Frequently Asked Questions
How long until my new web site is on page one of Google search?
If you are paying attention, you’ll notice that all of my questions & answers start with, “It depends”.
Imagine we are trying to rank your website for the key words, “elephants raincoats”. If people search for this on the internet, they would get very few results. Obviously this would take only a little time and money, say a few months to help a company producing huge raincoats for elephants to get to page one of Google search. On the other hand, people searching for “cheap insurance” will get an enormous number of search results. And, this will be a struggle to get the company even to the first page. It may take 6 to 12 months or even longer with constant contribution to its maintenance.
How long does will it take to design and release a new website?
This is perhaps the most common question I receive. The standard answer? You guessed it: It depends on several things.
1- Content: How quickly the content can be provided is usually the biggest hurdle, because the bulk of content is usually provided by you, the client. And often, the client is too tied up by day to day tasks of running a business to spend the necessary time to organize and prepare content. This is a problem we attempt to resolve in our website design process.
2- Pages: How big of a project are we talking about? Larger websites take longer to create than smaller ones. Generally, the more pages in a website, the larger the project is and the longer it will take. This is because each page needs content, graphics, SEO, quality assurance testing, etc.
3- Unique Page Design: Some clients want each page uniquely different in design than the other pages. This means a different layout and design than the others. Many websites have two unique designs: one for the home page, and one for all of the rest of the inner pages. When clients break from this tradition, there can be time added to the website creation process. This is also typically more expensive.
4- Functionality: Anything dynamic on a website is the result of functionality. This can be filtering functions of portfolio items or project categories. It can also be image movement on a screen, eCommerce, site membership subscription, etc. These require unique coding and take extra time.
5- Stakeholders: How many people will have input into the design process? There is a correlation between the number of stakeholders and the length of time a project takes to complete, historically. Sometimes making a decision can be tough, and in addition to the schedule, the design of the website can begin to suffer.
While these certainly are all concerns, getting your site done quickly and correctly is very important to us. This is why we work with our clients very closely while following our proven website design process. We feel like this goes a long way towards reducing risk and ensuring that you receive the website you want.
How much will my new website cost?
This is the second most common question & answer we receive from clients, and for good reason. Everyone is on a budget, especially small businesses looking for a website. And really, building a website yourself is not that expensive. So, if you do decide to hire a website designer near you, what you’re buying is expertise, time, and (I’d like to think) a greater chance at success. With that in mind, lets look at the costs of creating a new web site.
First, your new website will need a domain name. This is the URL (like 7WoodsDesigns.com) that people will type in to find your website. These can cost as little as $10 for a “.com” domain, or up to $100’s to $,000’s at a domain auction site if you buy a name that someone owns already.
Next, you’ll need website hosting. This starts at under $10 per month for basic, no frills, shared hosting. Prices go up from there when you look for plans that include dedicated servers and additional services, such as backups, security, and speed enhancement and analytics tracking. These can range from $10 to $500 or more per month.
With hosting taken care of, you’ll need to install WordPress, then choose and load a theme. WordPress is free. Some basic themes are free, while complex ones with complete pages and designs pre-installed cost $100’s. This really is a personal preference, and choice depends on how much personal work, and time, you are willing to put into the site creation process. This is where hiring a website designer starts to add costs (and benefits) for a business owner. Many a small business owner has gotten into this portion of the project, and realized that bringing their vision of a website to fruition is more difficult than they imagined. As a small business owner, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $50,000 to a web designer depending on the complexity of your theme changes and the website you want. However, with the right help, this upfront expense for a website can increase your business exposure and revenues significantly.
One of downsides of using WordPress is that because of its popularity, it is targeted by hackers and malicious code writers. Security services can cost from $10 to $30 per month. Many non-eCommerce sites chose to take the risk and forego security. However, be aware that security problems can cost a lot of money. Problems include making off with your personal information, your visitor and customer’s information, and malware and virus infestation. Skimping here is one thing you’ll regret eventually.
Installing a theme is only the beginning. There are plugins that you will want. Plugins enhance the functionality of your WordPress site. There are many free ones that will help with SEO, social sharing, and contact forms. Functionality, and sometimes quality and customer service increase with paid ones. Many free plugins offer no frill entry level functionality, but for a fee will include their full offering. These include spam fighting plugins, contact forms, email list sites, social sharing, business reviews, and more. There are literally thousands of plugins competing for your business. Paid ones range from $5 to $100 typically.
Don’t forget, once you get your website up and running, the fun has only just begun. WordPress, themes, and plugins code writers are constantly updating their products to not only provide new and improved content, but to also fight against malware and virus hackers. These updates, if not incorporated, and lead to your website becoming vulnerable, or performance may begin to lag. In addition, if you add links to external sites, you may notice that overtime links change, and you can have 404 error, which can be penalized by search engines who rank your site. When things to start to break, remember, now is the time you’re glad you paid for security and for systematic backups for your website.
So, altogether, a small business owner can expect to pay $500 to $600 per year to be up and running with your own Do-It-Yourself WordPress website. That not bad at all. If you want to skip all the extras, you could potentially get that down to $150 to $200 per year. Alternatively, if you want all the bells and whistles with eCommerce, complex functionality, membership sites, then you would probably wind up spending closer to $2,000 to $50,000 per year on your website. This is a rough estimate, and could be much less or more depending on your situation and your needs.
Our advice is to be careful about overspending on an idea before you’ve validated it. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you whip out your debit card and buy 50 premium plugins. If you have an idea and you’re looking for consulting to point you in the right direction, reach out to some WordPress people on Twitter and see what they have to say. You’ll find that the community is very open and welcoming to anyone who is interested in building something.
Why should we choose you to design our website?
I’d really like to say I’m the only one who can design and maintain a great looking website for you. However, the honest truth is, there are many local web design firms out there. What you need to do is interview a few, find someone you think you can trust and who fits with your vision, and go for it. We offer an end to end solution, and like to think of ourselves as your in-house small business website resource.
Here’s to hoping you pick us!
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is any number of technical processes of optimizing a website to improve its ranking on search engines such as Google and Bing. One such process is that of identifying keywords and phrases that best describe your business. These keywords and phrases need to be properly used and most effectively organized on your website. Other factors include the size of images contained on your website, the site load speed, links to and from other respected websites, among other factors.
What Keywords Should I Target for my Business?
Our process begins with an interview, in which you will be asked about your target audience, business products and services, and market. From this, we’ll work out the beginnings of a keyword strategy. These are words that you feel your website should rank for. We’ll then do our homework, put these keywords into our “special tools” database. This will provide us with hundreds, if not thousands of related keywords and phrases.
These will all be ranked and scored by how often they are searched, and how difficult it will be for us to get to page one search results using each word. We work through this list, finding the most valuable target key words and phrases for your website. This process is a back and forth event, with us consulting with you, working through a strategy that fits your business strategy and image. This process leaves us feeling confident that we understand not only your business, but what key words and phrases we need to focus on to succeed.
Is PPC like SEO?
PPC is Pay Per Click. Like SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, it is a class of SEM, or Search Engine Marketing. SEM includes social media campaigns, affiliate programs, PPC, SEO, and more. SEO in and of itself is focused on the visibility of a website to search engines, and achieving higher visibility.
Do I need SEO if I do PPC?
This is a bit like the Tortoise and the Hare story.
Think of PPC like the Hare. Many find that PPC can lead to immediate upticks in sales, but can be difficult and costly to organize for a positive return on investment. Worse, PPC does not increase your websites search engine rankings, and can be punked by your competitors. Referred to as Click Fraud, this means competitors may maliciously click on your adds, costing you money with no corresponding uptick in sales.
SEO, as the Tortoise, may be slower to achieve results. It is not uncommon for 3-6 months to pass before seeing results. Some very competitive markets and key words may take 6-12 months for success. However, this website momentum is earned, it belongs to your business, and can be long lasting if maintained. More importantly, the revenue this success yields can be leveraged to rank for new key words, new business, and new revenue sources.
Do you provide hosting for the websites you design?
I can, I do, and I prefer to. Allowing me to host your website makes all of our lives Sooooo much easier. I have constant access to the back-end of your website, I can make sure all of the necessary updates are made when WordPress and associated Plugins are updated, I can perform your backups, manage email, load new content when you need it, and the list goes on. It makes everything nice and tidy. But, you don’t have to. It is nice though.
Do I need to use WordPress?
Well, strictly speaking, no. But, if you want to work with us, then yes. We only design hosted WordPress sites. WordPress powers 25% of the internet’s sites. If you need help transferring a website from blogger or WordPress.com, let me know and we can figure out the cost of doing so.
Who Writes the Website Content?
Usually that is you. You are the expert on your business, so it’s best if it comes from you. If you need help, we have experience researching content best practices for specific industries, and can help create content for you at an additional cost. In any case, the content will be reviewed, updated, and contain the findings from our keyword and SEO efforts.
What type of customers do you work with?
As a local web design firm, we work one-on-one with local businesses, ranging from Real Estate offices, Dentists, Attorneys, Restaurants, Photographers, and more. We have worked with similar customers in California and Las Vegas. If you own a startup or established business of any size and are looking to affordably get your website off the ground, or if you already have a website but don’t think you are getting the value or results that you need, then lets get in touch.
Account & Billing
How do you work payments?
When we design a new website, we ask for half upfront and the rest when we deliver the final product and you’re all trained and happy. Once paid, we release the website to you along with the keys to your new website. We find this keeps all of us really interested in the project, and protects all our interests.
Would you be willing to work out a payment plan?
Absolutely. We are a small business helping small businesses, and we get it. Sometimes finances are tight and its tough to come up with a lump sum payment. We’re willing to work out a payment plan, and are really flexible if we build you a new website AND provide you with hosting and one of our security and maintenance plans as well.
How confident are you in your quoted delivery times?
When we quote a job, we do everything in our control to meet the delivery time and cost. Of course, part of the quoting process is to lay out in detail what the client is looking for and what resources and time will be required. We understand that things change. If things change on the client side, we reserve the right to add time and/or cost to the job quote when additional resources are required. If things change on our side, we hold ourselves to the same standard, and have several trusted resources we use to contract work out to meet schedule.
What payment methods do you accept?
We take any major credit card, but use Pay-Pal when requested.
I really like my new website, is there anything I can do for you?
Probably the biggest thing you can do for us, is to leave a positive review. We love Google reviews from happy customers (and you should too). They raise our website’s profile, they show potential new customers that people like our work, and that instills trust. So, thanks for asking! You can find a link at the bottom of our home page to our Google business page to leave a review.
Any other questions?
CONTACT US TO GET YOUR ANSWERS