Choosing a web designer

How to choose a web designer in Sarasota Bradenton?

Step One: Be prepared!

As a web design customer, not having a basic list of needs and desires can be a cause of frustration in the web design process. Prepare a basic outline of what you want from your website. This outline will help you communicate your ideas to potential web designers. Letting a web designer do this preparation for you can be like a toss of a coin. If the coin comes up heads, your response to the web designer may be, “Wow that’s exactly what I want”. If the coin comes up tails, your response may be, “Are you serious!, Your fired!”

The first step in preparing this outline is to search the Internet for websites that are similar to what you envision for your website. Write down the address of each website that has visuals, features or functionality that you would like to see in your website. Create a list of all the web pages that you may need, and order them in hierarchies or categories. Make a list of functionality that you want your website to perform, e.g., contact email form, search box, homepage slideshow, YouTube video playlist, newsletter signup, photo gallery, calendar, shopping cart, etc. Determine if you will need email and if so, how many users?

Step Two: Price

web designer pile-of-cashDecide on how much you can budget for the web design production. Most web designers require a percentage of the total payment at the time of contract. To stay within budget, determine which items from step one are not absolute requirements. The cost quote you receive from the web designer will be a hint to their competency and quality. Very low and very high prices should be approached with caution. Medium web design quotes will most often provide the best value.

Step Three: Get quotes from local web designers

Phone or email web designers in your local area. Ask them the questions such as:

  • Web designer sarasota continental-usa imageDo they sub-contract their work outside of the US?
  • Do they use budget quality website hosting, such as Godaddy, etc.?
  • Do they develop with WordPress?
  • Do they develop with PHP / MySQL?
  • Are their websites HTML5 compliant?
  • Are their websites Mobile compatible?
  • Do they have previous client references?
  • Do they have a portfolio of previous work?
  • Do they provide a written contract with scope of work.

If you like the web designer’s responses to your questions, give the web designer the information you documented from step one. You may have heard horror stories about offshore sub-contract web designers. The best rule of thumb: all web design vendors must reside within the continental US.

Low cost website hosting can also present problems in regards to website quality and performance. Godaddy hosting, for example, has admitted to having incompatibilities with the Internet’s primary website software language, PHP. Companies that specialize in high performance website hosting, such as RackSpace or Nexcess, provide service that will noticeably outperform low cost hosting companies such as Godaddy.

Step Four: Research your potential web designers

Review the web designer’s portfolio, inspect their their contract and contact their references. Note any questions or concerns you may have so you can present them to the web designer during your next conference.

Fifth Step: Follow up and contract your web designer

  • Schedule a follow up meeting or conversation.
  • Have an in person meeting, if possible.
  • Submit any desired changes to the contracted web design and/or apps.
  • Submit any desire adjustments to the scope of work and contract, if desired.
  • Select your web designer, sign their contract and deliver it with the downpayment.

Warning Signs and Red Flags!

Not all web designers are created equally.

Web design competency can vary drastically from one web designer to another. In Sarasota Bradenton, web designers range from an award winning 15 year professional, … a part-time mom who publishes web pages with Microsoft Word. You, as a web design customer, don’t know the difference. You only see that Mom’s Web Design costs a fraction of the price of the Professional’s Web Design.

Pricing is the first clue.
Shop around and do your research. A competent freelance web designer has an average hourly rate of $50 to $100. A larger website company typically has an hourly rate of $125 – $175. A recent graduate typically has an hourly rate of $25 -$40. An amateur web designer will have an hourly rate of less than $25.

Amateur Web Designers
If you don’t need a professional website, nor have a need for mobile compatibility or dynamic functionally, then you can drastically reduce your costs by choosing an amateur web designer.

Recent Graduate Web Designers
If you need a semi-professional website, but your budget won’t allow it, then a recent college graduate may be an alternate choice. The web design industry changes super fast, on an annual basis. Colleges cannot keep up with this constant change in their curriculum. Therefore, a recent graduate’s web design knowledge will often be obsolete. However, a recent graduate will make up for it in enthusiasm, creativity and low cost.

Professional Web Designers
If a professional, mobile compatible website is a must, then a freelance web designer or web design company will be the best choice. They will be more expensive, but you’ll receive a quality product with valuable functionality via apps and/or custom programming.

Web Design Companies
If you need ongoing website support and maintenance, a web design company will have more staff to efficiently support these needs. Web design companies also typically have more resources than freelance web designers, which results in more piece of mind for you, the customer.

In Conclusion

You may have heard horror stories about egregious failures by incompetent web designers. Following the steps and recommendations in this article will help you avoid such experiences. Planning is the key to success with any project. Web design is no different. If you invest a little time into documentation and research, you will reap the benefits of receiving a valuable website with minimal incident.

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Rooks Wins 2013 Telly Award

Telly Awards to Rooks Advertising imageFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: David Rooks


Sarasota, FL – 7/1/13 – The Telly Awards has named Rooks Advertising as a 2013 winner in the 34th Annual Telly Awards for their piece titled Jump Hit Party.   The Telly Awards honor the very best film & video productions, groundbreaking online video content, and outstanding local, regional, & cable TV commercials and programs. Jump Hit Party was selected as a Telly Award Winner out of nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents.

Rooks Advertising was recognized for the 30-second commercial created for The Zone Complex, a kid-friendly destination featuring a combination of batting cages, trampoline arena, and party center located in Bradenton, FL. In the commercial, colorful and arresting slow-motion footage of kids flying through the air on trampolines and making spectacular hits in the batting cages are accompanied by upbeat music. Nothing clutters the message as the viewer is left with the web address:

The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online commercials, video and films.  Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.

For its 34th season, The Telly Awards once again joined forces with YouTube to give the public the power to view and rate videos submitted as part of the People’s Telly Awards.  In addition to recognition from the Silver Telly Council, the judging panel that selects the Telly Awards winners, the Internet community helps decide the People’s Telly Awards winners.

A prestigious judging panel of over 500 accomplished industry professionals, each a past winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council, judged the competition, upholding the historical standard of excellence that Telly represents.

“The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best in film and video,” said Linda Day, Executive Director of the Telly Awards.  Rooks Advertising’s accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill, and dedication to their craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production.”

“We’re thrilled to receive recognition from the The Telly Awards for the fourth year in a row!” said company President David Rooks. “This is a great client, offering a really fun destination, so we decided the best strategy was to just showcase the product and the effect it has on kids. We were all really happy with the result, and thrilled that The Telly Awards agree.”

To find out more about the Telly Awards visit the website at

About Rooks Advertising:

Rooks Advertising is a full service, integrated advertising and web agency, based in sunny Sarasota, Florida. Rooks Advertising provides solutions to suit all types of businesses. Rooks Advertising specializes in Video production, Audio Voiceovers and soundtracks, Modern Website development and SEO, Graphic Design for Print and Large Format, Direct Mail Marketing, Internet Marketing, and more. Rooks advertising is equipped to provide the highest quality service for local and national businesses.

With 22 years experience in the highly competitive arena of retail, President David Rooks has run companies with annual sales in excess of one hundred million. Just like his namesake chess piece, he is a major player and has learned to make calculated, accountable moves. Rooks Advertising delivers winning results for its clients.

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Sapore Della Vita

Sapore Della Vita


As a new business, Sapore della Vita, imports fine Italian Olive oils and sells them online. Rooks Advertising developed their complete branding identity and e-commerce website.
The Challenge:


Sapore della Vita sell a variety of oils available in different flavors and sizes. The Rooks Adverting web department was charged with the task of creating a beautiful, and secure shopping experience.
Our Solution:


Working closely with our in-house design team,  we created a full e-commerce website for the client. The site uses a Content Management System (CMS) which allows the staff of Sapore dell Vita to make day-to-day edits to their website as well as add and edit products in their inventory.

The shopping cart is fully integrated with real-time shipping quotes and has the ability to accept credit cards through PayPal integration. Using PayPal allowed this young business to keep recurring costs down which is extremely important for a start up.

The site is fully secure and allows Sapore della Vita to track order, inventory, and manage customer contacts.



“The Rooks Advertising team was a joy to work with. They created a website for us that was really functional as well as beautiful.”
- Kristine Insalaco
The Result:


A beautiful site that is easy to use and easy to customize. The product list can be added to whenever new products become available with little effort. The recipes page is broken down into courses and new recipes can be added when needed with ease.


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Sarasota Film Society

Sarasota Film Society


The CineWorld Film Festival is an annual event held by Sarasota Film Society. This 501(c)3 organization promotes education and the art of cinema. Their annual celebration of film has grown each year and required a more efficient means of selling tickets.
The Challenge:


The issue with this particular project is that the SFS had an existing and proprietary website that did not allow for easy expansion. In addition, ticket transactions for over 20 films at two separate locations, showing over 7 days at various times, needed to not only be available for sale online but also integrate seamlessly with their Point of Sales System.

Tickets were also required to be available for sale at two different pricing fees – one price for society members and another price for non-members.

Our Solution:


Rooks Advertising  decided that the best solution for the Sarasota Film Society was to create an open source sales system written in PHP. The benefit of moving away from Cold Fusion was two fold – First, it cut down on hosting costs and second, it allows for a system that can be more easily worked with for future development.

The Result:


After implementing this new online ordering system, the client saw record online sales.


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The Groves Golf Course

The Groves Golf Course


A public golf course located in Sarasota FL, The Groves is a world-class beautifully designed course. The course has been open for several years but never had a web site.
The Challenge:


Although The Groves Course is well known in the Sarasota area, it was in need of a website to let the tourists that vacation to Sarasota of its charm and beauty.
Our Solution:


Rooks Advertising developed a site-map and web design from scratch. We integrated Call Tracking number and Pay-Per-Click marketing campaigns so that we can measure the overall success of the website.

Custom FLASH slideshows were developed to show the beauty and details of each of the 18 holes. Rooks Advertising continues to maintain and develop this website. Our web department works directly with our AD department to ensure that all material and promotional items on the website are up to date and accurate.

Having a “one stop shop” approach to our clients allows Rooks Advertising the ability to make sure that our clients reap the full benefit of comprehensive marketing strategy.

We regularly measure the analytics and Google AdWords data to ensure that the work we are doing is yielding real results! Contact us today to see how we can put this comprehensive approach to work for you.



“We are very please with the website that Rooks Advertising has created for The Groves Golf Course.  It is both aesthetically appealing and easy to navigate.  We were surprised at how fast our site ranked on the first page.  This combined with their management of pay per click has resulted in an astounding increase in course bookings.  We have actually broke several course booking records within months of the site’s launch.  I have and would continue to recommend Rooks Advertising.”
- Doug Domino – General Manager
The Result:


The Groves Golf Course went from no web site, to one that ranks very high in search engines. It is a very easy site to navigate and very informative, giving the reader all the information they need to make a decision on playing the course.


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Sarasota Marketing Company

You need to know what your competition is doing, what the consumer is looking for, and what is the most lucrative way to sell yourself. At Rooks Advertising we offer a highly intelligent, customized approach to marketing and communication efforts. Whether you are looking to market your product or service to Sarasota, FL or the whole world, Rooks Advertising is the Marketing Company for you.

Our research delivers messages to drive effective branding and positioning, with the goal of creating breakthrough advertising and communications. Let Rooks Advertising deal with all of that research for you. Sarasota’s number one Marketing Company.

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Sarasota Multimedia

At Rooks Advertising we can combine Flash with streaming video to develop interactive “movies” that compel viewers to learn more about your company, your products, and your services. These movies can be sent as interactive e-mail, distributed on CDs or embedded in traditional web sites. Don’t tell them…show them!

Rooks Advertising knows that just like ice cream, web elements should come in more than one flavor! That’s where multimedia comes in. Using a variety of media – video, audio, photos, text, and animation will tell your story in the most compelling and informative way. We produce innovative designs and web development solutions for all types of businesses. Our creativity and technical expertise ensures high quality end results for our clients. Rooks Advertising: Providing Multimedia to Sarasota, FL.

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Direct Mail

Personal letters – “From The Desk Of” are an effective way to get your point across, whether you sell automobiles, air conditioning units or 18 holes of golf. When you send out a letter to target customers, you want to be more personal.

Offer them a deal for being a loyal customer or just let them know about an upcoming holiday special. Do it right and your customers will respond. Call Rooks Ads today and ask about our Direct Mail Campaign offers. Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa or anywhere! Lets us help you pick the Direct Mail solution that is perfect for your company and clients. 941.747.2021

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Tampa Ad Agency

Rooks Advertising personnel provide decades of experience in advertising and web design.

An advertising agency should bring solutions, not problems! A well thought-out strategy is key. So is expert execution. The two together will checkmate the competition every time. Rooks Advertising delivers winning results for its clients in Tampa Florida. If you’re ready to advance your game, so are we, it’s time to… Make your move! Call Today: 941.747.2021

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Bradenton Ad Agency

What do we do? We do it all!

Rooks Advertising is a full-service ad agency in Bradenton FL and much more. Looking to create or revamp your company’s image? We do that! Looking for print, radio, television or direct mail. We do that! How ’bout an agency with full web development, SEO and PPC capabilities. Yup, we do that too! If it’s advertising or marketing…It’s Rooks Advertising!

We’ll take care of advertising and marketing your company so you can devote your time to running your business. Call Today: 941.747.2021

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