Responsive web design is way to build websites that allows the site to adapt the layout of the content to accommodate the user device. This is accomplished using CSS media queries and a fluid grid concept. To learn more about why this is an important consideration in developing a new site, please see our article “What is Responsive Design?“
With Google’s upcoming algorithm change (April 21, 2015), there is a lot of discussion about what it means to have a mobile-friendly site. In the most basic terms, mobile-friendly means that a website detects the screen size of the user and delivers the site’s content in an optimized way for that screen size. In website development and SEO circles, it was a running joke for years. Each year (starting WAY back) as the experts made their predictions for the upcoming year, they would call the next year, “The Year of Mobile.” They predicted its stronghold on internet traffic a little early, several times. Well, it is finally here. With internet traffic moving increasingly onto mobile devices, having a mobile plan and a mobile-friendly site is no longer a “nice to have.” To test your site’s mobile usability, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
For more information on Google’s upcoming change, check out our recent post, Time to Commit to Mobile Usability.
While it used to be standard practice to have separate sites for desktop and mobile users, that is no longer the case. We recommend using responsive web design in building your company’s site so that it adjusts automatically to accommodate the user’s device. This eliminates the need for a separate mobile site. Click here to learn more about responsive web design.
The basic steps in the site development or renovation process are:
- Establish password-protected project work space (the necessary login information will be sent to you and a link to your project’s start page will be added to the Client Login page of this site).
- Evaluate and define design and site goals to dictate direction of the subsequent design work.
- Post design drafts and revisions along with any development updates to this project work area until site design is established.
- Sign Design Sign-Off Agreement.
- Build working version of new site within the protected project space.
- Integrate content into new site and review for quality and completeness.
- Transfer site files to domain name when complete.
Client will be notified via email whenever changes have been made to the project work space that require review and feedback.
The first and most important step is to assess your Internet objectives. By knowing where you want to go and what you want to accomplish, you will get the most out your Internet marketing dollars. The best place to start is with a little research. Search on Yahoo! or Google for web sites within your industry and for your competitor’s sites. By doing so, you can get great ideas and develop a better understanding of the market and your competition within it. For a detailed description of the process, see our Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Business on the Internet.
As with the cost, there is no one answer to this question. The development time depends on the complexity of the site that you need. For a basic small business web site, the timeframe is usually around 8 weeks. This timeframe includes the custom graphic design phase, assembly of needed content, and the construction of the site. After an initial consultation regarding the specific needs of a client, we give a more specific estimate of timing.
Well, that depends. Isn’t that a helpful answer? Really, there are both fixed costs and variable costs associated with getting your business on the web.
Fixed costs include:
- Registration and license fee for your domain name: Prices range from $10.99 per year from GoDaddy to $39.99 per year from Network Solutions. However, registrars now offer multiple year discounts so that those fees can be significantly reduced by signing on for a longer initial term.
- Web Site Hosting: We are happy to recommend a hosting company that fits your needs. The cost for site hosting is generally between $2.00 and $25.00 per month, depending on the vendor and services required. We work regularly with www.dataperk.com, a local Birmingham web host that provides excellent service. However, if you have an existing hosting relationship in place, we are happy to work with the host of your choice as long as they provide the necessary services and server configuration.
Variable costs include:
- The design and development of the web site is variable depending on the size, technological complexity, and level of custom graphics involved.
Please contact us for a free consultation and quote for the development of your web site.
Unless otherwise agreed to, our payment structure includes a 50% up front deposit required in order to begin work on the site with the balance due prior to posting the new site files to the client’s domain name.
In the event that the site development process extends past 120 days due to lack of content delivery or feedback regarding the site design by the client, the balance of the development fee is due at that point unless we both agree to different terms. > see also, development timing
Web hosting is essentially the rental of Internet server space on which to house your web site. The hosting company will place your site on their server so that it is accessible to all those on the Internet. See above for cost information.
A domain name is the address of a web site, e.g. www.yourcompany.com. One company that administers the licensing of domain names is Network Solutions. You can check the availability a name by clicking here. There are many extensions (*.com, *.net, *.org, etc.) to choose from, but for most companies, you will want to stay with the *.com extension. The costs related to this process are discussed above.
All content for your web site, unless otherwise agreed to in writing, must be delivered to denning e-solutions in an electronic format.
- Copy/text to be included in the content areas of your site can be sent as either Word *.doc files or simple text files *.txt (created using a text editor like Notepad in Windows).
- Graphics files can be sent as GIF, JPEG, TIFF, or BMP files. If your graphics are in another file type, please email us for direction. We may be able to use what you have or walk you through converting the file to another type.
- Send files via email to: email@example.com – please see note below.
NOTE: Please do not send any email attachments that total (all files together, not individual files) more than 3 MB per message. If your graphics files are larger than that, you can send them online in one of two ways: 1) use a service like www.hightail.com, or 2) create a folder with your files in www.dropbox.com and share the folder with us using these email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Why is there extra space on the right or on both the right and left of my site? Can I use that extra space for additional content?
If you see extra space to the right or on both the right and left of your site design, then your monitor settings are larger than the site width. Some users will see no extra space; it is entirely determined by the monitor resolution settings of the user. We design most sites at a fixed width to accommodate resolution settings of 1024×768 and higher; this is the accepted standard and will present your site in the best way for the vast majority of Internet users (see data below).
As of January 2013, the display resolution usage statistics are as follows:
1. Higher than 1024
2. 1024 x 768
3. 800 x 600
4. 640 x 480
Statistics provided by W3Schools
The other alternative is to build the site with tables set at 100%. In doing so, the width of the design would fill the user’s screen width, regardless of their settings. However, the downside to this method is that you lose precise control over the placement of the page’s design and content elements. They are stretched or condensed depending on the user. This can render an otherwise well-designed site strange-looking. The applicability of this method depends entirely on the site itself and whether the design, content and layout lend themselves to this treatment.
If you need to scroll left and right to view your site, your monitor settings are likely still set to the 800 pixel width. On a Windows computer, simply go to Control Panel > Appearance and Themes > Change the Screen Resolution. From there, change your setting from 800 to 1024.
Short Answer: Probably not.
Longer Answer: If you don’t have permission to use the image through a license/image subscription or written permission from the owner of the image, you are better off finding something else. Large image sellers like Getty diligently patrol the use of their intellectual property, and it costs a lot of money if you end up using an image of theirs that you found in this manner, however innocently intended. The best way to stay out of that particular hot water is to use your own photography or the stock photography we have the right to use through our image license subscriptions. If you send us photography to use on your website, we assume you have the right to use it and the liability of using an image you don’t own falls to you. >> read more on website image rights here