When you start a website or graphic design project with us, we’ll take you through a few steps. Here’s a few examples:
You’re Getting A Logo and A Website
Let’s say you have a website and want to have a logo designed by us (smart choice!). Here are the steps:
- Read over contract-proposal and either click on the accept box or send back changes.
- Once the contract-proposal is accepted, we send you an invoice for the initial installment.
- We then begin working on your logo first. We’ll ask you to send us images, colors, words, ideas to get us moving in the right direction. If you don’t have any idea, we’ll get started with a few of own and submit them to you.
- We work back and forth by sending you design drafts until you are 100% happy.
- Then we move onto your website.
- We create designs for the layout of your site and go back and forth until you are 100% happy.
- When we get final written approval from you on the design, we begin coding. Just note, once we begin coding, it will cost extra if you want to change the design.
- We add additional features like the e-newsletter software, shopping cart software, galleries, etc.
- Test the site – then we launch!
When we create your website, you’ll go through 3 phases:
- Preparation: This is where I ask you about your favorite colors, logos that you’ll use, the message or intent of your website, and the general look and functionality you want of your site. It’s the preparation phase.
- Design: I start working on creating a great design for you. If you ordered a custom site, then I’ll be sending you different designs to get a feel for where you want to go with the project. If you ordered a template site, then I’ll send you a live website link showing the custom designed graphics, like the header and footer areas. We work at it until you are 100% happy with the look.
- Coding: Once you approve the design, I get down coding your site for you. It’s an intensive process, so that’s why we’ll spend lots of time making sure the design is exactly right for you. The most important thing is make sure you decide exactly what you want before I start coding. Once the code starts, it gets very time-consuming and laborious to change certain design elements and I have to charge an additional design fee, by the hour.
One of my policies is that I’ll work on your design with unlimited revisions until you’re totally happy. There’s no point to rush this process since the website is the online face of your business and you’ll want to get it right the first time around. I’m very patient, and not one of those guys who will rush you through just so I can move onto the next project.
At the same time, it’s important to understand how crucial it is to not make changes once you approve the design. That way I can deliver the site to you on time and on budget.
You probably know by now that websites do a lot more than act as digital newspaper ads. There’s a lot of functionality that you can include in your site – things that make it look cool by adding a few moving elements like slideshow, or add connectivity like putting in Facebook icons and so on. Here’s a description, although not all-inclusive of the things I can put into your site.
Email capturing is the process of getting people to give you their email from your website. Usually what happens is that people come to your site, see an offer to get something for free in exchange for giving them your email. They fill out their name and email in a form field and send it to you.
Their email goes into an email marketing software that you or I set up. Email marketing software is great because it lets you keep track of all sorts of things that you need to know – how many people read your email, or click on an advertising link for example. Also, it become a pain in the butt to keep track of all the people who subscribe or unsubscribe if you try to do this part manually with your email software, like Outlook.
I use an online software called iContact and I’m an affiliate for them as well. Learn more about email marketing here.
A featured content slider is a great way to display a bunch of information or images without using up lots of screen real estate. Usually they’re found on the home page and displays information that you want to highlight, like a promotion, an upcoming event and so on. They slide as the name suggests and create movement on your site, which catches the eye. Best of all none of it is Flash, so it’s viewable on all mobile devices including iPhones and iPads. See an example.
Within your site, I install some software and link it to your Google Analytics account, or create one for you within my account. Google Analytics tracks all sorts of statistics that you need to know to run your business – things like what keywords people used to find your site, which countries they’re from, how many visitors you’ve had to your site (especially important if you run promotions to see how effective your marketing is), and so on.
Having a photo gallery is key especially if you are in the service or people business. A friend of mine who ran a networking group made great use of his photo gallery. After every networking event, he would post pictures of the night before onto his website, and then send an email to his list that the pictures were up. Within minutes he could track the spike in visitor activity. What a great way to get people to come back to his site, over and over again.
Your photo gallery is easy to use and highly scalable. You can basically put as many pictures in as you’d like, change the order around, and so on. See an example.
A video gallery is a great way to show off your product or service without creating columns and columns of text. There are many ways to configure video galleries, but here is one of my favorites.
What good is a website if people can’t find it? That’s where SEO comes in. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search engines are sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing that are dedicated to helping you find something on the Internet by typing in keywords. Keywords are simply words or phrases that people use to find something they’re looking for. The SEO Plugin is a feature that simplifies the process of putting in your keywords and website description so that you increase the chance of your clients finding you.
A slideshow adds movement to your website (who needs another dull, static webpage?) and maximizes on screen real estate. You get to move the order of the pictures around and add more later on. See an example here.
It seems that social media is everywhere today and everyone is talking about them. If you’re not sure what they’re referring to, social media is all the online services that connect you with other people – sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn… there are hundreds of them now.
Adding a social media icon, like a Facebook icon that links to your Facebook page, can really help you connect with your clients. On the other hand, if you put up a Facebook icon just to have it, but never update or visit your Facebook account, then it’s pretty useless. My advice is to add social icons to your site that you know you will use, not just because everyone else is doing it.
So you’d like a website? Here’s an easy and self-guided way to start organizing your thoughts. I have all my clients walk through this step, so that I can get as much of your information at one time. If you don’t have answers for all the questions yet, don’t worry. Just do your best to fill it out and we’ll work out the rest together.
Starting your website doesn’t have to be complicated. As a designer, there are a few things I need to know from you:
- Colors. What are your preferred colors, usually 2 or 3. If you’re not sure what to choose, try looking here.
- A Site Map. Your site map is a basically a table of contents of your online presence. Here’s an example of a simple site map:
- Subcategory 1, etc
- A Logo. Your logo is what helps create the feel and look of your site. If you don’t have a logo, I can help you with that also.
That’s it. If you have images and text to put into your website, great. If not, don’t worry, we do that when the site is set up. Some people might expect you to have everything altogether, but I like to work with you gradually, so that the process is more organic. As you begin to see what the sight looks like, you’ll get ideas on pictures, what to write, and so on.
The most important thing is to just get started. With the above three items, anyone can get going quickly.