How does the process go?
In general the process goes something like this:
#1-Email Consultation: We will discuss what you want and what you need, and determine if I can provide it in the necessary time frame.
#2-Contract Signed and Deposit Paid: Based on our consultation I will email you a contract to read, 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 by adding your project to my design queue.
#3-Site Design: I will take the information you have given me and a logo if applicable and create a design for you. In general, 3 design revisions are included in the price.
#4-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.
#5-Site Build: I will begin creating the pages of your website. Note that I must have your content, which I commonly refer to as “homework” (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 will have your completed web site on the agreed date. 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.
#6-Site Check: You will thoroughly check all of the pages of the site for errors and/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!
#7-Final Payment is due upon completion of your site which will be no longer than 30 days after design approval and contract is signed. Your site will be uploaded to the server and live after final payment is received. Note that if this payment is not made, late fees will be incurred. 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 need 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 e mail consultations can be much more productive than meetings and phone calls. However, a phone consultation can be arranged after an initial e mail consultation.
In addition, having all correspondence in e mail 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.
What about SEO-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 and/or 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 am a very experienced WordPress developer.
Do you do Flash websites?
I encourage clients not to use Flash. Flash does not work at all on iPads, iPods, and iPhones. In general, all-Flash web sites (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 get information, and you want them to get it quickly before they decide to look somewhere else. It is also more expensive in the long run to maintain a Flash web site.
I see you are located in Texas… Can you design a site for me if I am located elsewhere?
Yes, I have created websites for people in different cities and states.