Planning Your Website

The very first thing you want to do when starting to making your own web site is to ask yourself “what’s the purpose of this web site?”. Generally speaking, there are two types of web sites: a personal web site, and a business/commercial web site. Personal web sites usually don’t make any money, and you can get a free host ( or if you’re making a personal web site. On the other hand, if you’re planning to promote your business or create your own business by making a web site, I highly recommend that you register your own .com name. Your site will look a lot more professional.

When you have a good idea of what kind of content your web site will have, you might want to draw a very rough layout of your site on a piece of paper. This technique will make it easier to design your real site layout later on. Write down all possible topics your web site might have and think of some “keywords” that will separate your site on different general topics, this will make it easier to make your site’s navigation.

Designing the site

Making your graphics

I first design my whole web site in Photoshop, this way you can make a very unique design of your web site. However, when designing your site you must keep in mind different resolution sizes and consider limiting your graphic widths. So make a file of about 760 wide (actual screen size at 800X600 resolution) so that you don’t get out of boundaries. I’m not going to show a step by step tutorial on how to actually design a web site in Photoshop, it’s beyond the topic, but here are some important things you should consider paying a lot of attention to site logo, navigation bar, backgrounds, and borders.

Also try to stay with at max 4 colors, so that your design looks consistent and professional. If you’re considering making rollover buttons for your navigation bars, make both versions of the buttons right away (the on and off conditions) on different layers. Also, make sure you have all your graphics on different layers so that you can easily modify them later.

Optimizing your Images

After you’re done designing the whole site in Photoshop, go ahead and optimize and save all the graphics separately and put them in one folder called Images. Actually, Photoshop optimizes graphics for you, so your job is to make the size as small as possible while maintaining the best quality. Simply adjust the quality slider. In some cases saving your files as .gif rather than .jpg will yield higher quality yet smaller size, especially for the smaller files with fewer colors. I suggest you try both formats .jpg and .gif.

There is a great technique used by many web site designers (including me đŸ˜‰ is what I call “stretching similar patterns/backgrounds”. For example, see that gradient stretched at the top and the bottom of this screen? Try right-clicking on it and saving it somewhere on your computer. After you save it, go ahead and open it. So what do you see? A very small image which is only 1pixel wide! This technique saves a lot of loading time for your web site, simply save your similar patterns with 1pixel wide, you will be able to stretch it out using background stretching in DreamWeaver.

Making your site live

The final step of the site design is to put all your web site graphics in DreamWeaver/HTML format. I first start by going to the Layout View, in DreamWeaver, and draw one big table of 760px wide and then center it. (Read “Making a simple web site using DreamWeaver”) (Note: I think this is the best and the easiest way to design a nice looking web site for all resolutions). Another technique is to make your middle table auto stretchable so that your web site can fill up the whole screen. However, I do not recommend using this technique because your web site becomes less flexible. By designing your site in 760px wide table you will be sure that you won’t get out of boundaries of any resolution above or equal to 800X600 and you can place your graphics and content where ever you want at the same time.

What Are Your Needs For A Website

Are you a plumbing business looking to advertise your business to prospective customers, or how about
a dentist’s office trying to achieve new business by building a site. Or maybe you are an e-commerce company that sells products online? The first step in planning a website is deciding what exactly you want and need to help get your business or venture online most effectively. Most web designers work with an array of clients ranging from anyone like small business owners, authors, musicians, to medium-large sized corporations. So luckily, this means that when you enquire about website design, odds are that he/she will have worked on a project similar to yours. Often times, they will be more than happy to lead the process by asking you questions and helping you determine exactly what you want.


The budget is a very big part of the website planning equation. Many times budget is the determining factor in which way you go as far as a designer is concerned. A few suggestions when planning a web design budget would include:

1. Be prepared to spend money. Often times people under-estimate the expense of hiring a web designer to build your website project. Remember that you are paying not only for their design eye and expertise but their time to develop a large project for you. Although you will find designers on all ends of the spectrum as far as price goes, do your homework when picking a web designer.

2. Be specific with your goals. Know what your goals are for your website are. Some of these goals might include:
Drive traffic to your website for customers and clients to read about your services, contact information and more
Sell products online, use an online dedicated shopping cart for customers to use, demonstrations of products by use of video, music, multimedia, etc..

Have customers access an online database with their information for record-keeping, to access guarded or confidential information, etc.


When do you need your new website finished and ready for the world to see? Did you need it last week? Are you relaxed about it and are fine with it being finished as you find time? Most often, web designers will require that both you the client, and the designer stick to a very detailed and organized timeline to ensure that all goals get met with comfort and ease. More importantly, it is good to establish these details upfront to eliminate any gaps in communication.


The web design process is normally straight forward when working with a web design company for your solutions. Although the process in which a website is crafted starting with the concept of creation varies, a few normal steps are pretty universal.

1. Registering a domain name. A domain name is your ( name which people will type into the search bar when bringing up your website. Choosing a good domain name is very important as it will be the name that people remember your site. For that reason, we recommend choosing a name that is simple to remember, not too long, and lastly, related to your business. Adding in keywords that you are trying to target in a search is very effective as well. For example, If I am a painting company in Meridian, a great domain name may be Notice how this name includes 2 very important keywords, with one being the industry (painting) and one being your location (Meridian).
You will most likely find that many of these domain names are already taken, so it may require you to think it through for a while.

2. Setting Up Web Hosting. What is Web Hosting? Read more details about what web hosting is and why you need it. In a nutshell, the internet is comprised of many very large computers called “servers” which run 24/7 365 days a year. These servers “host” every single website that is currently online. Think of web hosting like a parking lot, with your website being the car. Without web hosting, your website is not online, plain and simple. Many web design companies will offer very affordable web hosting packages which include some cool perks like unlimited email accounts, etc.. Email accounts associated with the website are all controlled through your hosting/web design company. Although you can buy your own hosting, most people find it to be a much larger headache trying to control all of the back-end management themselves and would rather hire a design firm to manage this. After all, if you’re going to spend the money on a website, you’ll find that it’s worth paying for website hosting through that web design company.

3. Layout. The layout stage is when the actual graphic design and elements will be created for your approval. The layout acts as the framework and foundation for the entire site. Your designer will and should be clear and precise with your requests as well as any changes that you both see fit.

4. Finishing the Site. Once the layout has been approved, the rest of the site will be filled out using content provided normally by the client, as well as placing images, video and other multimedia into place.