Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Why do I need a website?
- The main reason is that a website is a very cost-effective way to provide information to your current customers and attract potential new customers. Today, when people need to find information about a business, like their address, phone number or business hours, they start by checking their website. Similarly, when people are researching a product/service, they start by googling for companies providing that product/service. Twenty years ago, people used the Yellow Pages for these things, today they use the internet.
- What type of website do you recommend for a small business?
- For many small businesses, a "brochure type" website is a great cost-effective solution. Such a site is essentially an electronic brochure where you can showcase your products/services to everyone on the internet. Sites like this are typically 4 and 10 pages in size and use text and photos to highlight your products/services. Depending on the business, the site will include a company history, business hours, business address, map/directions, phone and email contact information, customer comments, portfolio of work, or other information useful to existing and new customers.
- What is involve in creating a website and more importantly, how much does it cost?
The basic steps for creating a website are the same for all websites but the cost really depends on a website's size and complexity. This question is similar to asking a home builder how much it would cost to build a house for you. The answer will depend on how big the house is along with its special features like crown molding, granite counter tops, hardwood floors and radiant floor heating.In reality, your website can cost as little or as much as you like. Similar to a building a house, the cost of a website depends on how big it is (both number of pages and amount of contents on each page) and how many special features on the website. But that doesn't mean you have to spend a small fortune to have an effective website.There are three basic parts involved in creating a website:
Adding these three parts, the total initial cost for a new "small business" website typically runs between $250 to $750. This amount includes the costs of first year cost for Domain Name Registration and full year of Website Hosting.
- Domain Name Registration - A domain name is your website's name on the internet. In other words, it is a name like "PABWebSolutions" that goes between the "www." and ".com" in a web address. Domain names must be unique and are essentially leased on a yearly basis. The cost to lease (the official term is "register") a domain name is about $20 per year.
- Website Design - This is the part of the process where a web designer works with you to create a website to your individual needs and desires. The result of this effort is a set of computer files that together generate the text and graphic content on a website's individual pages. This website design effort is a one-time cost and can run from $100 to $5000 or more, depending on number of pages and the special features.
- Website Hosting - Once the website design is complete, the resulting set of computer files are copied on a powerful computer ("website host") which is connected to the internet. These files can then be read by a browser like Internet Explorer or Google Chrome to display the various pages on the website. For a small business, the cost for website hosting typically runs $8 to $10 per month, but it could be more based on website functionality and the number of visitors that might access the site at the same time.
- After the initial costs, how much will I spend to keep my website on-line?
In general, there is a fixed cost of about $120 a year to keep an existing "small business" website on-line. This amount is cost for the annual renewal of the Domain Name Registration and monthly cost of Website Hosting.You can significantly reduce the fixed cost if you select a yearly Website Hosting plan and pay up-front for one or more years of service. With one popular hosting company, a three-year service plan is $179 which translates into a little less than $60/year.In addition to the fixed cost to keep the website on-line, there is also a potential variable cost for Website Maintenance. This activity is very similar to the Website Design activity described in the previous answer except this one involved modifying or adding the text and graphic content of an existing website.Most "small business" websites only require maintenance when you want to change or add something. For example, your phone number's area code has changed or you want add another page describing a new product or service. Simple changes to an existing page cost as little as $25; new pages or more complex changes typically cost $50 to $150 per page.
- I am just starting a new business and don't have a lot of money to spend on a website. Are there ways to minimize the initial costs?
Yes, there are several things that can be done to reduce the costs. We have experience working with individuals in this exact situation - they are trying to start a business and want a website, but have limited financial resources are their disposal. We know ways to decrease both the initial up-front investment as well as the recurring costs to keep a website on-line.If you just starting out and are in a similar position, please contact us and we will work with you to see what we can do to help you. We have both no-cost and low-cost options for Website Hosting and we may consider trading our design services for your products/services.
- How long does it take to create a new a website?
It typically takes 1 to 3 weeks to complete the design of a "small business" website and get it on-line. If necessary, a website can be finished in a much shorter time if the client and us work closely together to minimize the time spent waiting for inputs needed at each the step of the design process.Once go-ahead is received, we can usually mock-up a couple design alternatives in a day or two and provide them to the client for review and comment. After receiving feedback, we normally have a prototype version of the website up and running in a day or two.The most common delay in the design process is waiting for the client to provide the content (both text and photos/images) needed to complete the individual web pages. Unfortunately, most people underestimate the amount of time it will take to complete this effort. Other individuals dislike writing and will endlessly procrastinate even starting this task. In that case, we sometimes will write a first draft for them and let them revise it.
- How many pages can I have on my website?
There is no real limit to how many web pages you can have on a website. However, the more pages your website contains, the more it will cost you for the initial website design effort.For a "small business" website, the typical size is 4 and 10 pages. While you can have more pages, it is important to logically arrange the pages so visitors can easily navigate them and find what they are looking for. Equally important, each page should be well organized and contain information useful to the typical visitor.
- I tried to design a website myself and couldn't finish, can you help me?
Absolutely yes - we will be happy to take a look at what you have done and make a quick assessment of the effort needed to complete the website. Please contact us and we will see how we can help you.And don't feel bad about having this happen. A fair number of individuals have approached us for help after one or more unsuccessful attempts to design their website.Trying to do your own website design & maintenance is similar to trying to repair your own car. While some individuals have the knowledge and tools for it, the average person is better off finding a professional to do the job.
- Can you make changes or updates to any existing website?
Yes, but there is a caveat to this answer.While we can make changes to most any website, the cost of those updates is very dependent on how the website was initially built. Specifically, what tools and/or technologies were originally used to design and implement the website.If we are familiar with those tools and technologies, we should be able to make the desired changes for a reasonable cost. Conversely, if the site was built using something we don't use, like Flash-based animation, we will recommend that you find someone else to make the updates.For updates to an existing website, the best approach is to contact us. After getting some basic information and a general idea of the desired changes, we will do a quick assessment and let you how we can help you.