I've never had a web site. How do I begin?

 

The first step is get a clear idea about what you'd like to do.

If you've never had a site, it's a good idea to look around the web collecting links of the things you like about different sites. For example, you may like the colors on a particular site, the navigation of another, and the overall feel of another. It's equally helpful to get a clear idea of what you don't like. Elements on a web page are separate, so it is possible that you like and dislike things on the same page. The important part is gaining clarity for your own project.

After getting a basic understanding of what you like and don't like style wise, take a look at sites in your same field of business. Notice what information they're displaying. This will assist you in coming up with ideas for your site's navigation.

The more homework you do in advanced, the faster the website can be built.


I already have a website, but it needs some work. Can you help?

 

Yes, I can help. If you already have a website, decide which elements you'd like to keep and which you'd like to change. Perhaps the content is fine, but the look doesn't accurately represent your business. Maybe the look is fine, but the content needs updating or new sections added. No problem.

If you'd just prefer to start from scratch, please read 'How do I begin" above.

Will my new website bring my business more customers?

 

Yes it can, but not until steps are taken to make sure people can find your site in the search engines. The web does not abide by 'if you build it, they will come'.

This is one of the services I can provide, or you can do it yourself. Here are the basics:

Google and the other search engines need to know that you exist. Search engines are not psychic! You don't exist until you tell them you exist by either submitting your site directly to the search engine or making sure you have links on other sites that springboard the search spiders over to your site.

Submitting your site on a directory site, like yellowpages.com is an easy way to start the ball rolling, but don't stop there...the more places you add a link to your site, the more important you start looking to the search engines.

Why do you need to look important to a search engine? Because if you don't, you'll be so far down in the search results that people still won't find you. The web lingo is 'SEO' which stands for search engine optimization. If you're building your site specifically to get web traffic, it is imperative that the site be optimized to contain terms people would use when entering a search Google.

There are many tricks other than just getting a bunch of links to your site in order to "look important" and get a high placement in the search results, but here's one of the biggies: Say someone goes to Google in search of purchasing little yellow bunnies, so they enter "little yellow bunnies" and click search. Your website sells lots of little yellow bunnies, but your site doesn't come up at all. Why not? Because the text on your site says "pastel rabbits", not "little yellow bunnies". Again, Google is not psychic and it can't look at photos and know there's a lot of yellow bunny pictures. A simplistic example, but enough to get the idea that you need to think about which terms people will enter in Google right from beginning when you are writing the text for your site.

What do I need to show you so you know what I want?

 

There is a huge range for this one. I have created sites from a little doodle on scratch paper and from Photoshop mock-ups by graphic artists who want me to program an exact match of their design and everything in-between.

I have also created lots of sites where clients gave me no drawing at all, just emailed a couple links of other sites they liked and said 'something kind of like this'.

Some clients like to actively participate in the creative process and ask for various samples to be created so they can see what things look like online. I can work any way that feels best for you.

Speaking on the phone or in person is also very helpful in conveying what you're looking for with your site.

How much does it cost to do a website?

 

The size of the site, amount of graphics, and programming requirements will dictate the hours required to build a site.

Websites can range anywhere from a simple web page with contact information to a giant information or retail site with lots of various programming involved. There is also the variable of what you'd like the page to do. If you'd like your site to have motion (animations, slideshows, videos), be more interactive or make use of a database, these things will take more time to create.

Another consideration for cost is the design phase. If you've created your own design or already have a great logo and a sketch of how you want your page to look, the design phase is shortened and we go right to constructing the site. Most people don't have this, so their cost savings comes in getting clear about what they want before the job is started. This includes both the look of the site and how you'd like the site to function.

To generalize, simple little sites that don't have a lot of bells and whistles can average around $500, mid-range sites $2,000 - $3,000. Larger sites that require a lot of programming cost significantly more.

My rate is $75 per hour.

How long does it take to build a website?

 

The design phase is the biggest variable. If the client is clear on what they want or submits a design, construction begins quickly. If the client wants to participate as the site is being created, or isn't sure what they want, it takes longer.

After the design is approved, and all content is received, the average construction time is 1-3 weeks (depending on the size of the site).

What if I have changes after I finish building my site?

 

No problem. Much of my business comes from clients doing changes and updates. I'm very mindful of making sure changes and updates are done quickly, usually within 24 hours.

I do not charge a monthly retainer fee. I only charge for the time needed to do the changes or updates.

What type of content should I provide?

 

You will need to provide the text for the various pages of your site and photos. If you have a logo, that as well.

Text can be sent in an email or on a word document. Photos can be emailed, sent on a disk, uploaded to a site called 'dropbox' or through a site called 'you send it'. Whichever way is the simplest for you to do.

Please note: It's very important to have quality photos. Bad lighting, blurry images etc. are not what you want on your website. The photos do not have to be high resolution to be good on your site, everything you see on the web is only 72dpi (a small file size), just clear and well lit.

What else do I need to get in order to have a site?

 

You will need to purchase a domain name and a hosting plan. (If you think of it like renting an apartment... the "domain name" is the address and the "hosting plan" is like the physical apartment where you have all of your stuff.)

The going rate is around $12.99 a year for a domain name and $6 per month for hosting. There is no need to spend more than that...be careful there are a lot of companies charging way more than the going rate!

 
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