Affordable Website Maintenance & Revision
Frequently Asked Questions...

Q 1. What is the cost of a custom designed website?

The cost is completely dependent on what you would like for your online presentation. As with any design project, the more graphics and pages that you require, the greater the time that is necessary to complete the work.

First give thought to what you want, then contact us so we can discuss the details ~ we will give you an estimate after you indicate to us what specific elements you wish to include. Anyone working within a very limited budget should begin with a strong foundation, then subsequently add more pages & graphics as your online sales increase.

In addition to the cost of constructing your site, the other charge that you have is for your registered domain (about $15/year) and with your host server. This is a fee that you pay directly to them, and generally it runs under $60-$70 per year.

Q 2. What is the first step we need to take for our website?

First, gather together the graphics and text that will make up the content for your various pages. Your website is a reflection of you and your business, therefore only you can determine what is most important to present.

Simultaneously, determine your budget, and realistically assess the extent of your own initial online presentation.

Finally, it is helpful to indicate to us other websites that you particularly like. So as you surf the web, bookmark attractive sites in a special folder for later reference.

Q 3. Who will do the maintenance on our site after it is online?

We will build your site so it is easily maintained. If you feel comfortable with HTML coding, then you can maintain it yourself if you chose. However if you'd prefer to have us take care of it for you, then we are happy to do so at a reasonable hourly rate.

Note: If someone else built your site but you need help keeping it updated, please contact us for assistance.

Q 4. Is the cost of a website a yearly fee, or is it one time only?

The cost of new site construction is one time only. As mentioned above, you will have an annual fee that you will pay directly to your site's hosting service, and of course if you want to make ongoing updates to your site, then there would be a charge (based on the extent of the changes), but that is it. If you do not make any changes for awhile, then there is no more expense.

Q 5. Where should the site be hosted?

We can set you up with an affordable and reliable hosting service if you have not already picked one out. Depending on the size of your site, the cost of the hosting will likely average approximately $5 per month, unless your site is very large, or has extraordinarily heavy traffic, or has other special needs. Once the account is set up, they will bill your credit card directly.

Q 6. Will the costs go up every year?

The cost of website hosting has been very stable, so it is unlikely that the expense would rise significantly. In any case, if you are not happy with your server you can always move to another.

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Q 7. Will my pages and graphics be fast loading?

If we design your site they will be. We use sophisticated software and file compression techniques to keep the total size of graphics on each webpage as low as possible (without sacrificing quality), so consequently the pages we design download very fast.

Q 8. Do we need to accept payment by credit card for our products?

In most cases the answer is "yes" ~ if you wish to sell directly via your site. People who use the web for the purchase of goods and services expect to be able to make payment by credit card, either via a shopping cart or over the phone.

The best approach is to have your own "merchant account" to accept Visa & MasterCard, ideally at the same bank where you have your business checking account. This cost should be kept to a minimum at first, so if the bank insists on selling you expensive & unnecessary monthly options, then inquire elsewhere. You can contact us for suggestions.

A "plan B" alternative is to accept credit card payment through a service such as PayPal.com. In this case, you do not need your own merchant account. Rather, they take the credit card payment, then electronically transfer the money to your account (less their percentage). The primary disadvantage to this kind of approach is that the customer must also be a PayPal member, and if they are not, then they must first join prior to completing their purchase. But with that exception, it seems to be a well thought out service.

If your site is not for direct sales, but rather is meant to be a portfolio or an explanation of services, then accepting credit cards is not an issue.

Q 9. Should we have a secure shopping cart?

It is not absolutely necessary to have a secure cart if you want a website for your business. However, if you want to make direct online sales, then you should most definitely include a secure cart.

One of the keys to making sales via the web is to make it easy for your customers. When they see something they like, they want to buy it at that time, and a secure shopping cart makes that possible.

If we design your site for you, we can set you up with a shopping cart service that many other of our clients are using. This cart currently has no monthly fee, therefore the only extra charge to you is for the time it takes us to construct the pages and configure the coding.

So if you do have an existing merchant account, then your customers' credit card payments can be made through your own cart, and you'll receive the money directly. If you prefer however to take your card payments through a service such as PayPal, then the customer would use PayPal's cart set up, which we would seamlessly integrate into your site.

Q 10. Is a toll free number helpful for getting orders?

There are definite advantages to offering to your customers the opportunity to pay you using their credit card over the phone, and of course, a toll free number makes that very easy.

It's important to remember that some people are very hesitant to send their cc# over the internet, even though a truly secure cart is totally safe. So by offering toll free ordering, you do remove that obstacle.

The downside is cost ~ you pay for every incoming toll free call, so you want to be sure that it be used (as much as possible) for actual orders only. Don't encourage your friends and family for example to call you toll free unless you don't mind seeing the charges on your bill.

Generally adding toll free capability is very inexpensive ~ only a few dollars a month (but again, you pay per minute for every call!), and the number can be run through your existing phone lines, so you do NOT need a second account with your local phone company.

Q 11. How are most people finding web sites on the Internet?

We construct sites that are "search engine friendly", and upon completion we link you into other more established sites, so the search engine "spiders" can find you as quickly as possible. This helps to make your Internet address available to anyone looking specifically for you, or for contacting someone in your field.

Many of the biggest search services are now offering the opportunity for better placement through various payment models ~ an example being Google AdWords. You may want to give serious consideration to this, as it is a proven technique for driving traffic and you only have to pay for visitors who actually click into your site.

Also, it is essential that you promote your unique web address by adding it to ALL your advertising, mailings, and literature, including business cards, brochures, etc.

Q 12. How long will it take before sales begin from my site?

There is no way to honestly answer that. We have had clients make sales within their first month, and others take much longer. But one thing is for sure ~ remember this above everything else ~ you will only get out of your WWW site what you put into it:

If you do adequate promotion, then you will be far more likely to see favorable returns!!
Q 13. What is the best kind of domain name?

It should ideally be reasonably short; should be easy to spell; easy to remember; and have some relation to what you do. If you'd like, we can make all arrangements for you ~ the cost is about $15 per year.

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Q 14. Is it necessary for us to come to your studio to discuss our site requirements?

That is definitely not necessary. We work with clients all around the USA and communicate on a regular basis via email and telephone, so you need go no further than your own office!

Q 15. How can we get our graphics and text content to you?

There are a couple different ways to provide us with the graphics and text for your website:

· You can attach graphics to an email; for your text, you can include the entire wording in an email message or attach a Word doc; or

· You can send your graphics via the US Postal Service, as photographs, slides, or digital media (CDs or DVDs). If you prefer, we can install an "upload" area to your own website where you can convenienty transmit digital files via your browser anytime you want (as easy as sending an email).

Please note again that most of your text should ideally be sent via email or placed onto a basic word processing document (such as Word, NotePad or MS Word). We will edit and spell check, but most of the actual descriptive phrasing should be worked out by you ~ after all, no one knows better than you what to say about your own business.

Q 16. How do we make payment to you for your work?

You can make payment by credit card or by check.

Q 17. What is the biggest mistake that people make when starting out?

In our experience, the one fundamental mistake we have seen is when people either spend too much $$ when they start out, by paying for a lot of services/features they do not need; or, they think that they can be successful on the WWW by spending almost nothing. Neither approach makes much sense.

With the first mistake ~ spending too much ~ they devote valuable $$ resources to slow loading Flash animations or bogus search engine placement schemes, when they should be putting that money towards proven site promotion campaigns, so they can generate targeted visitor traffic. After all, without quality visitors, there is no online business.

In the second case ~ spending too little ~ they believe that the WWW is outside the laws of economics, which is to say, the erroneous assumption that people will buy their products/services and they won't have to spend anything to make that happen. If only it was that easy! Since that rarely if ever happens in the regular business world, we are at a loss to explain how it could happen on the WWW. But nevertheless, this myth is apparently out there.

So as we said earlier, it is important for you to realistically assess how much you can afford to dedicate to your web presence ~ for initial construction AND subsequent promotion ~ and then take the necessary steps to make it happen.

Q 18. What are some of the things we can do to promote our own site?

When your site is first active on the web your challenge is to get a traffic flow started. You can:
~ Pay for position on major search engines for search-terms that directly relate to what you offer;
~ Send out a postcard mailing to your regular mailing list announcing your website;
~ Send out an email blast to your address book;
~ Take out targetted ads in print media announcing your site;
~ Establish "reciprocal linkage" relationships with other websites;
~ Add your products to the large online malls/portals (such as Amazon or eBay);
~ Purchase banner ads on carefully selected web pages to direct traffic your way;
~ Promote yourself on social media such as Facebook & Twitter.

Q 19. Once we decide to proceed, how long will it take before our site is ready?

That depends on how well you have organized your materials ~ once we begin work on your site, then things move along steadily.

Q 20. Can I get interactive site enhancements, such as a blog, or an internal search engine, etc?

Absolutely. If you want to make your site more interactive by providing these kind of features, just let us know. The cost will depend on what you want, but is almost always very affordable.

Q 21. Can you do a complete "makeover" to my existing site even though it was designed by someone else?

If you are getting tired of waiting for your original webmaster to re-design your web pages, then we can definitely help. Over the years we have worked with quite a number of people to revitalize their presence on the WWW with an upgraded site that looks fresh and professional.

Q 22. Can you help with simply updating my currently existing website?

Yes ~ if you are happy with the "look" of your site but need to update various aspects (contact info, pricing, schedules, etc), then contact us and we will handle that for you at a reasonable hourly rate.

Q 23. Can I link my website to my Facebook account?

Yes ~ we can easily do that, plus add a FB "Like" button for your visitors to use.

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