great tips and best practices on how to craft an effective listing, how to use social media, and other small business issues. If you’re interested in further social media reading or other topics, you’ll also be able to find that information in other SEL categories.

Content Marketing

Blueglass

The folks at Blueglass cover a lot of great topics on their blog, but their content marketing topics may be of most interest to small business owners. Here you’ll find tips, tools, and personal experiences that anyone can learn from and implement in their own business. One of the most strategic, forward-thinking outlets on content marketing topics.

Andy Sernovitz

Andy Sernovitz’s blog where he shares great examples of word of mouth marketing, oftentimes centered around the content we’re using or how we’re talking to customers. There are great case studies, as well as examples from big and small brands.

Copyblogger

The goal of Copyblogger is to help you get traffic, attract links, increase subscribers and grow revenue through content. The site offers strategic advice on how to become better with content and is a must read for anyone looking to build a business on the Web.

Convince and Convert

Jay Baer’s blog is a great resource for marketers looking to use social media and content to better connect with customers. What I love about Jay’s blog is it’s chock full of data that marketers can use to make informed decisions. It’s less theory and more hard-hitting evidence of success.

And of Course….

Google Small Business

Google has an official blog for small business owners to keep them up to date on new releases, using Google tools, and other news. Some of it can be a little overly-promotional at times, but it’s worth following. This is a Google world, after all.

Above are some of my favorite blogs to help me in my daily business life. What blogs do you currently rely on?

Bonus Pick

Be sure to read Small Business Trends daily!

Blog Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Nokia Device Could Be Largest Windows Phablet

new nokia tablet phablet

The phablet, a hybrid between the smartphone and tablet, seems to be coming of age. And a soon to be introduced model from Nokia may be the largest Windows device of its kind.

For budget conscious small business owners and entrepreneurs on the go, the phablet offers phone capabilities and a larger screen size closer to a tablet without the cost of owning two devices.

New Nokia Features 6-inch Screen

Leaked images (shown above) of the new Nokia 1520 via @EvLeaks show a device sources say features a 6-inch full 1080p HD display.

The new Nokia device may also feature a 20 megapixel front camera and a polycarbonite body, CNET reports. Though the photo shows a yellow device, there is no confirmed information on the color selections available.

October Announcement Anticipated

An expected announcement of the new Nokia 1520 in late September has been put off at least until October, Reuters reports. Some sources believe the device will be unveiled at the recently announced Nokia Innovation Reinvented event scheduled for Oct. 22

That delay may be due to announcement of Microsoft’s plans to acquire Nokia for $7.2 billion earlier this month.

Once announced, the new Nokia 1520 will join the ranks of phablets already on the market like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. However, depending on the price, yet to be announced, the device may have an edge over competitors with small business owners seeking another Windows device for their already Windows-based office environments.

Image: EvLeaks

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

The Original Diablo Will Be Playable in Diablo 3

The Original Diablo Will Be Playable in Diablo 3
HIGHLIGHTS
The first Diablo game will be playable in Diablo 3 via a patch
It will contain the pixellated graphics of the original
Blizzard will also bring Seasons to consoles
With 2016 marking 20 years of Diablo, Blizzard announced something special for fans of the action role-playing game franchise at BlizzCon 2016. And no it was not Diablo 4.

Rather, it’s a content patch called The Darkening of Tristram for Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. This update will bring a 16-level dungeon to the game complete with the four bosses from the original Diablo.

(Also see: Blizzard Announces New Overwatch Character Sombra at BlizzCon 2016)

Along with this, there will be special graphic filters to make the game pixelated and grainy just as it was in its original December 31, 1996 release. Movement will be locked to eight directions as well. It will be available to all current characters in-game although it’s recommended to try it out with a new character.

There’s no release date yet but The Darkening of Tristram patch will be playable via Public Test Realm (PTR) – a service to test patches before release to the general populace, next week.

(Also see: Blizzard and Google DeepMind to Use StarCraft II for AI Research)

In addition to this, two new zones will be added to the game’s Adventure Mode. These include the Shrouded Moors and the Temple of the Firstborn. Also, console owners will get Seasons, an optional competitive game mode that allows players to create and level up a new character from scratch without previous items and currency.

While there was little in the way of an announcement of a new Diablo game or expansion to mark two decades of the series, some fans are holding out, expecting a hint during one of BlizzCon 2016’s many panels. Though it seems unlikely given that the opening presentation would have been the perfect stage for such a reveal.

Tags: Diablo, Diablo 3, Diablo 4, The Darkening of Tristram, BlizzCon, BlizzCon 2016, Blizzard, Diablo 3 Seasons, PS4, Xbox One, PC Games, PC Gaming, Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls

[“source-ndtv”]

HP Elite x3 Phablet May Be Pricey for Budget Conscious Small Businesses

HP Elite x3 Phablet May Be Pricey for Budget Conscious Small Businesses

The HP Elite x3 phablet is one device that functions  as two. While it has features that back up that claim, the $799 price tag may be a bit much for some small businesses.

The new x3 phablet is part of HP’s continuing effort to blur the lines between mobile and desktop computing with modular designs. Since the company split in two, there has been a concerted effort to revive its PC segment with some innovative devices.

The X3 is part of that drive, and HP (NYSE:HPQ) has tried to push this mission forward by creating a portable device that is just as at home on the desk with additional components.

HP Elite x3 phablet Specs

As its price should suggest, the X3 has premium hardware:

  • Display – 5.96-inch 2560×1440 AMOLED,
  • Processor – Quad-core 2.15Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU with Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU,
  • 16MP f/2.0 FHD rear-facing camera and 8MP front-facing camera and Iris camera,
  • Memory – 4GB RAM,
  • Internal Storage – 64GB with up to 2TB microSD expansion,
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2), Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC, and
  • Battery – 4150 mAh Li-ion polymer (non-removable) with Qi and PMA for wireless charging.

There is also a dock with two USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port that can be used for charging and a full-sized display port connector.

HP Elite x3 Phablet

While these features are impressive, where the X3 shines is the utilities it comes with. It has Microsoft’s Continuum, Windows 10 Mobile, and HP’s Workspace that turn this phablet into a PC. You will be able to use Win32 apps on your phone, which can be invaluable for businesses that rely on these applications.

With Continuum, you can start a task anywhere and finish it at your desk without saving, syncing or restarting, by simply docking your HP Elite x3.

HP Elite x3 Phablet

The HP Elite x3 is not cheap, and not many small businesses will be able to afford it, but for those that do, it takes the collaborative and remote workforce environment to a new level.

Image: HP

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Ten Questions Your Web Designer Should Be Asking You

Web Design

Over the years, however, I have learned some key questions that I always ask every client before beginning the design process. Going beyond general stylistic questions that you might expect a designer to ask, these questions are designed to get to the heart of what it is you need your website to be for your business.

If you are working with a web designer who isn’t asking you these questions, you would be wise to bring them up and provide answers to them sooner than later. Some of them may be difficult to answer right away, but if you think about the answers, do a little research, and communicate the answers with your designer, you will be much happier with your new website.

1. “Can you describe your business in a few sentences?”

By distilling your business into a sentence or two, you are essentially giving your designer your “elevator pitch.” This is great information and can be used to quickly describe your business on your homepage for instance. After all, when it comes to writing for the web, brevity is your new best friend, as most of your users will never read as in-depth as you would like them to. You have to capture their attention right away.

2. “Who are your main competitors?”

By knowing who you are competing against,  your designer can conduct the research needed to see how others in your field handle their websites. He or she can then determine what seems to be working well for some of them, and not as well for others. The intent here is not to copy what others are doing, but rather to learn from the benefit of their experience, as well as from their mistakes.

3. “What sets your business apart from your competitors?”

This is your chance to really distinguish your business from the others. If you have something unique to offer, then your designer should know about it, so that it can be played up and specifically called out on your site. It doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering.  In fact, it can be something incredibly simple, such as offering a complimentary consultation, for instance.

4. “Can you describe your target customer?”

Knowing exactly who your main audience is affects almost every aspect of the design.  After all, a site that would appeal to teenage boys would not be very visually interesting to women over 60. Other than the visual concerns, these breakdowns would also make a big difference on search engine optimization(SEO) efforts, as well as social media integration. It is very important to be as specific as possible: gender, age, and annual income are major things to be considered in order to design the most appropriate site for your audience.

5. “What is your deadline for completing the site?”

You have a deadline in mind, right? Well you should! Having a deadline not only keeps your designer on track, but it will keep you focused as well. All too often, website projects start with a bang and fizzle out over a span of months because a timeline was never established. It’s a good sign if your designer asks because in most cases that means he or she respects your time and is interested in getting the website finished when you need it.

6. “What are some other sites on the Web that you like and why?”

This is where your designer can get a sense of your own personal tastes. Since personal preferences are so subjective, it really helps me as a designer to know what visual style you respond well to. Again, this question is not designed in order to copy anything that someone else has already done, but it serves as a great jumping-off point. If a designer doesn’t ask this, then you run the risk of them designing a (possibly) amazing site that just isn’t your cup of tea.

7. “What specific functionalities would you like included on your site?”

This is something that you may not have thought very much about. You may not even be fully aware of all the options that are out there. Many of my web design clients know they want a Web presence, but they aren’t always sure about what they want to get out of it. And that’s ok. It is up to your web designer to get to the heart of your business, and suggest new ways to leverage all the technologies that are available and appropriate to your site. For instance, if you run a restaurant, you probably know that you want to have your menu, contact info and directions on your site. But what about adding an option for customers to book their reservation via your website?

8. “Who is going to be responsible for the website’s content?”

This is a question that often catches clients off guard. It is a bit easier to answer in the case of a redesign, but what if you are a new business starting a website from scratch? Do you plan on writing the copy for your own site? Unless you have experience writing for marketing purposes, I wouldn’t recommend it. The first reason is, good Web copywriting is a skill that can greatly improve user engagement when done right. Secondly, (and I say this in the nicest possible way,) it will probably take a very long time for you to get around to it, if at all. I can’t tell you how many projects that have either stalled, or been abandoned altogether because a designer hasn’t received the content promised to them by a client. If your designer works with a copywriter, by all means, spend a little extra and go that route. It will take a lot of pressure off of you, the project will be completed faster, and you will end up with a much better product in the end. Well written copy sells. Period.

9. “What key search phrases would you like to be found for?”

Search engine optimization (SEO) is your key to being found on the Web. Your designer should be asking you this because your answers could have a big impact on not only the copy, but the overall site structure as well. Let’s say you run a photography business in Boulder, Colorado. You might want to be found for the terms “wedding photography boulder colorado,” as well as “yearbook photography boulder colorado.” It would be a good idea to design two different landing pages for those different keyword phrases, rather than relying on being found through a more generic homepage.

10. “How much time do you want to put into new content creation per week?”

Another key element to SEO strategy is keeping your content fresh. This means adding brand new content to existing pages, and/or adding new pages altogether on a fairly consistent basis. This can be done any number of ways, including a blog, user generated content if appropriate, or even a podcast. When I ask a client this question, I am looking to find out how I should design their site to make the most use out of the time they are willing to spend. If its only a few hours per week, a blog would be sufficient in most cases. If it is a company that employs someone who can work on content creation full-time, I would start thinking of new areas that would attract users. A video page perhaps? Or maybe a twitter contest? The ideas are endless, but it all comes down to how much time you are willing to spend on such efforts.

Final Thoughts

There is much more to your new website than just the visual elements. A good web designer knows this and will go beyond the basics. The questions on this list each serve a very important purpose, and your web designer should touch on all of them in order to make fully informed design decisions that will positively impact your business for years to come.

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