Having a small/medium business is more than  a full time “job”. IF you want your business to excel you can’t “switch off” or “forget about it” after 5. Though I am a strict believer of having a work-life balance and doing things that make you happy, we all know that there is a huge difference in a life of working for someone else verses working for yourself. And ofcourse the freedom, confidence, experience and the MONEY is totally different as well.

A website is another store front for your business even if you do not sell products online. Sometimes getting a simple website done by a “cheap website designer” can be a nightmare and extremely expensive in terms of money and time. I have heard stories from clients who have spent $8000 (In this instance the designer charged /hr) on simple website with the project still “going on” after 4 months!!

I personally feel that having a WordPress driven website in instance like these would be the right choice. WordPress gives you the freedom to maintain the website once is developed. By this I mean that once the website is done by an experienced designer you can add/delete/modify content (text and images) yourself. How good is that! For this you will need a tutorial from your designer on how to do it. (Doing it on Skype can be very easy with the “Screen Sharing” option) You might need to pay extra for that. (I charge $65 for the tutorial) . But its totally worth it as it will give you the freedom to modify your website with changes in products, offers, change of locations, prices etc.
The WordPress templates in the markets are beautiful and any experienced designer can customised it to the colours and the look and feel of your brand.

I normally charge $800 for a WordPress website but if you order before 2014 ends, I can do it for $650. :)

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Give Bleeds to a Round Design

Most of us have been in a situation where even after years and years of experience, we stumble upon something which we just cant get our head around! At that time instead of doubting your skills or caliber as a designer we decide to get the Google rescue. Only to find long complicated forum questions and more complicated answers to them. Its especially annoying when you have to unplug your music in order to “understand” what they are suggesting. I normally would still look for a video tutorial. Anyways I came across a typical problem this week and just wanted to share the solution with you.

I made an cool looking sticker to stick on a wine bottle as a “with compliments” tag. The client loved the sticker design and I was sending the file to the printers. The printing lady mentioned “make sure you give bleeds to the document”

I thought to myself “obviously I will give bleeds. I am not a graduate designer” (not all graduates make this mistake though)

While preparing the print ready file it dawned on me that if I make the circle of my design as big as the bleeds, the curvy ends of my round design will be cut off. Resulting into odd shaped looking stickers. So In order to get it right it was mandatory to use a “die line” (popularly known as die cut)

The image will exactly show what I mean. (you are welcome!)

When you use the die line just make sure that the colour of the die is very bright and different from your artwork and also that a spot colour is used. When spot colours are used to die lines it becomes very easy to view the file in PDF > print production view as it totally separates itself from the CMYK shades.

Happy Designing!

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Recently I did a biiiiig mistake of starting a website project with out a formal contract! Damn!

Well for for my side of the argument I had worked with this particular client for 3 previous projects and thought well “I don’t think its really necessary in this case”

And again it was a very simple template driven WordPress website so started working on it excitedly.

Without going to much into the technical details, I selected a template and made a mockup and sent it to the client. Once that was approved I logged into the CPanel of the clients web hosting company, just to realise that the hosting package the client was using didnt support databases!!! (Have you ever heard anything like that before?) So in order to continue my work I would have to buy a higher package of hosting package!! As this action invloved spending extra money, I informed about the entire scenario to the client and she gets back to me saying that I don’t understand about what technical details you are trying to explain and I don’t even want to know about it but “this entire thing is getting too much delayed” (What? Hello I am trying to help you here!!)

I started having a bad feeling about this person but just discarded it and continued to work on the website. Now heres is something very funny, I suggested a few extra things on the website (as a marketing and design consultant I think its my duty to do that) like blogs, a mini form on the home page and a little extra information about her not so popular services etc. And she got back to me annoyed saying that “well so I am suddenly going to be a blogger on my website?” I said “not if you don’t want to! It was just a suggestion but I think that will bring traffic to your website.”

In this back and forth of ideas the website got delayed for a week. For that entire week the otherwise very nosy and “where is my website” client suddenly was very dormant and non-existent. Then suddenly at the end of the week I get an email from her saying that her “mentor” has suggested that because the website is delayed I should give a 40% off on the total cost of the website development!!! Wow some audacity!

Obviously I said I dont work like that and then a long trail of passive aggressive, sarcastic and legal sounding emails started. It was very funny that in the emails she constantly talked about deducting the agreed amount of money and over the phone she said that it was not her style. (mixed messages! Duh!)

To save you from the entire telephonic and email drama there came a point where I got really sick of her criticism, trying to extract the maximum work out of me and constant phone calls, in-spite of working more than a month over the site, I told her to take back her money and I didn’t want to work with her any longer.

Obviously she being herself threatened to take legal action against me as “the website legally belonged to her” (without paying the agreed amount).  I said well go ahead and all the best with that :)

I consulted few of my fellow designers and programmers and got a very strong reinforcement that I was right and some (actually 70%) told me to not even return her money back. Well that was’nt me. And the client  finally, after consulting hundreds of other “mentors” and “well wishers” realised that she didn’t have any case against me. I got an email from her with her bank details. I transferred whatever she had paid me till date and forgot about it. (well not exactly. that’s y I am writing this post!)

I lost many hours of work and a client (happy about that actually) but may never loose this lesson of not having a contract at the beginning of a website design project!

And btw guys the contract does not even have to be very formal or legally written. Even if it is a listed bullet points of services you would provide, money, time (always mention that it depends on things like client supplying the content, 3rd parties – like the hosting company here or any other unforeseen circumstances) with your company logo and both the parties signed, its enough!

Probably she is getting her website built form other designer. God help him / her!