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Designing A Web Site

What goes into creating or redesigning a web site?

Web site design is more than just putting a website on the Internet.  Effective web design uses color, fonts, images and layout to capture an emotion and tempt your customers to buy.  It's knowing when to add more and when to keep things simple.

Companies often believe that the more stuff there is on a web site (noises, animated imagery, chirps, graphics and music) the more eye-catching their site is.  In fact, these things can be distracting and cause a customer to get frustrated and leave.

Navigation is also extremely important to a site.  Most people who search on-line do not look past the first couple of pages in a web site before they decide whether or not that site is useful to them.  Your homepage should let visitors know what your site has to offer.  Links to further information should be clearly labeled, organized, and prominent on the page.  Your customers should be able to easily find the information they are looking for and be gently guided toward purchasing your products.

A sloppy web site risks more than just failing to attract customers -- in some cases, it can actually repel them.  Before even reading about your products, your customers may immediately see your company as being unprofessional and disorganized.

Most people design a web site to their own tastes, but it takes a knowledgeable designer to design a site for the customer.  Creativity, ease of use, professionalism and clarity all influence a customer's purchasing decision.  An effective design will draw your customers in and inspire them to purchase your product.

Complete ‘from scratch’ development for a web site has 4 basic steps, which we’ve described below. However, the particular development plan we propose for you may not include all of these steps, because it will be customized to your needs. Also, the process isn’t just “ours” — it’s highly collaborative: your input is essential at different points in the process. That’s one way we make sure the web site will fit your unique needs.

Basic Steps in Designing a New Web Site

  • Set goals
  • Create structure, content and design
  • Build and test the pages
  • Launch, promote and maintain the site

Steps to Creating Your Web Site

Set goals

1. Identify goals of web site.

2. Identify and research target audience; analyze competition and keywords.

3. Organize the content categories and identify functional requirements, such as feedback forms, mailing lists, audio files etc.

4. Identify organizational and visual metaphors if appropriate (for example, an Art Gallery metaphor for an artist’s site.

Create structure, content and design

1. We design the site architecture (flowchart), including the navigation system.

2. We write or edit content, with an eye to making it keyword-dense. We also write the meta-tags (keywords, titles and page descriptions).

3. We arrange any special programming.

4. We create 2-3 design sketches and page mockups to show you, then revise them if needed, based on your feedback.

Build and test the pages

1. After you approve the mock-ups, we build the pages.

2. We test the pages in various browsers and platforms and have them critiqued by other web design professionals.

3. We arrange for usability testing.

4. You review pages and request changes or corrections (one cycle of revision is included in the bid; further revisions will be charged at an hourly rate.)

5. You approve the final pages.

Launch, promote and maintain the site

1. The domain name and hosting site are selected.

2. We launch your site.

3. Your web site is submitted to search engines and directories. We can do this for you, or we can provide you with the information you need to do it yourself.

4. Promote, update, promote, update, promote, update . . . This is an ongoing process that you will need to work into your regular business schedule. We can work with you to promote and update your site, or give you guidance on how to do it yourself.

5. Track your web site’s effectiveness and statistics. If we host the site for you, we’ll provide you with monthly tracking statistics. We can help you evaluate and fine tune your marketing plan based on these statistics.

How long will it take?

It usually takes between a week to a month, depending on the complexity of your web site.