Website Design FAQ

Hey! Did you miss the website design intro page? If so, you can check it out here.
 


Do you work on websites that have already been built by someone else?
It would be a rare circumstance. There are tons of ways to build websites. If the site happened to be built using the same platform that I use (Joomla), then it is a possibility if it is a recent version of Joomla. To be sure, I would need to log in to the Joomla admin of the site and check things out. Outside of that situation, I typically do not work on sites that I have not built. It would be hard for you to justify the cost of the time it would take just in figuring out how the previous design put it together.

Do you use Wordpress as the website platform?
Although we might occasionally use Wordpress for building websites, our preferred platform is Joomla. It is a content management system just like Wordpress but we find it to be much more flexible in terms of design and like Wordpress, there are tons of plugins and third party components made to extend the features and functionality.

Do you take care of the SEO?
That is a short question that requires a long conversation to adequately answer. The short answer is that the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of a website involves many different factors. Some of those factors involve the content and structure of your website. This is often referred to as the "on-page" SEO. But there are many things that affect your SEO that are outside of your website itself. I am involved in the SEO as far as preparing your websites content and structure to be properly indexed by Google. But that alone may not produce the high ranking organic search results that you are looking for. For more information on effective SEO, please check out the information found here on our SEO information page.

Do you also host the website?
No, if you do not already have hosting or currently have inadequate hosting, you can click here to get informaiton and to sign up with our preferred hosting provider.

NOTE: You may see website designers offer hosting for the clients. They are actually not doing the hosting. Modern hosting companies have huge multi-million dollar facilities with rooms full of servers. A website designer would be reselling hosting to you from one of these companies. There is nothing neccesarily wrong with that, but we prefer to connect you directly to a hosting company where you own your hosting and have control of it. This also involves creating your email accounts, if needed, as many hosting companies provide unlimited email accounts using your own domain name.

Can you use the hosting I already have?
Maybe. There are good hosting companies with the latest tools available within their control panel and there are hosting companies that are outdated and out-of-touch with what is needed for modern websites. The only way to be sure is to log in to your hosting account and check it out. Also there are domain registration companies such as Godaddy who are great at domain name management and that also offer hosting. In these cases the hosting they offer is often not as good as their domain name services.

If you find you are in need of good hosting, you can click here to find out more about our preferred hosting provider.

My domain name is bundled with my current hosting service. Is that a bad thing?
It all depends. Unfortunately we often find that when someone gets their domain name through their hosting that the domain name is actually registered through a third party company. In this case it is very difficult to access the domain name control panel when needed and the domain tools within the hosting account are very limited. This becomes very problematic when trying to move to a better hosting company as the domain name and hosting are intertwined. 

We recommend the best practice to be keeping your domain name registration with a company such as Godaddy which is very good with domain name management. And then keep the hosting with a separate company that is great at hosting. With this, if you ever would need to move your site to a different host, it is way easier to do so. 

If you find you need hosting, you can click here to find out more about our preferred hosting provider.

What are the steps in the process of building my website?

Phase #1 - Planning

This is the planning phase. During this team we meet in person or by call to discuss the site's page breakdown, design style and what content will need to be created prior to building the site. Domain name and hosting is also secured during this phase. This is also the time in which the estimate is finalized and a 50% deposit is collected.

Phase #2 - Content

During this time the client writes the text content or has it written for them. Any client provided photos are also collected at this time. For the best efficiency, all content needs to be completed before beginning the building of the site.

Phase #3 - Build

Once we have received the site's content we then install the website's platform and begin customizing a preinstalled theme to match your brand and design goals. We start with the home page design and one subpage. This is a good time to review this with the client and make any design adjustments before moving on to the other subpages.

Phase #4 - Site Review

Once all the pages are completely built, then the client reviews the site. During this time we make adjustments and edits which are again reviewed by the client. The client also test all links as well as testing the view on multiple devices. Note: When working with a mobile responsive site, there are sometimes trade-offs to be considered between the view on different devices with the goal of finding a happy medium.

Phase #5 - Approval and Launch

Once the client has completed the review, including all the requested edits and testing of links and functions, they then sign off on the site as ready to launch. 

We typically will launch a site on a Monday through Thursday, avoiding Fridays in case of any server issues or domain name propagation issues that might extend the launch process.

Phase #6 - Follow up and Maintenance

We offer free content and website software updates for the first 20 days after the site is launched. During this time we also wrap up the SEO of the site along with creating video tutorials on how to log in and update common areas of content if desired.

Please take time to review the software and security maintenance program details found HERE.

How long will it take to build my website?
First make sure you have read the FAQ on this page that reads, "What are the steps in the process of building my website?".  After reading that, know that after we receive the complete content for the website, the build process begins and typically takes 2-4 weeks depending on the current overall schedule load.

I haven't secured my domain name yet, what do I do?
As you may have read in another FAQ, we recommend keeping your domain name registration with a company such as Godaddy that has great tools for domain name management. And we recommend keeping your hosting separate with a company that is strong in hosting such as our preferred hosting provider, Bluehost.

If you haven't already purchased your domain name, feel free to contact us first to discuss your domain name selection to make sure it is a strategic choice for your SEO and brand recognition.

How much will it cost to build my website?
There are so many options and variables that can be involved in a website build, that it is best to provide a custom quote. To start, please put together a "page breakdown". This is just a simple list of the pages that you plan to have within your website and listing any special features or functions for each page that might be beyond static content which is the basic text and photos. Not referring to design elements of the site, but features and functions such as photo galleries, blogs, video players, slide shows, etc.

Our websites begin at $2500.

Do you provide the writing of the text content?
We work from the content which is provided to us by the client. This doesn't mean that the client or client's staff neccesarily has to write the content themselves. If you or your organization do not have a marketing person or copy writer, we can help by referring you to someone who can provide this service for you.

Can I see reports of my website's traffic?
Yes! All of our sites are registered with Google Analytics. You are provided with access to these reports which include tons of traffic data that goes well beyond the days of the "hit counter"! You can also use the "live" view to see how many people are currently on your site including their city location, type of browser, traffic path they have taken through your site and so much more.

To get access you simply provide us with an email address that you have that is connected with a google account such as gmail or youtube.

What is involved in maintaining the website after it is live?
Basically there are two different types of maintenance that we refer to...

#1 Software Maintenance  #2 Content Maintenance

For software maintenance we offer a monthly maintenance plan that includes updating the website's software including the platform (Joomla) and all the third party plugins. Along with this we do an off-site backup of the site files and database. These updates often include security updates where the software developers are providing blocks for new ways that hackers have created to hack websites. This monthly update program is the first and best way to prevent your site from being hacked. We have a decicated page located HERE that goes into much more detail about this service. Please take a moment to read this important information and consider this maintenance option.

For content maintenance, you have an option to update common areas of content yourself or by someone on your staff without having any type of coding knowledge. We even provide video tutorials that live within a hidden link of the site that can be used to walk someone through the steps of updating different areas of content throughout the site. This is one of the greatest advantages of using a content management system such as Joomla or Wordpress.

But know that this is an "option" for your convenience. If you prefer that we make the updates for you, we are availble to do this on an as needed basis at $75 per hour. We can bill per update request or if updates would be often, we can bill the time monthly.
Do you build ecommerce sites?

I do limited ecommerce type sites.

So If you are like a performer, and you sell CD's on your site that are an addition to your main income, then that level of commerce is what can do with third party shopping cart plugins made to work within your Joomla or Wordpress site with a simple payment gateway such as Paypal.

But if you are building a web-based business where your entire income is brought through online transactions that happen on your site, then that would not be a fit for what I do. You would need someone who specializes in the type of backend programming involved in customized shopping cart solutions and payment gateways.