Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Looking to get a website designed

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  • May 23rd, 2006 3:45 am
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Jr. Member
Dec 19, 2004
193 posts
35 upvotes
Thornhill
Hey

A friend and I own Lucid Graphics & Printing in Montreal (www.lucidgp.com)... a basic site will cost ~350$ (something like www.bumperfixpro.com)

We can also print you basic stuff to setup your small business, ie business cards 500 for 45$ full color, 1000 for 60$. Actually there isn't a minimum, you can print 250 if u want.

Anyway hope this isn't considered spam etc, just trying to help out. We are small and we tailor our business towards other small businesses.

thanks!
Deal Addict
Sep 20, 2003
2137 posts
22 upvotes
Paa
First off, I am no longer in the industry, but I've worked on sites ranging from small restaurant sites to large multinational corporations so here's my advice to you

You get exactly what you pay for. Sometimes you may get lucky and find an amazing deal, but if you pay $500, then expect to have $500 worth of work done. Without knowing more about your requirements, I would say the minimum cut off for quality work is $1000+ if you go with a professional. This does not take into consideration going with a student looking to build a portfolio or overseas work.

Watch out for overseas companies. As with everything, there are good ones and there are bad ones. I was looking to develop a custom module for a site i was working on (one person's work) and I got this stupid quote from an indian company that involved a project manager, a lead programmer and two additional programmers. Their portfolio also looked like ass. Suffice to say, they did not get the contract. Again, you'll find good and bad.


Have an idea of what content you will want on the site. The good developers will work with you to flesh it out, but it helps to have a goal in mind. Take care of your copy writing yourself, but get someone else to read it over. Typoes are *very* unprofessional. Also keep in mind that for web, you in general will want to keep it short and punchy. People have small attention spans.

So how do you find a good developer?

Look at their portfolio. If their sites look like this..
http://www.mysteriesofthemind.com/ScienceOfBeing.htm
http://www.robhand.com/availpub.htm

.. then you likely want to look elsewhere.

For examples of good websites look here
http://webstandardsawards.com/

Insist on semantically correct html (seperation of style from content). You don't need to know what it is, just need to know about these advantages to you:

- Your site is accessible in a wider range of devices (IE, PDAs) by simply changing a stylesheet
- Your site is accessible to more people (IE, blind people, people with poor eyesight, etc etc) thus you can reach a larger client base
- Your site is indexed by the search engines better because they can see the content clearly defined better... for example.. (replace the [] with brackets )

Bad - non semantic

[HTML]

[table][tr height="50"][td width="500"]
[p][font size="2" face="arial" color="#333333]Text[/font][/p]
[/td][/tr][/table]

[/HTML]

vs

Good - semantic
[HTML]

[div id="content"]
[p class="highlightedText"]Text[/p]
[/div]

[/HTML]

- It is cheaper to maintain in the long run as there is less markup to go through
- Pages load faster. The stylesheet is cached and thus you have lower bandwidth costs (they are negligible, but nevertheless there)

Easy way to ask potential designers (one of many criteria) - do you use tables for layout? If they say yes, then walk away.

If you want to check yourself, go to a recent web site in the portfolio, view > source on a page that isn't likely to have tabular data (say.. a welcome page). If you see a bunch of td, tr, and table tags.. walk away

Ok, i think most everything else has been covered by others.

In case you are wondering - most of the sites that have been linked in this thread are using (poor) techniques from the 90s and are not even close to what a modern web site should look like both from an aesthetic and/or a coding point of view.

edit: as someone else mentoned, work out a budget for maintanence of your site as well as advertising
Newbie
Oct 10, 2001
50 posts
3 upvotes
Sudbury
DaFonz - You made many good points but I don't think the statement about tables is the best advice.

[QUOTE]Easy way to ask potential designers - do you use tables for layout? If they say yes, then walk away. If you want to check yourself, view > source on a page that isn't likely to have tabular data (say.. a welcome page). If you see a bunch of td, tr, and table tags.. walk away[/QUOTE]

With that logic (view->source->table tags (table,td,tr)) people would stop visiting RFD, NHL.com, Google.com, etc...
Sr. Member
Jul 23, 2003
505 posts
21 upvotes
Chatham
Padriac Filch wrote:DaFonz - You made many good points but I don't think the statement about tables is the best advice.
With that logic (view->source->table tags (table,td,tr)) people would stop visiting RFD, NHL.com, Google.com, etc...
That is not the logic DaFonz is proposing. Nobody will deny that there are a number of popular sites that still rely on tables for layout. The point is that no new sites should have that. So if your designer still uses tables for layouts he is merely a wannabe and really shouldn't do any webdesign/development professionally.
Deal Addict
Jul 29, 2002
1943 posts
75 upvotes
GroceryBagHead wrote:That is not the logic DaFonz is proposing. Nobody will deny that there are a number of popular sites that still rely on tables for layout. The point is that no new sites should have that. So if your designer still uses tables for layouts he is merely a wannabe and really shouldn't do any webdesign/development professionally.
True, but css table-less layout still requires some hack to be cross-browser compatible (IE). However IMO it is a good indicator for the buyer to use to evaluate the skill level of the designer.
Newbie
Oct 10, 2001
50 posts
3 upvotes
Sudbury
I wasn't disagreeing with DaFonz about asking the developer questions prior to selection. I also agree that css table-less layouts have many advantages.

However, DaFonz also said that you could check for yourself by using View->Source and that if you saw tables tags... walk away. I was only suggesting that this should not be your only measuring tool for selecting your developer. As GroceryBagHead said, you could be looking at sites that have been around for some time or that have not been updated to take advantage of the css features.

[ Two cents thrown in :) ]
Deal Addict
Sep 20, 2003
2137 posts
22 upvotes
Paa
Sorry - meant it as a fast way to check out recent sites in the developers portfolio.. guess I should have mentioned that. Post updated
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jul 19, 2003
7581 posts
449 upvotes
tables should be used for tabular data

they are XHTML compliant afterall

a good example would be a library list of books. I'd recommend they use tables. Of course, your website may not have a long list of data.

So keep in mind, sites like NHL will have tables for player stats, but if you catch them using it layout of the website(I haven't checked, but that may be the case) then their designer is unprofessional/behind.
Jr. Member
Dec 16, 2005
123 posts
Excellent post by dafonz. As a webdesigner, I can vouch that he's right about what to ask of potential designers. I would add that a professional webdesigner must build websites that conform to web standards (as set out by W3C). If they don't know what you're talking about when you ask them about this, to quote dafonz, walk away.
Deal Addict
Sep 20, 2003
2137 posts
22 upvotes
Paa
Not just W3C, but even section 508 and WAI accessability standards. Section 508 is mandated in the states, but it's still a good idea to try to follow.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 19, 2005
1508 posts
41 upvotes
DaFonz wrote:Not just W3C, but even section 508 and WAI accessability standards. Section 508 is mandated in the states, but it's still a good idea to try to follow.
Yep, DaFonz knows what he's talking about.

On the other hand, as much as I hate to admit it, you could also walk away with an ugly/simplistic/coded in 1998 technology website and a whole lot of profit from it... if you know a thing or two and have some knowledge of online marketing and promotions ;) Then again, not many people know how...

And you definitely get what you pay for... A good designer who understands value (value of his own time and other people's time) won't even bother with clients whose budget is low (in my case $500) even for the simplest 2-3 page website, because it is not worth the time spent in all the research, background investigation work and then design, programming and customization, plus the copywriting... or paying the employees to do that.

Plus there's no point in rushing it, slapping on something real fast and doing a half-assed job because then nobody wins - client is not satisfied, designer is not satisfied because client is not satisfied and such client cannot provide him a decent testimonial/referral/help his business grow, etc, etc.

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