Some web designers charge from $500 to $1,000 for what I consider to be a simple web site. I know that small or home based businesses and working musicians cannot afford that kind of money. I am now offering affordable web design so that you can get out the word about your business or band or even your family, whatever you want others in the world to know about you, how to purchase your services, what your band looks and sounds like, how to contact you - whatever you need.
Since everything can be done electronically, I don't have to maintain office space or regular hours. That helps keep your cost down. I have set up several web sites, both professionally (at my "day" job) and "on the side". Check out the "sites I have done for others" and the Prototype Page for works in progress. My rates are negotiable, but I can offer the Simple Web Site for $100 including loading it to your web server and getting you started registering it with the search engines.
Listed below are the many things you need to consider when setting up a web site -- if you make some of these decisions, you cut down on the time involved in setting up your site and you will make it truly yours! I have tried to use a variety of things in this site to show some of the thing that can be done. I don't like them all - but it's YOUR choice.
What do you Want? - The best way to decide what you want your site to look like is to SURF, SURF, SURF until you find a site that you like and then design yours "like" that. You can use ideas from several sites to come up with your own design.
To Frame or Not to Frame -- although Frames are nice, they aren't always desirable. This site is using frames, but you can accomplish a similar navigation effect by just using tables. I have included both in the Sample Simple Site (Framed or Tabled).
Graphics - Graphics are used for backgrounds, buttons, lines, etc. There are a gazillion places and ways to get graphics. Just don't use too many or your pages will load slowly. (You also need to be careful that you don't use someone else's graphics illegally!)
Pictures - pictures will help show off your band, product or family. The file types that are used in Web Pages are .JPG or .GIF - JPG is better for photographs and GIF is used for graphics. Photographs can be scanned from a real photograph or taken with a digital camera. Pictures for the web need to be small, pictures that you would want to actually print would be much larger and contain more detail than what is needed on the web. Again, don't go overboard with pictures, if your site loads too slowly your visitors will get tired of waiting and LEAVE! I do have some expertise and tools to make your pictures load quickly and still look good.
Music/Audio - Do you want sound clips on your site? Do you know how to record them and make them available? I know a little -- but the more work you can do for yourself, the less expensive the web design. There are several formats that you can use - WAV, MP3, RA, AU - check out RealAudio or MP3 for some information.
Video - You could even do video if you have the web space. Video and audio can take a lot of space.
GuestBook - GuestBooks are where visitors to your site can leave comments for you and others to see. There are lots of FREE GuestBooks available on the internet. All you have to do is sign up for one and then put the appropriate code on your page(s).
Counters and Stats - You probably want to know how many hits you are getting and from where. There are free counters available - some with stats. Some of the web hosting services also offer counters and stats. I have used TheCounter, eXTReMe Tracking, LinkExchange, SiteMeter and WebTrendsLive, but there are plenty more out there.
Banner Exchange - I know you have seen all those banner ads, you have probably even clicked on some of them. There are banner exchange programs available to you for free. When you join a program, you submit a graphic for your site that they will display on other's pages and you put some code in your pages that will display banners from other sites on your pages. It's exactly what it says - Banner Exchange. I am a little dubious about how much benefit you really get from these, but there are some people out there making big bucks on running the exchange!.
Hosting - After you have a web site designed, you have to "host" it somewhere so the world can see it. There are lots of places that will host your site for free (but they put a "banner ad" on your page), or if you have AOL, Prodigy or a local ISP you may already have some web space you can use. Some of the FREE sites include: Xoom, WebJump, GeoCities, HomePage, FreeServers, Fortune City, Acme City, Tripod, AngelFire, etc - each one has a little something different to offer and each will use a different naming convention for your site. Some use yourname.theirname.com (like dwild1.webjump.com), others use members.theirname.com/yoursite (like members.xoom.com/DWild1) - that might be a consideration for you. If you go with one that gives you a long name, you might want to use a "redirection" from a company like V3 so that your URL would be http://zap.to/dwild1 or listen.to or shop.to, etc. Or, for a monthly fee I can host and maintain your site myself - we can negotiate that. Or, you can go all the way and purchase your own domain name (www.yourname.com) and then pay a monthly fee to have it hosted at a hosting site like ProHosting or WebHosting.
Search Engines - Now that you have a web site, you have to get the word out. The search engines like Yahoo, AltaVista, eXcite, Google, Northern Lights, Lycos, HotBot, etc will eventually find you but it could take a year or more. So, you have to get yourself registered with these services - most have an "add url" link that will allow to add yourself. There are also services available (both free and $$) that will help you register your site to several search engines from one place.
Maintenance - Somebody has to maintain your web site to keep the information up-to-date and to post new items. Are you the one that is going to do it or are you going to pay someone? Almost all web sites allow the use of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to transfer files from your computer to your web site (there are some exceptions). Do you want to learn FTP? Do you want to learn HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language is the "code" that runs the pages). There are lots of resources on the internet that can teach you these things. Start with NCSA's Beginners Guide to HTML, or HTML Goodies or WebMonkey.
RATES - Okay, here's the bottom line - although I am not free, I can be had. In most cases, my "hourly" rate is $35-50 per hour (depends on the work). I can put you up a simple web site for $100, if you want to maintain it yourself then that's all there is. If you want me to maintain it, I would be glad to do that for a nominal hourly charge. Contact me at DWild1 and we will see what we can do!
Last Revised: 23 April 2000 10:24 PM -0400