Do I really need to hire a web design professional?
Absolutely, and here’s why. 1) Web design is a unique design medium that demands in-depth knowledge of the Internet. Since all of the search engines change algorithms and indexing methods constantly, the optimization of each page for the search engines requires continuous education. In addition, marketing and promoting an online site is a long-term process that could take you away from other, more important things. In the long run, hiring a web design professional will save you both time and money. 2) The advent of do-it-yourself HTML software has made it relatively simple for anyone to create a functional web site. This is not a good thing. It does, however, explain why there are so many badly designed web sites out there. (A paintbrush does not make the person holding it a Van Gogh.) If you hire an amateur to do your site, chances are you will get an amateur-looking site. Your website won’t have the same professional look as your other marketing pieces, leaving a not-so-positive first impression. Additionally, your site could be cumbersome for web site visitors to navigate and the pages might take too long to load, causing people to leave your website without contacting you.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is your website’s unique address on the Internet. For example, mine is “krisvoelkerdesigns.com”. Every site must have a domain name, and it can only be used by one person/company at a time. (For example, no one else can use “krisvoelkerdesigns.com”.)
Can you setup my domain name registration?
Yes. I can handle that service free of charge as part of your new website development
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is your presence on the Internet. It is where your unique domain name directs traffic to, and where you store your web files, allowing access to your site 24/7. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server they own for use by their clients, typically in a data center.
What is a URL?
URL stands for universal resource locator. It is your web address, exactly as it is typed in to access your web page on the Internet. For example, the URL for my home page is http://www.krisvoelkerdesigns.com
What does a web designer typically charge?
Most web designers will estimate their cost for a project in total number of hours, at a price somewhere between $60 and $125 per hour. The proposal you receive will be a “guess-timate” at best, and you will probably end up paying more at the end of your design project than first proposed. I don’t estimate jobs on an hourly basis. Instead, I quote all of my projects at a package price. This allows you to know in advance exactly what your project will cost you. After your site has gone live, any additional maintenance will be billed at my current hourly rate.
How much will it cost to design my website?
Your site cost will depend on a number of factors, including:
- the number of pages on the site
- the types and number of graphic images on the site
- how much programming is required
- whether you’re creating copy for the site
- if online sales are needed; and if so, for how many products
Based on all these factors, I will be glad to put together a project estimate once I understand the scope of the job.
What is included in the price?
My price includes the web design layout, all image optimization (for fast loading of graphic content), the transfer of your pages to your web host server, setting up your email accounts, and much more. Of course, many other options are also available depending on the extent of your project. I will detail everything completely in your final package price.
What is your payment plan for website design and development?
For smaller projects I require a 50% deposit before starting. Final payment with all adjustments is due Net 5 days after completion and receipt of the final bill. Larger projects require one third down at the start of project, and another one third due three quarters through the project. Final payment with all adjustments is due Net 5 days after completion.
How many changes can I make to the drafts?
I’ll make as many changes as necessary to the design until it meets with your approval. I do ask for a sign-off on the design itself before adding your text and content to the pages.
Can I view my website design as it is in progress?
Yes. I can put your website pages in a directory on my web server so you can view the final product before it goes live.
Can I make changes after I approve the design?
Yes. However, changes performed after you have approved the design will be charged at our current hourly rate.
Who owns the completed Website?
Once I receive your final payment, you will have 100% ownership of your website. You will also own your domain name.
Should I hire a professional copywriter rather than do it myself?
Your website copy is your salesperson. It is the most persuasive element of your site. Words trigger our emotions, and are the defining factor in most of our decisions (especially our buying decisions). A professional copywriter understands how to blend emotion with what your target customer wants to hear about the advantages of doing business with you. If written properly, copy is what reaches your customers on a personal level and convinces them to trust you. In addition, if search engine positioning is important to you, the selection of effective keywords and the balance of keyword saturation in your copy are absolutely vital to your site’s success.
So the answer is yes … if you feel you are able to accomplish the things listed above, you can certainly write your own copy. However, I strongly suggest enlisting the talents of a pro!
How long will it take for my site to be professionally built?
The time frame is determined by the size of your website, the complexity of your site design, and my scheduled workload. If the copy (text) for your site is written before the design process begins, it generally takes 2 – 4 weeks for a static website of 8-20 pages. If you write the copy, it should be submitted to me in electronic format, preferably in Microsoft Word format.
What kind of guarantee do you offer?
I offer a money back guarantee on my design work. After viewing the initial draft(s), if you are not satisfied with what I’ve done and wish to discontinue work on the site, I will refund 100% of your deposit.
What are my options for e-commerce?
There are a number of ways to structure an e-commerce site. The first is PayPal. This an inexpensive way to start taking payments quickly, especially if you don’t have a merchant account. With PayPal, your visitors can pay you with a credit card or by sending a payment from their checking account (echeck). PayPal provides a shopping cart (which reduces development time) and many other free services that are helpful to sites that are starting out. PayPal charges 2.9% and an additional $.30 per transaction with no start-up fees. The downside? PayPal is not a very customizable solution. However, many mainstream sites are now accepting PayPal, as more and more people create PayPal accounts.
Additionally, there is the option of creating a full e-commerce solution. This involves many different components: a merchant account from a bank, a payment gateway service that allows you to accept payments into your merchant account from your website (this is often bundled with the merchant account), a shopping cart or payment script that integrates with your payment gateway, and certain requirements of the server environment like having an SSL certificate and a static IP address. There are some shopping carts that are available as pre-packaged scripts such as X-Cart. In addition, Os-Commerce can be customized for your site, or alternately, a custom payment script can be developed that exactly matches your needs. While full e-commerce is much more expensive and time-consuming to develop than PayPal (or Mal’s), it can be integrated into your site for a truly seamless payment experience. It can also save you money in the long run if you are doing a high volume of sales.