Web Design and Promotion

Web Site Design Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need to have a web site?

Every business and organization ought to have a website. Even if you live in a small town, or you think your typical client base are not internet savvy, in fact every day more and more people are searching online for the goods and services they need. Even if your prospects aren’t using the internet, they may rely on the advice of relatives or friends who will want to check out your web site to learn more about your company.

Your website is a portal into your business. When you put a well-designed website out on the internet that is easy for your prospects to find, it is like meeting them at the door and inviting them inside.

Can I build my own business web site?

Yes, building your own web site is a possibility. Here are the main reasons most business owners prefer to hire a professional:

1. Time. Just as they hire a plumber to fix a leak in the company bathroom, or an accountant to do their taxes, business owners hire web designers so they can spend their time focusing on the matters that require their attention, and hire our the jobs they don’t have time for.

It does take time to learn the various programs and tools used in web design, and practice to create a professional-looking, easy-to-navigate, and search-engine- friendly web design. In addition, the internet is changing all the time, and professional web designers make a point of staying up to date.

2. Special Requirements. Many business owners want their websites to function for special purposes, such as Ecommerce, searchable online databases, or interactive features that require programming expertise beyond the level most non- professionals are willing or able to deal with.

3. Competition. The attention necessary to promote a web site well enough to get ahead of competition is a lot to add to a business owner’s already full plate. Assigning the task to a hard-working web designer will alleviate that burdon, yet allow the business to rise in the search engine rankings to become competitive in the internet world for their field.

How much does hiring a professional web design company cost?

There is a huge amount of variation in what is being charged for web design services. It also depends upon what services you need. For instance, is your web site designed to generate sales leads, or to sell items online? Will you have interactive features? Will there be heavy graphics work involved? All of these can affect what you are charged when you hire a professional web design company.

To help you develop a budget for your web site project, Promotion Web Design has put together a number of packages that give you a general idea of what it costs to build certain types of websites. You can learn more on our web design pricing page.

What is a blog, and should I have one?

Blog is a shortened name for a weblog. It is a web site that may stand on its own or be part of another website. Blogs are a forum for the author to write about any topic she or he wants, ranging from a journal of daily activities, to political diatribes, to outright selling of goods and services.

For business purposes, blogs are a very helpful addition to a traditional business web site. Whether they are part of the site itself or outside of the site but linked to it, they provide a way to communicate in an informal voice with online visitors. Where your regular business website provides the “meat and potatoes” of your business, the blog gives you a forum for sharing interesting “fun facts,” going into more detail about something your business does, or reflecting on the latest news relating to your industry.

A well-written and frequently updated blog will attract a following over time. Other people will link to your blog from theirs. You in turn will have your blog linked to your website, which will help promote it. We recommend that all the businesses we work with have a blog - we even provide a free blog set-up to our customers (it is also possible to get a blog that is hosted for free). It will be up to you to keep writing in it on a regular basis - but that’s the fun part!

How long does it take to deliver a web site?

For most web sites, delivery of a “comp” (or proof) of a web site will take place 2-3 weeks after you sign a contract with Promotion Web Design. The timeline is determined in part by you if you are providing any materials for the web design (which is recommended, in order to reduce your expense and to get a web site that most closely reflects your business).

Of course, larger or more complex websites will require more time, but that will be clearly explained during your free consultation.

How do my customers and potential customers find my web site?

There are a variety of ways for people to find your website. Here are a few:

1. Search Engine Results. A major goal of most web designs is to be search-engine friendly. When your site will begin appearing in search engine results, especially on the first page or two of Google, depends on a lot of factors. It may take six months to begin ranking for certain terms, and some terms may take much longer. But you may be able to rank easily for your company name, or brands you carry, earlier in the process.

2. Advertising. Both online and offline advertising can help drive traffic (visitors) to your web site. One advantage to online advertising is that it is generally inexpensive, is easy to monitor for results, and easy to tweak as you go along for better results. An example of online advertising is an ad that appears on the right side of the search results on Google.

You should also begin including your web site address in all your offline advertising, including print ads, radio, television, business cards, etc.

3. Communication with customers. If you send correspondence or bills to your customers or client base, be sure to include your web site address in a prominent place on the letterhead or invoice. You might consider announcing the launching of the website in a special letter to help raise awareness of your web site and point out any special features (such as online bill paying) that they will want to know about.

How do search engines work? Are they important?

Search engines, including Google, Yahoo, MSN and others, work by gathering information about web sites and ranking those sites in order of importance. The higher a web site ranks in the search engines, the more likely it is to be visited when customers search for a particular word related to your business.

They are important because they are the main way people get around on the internet. If someone does not know your web site address, they may be able to find you just by searching for your business name or some of the things your web site talks about. It is beneficial to rank well in the search engines because it is “free advertising” for your business. Rest assured that your competition is or will soon be vying to rank on the search engines, so it is important that you get a site ranking for your business.

Can my customers pay me through my web site? Can I sell things online?

Online bill-paying can definately be included in your web design. Ecommerce is also an option (having an online store).

What is included with web maintenance?

At a minimum, web maintenance includes:

* Checking for and repairing broken links (the ones that bring up a “page not found” error when you click on them)
* Making minor changes to the page content to keep it current
* Renewing any memberships, subscriptions and paid listings involved with your web site
* Adding new client-written articles to site using existing site structure (one day a week)
* Basic monitoring of web traffic and recommendations of if improvements seem necessary

Promotion Web Design also offers an ongoing Web Site Builder Package, which werecommend if you are working to overcome the competition or to make sure you hold your place as a leader in the search engines. This includes regular maintenance plus:

* Regular addition of fresh content to the home page
* Creation of new pages on a regular basis (more frequently than once a week)
* Management of an advertising campaign
* Building of links from other websites to yours
* Monitoring of web site traffic and tweaks to increase traffic

How often can I change my site content? Is there a charge for this?

There is no limit on how often you can change your site content. We favor an arrangement between your business and ours that gives you the freedom to let your web site grow naturally, as a good web site should. Regularly adding fresh content, to the home pages and as new pages, is a great way to increase your site’s importance in the eyes of the search engines, not to mention in the eyes of your visitors, especially those who are coming back to see what is new, or to learn more about something they found interesting on your site.

We include the changing and adding of new content to the website in the Web Builder packages. If you do not have the Web Builder package, we can do changes on a per-case basis. The packages are the more reasonable price option because it makes it easier for us to provide frequent and fast updates when you are part of our regular schedule each week (or more often). Subscribing to a package also gives you more freedom to keep creating new content, which results in a healthier website, which we want for all our clients.

Are there any charges besides the initial fee?

Any additional charges beyond the fee for our services will be explained to you at the initial consultation. Some examples may include web hosting, a secure credit card system, a list server, or an interactive online calendar.

We also recommend that you purchase a maintenance package, which is a reasonably priced way to assure that you can keep adding to and changing the content of your website.

How can I reduce my costs?

You can save money by providing high-quality content and digital photos (or scanned images) for your web site that do not require much additional work from us. Though we do not charge by the hour for a typical web design, we can offer you a larger web site at a lower cost if you are providing excellent material.

Using one of our maintenance packages for the ongoing improvement and updating of your website is an excellent value and will reduce your costs in the long-run, plus prevent your website from falling into a sorry state as time goes on.

Are your prices negotiable?

Isn’t everything?

Would you ever build a web site for my competitor?

While we won’t deliberately seek out your competitor and offer to build a web site for him or her, we don’t automatically have exclusive relationships with our clients. However, if you are concerned about the possibility of Promotion Web Design being contracted by your competition, speak to us about it. We may be able to make an accomodation.

Do you only design web sites for small businesses?

While we specialize in small business websites, we can and do build other types of websites. You can view a church and school website we produced in our web design portfolio. We will be happy to give you a quote on another type of website, and we are confident in our ability to accomodate the needs of websites other than small businesses.

Are there any types of web sites you will not do?

We will not build web sites that contain pornography, excessive violence, hate content, and basically the usual stuff that a good Christian web designer would stay away from.

Do you offer computer consulting?

Yes, we do offer computer consulting. See our web design pricing page for more information.

How do I know you are a good web design firm?

We have provided an online web design portfolio for you to see some samples of our work. You can read about our credentials and experience on the Meet the Website Designers page. Beyond that, why not set an appointment to meet us? Then we can share with you more specifically what we will be able to do for your business web site.