WEBSITES Frequently Asked Questions
The process of getting a website build can be daunting, it may not be your area of expertise. So I decided to put together a ‘Websites Frequently Asked Questions’ section. This page will help you understand the process and requirements for building and maintaining your website.
If you do have any other questions just send me a message on my contact page.
How much do you cost?
I’m really fair with my quotes and I encourage people to shop around, it makes me look good 😉
With myself the costing is truly dependent on the amount of content and mechanics you require.
Websites I build can start from as little as £350 for a one or two page site with one email account, obviously a site with a large amount of content built into one page will increase in cost.
I offer a five page ‘brochure’ style site with 5 emails that starts at £695. A brochure style site is one that has words and imagery plus if required a contact form, gallery or blog plus links to your social media, so basically a ‘brochure site’ is one where the visitor just looks and reads, with an encouragement to say hello.
Any specialised programs we need to install beyond a brochure site for example; things like eCommerce, Membership databases, Booking Systems etc will carry additional costs for licence purchases, installation and set-up.
These specialised programs are called plugins or extensions, they can range from free to hundreds of pounds depending on what they do, the cost of these plugins is nothing compared to the cost it would take to build your own systems from scratch so they are a great way to achieve what you need with ease.
Once we have had a chat about what you needs are with your site and we have established a framework of what you need, I work out all the licence costings we need to outlay for the development and I then establish how many hours I will need to spend on the build, and that is the quote, couldn’t be fairer…. unless of course you just pick one of my set package deals, those are ridiculously fairer!
Where do all the words and images come from?
YOU! Don’t be alarmed though, if you think somebody else could do a better job expressing what you do in text; we will discuss the message & main points, then I can recommend people who excel at this. These special people are called ‘copywriters’ which means they are grammatical ninjas with a flair for making your information shine and flow with ease to the reader.
All the imagery used on your site must be your own creative property (or mine), using images that you have taken from google is a big no-no, Not only is it someone else’s work but they can sue you for using it and it happens. So we will probably need some photos, if this isn’t your thing I can also recommend outstanding photographers or we can use ‘Stock’ photos that you buy the licence to use. If you are selling products you will usually find the suppliers have all the rights to grant you permission to use their images, they tend to strive to make selling as easy as possible for you.
What systems do you build on?
Most of the sites I build are on a ‘Content Management System’ (CMS) called ‘Wordpress’ as many like to have control over the content of their site; but don’t have the time to learn how to write code, WordPress allows for this.
Many wordpress sites are built upon a ‘theme’ that has the basic styles and functions already set, which can be nice if its exactly what you want and don’t mind that others have very similar looking sites. I prefer to build on a theme/foundation called DIVI for two very important reasons. DIVI displays all the information and imagery in individual modules which makes editing the data far easier for the client to update, most normal wordpress themes still demand some expertise in code despite what people tell you, not DIVI, there’s little you can do to break a webpage when using DIVI.
The second reason I recommend DIVI is that its a blank canvas, this means we are not restricted by a themes options or settings, the site starts with clean foundation on which I build upon just for you.
I can of course build websites in normal code if there’s never going to be much need to update the site, when doing this kind of site I use a coding system called ’Bootstrap’.
Are your sites ok on Mobile Devices?
YES! All the websites I build are ‘mobile responsive’ which means the sites adapt and the layout transforms to fit on to mobile devices. Your site needs this function, back in 2013 the worlds browsing statistics passed the tipping point, with mobile viewing being more popular that desktop viewing.
Does the site need to be looked after?
Yes! Especially if your site is built on a CMS (content managed system) like wordpress. CMS is built upon lots of individual programs or ‘scripts’ these programs need to be regularly updated as security threats constantly change and develop. Sometimes programs can just stop working with each other if one of them is out of date, so things on your website may break or become vulnerable in time.
I recommend regular maintenance and also back-ups of your site and it’s data, minimising any risk and if the worst happens we have a copy to replace anything that’s broken or hacked. I do provide this service at a fair price and different levels to suit. You can read more about my ‘WordPress Maintenance Service here.
What are the on-going costs?
Every year you will need to pay for the renewal of your domain name registration (the web address).
The hosting is basically a place on the web where all the parts that make the site are stored. Hosting and Domain Registration are different things, you can own a domain name registration but not have a site if you don’t have hosting to store the site, your emails also live on the hosting space.
If your site is built on a Content Managed System like wordpress the software needs to be regularly updated to ensure it continues to work smoothly. This also reduces the chances of viruses and hackers exploiting vulnerabilities due to out-dated software. I offer a ‘WordPress Maintenance Service’ which I go in to more detail here.
Its always wise to save regular backups of your website, so if something does fail or you accidentally break something there is an option to revert to the working version before the fail or cyber-attack.
Obviously if you buy a product or a service you don’t expect the provider to then manage or update the product for free forever, that would be like paying someone to build you a house then expecting them to add and extension or decorate for free whenever you wanted. So updates and changes are charged by an hourly rate, I myself charge to the nearest 15 mins of work to keep it fair. Its best to talk about the changes you need as they occur to keep costings to a minimum.
WHAT DO I CHARGE?
I offer one years free web-hosting to all my new clients if they subscribe to an annual maintenance plan, you can find more details on this service here.
After the first year I offer hosting and maintenance separately, I keep the cost to my clients as low as possible and they vary due to the exchange rate and inflation, you will be hard pressed to find anyone providing these services at the prices I do, but if you do then of course you can use someone else’s hosting or maintenance service. I find that treating people fairly pays back with loyalty, which is priceless in any walk of life.
After the first year you will be looking at the following costings:
DOMAIN REGISTRATION – Around £10 per year for .co.uk or .com’s.
HOSTING – Around £90 per year with my reseller account.
MAINTENANCE – £30 per month or a heavily discounted £300 per year on my service plan.
I also provide packages where all your maintenance and a monthly allocated content allowance is bundled together, those are custom to suit your needs, just ask me if you are interested in something like this.
Are your websites secure?
All the websites I build that are maintained and hosted with me have an SSL certificate as standard, this gives you the green padlock in the browser address bar. The SSL certificate protects your connection from the website to the server, this is a requirement if you are taking payments online or any type of secure data. Also, In January of 2016 google started awarding ranking boost’s to all sites with the green padlock and in the future intend to display a red cross where the padlock should be.
How do I get to the top of Google?
This is one of the most asked questions. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the practice that provides search engines with all the data you need for them to discover your site and present it on their result pages. I always build in a SEO plugin that allows you to input the data you need to make the search engines happy, the plugins also show you how your pages fair with the possible SEO scoring, so you can adapt the keywords and the page content to optimise the score. I also do things you won’t see; like register the site with search engines and place a ‘sitemap’ on the server which helps the search engine on their mission.
You can pay professional companies to boost your search engine results, this can be costly and your expectations must be managed and fairly maintained, which can be difficult. I advise all my customers to make full use of the SEO options I make available on the site and have regular activity with blog/news postings and share that activity with social media. If you want to go one further I can help you get set up with google ads, paying google directly to have your site boosted in the results.
Search engine results fundamentally come down to relevance and activity. Getting links to your site from others is also a great help.
I never promise people they will be top of google, I tend to question anyone who does as there are a lot of factors, for example if somebody typed ‘Trainers’ into google do you really expect to beat the Nikes and Pumas of the world with your brand new site with little activity at present? No, so we need to be clever, dedicated and patient.
Typing in your domain name exactly as it reads usually shows you at the top of the list, which is great, if your domain name is something like ‘mylocaltownplumber.com’ but how many people are going to search the exact name of your website, wouldn’t they more likely type ‘emergency plumber’ or ‘boiler maintenance’? So if your domain is called ‘JohnHancockService.com’ that’s not going to cut it. What you need to think about are the words people might type in search engines to find you, then tailor your SEO to suit. Its a fine art but achievable with focus and dedication, I’m really happy to set you off with the best start you can have and share tips and knowledge with you and walk you through things like google ads and link sharing.
Where do we start?
It all starts with a simple conversation, lets discuss what you need from your site and how you want it to look, if you have examples you want to share then lets see them. We will plan a development strategy to guide you through the process and then set deadlines for things like ‘content delivery’ and ‘first draft viewing’ which you will feed back on, make suggestions or discuss ideas before the final approval and live date. There’s no obligation or cost for having a chat!