Answers

I believe in educating my customers (as much as they would like to be educated). The reason: I don't like to be "taken for a ride," and I don't suspect anyone else does either. The following topics are common concerns and hopefully will help you get started.

Graphic Design for Print and Web: My degree is labeled Graphic Design for Print and Web. That means that I am trained to not only develop your web site, but I am also trained to handle any printed material designs you may need. This includes logos, letterhead, newsletters, custom graphics, magazine/news ads, etc.

Before engaging in your web project: Get a second and third opinion. If three different web developers are giving you three different stories, something is wrong. Example: if two mechanics tell you that you need a muffler, and the third tells you that you need a new engine, most likely you just need a muffler.

URLs and Hosting - Stay in Control: Did you know that you can control your own URLs and Hosting? You don't need anyone to do that for you. For example, you can purchase your URL (.com name) from Godaddy (around $15/yr). Then, you can purchase your own Hosting package (this is where your web site wil reside) from someone like Hostgator.com (around $6-9/month). All any web developer needs is access to your hosting in order to build your site. This way, if you decide to use someone else somewhere along the line, you don't lose your web site. I prefer Hostgator, because they give you full control of your hosting server along with a lot of bells and whistles, and their prices are very good, but you should consult the person doing the work to see if they have a preference.

UT-OH! Okay, so what happens when your web developer goes out of business? Do you lose your site? Do you have to go through hurdles to pass the work on to the next developer? If you have hosting with Hostgator, you have a separate login for accessing your web files. This means it is as simple as changing your password and handing it to the next developer of your choice. I had a client whose web site ended up stuck on a Chinese server due to a company going out of business. Luckily, I got it back for him, but it took a couple of months and a lot of time and trouble.

Cost: I won't charge $2000 just because my competetor charges $2500. I have an hourly rate, and I charge based strictly on how much time it takes. I am also professionally trained and have experience, so I can get the job done quicker than most. My end price is usually cheaper becasue of this and due to the fact that I don't have enormous overhead.

Do It Yourself? Yes, you can. But, beware! There are many promotionals out there that claim you can build your own web site easliy for a dollar, etc. Read the fine print before engaging - there may be a catch. In addition, understand that there will be a learning curve, and there may be problems with their solutions. For example, at the moment, there are several "platforms" that are popular with do-it-yourdelfers, such as Bootstrap, Wordpress, etc. These packages are made for individuals that are not web developers. They incorporate everything under the sun you may or may not need. This produces "data bloat." I can show you web sites that were created with these packages that have 600+ lines of code and 10+ external files (these are files needed on top of the 600+ lines of code). I can create the same web site with 100 lines of code and one or two small extrnal files. Which one would be easier to load on your mobile phone? The one with less, of course. Look at my Tips/Tricks page to learn how to spot the differences.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): For simplicity, let's talk Google. Google is a search engine, and they have their own rules. They decide how your site will "rank" (the order all sites show up when someone searches for something). The first ones that show up are "paid ads" - companies pay to have theirs show up first. The rest are ordered by "natural rankings." Google "indexes" all web sites and evaluates based on many factors to determine this order. It is always best to play by their rules. To cheat their system by blasting back-links all over the internet can get you banned from Google all together. I had a client that this happened to when they bought into an individual that gauranteed he could get their site at #1.

Contracts: Deep subject. First of all, if a developer demands a monthly charge fo any sort, make them explain what they are doing for the money, and make them show you a monthly report of the work and results. Many times, this is a ploy to gain residual income for little or no work. I charge by the hour as work is needed. If a client requires monthly maintenance, I provide them with a monthly report of the work and results.