Frequently Asked Questions
What can a website do for my company?
These are just some of the things that a website can do for your company: 1. Sell products online. 2. Advertise products to increase sales through current channels. 3. Provide product support to customers. 4. Communicate with current and new customers. 5. Enhance information transfer throughout your company.
How much is a website going to cost?
We design web sites. We will recommend a good web site host if you like, but we don't make any money from hosting your web site. Be careful of companies that design a web site at a very low cost. They may require you to host the web site on their server at a high cost. Once you pay us for your web site, you own it, and you can do whatever you want with it. Compare prices for your web site design, including web site design, hosting, domain name registration, and website registration with search engines.
How do I run a website once it's installed?
Operating a basic business website doesn't require you to do anything. If you wish, you can monitor the website usage, or answer customer's Email, but that isn't necessary. This simple type of website will advertise your company and products and increase sales through your current channels on its own. An online store with a shopping cart will require at least daily monitoring to check the database for orders, and to answer Email questions sent in by the customers. You will need to work with credit cards, fill the orders, and ship those orders to the customers. If your prices or stock change often you will need to update the website to reflect those changes.
How can I measure the effectiveness of my website?
People often talk about website hits, but this can be very misleading. Every time a visitor looks at a new page in a website, a program logs 1 hit for the page, and 1 hit for every image on that page. This can add up to many hits if the page has many images, or 1 hit if it contains only text. A more accurate measure would be to count the number of unique visitors that read the page. We provide software that generates a report of customer visits to your website, what they were looking at, where they are located, and how they got to your website. An even more valuable measure is the value of the online sales, or the increase in offline sales generated by the website. The increase in offline sales is sometimes checked by offering coupons on the website and noting how many of them are returned to the store, or by asking customers making purchases what brought them to the store.
How long will it take to create and install a new web site?
We can create and install a basic website in less than a week after we both agree on the content of the website, and you supply your materials. Larger, more complicated websites requiring extra features and more programming will require more time.
Can I create and setup my own website?
Yes, you can do it all yourself, but it is probably more economical to hire us to design and set up your website than for you to spend all the time necessary to figure out all the details for yourself, purchase the necessary tools, and learn how to use them well.
What kind of website do I need?
Look over the Website Packages section of our Services page for detailed descriptions of the different types of websites that we can create for you. You may want a "Single Page Website" if you want to promote an event for a short time and at the lowest possible cost. If you want to promote your business, industry, point of view or organization on the Internet but you don't need to take online orders, then you should be considering one of our "Promotional Websites". Our "Real Estate Websites" work well for selling property, they are like an expanded MLS listing with many pictures and descriptions of important features. We also create websites specifically tailored to musicians, providing free audio clips, selling CDs and keeping fans updated with your schedule. Our "Basic Business Websites" are designed to advertise your products or services and direct customers to your existing channels to complete the sales. They don't take orders online, but they often have detailed pages for each of your products or services. If you want to complete sales online, you will need an "Online Store with a Shopping Cart". You will have to watch your email for notifications that you have made a sale, and then ship the orders and notify customers their product has been shipped. Customers expect online sales to happen quickly so you should check for orders several times a day. If your products change constantly so it makes more sense for you to manage your inventory yourself, they you will need an "Online Store with Owner Controlled Inventory". Plan to check your orders several times a day, and plan for more time to take manage your inventory, add pictures of new products, add or subtract items, change prices... We will create a "WordPress based Website" for you if the main reason for your website is to blog. You can setup your own WordPress based Website, but we can make sure your site is setup properly, help you choose your domain name, help you select a website style template, create your initial webpages, and show you how to run your website.
Do I need my own computer, web server, or Internet access?
You don't need your own computer to have an online store or basic business website. Your own computer would provide a convenient way to review your website and to check on visitor usage, but many public libraries provide free Internet access from their computers. You should have your own computer and a normal connection (not a T1 or T3) to the Internet if you have an online store because you will be monitoring the site for orders quite often. Very few website owners have their own server. Almost everyone rents space at a website hosting company (for about $6-20/month) that has the necessary web servers, web server support, and fast high bandwidth Internet connections. Web server support requires a lot of specialized knowledge that most small companies can't provide economically. A website requires a fast high bandwidth Internet connection like a T1 or T3 line to allow visitors, or even multiple visitors to quickly view its contents, and these lines are very expensive.
Do I need my own domain name?
A domain name looks like this: www.myCompany.com. It does not look like: www.something.myCompany.com or www.something.com/myCompany. Most web sites need their own domain name. It looks more professional, and is easier for customers to remember than a sub-domain or directory of an ISP's domain. Some search engines won't list your site if you don't have your own domain name. You will probably invest a lot of effort getting users to use your web site, and will want to take it with you if you change website hosts. It only costs $5-35/year to register your own domain name, and your website host may register it for FREE.
Will someone host my website for free?
There are many places that will host your website for free. Internet accounts often come with free website space, but free website hosts may not provide services that your website will need, or allow you to use your own domain name. You should use a website host that you trust, and one that provides the services that your web site needs. Paid web site hosting typically costs about $6-20/month.
Is it safe to accept credit card payments over the Internet?
Credit card companies actually consider the use of credit cards on the Internet to be safer than traditional use off the Internet. When a customer submits their credit card number to a secure server, it is encrypted for the transmission to the server, and should remain encrypted until it is used to bill the credit card company, and then it should be destroyed, limiting the number of people that are able to abuse it. A customer's liability is usually limited to $50 if someone should obtain their credit card number and start using it without authorization. Making purchases using a credit card gives the customer some extra protection because they can contest a bill if they feel they have been cheated in an online transaction.
How do I get people to look at my website?
Make your site interesting and be sure it loads quickly or prospective customers will quickly leave. Offer something of value like information, coupons, good deals, or easier shopping. Register your website with search engines so customers will find your site when they search for it, and include your domain name in advertisements, and on all of your promotional material.
Who is the audience for my website?
A website can be designed to be available to the widest audience by limiting features to basic text, but it won't be very interesting. Adding simple graphics won't eliminate many visitors, and will make it much more attractive. Even visitors that turn off their graphics to make surfing faster probably won't be put off, because almost all websites have graphics. Adding many large graphics and animations can increase the download time causing some visitors with slow interconnect connections to leave before it finishes loading. Large browser windows can contain lots of information, and are great for those users who have a large monitor and a state of the art graphics card, but the large browser windows can be unpleasant when users are forced to scroll up and down and back and forth just to see the page. Adding plug-ins like Flash® can make the web site very impressive, but visitors that haven't installed the plug-ins and those with old machines won't be able to view your website. A successful website design requires matching the website features to the capabilities of the desired audience. A website that is too fancy will lose just as many visitors as a website that is not fancy enough.