A Word from Kevin About Web Design
I've been designing websites since 1996, but it's been several years now since I've been doing it for a living, as my work for Perfect Word Ministries presently dominates my time. I do, however, keep my hand in web work, as I continue to maintain site and hosting services for several long-standing clients.
I also welcome new web projects when I am able to accommodate them, however, these days, rather than offering to build an old-fashioned, HTML, static website, I recommend WordPress as a complete web design solution. The WordPress software is completely free, and is available on our web hosting packages, but if you require more design expertise, I may be available to customize your WordPress installation.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress was originally a blogging program, but has grown into a full-blown, web-based Content Management System. All you need is a web browser (like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Google Chrome), and a little bit of computer know-how, and you can add pages, text, images, and multimedia to create a dynamic, cutting-edge website. The software can be extended (by way of it's massive plugin library, which is also free) to include ways to connect to PayPal (for accepting donations), a webstore, facebook, a calendar almost anything you can imagine.
When you purchase a hosting plan from us, I can install WordPress for you free of charge. I will then provide you with the login information and links to some information to help you get going, and you can begin building and publishing your WordPress site within minutes.
About WordPress Themes
One of the things that makes WordPress such a spectacular program is that it is supported by many users who create beautiful and functional templates. These templates (or skins) change the look and feel (and sometimes, functionality) of your WordPress installation, and you can change templates at any time without changing the content (articles, images, etc.) of the site itself. It's basically like changing clothes: you may wear a different shirt and pair of pants every day, but the conent (you) is still the same. (You will probably want to change your template considerably less often than you change your clothes!)
Unless you want to use the default template that comes with the WordPress installation, you will absolutely want to install a WordPress theme. Once you become familiar with the WordPress administration control panel, downloading and installing new themes is very simple to accomplish. Through the control panel, you can search through WordPress's database of free themes, where you can view demonstrations of the themes. There are some other great, free themes at http://www.wordpressthemesbase.com/, however, I find that the best are premium themes (a.k.a. "not free"), and I like the ones available at the following:
Once a theme is purchased, the files would be downloaded from the designer's website, then uploaded to your WordPress installation through the administration control panel.
"If I Can Do All This Stuff Myself, What Do I Need You For, Kevin?"
Depending on your skill level and free time, you may be able to do much of the website design yourself. Indeed, you will want to maintain the site on your own (adding articles, uploading images, etc.) after the initial build. However, if you need graphics or colors in the template changed, your logo incorporated into the design, the framework of the template rearranged slightly, or plugins installed and tested, that will likely require someone with experience in the backend, computer-geek, graphic arts department... and that would be me.
For example, take a look at this template. Now look at the Perfect Word Ministries website, which I customized. This is a perfect example of taking a template and making it your own. In addition to the changes in graphics, I have quite a few plugins installed (which the end user would not immediately notice, but nevertheless impact his experience), in addition to customizations that I made from scratch, all to create the website experience that was customized to Perfect Word's particular website needs.
As another example, I highly modified this calendar plugin to make it more useful for congregational purposes. It embeds seamlessly into a WordPress installation, and is easy to update and maintain, again, via the administration control panel.
For e-commerce solutions, I use a nice plugin that connects to PayPal for small webstores, or for larger ones, I use a completely different program outside of WordPress (though I can make it look just like the WordPress site, as you can see).
What Should I Do Now?
At this point, I would recommend the following:
- Begin browsing through the websites above that feature WordPress themes.
- If you find a theme that gets you at least 90% of the way to what you want to see in a website design, but you think you may need my help to get it all the way there, contact me.
- In your communication, please include a link to the theme demo and your "wish-list" for the site design and functionality.
After I receive this information from you, then we can talk about the needs and specifications for your site, and I will be able to give you a quote for the work. When I customize a WordPress installation, I typically charge between $300 and $500, but depending on your needs, and how much customization and work is required, it could be more or less.
I look forward to hearing from you soon, and helping you to realize your vision for your presence on the web.
Blessings in Yeshua,