Find Web Developers
Find Web Developers

Exploring Drupal Developer Toolbox for PSD to Drupal Conversion

August 13th, 2018

Drupal has been accepted by hundreds of thousands people as one of the most SEO friendly open source content management systems due to its wide range of additional functionality. This brings PSD to Drupal conversion into real picture. PSD design files need to convert into Drupal theme/ template to build a fully functional web portal with features and functionality. The process of turning design format to a great website involves several steps such as slicing of images in multiple layers, PSD to HTML conversion and integration of HTML mark-up files to drupal theme/ template.

There are various out-of-the-box solutions available in the marketplace for converting PSD to Drupal to develop a successful running of a website. You can hire Drupal developer or Freelancer Programmer for your project. Second option is commercial/ premium/ free online Drupal theme/ template available over the internet. Code it yourself is the best option in case you are blessed with basic knowledge of codes and solid understanding of drupal CMS. Suppose, you opted for coding the PSD yourself then you should be well aware with drupal developer’s toolbox.

In this article, we are going to explore Drupal developer’s toolbox required to build web portal by simply converting PSD design to Drupal theme/ template. This toolbox can be helpful for those people who intended to work with coding part of their websites by self. These resources can simplify your development tasks up-to great extent and save precious time when working with Drupal-CMS platform.

Go to Drupal homepage and download its most latest version to get started with website development work of Drupal powered web portal. Since, you are new to Drupal and so, it’s better to refer helpful handbooks and PDF easily available online to learn something new. Apart from that, you should refer official Drupal API reference to know more about the platform.

Over the web, there are several options available as a helpful resource for developers through which you can find lots about CMS like “DrupalCodeSearch” – here you can easily search for source code of hundreds of thousands of Drupal based modules and themes online. Above all, you can find out plenty of excellent tutorials available online to teach development with Drupal platform.

Please note that converting PSD to Drupal theme/ template can be seriously challenging if you don’t have knowledge and experience with real coding. That’s where you need to hire Drupal developer from professional PSD to Drupal service provider for getting started with Drupal powered web portal. Most web development companies offer flexible hiring plans through which you can hire virtual assistance of Drupal programmers according to your needs for full-time, part-time and hourly basis.

What to Look for in a Web Designer or Design Agency

August 12th, 2018

Google for web designers or web design firms and you will get millions of results for companies all promising very similar things: timely delivery, budget-friendly, search engine optimization and cross-browser compatibility, etc. Now if they were all so great, why are there so many crappy websites you may ask. Here are some qualifications that will help you to weed out the good web designers from the bad ones.

Great Portfolio

A great portfolio displays creativity, style variety and most importantly has examples of real client work and not just spec work from school. Ensure that the web designer’s overall style in their portfolio matches what you are looking for. Test out their previously launched websites to ensure that they are user-friendly, error-free, suitable for their target market and fast-loading.

A great portfolio always trumps design experience or education. Web designers with too much experience could be set in their ways and less open to new ideas or trends. And just because someone took a few classes for design does not mean that they have an eye for it. We have encountered many websites offering web design services with hideous websites.

Customer Service

No matter how stellar your designer or agency is, if they cannot respond to your calls or emails in a timely manner during business hours, they most likely cannot meet your deadline. This can mean death to your business if your project is time sensitive due to something like a product launch. Some freelance web designers are moonlighters meaning that they have full-time jobs and they pick up the odd project here and there for extra cash. Be wary of those folks because they will likely not be around when your project goes awry forcing you to forfeit your deposit.

Required Skills

Whoever you select should be proficient with the web technologies your project requires. If you need Flash for an animated clip, ensure that your web developer is proficient in Flash Actionscripting 3.0. If you want to convert your website into a CMS, ensure that they are well versed in your chosen CMS and the web technologies that support it. Most open-source CMS’ are controlled by PHP. It is always better to hire an expert who can excel at the things you need rather than a jack of all trades who is just mediocre in everything. Usually, you should be able to evaluate this based on their online portfolio.

Their Timeline Fits your Timeline

All projects have a deadline or some preferred time range in which you would like it to be completed. Inexperienced web designers often quote overly optimistic timelines. No matter how simple your website design or redesign is, it is almost impossible for the design process (from concept to completion) to take less than two weeks because there will always be revisions. I always laugh when a potential client emails me and estimates that their new website is very basic and should take no more than 2 days. It is much more professional to quote a longer timeline and deliver earlier than expected. However, if your web designer says it will take much longer than their competitors, they may be moonlighting.

Full-Service

Full-service is usually offered by design firms because it requires a team of developers, designers and marketing experts. Full-service means that they offer all-encompassing web solutions like SEO, ecommerce, branding, mobile compatibility and social media marketing all in one place. Rarely will you find a web designer who is an expert in all of these categories, which is why some companies hire design firms if they have the budget.

Communication Skills

Communication skills are just as important as design and programming skills because if your web designer communicates with bad grammar or spelling mistakes so will your website. Do they articulate issues well? Can they translate complicated technical jargon into laymen terms? You can easily evaluate their communication skills through your initial calls, emails and project proposal.

Marketing / SEO Experience

What good is your website if your target market cannot find it? Your web designer or design firm must understand how to promote it. If you found your web designer by via Google with industry-specific keywords then they must know something about SEO. Here are other simple SEO techniques your web designer should implement to build your web presence:

  • Generate fresh content relevant to your target market with a blog
  • Write a meta title and description tags
  • Include your keyword search terms in your headings and subheadings (H1 and H2 tags respectively)
  • Sprinkle your keyword search terms throughout your content
  • Create a sitemap for search engines to crawl
  • Add your website to online business directories
  • For more SEO strategies, refer to my blog post about Driving High Quality Web Traffic.

Customer References

Ask for client references and make a point about calling them. Ask their clients whether they were responsive, on time and within budget. Some web design firms look for work through freelance websites such as Guru where you can find reviews.

Social Media Presence

Social Media helps you respond to people talking about your brand and understand how they perceive your company. There are so many social media networks but the ones to monitor are Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. A good practice is to post a status update whenever you publish a blog post or new web content.

Cost / Budget

It is key to consider all of the above and then consider cost or budget if everything else falls into place. The cheapest quote is rarely the best.

Top 10 Habits of a Bad Web Site

August 11th, 2018

Are you a business owner who has become frustrated with your website? Do you feel like your web site doesn’t do the things you need it to do? Web sites that are not properly setup and maintained have the same issues your other employees have. Is your website an Ugly Duckling, a Chatterbug or a Couch Potato? The purpose of this article is to help you review possible flaws in the design of a web site. Once you’ve done so, you can make targeted corrections that are inexpensive and easier to implement.

The Ugly Duckling
There’s a rule I share with all of my clients: ‘Your customers make a direct correlation between the quality of your promotional materials and the quality of your product or service.’ And though that may be a mouthful, it sure seems like the truth. A poorly designed or put together web site invites your prospective customers to believe your service is of a similar quality. A quick review of your site, page by page and in multiple browsers, can give you a short clean-up list that can result in your Ugly Duckling blossoming into a graceful (and money-making) Swan. With a well-designed site, your operation can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company.

The Chatterbug
Does it seem like your website just won’t shut up? Do you have cluttered pages, too much text and not enough message? Or is each page’s message so distinct that a visitor must click every link to find what they are looking for? Both of these scenarios are almost certain to drive away all but the most persistent customers. Good web design is a process of reduction. Your web site should contain only the information your customer needs to get to the next step in the process. Qualifying your customers with the basics and then leading them to a call to action, like filling out a form, downloading a brochure, or making a purchase, will pay out in dividends.

The Couch Potato
Has it been weeks, months or even years since your site has changed? Content that is unique, timely and entertaining is critical to getting good visitors and good search engine rankings. If you want repeat customers, you have to give them a reason to come back to your site. Working with all of your staff, you can put together an update schedule according to a time-line, by topic, by page, or any other way that is convenience for your business model.

The Wallflower
The phrase “search engine optimization” can be intimidating, even to the bravest of web sites. With millions of other sites competing for the attention of each search engine, your site can easily get lost in the shuffle. No need to be intimidated. Search engines know quality when they see it. If you take the time to put your heart on your sleeve you’ll do well. Want more specific advice? Keep your keywords in your title, meta tags, content, and hyperlinks. Use about 400-600 words on each page. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. If you are running a business you have some expertise to share. Use Facebook, articles, press releases, or other social media channels to spread your message…GET OUT THERE AND DANCE, SISTER!

The Old Coot
Most of us get comfortable doing things a certain way. Unfortunately, getting too comfortable with your web site can mean Legacy Data. That is, data running within software that is out of date or inaccessible. Standards of compliance are always changing. Forms, shopping carts, security certificates, and calendars that worked in 2005 may not do so well now. However most legacy systems have modern day counterparts that support data migration. For those with expired systems or other custom requirements – don’t worry. Most good web developers can backup your existing data and capture that same data in real time, giving your grandpa enough info to make him a technological terror.

The Menace
Does your website have missing pages, broken links, forms that won’t submit, and errors always popping up? Your site may be a Menace! Potential customers will leave for a friendlier site before they put up with any nonsense. What you need is a map. Check your site map page by page, making sure it’s up-to-date and that every link works. Once you’ve got that done you’re ready for a sitter. Find a good link checker and give your site a monthly or weekly review of all of its hyperlinks, images, or other media links to be sure they still lead somewhere.

The Grumpy Neighbor
Visiting a simple, easy-to-navigate web site designed with the visitor in mind is like sitting down with a friend for an afternoon coffee. Not so with the Grumpy Neighbor. Garish graphics, blinking lights, too much advertising, or annoying menu’s all shout GO AWAY and visitors are quick to listen. Take some time to turn down your troubles. If you’ve got good content but poor design elements a graphical update can turn your Grumpy Neighbor into a manager and entertainer to be proud of.

The Lazy Butler
Are poor sales, low conversions, and nonexistent search engine rankings common occurrences with your site? Maybe the traffic is there and is being mis-routed, mis-informed, or just plain missed. Do you have a Lazy Butler on staff? Checking your statistical logs can provide you with great info if you know where to look. There are two key places most web developers miss. Try reviewing exit pages. Look for visitors leaving during the purchase or form-fulfillment stages. Second, look for error codes. 404 means ‘Page not Found’ and anything in the 500’s is a Server error. Polish up your points of entry and iron out the wrinkles to give each visitor a positive experience.

The Frumpy Salesperson
Poor resolution or distorted photos, incomplete or incorrect product descriptions, checkout procedures that confuse or mislead are all characteristic of a Frumpy Salesperson. Your web site is your front line and first point of contact for a significant portion of your potential clientele. Take the time to test your sales process through to completion. Be thorough in testing your shopping cart, the ability to add multiple methods of payment, and managing multiple shipping and billing addresses. Make sure your visitors come away informed and impressed.

The Intern
Sometimes the simplest tasks are the ones that can cause the most damage if mishandled. So why do business owners continue to put untrained Interns on the front lines of their business? Protecting and sharing confidential data, routing email, and displaying schedules are all tasks that should be carefully defined and implemented to ensure business runs smoothly. Now that your website has put in its time maybe it’s your turn. Keep the things that have worked up til now and scrap or revisit the things that haven’t worked so well. When complete your Intern will be ready to work full time.

So what does the world see when it see’s your website? A polite and professional presence that guides your visitors to a successfully completed transaction, or…something else.