Welcome. Here you will find us posting various stuff related to Iman Studios and the Web Design community alike; stuff such as, articles, tutorials, experimental projects, new designs and case studies.
Baba Ali, the top Muslim video blogger, boldly jumped into the Muslim Matchmaking market by launching www.HalfOurDeen.com. A market controlled by giants such as, Shaadi.com, SingleMuslim.com and Muslima.com, could be a tough industry to crack. But he was sick of sites that treated people like used cars only sharing data, and more data. He built a matchmaking site that is now known as the "Match.com of the Muslim world". A real matchmaking site based on 56 levels of compatibility that actually looks at the inner you, your character, your religion, your personality and your social life. Lets back track here a bit to its birth, when HOD was just an idea. Baba Ali, not known for talking about what he wants to do, but just doing it, approaches Iman Studios to take on the project. Iman Studios, being familiar with Baba Ali's previous projects such as www.ummahfilms.com, www.muslimgames.com and www.askbabaali.com, accepts the challenge and starts brainstorming.
We were asked to completely rethink how the traditional Muslim Marriage site looked and functioned. A blind approach that took us out the box and into a project that changed the game completely for us. He demanded something far from the norm, that hadn't been done in this elusive niche market. A challenge we were up for the taking. Iman Studios quickly put a team together comprising of, fearless designers, .net developers, clean coders and a mathematician who studied Harmonic Calculus (umm what?) to tackle the algorithm.
The website boasts a proprietary custom algorithm that powers the match percentages calculated form the compatibility tests, a personal question module that allows users to add their own questions of what matters most to them, weekly matches sent to your in box and completely ad-free. A lot of these were firsts for us, but exploring the unknown is what has gotten us this far. We faced a lot of challenges but trusted the team to find a solution and make the site that much more powerful.
The delivery was very time sensitive due to the amount of marketing that went into the site prior to launch. We delivered and it and went into Beta testing 2 weeks prior to launch. With over 133 testers buzzing around the site and providing us feedback we corrected any last minor bugs and awaited a much anticipated opening ceremony. The launch was quite successful for a Pay only site. 250 users signed up within the first 48 hrs exceeding most of our goals.
Baba Ali was happy yet again, being a repeat (x3) customer. Our team learned a lot from this project, we did experiment with some pretty awesome technologies as well as some hard core coding by our developers. A Muslim Matchmaking Site - Half Our Deen Check it out. We would love to hear from you.
Blogging is a fast and simple way of posting content, images and video to your site. A web designer can get it designed and set up within a few days. Posting with engines like Wordpress is a breeze. Just type and publish :)
Its fairly cheap to get a blog designed and developed. Unlike a website, a blog takes less effort which means more savings for you. With a blog on your site, you have a very powerful marketing tool at your fingertips.
Having a website is great. You have your about us page your services brief and your contact page. Now what! Usually websites just sit there without ever being updated and the content rusts. By rusts I mean, search engines have nothing new to report about your website. Been there done that. A blog changes all that. With the power to Post at will, the blog can shake the cob webs off your website and give it LIFE! By blogging consistently you provide not only search engines but also readers with new content to explore and read.
Its good become friends with Google. One condition for its friendship is being optimized for search engines. A blog ranks you higher in search engines. Content is king and new content is even better. Using keywords that describe your website and its products or services will move you up in the rankings, slowly but surely. Blogs are search engine's best friends. Don't have a site without one.
Over time with consistent blogging, you will have developed a following of readers who will subscribe to your blog and get updates via email every time you post something new. This is a direct line of communication between you and your target audience. For example, we are a professional web design company and we write mostly about what is most important to our industry and market.
The more you blog, the more people hear about your website. Repetition is a great way of remembering something forever. This creates awareness of the product or service you offer. Its just like those annoying car wash coupons you get in the mail. We rarely use them, but you do remember that company that gives those car wash coupons every time. When you do need a car wash, who do you think you will go to? EXACTLY!
By speaking freely and posting honest and open content on your blog, it will create a very relaxed and informal environment where your readers will soon feel like they know you well. With your readers commenting on your blog and you replying back to your posts, creates that one on one bond with potential clients. This in turn creates trust in what you do. Blogging is a great way to network with readers all over the Web.
This is your Blog. You are the one that knows your website and its content the best. Nobody else. Become the authority on what you are advocating. Most of the readers that come to your blog are people in search of information and knowledge. Potential clients will be much more likely to engage with your products or services if they see you as the Expert in your field. Yes, you might not know everything, but you know more than your customer. Be confident and post as the leader of your industry.
By allowing customers to leave comments on your blogs, you get an insight on what their reactions, their problems and their needs are. You can also get a feel for what kind of topics the readers are more inclined to comment on and what they aren't interested in. This will give you some great leads on what to focus your efforts on when marketing and how to direct your website content.
Traffic, Inbound links and Indexed pages:
Simply put; visitors, Visitors and MORE VISITORS! The HubSpot recently did a statistical survey to compare companies that blogged regularly to ones that didn't blog at all. After looking at over 1,500 companies the results were staggering. Companies with a blog have:
55% more visitors
97% more inbound links from other websites
434% more indexed pages
Every client that comes to us with hopes to have a killer website that looks and functions better than their competitors, we almost immediately recommend them to have a Blog. We tell them the exact same thing we have told you. That was one of our main reasons of sending out this newsletter. We didn't want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to get ahead online in their industry. It doesn't take long for a blog to capture readers. Readers who are looking and thirsty for information and services from the right company. These could be your readers and potential clients. If you don't already have a blog let us know. We can build a blog that will fit in within the theme of your website. I hope to hear from you soon. :)
You the client are badly in need of a professional web design company or freelancer and just don’t know where to find the right one or which one to pick or even where to start. Well I am in the Los Angeles area and how many web designers do you think are in this area? More, even more than your last thought. Wait let me show you (Google maps above).
Yeah EXACTLY!Those red dots aren’t Starbucks locations, but are actual web design firms and freelancers located in the L.A area. Ridiculous! Well at least you have a lot of choices, too many choices.I can understand your pain and the level of stress to invest thousands of dollars on some firm which you have no idea about. But they do exist and hopefully all of them have a website for you to view their portfolio of work.
Well, here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking for a web design firm or freelancer.
1)Know what you want before-hand.
These days no matter what you buy, you are bound to jump online and find out more about the product.Research. Educate yourself on what you actually want. Just knowing you need a professional website with an image of a dog chasing its tail is not enough. Here are a few things to know before you go looking for a web designer.
a)What is your call to action? What is the #1 thing you want toachieve from having or redesigning your website? Is it sales, more members, more hits, downloads or getting the word out. This will help you decide if you need an informative, ecommerce, database, networking website or just a blog. What’s the difference? Thousands of Dollars!
b)How many pages or links do you need for all your content? Re-asses your current site and pick and choose your content and if extra pages are necessary. This will save you cost and important real-estate on the web page.
c)Do you need a content management system?A CMS will help you maintain your website all on your own. Most popular CMS’s like Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress are pretty straight forward, almost like using MS Word.Alternatively you can also hire a webmaster to do the updating for you.Cost:Webmaster > CMS.By a lot. Go for the CMS.
d)Know your Budget? $150 is not a budget for a professional website. I understand you are a student and live on your own and have student loans up the yin yang, and you walk 10miles to school and can afford to drink Starbucks everyday (comes out to about $150/mo) but still want an AWESOME website with all the bells and whistles and flash.. You are better off going with a template from Monster. Just remember, 1000 other people also have the same looking website as you and on the World Wide Web, you don’t want to look like the rest of the sheep. Your basic informative website from a medium priced design firm will range from $1500 - $3500.That’s about 8-10 links, a contact form and a decent custom design. Hopefully coded in table less format, better known as CSS/XHTML. Some even give you a blog and a content management system along with it.
e)Research your competitor’s websites. Obviously you want your website to shine in the industry you represent. But see what they are up to. Note down what you like about them and what you don’t like about them.Do this for about 3-4 sites. Here the look and feel really matters. Functionality is definitely important, but your customers and viewers will base their initial experience of what they SEE! So a designer who can pay attention to detail and has some pretty decent designs in their portfolio might suit you best.
2)Google the web for web design firms.
a)Google the web for, “Professional Web Design” or “Los Angeles (your city) Web Design”, in your area first. The reason I say this is because it’s always good to have someone local to go to.
b)The top results on Google are because they have marketed themselves really well. Not always are they the best choice for web design firms. That’s why it’s best to look directly at their portfolio of work to get an idea of what their capabilities are. They may or may not impress you.
3)Request a proposal. Contact the web design firm.
a)Go to their Contact Us page and fill out the form if they have one or email them with your requirements. Most proposal forms have certain questions that they as web designers need to ask to formulate a comprehensive quote. The more information they have the more accurate they can be in giving you a quote. So be as descriptive as you can.
b)Personally meet your designer. Local web designers can sometimes meet you at a coffee shop, come by your office or meet at their office to discuss your project in more detail. To some of you it matters a lot that you physically meet and greet your designer. If that’s what it takes then do just that. Remember it’s your money and your website; you do what you have to do to feel comfortable with hiring them.
c)Talk to your designer over the phone. Meeting personally is not always the most feasible option for a lot of clients. I know most of my clients I have never personally met, but I make myself available over the phone and email throughout the day. You can also get a feel for who your designer is by seeing how quickly they respond to your emails or return your calls. Whatever it takes to make you comfortable.
4)Check their Portfolio of work:
Most web design firm’s sites look amazing. But their portfolio could tell a different story. Check their work and look at their designs, and see if that’s the style you are looking for. Go through their site to get a feel for functionality. The more diverse their sites are the better chance they can cater to just about anything you need.
5)Read their client testimonials:
Client testimonials are a great way to see what the client thought about their work. Most likely you will only see positive remarks, but you feel more comfortable that others have also used their services and have been satisfied.
6)Talk to some friends or family that are familiar with the industry:
There is always some IT guy you know that may know a little about what to look for. They could possibly recommend someone to you as well. Word of mouth is a good way to get recommendations as its direct form the source and most likely legit. Don’t have your best friends, sister’s, BFF’s dad do it, because he knows how to use Photoshop. You get what you pay for and it’s true. Go with someone who does it for a living.
Web Design is a creative art and you have to be passionate about it to be really good. Creativity can’t be taught, it is something that comes from within and it’s the ability to see something that doesn’t really exist. The ability to create that and put it into something tangible can be a huge plus to the creative mind. Respect the art. After all at the end, it’s your site that is on the line with potential readers and clients. These days with our economy more and more people are closing shop and going online. The competition is getting heavier and the eternal struggle to be unique has web sites embracing new designs and technology. It pays to LOOK better here. HAPPY HUNTING!!!
Well Egg (http://www.wellegg.com), a consulting company on the east coast. Needed a new look to their existing older website. Something fresh and professional with a clean look and feel to it. We designed with a WEB 2 feel in mind and backed it up with a blog and a Content Management System.
The design is clean and simple. A very visible and easy to use navigation. A big large screenshot to show the application being supported by Well Egg (SAP). We used light pastel colors to give it a very smooth feel. We also redesigned their logo and gave it a more cleaner feel. The back end is CSS/XHTML strict 1.0 (table less design), php and a wordpress theme for the blog and the CMS.
Would love your feedback on it. I apologize for not updating this blog on a regular basis. I will try my best to do so now. Thanks for reading. For more of our work check out our professional website designs at, http://www.imanstudios.com.
Don't mistake our silence for having nothing interesting to talk about. What have we been up to? Well, what haven't we been up to?
Here is a quick summary of our upcoming projects:
Muslim Calendar:www.muslim-calendar.com (coming soon) Iman Studios was hired to redesign, organize, code and give ideas for a better use experience. Our professional web design team of designers, coders and consultants are working on a new and moder look to their otherwise aging interior content structures. In addition to that, we have also redesigned and reformatted their weekly subscribed to newsletter. Look for it in the coming weeks.
Dawa Corps: www.dawacorps.com (soft launched) Iman Studios, a Los Angeles-based firm specializing in professional website design and creative solutions, designed the new Dawah Corps website, catering to educating the youth about Islam. Unlike other non-profit organizations, DC wanted a very unique look that really appealed to a younger audience. Something urban and out the box. This unique design reflects the personality of their organization and their audience.
Ask Baba Ali: www.askbabaali.com (coming soon) Baba Ali of Ummah Films is at it again. His new show, Ask Baba Ali, is a unique new way of presenting answers to todays most asked questions by Muslim Youth. Using Video and his own comedic personality, Baba Ali will entertain and most importantly educate his audience and give his 2 cents. Funny, Witty and most of all Entertaining. The new look will boast a Word Press them designed around a web 2 layout. Look for it in the up coming weeks.
The New face of Iman Studios is up and running. I would love to hear you comments on the new site. A lot of new features as well as services. Still working some small bugs out but for the most part its good to go. We are fully staffed now and have some great developers who have joined are team. Bringing all the latest development tools to the table we intend on stepping up our game in design as well as functionality. The site is coded completely in CSS/XHTML and uses AJAX in certain sections of the site as well. We intend on making constant improvements to the site and keep it updated regularly. Check out our Our Works section for all our latest work in Web Design, Logo Design and Motion Graphics. Your critique is appreciated as well. Thank you for all your continued support as well as business. We hope you keep us in mind for your next project. From our family to yours, we are appreciative.
The web is filled with incredible works of art. Beautiful graphics, stunning photography, awesome motion, slick animation and sometimes all that put together, to create that one website that leaves everyone breathless. These days web designers are a dime a dozen. Any sane person that can follow a couple of tutorials and invest in some software can create their own website. But as a web designer myself, the difference is very visible between those who’s pores leak of creative juices and those who design cause they got nothing better to do. In no way am I degrading those who lack that creative edge, but actually applauding those who do. For many, web design started of as a hobby or branched off other creative arts like making music or painting or even creative thinking. It’s awesome that someone can express his or her creative originality through a productive outlet such as Web Design.
But like all things, even creativity sometimes runs out and we find ourselves looking at an empty white photoshop document trying to get inspired. Frustration builds up, and that’s when we quit designing and open up our favorite first-person shooter and let it loose baby. When does it go from something you love to do, to a chore? I have felt that mental block many times and it’s hard to meet deadlines with a quality product when you have no ideas. But don’t give up, you are a creative enthusiast so find some creative solutions to get you motivated to work design again. Here are a few things that have worked well for me.
Go to award sites like, coolhomepages.com, cwd.dk or Internet tiny awards. You can view other people’s work and gain some ideas. Either the site of the day or the popular site section can provide some needed insight on things.
Go look at your own portfolio, what better way than to admire your own work and be proud of yourself. You are a designer, remember that. It’s those creative people that achieve quick success.
Listen to ambient music. No, not elevator music. But electronica, ambient, ambient trance, chillout, soundscapes, atmospheric or even some deep non-vocal trance. Music helps you get into moods and sometimes you can feel your heart beat a little faster as you get motivated and the hair on your arms stands up thinking about design. Even if you only listen to rap or rock, try this out, it’s definitely relaxing and mentally stimulating. You can go to Shoutcast Radio or the Radio Station Guide to find some pretty cool radio stations.
Exercise. Get out there, work up a quick sweat and get your heart pumping. This has worked for me many times.
Take a shower. When I am in the shower, a hundred ideas go through my head. You are alone and only hear the sound of water. I have had some million-dollar ideas in there, all too soon to forget as soon as I step out. But think about a potential design and draw it out in your head.
Become a member of some design forums. There are so many out there take your pick; Site-point, Kirupa, Flash-Kit etc… Most of them have an inspiration or a cool site section, which list web sites that people think deserve recognition and therefore motivational. Also go to the site critique section to find some cool ideas and give your thoughts.
Finally, do it because there is a future in it. Imagine yourself being successful with every site you design. Then take steps towards it and make it happen.
The only way to really make it here is to have your own business. You already have that creative skill set that many others lack. Take that and run with it. Don’t compare yourself to other designers, there is work for everyone. Get your portfolio site up if you haven’t done so already. It doesn’t have to be super-duper or better than that other designer’s sites, because your clients don’t know the difference. There is a market for everyone, remember that. With over a billion sites on the net, and more sites going live everyday you can definitely get clients.