Getting Started – Website Planning

You want a website. Great! Before you contact me (or another web designer!), you should begin your website planning by assembling a professional quality promotional package: biography, repertoire list, photos, reviews, sound and video clips and whatever else you want to include on the site and have available in your press kit.

Website Planning – Materials & Information

Click here for a handy checklist of materials and information needed before your website design begins.


Photos by Tara McMullen gave lots of colour and inspiration to this site!

Photos by Tara McMullen gave lots of colour and inspiration to this site!

Professional photos are key to the design of a visually interesting, dynamic and unique website. If you have good quality, recent colour photos, it’s much easier to design a beautiful website that complements them, using the colours, textures and styles in your photos as the inspiration for the site. Old black and white headshots, or photos that your neighbour took in the back yard, just don’t read the same way as beautiful full colour, professional photos. I can hook you up with a great photographer and a photo shoot stylist if you need one.
More about planning photos for your website >

Logo and graphics:

Broadsway had a professional logo designed by a graphic illustrator

Broadsway had a professional logo designed by an graphic illustrator

If you are representing a company or charitable organization, you will need a professional logo, preferably with an image that we can use throughout your site, which can also be integrated on your business cards, letterhead etc. I would suggest getting a professional graphic artist to design your logo before we begin working on your website – it will give a much clearer starting point for the styles and colours used in your site design.

As a solo artist, it’s not necessary to develop a corporate logo – but it’s an option! I designed all the textual artist name logos on my sites as part of the site design, and I can provide you a copy of the text image (sans background) if you wish to use it for print materials as well.

Written Materials:


If you need help writing your biography or editing your reviews, I can connect you with a publicist who will make your accomplishments sing. It’s hard to be objective when you are writing about yourself – to focus on things that make the most impact, and present them in an engaging way. So many artist bios read like grocery lists! Why not make yours stand out from the crowd?
More about editing your promotional materials >

How will you update the site?


In the past couple of years I have expanded to offer sites run on both WordPress and LightCMS – both platforms which allow you, the client, to edit your own materials online by logging into a dashboard and navigating to the appropriate content area on your site. You can also update Dreamweaver sites using a HTML editor on your own computer.

When making your decision, consider:

  • how you plan to use the site (will you want a blog? will you want to update frequently?)
  • your technical prowess
  • your budget (both for the set up and monthly hosting fees)
  • how much time you have to spend updating

If you need help deciding, contact me and we can discuss the best choice for your needs.
More about the various maintenance options >

Request a Quote:

icon_pricingOnce you have your materials ready, fill out my online Estimate Form (there’s one for Individual Artists, and one for Organizations). This will give us a starting point for planning your website. Before you fill it out, think about any special requirements, preferences and ideas you may have – colours, styles, fonts, other sites and features you like. The form also allows us to summarize how many pages, and what kind of site we’re looking at in terms of complexity and price point.

Send the client form to me and we can use that as the starting point for our initial discussions of your site – by phone or in person. Filling out an Estimate Form does not commit you to hiring Maestra for your website design.

Pay Deposit:

I will invoice you for half the design fee before starting work on the site. Please visit the Payments page to review your payment options. We now accept credit cards and PayPal!

Send Materials:

Downloads FolderYou can email or “snail mail” your materials to me. Anything sent digitally is usually better, as it saves me time typing and scanning, so saves you money. Be sure to clarify what page your text files and photos are for – it’s okay to send them together attached to an email, but be sure they are clearly labelled (eg: Bio page photo, Header photo, Hi res headshot etc.). For photos, make sure to include the photographer’s name, as well as the production, company, role and year for performance shots. Files larger than 10MB should be mailed on CD-Rom or DVD-R, or sent via YouSendIt, Dropbox or other online file transfer program, rather than email to avoid file transfer problems.

Digital video is best uploaded to Youtube so it’s easily embedded into your site – or submitted as a MOV (Quicktime) file, with the excerpt you want already edited. However, for an additional fee I can excerpt, edit and convert file formats from CDs and DVDs.

The Design Process

Draft pages

Web-Build-IconOnce I have your materials and deposit, and we have discussed your ideas and preferences for the site, I design a draft page from which we can start tweaking. Then, once you’re happy with the layout of the first page, I will complete the site and post it (hidden to the public) for your approval. The remaining balance is due upon your approval of the site, before it is posted in full and linked up to your domain.

How long does it take?

stopwatchIt usually takes me 3 – 4 weeks from receiving all (proofed and final) materials, to design and launch a site. The quicker you to respond to drafts and questions, and the more organized your materials, the faster things proceed. It is possible to finish a site more quickly, if things go smoothly and there aren’t too many other projects to finish at the same time. August through September is the busiest time of year as artists and organizations often want something up for the start of the new season – if you’re looking at an August launch, best to contact me in the spring.

Domain Name and Hosting Set-updomain-name

I usually do the setup of domain name, hosting and email address(es), and charge that to your credit card – the annual cost of hosting is about $80CA/year, and a .com domain $15US/year (there is a free domain included with some hosting plans).

I recommend Hostpapa or Bluehost. If you wish to set up your own domain and hosting, please click the links below.