Web Development

Save Time & Money by Starting Your Website Right!

How much does it cost to build a great website these days, and what are the most important things to keep in mind, when reaching out to developers and designers for quotes?

How can you hire a team who can work together with you to portray your vision if you are not familiar with the website building process? How can you envision a site that matches your personality and brand? What functions do you need to make it successful and user friendly?

When considering launching your new website, it's easy to get excited and carried away looking at the latest features, functionalities and designs. The truth is many of us have it backwards when it comes to planning and executing these types of projects and here is why:

As consumers, we are used to calling, emailing and researching for packages, costs, evaluating, comparing before deciding on the best solution. Sure, sometimes this is great to get you an amazing deal at an excellent price, but when looking to hire a professional there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Educate Yourself

The number one thing to keep in mind, is self-education. In order to know what you need for a website you should know what building blocks typically make up a full standard website. Today it is easier than ever to access all the information you could ever need online, which means there is no excuse to not be informed. Taking the time to do a little research by watching informational YouTube videos or instructional articles to understand the basics of domain names, website hosting, and content creation will be very helpful when talking with developers and designers later. Having a basic understanding of common web design terms and components along with an understanding the basics of the web design process will save you time and money.

2. Know What You Need

The second thing to consider is what types of features and functionality you will want or need. Do you plan to sell products and collect payment, allow users to log into your website, or just provide information about your business and allow interested customers to contact you? Finding out which type of website you need is a good start. There are two main types of websites – Ecommerce, Informational, and custom. Within these three categories you can choose from a variety of Content Managment Systems (CMS) that provide even more options. Some of the most popular CMS platforms include WordPress, Joomla, Shopify, Magento, SquareSpace, Weebly, etc. Custom development typically involves programming something from scratch or editing code in an existing program which can be done within existing CMS frameworks or in websites coded from scratch. Getting as much basic information on the most common kinds of functionality options and what CMS frameworks have those features available is key to helping you know how to get the most from your website and choose the right development approach.

3. Have Some Style

The third thing to keep in mind is to know what style of site you need that will fit your business type and brand. Take a while to consider competitor websites. Consider the basic web design concepts being used and relate them to why you like or dislike certain design elements on their website. Ask yourself if the website is easy to use, if important information on the website is easy to find. If you disagree with a design feature, consider what changes would improve a visitor's experience. Once you have decided what you want, move on to the next stage by talking with a professional.

4. Get an Idea of Pricing

The last thing to keep in mind is to what degree different features on your website may affect the price of development. Even if the price may vary drastically depending on the features, different professionals do have different prices and ways to implement your features and designs. And there are a few tools online to help you get a general idea of pricing in general. After you research the first three points we mentioned above and have a good idea of the features you want on your website, you may want to use a website price calculator to give yourself a rough idea of how much your website might cost. Using the link below, select the elements you think you need and the tool will give you a general estimate of what your website might cost. Try using this calculator for starters; click here to visit the Design Quote Calculator.

 

So how much does it cost to build a website? The truth is that there is no set budget because it depends on what kind of website you're building and who is building it. Also keep in mind that if you do some research you might save yourself a lot of time and money by building your website right the first time. Take your time and have fun researching and learning! You will know exactly what you need for your next website in no time.


Choosing a Web Development Company

Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, choosing a web developer in Las Vegas can be a difficult task. There are no licensing requirements for web developers and the barriers for entry are almost nonexistent. This has caused the web development market to become flooded with freelancers and companies of all skill levels, experience and capabilities. In this article, we’ll give you five tips for finding the perfect Las Vegas web development company for your next project.

Find a specialist

Many web developers claim that they can do it all. In reality, most web developers are primarily either graphic designers or programmers. Both of these fields are very specialized, and it’s uncommon to find people who are experts in both. When looking for a web developer in Las Vegas, we suggest asking them who will be doing the graphics and who will be providing the programming work. If it’s the same person doing both pieces, we advise paying even closer attention to their previous work and their portfolio.

Check their portfolio

A web developer’s portfolio is a good indication of the type of work you can expect from them for your own website. When reviewing their portfolio, keep an eye out for aspects that you want to be incorporated into your website. If you are looking for the latest in design trends or cutting-edge technology, look for those types of designs in their portfolio. On the other hand, if you’re looking to have a website developed that involves complex programming, ensure the developer has examples of this as well.

Will their website be SEO friendly?

In the early days of the internet, simply having a website was enough to be found by both current and potential customers. In 2016, having a website is just one aspect of your overall web presence. It’s important to make sure that the web developer will create the site with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind. This will help you increase your rankings in search engines and make it easier for customers to find you.

Long term

Another thing you should consider when choosing a web developer in Las Vegas is the scope of ongoing maintenance and the charges this will incur. It’s also important to understand at what point your initial projects ends and the maintenance phase of your relationship begins.

Communication

Once you’ve narrowed your web developer choices down, it’s a good idea to speak with the developer directly. This will help you understand how well they communicate and it’s a good indication of how they manage client relationships. It’s also one last measure of safety before you have the developer begin working on your project.

All in Web Pro is the premier web design and development company in the Las Vegas area. We focus on providing custom web design and development solutions to the Las Vegas area and beyond. Whether your project is a blog or business website, we can take your web presence to the next level.

 


Important Factors that Affect Your Web Design Cost

3 Factors that Affect Your Web Design Cost

One of the questions we receive a lot of is “how much will my website cost?”. This can be very difficult to answer because of the many different types of websites and time it takes to build each one. There are some major factors that can change the price of your website which we have compiled in this article:

1. The components and features you need.

Never assume that your needs are “simple” or should be cheaper than a designer’s standard rate. Some things look easy but are very complicated, while others seem like a big deal but are very easy to implement. Your site may only consist of a single page, yet that doesn’t mean it’s automatically cheaper than one with 5 or even 100 pages.

The thing is, that even if something is simple for a designer to handle it has taken years for them to learn that skill much like a doctor or attorney. Additionally, things can require custom development during construction which may necessitate additional time to either create or troubleshoot a unique component. Generally the more custom features, graphics, functionality, and components you request that are unique to your site the more it will likely cost.

2. Your designer’s skill level.

Yes, you can get a website for $150. No, it won’t be the same quality as a website that costs $1500. It’s like the difference between a bicycle and a Lexus. Both will get you where you need to go, but one is decidedly faster, provides a more comfortable user experience, and requires less effort for a user to operate than the other.

Designers who charge more are typically providing you with expertise you won’t find at a bargain rate – and in most cases, the value of the benefits will certainly outweigh the added costs. If you automatically choose the cheapest option, you risk hiring a designer who may have poor communication, an unclear process, inconsistent follow-through, no support after completion, or a sub-par or faulty end product. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

This goes for the same as using a build-it-yourself site like Wix or SquareSpace. You can get a nice looking site but you may end up spending a hundred hours to do it and have a website that is missing important elements or that is not organized, modern, or user-friendly.

3. How demanding you are as a client.

In the interest of being honest, I’ll share a tidbit that can add to the cost of a website. If you as a client are not organized in advance and don’t have your project information like initial vision or revision request organized, succinct, and collected into one easy to read document, it will most likely slow down communication, require extra time to be spent in follow-up conversations to clarify your feedback, and will take time away from both yourself and the company you hired, ultimately delaying the final completion date of the project and potentially costing you more money.

Over time, designers learn how to identify challenging clients, and although we take many precautions to ensure our design & development processes are clear and straightforward, we also make sure that we are compensated for any extra work caused because of a highly demanding client. Please remember that designers also have lives away from our computers a healthy long lasting business to business relationship works both ways.

Like lawyers, depending on the project, graphic designers and web developers have the ability to bill clients for time spent on rushed projects that require work outside of regular work hours, or even for time needed to meet, call, or email with a client depending on the type of project and service agreement in place.

As a client the best thing you can do is allow your designer the time he or she needs to complete the list of work they currently have and not make edits in the middle of a project, especially if it isn’t going to be finalized yet. Also, it’s extremely important to follow the procedural instructions of your designer or developer. If they require all revisions or information to be submitted at that time, it’s important to spend the time necessary to have your information prepared so that no surprise changes need to be made near the end of the project that should have been brought up in the beginning.

So How Much Should I Pay?

Good Question. A good website on the low end will probably cost anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000. This is a very rough estimate for basic but good quality informational website for a business. From there the cost can go up depending on how many additional features, components, custom work, or special considerations you are requesting. If you are looking to only spend $2,000 or less, you may as well just use a do-it-yourself web editor, or use a creative solution such as forwarding your domain name to a simple business listing page like your Google Places or facebook page until you have enough time and money to invest in a professionally built website. For another rough estimate of web design costs, feel free to use this web design pricing calculator for a general example of how prices change as more features are added to a website quote.

Interested in getting some web development done? Contact our team at All in Web Pro today!


Responsive Design & Why it is Important

Responsive design is a very important aspect of web design and web development. In this day and age, with as many smartphones there are out there, mobile website traffic is roughly equal to desktop browser based web traffic. With so many people using their phones to view websites it's critically important to have a website that looks good on any screen size, to make sure that your content is easily view able without any issues and that your visitors can navigate your website and get the information they need or become your customer or loyal fan easily.

 

The goal of responsive web design is to ensure that your users have a good experience on your website. The best system in place at the moment, and the one that you will find on nearly every website that takes advantage of responsiveness, is the grid system. Grid-based systems usually work by making use of media queries like the one below:

 

/** This is an example of a media query that will activate if your screen has a width of up to 680px; It will then (and only then!) apply the contained CSS. */
@media screen only and (max-width: 680px) {
    .someGridElement { max-width:50%; }
}
/** The below media query only applies to view sizes above or equal to 680px width.* Setting it to 681 is so that we don’t have overlapping rules.*/
@media screen only and (min-width: 681px) {
    .someGridElement { max-width:25%; }
}

 

If you have been using CSS for a while, this shouldn’t be too big of a step up from what you are used to, but a nice part about responsive design being so prominent is that there are frameworks built already that will make development times a lot shorter!

 

A few examples of these frameworks are below. Please keep in mind that there are a very wide variety of web design frameworks out there that can be built on and used to construct a myriad of different websites. What's most important is that you know the benefits and disadvantages of each yourself before investing in any one framework very deeply. Many frameworks are also compatible with existing tools and Content Management Systems, for instance Bootstrap can be installed on an instance of a WordPress website and can be expanded upon, but doing so has its own separate set of advantages and disadvantages. We recommend you look further into any software set before launching your next project.

 

The standard for grid-based, responsive design. It is built on both LESS and SASS, but also has a pre-compiled version in case you don’t feel like being pre-processy. It also comes bundled with a redesigned version of basically all of the default html elements such as check boxes, input fields, buttons, and also has a few that aren’t default, like hover tooltips and an icon font. You can also view everything on GitHub if you feel like making your own fork of it or contributing to the base project. Bootstrap 4 is in the making, and it even has an alpha version available for those who want to give it a test run and give feedback to the developers.

 

This is another grid-based responsive system that is pretty common around the internet. It is maintained, also on Github, by Yahoo, and is frequently updated. There is also a feature-selector and custom package builder available so that you can choose the breakpoints for the responsiveness. It is also built upon Normalize.css, which is a css file that was created to keep the browser styles between browsers unified instead of having differences in crucial attributes like padding and margins.

 

For something that focuses on looks right off the bat, there is foundation. Foundation is another responsive framework that is built on SASS. Its modular design can be expanded upon easily with pre-built, aptly-named, "Building Blocks" that add new functionality to the framework without cluttering the default installation. Things like carousels, overlays, sticky sidebars, and even an effects library, can be added in minutes.

 

Overall, these are a very few of the total number of responsive frameworks. There are dozens to choose from, but these are three that you might run into contact when looking around. Generally the larger the number of people using a specific framework the more likely it is that you will be able to find resources and updated versions of the software as time goes on. Almost all software solutions today will require ongoing maintenance and upgrades to handle new security threats that emerge over time.

Dynamic Website Application Development with Node.js

Javascript and Node.js:
Javascript is a very useful and important tool in the arsenal of a front-end web developer, and you would be hard-pressed to find a site on the internet that uses any dynamic content but doesn’t use javascript somewhere. It is really the life-blood of interactivity on internet websites, and while some of its big uses, namely animation, are now being offloaded to things like CSS keyframes, it still certainly has a place.
All modern web-browsers include a javascript engine allowing them to run javascript content on sites. There are always some limitations when building something, and you will always be required to think outside of the box to solve some problems, but nodeJS takes that to a completely different state of being. Node.js is a lightweight, efficient javascript runtime program that is able to do a lot of things that you would spend ages creating in standard javascript.

 

Example of Node JS:
The primary uses of Node.js are to create asynchronous I/O, high I/O operation, dynamic and interactive applications. This can include things like real-time chat, browser games, and Single Page Applications (or SPAs). Here is an example of a short, sweet, and simple Node.js script:
var http = require('http');
http.createServer(function(request, response) {
    response.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
    response.end("Testing!");
}).listen();
What this does is create an http server and run a function that requests a response from the server. The server itself is responding with a 200-response and the word, "Testing!" in plain text to any requests that it gets.

This example is about as simple as it gets, but it can get a lot more complex. Some larger websites that are built on node are walmart.com, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and even Uber.

Get Started with NodeJS:

If you are interested in giving this a try, there are a few ways to get started.
1: Set up Node.js on your development server or desktop machine. There are plenty of tutorials, but there is also the npm documentation if you would prefer that.https://docs.npmjs.com/getting-started/installing-node
Or 2: Use an online service like http://jsapp.us/ or https://c9.io/
There is a small learning curve for this, but take the plunge and spend a few hours learning the syntax. Also get more familiar with HTTP responses to make the transition into this new style of development a bit easier. Start small and work your way up to bigger things and before you know it, you will be happily plucking away at keys effortlessly!

Creating a Good User Experience

User Experience, abbreviated as "UX", in web design and web development is not a new thing by any means. Ensuring that your user has an easy, attractive, and intuitive way to interact with your website and all of its functions is everything. UX encapsulates form interaction, information display, menus, and any other element that you can add to a website. The goal of having good UX is to give the user a pleasant and useful flow of interaction that is helpful and absent of any inconveniences or wasted moments or actions during their visit on your website.
Improving usability, accessibility (screen readers, and the like), and creating a pleasurable experience for users interacting with your product is what good UX is all about. Things like stunning visuals, tasteful animations, and even elegant error messages can contribute to creating an overall positive user experience.
However, it is often difficult for web and graphic designers to put themselves in the users' shoes, but luckily there is an easy way to get around that, using feedback and testing. When you are working on a project, don’t rely purely on what you think looks or "flows" nicely. Have a friend or relative try it out and see what they think. Having a fresh set of eyes on your work can help immensely with finding the points in your work that would otherwise be very difficult or impossible for you to find on your own.
There is no rule-of-thumb for getting good UX, but there are a few good practices:
  • Get feedback from friends, family, A/B testing, page analysis tools, and anything else you can get your hands on. These are crucial for any high-end or high traffic web design project.
  • Keep your design consistent. Reuse design elements to give a sense of unity. This means, stick to your colors and light/darkness percentages.
  • Make tasteful use of animation. Tasteful is hard to define, and it is ultimately left up to you, but find an animation that works for you and the functions that your application performs. Smooth movement is great eye-candy, and will reinforce the feeling of completed an action or creating a sense of progress as users navigate through your site.
  • Make use of load times, but keep them short. Having an animation or smooth transitions will reduce the perceived load time, and making things load quickly will help retain users and make sure that they do not get bored or impatient.
Overall, making good decisions for your website's UX from the very start will make the rest of the process much smoother and easier for you as the designer and/or developer. Knowing how you want to notify users of actions, how you will apply changes to information dynamically, and how things like navigation are going to be laid out are really large steps that can help ensure your users have the best possible experience while interacting with the product and brand.

All About Domain DNS Records

DNS Records can be a nightmare sometimes, but they really don’t have to be something complicated. As long as you have your web-server set up correctly, odds are very good that your DNS changes will be able to be done perfectly fine without any hiccups.
When you go to change or add DNS records at the place where you purchased your domain or wherever you have your nameservers set to, usually you will see something like this table below:
Host | Record | Priority | Value
@    | A      | NA       | 127.0.0.1
@    | MX     | 10       | mx1.mysite.com
www  | CNAME  | NA       | mysite.com
These are some of the more common ones, and they are usually all that you should need when transferring a website to a different server or host. If you have other records, it would be a good idea to consult with whoever set those records in the first place to make sure that you are set up everywhere else before you try to repoint the DNS settings.
The A Record:
This DNS record is the basis of your site. It points to the static IP address that your machine is hosted on. If you are using a service like Cloudflare for DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) protection or as a CDN (Content Delivery Network) then you will point this A record to the IP address that the service gives to you. Without this record being active and pointed correctly, your website will not be reachable at the domain you are configuring.
The CNAME Record:
This is a way of pointing a subdomain of your site, where the subdomain portion (e.g.www.mysite.com, dev.mysite.com, etc) is entered in the host cell, to a domain name instead of an IP address. See the table above to see how it should be set up. This record type is commonly used for pointing the "www." subdomain to the www-less domain, to create an effect as follows:
www.mysite.com -> Direct to -> mysite.com
The MX Record:
The MX Record or mail record is used to provide your domain name with directions to get to the mail server that you would use for any email addresses that use your domain name, such as email@mysite.com. Typically, you will have more than one of these MX Records in case one of the email connections fails so that you have a backup connection available in that event. As you may have noticed, there is another field with these records, called the priority. This number tells the server that is trying to connect to the mail servers to try the one with the lowest number first. Usually you see this number increment in units of 10, and you may see several records of this type, especially if you have set up an external email service such as google’s email for business.
There are several other record types, each with their own special functions, and you may find yourself needing them from time to time. If you do, be sure to research what they do, how to properly use them, and what implications there may be to using them as far as security and accessibility goes. It is a good idea, in general, to set up the ones that you understand, but to also learn about the others to see if they may have any use for you.

5 Design Tips for Building Your Website

Successful Web Design

The aesthetics of a website have never been as vital as they are today. Whether you’re building your website for yourself or a client, it has become crucial that you stay updated with current web design trends and market demands. However, it’s undoubtedly difficult to keep up with the pace of the internet and the ever-changing trends in web design. Web designers know that the key to a successful web design is understanding the principles of design in addition to the expectations of your target audience and leveraging them towards your specific online conversion goals while balancing these needs with your unique budget and timeline.

If you take these things into consideration, you'll be able to influence your visitor’s behavior and drive traffic to your website. In this article, we’ll outline 5 design tips for building your website.

1. Explore and Research Websites in Your Target Market

Researching other websites in your target market will help you guarantee your design is up to date on current trends and that it's in a style that your visitors will relate to. Analyze your competitor’s websites and take notes on their features that interest you in addition to those that don’t. Using these notes while designing your site will help you deliver a captivating and effective design that’s current to your industry.

2. Keep it Simple and Familiar

It’s a good idea to make use of design elements that your visitors will recognize, the most obvious are a navigation bar, header, footer, etc. This will help make certain your users can navigate your website without getting confused and will help build trust and reliability into your website. Using unfamiliar user interface elements might frustrate your users and cause them to leave your site. After all, the goal of your site is to drive your users towards a specific action, and you want it to be easy for them to quickly perform that action.

3. Use Great Fonts

Choosing a great font is a vital step in designing a captivating website. Make sure you select a font that's legible enough to make your content very easy to read while matching the style and feeling you want your brand to convey.

4. Make it Mobile-Friendly and Responsive

Mobile users are ever increasing and make up a large portion of internet traffic. Moreover, search engine giant Google has announced they're giving precedence to mobile-friendly websites when performing searches from a mobile device. This makes it very important for websites to embrace a mobile-friendly design so that they're accessible to the largest audience possible. You can test to see if your website is mobile friendly according to Google using their Mobile Friendly Test page.

5. Use Color Effectively

Color is an important aspect to any web design. Effective use of color will help you engage your visitors and encourage them to interact with your site. Because of this, it’s essential to choose your colors carefully and ensure they're appropriate to your website. Each color has a deep meaning behind it and conveys an emotion to the viewer. Although individuals may differ in their perceptions of color, you must understand what message you wish to convey with your website before you start selecting colors. For example, all colors convey meaning. And having an overall black theme and background to your website may subconsciously convey a feeling of mystery or danger that might not align with a company that wants users to feel they are open, safe, and transparent.

Staying Current is Essential

Web design is constantly changing and new fads and trends will continue to pop up and fade out. Yet it’s essential to stay up to date with current trends to avoid having an outdated website, especially if there are opportunities to improve the experience of your users and take advantage of opportunities to gain more visibility in search engines. The tips we’ve covered in this article will help you think about things to consider when envisioning a new a captivating web design for your brand.

About All in Web Pro

If you’re looking to have a website professionally designed by web designers who understand current web design trends, look no further than All in Web Pro. We are a leading Las Vegas web design company, and we’ll make sure that you’re delivered a professional web design solution that will engage your audience, showcase the best you have to offer, and drive your visitors to take the actions you desire to convert to sales and growth.

Call us today for a free web development consultation to get a free estimate for your next custom website or web application. 702-331-0650


5 Tips for Choosing a Las Vegas Web Development Company

Anyone in Las Vegas can call themselves a Web Developer

Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, choosing a web developer in Las Vegas can be a difficult task. There are no licensing requirements for web developers and the barriers for entry are almost nonexistent. This has caused the web development market to become flooded with freelancers and companies of all skill levels, skill types, experience, and capabilities. In this article, we’ll give you 5 tips for finding the perfect Las Vegas web development company for your next website project or advanced web application.

1. Find a Professional Web Development Specialist

Many web developers, (web dev&39;s) claim that they can do it all. In reality, most web developers are primarily either graphic designers, web designers, content specialists, or programmers. Each of these fields are very specialized, and it’s uncommon to find people who are experts in more than 1 or two of them. When looking for a web developer in Las Vegas, we suggest asking them who will be doing the graphics, where the text content will come from, who is setting up the website in the online CMS platform such as WordPress or SquareSpace, and who will be providing the programming or coding work if at all. If it’s the same person doing two or more of these things, we recommend paying close attention to their previous work in their portfolio and asking to see live examples of their work online that's actively being used by past clients of theirs.

2. Check Their Portfolio

A web developer’s portfolio is a good indication of the type of work you can expect from them for your own website. When reviewing their portfolio, keep an eye out for aspects that you might want incorporated into your website. If you are looking for the latest in design trends or cutting-edge technology, look for those types of designs in their portfolio, or find them on other websites and ask them if they can build something similar. On the other hand, if you’re looking to have a website developed that involves complex programming, ensure the developer has examples of this as well and ask key questions about cost, timelines, and what to expect.

3. Be Marketing Minded and Ready to do SEO

In the early days of the internet, simply having a website was enough to be found by both current and potential customers. In 2016, having a website is just one aspect of your overall web presence. It’s important to make sure that the web developer will create the site in a way that makes it easy to perform SEO (search engine optimization) tasks, such as updating meta data, or that automatically incorporate search engine friendly tags on images, links, URL page addresses, and that link internally and externally appropriately. This will help you increase your rankings in search engines and make it easier for customers to find you, especially if you are going to be blogging, launching an SEO campaign, or hiring a separate company to do your SEO afterwards.

4. Have a Long Term Web Development Strategy

Another thing you should consider when choosing a web developer in Las Vegas is the scope of ongoing maintenance and the charges the site will require and incur after initial development is complete. It’s also important to understand at what point your initial projects ends and the maintenance phase of your relationship begins. If your website id being developed in phases, having a clear roadmap and expectations for ongoing work is even more important.

5. Have Excellent and Convenient Communication Channels

Once you’ve narrowed your web developer choices down, it’s a good idea to speak with the developer directly, and in person or on video if possible. This will help you understand how well they communicate, how well they understand your vision, if your get along well with them, and it’s a good indication of how well you can manage and maintain your positive working relationship when important and detailed communication is needed during your project. It’s also one last measure of safety before you invest in having the web developer begin working on your project. We don't ever recommend hiring someone who doesn't speak your native language, or who comes from a cultural background that is different than yours as this may dramatically change the way they interpret your instructions and vision for the project.

About All in Web Pro - Las Vegas Web Developers

All in Web Pro is a premier web design and web development company in the Las Vegas area. We focus on providing custom web design and development solutions to the Las Vegas area and beyond. Whether your project is a blog, custom web application, or business website, we can take your web presence to the next level.

Call us today for a free web development consultation to get a free estimate for your next custom website or web application. 702-331-0650


AiWP Writer's block

Web Design Tips: 5 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

Here are 5 Techniques for Overcoming Writer’s Block:

Creativity is necessary for some much of what we do every day. When we’re “in the zone” our newest web design, web development concept or client presentation seems to flow out of us and all the dots connect seamlessly. But we’ve also experienced the other extreme. The clock ticks incessantly on an impending deadline, the more you try and force your focus the more distracted you become, until you feel incapable of stepping up to the task at hand. You’ve smashed into that impassible wall known as writer’s block. The good news is you’re not alone. Every one of us has encountered this obstacle, threatening to obstruct our path to productivity and success. And the better news is, there are ways you can climb right over the wall and continue on your way to completing your project.

1. Get the blood pumping and oxygen circulating.

Take a walk. It sounds too easy to be true, but it is an exceptional way to clear your head. It is even more effective if you make an effort to be “in the moment” by paying attention to your surroundings on your walk instead of visualizing your deadline as an anvil about to drop on your head and bust it wide open like a watermelon at the hands of Gallagher (http://gallaghersmash.com/). A walk also packs the added punch of getting your blood pumping, which increases blood circulation and oxygen, and this is vital to achieving peak brain function. Sedentary lifestyle habits, like sitting at your desk all day, inhibits effective blood circulation and can have the same stifling effect on your creativity. Many times a momentary change of scenery, coupled with some physical activity and movement, is all you need to reinvigorate your creative mojo.

2. Take a mental break to switch gears and recalibrate your focus.

Occasionally, you hit a wall and all you need to get over it is to step back from the project for 10 minutes and let your focus recalibrate. The key to not getting mindlessly sidetracked is to limit your breaks to a specific amount of time, not exceeding 10 or 15 minutes. It is best if your break involves reading or writing. Perhaps you indulge your guilty pleasures, that celebrity gossip website or check the scores on ESPN.com or go on your social networks and check out what your friends and family are up to. But again, be disciplined or this won’t work and could become just another way to procrastinate.

3. De-clutter your environment to reduce distractions.

Whether you believe that your surroundings can physically block energy, as in Feng Shui, or you just subscribe to the general principle that a messy work space is a needless distraction, it seems to improve clarity of focus when there is not “stuff” scattered haphazardly where you are working. Keep disorder to a minimum and it will enhance the process of organizing of your thoughts. A scattered work area can easily lead to scattered thoughts.

4. Limit outside interruptions.

This goes beyond your physical setting to include outside distractions such as phone calls, emails, social media and messaging notifications, television, interruptions from family, friends and co-workers, to the alluring temptations of the world wide web. Whether it’s eBay, Facebook, Zappos or cat videos on YouTube that entice you to drift, you have to empower yourself to just say no when you need to buckle down and produce a finished, quality project. Turn the phone on silent, adjust your settings to off, let those around you know you’re “off limits” for the next hour, or three, and close your internet browser. The world will not cease to turn if you go “underground” for a few hours.

5. Two minds can be better than one.

Get a second opinion. Collaboration can be a rewarding way to push through your writer's block. If you are writing an article, you can call an expert on the subject for a short interview. You reap the benefit of a relevant quote that improves your work, while expanding your perspective and, hopefully, making a new valuable connection. If the project is a presentation, try asking a colleague, friend or spouse to listen to your pitch and offer feedback. It will be helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off as well as give an insight or perspective that takes your concept to another level or in a different direction that you would not have thought of on your own.

The important elements of web development, web design, SEO, graphic design, or any creative development work, all require a high level of creativity and focus. It’s vital to have strategies to deal effectively with blocks when they occur. We would enjoy hearing what strategies get you past writer’s block and back on the path to productivity. What practices help you get into your creative flow?