Frequently Asked Questions
To many people, getting a website is a big step and often a bit scary. They don’t know how much it will cost, what is involved or sometimes, even where to start.
That’s what I am here for. I tell my clients to ask as many questions as they like because the better they understand the process, the better for both of us. Here are a few questions that I am often asked. Please feel free to contact me with any questions I may not have here.
What is involved and how do you charge?
There are three parts to a website. The domain name, the hosting and the design of the website.
- The Domain Name. This is the www.yournamehere.com. Think of it like a personalized license plate. It is the name that people will find you with, so you want one that is as close to your, or your company name as it can be. You have a choice of .com, .ca and .org (and others depending on what type of business you own). They are bought for one year, and renewable yearly. If you don’t renew, you have a short window of time to renew it, but after that, the domain goes back into the “pot” and others have a chance to purchase it.
- Hosting. This is the space on a server where your website is uploaded to. The internet is a collection of computers all linked together, and hosting companies have large servers (or computers) that have the bandwidth and space to hold your website 24/7 so it is available to anyone, anytime. This is a yearly fee as well. The domain and hosting are often arranged by myself if you don’t already have a website, but if you do, I’m happy to use whatever companies you have already chosen.
- The Design. This is where I come in. I design your website and upload it to the server. While I design it, it is a collaboration of what you have in your mind, and ideas that I come up with. I have some clients that have no idea what they want and I come up with one or two ideas to suit their business and then we discuss back and forth until they are happy. Other clients have seen a website that they like elements of and while we can’t copy it (that’s not nice) we often come up with a design that incorporates those elements with the individuality of themselves or their business.
The domain name and the hosting should be set up as soon as you agree that you want me to design a site, as this is where I will upload the site as we work, so you can see it’s progress. It’s easier for you to get ideas when you can see how it will actually look. As for my fee, we will have agreed on a price and I ask for 50% up front. That gives you the incentive to start working, and assures me that you are serious about this. I also send you a contract, which protects both you and myself. When we are finished the site (no longer than four months can take place) then I send you the final invoice and that part of the work is done. The site design belongs to you. I then only charge you for my time when I do updates or changes to your site.
Why can someone else have my domain name? It’s my business name?
Domains aren’t the same as business names. A domain registry looks after all of the domain names and they manage who owns them. In the case of .com domains especially, people from around the world have a chance to buy “Mort’s Tires” www.mortstires.com as that business name can be registered in many different jurisdictions. It is basically, first come, first served. That is why, if you get a domain name that fits your business, that you keep it up to date. I help with this by keeping the dates and information in my file on you, but you should keep track as well. The only exception is sometimes the names of celebrities. If someone bought the domain www.madonna.com and was only using it to sell ripped of merchandise, or holding on to it to try to make a lot of money on re-selling it, the courts often will take it away from that person. However, if you have a domain called www.tomhanks.com and your name is Tom Hanks, and you are using it for a legitimate purpose and bought it first, then there isn’t a lot that the real Tom Hanks can do about it.
How often should I update my site once I have created it?
A website is like a glossy pamphlet that you have created, but with the benefit that you don’t have to throw out the boxes in your cupboard once you’ve changed or added a service that you provide. While you wouldn’t want to be handing out the same pamphlet year after year, you shouldn’t expect your website information to stay the same either. A good rule of thumb is that you should try to add or change something on your website at least twice a year, there are lots of reasons why you should do it more often.
I don’t know what information to put on my website?
When I start working with a client, I ask them what they do, what their business is about. If I don’t know anything about their business, it is a great opportunity for me to find out all about it. This gives me ideas of what other people may want to know and gives the client a perspective of what others may want to know as well. It is often a good idea to do a search on other types of businesses that are like yours to get ideas. This will not only give you ideas for your website, but has the added benefit of checking out your competition.
You are creating a site for me, but I keep putting my website address into google and I’m not finding it?
Google is like the yellow pages. When you don’t know the address of the company you want, you search for it in google. And like the telephone, if you do know the address, you don’t look it up to dial, you just dial in the number. At the top of your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox) you have an address bar. When we start to build a site, you type the address of your domain into that bar, and you will find your site. The reason you aren’t finding it by searching is, we have likely only just created that domain name, and it takes a while for the search engines to find it. Later on, you will be able to put your company name in, and it should come up on the first page, and hopefully at the top of that page.