A Mature Process
Without a good overall structure and design, a website will be overlooked regardless of what useful information or products it may contain. First impressions do matter and may be the deciding factor in whether someone returns to your website again. The two major design areas to be considered when designing a website are graphic elements and content.
To make your investment in a website attract a wide audience, it is very important to have a pleasing graphical design which complements (but doesn't overpower) the content you are trying to deliver. The judicious use of graphics in your pages can entice the viewer to delve further into your site. An intuitive layout for each page of your site, combined with an easy-to-use navigation system are a must.
The graphic elements of your site attract the consumer, but the most important part of the site is the content - the actual text and information your site presents. Organization of content is as important as graphic design when creating a website, for if the site-goers cannot find essential material on your site, you risk potential consumers and clients going elsewhere to fulfill their needs.
I have over 10 years experience building websites for clients. As a result, I have a mature process, summarized below, by which I work with the client to enable the creation of the best website to meet the client's needs.
The Design Phase
Your first meetings with me will allow me to learn the purpose of your website, the type of content you want to present, and how you would like it to function. At these meetings, I can answer any questions about the internet and discuss web hosting and information that I need from you.
Client Design Approval
If you decide after our initial consultations to proceed, I will construct a mock-up website on a laptop computer. We can use this in subsequent meetings to work out the details of how you want the site to look (color choices, layout, etc.) and function (navigation, etc.). Proceeding in this manner helps to reduce your up-front costs until we are ready to actually construct your real internet-accessible website. Only when you approve the basic design of your website will I proceed to account setup and construction.
The Development Phase
When we mutually agree on the way your website should look and function, it is time to register your internet domain name and set up a web hosting account. I have a superior web host that I can heartily recommend, but will work with a web host of your choice providing that they can meet my technical requirements for supporting your website. All web hosts are definitely not the same!
At this point, I will build your real internet-accessible website, following the design that you approved. During this phase, you will be able to view the progess of your site on the internet while it is still not viewable to the general public. When you agree that the site has reached the appropriate level of maturity, it will be made available to all.