The Web Design Process

What to Expect in the Professional
Website Design Process

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You've decided you want a website, but do you know what type of website you'd like? Not everyone just "knows" what they want, and it may be difficult to describe the image in your head, but that's perfectly ok. One of our specialties is helping you find that image, refine it, and create the website you didn't even know you wanted.

Just thinking about your website is often quite overwhelming, and you probably don't know what the terms mean, or the designer's lingo. That's perfectly ok too. We don't expect you to know what terms like "navigation," "pages," "header and footer," actually mean for a website, and we want you to ask as many questions as you need so that you will be comfortable describing what you'd like to see.

To help you understand the web design process, we have listed some basic steps we will take as we build your website. You can be as involved, or uninvolved, as you'd like, but we like your input - the more the better!

Basic Steps for Website Design

Step One

What to do before your order your website either over the phone, or in person, you will be asked to describe what you think you want your website to look like. But, before this conversation happens, it would be very helpful if you would do some online searches to find websites that you do like, or even ones you don't. Save a list of links to those sites, and when we do begin talking about YOUR website, we can visit those pages and discuss them in depth.

As you are doing your own research, think of: colors and color combinations, images, and how the web page is laid out, do you like the navigation menu (links to other, internal pages, on your website) on the side (vertical navigation) or across the top or middle (horizontal navigation).

Website Treemap for Mapping Out Your Website

The Website Tree Map above shows the website hierarchy for a basic 5 page website. Drawing a Tree Map helps you see both the navigation structure and the different pages in your site. For this website, the navigation will have 4 buttons on the home page and 5 buttons on the interior pages (including a "home" button).

If you've surfed the web for any period of time, you've realized that most websites are infinitely more complicated, some with 100's of pages, maybe more. To add more pages to our 5 page website, we can add what's called a "Drop Down Menu," where all the related pages are organized into general categories (ex. products and services) and the links to the more specific items appear below the main button in a list style format.

When more pages are added to our website, we will run out of space on the navigation menu, especially if you've chosen to use a horizontal menu layout. Adding drop down menus will allow us to display more pages in a more organized way. In the Website Tree Map below, the main buttons will be Products, Services, About Us and Contact Us. Products 1 and 2 will appear in a drop down menu when the user mouses over the Products button. Services 1 and 2 will appear under the Services button, etc. You can see how easy it is to end up with a much larger website than what you initially intended.

As you are thinking about your own website, researching to discover your preferences in terms of style, try drawing a Website Tree Map for yourself. We will be doing this together in step two, but drawing your own tree map will help you see how your own website can be organized.

Step Two - Meet with your website designer

We will either meet in person, or talk over the phone, and you will be asked questions about your design preferences. If you've done step one, you will have a better idea of what you want your website to look like, and how you would like it organized.

Using your credit card, we will purchase your domain name (if you don't have one already), and set up website hosting. This way, when the website is finished, you will own the domain name, and you will be in control of hosting. We set up your website in this manner because one day (we hope not!), you may decide to use someone else for redesigns or maintenance, the transfer process is much easier and faster. It's just a simpler way of creating websites, leaving you in total control.

How much will this cost me?

Purchasing your domain name costs, on average, $14.95 per year, but we recommend that the name is reserved for the maximum amount of time (10 years) so you won't have to renew your ownership each year. Plus, it's cheaper to reserve your domain name for a longer period of time (10 years costs around $120).

Web hosting costs, on average, $9.95 per year, and the intital set-up is cheaper if you pay for a year in advance. After that year, the hosting company will give you the option of paying on a per month or per year basis. One year of hosting usually costs around $120. Once those details are taken care of, your website can "go live" or be ready for viewing in 24 hours. We highly recommend Hostgator, it's a great web hosting company that we use quite often.

Step Three - Your designer begins building your website

This is the fun part - the design. To help you define and refine what you'd like your website to be, we will show you an initial design, and from there, you can say, "I love it!" or "I hate it!" But, if you don't like it, be prepared to explain why because we accept constructive criticism very well and want to hear your opinion, good or bad.

Working together, we will then complete the design, and you will be able to see your website begin to take shape.

Step Four- You add the content

We will build your website, but you must fill it with information. After all, you know your industry, and you are selling a product, or presenting your services to the world; therefore, you will need to write the words that you want everyone who visits your site to see. Images, text, embedded articles, all of those will combine to pursuade and convince your target audience to take an action - call, email, fill out a form, make a purchase.

While we're building your website, you will have time to research, write, compile, and organize the content you will be adding to your pages. Think of your Website Tree Map, and put yourself in your customer's shoes, what information needs to be there, what information could be added that would make someone WANT to visit your website and take the actions you want them to take.

If you would like the copy, or text, for your website written for you, we do offer this service, but remember YOU are the expert in your field, and we are not. The content of your website should be in your words and sound like you! During all of these steps, we will be here for you.

This is a process that takes time, and you should never see your website as "done." Updating your website, keeping the information fresh, is something you should do on a regular basis.

We offer website maintenance and Search Engine Optimization plans that will fit your budget and allow you to make changes to content throughout the year.

If you would like more information about our website designs, please contact us today!

- Kimber Malone
Purple Dragonfly Designs


Purple Dragonfly Designs 713-376-1980