Preparing to start a new business, partner with a web developer, or ramp up your marketing efforts will no doubt raise a few questions. We've done our best to answer some of our most frequently asked questions about those exact topics. If we've missed anything, contact us and ask directly.
We're so glad you asked. Because every business has a different set of goals and objectives, our first step is to talk to you about them so we understand. We don't believe in throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Once we have a good idea of what you want to achieve, along with the time frame and budget we have to work with, we'll provide you with a proposed set of action steps.
If you have an existing website and need help with marketing, we may or may not be able to assist you.
We believe in solving problems in the right order for the best return on investment for our clients. Therefore, if your existing site is experiencing issues such as a lack of quality content, is outdated, or provides a poor user experience, we'll probably let you know that those issues should be addressed before any marketing efforts are started. Some marketing agencies will work with you regardless of the results they believe they'll be able to achieve for you. We're not one of them.
The time it takes to build a website depends on a few different items. For instance, the size and complexity of your site, and the amount and quality of content you have available at the ready. You can plan on a basic website (where all content is available for us) taking approximately four - six weeks from start to finish.
The answer is that sometimes, yes, we will write content for your website. We understand that not all business owners are writers, and that's ok. Lean on us and leverage the years of experience we have writing copy for specific audiences and well as for search engines. If you have copy available, we'll implement it as-is, or with a little massaging to ensure it's web-ready.
There is no one answer or tiered pricing plan for this question. The only real answer is, “it depends”. Just like the price of a car or a house, it depends on many different factors. We can tell you that our website projects typically start at about $3,000 and range upwards depending on your business needs and requirements for functionality.
We understand that investing in your business website can feel like a large-ticket item. For qualified clients, we do offer 3, 6, 9 and sometimes 12-month payment plans to help make launching or updating your online presence easier to afford.
Our fees may feel a little higher than some other small business website designers. That's because you're not only paying for what we do, you're also benefiting from our knowledge. This includes knowing what to do as much as what not to do. Before launching any website we have a 75+ item checklist to make sure your website is ready for customers and search engines.
We do more than just make your site look good, we make sure our designs are functional and optimized for performance and search engines.
After we launch a website for a client, a few things start happening on their own. There are other efforts that should be considered.
The first thing we typically notice after launching a website is that it begins improving its rankings in search results. We add Google Analytics code to the sites we launch, so we also see which pages are being visited most and where people spend the bulk of their time while on the site.
We recommend letting your audience know that there's a new website. Using social media is a great way to share that information.
If the goal of a new website was to improve your online presence and increase sales, the next step we recommend is an ongoing monthly marketing plan. This usually includes the use of social media, business listings, and email marketing (among other things).
Before you sign up for a monthly maintenance plan, we need to make sure that we can successfully help you. We would love to work with you, and there may be a few different options that would work to service your needs, or we may just not be a good fit. Give us a chance to review your site before signing up for a monthly maintenance plan. Send us an email or give us a call and let us know that you're interested.
WordPress is a Content Management System (e.g., customers can manage their own website content if they want to) that currently powers over 43.3% of websites on the internet and this percentage continues to increase. Its popularity is due in part to two main factors 1) the ease in which additional functionality can be integrated and 2) customers can easily manage their content after the website is built. We do prefer to use the WordPress platform to build our websites. It not only ensures that our customers are set up to achieve their goals year over year as their business grows and their site can grow with them, it allows our customers to easily take over their own maintenance if they so desire.
Our website care plans are in place for just this reason, to prevent that from happening. However, we cannot guarantee that it won’t. What we can guarantee is that the preventive maintenance we provide with our care plans monitor your site regularly to keep security protocols in place to thwart any efforts to hack or otherwise break your site. We also will be prepared with full backups standing by at the ready to restore your site back to its pre-hacked status should a vulnerability be detected or create an issue.
We sure do! We prefer to work with WooCommerce when building an e-commerce store into WordPress.
Why do we prefer WooCommerce? Because there are several advantages to WordPress + WooCommerce in comparison to alternatives such as Shopify as a standalone store. One of the biggest is SEO. However, if you do not yet have a website and are looking for a fast and easy solution, Shopify may be for you. Remember, however, if insufficient SEO is set up during the build, your new store will get very little organic traffic.
Great question! Every website is made up of a series of files and images. In order for any of those to be seen by the public, they have to be saved somewhere and then served to your customers. We will not only help you with hosting, we will make recommendations for what works best for your business (e.g., shared hosting, managed hosting, dedicated) and explain the differences and price points.
A Content Management System (CMS) is a tool that allows you to maintain the pages of your website yourself, without any coding or specialized skills required. A CMS allows you to edit content, add pages, insert images and other administrative tasks. No additional software is required. All you need is an active internet connection.
Sure thing! As the month goes by, you may want to make content or design changes to keep your website fresh and up to date with your growing business. Through a website maintenance plan, we dedicate specific amounts of time each month to implementing those updates for you. Should you decide that you’d like to add a completely new feature to your site, it may require a formal quote as the time needed to implement the update may exceed the website maintenance plan’s dedicated support time.
You’ll find that we will communicate often through email; it’s quick and easy, and can be completed on the go. We also recognize that brainstorming can often times work better in a verbal, collaborative environment. Consulting calls can be used to bounce ideas, have questions answered, provide segmented training, or to outline the roadmap for the weeks and months ahead to enable and encourage your online growth.
We hope so! While our plans are tailored for the websites we build, we are always happy to welcome new customers who are looking for long-term relationships with a service provider.
To ensure that we would be a good fit, the first month of the plan helps us get familiar with your site. We need to understand how it was built, understand the architecture, and if it poses any security risks or other issues. Included in this process, we perform any required website updates (e.g., plugin updates), begin monitoring the site, and complete a full backup. Most importantly, we will make a list of issues to fix and suggestions for improvement needed in order to proceed with the website on the monthly plan of your choosing.
For the health of your website, we ask that customers leave the updating to us. Website maintenance is an integral part of updating and keeping your site working properly. At SBC we take great care to first backup the website, then check the website, update files, and then check the website again for any changes. Our software keeps a record of the files and plugins that we update so if there is ever an issue we see what version was changed and are able to revert back to a clean version if necessary.
If a customer updates from their WordPress admin panel, SBC wouldn’t have that record. We update client’s sites based on their care plan to ensure that we take the time to devote to checking your website thoroughly during the update process. Also included on our monthly maintenance reports are the security scans. If in the event we ever catch a plugin or software issue, it becomes a support ticket and we address it, hopefully before you are ever aware of it. We also take care about which plugins we are updating and single out large updates, such as WooCommerce if you have an online store, as its own task for additional quality control.
If your website is not loading on your end, first check to make sure this is the same experience for everyone at DownForEveryoneOrJustMe – http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/.
If your website is down just for you, there are a few things that you can do. First, try clearing your browser history (cache and cookies) and reloading your website. Also, check your internet connection (as obvious as that might sound, we sometimes forget).
If the website is down for everyone, shoot us a support ticket email, even though chances are that our website uptime monitor has already alerted us.
If this happens outside office hours, call the web host directly (e.g., Flywheel or GoDaddy) and see what they can do to get the website back online. Most likely, the cause of the outage is related to the following issues:
- Your web hosting, domain or SSL certificate has expired and a payment is due
- The web host is experiencing maintenance issues
Anything outside of these areas will be investigated by SBC in order to bring the site back online.
If you received an email about your website files being compromised, make sure it is a legitimate email by calling your web hosting company and forwarding the email to our support team.
Our next steps, as webmaster, is to reach out to your web host about their protocol for a compromised website and a scan on their end to confirm where the compromised files are on the server. Under your website care we will restore a clean backup of WordPress, and then take note from the web host about where the issue arose if it was outside of WordPress. This may mean the web host recommending a third-party service to clean up the compromised files or additional security (which could be at an additional fee to you).
The best way to prevent a compromised website is to keep WordPress and plugins up-to-date, which we do for you monthly under website care, as well as keep full backups to restore in the event of an issue. Unfortunately, just updating your website cannot guarantee that a hack won’t happen. This is why we help you work with the web host and third parties to restore your website in the event of a hack and institute security measures to prevent most known vulnerabilities by hackers.
There are a few common causes of a slow website. Two of the biggest are images that have not been optimized for web use and externally embedded media.
Full-sized images can consume a lot of a computer's resources while loading. This can slow down your website on anyone's browser. It's important to take the time to resize your images for website use. Take a look at the image tag – it allows you to set the height and width. Be sure to scale the photos proportionally so that they don’t get stretched or skewed (which makes them look odd). Then, consider changing the image format, which can significantly reduce the file size. Finally, reduce image quality. That doesn’t mean making your photos look bad. It just means tweaking some simple settings (the quality needed for print is not the same quality needed for on screen viewing). For JPG images, this is done by directly reducing the quality. In most cases, a quality setting of 70 - 80 percent will show no significant changes from the original version. In some cases, an image can go even lower depending on the type of image, the detail, and the colors. For other image formats such as GIF and PNG, you can reduce quality by opting for a smaller color palette.
For externally embedded media, we recommend avoiding this where possible. Once you embed someone else's external material into your site, your pages will only run as fast as the other host's site. In other words, if that external site is having a slow day, your site may run slowly, too. That is not optimal for your website visitors. Whenever possible, it’s smart to host all content on your own server.
Plugins may also be causing issues. Just like external embedded media, plugins can bring in resources from other websites. We can perform some investigative work to see what plugins could be causing this outside of the typical monthly website care. Reach out for a quote for evaluation and plugin cleanup.
We reserve our graphic design services for our Website and/or Social Media clients.
We would hate to see you go, but we understand that sometimes things change. Should you need to cancel your existing plan, simply visit the 'My Account' button at the bottom of our website, login with the email and password used to sign up for your plan, and cancel your subscription. Don't remember your password? There is a 'Forgot Password' option to get you back into your account.