Web Design FAQs
Why do I need a website?
So people can find your business! In today’s electronic world, having a website is essential if you would like your business to thrive and prosper. These days when you go to look for a service, the first thing the majority of us do is ‘search’ the Internet for companies that offer services near to us. How many of us still thumb through that big yellow book?
Without a website, your business or service will not be found. However, just having a website is not enough. If you’re website looks like your neighbor’s 12 year old built the website, your potential customers will find your website unprofessional and deem it untrustworthy. They will move on to the next website and if that next website is your competition, who do you think they will purchase from? That is where a professional Web Designer comes in.
A website is a relatively small investment compared to other forms of advertising and with today’s electronic lifestyles, it is an essential investment that will pay off in a short time.
Why should I hire a website designer?
Simply put, to save time, money, frustration, and to have it done right the frist time.
Yes there are a number of tools on the Internet that let you ‘build you own’ website but do you have an eye for color and layout? Do you know what the latest coding and SEO Strategies are? Do you want something unique so that you stand out from the crowd? Are you familiar with html and css coding so that you can customize things just the way you want them?
Hiring a Website Designer may cost more money upfront but in the long run, it will save you time, frustration, and money. Hiring a professional, experienced, Web Designer will ensure that your website is not only beautiful, but that it is functional, easy to navigate, easy for your potential customers to find the information they are looking for or purchase your products, it will incorporate the latest technologies and will be viewable and responsive on all devices.
Let us do what we do best so you can focus on what you do best!
I don't think I can afford a website... what can I do?
To be honest, if you are a small business, you can’t afford NOT to have a website.
If your business does not have a professional website, even if it is only a basic informational website describing the business and showing contact information, you don’t exist to the majority of potential customers who search for everything online.
We work on websites of all sizes and budgets. We can help you establish an online presence with a new website and help you setup and manage social media accounts and control your web lists on Google and other online directories.
Where do I start?
It actually starts with an idea but…
To succeed online, you first need to decide what you want the website to do. To do this, you need to set some goals.
Begin by asking yourself these questions:
- What do you want to accomplish with a website?
- Do you want a website just for informational purposes so that people can find your business, see what you do, find out how to contact your or find driving directions?
- Are you interested in selling products online?
- Do you need something that’s outside a basic eCommerce website? Maybe you need a company backend, or advanced filtering systems?
- Do you want to bring in more leads? Convert more leads into sales? Increase market size?
- How big will the website be? What is the scope and scale of your project?
If you’re still not sure, get inspired… start off by looking at your local competition to see what they are doing because if you are going to compete, you need to be doing more that what they are doing.
Do some Google searches for other companies doing or selling what you plan on doing. Are you competing just locally or internationally. Be sure to search in those terms. For example, if you sell shoes from your location in New York and your main interest is to build clientelle in New York, be sure to search for “New York shoe stores”,”Designer Shoe stores in New York”, etc. If you are interested in building on a global scale, you would redefine your search based on that critera.
Take note of the websites you run across, colors, layouts, functionality, what do you like or dislike?
It helps if you can provide a company brochure, logo, or any type of corporate collateral so that we can align your online presence and help reinforce your brand identity in your customers minds.
It is important to keep in mind that size, functionality and complexity of a website will effect the cost of Web Development. Perhaps you want to start off small to keep the costs down and then gradually build from there or you are ready to jump in feet first.
What will I need to provide to get started?
After you have requested a quote and that proposal has been accepted, the next step is acquiring a domain name. A domain name is the your-website-name.com. If you do not currently have a domain name, we can assist you in obtaining one.
You will need to provide all content/copy along with any specific photos you wish to use on the website. It helps if you can provide a company brochure, logo, or any type of corporate collateral so that we can align your online presence and help reinforce your brand identity in your customers minds.
If you need help with content/copy, we can recommend a copywriter.
If you need royalty free photos, we do have some photos available, but if you are looking for something specific, you may wish to consider purchasing royalty free photos. We can assist with this as well.
We provide everything pertaining to the overall look and layout of the website.
You should have an idea of the listing of webpages (i.e., Home, About Us, Services, Contract Us, etc.). Sometimes it helps to do an Org Chart of how you foresee the layout of the pages and sub-pages.
You will also need to decide if your main interest is competing locally or internationally. You will then need to provide a listing of your competitors. We use this list to evaluate your competitors web presence and to determine their placement in the Search Engines.
What is the process?
Decide what you want out of website
Start by reading all of our Web Design FAQs, particularly the five top questions and especially ‘Where do I start’ and ‘What will I need to provide’ above. This will give you some ideas and help you moving forward, then decide what you want out of a website.
Request a Quote
Now that you have read our FAQs, you should have a better understanding of what is needed, the next step is to request a quote on your project. We will submit a written proposal for your project. If you like what you see in our quote and are ready to move forward, we require a 50% deposit to initiate the project along with the signed proposal.
Research & Discovery
Once everything is signed and the deposit has been received, we begin the ‘Research and Discovery’ portion of the project. Research and Discovery is where we study your business model, gather any company literature, logos, specific colors, fonts, etc., decide on a layout, and also research your competition to come up with a strategy to have your website place higher in the search engines than your competition.
Design & Build
This is where the fun begins. We pull together your content, photos, logos, etc., and start building the website. You will need to provide all content/copy along with your logo in a digital format and any specific photos you wish to use on the website. We provide everything pertaining to the overall look and layout of the website. If you need help with content/copy, we can recommend a copywriter. If you need a logo designed or require royalty free photos, we do have some photos available, but if you are looking for something specific, you may wish to consider purchasing royalty free photos. We can assist with this as well. We begin the design, prototyping is done on our server and you will be given a URL in which to view and provide feedback regarding the new design. We work with you on getting things just right.
Now that the design portion is complete and we have everything just the way you want it, final testing is done to ensure that all the bugs are worked out, that the website looks beautiful and functions properly in all browsers, and is responsive on all devices.
Once everything is complete, the final balance on your account is due. As soon as final payment is received, we will upload the new website to your server and provide you with the finished final website which will include all associated HTML files, website graphics, photos, css, scripts, database, logins, etc. Everything pertaining to the finished website. Source files and software used to create the design, etc., are not included. Copyright is turned over to you as well.
If you have requested on-going Marketing for the website, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), creating Social Networking accounts for Facebook, Twitter, etc.), this phase begins. Separate pricing is required for ongoing Marketing projects.
Most websites require some sort of web maintenance. Whether it be to update the content or graphics, change out photos, etc. If it is an eCommerce websites, you will certainly want to do periodic updates to scripting to avoid vulnerabilities and if it is a WordPress website, maintenance is required to ensure that WordPress and all associated plugins are patched and up-to-date to help with security. For WordPress websites, we recommend updating once a month and critical security updates should be patched immediately. Web Maintenance is free for the first 30 days. After 30 days, we can establish a Web Maintenance agreement or we can provide Web Maintenance at an hourly rate.
Do you charge hourly or by project?
For quick fixes and updates, we charge hourly. For new projects, we give our clients an up-front fixed priced quote that encompasses the project from start to finish so that they know exactly what their bottom line costs will be. This allows us to focus on quality design and development and saves our clients from any unexpected pricing surprises when the job is finished. If the scope of the project changes and additional hours are expected, we work you and get your approval in advance so that when the project is complete, you know exactly what to expect.
How much will it cost?
This can be a difficult question to answer because every website is unique. The cost will vary depending on the specifications of your project. We need to evaluate the size of the website, layout, level of customization and functionality. A small 2 page website is obviously priced differently than a shopping cart website with 500 products. Request a quote and we will be happy to submit a proposal based on your specific requirements.
Website Design & Development
Most basic small business websites will average around $1,700-$2,500.
Personal websites and/or blogs, generally range around $800-$1,700.
For clients looking for something minimal or working with a small budget, we also offer Landing Pages, Squeeze Pages, One-Page Multi-Section Designs that start at $350.
All of our Web Design & Development projects include full working finalized and compiled website files, all website images, scripting, basic SEO, free training, and free web maintenance for 30 days. For detailed specifications, please see our pricing page for more details or feel free to submit a request a quote.
Graphic Design / Illustration
Logos starts at about $200 for 3 variations, unlimited edits once a variation is chosen. All other graphic design pricing is is greatly dependent upon your specifications, request a quote.
We are committed to providing quality service and excellent customer support!
How long will it take?
Once a proposal has been accepted, a small website is usually completed in 1-2 weeks. Medium sized websites usually take 4-6 weeks. Large websites will take upward of 8 weeks to build and could take several months.
This time frame varies depending upon the complexity of the website and if you have supplied us with all the necessary information to proceed (logos, specific company photos, etc.). Content being supplied by clients is often the largest delay on projects being completed on time.
When we quote projects, we provide a clear timeline and stick to that timeline. However, if a client falls behind on providing the necessary agreed upon information, there could be a delay on when the website gets completed and goes live.
If you want your project done at the time we agree to have it done, you must be compliant in providing your part of the information.
Where are you located?
We are located in New Baltimore, Michigan, which is South of Port Huron, North of Mount Clemens, and approximately 30 minutes from Detroit.
We have several local clients but we also have several clients located all over the world. We have been in business for over 25 years and have rarely had to physically meet with a client.
We can talk with you by telephone, chat through our website or if you would prefer, we can also video chat through Skype.
Do you provide training?
Yes. We provide virtual training sessions, we supply you with written materials, and also do remote desktop training. We can talk with you by telephone, chat through our website or if you would prefer, we can also video chat through Skype.
Do you do Search Engine Optimization?
Yes. Basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is done on all of our Web Design & Development projects.
As we are building your website, SEO is at the forefront of our minds as we name pages, use and name images, use image alt tags, name links and anchors, and add outgoing links, etc.
Throughout the development process we are adding SEO to your website. We will add MetaTags which include page titles, descriptions and keywords. We also place Google analytics on your site to ensure that Google is regularly looking at your site and indexing its contents.
After 20 years in the business we know quite a bit about SEO and most of our clients do very well with their search rankings just with the SEO we perform when we build their websites, but our forte is Web Design & Development not SEO.
We do not claim to be SEO Experts, nor do we make any guarantees as to your search rankings.
SEO is complicated and time consuming. There are several factors that determine your search rankings and those search algorithms change frequently. You can be in the top 10 one day and dropped to page 20 a week later. It is more about what you do after your website is live that really matters. It is also important to update your content frequently and to have good links coming into your website and good outgoing links to other similar websites.
If you would like to discuss additional SEO above and beyond what is offered in our Web Development, please contact us.
Will I be able to update my website after it's built?
Yes. If one of your requirements was to update your website yourself when you requested that we quote your project, then your website was built with WordPress and you will absolutely be able to do it yourself.
We build WordPress websites because they are beautiful, responsive, mobile friendly, expandable, and… the backend is user-friendly for clients who want to be able to update their own website by adding content, adding images to the content or to write a blog.
Even though it will be easy for you to maintain your own website, keep in mind… you don’t have to.
You may wish to focus your time and energy on doing what you do best and spend that time building your business.
Our Web Maintenance plans are very affordable so you may wish to contract the maintenance out to us and we will keep your site looking and working great and make sure that WordPress, any plugins, and all security patches are up to date.
I have a nonprofit organization and have a limited budget. Can you help?
Yes. If your organization is a nonprofit, and if the organization qualifies, we do our best to ‘give back’ to the community by providing either pro bono services or discounted services to those organizations that contribute to the community or the betterment of society in some form.
You must explain in detail what it is that your organization does to be considered.
What if I need help after my website is built?
If you need assistance after your website is live and you have followed the training materials that were provided with your website, you can always call us at 586-725-4038 or contact us by email.
We can talk with you by telephone, chat through our website or if you would prefer, we can also video chat through Skype.
If you decide that you would rather have us maintain your website, no problem, our Web Maintenance plans are very affordable and we will keep your site looking and working great and make sure that WordPress, any plugins, and all security patches are up to date.
We understand that sometimes it’s more cost effective to do what you know best and allow others to do what they know best.
What are the ongoing costs?
Once your website is live, there are no ongoing costs.
Be forewarned that once a website becomes stall (no updates), it slowly drops from Google’s graces so your page rank will drop significantly and then even with the greatest SEO efforts, it will take a considerable amount of time to bring your search rankings back up.
If you have a static HTML website and you only care that people see you have a website, this isn’t a big deal. However, if you are running a WordPress website or a shopping cart website of any kind, we strongly suggest you think twice and consider a Web Maintenance contract to keep your website content up-to-date and to ensure that WordPress, any plugins, and most importantly, all security updates are made on a monthly basis. Contact us if you would like to discuss this further.
In either case, websites really should be updated at some regular interval. Unfortunately, there are plenty of bad people out there who want to gain access to your website so they can use the resources for their own use. In most cases, they are not targeting your website personally, it’s just about accessing as much resource as they can or if you are running a shopping cart website, to obtain credit card and/or personal information. To prevent this type of thing from happening, its critical that WordPress, all plugins, and security updates are made in a timely fashion.
Your domain name (your-website.com), is usually paid annually directly to the domain name register. In many cases, this is a reoccurring charge on the credit card you used to secure the domain name. In most cases, the domain name register will send you an email a week or two before the domain name is about to expire. Don’t rely on this, mark it on your calendar. You will need to pay the the annual fee or forfeit the domain name. If you forfeit the domain name, the name goes up for auction.
Web Hosting – through our VPS
We offer client-only web hosting. You will receive an annual invoice for web hosting from us. Our servers are closely monitored. We take our client’s websites and the data contained therein very seriously. We employ every security measure possible to continually block out email spam and prevent server hacking attempts. We do daily and nightly backups to ensure that if your website goes down for any reason, we can quickly restore it. Please keep in mind that no website can be 100% secure as new vulnerabilities are exposed daily. If you hosting with us and something does go wrong, you’re website will be restored within minutes.
Web Hosting – Offsite
If you are hosted through another Web Hosting Company, the invoice interval depends on the contract you agreed to when signing up for Web Hosting, you invoice could be monthly, annually or every three years. This is paid directly to the Web Host not to us. You will need to contact the Web Host to find out what their protocol is for Website backups and restoring backups should the need arise.
At Abke Design, we take pride in our Customer Support. We work hard to build long lasting relationships with our clients. We have a high client retention ratio and are very proud to have many of the same clients we had when we started over 20 years ago.
At any time if you have any issues with your Website, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone at 586-725-4038 or by email and we will get back to you within the hour.
NOTE: If your technical support issues are pertaining to maintaining or changing your website and those issues will require an in-depth conversation, those support issues will fall under our maintenance plan and will be billed at our hourly maintenance rate.