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How to Design Your Own eCommerce Web Site

The explosive growth and increasing acceptance of ecommerce has many businesses and individuals getting into the online game by creating their own ecommerce websites. With elements drawn from different disciplines, such as graphic arts, computer programming and marketing and sales, designing an ecommerce website can seem daunting. However, by following a few steps, such as planning the user experience, developing a graphical theme, producing content pages and implementing an ecommerce transaction processing system, you’ll be able design your own ecommerce website.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization is a strategy that makes a website more easily searchable. By including keywords into the text of a website, search engines can more easily locate the website and draw it to the attention of an individual who is searching the Internet. Web designers can create their own or purchase special articles that repeat keywords several times, but in a natural-sounding way so that a search engine will bring up the site as being more relevant than another site because of the occurrence of a specific word or phrase.

Style

The style of a website should reflect the message it is trying to convey. Using flash animation can really draw in visitors to the site and make it look professional and appealing. There is free software available to create flash animations, but it is not as robust as Adobe Live Motion. Flash is appropriate on the homepage of a website, but should be used sparingly as to not overwhelm those who visit the website.

Tips to Improve as a Graphic Designer

Attending Exhibitions and Conferences

It is one of the best ways to get new ideas for designing. By attending exhibitions you get to meet new people, share your ideas and thereby, spend time in a learning environment. You can also make valuable contacts by meeting people at exhibitions. Listening to creative people at seminars and conferences helps obtain an understanding of their ideas, thoughts, and in all, their mental state while they are in the process of creating something. Acquiring information about new designing software, techniques of designing, etc. also proves to be useful.

Sketching and Doodling

It is observed that creative ideas, many a time just pop up into the mind (and vanish) while you are doing nothing or just relaxing. You may lose out on some brilliant ideas if you wait for proper work to begin. A sketchbook comes in handy when an idea crosses your mind and you wish to put it down on paper. Freezing the volatile ideas immediately onto a paper is therefore, the wise thing to do. It is very difficult to relive or experience that moment of inspiration once again. Having access to pen and paper whenever you need it is therefore, important.

Reworking Sketches and Designs

Sketches and designs that one has created in the leisure time can be used for actual projects. Ideas that have been captured in the form of designs prove to be of great use while working on serious projects. The activity of putting these bits and pieces of ideas together is like creating a collage.

Online Forums

A graphic designer can get most of his new ideas through interaction with fellow designers. Subscribing to online discussion groups, posting questions, commenting on others’ ideas, etc. are the activities that would enrich your knowledge and also help refine the required skills.

Blogging

A blog proves to be a good platform to interact with readers, clients and most importantly critics. One can share ideas and also advertise their work through blogs. Comments and feedback received through blogs can be of great help.

What Is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is an art of visualizing ideas. Many types of visual communication like news letters, logo design, brochures, posters etc are the result of graphic design. It uses typography and various skills to pool in ideas in a graphical form.

Since old times, people want to deliver their ideas and concepts in the form of graphics so that the information is aligned and has clarity. Printers and artists are used for this purpose. Later, the term ‘graphic design’ was coined for the profession of bringing the structural form for information which is used for effective communication.

Image based graphic design:

In this type, images are used to represent the meaning of the information. Images not only convey things but also help to understand the mood of the situation in a better way. They can be paintings, photographs, pictures which are rendered graphically etc but should be relevant to the information. People can understand things and respond immediately if the message is conveyed through images.

Type based graphic design:

Some graphic designers rely on words rather than images. For image based graphic design, typography and calligraphy is used to attract and arrest the readers to certain posters. A simple page containing some text with no alignment and clarity can be converted into an attractive graphic design by changing type size, font, dividing the page into two columns, increasing space width, using different forms of calligraphy etc. This job is effectively done by the graphic designer.

Image and type based design:

Designers use another method to communicate with the people. This method contains both images and text which are used to explore the ideas of the service providers. It is the job of the graphic designer to maintain a perfect balance between the text and images. The Graphic designer acts as an interface between the providers and the public. They collect information from the providers, understand their requirements and design the graphics sot at it is easily understood and grasped by the people.

How to Calculate the Overhead Costs for Freelance Graphic Design

Overhead costs literally means indirect costs incurred within a business. Freelance graphic design, as any other freelance job, involves certain overhead costs. These overheads often stay unnoticed, because of the nature of freelance jobs. Most freelance graphic designers work from home, thus the overheads involved are not accounted for. Budgeting at least for basic operations of your freelance graphic design business should be standard practice, whether operated on an individual level or corporate level.

Take account of the cost or monthly rent for the premises. If the business is home-based, determine a reasonable figure as monthly rent, even if it is not physically paid out.

Calculate average monthly expense for utilities for the business premises, by totaling at least six months of utility bills. Main utility expenses involve electricity, telephone, Internet, water and gas.

As graphic designers mostly work on computers, electricity, telephone and Internet could be deemed as necessities. If there is no separate billing for work-related consumption, calculate an approximate usage percentage for each utility and apply this percentage to the bill totals in order to come up with a figure for work-related monthly consumption.

Calculate average monthly consumption of equipment and stationary items. Consider average monthly depreciation with regard to fixed assets. If such assets are shared with home use, then roughly calculate the percentage of usage and take that percentage into account. Include graphic design software license purchases as an equipment cost.

Calculate average monthly cost of all services obtained by the business. For example, banking services, insurance, interest on bank loans, software support, accounting services and maintenance are all services that would fit into this category.

Add up total miscellaneous expenses for a few months and calculate an average miscellaneous expense. For example, this could be transportation expenses for purchasing graphic design materials and supplies.

Total the sum of all average monthly expenses to calculate the total overhead cost per month for freelance graphic designing.

How to Become a Freelance Graphic Designer

Learn to operate as many graphic design programs as you can. PhotoShop and Illustrator are standard, but less-known programs may also be valuable, especially if you are dealing with animation, flash and specialized photography. Most programs are available for both Mac and PC platforms.

Do pro bono work for nonprofit organizations. This is different from doing free work for friends and family, as you are doing a good deed and gaining exposure in the process. Professional work may require more dedication, but it can also make an important statement once it is finished and added to your resume.

Set up your own website and make sure it showcases the best of your talents. In the case of a freelance graphic designer, a website becomes both a business card and a living portfolio.

Offer free design reviews. You can do this on your own by visiting different websites, analyzing their logos and determining how they can be improved. Then, contact the owners and inform them of your results.

Set up a business plan that focuses on marketing. While you may not have a large investment besides the basic computer equipment, you will likely need to invest time and money in promoting your business and getting the word out. Work on developing your entrepreneurial abilities, or team up with a financial planner who can help you develop the best route to success.

Decide whether a designer partnership is the way to go. Many freelance graphic designers become partners with ad agencies, SEO writers and website designers. This may help you to get more work and increase your chances of landing clients.

WordPress integration in creating website and benefits of using  plugins:

There are thousands of plugins and everyday there will be new plugins that are coming out in the. WordPress community. By incorporating SEO plugin to my blogs a large number of visitors will find it thru Google or other search engines. If your site is not optimized then you will not be able to attract a targeted audience to your blog. There are few WordPress plugins from post titles to pings,  images and more. SEO is a powerful plugin, you can add tags, Meta descriptions, keywords, and sometimes it also let you change your permalinks as well.
Another one is Busines Directory, it is an easy way to host a free yellow-pages-like directory page  for your readers, advertisers, community. Invite them to see your business or submit a simple  advertising on your blog. Internet users these days enjoy personal and social networking. Social Bookmarking may seem  like an excellent option to integrate in my blog. This is initially a back link. While these are not rated  as highly as Google, they count as link towards my site. As nearly everyone  has a one or two account in social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn, Twitter, etc,  they can easily make a link to my site or blog.
Steps in Web Site Development Process

1. establish site objectives:
There are many good reasons for building a web page but it is important that your
  goals are clear. Your objectives should drive the content and the design of your site.
2. identify and describe target market:
The marketing function understand how the objectives relate to a specified target
  market. It is the marketers job to see that the site is geared towards the target market
  by sharing information about the target market with web designers and developers.
3. design site content and navigation structure:
Marketers has a lot to say in regards to  accessibility of a site before it needs to be
launch in the internet world.
a. Is the layout of your site user-friendly; are all hyperlinks working; and is the site
    easily navigable?
b. Does it take too long for your web pages to load?
c. Does the design of your website represent your company as you want?
4. conduct usability test:
Proper usability means better conversion rates for a business website. One should
  consider not wasting money on a poorly designed and ineffective website since the
  visitors are going to leave it after a single glance. As far as a business website design
   is concerned a marketers role  should focus at all the page designs seriously.
5. deploy and tune site:
After you create your website, uploading or publishing is the very simple process of
  moving the pages and images that make up your website, to web space on a server
  that is connected to the internet. It is the marketers role to choose whatever web
  hosting provider they prefer.
6. measure and evaluate site effectiveness:
Visitors find their way to your website by using keywords. Therefore, you will need
  to place special emphasis on keywords and leverage on them to help you build up
  traffic. Hire SEO experts and get your site first on search engines. These will help
  you to determine what is the total number of visitors that have gone to your website.
  They do help you out to a certain extent in providing an estimate about your general
  site traffic.
7. refine and improve site effectiveness:
Also once the areas of improvement or the objectives need to be “renewed”, then
  the need also calls for constant updates and improvement. Determine the frequency
  and nature of updates and improvements you want regularly and periodically.

Building and deploying web applications

Prior to starting my project, I had to define the scope and approach, determine the
resources needed, and create a high level of plan for my project. This phase sets the
stage for the remainder of the implementation of the project. In an increasingly fast
paced world, clients want implementation to be quicker. Completing a project quickly
may please the client in the short-term but in the long term there is a chance that
everyone loses out, there are many projects that ended up in disappointment.

In order to ensure that all my application in this project gets its full potential it needs
to be aligned to the goals of those who will use it. Once the implementation process is
completed there needs to be period of monitoring and assessment on all functionality,
how is it working. This needs to be done so that time invested is not wasted and the
project is thoroughly effective.

Web applications as we all know are the products that have been developed in response
to the need for more functional software applications run on networks like the internet
and intranet. With the advent of advancement in web development methods and better
technology methods and techniques, web applications have reached the level of
competency it now has.

The core functionality of XAMPP includes solutions for server administration tasks,
web application development tasks, as well as internal support to the XAMPP services.
As an administrator, you can design the structure of the Web and FTP sites on your
XAMPP server. You can configure settings for each of your sites and applications.
For example, deny or allow users access to the files or datas by altering PHP as a
server-side technology, is a versatile programming language for websites.
It allows a site to interact with the server to accomplish interactive tasks.

An update form or application form is a common example of how PHP can integrate
with a web page to process user information and send an actual data to the business.
JavaScript and PHP are utilized in the sense that both of these technologies have their
own uses in different environments based on the application and implementation.
While JavaScript can be used to offer client-side validation, PHP is used to offer
server-side validation. When combined together, they are used to automate form
processing as well as create more user friendly approaches to form processing online.

The server-side scripting language, PHP, in conjunction with MySQL, can create
dynamic pages. PHP can call MySQL functions that connect or manipulate the
database. MySQL is a relational database system that organizes data into tables.
Once I created my MySQL database, there are advanced functions and techniques
that I utilized to make my queries run efficiently. Databases store important
information in a tabular format using rows, columns, cells. Before database can store
data, however, users must create a table and give instructions for the type of
information it will contain.


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