How to Build a Web Design Business

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Publishing a couple Web pages can be accomplished by just about anyone, but to build a self-sustaining business one needs the right tools, planning, experience and training. Businesses paying 500 for a Web site quickly discover that their site rarely provides repeat business or referrals – the life blood of any business.

 

In this series of articles you’ll learn about the must have tools and skills to build a Web design business. This week our focus is on tools.

With all of the free HTML editors available, building a Web site is a snap. For those less savvy (and with a bit of money) there’s Website in a Box, Website Wizard and Mr. Site Takeaway. Just think, with a little money and time, you too can build Web sites for profit. Are you ready to start a small business? No!

Publishing a couple Web pages can be accomplished by just about anyone, but to build a self-sustaining business one needs the right tools, planning, experience and training. Businesses paying r500 for a Web site quickly discover that their site rarely provides repeat business or referrals – the life blood of any business.

In this series of articles you’ll learn about the must have tools and skills to build a Web design business. This week our focus is on tools.

 

The Importance of Planning

Not every Web design firm chooses the same target market. Your target market depends on your skills, experience and the number of people in your organization. Many designers dream of targeting large businesses with big budgets, but before you jump, ask yourself the following: Do you have the ability to support this type of client? Can your cash flow sustain large projects that might only provide progress payments every three or four months? Do you have the expertise to comb through a large RFP (Request for Proposal), find cost effective solutions that meet all the requirements and implement what the client requires? Can you afford to spend hours preparing proposals which may never turn into actual paying projects? If not, choose the target market that fits your abilities, finances and needs. Look for a niche, but most of all look at what potential customers want.

ss to start on a shoestring. Like any other business you need the right tools. The “right” tools depend upon the way you work, your skill level, your budget and your familiarity with professional authoring and imaging programs. You might need to try various pieces of software before you decide what’s right for you.

Web Authoring Tools

In a later article we’ll discuss why HTML knowledge is necessary. Every Web designer needs to be able to create a simple Web page by hand coding in HTML. Some designers feel comfortable using a simple text editor such as Microsoft’s Notepad. There are many open source versions of this type of simple text editor, such as Notepad ++. We prefer WYSIWYG Web authoring software that provides both a design and code view. WYSIWYG editors can speed up the design process, but the ability to view the code and make changes there is critical. The Web design area at about About.com has a questionnaire which will help you narrow down the choices for your operating system and needs. Some of the most used Web authoring software for professionals include Adobe’s Dreamweaver and Microsoft’s Expression Web.

Graphics

We start this section with a note about the importance of respecting copyright laws. It’s surprising how many people don’t understand that images and graphics can be (and usually are) copyrighted, thereby requiring a royalty payment for use. Copying graphics and images (off the Web) to incorporate into a design without permission of the owner can land you in some serious trouble. It’s important to find a source of royalty free (or rights-protected) images that you can afford to use. A few options are: Jupiter Images, iStockPhoto, Royalty Free Photos, Photos.com

 

Graphic Design Tools

Once you have a good source of royalty free images, you need graphics editing software for resizing, manipulating and editing images. Like Web authoring software, graphic design programs come in a variety of flavors and depend on your skill level and working methods. Probably the most well known image manipulation program is the most expensive and complex to learn – Adobe’s Photoshop. The down side is that Photoshop can be a overkill for the usual Web designer since it excels in print applications as well as Web graphic design. Adobe now offers Fireworks, a much simpler program to learn. Fireworks usually meets all the needs of a Web designer. GIMP is the new open source graphics design program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages, get more info on inflex strategic marketing agency website.

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