Ten critical things to consider before
beginning any serious web site design
 
 
   
   
   
   
 
 

 

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  Website development/design help, assistance and suggestions--do's and don'ts for do it yourself web site design.
   
  Topics you will want to consider:
   
  • Colors:  Do everyone a favor and consider colors for your website right from the start.  Colors play a major role in what the site should look like in your opinion.  If you don't care, which some people don't, then just take a few moments and surf the net to find some sites that appeal to you.

Think about why those web sites you frequent appeal to you so much and then communicate that to your designer.  The site developer can then attempt to create a page in the same format.

  • Sketches:  Do some rough sketching on paper of what you think your site should look like.  You don'tJust come up with a rough sketch to help out the designers have to have a degree in art to come up with usable presentations.  It can be as simple as a rectangle on paper representing the computer screen.  A square here and there can pose as images and lines across the page can represent text.  If you wish, use different color crayons to represent the true colors you have chosen and perhaps a title across the top.  Something as simple as that can do wonders in communicating an idea.
  • Text:  Start working on your site's content now so it's ready before website development begins.  Without relevant content, your site becomes an image fest--which search engines don't take kindly to.
  • Keywords:  Decide on keywords and phrases that would draw interested Internet surfers to your website.  Choose words and combinations of words that you can picture Internet surfers typing into a search engine to find your website.
  • Images:  If you don't already have logos and other graphics (images), start thinking about what you want them to look like and whether they will be photographs or images developed using a graphics program.
  • Image formats:  If you're somewhat tech-savvy, try to save photographs and other images with extensive color transitions you plan to use on your website in the .jpg format (or extension).  Save images that do not have much color transition in the ".gif" format (or extension).

For example, the image of the web page sketch a few paragraphs above should be saved in the ".gif" because it has no gradual color transition and there is little concern about compression quality.  A photograph, on the other hand, should be saved in the ".jpg" format because there is a lot of color transition and usually multiple colors which need to be preserved as much as possible for quality display.

For example, the photograph below on the left is saved in the ".gif" format which compresses the image too much and greatly reduces quality.  The same photograph on the right is saved in the ".jpg" format and is still compressed, but not so much that the quality is compromised.

A photograph saved in the ".gif" format which reduces the quality greatly!

A photograph saved in the ".jpg" format which saves the quality.
Photograph copyrighted by C. Czach Hidalgo - 2003

A safe bet is to save any image for the web site designer in the ".bmp" or ".tif" format which saves the image in a high resolution.  The images in these formats can be converted into respective formats that preserve quality but do not slow download times significantly.

If all else fails or you don't feel confident manipulating images yourself, just provide hard copies of photographs or images and we can scan and manipulate them for you.

  • Be Flexible:  Remember, the website developers know what to do and what not to do for the best site viewing.  As a result, you might have to compromise in some areas of design to ensure quality, site load times, viewing and other technical restrictions that may arise.

Surfers hate sites that are not easily navigated, sites that are not relevant to their needs or desires and sites that do not offer enough content pertaining to a specific subject.  Our designers know the in's-and-out's of web design and will make regular suggestions only to avoid turning away a potential paying customer.

  • Domain Names:  Start thinking about a domain name (a.k.a. URL, Internet Identifier, DNS) for your website before the website generation begins.  Don't set your heart on one name (yourcompany.com) because chances are it's already taken.  Make a LONG list of different possibilities and pray that one is not already reserved.

One customer spent more than two hours searching for a domain name that was not already reserved.  This person settled for a name that was nothing close to what they originally wanted.  They tried 43 different variations before deciding on the final version of a domain name.  Be prepared for the worst case scenario.

  • Titles:  Think of blatantly obvious titles for each page that sum up the page contents in one, two or three words.  Titles play an important role in attracting potential paying customers who are looking for exactly what you're selling.  Just as you look for the "house wares" sign in a store when shopping for a spatula, so too must you point the potential buyers to the right place for what they're looking for.  

Surfers don't want to waste time visiting sites that don't offer what they want or need.  A simple and relevant title tells them in an instant they're in the right place.

  • Patience:  Don't tell anyone that you have a live website until it's completed, up and running.  It's an exciting thing boast about, but know that it can take up to 72 hours AFTER the site is completed AND uploaded to the Internet before people may be able to navigate to its location on the Net.
 

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