May 5, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions About Websites

“We had somebody who set up our website for us, but they’re not around anymore.”

I used to manage websites for clients. They would call me with changes, I would make those changes, then I’d send them a bill. It worked great at the time, but those days are over. There is no reason that you shouldn’t have total control over your website’s content 24 hours a day.

I frequently get asked to consult with small businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals interested in building or updating their websites. If you’d like to work with me in that way, here are some Frequently Asked Questions to help you plan:

What do you do?

In short, I function as the project manager for your website, bringing everything together to get you what you need. I bridge the gap between your business needs, conceptual development, design, hosting, implementation, and training. Depending on the size of the project, those services can be outsourced to others or handled “in-house.”

After the initial implementation of their website, the only costs remaining for you will be the actual costs of hosting the site. There are no hidden “support” or “licensing” costs.

How much does it cost?

When I work with clients to build a new website, they can usually expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 – $5,000 to get the best basic website for their needs. Obviously, websites with special needs like membership management systems or fully customized graphics are more complicated. Those types of needs can have a significant impact on the amount of time and costs involved.

Each situation is unique, and costs can fluctuate greatly. I do not charge an hourly rate for my services. Instead, I submit a proposal to the client in advance stipulating all of the expectations for the project and the estimated cost for completion. This serves several functions:

    • The client has clear cost estimates for the project in advance.
    • The scope and deliverables of the project are clearly defined before work commences.
    • My relationship with my clients is just that – a relationship. I am available to my clients for questions and concerns at any time. I believe that a client should not worry about getting billed every time they email me or pick up the phone.

What?! Can’t I just do it myself?

Of course you can. If you’re the sort of person who prefers to change the oil in their car themselves, you may be perfectly content to build and maintain your own website. I don’t carry a top secret bag full of hidden knowledge around with me. If you’re smart enough to run a business or organization, you can certainly learn to do this yourself.

On the other hand, do you have the time, energy, or experience to get your website built quickly, efficiently, and well without any help? Perhaps your time is better spent growing or taking care of your organization’s needs. In that case, I may be able to help.

I’m capable of a great many things, but I still pay someone else to change the oil in my car. My time is better spent on other things.

What is the process?

  • Assessment – Learning about the specific needs unique to your situation and making a plan.
  • Domain Registration – Finding just the right .com, .org, or whatever.
  • Hosting &¬†Wordpress Setup – Getting the right nuts and bolts (like plugins and widgets) installed.
  • Design Work – WordPress makes changing the look and feel of your site super easy. Change it every week if you like.
  • Content Development – Getting your information online and ready for the world to see.
  • Training – Making sure you have a good understanding of how to manage your own site.

How long does it take?

Depending on availability and complexity, some simple sites can be online in as little as a week or two. Sites with a great deal of customization take much longer. In general, I think one month is a good generic estimate of the time required to go-live.

Then what? How do I update my site?

When we’re done, I’ll make sure you have all of the information (web addresses, passwords, etc.) to update your site. A little bit of training is all you will need before you and anyone designated by you as a user can log in and get started.

Will I continue to pay you to keep my site online?

Probably not. I prefer to recommend other reliable partners (like Faithlab) to host clients’ websites. Therefore, once the project is completed, you will not owe me any additional funds. You will continue to pay for your website’s hosting with the hosting company, but that money does not need to go through me.

Sometimes, clients feel the need to hire me for additional training or support just as a precaution. I am happy to do those as well, but they are not always necessary.