One of the most common questions I get when I tell people that I work on computers is “Do you make Websites?” Now I have gone with the answer “I can refer you to someone” or “My company has a great designer”. However the truth of the matter is that me Joseph Carmine Serrago from sector 2814 third planet Sol system (yes that was a Green Lantern joke) can’t make a website. Well at least not one that I am particularly proud of. I know I should be able to do this. I mean I wrote HTML when I was in middle school doing basic web pages in notepad.
So I looked to the wisdom of one of the great minds of our time. Adam Savage.
4. Use a project to learn a skill. I don’t know about you but I need a goal to learn a skill. I can’t deconstruct and just learn welding for welding’s sake. I need to have something that only welding will bring me. Look around and find something you need to build. Something you can’t help but build.
So I decided to try to teach myself how to build a really good website. However website design, really good website design really needs three very dis-partitive skills.
The Artistic: The ability to make the site memorable, easy to read and appealing to people. After all your site’s content could be incredibly useful but its useless if you cant read and understand it.
The Analytic: The ability to understand your websites content, to make sure that its getting the right traffic, that search engines can find it and its finding it using the right keywords.
I WANT TO BUILD!
Also a wysiwyg (What you see is what you get) editor might be worth the investment. I went with Microsoft Expressions Web. This will allow you to drag and drop elements, text boxes, pictures similar to you would with other Microsoft products.
Also take a look at other sites. Not just sites in your industry or about your topic, look at there design elements, where they keep the interesting stuff, how its laid out.
If you decide to build just remember rule. 7. Discouragement and failure are intrinsic to the process. Don’t hide from these. Talk about them. They’re not enemies to be avoided, they’re friends, designed to teach your humility. Go easy on yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others; go ahead and be envious of others’ skills, because frequently you can’t not. Use that.
There is going to be some trial and error, in my case allot of error, but I just didn’t want to have a site I wanted to learn the skill.
I WANT TO HIRE!
Now if you go this route I understand, but finding someone that has all these three qualities (Artistic, Technical and Analytic) is going to be tough. So if you do need a really good website, professional with advanced features (online store, database work) you might look for a company that has a design team. Two or three people that can cover all the aspects of building a great website. Going this way might get a bit pricey.
If the site you need is simpler, you might want to go with an independent or freelancer, maybe someone that is just starting out and needs to build his portfolio.
Whoever you hire company, independent, student just starting out: make sure to take a look at there previous work. Do all the sites look similar? (as the same template over and over again) Do any of the sites have the elements you want? Also how much will the designer charge for changes and additions to the site once its up? Also you want to make clear who owns the domain name, where its registered, who has access to it, and when does it need to be renewed. I have seen many companies have issues with there sites because there designer went out of business or that there domain name got bought by someone else after the registration expired.Soon I will be launching the New Lanterns Light LLC site and I would love your feedback. Please feel free to visit the old site at www.lanternslight.us and feel free to slam me with what you think of it. Please be brutal, specific and honest, its the only way to a better site. Also if you want to share some of your tips or tricks please let me know.
Right now let me know if any of you need help with your computers, and give me a call till then I will be working on knocking some of the ugly off this site of mine.