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Getting Started

Website Planning – Materials & Information

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


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:

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 text copy, 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?

Most of my clients opt for WordPress, which is a platform that allows you to edit your own materials online by logging into a dashboard and navigating to the appropriate content area on your site. This allows companies to have most of their website editing done ‘in-house’ and save money on specialist fees. WordPress is used by 835 million websites worldwide (as of 2023), so there is a huge wealth of reference material to support the platform, and very little chance that it will be retired.

I offer by-the-hour tutorials to get you/your staff started on various aspects of updating the site.

Professional maintenance a few times a year is still recommended to keep everything running smoothly. And of course I offer hourly and monthly maintenance options if you prefer to hire me to do your updating.

The Process – Getting Started

1. Request a quote

Once you have your materials ready, fill out my Online Estimate Form. 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.

2. Pay Deposit

I will invoice you for half the design fee before starting work on the site. I accept credit cards, PayPal/credit cards, etransfer and cheques in Canadian dollars. Non-Canadian clients need to pay by PayPal in Canadian dollars – the good news is you will be tax exempt!

3. Send Materials:

I will invoice you for half the design fee before starting work on the site. I accept credit cards, PayPal/credit cards, etransfer and cheques in Canadian dollars. Non-Canadian clients need to pay by PayPal in Canadian dollars – the good news is you will be tax exempt!

The best way to get your materials to me for a full site build is to assemble all proofed and final materials in an online folder like Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive. Once it’s all ready, you can simply share the folder with me. Be sure to label files by page or area of the website. For photos, make sure to include the photographer’s name, as well as the production, company, role and year for performance shots.

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

The Design Process

1. Domain Name and Hosting Set-up

I usually initiate the setup of domain name, hosting and email address(es), and it is billed to your credit card. The annual cost of hosting with my recommended provider is about $72CA+HST/year.

2. Draft pages

Once 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.

3. How long does it take?

It usually takes 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.