When you are considering the development of a new website, there are certain things you can have decided before you ever contact a website developer. Having given thought to a number of issues first will save you money and time.
- Define your market? Who are your customers? It is important that the appearance and organization of your site will appeal to those to whom you wish to sell. So, are there websites you admire? Are there websites you hate? Be sure to share this information with your developer.
- Appearance and organization– a beautiful website is a joy to the eye, but if the navigation is not well thought out in advance, it could cost you time and money in re-design. I can help you with this.
- Search Engine Optimization. You sell socks? What colour socks? Wool socks? Cotton socks? What are people going to enter in their browser to find you and your socks? It is well worth the extra effort to do the research and text modification required to make sure your site is found when someone wants to buy socks on line.
- Ethical Practices – Be sure that the company you choose uses Ethical Search Engine Practices. Beware the snake oil salesmen!
- Reliable, affordable hosting– I work closely with local hosts with whom I have a great business relationship. You will receive loads of space and bandwidth, web stats, email, php and SQL if you need it. And no setup fees!
Designing a website begins with a conversation, usually covering the above points, but can include a lot of other things, too. Your designer may start your page with a pencil sketch with a few colours to show you how the page could work. You will discuss the number of pages you require and how they will link together. You will have to think about pages you can link to, and pages that will link back to you. (That is why it is called “the web.”)
|The sketch on the left becomes the page on the right.|
Around this time you would be given a price and you would either be asked to sign a contract, or you would be sent an email with the designer’s expectations of you and what you can expect of your designer. You would approve that email by way of an email reply and that would constitute a contract.
After getting the clearest possible idea of what your expectations are, the designer gets to work to create a draft page..which could very well be the basis for your site. At that point, however, lots of things can still be altered. The sooner in the process that changes are made, the less costly it is for you. Once you have agreed on a design, the designer will likely ask you to send an email approving the design, even if you have done so verbally. That is normal procedure.
It is now the responsibility of the designer to create the page. And it is your responsibility to provide the content, unless otherwise agreed upon. Your designer doesn’t know the sock trade like you do, so you will again save money and time if you are prepared with content for the pages you have agreed upon.
Content includes good quality photographs as well, unless you have agreed that the designer will find you some. While many photos are free on the internet, you should be prepared to pay for some photographs if required. The cost can be as little as a dollar, or as much as hundreds of dollars depending on where the photograph is purchased.
“This is a new website for our non-profit organization. It had to be simple not just for us but for our clients to use. Sharon worked with several members of our board to come up with exactly what we needed to help promote our programs. “
Gina Talbot, Cowichan Valley Community Kitchens.
Within a reasonable amount of time, your designer should be able to have your site together and working, at least in a hidden folder so that you can do the final sign off. Once you are satisfied that the terms of your agreement have been fulfilled to your satisfaction, the site can go live. And once again, you may be asked to send an email to that effect.
Once that is done, the final payment is collected, and you begin by emailing everyone on the planet..and on the next one… to come and view your new site!