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things you would've like to have known!

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2:26 am on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I've decided that I'm gonna take the plunge into webdesign. First, making sites of my own that generate a profit, and then,- possibly- designing sites for clients. You've all been here before, so please bear with me...

So far, I've created only <b>one</b> 'good' website:
<Sorry, no personal URLs. See TOS [webmasterworld.com]>
. Its pretty simple, made in postnuke, and community oriented.

I put it together mostly as a hobby and don't expect it to make me a profit.

But now that I've got the skills, I'm wondering *what kind* of websites I could make to generate money(besides having fun building them) and what things I should be aware of as a beginner? Are there any topics that that are underexploited? What are the most important things that a beginner should know?

In short, what would you like to have known when starting out like me? What was the magical advice that you didn't take, but learnt the had way?

I'd appreciate any pointers that you pro's could give me.

-Thanks

[edited by: tedster at 6:46 pm (utc) on April 4, 2004]

3:30 am on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi flamesrock, welcome to webmasterworld.

First off you might want to remove your url from your post, don't take it personaly but it's against the tos here :)

With reguard to making a profit from a website.. I honesty don't think to many users will spill the beans on that one. If people find something that works generaly they keep it pretty close to the belt.

I think you should continue with the hobby style sites and use that to develop your ability.

As for working on clients sites, freelance is a good way to go.

For now work on your portfolio and build on your skills. When youre ready develop a site offering your services as a designer :)

Hope this is of some help.

3:59 pm on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Remember to issue the invoices ;-)

Clients are always right even when they're wrong.

Never take on a site you feel uneasy about - challenged is good - uneasy is bad.

Remember to build relationships with your clients.

Price yourself properly - be realistic - remember work is like busses three in a row then nothing for an hour.

Deadlines can be fun.

That's what I would have wanted to know when I started out.

Oh and one other thing - change is not only inevitable, but also stimulating and exciting.

Best regards

3:45 am on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thankyou both for the great advice :) I'm very excited to get going with this, and and I'll be building a few websites over the spring break.

Any ideas on what kind of sites would be good to practice making? These hobby sites are fun, but I'd like to pick up some experience building sites I know nothing about for future clients.

6:18 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Look into a local non-prof or small community which hasn't a site already or has a REALLY BAD ONE. Offer to do a site for them - for free or not much (since most non-profs don't HAVE much for that sort of thing, and most small communities ditto).

Getting the site set up without making it unusable in older browsers and "off-brand" (that is, NOT IE!) browsers, making it attractive, accessible, friendly, warm, and STILL provide all the content/info necessary will be a good stretch of burgeoning abilities....

6:41 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just a suggestion, but before starting new sites, it might be worth your while looking through some of the threads here to check how your current site fits with what people have recommended. You can learn an awful lot here if you dig deep enough.

For example your home page needs a lot of scrolling, and it weighs in at a hefty 98k. That would be something I would look at if it were my site. Do a search on "above the fold" and "page size".

But it's still a good effort! :)

6:50 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wrote this post over a year ago. Today I'm even MORE aligned to what it says:

[webmasterworld.com...]

10:19 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That's a GREAT post, tedster!
10:38 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wish I would have known how to SEO my web sites.

Learn to spell check every thing and read it at least three times.

Trade links with sites like yours and nothing less.

One more thing, I wish I would have known about Webmaster World.

2:28 am on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I recently came accross a site that was simply a title, done briefly in a graphics program (a name in Arial font, underlined with a relevant phrase underneath.) The background was white and in the centre of the screen were neat blocks of justified text. Below the text (about 500words) were text-links to other similar pages.

This site felt like a breathe of fresh air. I really liked Tedster's comparison of over-slick sites and 'corporate speak'. All info sites should be laid out like the one above.

10:58 pm on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Decide if you want to go with tables or CSS for positioning your elements. If you like CSS, learn it now, so you can use it from the ground up. Browser support is still sketchy, but it's the wave of the future.

Also, if you design anything that utilizes dynamic content from a database, consider your URL structure very carefully. I had someone else design my site and now I've got some fairly clunky URL's, as in, mysite.com?section=foo&sub=fee+fo+fum. Some search engines won't touch it, and when I link them in my html I have to go back and encode those ampersands (ugh!).

5:54 am on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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thankyou for all of the great ideas! I think I'm going to try that non-profit organization idea. Sounds like a real fun project

I love the minimilistic style, like you guys have been recommending, and that website I showed you isn't a true representation of my preferences, but an attempt to understand keep the attention of my target audience.

I like to build sites similar to one I made for history class: (I'll post a screenshot soon) ...ugly buttons, but mostly pleasant to the eye. In it, I didn't use *any* CSS or SSI, although come to think of, that was a huge oversight ;). I needed it more than I expected...bringing me to a new question:

I've decided that one of the exercise sites I build will be about famous quotes. The site will be simple, mostly text based with a logo and a search box. I want to use lots of css ans ssi, but I'd like to know: Is this combination good with google? I mean, can google properly read the shtml file as a meaningful whole, instead of just the <include> html file(s)?

 

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