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The "No Jargon" Logical Approach to Website Design

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FREE CONSULTATIONS

Take a free initial consultation with me at your computer, during which time, using live examples on the internet, I will demonstrate exactly what is needed for your website to be successful. I will show you exactly what I am able to offer you through my personalised service and I will explain why I take many extra steps to ensure that your website is designed, registered and optimised down to the smallest detail.

A WORD ABOUT CMS

With a Content Management System (CMS) you are in complete control of all your own website content and maintenance. The only things you can't change are the main design and layout or the critical functions.

CMS websites can be very costly in terms of both time and money and are best suited to large corporations or forums who have staff to populate the content. Therefore, I do not deal with CMS and prefer to leave these types of systems to the large professional design companies.

Blog Websites
for the limited budget

I can create, optimise and host a 3-5 page semi-static business blog website for around €200-€400 if your budget is limited. However, with a blog website your options are much more restrictive and I would only suggest using this type of website if you run a small business and have time available to perform regular updates.

What I need to know to design your website

Your business is individual and unique and therefore your website should be too. The more information I have regarding your business and it's website needs, the easier and cheaper it will be to meet your requirements and the less likely we will need to make lots of amendments before publication of your website on the internet.

Website designers can (and indeed some like to) spend hours and hours, at your cost, manipulating photographs, lifting text from fancy formatted Word documents, etc. When you are paying your web designer around 20 per hour in professional website design costs you want to be paying for their technical expertise, not the manipulation of photos and text which you can easily do yourself.

What is your business all about?

Who are your competitors and who and where are your target audience?. Visit the websites of similar businesses and think how you stand out above your competition. What can you offer that will attract potential clients to you? Have you any unique services that can be highlighted to help you attract more business?

What kind of website best suits your business?

Traditional Static Website

Traditional static web pages are still excellent for most small to large business needs, where the main layout and features do not need to be changed frequently.

Static / Interactive Blog Websites and Blog Pages

A blog style website can be created with both static and interactive pages. For the most part blog sites are created on templates and therefore have limitations. I only recommend them for a small business with a limited advertising budget. See sidebar snippet for more on blog websites.

Attached blog pages can add interactivity to your static website. With a blog page or two added to your main static website, you can add details of upcoming events and latest news, add photos, etc. and allow visitors to post feedback comments without needing the technical knowledge required to look after a blog website.

Content Management Systems

With a content management system (CMS) all the content is controlled and uploaded by yourself. CMS systems can be costly to set up and are best suited to larger corporations, forums or shopping sites. For a little more on CMS see the snippet in the left column.

As a general guideline, for a medium-sized business I recommend a mainly static site, with a link to a facebook business page and one or two blog pages for client feedback and/or your latest news/events.

Layout & Colour

All my websites are designed from scratch to client specifications however, a few sample links showing features which you prefer, i.e. layout on website A, navigation on website B, colour scheme on website C, etc. is a great basis on which to create the framework for your website.

A word about website colour schemes

Colours schemes can create lots of problems for the amateur website designer if not given careful thought and planning beforehand. Whilst a black background may look brilliant on a website with lots of professional photography and little text, it can be very wearing on the eyes on a site consisting of mainly text. The colour scheme of a website displaying art work or products should be kept very simple and neutral as fancy coloured fonts, animated images, coloured backgrounds, etc. do not do the images justice.

A word about fonts

In designing my websites and choosing fonts, I always stick to the KISS principal (Keep it simple stupid!). Although you may have hundreds of fonts in your computer software, search engines only recognise a small and varied selection. A fancy font may look brilliant on Google, but can cause lots of problems on a different browser and vice versa.

If you wish to use a special font for your business name the best way of using this on a website is to make it an image or a part of your logo. However, bear in mind that, if your business name is part of an image and it contains keywords, these will not be picked up by the search engine spiders who recognise the image and not the heading.

Images & Graphics

First impressions count and how you display your images and photographs is extremely important, in particular if you are selling a product or want to show your bar restaurant or bed and breakfast at its best.

There are thousands of interactive galleries and slideshows available on the internet from free cheap and cheerful basic slideshows to sophistiated and costly (both in terms of cost and configuration time) and I have narrowed them down to the best of the best in terms of professionalism and value for money.

Sometimes a business may require professional photographs to showcase it's products or services. If you woule like to find a professional digital photographer to take the photos for your website, I can highly recommend Sean Emmerton of Under The Lime Tree.

Providing your written content

For a small business it is normal to write your own website content. It is not neccessary to supply your textual content in formatted Microsoft Word or Publisher documents with fancy fonts, bolded headings and indented paragraphs etc. This is achieved on a website through coding techniques and is totally different. Therefore, to save time and your money on converting your text to a website friendly format it is better and easier to supply your content in simple un-formatted text. However, it is recommended that you try and incoporate a selection of your keywords and key phrases frequently within your content and in any headings if relevant, whilst keeping the writing interesting and relevant.

What are the long-term plans for your website?

With the rapid advancements in technology these days, your business and it's website must be ready and prepared to change and adapt to these developments accordingly in order to stay ahead of your competition. How many people do you know who have had to have a complete website makeover or even a new website because their old site is outdated?

It is advisable when planning your website to think of any future plans you may have. For example, are you a B&B that plans on opening a restaurant or having a pool installed next year but need your website now? Do you offer hairdressing services now but further down the line want to offer manicures? It could save you alot of money in the long term if you make allowances now for future developments in your business.

When planning and designing your website I not only allow for future developments in the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) coding standards but I make every effort to create your website in such a way as to make it easy to change or add features, links and pages, thereby cutting down your future website development and maintenance costs.

What do you NOT want?

Sometimes this question can be overlooked but can be important if, for instance, you do not want your postal address or land line phone number on your website. I love rounded corners and use them in most of my websites but maybe you don't want them. Therefore, if there is something specific that you do not want, then let me know to avoid unneccessary amendments later on.

If you would like a free consultation regarding any element of website design or a free SEO analysis of your current website or if you just have a question or would like to leave some feedback please do not hesitate to   e-mail me    comment on my blog   or give me a ring on 0555 09 13 95.