Starting Your Web Site
So, you want to start a web site? That is great . . . but there are a few things you need to do before contacting a designer.
Step 1 - is the site going to be for business? Personal? Blogging? Social Networking? A combination? Once you have decided what the site is going to be used for, then you move on to the next step.
Step 2 - Get an idea of what you want the site to look like. Background colors, images, layout, etc. One of the easiest ways to do this is to search the Internet for sites that offer similar products, services, or content. While searching, make a list of the sites that you like and write down what detail you like about each site. Type your list in a word document will make it easier to keep track of the sites and allows for review the stuff you liked when you work with the designer.
Step 3 - Page content. You need to pay attention to the pages on the other sites as you search the Internet. This will help you decide how many pages you want for your site and it will give you ideas of what each page should say. *Warning* - do not copy your text from another web site. Abide by the copyright laws!! The best thing to do is to read what someone else has, then put it into your own words. Be original - not a copycat. It is best to type your information in a word document - Hello spell check!!
Step 4 - Find a domain name that fits your site. You may have the perfect name picked out for your site only to discover that it is already taken. It is best to make a list of possible names and go to a hosting site (such as Yahoo or GoDaddy) to search for available domains. Once you have found a domain name, you can purchase it right then or wait until you have talked to a web designer.
Step 5 - Finding a Web Designer. My suggestion here is to look for a local individual or small companies that offers web designing services. The little guys are usually cheaper than the big companies. You are more likely to be able to meet face-to-face with someone local while working on your site. Most of the communication can be done via phone and email if you cannot meet face-to-face. Don't be afraid to ask question and compare prices before you decide on a company. If you have typed your lists from step 2 and 3 in a word document, it is easy to email the list to your chosen designer - saving time and money!
Many designers charge by the hour. If a designer has to wait on you to decide what text, colors, images, etc. that you want on a page - your bill may go up and up. If you are having trouble deciding on something or just have a question - ask your family, friends, business acquaintances, or post about it on a social networking site (Facebook!!) rather than wasting the time of a designer. Keep in mind that most designers are more than happy to answer questions of potential clients - feel free to send an email with design questions. The worst that can happen is that they will tell you that they cant or won't help you - which means that you probably don't want to hire that person/company.
One last thing to consider is how often is your site going to need updated. Daily? Weekly? Monthly? At random? You will need to discuss this with your designer and figure out a fee arrangement for the updates. Some designers have a set fee for updates no matter how often they are done while other designers charge a monthly fee for unlimited updates.
My last advice is to make the site yours. "A web site is more that just text and pictures . . . it should have a personality!!!"