Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently said answers to frequently asked questions about web development and graphic design.  We want you to have all the knowledge you need to feel comfortable hiring us for your project.  If something isn’t clear or you still have questions, please contact us.  We’re happy to help.

Can we set up a fixed monthly retainer or just pay as needed?

We prefer to work on a regular retainer as a part of your team’s long-term marketing strategy. However, we’re always happy to present you with options and help figure out the best way to market your company  Some of our clients like to pay as needed.  Other clients like knowing that they have their own web and marketing department who automatically take care of any issues, works to improve the site, execute marketing plans and take a long-term approach.  Recently we received an unsolicited testimonial from one of our clients who pays a monthly retainer.  Here it is below:

“The best strategy that I ever employed for my company was to put my marketing consultant on a retainer. The reason this works so well is that it is just like a gym membership. If you are paying for it monthly you are more likely to use it and get more value from it. The initial value that I received from the development of my two sites is enhanced and protected by my monthly retainer. I also get a continual stream of ideas from my consultant that adds that much more value to our relationship. If I had to give advice to any company which does not have a dedicated marketing department it’s to put your marketing consultant on a retainer. You will gain a competitive advantage!
Note: It also helps to have a very competent and creative web consultant.”
Jim Hull
J.R. Hull Company

What does it cost to maintain a web site?

Again, it’s hard to estimate costs without knowing anything about the final web site and your needs.  Will you be changing content regularly?  Do you want to make changes yourself or do you want someone else to do it for you?  Would you like regular Search Engine Optimization services or assistance with promoting your site?  How many people will be visiting your site each month and what will they be doing?  Will you be selling items?  How many products will you sell, how do you plan to fulfill the orders and charge the customer?

Don’t worry.  We don’t expect you to know all the answers to these questions—that’s why we are here for you.

Our company doesn't need an entire marketing plan, we just need help with site design, print materials or user interface planning. Can you help or do you need to do the entire thing?

We’re often hired to consult on certain aspects of a web site or marketing materials.  We can do visual design, web site planning, web site wireframes, advertising, or just act as a general support group for your current staff.    Let us know what you need.

We need some web or print advertising. Can you do that?

We can do everything.  Seriously.  You know the drill—contact us and let’s discuss.

What’s the typical procedure to get started?

Contact us so we can discuss your project.  We’ll talk about your goals and needs and then we will put together a formal proposal for you.  If you have questions or the proposal doesn’t quite hit the target, we will discuss again and revise.  Once everyone is happy we’ll ask for a deposit and get started.  Different projects will follow different timelines, so we will make sure you understand the overall process before we start.

My business isn’t very big and the project I have is pretty small. Are you interested?

Sure.  We’re always happy to help and often steer clients to lower cost or free options if appropriate.  All we ask is that you return the favor by helping us out if you can.  Most of our business is the result of referrals from satisfied clients.  Help spread the word.

How much does a web site cost?

A good analogy we like to use is to ask yourself, “How much does a car cost?”  No, we aren’t saying that the site will cost as much as a car, just that the answer depends upon what you want or need.  Before we can give you an estimate we will need to discuss your goals and how the site will help you achieve them.  What would you like the site to do and what features are necessary?

Costs can vary widely and there are always plenty of different approaches available so, just like when you buy a car, it is usually a good idea to have a general budget range in mind at the start.  If you don’t have any idea, don’t worry.  We’ll figure out the best way to get the job done at the best possible price.  Give us a call or send an email to get started.

If you ever receive a quote from other developers and they don’t ask you about your needs first, be wary.  A common way for inexperienced developers to quote a site is by the number of pages.  In reality, the costs involved in a web site are not the number of pages, but in the time spent putting together the features for those pages.   Chances are the site they give you won’t help your business much at all.

How much does a logo cost?

Again, the costs will vary depending upon how much time it takes to get to a logo you like.  We usually recommend our clients have a budget range in mind before we start.  If you don’t have any idea what to expect, just contact us so we can discuss.

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I looked at your portfolio but didn’t see any projects or visual styles like what I have in mind. Should I find someone else?

The projects in the portfolio were chosen for various reasons including visual style, functionality, or showing off high-profile clients.  We just like looking at some of them.  These projects don’t represent every project we’ve done and we aren’t wedded to any particular visual style.

This is your project—it’s all about you and your organization’s image.  We have plenty of other projects which were not included in the online portfolio for various reasons.  Let us know what you are looking for and we’ll get it done.

I was looking at a project and didn’t like what you did. Why did you choose that style or functionality?

Remember, these  projects were completed for dozens of different clients who all have different tastes,  approaches and goals.  These projects were created for our clients, not for ourselves or to celebrate how clever we are.  All we can say is that we will do our best to steer our clients in a direction we think is best, but you are the boss.

We aren’t creating art, we’re creating tools to help you promote and enhance your business.   Sometimes we may not agree, but in the end we promise you will be happy and you will have the final say.

What is Search Engine Optimization or SEO?

When you do a search on Google, for instance, all the results are returned to you in an order determined by Google.  Obviously the best place to be is on the first page of the results—this helps increase the chances your site will be visited.  Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and all the other search engines don’t tell us how they rank web sites, but through experimentation we’ve figured out what they are looking for.  There are various techniques we can employ to help put your site near the top of search results for specific phrases or search terms.

Nobody can guarantee your placement on another company’s search engine, but we can do our best to increase your ranking. Beware of SEO companies who make guarantees.  Often they will use tricks that may be effective in the short-term but are against the rules.  You may find that your site which was at number one will soon be removed from all Google search results until they decide to let you back in.

When we build a site, we do our best to use techniques which are accepted and effective at that time.  However, search companies are constantly tweaking the way they determine placement.  To be truly effective we can be hired to continually tweak your site to achieve optimal placement.  Contact us if you have questions.

I don’t have a lot of time, I just need you to get this project done for me.

You can be as involved as you want to be.  Obviously we will need some information about your goals and will require some feedback.  We understand that sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to do everything yourself.  You can trust us to get your project done.

I don’t really understand the web or all these technical terms.

We know it can be intimidating and will do our best to explain everything in plain English when possible.  Sometimes it is easier on everyone to use accepted technical terminology, but we won’t try to dazzle you with acronyms and buzzwords.  If you ever have a question, we’re happy to explain and help you understand.  Don’t be afraid to ask.