Web Design FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How long does it take to develop a web site?

This depends. It depends upon the scope of your website, it depends on your roll-out schedule. For a simple small business website it may take two or three days. For a slightly larger, more involved, website it may take a week or two. For a major website it may take three or four weeks. And for a truly involved website we become long-time friends and work on it until the next big meteorite comes our way.

How much will a website cost?

This depends (as above). It depends upon the size and complexity of your website. And, it depends upon how much of the work you share. For a small business website the cost can range from a $150 to $500. For a medium-sized website, the cost may be in the $300 to $800 range. For a larger website you might be looking at $1000 to $2000. And for those really huge websites, we'll just have to talk. Obviously the larger (and more complex a website) is the more expenses go into its creation. But, we'll have to talk. Your specific website may be much less than you expect. And, it is always possible to to break the task into milestones with expansion triggers. You may not need to build it all today. Perhaps we can establish the foundation then add on as required by customer response.

What do you need from me to create my website?

First and foremost we need your input. We will have some very specific questions for you. The answers to these will give us all the information we need to proceed with your website. Not to worry, these questions are not hard. We will address them together, and together we will come up with the direction we need to get started.

In terms of useful materials, any of the following will be useful: brochures, logos, photographs, product descriptions, marketing promos, advertising content, business cards, etc. If you are starting a new business, we will be happy to help you get started from scratch.

If you are still wondering about why types of questions we will cover with you, they are general things such as: "what are the goals of your website?" "Do you have any existing graphics?" "What do you have in the way of text content?" "Have you visual design in mind, or do you want us to give you suggestions?" "Do you have a color palette you prefer? Warm colors, cool?" These are the kinds of things we will ask. They are simple. They are easy.

Bottom-line once we have a clear line of communication established between us and you, everything will fall into place much simpler than you could expect.

What is SEO, and do I need to worry about it?

SEO is Search Engine Optimization. There are several related web-development tasks that fall under this umbrella. Ninty percent (90%) of those functions ascribed to SEO are just plain common-sense. Things like "make it easy for a search engine robot to crawl your website", "use text links that make sense," "don't stuff your page with content un-related to the purpose of your website." These make sense. They are just part of good common-sense. These are the kinds of things that we tend to do as a normal part of our web-design. However, there are some tasks that require extra time and require extra effort. We will ask you before doing any of these. You may prefer to not invest in those at this time.

If I already have a website can you look at it and improve its SEO?

There is no time like the present. Yes, we can take a look at your website. And, we'd be happy to give you an accessment of what can be done to improve your SEO. We will break the suggestions into categories running from simple(and cheap) all the way to a bit involved and not so cheap. In this way you can select which options you wish to persue based on projected results and cost. As in wine, and any other commodities, value is measured by quality per dollar. You want the most improvement per dollar of investment that you can achieve. That's why we break out the suggestions for you.

What is cross-browser compatibility?

There has been a struggle since the invention of the second browser over exactly how a browser should render pages. Where there was just one browser there was no arguement. Then with the advent of a second browser program suddenly web designers had to concern themselves about how each browser interrupted the html code. A webpage is written in a markup code. The "html" stands for hypertext-markup-language. Well, different browsers interrupt this language differently. In fact, different version of different browsers do. If you look at a page in IE6 it may look completely different than it looks in IE8. It is the job of the web designer to give you a page that looks good in all common browsers. This means testing, tweaking, more testing, and a bit more tweaking. If this is not done your page is at risk of looking very different than you expect. It is not uncommon for a client to view and approve a website that looks gorgeous in their browser, but looks like garbage in another brand of browser. Let us help prevent this from happening.

What is a Domain Name? Can I get one from you?

A domain name is something like "galaxywebsitedesign.com". It is your address on the internet. You get those from a domain name registrar. We can help you get your domain name. But, we recommend that you get the name yourself. This way you can insure that you control the domain name. This way it has your name, your email, your phone, etc. This is like realestate. You need to make sure you have clear title.

Can you help me get a shopping cart?

Yes, that is a service we can provide. It will be necessary to discuss the particulars with you first. This way we can make sure you have as much shopping cart as you need and no more. Yes, that's right shopping carts come in different sizes. Everything from complex (and expensive) to very simple (and free). By free, we mean no monthly fees -- just your standard transaction fee. It all depends upon what you need. You will notice a common theme with us -- our aim is to give you as much as you need and no more. Remember you pay for what you get. You pay in upfront costs, and you pay in monthly demand for IT maintenance. Get what you need and no more. You will save in the short run, and you will save in the long run.

What is javascript and can you do this for me?

Javascript is a programming language used to add interactivity and dynamic behavior to web pages. We will be happy to help you with any javascript you may need or want on your website.

Do I need a local web designer?

Typically you will not need a local web designer. Email, phone, and online chat should work well for communication between you and your web designer. Communication is really the only reason you might need to work with a local designer. If you have a large project and need to check in with your designer on an hourly or minute by minute basis, then local will be preferred. In fact, for this level of web design work you may need an in-house web-designer. This is rare, and if it should become necessary there will be plenty of obvious signals telling you as much. So don't worry about hiring local. And, later if it becomes necessary investigate finding a local web designer.

I already have a website, can you help me improve it?

Yes. We can add additional content to an existing site. We can do a little touch-up if you feel it needs a cosmetic refresh. Or, we can help you completely redesign the site, if you think an extreme make-over is in order. It all depends on what you need.

Can my existing logo and brochure design be used on the website?

Absolutely! Any existing materials -- such as logo, brochure, product sheets, and marketing displays -- can be used to improve the branding of your website and your company. This is a great place to start.

I'm not sure my company computer is good enough to host my domain. What do I do?

Let's start by having your website hosted by one of the major hosting companies. They have paid full-time staff whose sole responsibility is keeping websites up and running. It is much more practical these days to have hosting companies perform these services for you. Your time and resources are better spent doing your business.

After the website is done will there be any need for ongoing maintenance?

Yes. However, this can be as little as one hour per year, fifteen minutes a month, or as much as an hour or two a day. It depends completely on the website and the nature of your business. Most website require less than ten or fifteen minutes per month. And these are simple tasks that you can do for yourself, or you can have us do them for you.

When we say simple we mean simple. For example, it is a good idea to visit your own website once in a while just to make sure it is still there. Sounds obvious. But sometimes business owners get busy. You know how it is.

Do I need to know HTML, CSS, or any of this alphabet soup to design my website?

No. We will do that for you. If you would like to do some of this, we are qualified to teach you how and help you do it yourself. You might find it fun to take control of your own website. We'd be happy to help you do this. And, we can continue to do the hard parts for you, or, even proof-read what you do to make sure it is all working just fine. You can either let us do it all, or let us show you how to do it yourself.

What about this javascript? It sounds expensive. Do I need it for my website?

Javascript is a programming language designed to add special interactive content to your website. It does add some cost. So let's start with the assumption that you will not need it. Then if something comes up that seems to require it we can look at the best solution. It doesn't have to be expensive. Even so, there is no point adding complexity where it is not required. This is true in production and it is true in a website.

I only need a simple website, give me an idea of what might be required.

For a simple web presence you might benefit from some of the following types of web pages:

  • Home Page
  • Description of products and/or services
  • Clients and/or portfolio and/or testimonials
  • About your company
  • Contact page
  • F.A.Q.

You may not require all of the above pages. Or, you may need a few additional. But this should give you an idea of what to expect.

What is the first step?

I suppose the first step is for you to let us know of your interest. Use our contact page to let us know you are interested in our services. The very next step after we know of your interest is for us to get into communication. There is no obligation. This is just a conversation so that we can get to know you and your website needs and you can get to know us and get a feel for whether you'd like to work with us.

What is usability?

Usability is an industry (insider) term meaning "how easy is the website to use?" Basically can people find information they are looking for, and are they able to click on links to find the pages they need. There are many factors that contribute to usability. And it is not a trivial thing to do. But, it can be straight-forward and is definitely something you can and should concern yourself with. The more things such as usability are demystified and made accessible to you the better off you will be. We can help you improve usability of your website and we can help you to understand how to work with usability in the future.