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Creating a decent website

Posted on 2013-02-01
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
Hi all,

I need to generate a bit of business for myself!
I assist a number of clients with Microsoft Excel/Access and other stuff too.
I am reasonably technically competent in these areas.

In the past I have developed a website or two.
However, they always looked cheap and nasty.
I do not need much functionality in the site, just nice text,fonts, images.
Perhaps 4 or 5 pages.


Question:
What is the best way to develop my own professional-looking web site ?
What tools are available (without spending too much)?
Would I be better off paying someone? Funds are very limited!!
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Question by:Patrick O'Dea
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9 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 38843416
you could use somebody else and factor in your margin on top of there rate and while your doing that learn proper web design definitely look at html 5 css maybe Joomla, smart phone / tablet versions of web sites for devices with small screens

No software is going to help you do a professional job you could use some parts maybe to use artiseer to do the header and footer then import it into dreamweaver and do it that way
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Assisted Solution

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
Scott Fell,  EE MVE earned 100 total points
ID: 38843417
Try weebly.com or a more advanced wordpress.org.  Both have templates you can use.  However, the templates look like templets but better then nothing.  

"Would I be better off paying someone? "  Would your clients be better off making a database system on their own?  Or without pro help would they try and stuff too much information on one row of data or create queries that give them duplicate or wrong information?  If I am on a budget, I can use Access/MS Office templates to get me started.  It wouldn't be as good as if you customized something, but gets me by on a low budget.  That is how weebly or wordpress would be.
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Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 38843453
a template is still not going to be professional will it it may help but its not a final fix only a step towards a decent website
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Assisted Solution

by:Chris Stanyon
Chris Stanyon earned 100 total points
ID: 38843914
Firstly, professional web design is professional web design. People who create good looking websites do so because they've put in a lot of time and effort in learning the skills, and are able to charge for that service. With enough time, you can learn the skills needed to create a properly functioning website - there is a science to this. Whether it will look good is a subjective point, and the best developer in the world maybe a lousy designer.

To answer your questions one by one:

What is the best way to develop my own professional-looking web site ?
Hire a professional web-designer.

What tools are available (without spending too much)?
Google, Pen and Paper, Time ;)
You will need a graphics application for the design - Gimp is Photoshop-like (and free).
Websites can be created using notepad, or a decent text editor (notepad++). More functional IDEs are available for free (eclipse, aptana etc.). You can pay for a package such as Dreamweaver, but if you're serious about learning web development - stay away from it - it creates ugly, bloated code! You could use a pre-programmed platform, such as Joomla / WordPress / Drupal etc. You don;t then need to create your website - you just 'populate' it with your content and then then style it with templates (plenty of free and paid for ones available). As you learn more you may even create your own template.

Would I be better off paying someone? Funds are very limited!!
Yes! As with most things, if you don't know what you're doing, you will always get a better job by paying a professional. If funds are tight, bear in mind, you will usually get what you pay for!
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Expert Comment

by:awawada
ID: 38845061
We use http://www.jimdo.com/index.php. Have a look. You can learn in in 30 minutes.

compare:
http://www.jimdo.com/pricing/compare/

We sell only Pro for our customers. Never had a need for JimdoBusiness.
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Expert Comment

by:profgeek
ID: 38846633
You could try Squarespace ( http://www.squarespace.com/ ).  The sites are easy to set up, have all sorts of elements and templates, and are completely customizable (as you learn CSS, etc.).  Their hosting is outstanding (fast and robust) and pricing reasonable.  

Are you looking for a relatively static web page, or one that is more interactive (e-commerce, blogs/commentary, data-driven, etc.)?
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Author Comment

by:Patrick O'Dea
ID: 38846668
Thanks profgeek,

I have just been looking at SquareSpace.

Looks good so far. .... better than stuff I used before.
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Accepted Solution

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profgeek earned 300 total points
ID: 38846692
There is a slight learning curve as you use it, but start out simple, using one of their templates.  Then learn what else is available (they are sort of like the plugins in WordPress ... applets that will do all sorts of things from blogs to photo galleries) and tweak as you learn.  I might note that SquareSpace is very professionally done and many top-notch sites use it.  They do, however, do some of their own tweaking.  The nice thing about Squarespace is that if you want to add custom things, they let you.  So you can start out simple, with a nice template, and concentrate on your content.  Then add features as you learn them.

While they give you a really decent starting point, you're not limited in customization, as you are on many other "turnkey" sites.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Patrick O'Dea
ID: 38847509
Thanks all,
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