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  1. Collapse Details
    Development of my website
    #1
    cstanton Guest
    I want to build a web site for my business (it's fairly small at this point - 15 employees), and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to what online web builder programs were out there. I don't want to pay a firm or developer to build it, but I also don't have the time to learn how to program a website. Has anyone used any web based site builders? What were your experiences? Are they easy to use and update? Do you have links to sites built with these builders? (I want it to look professional...)

    Also, should I be concerned about spam or viruses by using on online web builder?

    Thanks!


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    Re: Build website
    #2
    DiTryin Guest
    Let me ask you this... how much is your time worth? $50 per hour? $100 per hour?

    If you spend hours looking for software and more hours learning how to use it and then even more hours designing and tweaking and then more hours fixing things that didn't work, would it have been worth it to hire it out?

    You just need a few pages to showcase what you do -- a 24-hour marketing machine, if you will. A friend of mine builds websites starting at $99. In your situation, it would be worth it just to let someone else deal with it and deliver the finished product -- uploaded and everything -- to you hassle-free.


    Diane


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    Website
    #3
    cstanton Guest
    Diane,

    Thanks for your advice - it's good advice. But I am very particular about things, and don't think that I could explain to someone exactly how I want things. I don't think it would be a good situation for them or me! Plus, I do want to do it myself - I just don't want to learn all the programming. The time doesn't bother me, as I know it will be a fun and beneficial experience, as long as I find a decent online builder. Any ideas?

    Thanks!


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    #4
    Guest
    Is your business important to you?
    Do you want it to achieve itís maximum potential?
    If you could avoid damaging the reputation of your business would you?
    Do you know how the Internet works?
    Do you know how search engines work?
    Do you know how to....

    Well you get the idea... the simple truth of the matter is that you shouldnít learn how to build websites, etc... Using your business as the guinea pig... your business is far to valuable an asset to risk damaging... so why would you want to design your own website.

    I actually design websites for a living have done since 1996, and Iíve worked with clients in all areas of the world... Iím not particularly looking to pick up any additional work (I never turn down work)... however it amazes me that here you are with a business that is obviously going places with fifteen employees... and youíre willing to dame its reputation with a less than professional website.

    I could go on but I wonít, itís non productive... its just that business owners constantly loose business online in thinking that they can do the same sort of job as professionals that have had years of experience in this industry... (get real)....

    Steve Cartwright
    FX Digital Pty Ltd


    [Edited to remove URL drop]


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  5. Collapse Details
    If you want to do it all yourself, then start by learning to build sites in Dreamweaver. If you have products to sell, you can use an online shopping cart service like 2Checkout.com to process your online credit card orders.

    If you get stuck and overwhelmed when building your site, you may want to hire out.


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    website
    I have been in a similar position, and found mambo cms to be fantastic. Easy to use, create content management control... have a look at mamboserver.com Mambo is open source so it is free.

    I believe there a online demo so you can get a feel for it. Hope it helps.

    Ses


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    building your business to success!
    #7
    ddg4chris Guest
    Hi!

    I can understand your dilemma; you feel like you cannot exactly explain what you want someone to do for you. The advice already given is excellent; dreamweaver will give you a professional looking site, but if your technical skills or time are a bit limited I'd say go with the standard drag-&-drop feature offered by many sites. they are all pretty much the same but tripod offers a relatively good one that I have some experience with when I was just starting out.

    let me give you one piece of advice though; if you really want to make a positive inpact on your customers you can design your page yourself; but let someone else write you some webcopy. You will only see the impact of good copywriting after you actually get someone to look at what you wrote (much cheaper than having someone do it from scratch! you write what you want to communicate and someone else makes it better and stronger!). I also have to admit I am not unbiased here; I am a professional copy writer myself and know the importance of words, especially in this competitive market! if you are interested in having someone look at your copy; I'd be happy to give you a few (FREE) pointers on what you already have and I would be able to give you some more information on a revision.
    contact: chr.buske@utoronto.ca

    I hope the webbuilding goes well!! good luck!
    Christine


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  8. Collapse Details
    Consider designing the look
    There have been some good responses to this post. I have to agree with all that discourage you from trying to build a professional site with no experience. The drag and drop programs allow for customizing content but really aren't made for someone who has a specific design in mind as you indicate you do (unless you are skilled in the areas of web design and programming). I would think you would become easily fustrated very quickly.

    You also have to have a good hosting account setup that will allow for you to install the software such as Mambo which requires PHP and MySQL. To truly edit the program in order to customize the look and feel you need to know HTML, PHP and database (MySQL).

    If your biggest concern is communicating with a developer on how you want the site to look, consider investing in photoshop and a good 'how to' book and design the look of the pages. That's how many web designers start in the first place.

    Good Luck


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    I was fortunate
    I found a program through my web provider that was a $300 set up fee, idiot proof set up, total control by me and complete professional look. Now its up and I updated it when I choose.

    Its the web site program for graphically oriented but technologically challenged business owners.


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  10. Collapse Details
    AudioConnell can you tell me what this website tool is? Sounds interesting.

    CStanton, I am also a business owner who, like you, wanted a good website to promote my enterprise. I am also, by accident and now profession, a talented programmer of just about anything (I cut my teeth on databases when I was a kid). I am also fortunate enough to have artistic skills and have worked commercially as a , illustrator, graphic designer and computer aided designer etc. and have built many websites in the past, but it ain't what I do now.

    To further reiterate what everyone seems to be saying here, I would totally leave the process of web-development to a company who do it day-in, day-out, a company who knows how to design to promote, and who can reflect your visual direction and corporate image.
    You have to remember, professionals who work in this field are half artists and half designers, so look at the whole in both ways, aesthetics and functionality, and they have the experience and skill to create anything you wish to digitally and get it online.

    Given my own experience and skills, I could easily develop my own website, and have all the creative control, but someone who does this everyday will no doubt know more than I and have tips and tricks up their sleeves that are beyond me.

    For example, despite my knowledge in this area, I wouldn't have known how to code specifically so that search engines will crawl my site better, thus affecting page ranking etc.
    One also might have dismissed the targeted use of fonts, colours, imagery, textual content etc, as an overall part of the design, and as a reflection of the perceived image of the company - the company's brand etc.
    These are all considerations that must enter into the design of a promotional website, as well as many more factors to reflect on.

    Lastly, if you are to approach a company to develop your web presence, don't make the mistake of thinking your creative direction is the best or even a correct one. Unless you are a design professional, a talented electronic artist or one of the original writers of Photoshop, I would hazard a guess and say that any established webdesign company will have more than enough barrelloads of creative talent to bring your ideas to life, much better than you could probably imagine it. Usually clients who think they know what is best and interrupt the creative flow all the time with things they would like to see, or colours they want to use are absolutely wrong and end up with a pig's ear of a site, and end up blaming the designer...

    The best approach is to have an idea in terms of a concept you wish to communicate, like the perceived culture in your company, or the dynamism of your product, or the absolute solidity of your established enterprise etc.
    A pretty website does not necessarily reflect the brand image your company is trying to cultivate, so your home-made website might be functional and not-so-garish-that-I-vomit, but does it say what you want it to say about your company, or do you even know what your website is saying? Website psychology is akin to advertising campaigns psychology, so treat it seriously - if you were making a TV advert, you wouldn't want to do it yourself just because you're handy with a Sony camcorder and you filmed your daughter's nativity play and now think you're Ridley Scott? (Caveat - unless you are an awesome art house film maker! Or Ridley Scott!)

    I would suggest you approach a reputable webdesign firm, or a multimedia marketing firm to create a web presence for you, rather than think you are the next force in homemade websites - there are millions of home made websites trying to promote their business, try something novel and team up with a good marketing company and /or web design company and realise a much better interpretation of your company brand than you ever could at home (sorry if you really are a somewhat amazing designer/closet programmer, but coming from my background, I can easily challenge you in saying I know something about this industry - and just for the record, I am now a full time Software Engineer so I'm not pitching for the job either!)

    Regards

    Jay


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