Hosting and Domain Names
A hosting service provides space on their server for your website and database. Before a domain (www…) can be seen on the internet, it needs to be hosted somewhere. This involves 2 things:
- the domain
- the hosting account that holds the files and database that are the structure and functionality of your website.
To find which names are available, go here and search for the one you want.
HWD will be happy to secure your domain if necessary, and/or host your website on our servers, which are rented from Godaddy.com. You are also free to set up and manage your own domain and/or hosting account. Godaddy hosting has proven to be a very reliable, secure, and user friendly platform. If you elect to host with another company, be aware there may be unexpected delays related to the quality of their service.
All our websites are built on the WordPress platform. WordPress is beneath the hood of over 20% of the websites in the world today. It is open- source, free, and constantly being developed, ie. made better, more secure, and more feature- rich and is updated periodically to stay current with web standards. WordPress provides you with a client user interface which is friendly and intuitive, and looks/ operates much like a MS Word editor. WordPress is a free- standing application, meaning it can easily be transferred between servers should you wish to change your hosting arrangement, and another developer is as close as craigslist, should you wish to move or change webmasters for whatever reason.
Theme or Custom Design
Your website can be based (with as many customizations in terms of color, typeface, hiding various elements, adding functionality, etc.) on a pre-designed theme, or a fully custom design. I recommend themes from a reputable company that updates their work regularly and provides customer support in the case of minor bugs. A nice thing about WordPress is that you can elect to change your theme at any time, something HWD is happy to do, or can even be done yourself in some cases. With 100% custom websites, we have a design process based on mockups, or images of what your website will look like. You decide how many different mockups you want to look at, and then one is chosen, or we are sent back to the drawing board. You get to see what you are getting before I go into the next phase, which is coding the website into the WordPress format.
Web Functionality/ Applications
WordPress has endless functional extensions, known as plugins, which we can use to do just about anything on your website. From e-commerce, to appointment scheduling, to full scale branded social network communities like Facebook, anything is possible with WordPress plugins.
The Design and Development Process
The design and development process is primarily dependent on you, the client. Many of my first time clients assume there is a standard procedure and they are eager to learn what that is. The answer, like many relationships, is complicated!
HWD is a small company (1 person with on call support team), so communication about your project is done on a one-on-one basis. There are many paths to the same goal- so we will choose the one that works best for you and your project.
Here a very general overview of “the process”:
- Pre-development– we meet, or talk on the phone or skype, and discuss the scope of the project
- An estimate is presented, with terms for acceptance and signing, and a deposit made
- With guidance, you will choose a theme, or we will decide on a custom design process
- Decision on hosting made
- Development– Either theme is purchased and customizations begun, or we enter the mockup design process described above
- Feedback on design specs, changes until client is happy
- If custom, site is coded and put up on the web as a development site, so you can see it and give more feedback
- Once design is handled, we move onto the functionality layer, adding the desired plugins
- final tweaks in terms of design, function, and cross-browser testing (making sure it looks the same on all browsers and platforms)
- launch of website and final payment made
High quality images
If you have an existing logo, it should be in vector format if possible. The most common vector formats are Postscript (.eps) and Illustrator (.ai). A vector format allows the logo to be scaled (changed in size) without losing quality. A .jpg file is not a vector format. If not, try to shoot for high resolution. The best resolution for photographs is 300dpi (dots per inch). High resolution provides the designer greater scope for resizing. Images for slideshow elements should be larger, and able to be cropped into a panorama.
Images and text in their final form
Any text, photographs, illustrations or other material provided by the client should be given to me before work starts. All materials provided by the client should be in their final draft form.
Ownership info for third party images and text
When the client is providing images, audio/video or text sourced from someone else, it’s crucial to also provide information on the legal permissions which have been obtained for the use of the material (if any are required). If attribution (credit) is required, the details should be provided to the designer before any work commences.