You need Web Design
Whether you do it yourself or
hire a web designer to do it for you,
your web site needs to be
to meet all the requirements for...
- visual appeal
- technical functionality
- compliance with web standards
- usability and accessibility
Those are just the basics that would qualify a web site as properly designed. Strictly speaking, that's all a "web designer" does. So if you want more than that for your website (and you should, if you want it to accomplish any of your goals), you need the help of someone who is more than just a web designer.
You need Website Development
When people talk about Web 2.0 websites, what they're really saying is that the web is more and more social and interactive. So if you want a web site that is dynamic in that way, you need it to incorporate coding and/or programming for the features you want:
- blogging and managing your own content
- forums, bulletin boards, chat rooms
- social networking and members-only areas (membership sites)
- RSS feeds, mailing list opt-in forms, autoresponders
- photo sharing, wishlists, games, polls, ratings,...
- and of course, shopping carts for e-commerce
Many features are available through code or software that a web designer can easily incorporate. For custom projects, however, or customization of existing software, you need someone who can program for the web.
You need Website Set-up and Maintenance
All the technical administrative stuff can seem daunting to you if you aren't familiar with it. Heartwood Web Design can help you get set up with domain name registration and web hosting, and maintain your site for you to whatever extent you wish: from full technical service and content updates, to just the back-end tech support while you maintain your own front-end with a content management system (CMS).
Actually, you need more than just a Web Site
Heartwood Web Design goes beyond graphic design and html coding, and even web programming, to the Bigger Picture of what a website needs to accomplish: connecting your intended audience with what it is you offer, to serve both you and your web visitors positively and effectively. So your web site can be more than just a web site: it can be an Effective Web Presence, designed with the Big Picture in mind:
- search engine optimization
- web traffic
With that in mind, here are the details on the parts of that Picture that are specifically about web design, website development, and web site set-up and maintenance:
The basic tasks of
These are the tasks we do for you when you hire us under a basic web design contract:
- web page visual layout
- web optimized graphics
- web page source code structure
- web site navigation structure
- HTML/XHTML coding
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
- cross-browser compatibility testing
If you prefer to handle some of these tasks yourself and have us handle the rest, we can work with you as a collaborator, coach, or consultant.
When you want
These are the tools we use to incorporate any interactivity features you wish to provide for your visitors and any content management system you'd like to use to keep your site updated and fresh with new content:
- PHP programming
- MySql databases
We can create customized themes and skins for your CMS, and help you install extra plugins, components and modules for additional features.
and tech support
We can help you set up, configure, and maintain the technical and administrative aspect of your web site:
- domain name registration
- web hosting
- FTP file upload
- web software installations
- email accounts and forwarding
- web page and domain redirects
- CMS settings configurations
We can also help you with content maintenance: updating prices, calendars, and other time-sensitive contents, and creating new content to keep your site fresh.
We make a distinction between "website development" and "web development." Web development is what we call it when a web programmer creates a new program or website framework for the web in general, or contributes to developing an existing one. Website development, on the other hand, is what we call it when existing web tools are used to customize interactivity and other features on a specific site.
The price for any particular web design project is dependent on a number of factors:
- the type of web site needed (blog, e-commerce, membership site, etc.)
- the degree of complexity and specialization involved
- interactivity features to be included (video, forms, restricted access, chat, uploads, etc.)
- whether any resources such as photos are included or need to be sought out
- whether any resources such as photos need to be transferred from hardcopy to electronic format
- the deadline requested: short notice may require that the web designer work overtime hours, entailing a higher rate
- the value of the design in terms of branding and originality
The amount of time it takes to complete a web design project depends on the same factors as those involved in cost, as well as the web designer's existing workload and the amount of time allowed for quality control.
A deadline is reasonable if it allows the web designer to work at a pace of 8 hours a day, keeping in mind that creative work involves experimentation and proper gestation time, not just steady execution. Faster work can sometimes be negotiated, depending on the circumstances and the web designer's existing workload. It is best to allow for as much notice as possible in case the web designer's workload cannot accommodate immediate full dedication to the new project.
Each project is different, and we will need to see the details of your request before we can evaluate the project's complexity and other factors that affect price and schedule, and provide your free estimate accordingly. However, the following examples will help you make an initial estimate of the possible cost of your project (in Canadian dollars; web hosting is extra):
- $50 to $100: setting up a WordPress site with an existing theme, modifying it if need be to include a new image that you provide (e.g. your existing logo), and configuring it with recommended widgets and plugins; you create your own content pages and posts.
- $500 - $1000: custom design of layout and look, with creation of graphics; you create your own content.
- $5000 - $10,000: custom design of layout and look, with creation of graphics; copy and content writing with search engine optimization and marketing in mind; moderate amount of interactivity or e-commerce.
- over $10,000: as above, but with more of any or all of the following: interactivity or e-commerce, copy and content creation, graphics creation, elaborate design.
Special rates may be negotiated for small non-profit groups that are unable to secure funding through grants.
From time to time we may have free graphics available for download, such as web buttons, clipart, or WordPress themes.
If you have a web design job for which you might wish to hire us, we invite you to proceed as follows:
- Request an estimate: Please send us a detailed description of your request for a free, no-obligation estimate of the cost and timetable. Please indicate whether you will be supplying resources such as photos or existing branding materials.
- Communicate your time requirements: In your request, please indicate whether you have a specific deadline that must be met that may affect whether we can accommodate you within the timetable of our existing workload.
- Send your answers to the questionnaire: we will send you a set of questions about your branding, your intended audience, your goals for your web site, etc. Your answers will help us tailor the web design and development to your specific needs, and estimate the time and cost of doing so.
- Confirm your acceptance: Once you have received our Proposal including Terms & Conditions and an estimate of cost and timetable, please let us know whether you wish us to proceed. We will not assume your consent, so you must confirm it before we start working on your project.
- Send any relevant materials: if you have an existing logo or branding guidelines, or if you are supplying photos or text to be included, please send them as follows:
- If possible, we prefer to receive any resources and instructions in electronic format, sent by email or made available by download from a website. If in PDF, please ensure it is editable and not locked.
- If you are not able to provide an electronic copy of your resources, please send the hard copy to our mailing address and email us a short message alerting us to expect the postal mail.
- Review the initial mock-ups: we will submit one or several proposed designs in draft versions for your approval. Now is the time to ask for adjustments. Major time-consuming revisions may necessitate additional costs, while minor tweaks and adjustments will not affect the original cost estimate.
- Pay the initial invoice: This covers the work done on the mock-ups and is payable even if you decide not to use any of the proposed designs after all.
- Approve the finalized version: Once you are satisfied with any changes, we will finalize the design and upload or deliver it in the file formats needed.
- Pay all subsequent invoices: Depending on the scope of your project, one or two payments may be sufficient. If the project is more involved and time-consuming, though, we may bill you for work done on a monthly basis or on a schedule that we have negotiated together.
- Reap the benefits! We trust you will be happy with your new web design and that it will serve you well.
Any questions or special requests? Please feel free to contact us!