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View Full Version : Part time home business site needs redesign with CSS


Melissa2010B
05-27-2010, 07:01 AM
Ok, to begin with, no one will be getting rich with this gig.

I don't know my butt from a hole in the ground with web design.

We ( me and my handicapped sister-business partner ) started this little part time business in 2006 and it's barely paying the bills, but getting by.
( barely paying the bills is nice in this economy, anyway )

Because I started it literally on a shoestring ( startup cost about $100? ), I had to do my own web site too. I used CoffeeCup HTML editor. Here it is:
http://www.coloradoprocessservers.net

I KNOW that by professional web design standards it's purely amateur, but I've had compliments from clients along the way, anyway.

The problem is, it needs to look more professional, which means CSS from what I'm told. SEO experience would sure help. The info MUST be used in a way that maintains our present generic SEO results, which are very good, in great part because of the business name.

I looked at the Google Analytics on it, and the present main page is getting around 1200 visits a month, but we're only getting 6-10 actual jobs a week from it. If we could make it nice and professional looking, it could seriously improve our little business?

I also went from a 19" CRT monitor in my 2001 vintage XP system, and upgraded to a refurbed PC with a 24" LCD and now it's all over the page ( some left, some centered ), which I understand could be fixed with CSS.

One example I see, is the site at
http://www.firstworldwar.com/audio/itsalongwaytotipperary.htm

CSS and nice and centered all the way down?

We'd also like the site redesigned to look very professional, but not the dark black and blue foreboding look of so many "professional" site designs. We want it to look light and cheerful, in a similar way to what it looks like now, only "professional", but to make people feel uplifted, cheered up, and good when they visit it. If they go "oh wow!" in a good way, that's wonderful but it MUST appeal to attorneys and paralegals. The more it appeals to them with its professional look, the more we could get more clients from it. I'm not thinking of it being all flashy, as if it were the latest pop music site, ( KIS principle - keep it simple and "professional" looking.

It also needs to contain all the existing information and utility that it has now, maybe even improved.

I've been giving this some thought and would like to use that color photo there, as the background for the whole site, and have it auto-adjust to whatever page size the viewer sees it in, with the sized monitor they use.

It's THE BEST photo I've ever taken and I have the original and can provide it in 1080p or whatever, for this new design. Could knock peoples' socks off, in a good way?

I'm just not sure how to work the info into and around that, so it looks nice while looking totally professional too, and totally visible, not hard on the eyes. But think about how stunning my photo would be as a background.

So ground rules:

Must be a CSS based design

I just got Dreamweaver CS4 Web Standard and would LIKE to be able to at least use that to maintain it, once I learn which end is up in the program, it's TOTALLY intimidating to me now!

But others have suggested "using CMS so that you can admin your site and do your own updates".

Which would be best?

We just cant afford to pay anyone to maintain it, it needs frequent changes and I MUST do them myself to save money.

I'd like whoever helps me with this to be located here in the U.S. and be totally fluent in english, because we need to be able to communicate on this effectively.

The budget? As little as possible. Seriously. Whetever we agree on, is for a final and fully delivered project. ( they told me to say this in one of the other forum threads here - it sounds wise anyway. ) :grin:

If satisfaction helps, if you can do this for us, for not much money, you'd be a hero to us.

So what can we do with this? ( polite replies only, please ) :grin:

edbr
05-27-2010, 09:44 AM
as at the moment the pm system is down, anyone interested could perhaps use their email

Melissa2010B
06-11-2010, 04:12 AM
Whew, we sure got zilch with posting this.

edbr
06-11-2010, 05:00 AM
i think the pm system being down is a problem frankly

Melissa2010B
06-11-2010, 06:04 AM
i think the pm system being down is a problem frankly

Dont know what that is.

Corrosive
06-11-2010, 07:02 AM
Private Message system. We had to take it down as people were getting fake e-mails pretending to be from site admins and you've got your e-mail set to 'no contact'. In the rules section of posting jobs we ask that replies are not posted in threads because all the price negotiation is something private so there is no way to reply.

Really sorry, should have thought about this a couple of weeks ago.

Melissa2010B
06-11-2010, 04:19 PM
Duoh! I'll change the setting. LOL

Melissa2010B
06-24-2010, 06:23 AM
With no response from here, I posted on Craig's list again. Everyone seems to want 50% down and $500-$700 to do the design. Some sound better than others, but I don't know about trusting anyone with 50% down.

What the following guy says, seems to make sense, though I have no real idea. But he's in another state and wants 50% down. When I post in Craig's for this, I get replies from all over the world, even though I said local!:

My name is [snip], I'm a freelance web developer based in [snip].
I have extensive web development experience, including Joomla content
management, and ecommerce systems. I saw your post on craigslist and I'd like to
speak with you about your website.

I'd like to offer you some advise, one way or another. I would advise
against using the image as the background, it makes for a cluttered, hard to
read website. You also don't want a fluid website, you want your site to be
980px fixed and centered. Getting you CSS right will help with a number of
issues you're currently having, but that's not all you should be worrying about.
You also want to be thinking usability, and fluid websites are simply ugly, and
hard to use. A few years ago when people were moving from 800x600 resolution
monitors to 1024x768, fluid website were okay, good usability even, because
regardless of which monitor size people had the aspect ratio was consistent.
Today, wide screen monitors up to 23 or 24 inches and resolutions to 1680 or
1920 are not uncommon, and a 1920px fluid website looks awful. Many people surf
with several windows open now and days, and they size they're windows to whats
comfortable... 980px is comfortable, and when center on the screen it still
looks as intended at 1024px.

I would also advise moving away from Dreamweaver... not entirely,
Dreamweaver is a great editor, but content management systems are current
development standards and you'll be so glad you have one when you make the
upgrade. They're easy to use, easy to update, and can be updated from any
web browser on any computer. The better CMSs out there are search engine
magnets and perform extremely well in search returns. I know... you're on a
budget... you simply can't afford to not upgrade to current web trends. An
antiquated html website cost you money... every time you need to pay somebody to
update and/or fix something, and every time a customer can't find you.

I generally recommend the Joomla open source content management system for
its reliability and proven performance. The website would be highly
professional, web 2.0 style site. The Joomla CMS is very easy to administer, so
you'll be able to make many of the updates yourself. If you've ever used
Microsoft Word, or a WYSIWYG editor you shouldn't have any problem learning the
control panel of the Joomla content management system, and if you need some
advice or a reminder of how to do something... you can simply call me, or send
an email.

I can do a basic CMS (Joomla) set-up for $699. The quoted price would
include website development, any third party software licensing, search
engine submissions, and the implementation of best practices SEO to insure
search engine performance. If you need web hosting, I can offer a hosting
package for no additional charge for the first year, normally only $99 a
year.

I'm available immediately and could get your project started right away. I'd
need half down in order to schedule a project, and half upon approval of the
site.
____________

Then the joomla site uses php or something, that would need to be hosted elsewhere than my ISP. <sigh>

Corrosive
06-29-2010, 10:05 AM
Hi Melissa

Looks like the same advice I gave you some weeks ago. Get someone to set up your site using a CMS; http://www.dreamweaverclub.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36072&page=2

In terms of finding someone you can trust then you'll just have to take the plunge! Look at portfolios, ask for at least two customer references and check out how the portfolio sites perform in Search Engines. Other than that you are just going to have to go with someone you get on with and who shares your vision for the website.

PHP hosting is not expensive so hopefully your designer can offer some sound advice on a provider.

Melissa2010B
07-11-2010, 04:39 AM
Update on all this. I was posting on Craig's and a guy came along who offered to help me with the site redesign in CSS for a price I couldn't refuse!

It's almost finished now, we've been collaborating on it for about a week, mostly via lots of emails.

For comparison, the old site is http://www.coloradoprocessservers.net
the new one is temporarily in resident at
http://ninjamediadesigns.com/testsite/

How's it look?

Just needs some finishing touches but I LOVE IT! This guy rocks!

Also, instead of CMS, he's gonna send me the files to ftp to my ISP, like I do with the old site, and he uses DW and encourages me to do the same. He has a file of how I can make my own changes, and I hope to learn more about CSS and DW along the way. This is so great! :grin:

Corrosive
07-11-2010, 07:48 AM
That looks a thousand times better to me. Good stuff :)

Melissa2010B
07-11-2010, 09:33 PM
Thanks! He just emailed me the whole thing and I uploaded it and made it live! This is so exciting! Have a look! http://www.coloradoprocessservers.net

Corrosive
07-12-2010, 08:23 AM
Looks good to me. It is well laid out, cross-browser and well coded. Looks like you got what you needed in the end.