Kristi and Ryan at Thursday Club

This couple wrote the book on how to make your head table stand out. By making it grand and on the stage with the curtain backdrop, I’m sure they felt like rockstars on the stage. The markers are on the tables along with a scrapbook page for the guests to decorate, something more personal than signing a guest book that the couple can keep forever. The adorable cake is from Valerie Lindsley, and fun centerpieces from Tessilk!

Kristi and Cory at Ocean View Villas

Here is a beautiful, bright reception at Ocean View Villas. For the group that stayed the night at the Villas, we also catered a delicous brunch in the morning. Turned a vacation home into an official bed and breakfast…on the beach! Can’t beat it.

Vendors!!! Flowers – Adina Onda // DJ – Daniel Peterson // Cake – Flour Power

Smart business decisions

Stay Organized

One of the best ways to help a designer stay a float is organization. Making sure your work environment is clean and organized, is a big benefit to being productive each day. A lot of clutter on your desk can cause your mind to be distracted. Even more importantly, keep your computer clean. Be sure to use a folder file system with your contracts, client notes and invoices. Files should always be easy to find and organized. Cleaning your computer desktop is even more important. Use folders and organize new clients, old clients and potential clients.

Protect your self and your work

Protecting your self as a designer should be just as important to you as your work. Basically a contract is a documented agreement that is legally-binding, and both you and the client sign to finalize the deal. Important things to remember are exact details of what the project will require, exact payment details, time frame and revision options. Also keep in mind to discuss rights to your work or if you will be able to display it in portfolio once the project is finished. If you agree to hand over the ownership of the site to the client make sure to transfer ownership to the other party in writing. Another key thing to focus on in contracts is payment time frames and late fees. Clients have a lot of problems generally handling content and it usually arrives in parts and late. To make sure the client and you remain happy is to discuss this prior and state it all in writing. Late fees are standard so do not be afraid to put this in the contract, and when the time comes send a late fee notice to the client. They now have a lot of useful online applications to send invoices to clients, contracts and keep track of details. Here are some to check out.

Recycle your old code

It would never make sense to have to write the exact same code over and over. If it works as a solid base for most websites then save it. Saving old templates that you built, is a great way to save time. Keep folders with all your old templates and layouts, organized in folders with each type of lay out style. For example 2 column layouts, 3 column layouts, sticky footer etc… They also have now adobe air apps which save and organize snippets of your code. Snippely is the one I would recommend.

Communication

Communication is key working with web design. There are various ways to communicate like email, messenger services, online video chat and telephone are important in the industry at this point in time. The longer you take to contact a potential client or answer their questions could cost you the job. The competition is overwhelming working with web design. Staying in touch and being personable is a great factor when keeping clients and building client base. A lot more clients are willing to work remotely these days so take advantage. Make sure to take use your time talking or emailing clients wisely. Take notes with each client and also while you are reviewing their site for price quotes. Make sure you get the important questions out without having to re contact them over and over.

Craigslist safety tips

Protect Yourself

Contracts are one of the most important things when working with a client or a freelance web designer. Trusting your instincts will help but only get you so far. Google search for a web design contract template or word doc. This will ensure that both parties are protected. Makes sure to be specific in the contract, the last thing you want is to lose out due to a technicality. If you are a client make sure that you see everything that you have agreed on in the contract. If you are a designer make sure that you word everything proper so the client does not think they are entitled to all the revisions in the world. No one likes bad business so make sure to be clear and honest and I know this will help you get good results.

Get a Feel for the Person

Well I know with past experience working as a freelance designer I have notice some quick signs that lead to either bad business or a waste of time. No ” CAPITAL LETTERS “   If you see a post on craigslist or receive an email that does not contain any capital letter’s or proper punctuation this usually is a bad start. If this person can’t use proper punctuation or at least take the time to capitalize letters I can only imagine how the rest of it will go. Try to contact them on the phone or at least an online messenger. Most people with something to hide like to keep away from close communication. I do understand that this is not always the case. Some people are just busy or not available for that kind of communication. Things like this really help you get to know who you would be working with. If all else fails check for references or move on to the next one, there are plenty of people to work with in this world.

Keep a Cool Head

Sometimes working remotely or with someone new can be frustrating. There will always be creative differences, bad moods, and lack of trust to cause meltdowns. Sometimes patience is the most important thing. You just have to stay calm and understand that everyone is doing their part. Make sure not to hold any thoughts back if you feel the need to question it will only cause for more of an outburst when things continue to not go your way. Client after client I am still amazed how many good people there are that remain calm collected and patient throughout the process. I give trust to a lot of people and even though I have been scammed, lied to and have had a lot of time wasted I know there are people you can trust who are only looking for cheap personal service. Good luck!!

Why use WordPress?

It is Free for use

WordPress is Open source software.  This means can use it for free no strings attached. WordPress is built with Mysql and Php and these are both free as well. For all you that don’t know what you are doing you can hire someone like me to take care of this for you and with a word-press site I can give you a price that you can afford.

Quick to set up

With simple instructions you can have word-press up and running in no time. There are thousands of templates to choose from and a lot of designers now work with word-press. As long as you have hosting you can get a word-press theme up and running on your site in a matter of 15 minutes. If you do not have hosting they offer a WordPress option with hosting included http://wordpress.com/.

SEO Friendly

One thing that is great about word-press is the search engine optimization. Unlike flash built sites there is a great benefit to how your site will be ranked in search engines. They have worked in things like pings, track backs, comments and others to help also. I use word-press my self a lot and I feel that it is very strong for SEO and now they have plug-ins to help make it even easier to add key words to your content pages and site.

So Many Options

Between the thousands of templates you can pick from and thousands of plug-ins all your needs will be fulfilled one way or another. Whether you have a blog and an E-commerce site Word-press has something for you to help your online experience. The options are endless and it only keeps getting better with time. It is compliant with Web standards and kept up to date to ensure that your website is running and displaying the way it should.

Easy for a CMS set up

Another great thing about word-press is the option for users to update their content and links and menus without knowing any web design knowledge or having to learn a lot of software. Designers can set these sites up to fit your needs and then you can have a site that you can actually update and change on a daily basis.  A lot of templates now are built with CMS options also to ensure that you can edit your site after it is up and running.

What are you Waiting for?

Go out and start your WordPress experience blogging, selling or informing. It will basically sell it self and if you do it right it can be free… What else needs to be said? For custom WordPress sites and updates to existing sites or templates contact me and I will be glad to help you out.

Find the Right Web Designer.

Where to Look?

There are always new sites to find designers. First you need to decide if you want to work with a large web company or a freelance designer. If you have a big budget and are ready for a big commitment then a large web company may just be for you. If you are looking for a more personable designer and a more affordable price I would go with a freelance designer. There are always new sites to find designers. Google is a great way to find large design firms and web companies. Places like Craigslist and Freelancer.com are the best for finding freelance designer. Also keep in mind location of the designer. If they across the country and the world you will not be able to meet face to face if needed. These days everything can be done remotely but sometimes getting to know some in person is the best way decide if you can trust them or not.

Browse Through Your Potential Web Designer’s Portfolios

Take a look around before you make a decision about who you are going to choose. Remember this is an investment and a commitment. You want it to be as useful and appealing as it can be. If you are looking for a designer and they don’t have some sort of portfolio or at least an organized way of showing you their work chances are they are unreliable and unorganized. Don’t jump on the first site you see there are a lot to choose from I am sure you have realized this already. It really isn’t as overwhelming as it seems.

Get in Touch With the Ones you Like

Look around for a solid style and someone you feel you can trust and make sure to contact and ask any questions you have. See what kind of communication the designers have.. How quick they email, how they address you and also just their general attitude. You can get a great feel for who someone is just by how the write an email. If someone contacts you and doesn’t take the time to use capitol letters then chances are he is not your guy!! Make sure they have a kind attitude and speak professional no ones wants to work with a bitter designer. Also when contacting them be specific let them know what you need and when you need it so they can be more accurate with their quote and time frame. Designers are here to help you but we also need our time to be creative so every detail helps. Make sure to contact more then one designer too to get different quotes and ideas.

Look Over Their Services and References

When looking for a niche designer make sure that they have solid experience in that type of web design. Say you are looking for a flash designer find a portfolio that has solid flash sites or at least a decent amount of flash experience. Designers that do things more then other usually have more affordable prices and quicker turn around times. This isn’t always true because top designs who have mastered these trades could be more expensive then someone with close to the same skills just because of their name and reputation. References and testimonials are a good way to see how the designer’s past work has gone. References are not there to ask a million questions but more like ” Would you recommend this designer and/or use them again. ” Some designers just starting out may have the skills you require but not the portfolio. If you feel that they have the skills go with them you will get a better price and maybe give them a chance to break out and show their skills. Use your gut and intuition and always ask for contracts.

A Reasonable Cost

Remember you usually get what you pay for. If you find a solid design firm and you give them a nice big budget they can work with you are going to get a top of the line website. If you ask for the cheapest solutions possible and offer them 100$ you are probably going to get more of a headache then a functional website. You could always hire a high school student or a recent grad looking to build a portfolio but they might not know all the ins and outs of the industry. Experience is key in making solid websites. Think about what you really can afford with your budget then look for quotes that are within your limit. Designers are here to help you if you let them. Not everyone is here just for the money some designers like my self are more into this for the love of the work and the joy of helping people.

Your Goal is Important

After all these emails and different ideas and sites you have looked at remember at the end of the day your goal and idea is what is important. Do your research on website similar to the one you want created and think about what are the best parts of those websites. Keep in mind the end result and try to keep your mind on track. Changing your mind in the middle of a project is only going to cost you money and stress so be prepared when you are ready to purchase a website. Think of this website as a semi temporary tattoo. It will be with you for a while and it is an investment. Be creative but also be functional and to the point. Good luck to you in your search and remember I am always here to help so feel free to email me anytime and contact me about a web project you have in mind.

Danielle and Terry at Diamondview Tower

The diamondview tower is so called because it has a view right down into the Petco ballpark! Large windows with breathtaking views of downtown San Diego painted a beautiful backdrop for this reception. The classic look of the calla lily centerpieces and satin linens dressed up the room without taking too much from the rich wood floors.

Erin and Matt at Thursday Club

Beautiful green and ivory reception on a sunny day at the Thursday club. The menu consisted of delicious heavy hors d’ oeuvres and a carving station with savory tri tip and turkey breast. Homemade fruity sangria was served as a signature drink. Another delectable cake by Shirley Resnick, the Cake Lady, and garden fresh centerpieces from Blush Botanicals.

Ashley and John at Thursday Club

Here is a gorgeous Thursday Club reception with upgraded Desert Blue Lamour Linens and Chocolate napkins. They mixed it up by decorating the head table in opposite colors. The manzanita tree centerpieces were handmade by Leigh Johnston. Erin Melton of Behind the Bride made sure everything went smoothly and Earl from My DJs kept the group dancing all night!

Samantha and Chris at Ocean View Villas

30% chance of rain all week turned into 100% for this reception! But we all pulled it off with a beautiful clear tent that kept the guests warm and dry while preserving the ocean view. Navy pintuck linens with a little shimmer were accented by the pink flowers and favors. Flowers are from Tessilk and cake is from Sumi’s Oven.