• Where to begin
  • Pricing
  • Intro
  • FAQs
  • Resources

Where to begin

First, you'll need to answer a few questions:

What do you want this site to accomplish?
Who is your audience and what will they want from this site?
Who are your competitors and what are they doing?

Then put some things in writing:
Develop an outline of the needs for your website - to accurately bid your
project, I need to know all the details. If you already have a website and are
just looking for a new look,this will be an easier task. If you don't have a site,
you'll need to think about what information you want your customers to see
and how you want that information relayed.

OPTION 1: Microsoft Excel often helps with this part - the name of each sheet
will be the navigation (or buttons) and the content on each sheet
will be the content on the corresponding webpage.

Example:
You own an apartment complex and want your navigation to be:
Home | Contact | Photos | Floorplans | Neighborhood

Create a sheet that looks like:
Outline example

Then fill in the information on each page - you can paste a photo in for your
reference, but when I build it, I'll need the full-size jpeg file as well. If you
don't have a photo in mind, just put "photo of complex" or whatever you are
envisioning or "google map" as seen in the image below:
Outline example

It doesn't have to be done this way, but it helps people organize their thoughts
and allows you to click around and see the content of each page as you would
on a website. It also doesn't have to be "finished" but it's a good place to start.

OPTION 2: You can also write it out in an outline format in Word, but it might be a bit more of a challenge to organize it.

NEXT Do a little surfing and send me links to 3-5 websites that you like and state why you like each site - if it's the design, colors or functionality. As you surf, you can note the anatomy of websites:

A. The Header area - nav on top or logo on top
I. Navigation
II. Logo area - keep in mind your logo footprint
III. Main photo or slideshow
a. panoramic
b. broken into smaller photos
c. overlay text optional
d. photos change or are static

B. Body
I. Text content
II. Photos
II. 1, 2, 3 or 4 column

C. Footer Nav - optional
I. Text or graphic
II. Simple or more detailed

2. Once I receive your outline, I'll choose the layout based on your needs. What allows me to keep pricing down is designing to a few basic grid layouts.

That's how to start. I'll post the work and payment timeline shortly.

Pricing

The aim of this website is to allow independent or small business owners a more cost-effective way to get online.  Websites are priced by component instead of hourly so when I give you a bid, you'll know that's the price. The only required components are:

A per page price of $150.
Main navigation - priced per button, graphic or text.

Everything else - photo galleries, footer navigation, tab framework,
(examples are coming) - is optional. 

Sample bid:
Pricing Table

Pricing is approximate and subject to change, but it's a pretty solid ballpark.

Don't panic if you have many, many pages - sometimes pages can be built in a
different manner for a lower-cost.  See tmi-sales.com/linecard.htm - the client needed a descriptor page for each company, which would have been an additional $1750.  Since only a small amount of information was needed for each company, I instead utilized a pop-up component. This brought the price down to $285 ($75 set-up, $10/pop-up, $5 for the logo grid).

Another way to lower the number of pages is the Tab Framework. Please see http://www.terrazzoapartments.com/floorplans.htm - instead of needing a page for each floorplan, I made one floorplan page and put each floorplan into a tab.

Jackson Issaquah Acupunture TMI Zhu

FAQs
How does this work?
Why Stillwater Web Works and not a blog or a do-it-yourself template?
What will you need from me?
That sounds like a lot of work - is there another option?
Hosting - can I stay with my hosting company?
Hosting - I might want to switch hosting companies, what do you suggest?
Updates - how can I best do this?
Will my site work on all browsers or the iPad?
Photos - I prefer to research this myself - any suggestions?

How does this work?

See the Where to begin Tab where it's laid out in detail.

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Why Stillwater Web Works and not a blog or a do-it-yourself template?

Templates are highly recommended if you have the desire and time to learn
about websites and html.  Blogs are frequently used in conjunction with a
website, but can effectively be used as your sole online presence.  The only
drawback to blogs is you are limited to their layout and functionality which
is why a using a blog as a supplement for communication to a custom website
works so well.

---

What will you need from me?

I'll need any photos and content you wish to have on your site.  If you
already have a website and are just looking for a new look, this will be an
easier task.  If you don't have a site, you'll need to think about what
information you want your customers to see and how you want that information
relayed.

You can read the details in the Where to begin portion.

--

That sounds like a lot of work - is there another option?

Not for this sort of pricing.  Big agencies have lots of people to interview you and your employees about the company.  They get to know every aspect of your business so they can accurately portray it on the web.  They write all content, choose all photos and take care of every detail, but for a price.

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Hosting - can I stay with my hosting company?

Let's hope.  If you created your existing website through a template service, they often won't accept any other file formats but their own.   If it's just a normal hosting company, I'll just need the ftp (file transfer protocol) login information from you and I will be able to upload the new site.

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Hosting - I might want to switch hosting companies, what do you suggest?

Yes, 1and1.com has extremely affordable packages, great tech support and
solid technology.

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Updates - how can I best do this?

3 ways:

1. To communicate fresh content on a weekly or daily basis, most people choose to use a blog.  They are free, easy to use and there is no software to install.  I can put the link to your blog in button format on your navigation or in the content of the body.

2. CMS (Content Management System) - these include things like Adobe Contribute ($199 to buy, no monthly fees, software installation on your local computer is required.) There are many browser-based CMS services anywhere from $7-$24.95/mo.  However..

I just found a new one that I am evaluating http://get-simple.info/ .  It's free to use, but a donation is requested.  It has gotten good reviews, I'll post my findings shortly.

3. Have me update your site - pricing is on its way.

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Will my site work on all browsers or the iPad?

Sort of.  The site will work, although things might not appear to be identical on the latest couple versions of the big 5 browsers - Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer on both Mac and PC.  Part of the per page price is testing and making sure things work on all those browsers.

The iPad is a mobile device and has its own set of requirements.  It is recommended that instead of designing a site to the iPad that you have a second site specifically built for it.  That being said, most sites are functional on the iPad, but if the site utilizes Adobe Flash (sample) just a big gray box will appear.

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Photos - I prefer to research this myself - any suggestions?

Yes, please see the Resources Tab under Stock Photo Websites.

Free Photo Resizer
PC users only. Download and read reviews on CNET
Mac Users - here's a nice blog about Picasa (free from Google) vs iPhoto.

Stock Photo Websites - in no particular order, none are recommended over another
iStockphoto - you can search by price as well.
www.istockphoto.com

Dreamstime
www.dreamstime.com

Fotolia
www.fotolia.com

BigStockPhoto
www.bigstockphoto.com

123 Royalty Free
www.123rf.com

GraphicRiver
www.graphicriver.net

ShutterStock
www.shutterstock.com

DepositPhotos
www.depositphotos.com