Will my web site look good in different browsers?
I test the site on Firefox, Safari, and Chrome on Mac, and Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Chrome on Windows. At this time I test Internet Explorer versions 8 and later. If you need your site tested on other browsers, please specify each one before we get started.
I also test sites on full-size desktop monitor, a laptop, and an iPad.
How do we begin and where do we go from there?
In general the process goes something like this:
- Email Consultation: We will discuss what you want and what you need, and determine if I can provide it in the necessary time frame.
- Contract SIgned and Deposit Paid: Based on our consultation I will email you a contract to read over, sign, and return to me. You also pay a retainer before I can begin any actual work on the site. I ask that you do not pay this until after #1 above, because it is non-refundable. The retainer pays for a site design, initial page build, and to reserve a block of time.
- Site Design: I will take the information you have given me and a logo if applicable and create a design for you. I will send you this design to approve or tweak, or we can start over with a different design. In general, 3 design revisions are included in the price.
- Design Approval: You approve the final design. This must happen before any of the site will be built. Any changes to the design after you have given approval may incur extra charges. Note that from the date of design approval, you have 30 days to pay the remainder of the quoted web site fee.
- Site Build: I will begin creating the pages of your web site. Note that I must have your content (text, photos, keyword phrases, etc.) in order to build these pages. I ask that text is sent to me in electronic format (i.e., in a Word document or in the body of an email) already edited and proofread. Photos should be web ready (jpeg format). Extensive cropping or retouching of photos will incur additional fees. If this content is sent to me in a timely manner, you should have your completed web site before your final payment is due. However, if there is a delay in the receipt of content, please note that you will still be responsible for making your final payment even if the site is still in progress. If payment is not received by the due date, work on the site will stop until payment, including late fees, is made.
- Site Check: You will thoroughly check all of the pages of the site for errors or revisions. I will make any corrections needed. Once you are satisfied that everything is as it should be, I will make the site live for the world to enjoy!
- Final Payment: 30 days after design approval (#4 above), final payment is due. Note that if this payment is not made, late fees will be incurred and your site will be disabled until payment, including late fees, is made. Please see my rates page for more information.
Can I update the site myself?
Yes! I create all web sites with a content management system to allow you to update content yourself if you desire.
If you do not have time to do your own updates, I can also make edits and updates to your site for you very quickly and affordably as needed.
If you are needing an e-commerce site where you will need to add and remove products frequently, I can set up a shopping cart system that allows you to do this yourself.
What if I need to make changes or add pages later?
Your site will have a Content Management System so that you can make easy changes yourself at any time. I can also add and edit pages for you—please see the rates page for details.
Can you attend a meeting/do a phone consultation?
I pride myself on providing very professional, personal, and fast service, and I always try to far exceed the expectations of my clients. However, I am a one-woman show, and in order to provide the quick turnaround I am known for, I balance my time very carefully. I have found over the years that meetings and phone calls take 3 times as long to glean half the information I can provide and receive by email.
In addition, having all correspondence in email ensures that we both have a copy of every word of the conversation every step of the way. This prevents disputes, he said-she said disagreements, and miscommunications galore. I am able to constantly refer back to what was needed and requested in your own words rather than relying on my memory or hastily written notes. On the rare occasions that I have relented and done consultations by phone or in person, I always later regretted it as I just did not have all of the information I needed at my immediate disposal. Therefore I no longer make exceptions to this rule.
Send me an email telling me what you want, and I will ask you some very specific questions in order to determine exactly what you need.
If in doubt, ask my clients. 99% of my business comes from referrals!
What about Search Engine Optimization?
In building your site I will do everything that I reasonably can to make your site search engine-friendly. This includes creating descriptive title tags, descriptions, and alt tags. However, SEO is a very complicated business, and the rules change all the time. I strongly encourage you to do some research about choosing keywords for your business. These keywords, which actually should be phrases, should appear in your content. Please tell me what keywords you want to focus on so that I can add them to the tags in your site.
I cannot guarantee search ranking for any site. Optimizing a web site is only one step in an SEO strategy. You should also submit your site to dmoz.com and the Yahoo Business Directory, as well as industry-specific web directories. You should also consider things like Google Adwords and creating a buzz among popular Blogs. The more relevant links there are on the web to your web site, the better your site will rank. This does not mean you should “swap links” with hundreds of friends and unrelated businesses – at the end of the day this will actually hurt your search ranking.
Do you provide content writing services / photography?
These are not services I personally offer, but I have several people I can recommend for you. I can coordinate with them to help you with your content and even to blog for you if you are like me and never seem to have the time.
Can you create a blog?
Absolutely! I create all blogs in Wordpress.
Can you do Flash?
I encourage clients not to use Flash. Flash does not work at all on iPads, iPods, and iPhones. In general, all-Flash web sites (“interactive” animated sites) tend to alienate more visitors than they impress. If a visitor to your site has a slower connection or does not have the correct plug-in, Flash will just get in the way. These sites tend to be more difficult to navigate and thus more time-consuming for the customer. You want visitors to spend money, and you want them to do it quickly before they decide to look somewhere else. It is also more expensive over the long run to maintain a Flash web site.
Can you create a free mock-up design for us to look at before we hire you?
I provide my entire portfolio for you to peruse so that you can see what kind of design and web sites I do. Every design I create is highly customized for the client, created to meet the specific needs and aesthetic for their business. This requires hours of consultation, thought, trial and error, and finessing. It is simply not feasible for me to put in this kind of thought, time, and commitment to your project without a retainer. Because each design is so customized, I cannot turn around and “sell” the same design to someone else. Therefore, I will not do any design work until I have received the retainer for the site. If you decide not to work with me any further after seeing the design, that is your perogative, but the retainer is non-refundable. Note that I have done more than 200 web sites as a freelancer, and I have yet to have a situation where a client did not want to move forward with my design.
http://www.no-spec.com is an entire web site dedicated to the topic of “spec” work and has many articles about why the practice of asking for or doing free work to compete for a job is a bad idea all around.