I get questions all the time on my site from “can you put video into a web page” to “can you change the colors of my theme’s buttons” and related questions. I don’t think the general public actually knows what we as designers and developers do so I thought I’d break it down the details of what I do on any given day depending on the project I’m working on. Believe me there ‘s more to it than I’ll describe and I hope you get an idea of the exactly what goes into my work from images to copy writing.
Framework (Structural Content)
Think of your site as a skyscraper and on that skyscraper are external windows, columns … all the outside visual beauty that you see. Internally, a solid steel foundation is first made to hang these ornamental features onto. Your website is no different. The images you see, the words you read and everything else visually present are hung on an internal structure that makes up a website. This internal structure needs to be solid and robust enough to grow as the site grows and be built to the latest standards so you have a great working site that doesn’t break.
Static or Dynamic
Depending on your site’s content, rather it be static, a site who’s content doesn’t change over time or dynamic, a site who’s content changes frequently, your site will be built according to your content. If your site is dynamic, I use WordPress as the structural underpinnings for your site. Static, I use HTML/CSS. I build your site with the latest standards in our industry so know your site will be built in a stable and robust way to hold all the images and content we put into a site.
Built to Standards
So just know that at buttah design, your site will be built to handle images, movies, sound, your content and anything else you want to place within your site. All of these external features, features that you see, have a strong foundation and because your site is built with this robust foundation, changes to your content are easily made. Need to change the color of those buttons? Not a problem. And the same goes for all your media and body copy. I utilize the latest way to create websites that affords me ample ways to change the content should we need to make changes in the design.
The Media is Your Message
I’ve yet to see a site without images. Most sites have many images and the questions arising for images or media in general are many. The media needs to fit your message of the site. It’s important that a site is created with a clear message in mind. As such, images are the main medium used and where do these images come from? Does the designer produce them? Do you want me to actually take the pictures for your site? Or will you produce the images either taking them yourself or purchasing them from an image warehouse?
Images need Editing
In any of these cases, all images need to be edited to gain the most to fit your theme. I’ll need to crop them to fit the placeholder images in your design. I’ll need to label them, add meta data so the search engines can find your images and promote your site via SEO. I may even have to further edit the images in terms of color changing or enhancing them. In any case, all images need the following: a label, meta description and proper cropping to fit your theme. Now that’s just one image and one medium. If you have hundreds of images to your site and multiple video, there’s a lot of work going into getting everything right. I wrote a previous article on All the Details of web designing. Building a website is managing the enormous amount of details going into a site. It takes careful thought and this takes time and time, as you know, is money.
Have your images Ready
If coming to me with a website in mind, you can save yourself a lot of money by having the images ready with a label name and make sure you have the rights to the image. Don’t steal. But them, if you must, from a reputable on site image warehouse or from a free site or take them yourself. Have the images ready, label and I’ll do the rest … cropping, adding the meta data and any editing. Realize, the more images or media you have, the more work there is for us as designers to do. But that’s our job not yours. Understand this is what we do. This is our job so leave the details for us. Your site will be better for it.
Body Copy (Main Content)
Body copy or your site’s main content are the words used throughout your site. Just as images portray a message, your content needs to clearly deliver your message to your customers. This is so important I cannot stress it enough. Your content needs to be perfect grammatically because it’s on the web where it stays for all to see. It’s not like a newspaper where one typo is there and no big deal. Tomorrow there will be another edition and no one will remember that type. On the web, once it’s published, the world sees your content in all it”s beauty. So the grammar needs to be perfect as can be.
Get Outside Help
If you’re not that good of a writer, get a professional copy writer to do the work for you. In the end, this pays dividends because beautiful prose on a website dedicated to your message is beautiful indeed. And if that’s out of the question, have your web designer write your content. Personally, I’ve done it on many sites once I know the site’s message. In medicine, I wrote countless reports and for me, if the customer wants me to write the copy for them I’d love to do it. I use to have to write in passive voice for these reports and changing around to writing in active voice as been rather easy. Once I have the message in front of me, let me have at it and I believe you’ll have great content once we’re done. I like to have the customer write it up first to get their feelings in it, their style and from there, I change it up as needed so we both end up with great copy.
Draft it Till it’s Right
If it takes 4 or 5 drafts to get it right it’s worth it because in the end, once on the web it’s not going to change. Let’s get it right from the start and the site will be better and you, the customer, will be happier knowing your content has been tailor made to fit your message to reach your audience and watch your numbers climb.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO for Search Engines
SEO to the average client is mind boggling. They have no idea what it is or how to do it. Let’s just say that SEO is important to the search engines, Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, to find your site on the web. Better SEO means your site appearing higher, towards page 1, of the search engines. With research showing users rarely going past page 1 in the search results, it’s important that you do good SEO so your customers can see your website amongst the millions others out there.
Meta Tags are Everywhere
You can either higher an SEO company do your SEO but just so you know, I do your site’s SEO here at buttah design. I do basic SEO on every page within your site rather it be a static site or dynamic site. I enter the title’s meta description, the meta description per page, all the media meta descriptions and any other SEO meta tags that need to be inputted. Depending on the size of the site and whether it’s static or dynamic ( a plug-in can be used here to add meta tags to every page of the site that will save valuable time and money) this may be 2-3 hours work or more or 2o minutes. Just realize again that every piece of content whether it be images or body copy has an associated meta tag to it that needs to be written and that takes time.
Buttah Does SEO
Unless you have access to a program and do this work yourself, there’s no way around it. Usually I do it or an outside company your hire will do SEO. I think I do a rather fine job in terms of SEO being that buttah design’s SEO score is 99% and I am on page 1 of search engine queries for a number of keywords. Building my site has turned me into a person that wants to do well in SEO for I always strive to do my best. If you decide you want me to do your basic SEO in terms of adding the appropriate SEO meta tags, I’m happy to do that. I think there’s a lot to SEO and I do my best to deliver for my clients the best I can give. I want your site appearing well in the search engines. And if I can get my site doing well in the listings, I know I can do that for you also. It takes time and money but I charge far less than the big corporations do. As always, it’s your choice. I’m trying to give you an understanding of what’s involved.
Designing the Best That I Can
I hope this gave you, my current and future clients, an idea of what’s involved when I design and develop your site. I take a mindful approach with the current standards to deliver a site that strong in terms of framework and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. My style is such I build you a site as if I was building my own. It just has to be the best of me I can do. And that involves a lot of detailed work which takes my time. And with time is money, I need you to understand that this detailed work is something I love to do and I’m good at. In addition, you get a robust foundation to start with and with your images or mine, we together create a site you can be proud of. So when I building a site, my time is yours to deliver the best site possible. Website take between 2-4 weeks to produce so you have a guideline on that. I look forward to working with you in the near future. Contact me and let’s get started on your next project.