Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the questions asked most often about my web design services and website for small businesses in general.
- Can I design web pages myself or do I need to hire someone to do it for me?
- How much does a website cost?
- How will people find my website?
Q: Can I design web pages myself or do I need to hire someone to do it for me?
A: That depends on how much time you have to learn the technical elements of web design and actively research ways to promote your website online. Here are some of the areas you will have to know about:
- HTML and CSS coding. There are many software packages available to help you design or update a website without knowing anything about HTML and CSS. However, they often need tweaking to produce the professional effect you want, and that requires some behind-the-scenes HTML and CSS knowledge. There are classes available at many computer stores, colleges, continuing education centers, and online should you want to learn to do this yourself. There are also many books available so you can teach yourself.
- Graphics. Any artwork or image that you want to place on a website must be converted to either a .gif or .jpg digital graphic format in order to be seen by a web browser. You can do this by scanning and saving the image in the proper file format. Or you can convert images already in digital format using a graphics software program. Once you have them in the proper format, you must then properly size and optimize the image so it will load quickly.
- Programming. If you want feedback forms that visitors can fill out to send information to you, you will need a program installed on your server to make this happen. Any other features that offer interactivity require programs as well. If your server hosting provider does not offer these programs, you will have to locate, customize, and install these programs on your server yourself.
- FTP. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is software that you install on your computer that allows you to transfer your website files from your computer to the web hosting server. There are other options available for transferring files, including hosting companies that let you build your site online using your web browser or web design software that has a file transfer utility built in.
- Site promotion. Having your site rank as high as possible in search engines is a complex and long-term process. Search engines consider dozens of factors during their ranking process. The basics of search engine optimization (SEO) include knowing how and where keywords (the words entered by someone to initiate a search) are placed on your web pages. Search engines even rank sites according to how many other sites have links to your site, indicating popularity and authority. The major search engines are only the beginning of promoting your site. There are other search engines and directories that are specific to industries, geographic regions, and interests that should be researched. Then there is online advertising, some free and some for a fee.
Q: How much does a website cost?
A: Costs vary depending on the site's size and features. Just like a house, a website can be small or large, basic or complex. The cost of the websites that I design begin at $550.00 for a one-page site. Most small business websites that I create generally cost between $800.00 and $3,000.00.
In addition to design costs, there is a separate charge for web hosting (renting computer space from a web hosting company to store and display your website files). Hosting fees usually run around $10.00 or $20.00 per month. Web hosting for ecommerce sites will cost more.
You will need a unique Domain Name (www.yourname.com) for your site, so you will have to register your Domain Name with a Domain Name registrar. Pricing can be as little as $10 or $12 per year or as much as $35.00 for one year depending on the registrar you choose.
There are ways to save money on your website. Supply text in its final form and graphics in digital format to your designer. Do your own research and site promotion. You can also learn how to make simple updates to your site yourself.
Q: How will people find my website?
A: Just having a website will not instantly bring visitors to your site. You must actively promote your site using traditional advertising methods as well as online marketing opportunities to find people who are interested in what your site offers. Here are a few ways to bring visitors to your website:
- Advertise your URL (website address) everywhere. Put it on all business cards, letterhead, brochures and any other printed material you distribute. Mention it in your voicemail recording. Place it in ads published in newspapers, magazines, trade journals, on TV and radio. Put it on your delivery vehicles. Some businesses have even placed it on a sign or painted it on the front of their building.
- Industry/ interest-specific online search engines and directories are also a good place to list your site.
- Links placed on other websites, blogs, forums and in conversations using social media can bring visitors to your website. Find sites that reach your target audience but are not a major competitor and ask them to put a link to your website somewhere on their site.
- Advertise on other websites and blogs.
- Advertise in online newsletters.
- Run ads in online classifieds. There are a large number of websites and directories that have classified ad sections.
If you have more questions, please feel free to contact me.