Frequently asked questions and our comments
Note: We have anticipated the questions you might have, should you have others, please ask.
Q - I want a website, what do I need?
The answers is simple: you need a domain name (your address on the internet), a host (who stores you website on their server for access by the user), and a website.
Q - Where can I get a domain name?
There are a lot of organisations (registries) that sell domain names and the prices vary. You can get some free as well but it would usually be tied to using their services and that may not suit you.
Comment: We use and recommend using an Australian registry that also offers the type and quality of hosting services as an option with very reasonable annual costs.
Q - Can I use my business title as a domain name?
You can but it is not necessary. Some business names would assist search engines but, ususally, business names contain a number of words and choosing long domain names may not help people to find you (Like mine is very long but not difficult to remember and it is the right description). For example, if the business name is used, people who look for cupcakes might find the website that is also a business name called cupcakesandmudpiesbabygear.com - when in fact the site sells baby carriers and its domain name is cuddleclose.com.
Comment: We will help you to find the best domain name available that reflects your business as well as helps visitors to find you.
Q - Does it matter whether it is a .com or .com.au?
Yes and no. Having a .com.au tells the world which country you are in (and likely to costs you more per year, the minimum is 2 years amd you need an ABN). Big firms are using .com and while the internet surrounds the globe and search engines crawl through without boundaries (more about it later), it makes no difference as the content of the site matters much more than the domain name.
Q - What hosting do I need? Can I use my own?
Choosing a host is more than looking at cost. You would want a host that employs the latest in hardware and sofware, provides all the features you might need like emails, data bases, storage, no limit to traffic and fast speed, provides 24/7 technical support, FTP and cPanel access and security, and, in practice, is never off-line so visitors never get the dreaded “404 nor found” error message.
Comment: If your have a server that meets all the above, it is perfect. If not, we will get you one.
Q - What is the cost of hosting?
You may be attracted by offers of free hosting, especially if it comes with domain name registration, but at the end, you may find that is limiting you in what you might want to achieve, unless you pay, usually a monthly fee - and then could still be limited - you might have to use their software and features that may not have everything you want and may have to pay a start-up fee and monthly fees.
Often, as a result, it may be difficult to move the site to another host or have it re-designed etc. and you will have a limited choice in how the site looks or behaves.
Comment: The hosting we organise come with all the features above and packages start under $120 p.a. - this starting hosting package is ample for individuals or small businesses - and there are NO montly payments, unless you choose to pay by the month.
Q - What is a webpage?
Every time you look at something on the net, what you see on the screen is a web page. A website might appear to have one page only (scrolling) or may contain 100s of pages, depends on the the content and the nature of the site.
Traditionally, sites all have a home page and information categorised under the titles such as ‘about us’, ‘contacts’, ‘products or services’ and the rest is the detail broken down to digestable sizes to make it easy for the visitor to find what they want.
Q - What is a static website?
There are many static websites on the net and you may be able to tell immediately if it is a static site if you are browsing on your phone and the letters are unnreadably small and you need to slide to see the images; millions of people and organistations still use them but search engines, especially Google, might ignore them as being not user friendly.
Advantages - that static sites are quicker to develop and time is money is no longer avalid argument.
The perceived disadvantages (depends how look at it) - that it requires web development expertise to create and then keep the site up to date if the information is changing is no longer valid. It is true that the owner of the site may not be able to do it and site maintenance may cost, depending on the nature of the update and the time involved. On the other hand, the site owner may not have time to do so and happy to have the updates done by the original designer/developer. Another disadvantage may be that constructing a responsive size requires developer expertise.
Comment: We could create static websites and maintain them as well without charging a fortune. In our portfolio, the website www.saffronrestaurant.com.au is a static website (for a little longer). All other websites are responsive.
Q - What is a dynamic website? What is CMS?
This website is a Joomla! responsive site - it adjusts its size to the hardware it is viewed on..
Sites that give the website owner the ability to update and add new content to the site from the front end have CMS (Content Management System).
You can recognise them as they do have similar layouts and features like sliders and widgets, and more often ‘blogs’ for posting news, events and comments, as the origin of these systems lay in creating blog sites. These sites are created using on-line programs and platforms (the most popular ones are Joomla! WordPress and Drupal).
Features of a site are only limited by imagination and expertise to find and use the right extensions, modules and plug-ins to make it function. There are a huge number of commercially available templates/themes one could choose from - both free, or for a relatively small amount of money, but while they may look attractive, it may be like clothing off the shelf that may not fit completely without alteration that would need an expert.
Advantages CMS websites include an easier way to create responsive sites (see below), it allows the site owner or staff to update the site as and when necessary, it makes easy to add new functions and provides for staff or users to collaborate.
Disadvantages include that they need more time and additional etensions and software to function as intended that may be more expensive and the site owner’s expectation of being able to maintain the site with ease may not be realised.
Comment: We create CMS websites and prefer to use Joomla, an award winning open source solution that is freely available to everyone as platform. We design/create our own templates so we now how they are structured and work and the client has a say in how it looks and functions. We provide tutorials and manuals for updating the content and, should the site owner realise that it might be more convenient and cost effective if we do it, we would maintain them as well.
Q - What is a responsive web site? Do I need a separate site for phones or tablets?
Responsive web site is a web site that automatically adapts to the hardware it is viewed on - looks good and works on a wide-screen PC monitor as well as on a laptop, a tablet (regardless of their brand) or a smartphone. Both static and CMS sites can be responsive as an alternative to having duplicate sites, one for a PC/laptop and another for phones and tablets.
Comment: We create responsive websites.
Q - What is web design or redesign?
The term “web design” is used colloquially to describe the entire process from a desire to have a website through the phases of a concept, design, development, propagation, testing and ‘going live'.
Q - What is involved in web design?
Strictly speaking, web design is the initial step when a designer creates the look of the site - the artistic component - and visualises how it will all work - the architecture.
It is normally done based on a brief from the client and involves a frquent interaction between the designer and the client. The design phase also envisages how to use of features like graphics, images, galleries, forms, blogs or comments, chats and how to ensure that the visitor to the site can navigate easily and find what they are looking for.
This phase may take as short a time as a day and may take many days depending on the nature and content of the proposed site having regard to the availability/source of the proposed content - photographs, whether graphics will need to be created or are available and the provision of text.
Comment: Yes, you can provide your own graphics, text and photographs, and you have a say in how they might be used. For example, there may be images that may be considered as not ideal but you may still insist on using them and we would, but we will aways provide you with alternative solutions.
Q - What does web development mean?
The developer ‘translates’ the design into a code or a variety of codes and that will make the web site display and work.
Comment: We take our designs to the development phase and ‘hand code’ the site using a variety of software; or we create templates or adapt them if necessary and use the necessary extensions, plug-ins or additional specific sofware. We validate our HTML.
Q - Is there anything you do not do?
We do not -
- create Flash based sites as they do not work on mobiles and tablets, can be disabled on PCs and the internet speed of the user may not be fast enough (sign - when you get a blank page with the circle running and you have to wait for a long time to see the page)
- use commercial templates, we design every site by starting with a blank sheet in consultation with you
- outsource - all work is done here, nothing outside Australia, and
- use unlicenced software or any material which we have no rights to use.
Q - What do I need before I embark on a project?
It can be exciting to get started on a new business. You may be attracted by offers of free sites, hosting and templates. There are many examples of people or businesses getting a domain name without knowing whether it is a good one, a hosting package on a foreign server, a freebie template but have no idea whether they can customise it and how to integrate images and other features. That is when you see a normal image stretched and distorted to display as a widescreen.
An offer of having a web site in 30 minutes and under $200 looks a very attractive proposition and may even be fine at first, without noticing that the host provides no service especially if overseas. It is very common that past the initial stages of excitement, people realise that template/theme they got or bought isn’t doing all that they want it to do, start looking at ways to make changes which may be beyond what you can do - like blocked by the host unless you pay, and even then it may be beyond expertise. Ultimately, the site is going to look and act like every other site using the same template or host out there (and if you know where to look, browsing templates tell you that they are likely to have a common structure and the only difference is in the colour or text style scheme). And to differentiate the site you are going to need more - a design and some web development work on top of it. And all this is going to cost money, and possibly more that if you have asked a designer at the first place.
Comment: You can, or even should, shop around by asking for a quote.
Q - What information should I have when asking for a quote?
- What do you want the website to do? Convey information? Sell something?
- Do you need your own blog site to communicate with the world?
- Are there any sites you like the look of?
- Is this a new site or a redesign?
- Do you have graphics already created for the site? Or do you need custom graphics like logo created?
- Can you provide hight quality photographs?
- Do you need multimedia (video, music, etc.) on the site?
- How much content (text) do you have or would text need to be created?
- Do you need other special features like social media integration such as Facebook and Twitter?
- Do you need forms or something else?
- Would the level of your proficency working on computers be sufficient to maintain the site? Word? Excel? Image editing?
- Do you have a budget?
Comment: even if you tell us what your budget is, we will not generate a quote just to take all your money.
Q - What is the minimum I need for a web site?
Images and graphics - you can supply all of the images, but these will need to be customised, often corrected, then optimised for the web and integrated into the new design. We often do the photography work as well and that is additional cost for which we quote separately.
The site will probably need icons and buttons created to go with the design; even if you provide some, it will need to be adopted unless specifically designed for the web. Creation of graphics and preparation of images is very time consuming but costs are included in the various packages.
Comment: we create graphics, logos and anything the site might need or for branding and printing. We also provide stock photographs, if necessary.
Q - What extras can I have?
There are a lot of extra features that designers can provide in addition to or in some cases, in lieu of the packaged items which could improve the business. These are contact forms and surveys, newsletters, a photo gallery, ecommerce, YouTube, Twitter and/or Facebook setup and integration, video or music. And probably anything else you might would like.
Q - How many pages can I have? Can I add pages later?
You can have as many pages as you like, we can add them for you or you can add them later. It is only limited by time (yours or the cost of ours). The number of pages included in each of our packages is sufficient for the stated purposes.
Q - What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a summary term for a concept and a range of steps web designers, developers, webmasters and site owners should take to enhance the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural" or un-paid ("organic") search results. In other words, each site owner is aiming for being the first business people would find when they look for their products, expecting to have more visitors and thus convert visitors to actual buyers, for example.
The major search engines like Google and Bing (you use search engines when when you type words into your browser like IE, Chrome, Safari or Forefox to look for something - the word and other words you may use are called 'key words'), provide a lot of assistance to developers for optimising the web site
- telling them how the search engines work,
- provide statistics and insites on what people search for,
- the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.
Comment: there are a lot of tactics that can be used, a lot of them are legitimate (‘white hat’) and may influence search engine results. There are a lot of offers for providing the site owner with SEO services - arriving mostly unsolicited via emails, promising page one ranking (PR1) if you let them review your site free and then pay for what they find, and they will find something, for sure. Others may be offering to sell links - or Likes on FB. First: search engines penalise websites that use manipulative (‘black hat’) techniques to improve their rankings on the search engine. Second: getting a website among a lot of competitive web sites to rank first may not be possible or would cost an enormous amount of money first up as well as an on-going expense that may not worth it. Most of the matters that help your site's visibility are within your and your web designer/developer and webmaster’s control - essential SEO - such as valid codes, quality content, the right use and density of key terminology, relevant internal and external links, ease of navigation, quality optimised images and pages that load fast, site maps, links to active social media like Facebook and Twitter, promoting the site in local on-line directories, being on Google+, Google Maps and having a site performance monitoring system in place - Google Analytics is free!. In addition, it is necessary to promote your site via advertising in the media, leaflet drops or distribution, attending shows and having an email address that advertises your domain name as a minimum. Comment: We include essential SEO services in our packages. We also provide branding services - design and print business cards, leaflets, brochures, pamphlets, letterheads, booklets, banners, photobooks and alike.
Q - Do you do site maintenance and update?
Yes, we have a free maintenance period after delivery and offer maintenance services thereafter. Check out the maintenance packages.
Q - Who owns the copyright when the web site is finished?
If you pay for it, you do.