There are several things to consider when hiring someone to create your website and, of course, cost is definitely a factor. A website can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. The difference lies in what you get for your money. At the high end, you get a completely custom website, built from scratch specifically for your business. This makes great sense for large companies with big budgets.
At the lowest end, you get an individual who has taught him or herself to use website platforms, like WordPress, Wix, Weebly and packages sold by hosting companies. Not to say that there is anything wrong with that in and of itself but please beware, for the lowest price you are likely to get someone who doesn’t have any abilities other than putting your content into a pre-made template. They probably won’t have any design, marketing or writing background. In a worst case scenario, you may never end up with a finished product. I only warn you of this because I have had several clients to whom this happened. Learn more about why you should hire a professional website designer on my blog.
What you get from WebKat Design is somewhere in the middle. I will create a customized website, starting with a high-quality theme, the purchase of which is included in your price. I then take it beyond simple customization, to change the look to something that will reflect your business in the best possible light. Your website visitors will want to stay on the site long enough to learn about who you are and what you do and will have every opportunity to continue the relationship with you.
So, that was a long answer to your short question! The websites I create start at around $1,200. This price will include 5 – 7 pages, basic SEO on initial content, contact forms and capture forms, and it will be mobile-ready. I can integrate it with your current email marketing platform – if you don’t already have email marketing, I can help you with that too. I will connect it to your social media accounts and add social sharing plugins. Your new website will reflect your business and brand in a way that makes visitors want to take action.
For examples of some of my work, visit my portfolio.
Website development time depends on how quickly you supply your content. A realistic time frame, at present, is about 90-days. If there is some urgency to your project, perhaps you have an event coming up and need the site by a certain date, for a small “expedite fee” we can get your site done sooner.
I am diligent in meeting every deadline for every project. The only times that sites have not been completed on the originally agreed-upon date, it has been because the client failed to provide content. While I take great care in learning as much about your business as I can, only you can truly tell your story. I have a team of partners to whom I can refer you for your graphic elements, photos and copy-writing needs.
For more information on the development process, see the FAQ dealing with website creation.
Website Creation Process
Your new website will be created using WordPress, a content management platform that was originally just for blogs. Over the years, WordPress has evolved and is now one of the standard platforms for website create. I’ll bet that many, if not most, of the websites you visit were created in WordPress.
Once we decide to move forward with your project, I will ask you to complete a questionnaire detailing exactly what you would like your site to look like, who your target audience is and what you want your site to accomplish – e.g. more traffic to your brick-and-mortor business, more members, more customers or clients, etc. Please be as specific as possible when completing these questions. I also want to know what websites you particularly like and why so that I can have a sense of your style. Does your business have competitors? What are their websites? What do you like and dislike about them?
Moving forward, I will select an appropriate high-quality theme and install it in a sub-domain of my website. This will allow me to periodically give you access to view the progress so we can discuss design and content. For instance, your development site may reside at: www.yourname.webkatdesign.biz.
I will spend a lot of time setting up theme using the theme’s setting and also doing more advanced customizations using the coding languages, HTML and CSS. The home page will be created, reflecting how the rest of the site will be styled. Some of the content pages may also be created at this point. Before moving any further, you will be asked to review the overall design. I will probably add some fake content that looks like gibberish, or I may have a little of your content plugged in to give you and idea of where we’re headed. Remember, at this stage we are only looking at the design so you don’t need to check for typos. I want to be absolutely sure that you are pleased with the colors and general look and feel of the website before we go any further. NOW is the time to speak up!
Content is Queen
While I’ve been in design-mode, you’ve been busy gathering and creating your content. You should start putting together the content for each page as soon as we execute our contract. While I can create the overall look of your website, I really need to know what is going onto each page to begin the next phase.
I understand how difficult it can be to talk about yourself and your business – believe me, I hate working on my own website! That is why I have assembled some folks to help you out. If you need help writing your content, from the bio’s for you and your team to the nuts and bolts of what you do and why you do it, I can refer you to cost-effective help.
I also work with a professional photographer who does wonderful work and is very affordable. As soon as I finish her website, I’ll have a link here! In the meantime, just ask and I’ll connect you.
Your content will be placed into your website in a way that is logical and will help visitors find the information they need to make the decision to to business with you. Since you know your business and your target market best, I welcome your input during this phase of the design. Keep in mind that the audience for your site may not be as knowledgeable about your business as you, so we want to cater to their needs.
Once all the content is added, you will be asked to review every page. I encourage you to read every line and make sure it is exactly what you want. As the designer, I have been looking at it for several weeks and, it is quite possible you will find a typo or two that I missed! If you want, have someone else read through the content too – the more eyes the better! At this point, we probably won’t be make any major design changes, but little tweaks to the content are quite likely.
Now for the fun part! Once you approve all the content, I will transfer the site onto your domain name and hosting service. For more info about that, check the FAQ about domains and hosting.
And, don’t worry, I’ll be here to offer support and answer questions long after your new website is live. We can even talk about a retainer agreement if you would like me to continue to add and change content to keep your site fresh in the eyes of the search engines.
The short answer is yes! Upon completion of your website, I will train you, either in person or online, to do your own website updates. You will learn to add blog posts and make changes to static content. It is crucial to your SEO to keep your content up to date and to add new content regularly.
That said, many of my clients choose to continue our relationship by entering into a retainer agreement with me. For a small monthly fee, I can help you update your site with fresh content, provided by you or, if you choose, I can refer you to a copywriter who will create fresh content and blogs for your website.
Yes. While I I do not provide graphic design services personally, I have a wonderful graphic designer on my team. She has worked with many of my website clients, all of whom have been thrilled with her work.
While I do not provide hosting services directly, I am happy to help you get started, and can even give you a discount! I am adamant about my clients owning their own domain and hosting package – some designers will take care of this for you, but if the relationship goes sour, you may end up without access to your website. I have heard some pretty wild stories over the years.
You are welcome to choose your own hosting service, but I recommend DreamHost. I have used them myself for many years. They are reliable, cost competitive and responsive. I’ve only needed to contact them a couple of times over the years, and each time I was impressed with their service. Now, don’t rush off and sign up just yet! I have promo codes that I will give you for a free domain registration and $25 off your first year of hosting! Once we decide to move forward with your project, I will provide those to you!
Of course, we will include whatever website elements you’d like on your site. Here is a list of things we generally include.
- Content areas such as tabs, toggles and boxes – whatever makes the best design sense for the theme we use and the content you provide.
- Testimonials – these can be displayed in a variety of ways and in a variety of places, from slider on individual pages, to entire pages just for testimonials. And, we don’t have to call them “Testimonials” at all. Some of the things I use are “Our Happy Clients,” “Applause,” “Kudos,” whatever makes sense for your audience and you.
- Contact form that the visitor can fill out and that will come directly to your email Using a form, instead of just publishing your email address, cuts down on SPAM coming to you through your site.
- Capture form – I recommend that you have a way to capture the names and email addresses of folks who visit your site. The best way to do this is with an offer of some sort. This can be a PDF document with valuable information that you don’t normally give out or even a coupon or special offer.
- Slide show(s) – While this is not necessarily appropriate for every site, it can be an effective way of communicating visually with your visitors. A combination of images and words can be very powerful when used properly.
- Social Media links and feeds. Whether you want to ask visitors to like or share you content, or you want to have your Facebook feed right on your site, we can set it up. Is your business on Yelp? Let’s be sure to share all your great reviews!
- Video is an important element to include in your website. If you have videos you’d like to display on you site, we’ll be happy to include them.
- Portfolios & Galleries – if your business is visual, like photography or graphic design, an image gallery is a great way to share examples of your work.
This is just a sampling of elements you might want on your new website. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Be sure to bring it up when we meet to talk about your website.
more complex features, such as shopping carts, complex slider, membership and private access areas, can also be included at your request. Be sure to tell us about any special features you would like during our initial meeting and on your questionnaire.
The original content for your site will be optimized for best SEO results. Your site will also be submitted to the major search engines, a sitemap will be created and Google Analytics will be installed.
For more in-depth search engine optimization, I will offer the services of an SEO specialist. He is extremely knowledgeable and keeps up with all the developments in the world of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Management.