Web Site Design & Hosting
Web design is a process that starts with an idea and ends with a fully functional web site. The initial idea is the most important stage of the process. A good idea results in a well thought out site that accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. This is why I focus on having a clear plan for the finished site before the actual work begins. The creation of this plan is called pre-production.
The pre-production stages involve a fair amount of work, but they can be rewarding too. When the pre-production stages are finished, the final site is all but done. It is then my job to bring it to life.
The best place to start is deciding what your domain name is going to be. This can be a tough decision due to all the variables involved.
The most difficult part of choosing the domain name this is the fact that there is a good chance the name you want is already in use. There is a plus side though. The prevalent .com that is so heavily used is really one of many dot whatever extensions that are available to you. A few common extensions are .net, .org, and .cc. There are also many more. Plus, it seems like new extensions are released every few years or so. The .com of your choice may currently be in use, but you could have an alternative extension available that will work just as well.
At this point I would suggest giving thought to what you want your site to look like. This is important because your site needs to give your visitors a good first impression. Thinking about the looks can be enough. As long as you have some sort of basic idea that can then be built upon. For the artistically inclined, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to grab some scratch paper to scribble some ideas out. This will help give a visual to what you are picturing in your mind.
Compiling a list of colors to use is another step along the road. Colors say many different things to a visitor. Bright vibrant colors, when used correctly, can make an eye catching site. However, bright colors don’t show a sense of professionalism. Muted colors are easier on the eyes and they coax your visitor to stay around to see what you have to say. Very bright colors, like pure yellow, will not show up on the screen well and are hard to look at. They should be avoided, unless used sparingly as accents.
Once you have the basic idea for what your site will look like and how it will function, it will be time to move into actual production. This is where I take over while you sit back and relax. I don’t want you to get too relaxed though, since I will be sending you mockups and tests to approve.
Q. Why do you make the customer do all this extra work of pre-design? Is it necessary?
A. I like to have my customers involved with the entire web site process. This helps to keep everyone on the same page. The end result is a site that is everything the customer hoped it would be. I believe that this is very necessary, though some of it could be skipped if the customer doesn’t care what the site looks like, or how it functions. I would do the pre-design for the customer and they would need to approve the work before continuing with the project.
Q. How long does it take to create an average web site?
A. The length of time greatly depends on what the site entails. For example, if the customer already has a clear picture of what the site needs to look like, plus it is under 10 pages, it should take a week or so. If the site is going to be rather large and there is a lot of pre-production to be done, the site could take a month to get up and going. Most end up taking about two weeks once the actual production starts. Almost all web sites are a work in progress. The customer may notice something that they will want to change or add down the road.
Q. What if there is a problem with the site that needs to be fixed?
A. I try my best to thoroughly test every site before it goes live, but there are still things that can happen. If there is a problem with something I did on the site, I will take care of it as soon as I can. I stand behind my work.
Q. How secure is the information on a web site?
A. This is a multi-part question. First of all, every site is hosted on a computer system that is designed for that purpose. These systems are kept updated and secure by the company that is hosting the site. It is very unusual to have a security problem with the host. When it comes to information that you put on the site, this can potentially be used by anyone that visits the site. For example, pictures can be downloaded and reused. There are steps that can be taken to avoid some of these problems if necessary.
Q. How do I advertise once the site is finished?
A. The most important thing about getting your site out there is to make sure the search engines index it. Google is one of the largest search engine sites. It goes through the site and indexes the words and phrases that it thinks someone would search for. The important thing is to create the site with this in mind. I can help you create a search engine friendly site. Another good way to get the site out there is in print. Business cards, phone book ads, etc.
Q. Do you design your sites to be compatible with most browsers and computer systems?
A. Yes, We design and test our sites with the intention that they will be viewed on many different systems out there. It is nearly impossible for everything to look exactly the same on every system, but we do the best.
Have more questions that are not addressed in this FAQ? Then visit the Contacts section and drop us a note.
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