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Different Types of Websites

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The internet is home to millions of websites, some are meant for entertainment, some for business and others are used to present personal opinions. According to Wikipedia, a website is simply a location connected to the internet that maintains one or more pages on the World Wide Web.

Blogs/ weblog

A blog is simply an informational or a discussion website that is made up of posts displayed in a reverse chronological order where the recent posts appear first. The term blog came from weblog.

Why do you need a blog?

  1. Blogs help their owners build relationships with customers; a blog provides the user a place to register satisfaction or disappointment, this helps the owner know what he or she is doing right or wrong.
  2. Blogs build trust, a blog gives the impression that you are listening, and you are there for the users, this builds trust between the owner and the user, it can also be used to give expert opinions.
  3. Marketing: the sharing option that comes with blogs, can be used to market your business and reach new audiences, blogs are also SEO optimized making it easy to find them.

Commercial website/ ecommerce

A commercial website is any type of website that generates a cash flow or revenue, it is important to understand that a website that generates revenue for a nonprofit organization is not ranked as an ecommerce website. Commercial websites are those that

  • Sell services/products
  • Sell advertisements

The importance of commercial websites

  • Commercial websites make it easy for users to find your business though search engines such as Google or yahoo. It is basically your online headquarters.
  • Commercial websites are your primary place of work, where you post your products, services and promotions.
  • Commercial websites are used for branding purposes.

Entertainment website

Entertainment websites are there to entertain you; examples include YouTube, vimeo, Tumblr, rotten tomatoes and metacritic .com

News websites

News websites are websites that are there to keep you up to date with the current happenings from around the world and locally, some examples include the CNN website, Aljazeera, fox an MSNBC.

Personal websites

Personal websites are sites that are created to contain content that is of a personal nature, the website only contains your personal information or that of your friends and family, it is not for commercial purposes.

Social media websites

Social media websites are websites that allow users to create their own profiles, upload pictures, videos and interact with family and friends. Examples of social media pages include: Facebook, twitter, linked in, Pinterest and Google plus.

Hybrid websites

A hybrid website is a site that combines the best features of your website, social media page and blog, to make it a one big hybrid site.

Why create a hybrid site

  1. Reduces the workload, a hybrid site makes it easy to update and maintain multiple sites, thus reducing your workload
  2. A hybrid site comes with social media plugins; this makes it easy to advertise on social media, all you have to do is share.
  3. Hybrid websites are easy to maintain.

Educational websites

Educational websites are websites made for the purpose of education, the websites provide educational materials or information about educational institutions, an example is tutor2u

 

 

 

The 7 Must Have WordPress Plugins

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According to statistics, WordPress has over 30,000 plugins; this obviously means that you can’t use all of them on your website, that’s overkill. Below are seven must have WordPress plugins.

  1. Word press SEO by Yoast

Word press SEO plug in by Yoast, is a must have plug-in that has been downloaded over 1 million times. The biggest advantage this plug-in has is that, it allows users to add SEO titles, Meta keywords and Meta descriptions to all posts. The plug-in is easy to use making it the most popular WordPress SEO plug-in.

Think of a search engine as an answering machine, each time you perform a search, the search engine will only bring you what is relevant, SEO optimization is meant to influence the search, when you optimize your website it becomes popular and relevant, since each time a person searches a selected keyword your website will come up. On WordPress the best SEO plug in is what is known as WordPress SEO by Yoast

  1. Google analytics by Yoast

The simplest way to define Google analytics is, a free web analytics service that provides basic analytical tools for marketing and SEO, you can access it as long as you have a Google account. The WordPress plug-in allows you to keep track of your website or blog easily; the plug-in is very easy to use and a good way to keep track of your website.

Opt in monster

Opt in monster is a plug-in that allows users to create beautiful opt in forms, the point of creating an opt-in, is to turn users into subscribers. This is a must have plug-in that will help you build email lists and maintain users.

  1. W3 total cache

This is a WordPress plug-in designed to optimize your websites performance and speed, slow sites are straight up annoying, with this plug-in you can setup browser and page caching and compresses your pages to allow faster downloads. That’s what makes it a must have plug-in.

  1. Brute protect

The internet is a dangerous place, you always need protection here. Brute protect is a must have security plug-in for WordPress that protects your site from botnet attacks. The plug-in stops brute force attacks and doesn’t have any conflicts with WordPress.

  1. Adsanity

Ad sanity is an ad rotator that allows users to create and manage ads; the plug-in is also used to keep clicks and views statistics. One advantage that this plug-in has is that, it comes with short code and widget support; this means that you can use the plug-in to display ads on pages posts and sidebars.

  1. Back up daddy

At the back of our minds, we all have that fear that something we have taken time to work on can be damaged or corrupted, back up daddy is a plug-in designed to eliminate that fear.

Backup daddy is a plug-in that allows users to back up their WordPress content on the cloud; this means that if you lose your content you can always get it back from back up daddy.

 

 

 

 

Open Source CMS Platforms

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The initials CMS stand for content management systems, content management systems are designed to make content editing easy for people who lack HTML and programming skills. Open source refers to the source codes availability to anyone using the application.

A content management system allows users to edit text, videos, blog posts, comments, images and anything else on the website.

If you search the internet you will find many open source programs, but the following are considered to be the best options.

WordPress

WordPress is simply a content management system, and blogging platform used in website creation, word press is easy to use and eliminates the need of hiring a web developer, this has made it the most popular CMS system out there. Word press is installed as a script that’s installed on a domain name that’s hosting your website.

WordPress simplicity allows user to update their websites whenever they want to through the admin area, and stores your content in a database.

Top reasons to use WordPress

  1. WordPress allows users to optimize their websites with an SEO plug-in
  2. WordPress is easy to use
  3. WordPress has responsive themes you can use on your website
  4. There is room for improvement since you can buy extra plug-ins

Drupal

Drupal is an open source CMS system developed by a community of over 1 million users and developers, Drupal is a free content management software, used to create and manage websites. Drupal is easy to use meaning that even people who lack technical skills can easily use it.

Top reasons to use Drupal

  1. Drupal is customizable, it allows users to customize layouts, designs and features on their own
  2. Drupal software is open source, this means that there are many themes that can help users reduce cost
  3. Drupal has API support, meaning that it can support suites such as Google analytics, Google apps, twitter, Facebook etc
  4. Drupal is SEO friendly

joomla

Joomla

Joomla is a free award winning open source CMS (content management system) software used to create websites and online applications. Joomla is easy to use and doesn’t require any technical skills to use it. You can use Joomla to manage contents such as music, videos, text photos, documents etc.

Joomla also allows you to add pages and download tones of useful stuff you can use on your website. Joomla is popular with large organizations, governments, individuals and anyone who can use it.

Top reasons to use Joomla

  1. Joomla is an award winning CMS software used and trusted by large organizations, governments and businesses such as MacDonald’s, MTV Greece and pizza hut, this means that they are doing something right.
  2. The admin area is the simplest of the bunch, this makes it really easy to manage websites
  3. Joomla offers free stunning templates
  4. Joomla has a large number of extensions.

Based on user reviews, Joomla is the best open source CMS software, but the choice is really up to you, find what suits you best.

The importance of a CMS system

The biggest importance of a content management system is that, it removes the need to have a developer on standby; you can easily edit, update, restrict access, and change the websites style, via any browser at anytime. A content management system can also help you

  • Expand your website beyond the default capabilities, because you can purchase additional tools and plug-ins to improve your site
  • CMS are also used to create customer support sections that will allow the user answer some questions
  • CMS systems also allow multi channel marketing campaigns through email, RSS etc
  • CMS systems also allow you to ‘experiment’ without hiring a developer

 

How to Find a Reliable Web Hosting Service

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Think of your website as a baby and the webhost as someone you can trust with the baby, when you hire a webhost it is important to understand that you are entrusting your business to someone to keep it online, this means that when your host is unavailable so will be your website.

To find the right web host you need to understand the following;

Understand your Hosting needs

The thing is, if you don’t know what you need, you will settle for anything. For example if you need a simple family website, then you can settle for free hosting, if it’s a business website then you will need faster better paid for services.

Before you start looking for a host, you should have full knowledge of the type website you are building. This means that you should be aware of the applications you need, special software and the web traffic volume. To do this you need to some research or talk to a professional.

Your geographical location is also important because, if you are not in the united states, you should chose a webhosting service that is in your region , if you chose a webhost that is not in near your geographical location then local users will experience lag when using your website.

The point here is to know what your website needs, and the performance you expect. Research here is very important look at what people are saying about the company, if you don’t you will end up getting avoidable problems.

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Understand the types of hosting services

In general there are three types of server’s offered by web hosting companies, these are

  1. Virtual servers: if you intend to start a business website then you should consider using a virtual server. Virtual servers provide stability and better resources.
  2. Dedicated servers: dedicated servers are expensive but offer the best performance. If you run a large business that generates a tone of traffic then you should go for dedicated servers. Note that you will have to buy an entire physical server.
  3. Shared servers: just as the name suggests, shared servers are shared with other website, if you are running a business then don’t go for a shared server these are better suited for personal websites.

The server’s uptime record is another very important thing you must understand, the host should have servers that have an uptime of at least 99%, if the score is lower than that, then your website will have problems especially if you are running a business.

Check for technical support

Things have a way of going wrong at anytime; this makes it very important to find a hosting service that offers 24/7 technical support. Don’t choose a host that offers only email support, you need a service that offers both online and telephone support.

Some hosting services only offer support on forums, settling for this type of host is also not a good idea, because it can take days or weeks to get help.

How much will it cost you?

By now you surely have noticed that most webhosting companies charge very low sign up fees, but that is just a trick, they will get you on renewal fees. Before you settle on a host you should look at the renewal charges and verify whether or not you are comfortable with them. If you don’t look into the future then you will have money problems with your host.

Back up services,

Losing your content is easy, that’s why you need a host that provides you with back up services. This means that when something terrible happens to your website such as a hacker attack, your webhost should be in a position to restore all lost material.

Based on statistics some of the most reliable webhosting companies include

  • Dream host
  • Host gator
  • Blue host
  • Linode
  • A small orange

 

How to Buy a Website

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Starting a website from scratch is not an easy task, the best way to avoid all the hustles of designing, building and marketing a website is simply buying one.

Look at it this way, if you decide to build your own website, you will need time, money and a lot of knowledge and experience in web development. Or you can decide to spend a lot of money to hire a professional to build it for you.

What to look out for when buying a website:

Profitability

If the website is not profitable don’t buy it, but if it already has an established profitable model, then you can hit the ground running and start making profits in a matter of months or days. The idea here is not to just buy a website and wait for profits, but to buy a website and monetize it, monetizing your website is a task that requires a lot of marketing and planning. Some ways to monetize your website include

  • Pay per click advertising
  • Selling ad space
  • Selling digital products
  • Setting up an online store
  • Affiliate marketing

trafficCheck the traffic

Running a website is all about attracting visitors, if the website doesn’t attract visitors, then there will be no profits. To generate traffic what you need is unique content and marketing, don’t be fooled by these get rich quick scams, do your homework.

The reality is, no matter how pretty or appealing your website is, if it lacks unique content, then you will get zero visitors, so build content.

Links are also important because they make your website easy to find.

Content

Creating content that people want to read or see is not easy, let’s take an article for example, if it doesn’t catch the users attention, then he or she will just look at the first line and close the page. When you buy a website you should check the content already in the website, to see if it can attract anyone, ask yourself,

  • Is it helpful or informative?
  • Is it interesting?

Remember content is king.

How to buy a website

Step 1: research

When you identify a website you want to buy, it is important to some research. Look at the sites statistics, back links, designs, titles and key word density. This will help you determine the sites popularity and potential.

Step 2: contact the owner

Finding a website that’s up for sale is easy, just visit sites such as flippa or website broker, once you find a website you are interested in just contact the owner and hammer out a deal.

Step 3: get all details

If the negotiations are successful, you should ensure that you get

  1. A contractual agreement that is signed and dated, this can be used when legal problems occur
  2. The domain names registration details
  3. The websites email lists
  4. Get support from the previous owner, he or she should show you how the site works.

Buying a website is a task that should be taken with a lot of planning and research, don’t just settle for anything look for something profitable that you can comfortably work with.

The History of Web Design

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Everything has to come from somewhere; web design started 26 years ago. Within that time from 1989 to now a lot has happened in web design.

The beginning of web design early 90s

The origins of web design start in 1989, back then the design was in its simplest form, it was basically a dark screen with monochrome pixels. The web pages were text based single column pages all done in HTML. The first website ever developed was published in 1991 by a man named Tim Berners-Lee.

The mid 90s

The mid 90s saw the beginning of browsers that were capable of displaying images, this was the actual beginning of web design. The first designs were tables designed in HTML form, the era was all about finding ways to mix fluid cells and static cells, the tables made it possible to create websites that had multiple columns. This advancement also made it easy to navigate pages and also allowed better content’s.

The creation of framed pages made it easy for users to distinguish the side bar from the body of the content. The era also saw the introduction of animated texts and gifs in websites. The next year saw the introduction of flash player by macromedia that allowed designers to make shapes, interactions and animations

Still in 1995 JavaScript was introduced, JavaScript was able to solve the limitations that HTML had, JavaScript allowed designers to create popup windows and allowed greater modifications to be done.

The late 90s

Cascading style sheets CSS

IN 1998 CSS was introduced, CSS allowed designers to separate content from presentation, CSS also allowed designers to design elements of a page such as text size, color, background or any other elements in the style sheet instead of in the HTML. This meant that designers could create pages that looked different from the others. The first browser that achieved the best support for CSS was internet explorer in the year 2000.

The early 2000s

JavaScript was the in thing in the early 2000s, this is because java scripts allowed designers to animate menus without the use of flash, it also saw a sharp decrease in the use of tables, the era saw the introduction of drop down menus and a new version of JavaScript was released in the year 2002 that supported almost all browsers. The era also saw the introduction of user created content.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 refers to the second stage of the world wide web, the era saw the use of JavaScript and XML which allowed for smoother content transition, it also saw the rise of powerful applications that could process videos, pictures etc.

mobile2The rise of the mobile web

In the early 2000s the use of mobile phones was widespread. But web design for the devices was a whole new challenge. Web designs had to be created for the small devices that were cost effective and could be easily navigated. Back then using your phone to view the web was really expensive.

The introduction of responsive web design 2010

The concept of responsive design was meant to eliminate the need to create multiple websites for different devices, responsive web designs allow developers to create multiplatform pages that can be viewed on device such as smart phones, tablets, desktop computers or any other smart devices without the need of creating multiple websites.

Responsive Website Design

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The simplest way to define a responsive design is a webpage creation approach that uses flexible layouts, cascading sheet style media queries and flexible images. The websites are crafted to use W3C CSS3 media queries and are used to adapt the website to the viewing environment.

The motivation behind responsive designs is the ever rising need to create pages that are viewable on small devices such as smart phones and tablets, the tablet and smart phone market is huge this makes it important for websites to adapt with current technology.

Unlike normal websites responsive designs are specifically designed to fit into the touch platform, instead of the normal click platform on most desktop computers. Generally responsive websites make it easy to scroll, pan and resize WebPages.

Why should you use responsive website design?

Keeping up with current technology is important, some of the biggest advantages of adapting responsive websites include:

The user experience

Websites are designed for the user, the user has to be able to use the website on any device he or she is using, be it a Smartphone, tablet, desktop or any other smart device.

Responsive website designs are easy to use and can be adapted for any device, but remember things may look great but the content is still king. The design makes it easy for the user to use on any device of their liking this is what makes responsive designs perfect for users.

loginMaintenance

Ever tried to run multiple platform websites at the same time? If you have, then you know that, each version of the website has to be managed and updated separately. This can be time-consuming work.

Managing responsive design website is easy, the reason for this is simple, responsive designs are multiplatform, meaning that when you update your website on one platform you also automatically update all other platforms. So you won’t have to work on the mobile version, desktop version or Smartphone version separately.

Inexpensive

Responsive web designs cater for all devices; this eliminates the need of having multiple websites. Running and maintaining multiple websites can be a costly endeavor, but if you reduce that number to one website, then you will end up saving a lot of money, and as an added plus you won’t have to maintain multiple web addresses. The single site caters for all devices.

Consistent URL

Responsive design websites can help your SEO efforts; the design provides uniformity on all devices. Be it on a Smartphone, desktop or tablet. The URL will always be the same this makes easy for users to find your website.

Helps improve sales

In the past online shopping was only possible on computers and laptops, today with the help of responsive design websites, selling online is easy. This can help improve your conversion rates and help you sell more, because people can buy on the go.

Improves your websites reputation

The thing about new technology is, if you don’t adapt you become irrelevant, let’s assume that you are only running a desktop version of your website. The user experience on Smartphone’s and mobile devices won’t be good, some functions may fail or the website may appear unappealing. This will turn off most users, meaning that they won’t revisit your site any time soon.

 

Pros and Cons of DIY Website Building

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DIY is an initial that stands for ‘do it yourself’; therefore a DIY website builder is an online program that allows you to build your own website.

Most people decide to build websites on their own in order to avoid the rising cost of hiring professional website builders, building a website on your own also allows you to customize the website to your own specifications. The truth is when you hire a professional website builder, they may not build a website that fits your exact specifications, but if you do it yourself you will have more control on how the final product looks like.

Some of the best DIY website builders out there include wix, jigsy, snappages,wordpress and onepager.

What are the advantages of building your own website?

Doesn’t require much skill

Most ‘do it yourself’ software’s, just require you, to drag and drop items where you want them, even a person with basic computer skills can use one of these programs. The programs usually have:

  1. Pre built templates: this takes away the need to spend time on the design; all you have to do is choose a template from one of the many available.
  2. Step by step wizards: the programs show you how to build your website; some even offer online assistance when you are stuck.

Flexible

Building your own website is dependent on you; you can take minutes, hours or days. This means that you can work on your own pace without pressure from anyone.

Cost effective

Getting someone to build you a website from scratch will cost you a lot of money, but if you use a readymade template it will be cheaper plus some websites offer you free integrated hosting for your website.

Look at it this way if you eliminate labor and professional fees you can save time and money, and come up with a website that’s suited to your own specifications.

Customizations

When you build your own website you can easily change what you don’t like, a professional will follow the specifications but the results may be hindered by their own bias, the reason for this is, people tend to create what they like and what they like, may not meet your specifications

Disadvantages of building your own website

Time consuming

Note that building your own website is dependent on you, taking up the project can cost you a lot of time that you could have been using in marketing or developing your business. If you intend to build your own website from scratch you will have to learn to write code, the website itself will need a marketing plan that will be time consuming. But if you hire a professional to do it, you won’t have to worry about this.

The looks

If you are building a business website, it needs to look professional, if it doesn’t the website can directly affect your business’s reputation. A professional website builder will build you something that looks and feels the part.

What to look out for when building your own website

Find a website builder that is fully open source, this will allow you to access the database, files and codes.

The builder should also have available add-ons, third party integration, SEO ready with advanced capabilities, advanced Google analytics, custom templates and room for future extension.

The thing is finding a website builder that has all that can prove difficult, but if you hire a professional to build it for you all that can be incorporated into your website. The choice is totally up to you and your budget, so chose the option that fits your specifications best.

How to Start an Ecommerce Business

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Ecommerce refers to any type of commercial transaction carried out on the internet; today setting up an ecommerce business is easy, and can take just a few hours or days.

Note that, creating an ecommerce business may be easy, but sales are not guaranteed. Look at this way, today over 150,000 websites are created daily. This means that if your website is not unique it will end being just another generic website in cyberspace.

When setting up an ecommerce business you should follow the following steps

Research

Before you start a business, you should test your product first, testing is very important because it will tell you whether to continue or scrap the project.

The idea here is to find a need and fill it (what’s not in the market or something you can do better). if the product doesn’t make the cut leave it and find something better.

The truth is an idea may sound appealing in your head, but if you just jump into it and start a business without testing it, things may not go as expected, i.e. sales may be low or nonexistent.

If you intend to start a business that already has players, you should ‘spy’ on your competition. Look at their websites and find out what drives their sales. You can also visit online forums and discover niche markets for unfulfilled demands. If you are copying, copy from the best but don’t just copy, make it better and unique. If you are introducing a new product or service make your website as unique as your products.

Build a website

Once you have a tested product, the next step is to set up a website for it. Building a website is a critical step that should be taken with a lot of attention to detail.

Presentation

How you present your product online is also very important, people like things that arouse interest, if your presentation is poor then, there is a high chance that people won’t want to revisit your site. Everything should be neat and well presented; the website should be easy to navigate, and the product descriptions should capture the user’s attention.

Set up the price, remember if the price is too low some people may consider your products substandard, the reverse is also true, if you quote high prices then you may not get much customers, you will have to find a perfect balance, not too expensive and no too cheap.

Your website should also allow users to subscribe; this will help you build an email list that you can use to advertise. Remember to treat your customers like royalty, make them feel safe when using their credit cards or when they do any form of financial transactions with you. And don’t forget to thank and reward your customers, this small act will build loyal customers.

Exploit search engines

The best way to get attention to you new website is through online ads, if you use paid online advertising on search engines such as Google, your website will appear on pages in the search engine. You can also use popular keywords in your content to drive traffic.

Market, market, market

One of the biggest mistakes most entrepreneurs make is, launching a business, and sitting back waiting for profits to start running in on their own. Getting comfortable is ill advised, what you have to do is get traffic for your new online business, you can hire professional marketers to help, or you can use social media.

The point is to get yourself out there, create and budget your marketing plan and strategy, if you just stay there and wait for accidental hits then you won’t make much profits, because the internet is a very big place.

Generally what you have to is:

  1. Create demand for your products
  2. Establish your business credibility, this will distinguish you from scammers
  3. Educate your audience about your product or service
  4. Guarantee your customers
  5. Ask for sale

 

 

 

How to Hire a Professional Web Designer

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When building a website, ‘doing it yourself’ is not always a good idea, a poorly created website will hurt your reputation and that of your business. That’s why you need a professional.

Hiring a professional is a wise option, but it can also be a bad option, if you make mistakes such as not looking out for hidden fees, hiring the wrong person, paying too little, paying too much and not getting a CMS. CMS is a term used to refer to a content management system. The system is there to allow you to update your website regularly.

How to choose the right designer

Do your research

Research here means finding satisfied customers and asking questions, don’t just settle for the first designer you find, you should check their previous work and answer these questions

  1. How much experience does the designer have?
  2. Are there websites that can recommend the designer?
  3. Does the designer create easy to use navigation tools?
  4. Is the designer qualified? Does he/she know what he’s doing?

Work with a reasonable budget

It is important to understand that website design is a career, this means that a designer depends on his or her job to make a living, what you shouldn’t do is.

Pay too little

Look at the relationship professionally, if you pay too little then you will get cheap designs that will not help you in any way, sometimes cheap designs can even hurt your reputation. Remember, you are not losing money, when the website goes online you will probably recover the amount you put into to it.

Most people run to website builders because they assume that’s its cheaper, but cheap buys cheap, you should know that when you use these website builders, you are just buying a generic readymade template that is cheap and looks cheap. These websites are also notorious for hidden fees and costs; you may end up paying even more than hiring a professional in the long run.

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Paying too much

There is such a thing as exploitation, if you look at the costs advertised by professionals; they can go up to ridiculous amounts. The reality is designers use HTML and CSS; they can’t do much beyond that, so if you are being charged ‘extraordinary’ figures then you are probably being exploited. The idea here is to find a figure that you are both comfortable with, don’t allow yourself to be exploited and don’t allow yourself to exploit the designer.

Communication

Note that the idea is yours not the designers, this means that you have to clearly specify what you want. Before you speak to a designer you should research some reference material, this will give the designer an idea of what you want.

You should also specify the budget you are working with, the idea here is to avoid hidden costs and fees, ensure that the designer understands the amount of money you are willing to spend; this will keep them from going over budget and adding additional costs to the budget.

You should also specify the colors, the art form and architecture you like for the website; if you require any special functionality you should clearly specify them.

The website should also come with a CMS system that will allow you to update your website, or you can find a designer who offers a maintenance program.

This means that you should find a designer who you are comfortable with, one that you can speak to.