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Frequently Asked Questions about web design

How much does a website cost?

Number 1

This is the most frequently asked question of all time. To which the answer is a weasely: "it depends."

It depends on how much work is involved in creating the site: how many pages, how may images, does it require writing, does the Web site have any forms.

The more time that is involved, the more it costs. But to give you a rough idea, prices start from a few hundred pounds (GBP) for a basic five page site.

There are two ways of approaching this: either you give us a budget and a brief, or – if you are getting several of quotes from other companies – give us a brief and we'll give you a price.

How long does it take?

Number 1

Again that weasel rears its head, and the answer is: "it depends."

Once the structure, layout and content have been agreed, you can guess that a basic 5 page design can be on a test site within 2 working days.

You then need to allow a further 24 hours for us the check it on different browsers, PCs and Macs and get validation by W3C.

Clients always take this period to make last minute amendments, and only once it has been fully approved, does a site go live.

Will it make me rich?

Number 1

There are many misconceptions about the web, and tall claims about what it can do.

Yes, you do have immediate access to millions of potential customers and clients for the price of a little ad in the Yellow Pages. But you must remember that your site is competing against millions of other business to get noticed.

(This site, for example, is up against 510,000,000 other Web Design sites to get your attention.)

To get on the Golden number 1 page of Google there are two approaches:

Passive (website design and content) – It needs to be of a decent size, in copy and pages, that are being regularly updated. You should not look at it purely as a few pages about your company, but a source of information about your area of expertise, that people will keep coming back to.

The industry phrase, which is quite nice, is called making your website "sticky." Other features that help are: newsletters, interactive elements, RSS feeds, and blogs.

Active – Links from other sites are vital to get noticed, not only by other people, but they are also highly valued by the search engines. Until your site matures, a Google Adwords campaign is a comparatively cheap way to get up on the first page.

Finally, it is a case of going out there and shouting about your site to generate traffic. Getting the web address prominent on all your print and marketing materia, use advertising and promotions – a website should be looked on as one ingredient in your marketing mix.

How big should it be?

Number 1

The best way to start is with a blank piece of paper and jot down all the relevant information your potential clients/customers would need to choose you business.

Look at it from their point of view. What information do they need to know, and how does that logically break down into pages/categories.

The home page for instance should be looked on like the front cover of a magazine - notice how they have callouts and headings, everything they can think of to get you to look inside.

The first tier of navigation should cover all information someone should need to choose you, pick up the phone or send an email.

From this layer you can push down, into secondary and tertiary tiers, expanding on topics and becoming a source of information not only about your business, but your industry.

Obviously if you are on a tight budget, just two or three pages will do to start, but remember this is just the start - if a website is going to work for you, you are going to have to work on it.

Northstar web design