Hints for Choosing The Best Web Site Design Company in Sydney

Check Their Website Design Portfolio.

The best web design companies have them and are proud to display them on their website. When you are looking at their online portfolio of work, you need to be highly critical – be sure that you absolutely love their work, before you engage them to do your website.

What to look for:
– Can you see any websites similar to your business? Remember, you need a site to look totally different to what is out there to establish your own unique online presence. Ideally, your site should be more creative and user friendly than your competitors.

 – The portfolio should represent a varied mix of industries and businesses. Having one web company focus on one particular field is not a good start. They should be able to show you that they have worked across a number of industries, designing a variety of web sites that all have their own unique look & personality. Its all about individuality and if you can see this consistency then you are certainly on the right path to finding the best web comany for your business

– Do the sites look template driven or do they appear as though some design effort has been put into it? Great web companies will NEVER follow a template, but design as per brief.

 – As you look at more and more sites you should see a common thread. If your overall feeling to these designs is unimpressive then you are possibly viewing a web company that operates at the lower end of the market. These kind of companies are found all over the first page of Google and they offer cheap web design package solutions for next to nothing. If you are comfortable with your design work being shipped off to India then this is probably an OK solution for you. But, if you are wanting quality design backed up by years of web experience then avoid these guys at all costs. It will only end up in tears. Guaranteed!


Meet With Your Web Designer

The better web companies in Sydney, will prefer to meet rather than correspond via email. If your head office is in Sydney then go with a studio in that city. It will be a lot easier for your when you try to communicate the design brief.


Testimonials and Client Feedback

Testimonials are an awesome tool to see if the web design company is any good. Don’t go in blindly believing everything that you are told, read or hear. Of course all web companies are only going to give you the best results and testimonials and will never relate a bad past experience. This is only logical and people are going to protect their interests.

Questions to ask:

 – Are you satisfied with the web outcome? This is a fairly self explanatory question and the answer should always be a quick yes. If there is any hesitation or some kind of um or eh…then you have a problem.

 – Was the project completed on time? Most web companies will promise site completion at a certain time and date and should be able to adhere to this schedule. Obviously there are times when sites can scope out and take longer than expected. Any decent web team should be on top of this and alert you to deadline blow outs. If they do, then great but if they dont, you will know about this.

 – Was the web design company able to challenge you in any way and offer alternative design solutions based on their experience? Clearly, you will have some pre conceived design ideas and thoughts but it is really up to your team to offer creative and constructive ideas prior to beginning the site. Having a site made is not as simple as one would be led to believe, there are so many variables that need careful consideration and it is really up to your designers to come up with new inspirations and articulate carefully what is now needed for a successful web design.

 – Did you get value for money? This is a massive question and this can really influence your commitment to a company. So many studios advertising online will promise you anything to get your business. I personally ( as one of the directors of hopping mad designs ) have witnessed business owners in tears wishing they would have not gone with the cheap alternative to begin with.

Often fooled by slick talking sales people who say they are 'design experts', receive a website that looks nothing like they wanted with absolutely nothing to show for in terms of design. Any design changes or extras are charged for at an hourly rate and there is really no value for money. Be really careful about this question and before embarking on this exercise, you have to learn the difference between cheap n nasty web designers and those web studios offering real value for money. One useful hint: any web business advertising web packages less than $1000 should be avoided.

 – After sales service or website warranty. Did they drop you like a hot potato or did they help iron out any bugs once the site went live. Also, were they helpful with content management issues you may have needed to upload content and images. Many web companies with draw a line in the sand once the site goes live and charge you on an hourly basis for post deployment help. This should really not be the case and there should be a warranty with any work and help with anything you need for at least 30 days. You need to find your feet and learn how to use a CMS effectively and its only fair that this is stipulated in their contract with you.

 – Any there any other issues you had with the company such as customer service, returning of phone calls and emails, over charging, lack of transparency, attitude, lack of experience, dealing with juniors or school/tech leavers etc etc. As a paying customer you want the best product at the best price so if you notice any of the above points then there would be an issue.


Rapport Between Designers and the Client


Having a website designed is a crucial part of your marketing mix and will more often than not be your only source of advertising. This is why it is crucial that you have a great rapport with your designers. After your initial meeting you should be able to get a clearer idea of the people you will be working with and will therefore be able to see if you are not only comfortable with them, but that you also have the trust and faith that they will be able to deliver on this project, well above your expectations. Basically, you want to leave the meeting with that feeling you get that those people were awesome, they really understood you, your business and your web objectives.

Having a web site designed for most people can be a scary thing. Ideally, you need to get the feeling that you are dealing with a professional, down to earth mob who will take care of your website and other online marketing needs. 

For this reason a good tip is see the response time on your first couple of phone calls to them. If they are not returning your calls within a day or if they are forever in meetings then treat this as an ominous sign of things to come.


Are they SEO Experts ?

When you are ready to meet with your top web design company be armed with some useful questions and see if they are willing to divulge technical information such as: search engine optimisation, browser testing ( ensuring that the website will work across all major platforms), download times, social media strategies, copywriting help, interactive content, user interface styles, their coding capabilities, content management systems.

Most decent web companies should be able to chat with you about each of these points in detail. These are the ‘ must haves’ for the web design industry and knowledge in these particular areas is an absolute must. For example if they are looking nervous when discussing SEO, this means that they obviously are unclear about the topic or how they are going to rank your web site. If they are trying to steer you away from topics that revolve around web copywriting then again, this is an danger sign.  Any sign of doubt should result in you looking for another more cutting edge and professional web design firm.


Payment Terms and Intellectual Property:

See if you are able to pay in installments upon milestones being achieved. A great idea and one that should be put on the table and spoken about upfront is a 50% deposit with a further 25% upon design completion and the balance on uploading the site. This way you are in total control over the life cycle of the web project when it comes to funding. Never pay 100% upfront and be clear about paying these installments only when you are satisfied with the final result. Also be sure to see that you will be the rightful owner of all completed artwork once the site goes live. You should own all images, content as well as source html files as a matter of common courtesy. You have paid for the site and should therefore expect to own everything associated with it. Be strong willed when asking for these 2 things as many web studios will be reluctant to hand over files and will want most of the payment up front to protect themselves. This is about you, not them so do everything possible to protect your rights and ownership.


You have just found the best web design company in Sydney – they are Hopping Mad Designs – to see how we can design + build your next website call 02 9360 8514

Creative Web Design Agency Sydney

The trick for any business looking to either get a new website or get their current site revamped is to find a credible web design studio that they can work with. That is, to find that creative web company who can offer great designs at affordable rates with awesome customer service. This is not as easy as you may think, but if you follow a few of the points listed below, you should be on your way to dealing with the most creative web design agencies in Sydney.


What do all of these Top Creative Web Design Agencies have in common?


  1. They have all been around for many years. You will find that most of the better web design companies have been working within the industry for well over 10 years.
  2. You can work with a your allocated designer as opposed to working with an account manager.
  3. They all have some knowledge of search engine optimisation. You are probably using these studios because you have found them on Google. This is a great thing. They have been able to rank their own website, which means that the principles they have implemented to get their site ranked can be used on your site.
  4. They will encourage a initial meeting for the web design brief rather than conducting business in the virtual world.
  5. All of the designers will be university or tech trained. You will find very few people in these firms with little or no professional training backing them up.
  6. Most firms will be able to rattle off recognisable brands that they work with.
  7. They will have a clear understanding of the latest online 'must haves', such as mobile and responsive web design, content marketing and social media strategies to offer.


 Why use Hopping Mad Designs as your Creative Web Design Agency?

  • Hopping Mad has been part of the pack of top creative Sydney based web design agencies. As a design agency we are proud to say that we have been working with a range of businesses both large and small with all their creative design needs, both print and digital.
  • All our web and graphic designers are highly creative and extremely talented. They have all been to university and are all mid to senior level. You can rest easy in the knowledge that when you are working with Hopping Mad Designs you will never have your design projects handled by a junior or freelancer.
  • We know search engine optimisation ( SEO ) well. This means that once will make your site live it will have the best possibility of ranking well on Google. All our coding is Google compliant and all our SEO techniques are what is termed ‘ white hat’.
  • Our WordPress content management system is highly intuitive and super easy to use. Once you get the hang of it ( we will train you in the usage of the CMS) you will find that you are making site wide amends regularly.
  • If you are looking to sell products online through an ecommerce shopping cart our content management systems platforms are scalable that allow easy integration of this shopping cart.
  • Hopping Mad also has what I would say are one of the best team of copy writers in Sydney. They are business to business and business to consumer copy experts that can not only bring your website to life through well worded and sales driven content. This is why we look at web content as much as the creative when it comes to site design. We place a heavy emphasis on content for page relevance, which in turn will help with your ranking. Given the fact that content writing is a difficult task, we are happy to offer this service as part of the creative design process.
  • Once you come on board with us we allocate you a dedicated creative designer. All communication is between you and them and we never interfere in this process. We feel that this simplifies the whole design process and makes everything just that bit easier.
  • Hopping Mad has a complete understanding of all marketing platforms. Keeping up to date with the latest marketing trends means we are able to bring our knowledge to the table to further push your marketing and brand. Whether its social media, mobile websites, customised blogs, e newsletters, social media monitoring, online reputation management or even web copywriting, we feel that we are on the cutting edge and have the best in the business to implement these.
  • As a creative design agency we know the value of branding and understand that all your communication and sales material must have a consistent look and feel. This is why we are adept at looking at your brand from a holistic point of view and carry the established creative across all comms. We never try to dilute or water down your brand but look at alternative ways to implement and include this in your material, especially your website.
  • We like to think that we are affordable, fast and super responsive with our turn around times.


Educational Web Design Sydney | University Website Designers


1. The website must appeal to its primary audience; students

If you are wanting to engage with this audience on their level then the website must have a young, contemporary style.

You want them to arrive on the home page and immediately be engaged with the content and visuals.  No matter the size of your institution, whether part of a large university or a small school or college, it’s worth the investment to get a website design that works for your target audience.

2. Strong, creative visual imagery

Your website should clearly reflect the nature and personality of your institution. Avoid overuse of stock imagery – relevant, real-life photos will make a massive difference to the user experience.

3) Clear navigation pathways

You need clear pathways that easily guide students and teachers around the site. Hot buttons on the home page are a great way to grab the users attention.

4) User-Friendly Content Management Systems

Your CMS should allow for university, college, TAFE staff to get into the back-end of the website and make as many changes as they like IN REAL TIME. Ideally, an open-source CMS platform like WordPress should be used as this means that you are not locked into using one web company – it allows flexibility, which is very important in today’s digital environment.

Also read: CMS Solutions for Charities, Non – Profits and NGOs

5) Mobile Phone Friendly Websites

Your new website should be RESPONSIVE, allowing it to be viewed easily on all handheld devices. Students on the go will expect this from your institution, so make sure you get your web designer to implement this function.

6) Can Your University Website Be Found On Google?

Students looking for information about courses, enrolments will need to find your website easily and this is why it is imperative that an SEO or search engine strategy is mapped out and planned for the beginning of your web project. Nowadays in the COVID environment where international students are not coming from overseas, it’s vital that you can attract local Aussie students and talent to your uni or TAFE.

7) Web Content That Works

It is worth the exercise to get a professional copywriter to look at your website content. Writing for the web is totally different to anything else and this is why a web content expert can make a huge difference to the success of your website and online profile.

8) Social Media Marketing

This cannot be ignored! Universities and all educational institutions MUST embrace at least the basic social media platforms including; Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Popular universities, colleges and TAFE’s can easily get a massive following, so it’s wise from a marketing perspective to utilise and benefit from this.

Increase enrollment and student engagement

Dynamic Websites

Most University and School web pages have their very own style and personality. Our in-house technology has been developed to be flexible enough to create real value for all of our clients, even those with very detailed and specific briefs. Our website developers are constantly improving and updating our web technologies to ensure it remains browser compatible, PLUS other add-ons which mean your site will never be left behind.


Customised web design and development can be expensive. As a Sydney based web design company with years of experience, we are able to strategise and deploy your website quicker and much more cost-effectively than most other design studios. Hopping Mad you will outline a detailed proposal and fixed quotation which will be delivered to you on budget and on time.

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is crucial to increase universities online presence. Our WordPress platform is built upon a CMS designed to provide the on-page components that adhere to Google’s guidelines for best practices.

Tips for Website Design Speed

One of the best ways to help your website climb the rankings ladder is to have your web design team design and build a website that loads images and text with speed. Slow download times are a thing of the past and if your site does not appear on screen almost instantly, the effect on rankings as well as customer retention will be detrimental to the success of your online marketing. Internet users want to be able to arrive at a site and interact with it immediately. If this does not happen, they will simple exit your site and look elsewhere.

The use of images through out your Website

A visual website is just not complete without the use of images. If the site is commercially based the effect of images are to grab users attention, make a point or statement or highlight a product or service. Most well designed websites will have a number of images on the site, especially the home page. In fact, most web designers will have images rotating on the home page to really make a statement and to create a dynamic environment for the user. What is important is that these images must load quickly and efficiently, if they are going to succeed at doing their job. It is all well and good to have four or five images rotating, but if they are unable to be viewed within a couple of seconds ( and I would say two to three at the most), then they are actually having a negative effect on your site. People are jus not going to hang around and wait for them to download. Everyone has high speed internet connections and they expect lightning fast downloads to accompany this. People pay a premium price for this service and if your website does not deliver, then users will exit the site in less than five seconds.
A good point to note as well is that images only need to be 72dpi when used online. If they are provided to you as 300dpi, make sure that your web design company reduces the resolution before uploading them to the website.

Website hosting can have an effect on site speed

If you have your site hosted in another country, this may have an effect on website speed. For optimal web site speed it is best to have your site hosted in Australia on local servers. If your site is hosted for example in The United States where hosting is somewhat cheaper than in Australia, you may be saving a few dollars each month, but you need to take into account about the number of potential customers you may be loosing by them exiting your site. All you need is one major client to bounce off your home page and you could loose a huge contract. Your web designer should be able to organise suitable domestic hosting for you and should be able to provide this information to you upfront prior to commencing the design project. A website that is aimed at Australian clients should have all hosting and servers located in Australia. This is a mandatory rule and should never be compromised due to cost.

Animated gifs throughout your website

If you have a website that has been designed with many animated windows throughout the site, especially on the home page, this will have an effect of the speed of the site. A good idea is to try to limit the number of these animated gifs in order to speed up your websites download times. Aesthetically, this may also have the effect of reducing the user’s online experience which would also result in them exiting your site. A good rule of thumb when it comes to site speed is to keep moving images and text to a minimum and if you really need to have animated gifs dotted throughout your site, then spread them out evenly so that they are all not on the home page.

Google looks at site speed as a factor in determining rankings

If you want your site to rank organically in the searched then site speed is a critical factor. Google want to throw up websites that not only offer the most relevant information but also sites that offer the customer a great user experience. If your site is rich in great content and is totally relevant in terms of information relating to the topic, it might not rank as well as it should be if it doesn’t load quickly. You might have spent a fortune on developing the best website copy that the search engines will love, but if your website speed is not performing as well as it could be, then you are not going to get to the very top. Its as simple as that. The combination of great well worded copy with fast, slick graphics will give your website the best opportunity of search engine ranking success. Try timing your website and if it opens within two seconds thats great but if it doesn’t, you really need to speak with your design team.

Full Colour Backgrounds Will Slow Your Site Down

Some websites will have complete coloured backgrounds throughout their sites. Whilst this may be visually strong, it is terrible for site speed. Its great to use some splashes of your corporate colours throughout your website to enforce brand recognition, but having full coloured back drops on your home page will slow your site down and repel clients in their droves. If you really want a full background colour ( and I have seen this in the case of some design/architectural sites), then try this on an internal page, and never the home page.

Hopping Mad Designs has been at the forefront of website design and web development for over sixteen years in our Sydney studio. If you are thinking about having a new web site for your business of company, why not pop in for a chat or simply call us on 02 9360 8514.

How Much Should a Web Design Cost?

So, how much should and how much does a website design cost?

This is an important question and I do get this asked all the time by potential clients who come to meet with me in our design studio and the answer I give to them is the same each and every time. What type of web design are you after and what do you want your website design to achieve?

In real terms, if you are a business owner and want a functional and effective online presence you really do not have to spend huge sums on money to get a great looking web site design that is also search engine friendly.

Working with a web design studio like Hopping Mad Designs means that you are getting real value for your marketing dollar when you embark on the journey of choosing your next web designer in Sydney. Sure, there are heaps of designers out there offering websites for next to nothing, but going down this path can and will only lead to major issues further down the track.

Over the years in business I cannot begin to tell you about the number of calls/emails I get from small businesses through to larger companies who have gone to a cheap web designer only to be left out of pocket, without a working website.

Think of this in terms of buying a car. If you want a basic run around car, that will get you from A to B with a minimum of fuss, but without all the added extra’s such as leather seats and air conditioning, you are going to be paying a base price. However, if you are looking at making a statement and want a little bit more of that ‘ wow factor’ you are going to have to pay a bit more for say a European brand or a top model in the Japanese series. These will be fitted out with all the extra trimmings, bells and whistles and will get second looks for other motorists and people in the street.

This is exactly the same for web design. You can pay as little as you like ( this comes with a huge warning which I will talk about later on) or you can pay that bit extra and get a web page design that users online will notice. For a business looking to get an online presence the choices are limitless. There are an enormous amount of web package design studios offering sites for little over $100. Most of these sites will be a template style website and your business website will end up looking like every other site online. But, if you want to compete for the attention of internet users ( who are all becoming that much more web savvy) you have to go for the more expensive option, and use the services of a a professional web design studio that is able to design and deliver a better than average website.

Another perspective is you get what you pay for. I have again heard this numerous times with potential clients. They will do the ring around and speak to the same web companies that are on the first page of Google, like us, and say that they are able to get a website designed for $450.

And I always have the same response; you get what you pay for.

If you are comfortable with a very basic online website and are happy to have a site that looks exactly the same as most other template websites on the market, then that is ok. You should possibly explore and go with that option.

But, if you are wanting to get noticed and have people look at your website then this is clearly not the best option for your business. I am literally amazed with the number of phone calls I get on a weekly basis from business people who have gone down the cheap n cheerful path only to end up with big problems.

Following are a few issues you many encounter when going with the cheaper web design.

These web companies will quote low just to get you into the front door, virtually buying your business, but you will be slugged for each and every design change you make that is not included in the original quote.

And believe me, this will be charged at an hourly rate and there will be no room for negotiation. The reason why you will want so many design amends and changes is because of the poor quality design that was given to you in the first place. This is due in part to lack of design experience and the in ability to get a proper brief from you in the first place.

Having a cheap website means that you are going to look like the guy next door. You may even have a site thats got a similar look and feel to your competitor. This is just not on as being unique and having a point of difference is important when it comes to marketing your business online.

There is the temptation, I know, to save money if you are setting up a business and are looking to trim start up costs, but penny pinching on your web design and development is a bad mistake.

Perhaps look at cutting costs elsewhere and invest a bit more into your digital strategy.

Most of the work is off shored to a third world country where labour and wage rates are so much cheaper. There are just so many issues and problems associated with this that I would occupy this whole blog talking about it. But let me put this in plain terms, every one I speak to about this, has had a very bad experience. I cannot recall in my  years here as director of Hopping Mad Designs one good or positive comment about their dealings with these cheaper web development options.

Each individual story has its own nasty ending and each person swears blindly that they will never do this again. The problem here is that there are so many new businesses starting up, who are totally naive about the pitfalls ahead of them that they go blindly into this, believing that they are just getting a good deal.

The purpose of this blog article is to hopefully educate those people reading this so they wont make the same bad judgement call. All it takes is one phone call or email to a design studio like Hopping Mad Designs and this can be avoided.

Their level of customer service is poor. Remember what I said above; you get what you pay for. Well, this is what will happen. Phone calls will not get returned, deadlines will be missed, artwork will be wrong, design will be totally off brief ( if there has been any design), the list goes on and on. Paying next to nothing means exactly that. Nothing. at the end of the day –  you will be lucky to get anything and lucky if you get a functioning website.

I am not just writing this because of the competitive nature of the web industry. We don’t want to compete at this level and we certainly cant. I am here writing this, to help those poor individuals ( out there trying to make a decent living), understand about the options available to them.

They might think that they are smart and prudent business people because they have struck up a cheap deal, but hopefully they are reading this and hopefully will heed this advice. So do not expect phone calls or emails to be replied to promptly and never expect that your website will look anything special. these are the cold plain truths and you should really ask yourself this question; is it worth all the angst and aggravation?

If you want to compete online, you need a website design studio that will be able to rank your site. website ranking on Google is the combination of both on page ( what they see on the actual site) and off page ( what you dont see). Getting your ‘on page’ programming absolutely search engine compliant will ensure your website has the best chance of ranking. If you are getting a website that has been churned out in a production like manner then the chances of your ‘ on page’ SEO frame work being completed correctly are very minimal. What this means for you and your business is that your website will not get as much traffic as it could possibly be getting and you will be missing out on those important new business phone calls. Basically, you have started off on the wrong foot and this will have consequences for your business later on. In most cases all the so called work that has been completed will have to be re-done again, this time, properly.

What are the advantages of paying just that bit more for your website design?

The advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages. Here are just a few:

This is your business and if your website is your shopfront to the world then you need something that’s not only going to be attention grabbing but a site that is going to be a reflection of your business and its culture and style. Only a web design studio thats trained in the art of website development will be able to facilitate this properly.

By taking a proper brief from the outset, and implementing design accordingly, your website should last you years and act as a very powerful marketing and sales tool.

Nothing comes close to having a great looking website ranking well on Google and for this privilege you have to pay accordingly. This just does not magically happen. A lot of time, effort and years of knowledge are combined to make this happen.

You get superior customer service. Calls are returned promptly and emails are answered. No one goes missing in action and your web designers are held accountable for the entire project. You get to meet with them face to face and things are not entirely done in the virtual world. Basically, if you are prepared to pay the price then you will get a premium design combined with great customer service. It will make a huge difference.

You will have a better chance of your web site ranking if the whole process is handled by web developers who know how to program CORRECTLY. Give it to a bunch of amateurs and you will not rank, let search engine optimisation experts work on your site and your website will work much better for you now, and in the future.

Paying the right amount now and getting your site designed and coded correctly will see your web traffic increase with sales leads as well.