I am a small business owner. What can a website do for me?
A website can offer your business many advantages, including a:
- More professional company image
- Improved branding
- Increased sales
- Inexpensive advertising
- Edge on the competition
- Better customer relations
A website can help your business reach new customers, keep you in closer contact with your current customers, and enable you to respond quickly and efficiently in a rapidly changing market.
How much time does it take to build a web site?
A web site can be completed in as little as a few days to several months. Completion time would depend on several factors: (1) the size of the web site and (2) the amount of time it takes the site owner to offer feedback on the web design in progress and to provide relevant content (images, pictures, text, etc.) for the web site.
Can I just design a website on my own?
Of course! If you like HTML, CSS, SSL, CGI, SSI, XML, PHP, CFM, JSP, ASP, DHTML, SHTML, Flash, Java, ….
If you don’t want to spend months learning the basic foundations of web design, you might want to let a professional designer develop your site.
h3>How can I promote my website?
Search engine and directory submissions, negotiating cross-links with other sites, set up affiliate programs, put your URL on all correspondence and marketing materials, e-mail marketing … and that’s just the beginning.
Can you guarantee my site will be listed in all the search engines?
No, and no reputable company should make these guarantees! However, all of the sites we design, optimize and submit to the search engines are eventually indexed.
If I build a great website, will they come?
If you build it, promote it, nurture it, update it, they will definitely come. Simply creating a web site will not generate lots of traffic and will not cause your web site to be immediately listed in all the search engines. Building a web site is only the first step in an overall marketing plan. We will submit your completed web site to the search engines that are still accepting free submissions, but we cannot guarantee if and when the search engines will index any web site. We can also provide you with other online advertising venues which provide immediate exposure for your site.
What kind of services will I need once the site is completed?
Some web sites require minimal maintenance while some require daily updates. Be sure to discuss your site’s future needs with your web developer.
How much does a website cost?
The investment you make in your web site development project will vary depending on the complexity of the site, visual sophistication and the type of programs you require on the site. There are hundreds of variables that will affect the cost of your project, but ultimately what it comes down to is time and materials. The more time and/or materials it takes, the more your project will cost.
What is your payment policy?
Payment policies vary depending on the size and scope of the project. We require a deposit in order to begin development. The remaining balance is paid prior to the web site being launched.
Do you offer some kind of assurance to ensure that my work will be done on time and within specifications?
Yes, we do. To make clear our mutual understanding of the web design project, we do not undertake any project without first preparing and executing a legal Website Development Agreement, which outlines in writing the terms and specifications of the proposed web design project. This Agreement contains the terms (website specifications, delivery time, payment terms, etc.) to which we agreed prior to starting the project.
How do I choose a web developer?
Finding qualified site designers is an incredible challenge. Due to the tremendous shortage of good designers and the large demand for web sites, many design groups have waiting lists of up to six months.
Start a list of the design groups which somehow get your attention (good design, marketing skills, past performance, etc.) and write them down. Your goal at this point should be to narrow it down to the three most qualified firms. The easiest way I know of to do this is to simply eliminate the bad ones.
Go through your list by visiting the Web site of each company. Is their own site well designed? Do they do great work for their clients? Can they help bring publicity to you? These are all questions you need to ask yourself. Start crossing out the companies which you don’t have a good feeling about, until you’re left with three.
Contact the best three. At this point you should have some pretty good people on your list. Call or email to let them know that you’re interested in having them design a site for you. Tell them in detail what you want and expect from a web site. You should not have to wait more than a week for a response from each of them. Realize that these companies are now doing work on your behalf for no pay.
Typically a firm will spend several hours preparing a response in order to get your business. You should not expect them to do any “free” design work or give you lots of ideas. If you show that you value their time and creativity, the relationship will get off on the right foot.
Ask for and check at least 3 references. Now check the references (3 minimum) of these groups while they’re preparing their responses to you. Try to find out what working with them is like. Ask the hard questions. No project ever works out exactly as planned and problems always occur. Find out how they handle adversity. A little bit of homework here can save you a lot of misery later.
Make the choice. Depending on the quality of the responses you receive and the impressions you get from the references, you should now have a good feeling for who you’d like to work with. Trust your instincts now. Don’t make a judgement based on price alone. If you like the most expensive group much more than the others, contact them and see if you can come up with a way to get the costs more in line with what you can afford.
After designing the web-site, if it needs to be updated what is your maintenance fee to do this? We offer free technical support and 30 days free maintenance/updates is provided following site completion, installation and publishing. If you anticipate minor changes/updates on an infrequent basis after the 30 day grace period, web site maintenance requests are invoiced at $60.00 per hour in 1/2 hour increments, after all maintenance requests have been completed to your satisfaction. If you need updates to your website, just send us a request via fax or email and it will be completed, normally within 24 hours.
We can also provide you tools which will enable you or your staff to make minor updates to your website via your web browser. This is just another option.
If there are any problems, how are they corrected? Support service?
If there are problems with the website’s functionality, that would be our responsibility. You are hiring a web designer/developer to not only design your website, but make sure it is functional across all platforms and make sure your users are getting the most benefit from your website. If there is a server related problem, your web designer would interact with the web hosting company to resolve those problems. We have close relationships with several hosting companies and understand how they work and speak their “language.”
Would we need to use your company to revise and update our website?
You can call on us at any time to revise and update the website. This is an ongoing service we provide to all our clients. Or, in the alternative, you can select any designer of your choice. After we have completed a website, we will provide you with (1) all the source files and code (2) a document which contains all the passwords, user names, database information and any other information related to the website. Any experienced web designer should be able to follow through.
So, armed with this information, you will be free to choose whomever you wish to revise and update your website.