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Old December 23rd, 2004, 07:59 PM   #1
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Who does your Website???

Just an informal poll here...How many people here design/build launch their own websites? And for those who do, what is the best web authoring software available at a decent price? Is the do it yourself route the way to go or should I just hire someone to do it professionally?
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Old December 23rd, 2004, 09:18 PM   #2
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I built mine using Notepad.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 11:24 AM   #3
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I do.

Frontpage 2000. Even I can do it!

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Old December 24th, 2004, 11:52 AM   #4
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I'm a webdesigner and I do web contracts on the side as well as for my day job. Does that answer your question? :)
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Old December 24th, 2004, 02:50 PM   #5
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I do mine too and would be happy to do yours.

And yes, I do it for a living.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 03:04 PM   #6
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I think it was Ben Franklin who said that he who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client. In other words, just because you CAN do your own site, doesn't mean you SHOULD, if you're going for a professional grade look and feel to what you're product or service is.

I'm only saying this because from your question it sounds like it would be too much of an uphill battle for you and the end result may probably be something you won't be proud of. Marketing is where most otherwise brilliant people make fatal flaws - so do yourself the favor and hire a professional. You could be the best at what you do, but if the face on it is buggered, nobody will ever know.

Also, I'm in no way hocking my services. Yes I make websites chug for a living, but I don't do side work so my advice is just that - advice, having seen many make this mistake before.

If budget is your issue, usually the best thing is to find a person who does this as a day job, and see if they can do it as side work. Going with 'your nephew' or 'friend who can do it' can leave you no better off than doing it yourself.


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Old December 25th, 2004, 08:54 AM   #7
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I think an effective approach would be to use something like Dreamweaver (anything but frontpage!!) and build your own site. Get all the text and words the way you want, page navigation, etc. Then find a graphic designer to do a new design, and incorporate that back into your site. This way, the designer has a very clear picture of what your site is about (the biggest issue), you don't have to pay them for copy or simple typing, and you can maintain it for quite a while into the future at no cost.

FWIW, if you look at my site, you will find a "pre-designer" version. I will rework it as soon as cash flow from the business allows. But it works for now, while I refine my message and leanr more about my market. I bought some business cards for $3.99, and used the eyeball logo on those to make the website consistent. SO I did not even need any graphic skills (which I do not have). If I did weddings, I would probably hire a graphic designer sooner.
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Old December 25th, 2004, 12:19 PM   #8
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you can find really good looking templates for about 20$ and if it even to expensive, you could be "suggested" by the many you will find on the web.
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Old December 25th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #9
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I can't fathom why so many wedding videographers have such poor websites and low quality sample videos. But then this is indicative of the market, isn't it?

I'd expect a good videographer to be both creative and techie - the ideal blend of skills to build your own website perhaps? If you don't have the time, I'd thoroughly recommend getting a professional to do it though...

...after all, your clients want the best and hire you over uncle bob, so you should do the same!
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Old December 25th, 2004, 01:37 PM   #10
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<<< I can't fathom why so many wedding videographers have such poor websites and low quality sample videos. >>>

What I find even more amusing is high-end videographers who hire someone to do their web site and end up with something so overwhelmed with Flash animations that you can hardly navigate the site. Personally I think the web would be a better place if we banned Flash altogether, but I have seen a few rare uses of it that were entertaining without being annoying.

I did my own web site for a while until my wife convinced me to spend a few bucks to hire someone who designs web sites for a living. We got some nice graphics and a good page layout which I then modified to suit my tastes, plus my brother is now working on improving the navigation setup and other small touches. I personally dislike Dreamweaver for simple changes because it isn't as straightforward for some things as FrontPage, but I still use the former for most of my web work.

No matter what you do, be sure to have people who aren't web geeks take a look at your site to see if it makes sense to them. Remember that the ultimate point of a web site is to convey information and help people learn something about your services, not to show off someone's ability to use fancy web features.
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Old December 25th, 2004, 01:45 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kevin Shaw: Personally I think the web would be a better place if we banned Flash altogether -->>>

Can't fault your logic with regards to over-designed sites - they can be just as bad for business as an amateur looking one. But remember your website is your online representation of your business: you wouldn't film a wedding dressed in jeans, so why lose potential business by not investing in your site (and by investment I mean your own time as well as money spent)?
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Old December 25th, 2004, 03:19 PM   #12
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Well there's no point in arguing about whether or not Flash is good or bad. Every single development language has had specific focus in the past couple of years on further integrations with Flash. Flash is here to stay, and as its possibilities of data integration continue to develop, it's usage will be synonymous with web development within a couple of years.

That said, it's blind usage without concern for basic usability is, of course, unforgivable. But that goes without saying in any medium. I myself despise overzealous usage of any technology just for the sake of using it, but Flash's future really isn't up for discussion - it's one of those inevitabilities, like color TV.

Also, for beginners and hobbyists, Front Page may be the thing to use, but really, it's a joke application in the real world, like using iMovie to cut a feature. Yes I know there was some movie that made it into Sundance last year that was cut on iMovie, but you get my point. Either way, though, you don't design in an HTML application anyway - you design in something like Photoshop, or heck, a sketchpad, as many extremely good designers I've worked with in the past do. Like storyboarding...
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Old December 26th, 2004, 01:30 PM   #13
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<<<Flash is here to stay, and as its possibilities of data integration continue to develop, it's usage will be synonymous with web development within a couple of years.>>>

I was kidding about banning Flash, but I can't think of any example of it that added any functional value for me as a web site visitor, and many Flash animations actually interfere with navigating a site.

Out of curiosity, what do you have in mind when you refer to integrating Flash with data? What practical application could that have?
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Old December 26th, 2004, 03:06 PM   #14
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Flash and data integration has to do with content management, ecommerce etc. Normal Flash applications are inherently difficult to work with from a maintenance perspective because they're usually created and compiled one way, and only the developer can edit or update them. However, when integrated with database technologies and all the programming that requires, the content can be updated, modified, added or deleted on the fly, by non-Flash developers.

This kind of stuff is pretty much a requirement for reasonably sized sites, and definitely a requirement for ecommerce friendly sites.

Anyway, Flash MX has made great strides in making this sort of thing do-able, and the developer communities for all web scripting environments (JSP, ASP, ASP.Net, PHP) are all hard at work at making these things even more plausible.

The reason for Flash isn't just design widgets, etc., though creating a rich user experience is one of it's great pluses - from a development perspective, it allows concurrent development of the engine of the site and the design of the site. Also, going a little deeper, when you have a flash front-end to a site, the brain-work involved in the display is done by your PC in your web browser, taking the load off the server. Meanwhile, in the background, the server is busy working on what's important for it - crunching numbers, extracting and presenting data, and whatever other 'business rules' you have for your site.

There's a lot more to it, but this is the nutshell.

Now, all this is probably meaningless to most consumer or pro-sumer type sites, but it'll all be feeding into the way you do anything online in the coming years. In addition, Flash is also hard at work making it possible for Flash interfaces to be added to cellphones and such. It'll become so prevalent, the nearest comparison would be to that of a color vs. black and white magazine. Just remember, Flash doesn't have to mean whizz-boom-bang sites that are impossible to navigate and just seem to throw sparkling thingies at you as eye candy. Same design and usability rules should apply.

The ultimate goal is to provide people with rich, interactive experiences that are not only attractive to look at, but intuitive to use, informative or useful in purpose, and confidence-inspiring to the visitor. As broadband internet access increases, technologies are going to change to accomodate and capitalize on that to the fullest. Plain ol' HTML can only provide that to a certain degree. HTML was just a silly little text-based easy-to-use semi-language made for people to communicate easily over ridiculously slow phone lines. Gone is that day, and we're all just basically playing catchup.

And believe me, as a person well versed in the old technologies, I'd love it if all that knowledge didn't eventually become redundant, but we're all having to learn new tricks to keep from being exactly that - redundant.

Of course, no need to drop everything just yet - this is just all stuff coming in the very close horizon.

Now here's a very early example of what I'm talking about. In trying to work through some of these burgeoning technologies, my company (day-job) recently prototyped some of these ideas in a brochure-ware type site for an architectural firm. This site has very limited animation, and very limited general zing, but the point of it is that there is a lot of flash bits here and there throughout it, and the entire content on the site, from the images to the navigation to the featured projects, are all flash and database integrated, so that completely newbie non programmers maintain it.

It's just an early trial on our part, but here's the URL. We actually got a developer's award for it, for the heavy and seamless integration between Flash and database content and traditional HTML. But again, it's admittedly not exactly a fancy 2advanced.com site.

http://www.huntonbrady.com

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Old December 26th, 2004, 07:32 PM   #15
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I've gotta stick up a little for the non flash sites. I think it's kind of like buying a Jaguar X type when a slightly modified Taurus is in essence the same thing, would I take one if it was given to me sure but I would not buy one. I just thought I would put my 2 cents in.

P.S. I use the site studio that I get with my infinolgy site.
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