What is involved with web design?
Web design can be used for your site in many ways. You can build a beautiful home page, a great navigation bar, add super pictures, and more. If you are on a budget, create a very simple home page. The less information, the less you have to deal with. The hardest thing is squeezing information in a small space emphasizing the most critical information.
Every page in a web site needs some sort of design otherwise it would just be very unattractive text. A good layout, navigation scheme, and great pictures are the ingredients for a good web site. If you are serious about doing business, it pays to invest more than $1000 in some professional looking pictures that you can purchase online. The success of your business depends on your functionality and your appearance.
Picking the right images for your site is much harder than you think. Once you have decided on your layout, you can begin the task of finding pictures. In many cases the only picture that will capture the character and feeling that is perfect for your site -- will be a picture that won't fit. Many pictures are vertical, square, or horizontal. Additionally, the backgrounds on these photo's will have colors that will look horrible with your color scheme. Editing out backgrounds will not always look good, so its best to start with a picture that physically fits, and one that matches colors, and the character of your site.
Other times, a designer will want to create a custom made graphic image to put on your site. Logos are a common item that designers will invest time in. It pays to spend the extra time to make your logo perfect. Images can go anywhere on a site. Icons can also be designed and used in various contexts on a website. Icons are cute, and people like them.
Animated files can be created. These are actually not so complicated. They involve frames and you can choose how fast you want the images to move and where you want items in the design to move. Flash is a great way to conserve space. If you have a small space to work with but want lots of information to be shown there, flash is one great way to do it.
Automated forms are something that have to be programmed as well as designed. Contact forms are common in websites. Its best to give a regular email address in addition to a contact form. Forms help customers to give all of the necessary information in a correspondance, because many customers will omit critical information.
To promote your site, banners are a popular graphic to design. Banners were much more popular in the 90's, but they still have their place in web marketing. Banners can be large, small, or even verticle "skyscrapers". The exact pixel widths of each size is something best discussed with your designer. Figure out where your banner is going to go and then figure out what size you want it to be.