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This will be a great stepping stone. What I learned from my experience was more than I learned in college. Above all else have fun :).
I starting posting here a while back, after endlessly looking for "a site" that covers most of the thoughts I have in regards to making web sites. Im still here ;)
The most powerful tool you have for a website you already own, the knowledge and information you are going to put on to the screen. The rest is more or less absolute rules to follow (ie code) which you basically have to sit down and learn.
The SEO bit, well, if there is such a thing as SEO, stick around WMW for the fuzzy logic used.........in here you will get a "feel" of how to make that better website/online business you strive for :)
Even if you don't get a lot of jobs because of your rates, don't be afraid to go into 4 digit numbers (though for small business sites, I wouldn't recommend going past $2000 - most aren't even willing to pay $900).
I sometimes have to tell clients "You can't expect a champagne website on a beer budget." They get what they pay for, and if they don't want to pay your rates, you'll only work the hours their pay covers. (Although you should always work to get the job finished - it takes some practice, but based on how much your charging, try to manage your time in a way that you get the site done in so-and-so number of hours as though you were getting paid X dollars an hour.)
The customer is not always right (that's why you're the professional) and don't feel obliged to throw in features they didn't ask for. You can use that as motivation to do a quarterly update later - at the client's cost.
Im getting head deep in PHP and mySQL. Previously all my design was static. The idea now is to have 100% of the site dynamically generated to that future updating can be done easily and more cost-efficiently (one of your goals in your profile URL) :)
If you write down how you are going to lay your website out, instead of compromising along the way, you are less likely to run into problems and expandability issues.
On the other hand, if you plan, you should "expect to cope" with any pressure that is put on your site layout (ie bandwidth, people wanting bigger sites, more "fancy sites" etc)
If there was no pre-planned concept for a website, then you may as well allow someone who doesnt know about websites to make it, because they would be heading into the project as blind as anyone else :)