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Great sites are like great movies. They break rules. They knock your emotional socks off. But great web design takes great skill.

If you believe Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to be a Jedi master of anything. And as your site isn’t the only show in town, you have to put bums on seats first.

Which is where the artful science part comes in.

An Artful Science is all about blending art and science;

Designing websites bursting with authoritative and engaging content all cunningly underpinned by SEO optimised code, competitive data analysis and geek-chic web analytics.

We put bums on seats then ensure the show is so good they stay to the end, whether that happy ending is in the shape of a customer, a lead, or just a big #roundofapplause.

Which is where your 10,000 hours comes in.

An Artful Science is owned and run by Stephen Shaw, BA (hons). With over fifteen years on the clock, I've worked in ambitious new start-ups and been the Creative Director of established web design agencies.

I’ve seen it; done it; designed the tee-shirt.

Which means when I’m on your clock, I already know where you’re coming from.

But before we continue further …

Let’s say you could travel five years into the future and ask a bunch of your customers to tell you what went wrong with your new website redesign.

What would they say?

Lazy web typography.

Mobile averse design.

A uniquely counter-intuitive user experience.

In other words, what you rushed out is … a #Frankensite.


[frang-kuh n-sahyt]

  1. A website whose design is a neck-bolted marvel of inconsistent typography, clichéd imagery, and a ‘style’ that can only be described as lame
  2. A website whose content is so badly written it’s only coherent message is a plea to be put out of its misery
  3. A website that gives Google the #rankenfright and that the Linkerati only – and reluctantly – link to as an example of something gone horribly wrong
  4. A website so hideously unresponsive no amount of tablets could bring it back to life
  5. A website you can’t let go because you have put your heart and soul into it and consider it ‘your baby’

Sure, you have to ship.

‘It’s alive! Alive!’

And you have to push something out there.

Often, you can muddle your way through and adapt to meet changing trends like mobile responsive design and influencer marketing.

And very often you can roll out the crash-cart to adapt on the fly.

But here’s my advice to avoid giving birth to a monster:

  1. Hire a website designer, not a butcher — Someone who has designed sites that people actually love using, link to and evangelize (positively) about.
  2. Find a professional web developer who does the math — A web developer who grasps the power of dynamic content to inspire ideas, elicit emotions and provoke a measurable call-to-action that can further refine the design.
  3. Make sure your web design agency doesn’t work in a dark basement — Ensure they are happy to develop user personas, understand visitor journeys and uncover what content customers like from competitor sites — a great way to discover content gaps and design prototypes with no unexpected usability issues.
  4. Be clear about what you need when — UX design or UI design, Wordpress development, Website speed enhancements, Google CTR optimisation, Sales funnels, Promotion and Retargeting.
  5. Set your designer a monster marketing strategy — Monster the competition. Monster a niche. But monster responsibly on every device: laptop, tablet, mobile.

And lastly, ensure whatever you rollout is Frankensite proof.

Learn how to avoid re-creating a Monster …

Discovering lightbulbs Continue to page two …
Building a bulletproof website strategy isn’t easy, but building a super successful website with one is.Stephen Shaw · Share on Twitter

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Most of my clients have megalomaniacal ambitions to rule the world and stick with me long enough to drag me along to their Christmas parties, but if you’re looking for a one off gig, that’s works too. If you haven’t made up your mind yet either way, feel free to nose around my portfolio or check out my most recent marketing experiment. Get the low down on my latest guides about web typography, effective backlink building, the A.I.D.A model or pricing strategies. Or shoot right on over to the contact page. Like you, I check email even when I’m having my brekkie.

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