Choose a Design
Anybody can build a web site, right? Well, to a degree, they can. A lot of the "what you see is what you get" editors make it quite easy to design a quick site for the world wide web. Some of these Editors work fine, like the server-side system we now offer. But most generate code that is not usable by search engines. We recommend using a professional designer to design your site and then doing updates on your own, if you feel comfortable doing that. We make it easy with our on-line content management system.
It doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time developing a web site that functions improperly, gives your business a poor image or is unavailable through any large search engine. As a business owner, your time can best be spent on gathering the information you want to present and then allowing a professional web site designer to put it all together.
PRO Designs' mission is to design and maintain your professional web site. To accomplish this mission requires a wide variety of skills and abilities. To that end, we have outlined the spectrum of services we provide below:
- Web Site Layout and Design
- Custom Logos
- Custom Forms for on-line submission
- Coding for easy e-mail inquiry submissions to you
- Scanning of photos and graphics
- Re-sizing, cropping, and preparing of photos for web applications
- Editing and formatting written information you supply
- Researching and finding available clip art
- FTPing your site to your hosting service
- Re-design of existing web sites
- Submission to major search engines
- Help in Domain Name registration
- On-going maintenance of your site
- Domain Hosting
We provide these services using the following general guidelines.
Professional image is a must
We help you choose a color scheme of not more than three colors and then we stay with it. We work with you to choose colors that give a sense of what your business does. We use one or two font types on your site and make sure the size, color, and type are easy to read. We strive for short paragraphs with adequate white space, sub-headings, dividers and graphics throughout the site. And if your business lends itself to pictures, it is absolutely critical that good images be included on your site, particularly if you are asking people to buy something just from looking at it.
Ease of Navigation Counts
Another major factor in your web site design is the navigational tools on your site. Most visitors will give up in frustration if they cannot easily find what they are looking for when they come to your site. That's why we concentrate on easy-to-navigate sites---sites that facilitate your visitors finding what they want easily and quickly. This should be able to be accomplished from any page on your site, not just the main page.
Number of pages can vary
A lot of people use the terms web site and web page interchangeably. They are not the same thing. A web site is normally composed of numerous web pages, sometimes hundreds of pages. If you take a look at the navigational bar on this page, you can see there are five main pages. Under any of those main pages, there may be any number of additional pages. For example, the heading "Services" may have additional pages with each page describing a particular service. So when you think through how you want your business laid out, you can estimate how many pages it will take.
The rule of thumb for web design is to keep your pages short. The definition of "short" however, is very unclear. Personally, I prefer having all information about a topic on one page with a logical flow to the next topic. We will work with you to develop this logically flow in your site design.
Organization should be logical
The organization of the site itself should be logically laid out for your visitors. We will suggest a structure for organizing the information you want to present. You, on the other hand, as the business owner should be able to give us some direction on how your buyers request things. The way in which people ask you for something is probably the way they want to find it on your site.
Written information is not the same as digital
A written brochure provides your web designer with ready information about your business. In most cases, however, it cannot be coded for a digital application like a web page with the very same look and layout. Coding requirements for a web page are strict and often restrictive. Decisions must be made by your designer as the pages are being built so that loading time is minimized and all coding requirements are met.
Domain names are recommended
Having your own Domain Name is recommended for most web sites. Check out our Domain Page to reserve your domain name now. Unique Domain Names aid in name recognition on the web, are more acceptable to search engines and make it easy for your customers to remember your address. Prices for domain names have dropped in the last few years. We recommend reserving a domain name for at least 10 years. That way you don't have to worry about losing it or renewing it every year.
However, if you are just starting out and have a way to host your business site under your personal account, that is a perfectly acceptable way to go when just entering the world wide web. By not reserving your domain name, you do run the risk of someone else securing it.
Merchant Accounts are not mandatory
Contrary to common beliefs, you do not need to be able to take credit cards or electronic checks over the Internet to benefit from a web site. And the same thing is true for shopping carts. Do these things help? Definitely! But whether you are in a service business or selling products, you no doubt will be contacting your customers in some form or fashion anyway. It is at that time that a payment method can be discussed and worked out.
If you already have a merchant account and your provider does Internet credit cards, it may be relatively inexpensive to go ahead and set your web site up to handle them. However, you should not accept credit card information without having your site hosted on a secure server. Hosting on a secure server entails additional monthly expense.
Keep Your Web Site Up To Date
We sometimes get asked to just "teach me how to do simple changes to my site". If you have a lot of experience in web work, you might be able to do this just fine. But for most folks, this is an impossible task. You will need to purchase software, at least three different kinds and you will have to learn the html coding requirements for the web as well as a host of other requirements. Of all the experiences you can have on the web, this can be the most frustrating as it is very easy to find yourself in one "fix" after another which appear to have no solution.
We recommend letting a professional web designer design your site, get it up and operating on the web. This puts all the "problems" on their shoulders. Then, if you want to make changes to the site, we recommend using our content management system.