This is a tough question. Facebook is a great tool for marketing and connecting with your audience. However, if your business needs a certain image, then social media may not be able to present it in a structural way.

Most websites nowadays are done with Content Management Systems (CMS) which you can update basic information yourself. While not all CMS are created the same, our choice is WordPress for two simple reasons: 1) it’s one of the best CMS built for search engine optimization; 2) ease of use, for both developers and end-users like yourself.

For a new website, the best way to prepare for your content is to take a look at websites from similar businesses, even your competitors. Give yourself a general idea of how they organize their websites.

If you are a boutique, you probably need to focus on the style and therefore images for your products. Hiring a professional photographer may be a good investment. If you are school, you may need to spend time on putting well-written content together about the history, the mission and policy of your school as well as class description, using keywords that encourages search engine rankings.

Prepare each section of your website separately and put them in different folders for easy access. Or upload to any cloud account such as Dropbox for us to review.

The length of a new design project is based on the complexity and requirement of our client after careful analysis of their business. The length of a redesign project is based on the complexity of the existing website, new requirements and functionality.

A project process can be divided into four basic phases: 1) analysis; 2) content preparation; 3) design; 4) testing. Since the first two phases depend on the constant communication with our clients, it can vary from a few weeks or a few months. Once all the required content is presented to us, the actual design process will take about 2 weeks (for basic informational website under 8 pages) to 6 weeks (for e-commerce websites, or ones that require special functionality setup such as event reservations systems etc.)

Websites can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on their complexity, and on the quality of the programmers and designers. The best way is to set a budget, get a few estimates, communicate with the project managers or the actual designers and see if they share similar ideas and inspirations with you before making a decision.

Beware that since the web design market has evolved so much, some design firms charge a relatively low fee, then outsourcing their works to programmers and designers in developing countries, paying them a fraction of the cost. Some of these programmers may work on many projects at a time and do not analyze or concern about your actual business while the design firms promise a quick turnover time.

We generally estimate the cost of our projects by the amount of time necessary for the actual design process, from editing or converting your content material, installing necessary software, databases, themes, to populating the pages, creating slideshow, gallery, to setting up special functions, stores and testing the transaction etc.

You will need to give our designers the following and upload all content to a cloud account for us to retrieve:

1) Text Content

Preferably separated into different sections. If you can’t decide, we can try to present your content in in clean and clear manner during our design process, using different sections, tag boxes, etc…

Format: .doc, .txt, .odt or similar

2) Images

Preferably separated into different sections.┬áIf you can’t decide, we can try to choose the right image for the right section in a style that we have agreed on. Please note that since web resolutions are much lower than print resolution, we will resize and reduce your print images significantly for your website in order to minimize download time. Please do not send us any .psd or .raw files. If significant touching up is needed, we may charge an extra for the editing.

Format: .jpg, .gif (less than 2Mb for each image)

3) Sound files

Format: .mp3, .wav

There are many audio formats exist. But if you send us a significant amounts of audio files with formats that need to be converted, or if you need us to shorten or minor edit any audio, we may need to charge extra for this conversion or editing.

4) Video files

The most common way for us to present your videos in your website is to embed them using codes from Youtube or Vimeo. This link increases the likelihood of your website being searched by Google or Yahoo and creating a Youtube or Vimeo account for all your videos can also have a large audience and can provide link to other people to link back to you. You can provide us your Youtube account information or just give us the embed code found under the ‘share’ icon.

If you only have one or two videos and prefer not to go through the trouble of having your own Youtube or Vimeo account, you can always upload your videos to a cloud account. We prefer .mp4, .mov, .wmv. avi only. If you need your videos in other formats to be converted, we may charge an extra for this conversion.

5) PDF files

If you would like your articles, application forms, brochure, statements to be downloaded by your audience, you will need to give us a pdf file. If you have a significant amounts of documents in other formats and need to be converted, we may charge an extra for this conversion.

Format: .pdf

6) Flash files

Flash files are not viewable by all devices and therefore not recommended unless you must use it for a specific purposes in your websites. We do not convert flash file. Please send us a .swf, an embed code and convert it first to mp4.

7) Misc

Please let us know if you have any other file format not mention here.

Once a request is made by the client, Shine Web Design will analyze the existing website and made a formal proposal with a cost estimate and time schedule. After a decision is made to proceed with the project with us, we will require the payment of 50% of the estimate amount before any work can start.

During the design process, client will be able to view their website in a temporary location. Shine Web Design will be in constant communication with our client to understand any questions or concerns. If any deviation arise from our proposal that requires a significant change in cost, our client will be informed and allowed to decide whether this change will be made or not. Rest assure, we are very good with following our proposal guideline and cost.

The remaining 50% balance will be due once the entire website is finished before moving it from the temporary location to the web host of the client to go live. A soft launch will take place if certain functionality need to be tested.

If only minor updates, we will provide you with a brief estimate. If a major functionality need to be added, we will treat it as a redesign and do the analysis first before providing with our client a small proposal with estimate and schedule.