OptoDesign -- Web Design -- Print Media - faq

By: Optodesign  09-12-2011
Keywords: Project Management, Programming, Branding

Frequently Asked Questions

Pricing





Domains and Hosting









Development






E-business




Pricing



A very basic site will start at around $500. This would include about 5 or 6 categories/pages, and the odd subpage. This kind of site would also be “static”, meaning there would be no database connected to it, no login system, and no pages generated automatically or “dynamically”.

This price would also include some very basic branding. But generally it is the client's responsibility to provide all content, including the logo.

A basic site like the one described above is suitable for small businesses starting out, mainly needing an online brochure to describe their business. Here is an example of such a site.

Prices start to increase depending on components added. Please have a look at OptoDesign’s pricing page for an idea about cost.



This is difficult for clients to understand in the web industry, mainly because it is impossible to explain the type or amount of programming involved in a way that makes sense.

OptoDesign’s rate is balanced at about $50 / hr. (Less for simple tasks and projects, more for more complicated projects where more programming and project management is required.)


Different components or applications require different amounts of programming.

For example, a feedback form costs about $69 or 1-2 hours of coding.


Yes. OptoDesign offers other related services such as photography, writing, information architecture, SEO (search engine optimization), internet marketing, site advice and consulting, print media, education (i.e. private tutoring, instruction, public speaking), even drafting services.

The above services are available at an additional cost.

Please speak to representative if you are interested in them or other related services.

Domains and Hosting



If you are developing your site with us, we request that you forward over domain information after registering, so we can set up your account and begin working on your site.



The registrar business is very price driven. If you look around, you can find .com’s for as little as $15 per year. Expect to pay $20-$25 per year on average.

.ca’s cost more: between $35-$55 per year. This is because .ca’s are more controlled by the Canadian government so there is more processing involved. This goes for the domains of many other countries as well.



.com is shortened from “commercial” as in a commercial business or website. .ca is short for Canada. .fr for France, .de for Deutchland, .us for United States, etc. There is also .info, .edu, .tv, and other such domains



Generally, we advise to keep domains down to 1 or 2 words. If you have a domain with 2-3 words, avoid hyphenating. Keep words down to 1 or maybe 2 syllables. Avoid oddly spelled words, people will mistype them and will often give up trying.

For example, februaryguaranteed.com is not a good domain name to reserve. People will not be sure whether it’s “ua” or “au” in both words, or how many “r’s”, “t’s” or “e’s” are in the word “guaranteed”.

If you want to tap into a global market, especially e-businesses that almost solely do business online, you should not reserve a country domain such as .ca . You need to look at general domains such as .com, .net, .info, etc.

It may be more difficult to find the name you want under the general domains, but it is critical for doing business on a global scale.

It is best to consider .com vs .ca early on. If you switch over later on, it may be a big headache in having to change your company name, logos, branding, etc. If you want to switch from .ca to .com, chances are you will not find the same name available under .com.



Hosting is where the files of your web site are stored. They need to be stored somewhere on some server, and the hosting company connects your domain name to them, in order to broadcast them live on the internet.

Because there are costs in allocating all that space, hosting companies charge monthly fees to their customers. It’s like renting out an apartment for your website to live in the internet world.

OptoDesign is affiliated with doteasy.com for hosting. We recommend this company because we are used to working with their interface, which reduces account set up costs.

However, you are more than welcome to shop around, and select a provider of your own.



Expect to pay between $5.00 and $20.00 a month for hosting.

Generally speaking, the more expensive the hosting package, the more features it includes. Features include a more stable platform such as windows (less chance of a server crash), and more supported programming features such as programming languages and databases.

It is best to let us advise you on which hosting package to choose because there is some technical mumbo jumbo involved in selecting the right one for your needs; however, feel free to do the homework yourself and consult us on your choice of package.



Some clients prefer to read the info or communicate with the hosting company and do it themselves, while others prefer to have us do it; your call.



Development



Like many other issues, that depends.

If we are building a basic site (as described above), it could take as little as *1-2 weeks*, provided you are also on time with your content submission, and available for questions we may have during the development process, as well as being available for meetings.

Larger sites could take *1-3 months*, depending on their components. A lot of the timeline is related to schedules of availability, ours and yours, and how well they mesh.

Really large and complicated sites could take from *6 months to 1 year*. And some really large projects require on going maintenance as long as they are online.

Timelines always depend on the scope of the project, but the above timelimes should give you a basic idea.



This is a tough one that requires a meeting or e-meeting.

It is quite common for clients to envision a site that is over the top; however, we generally encourage you to start small, get feedback from your customers, and continue adding components from there.

It is a quite a risk to invest in a complicated, intricate website worth thousands of dollars of labour, only to have it flop once it goes online, or for technology/trends to change leaving you with a passé idea by the time it’s live on the web.

The Opto article “Before you Build” by George Papazian offers some insight on how to approach the planning of your site.



This is another question with many considerations which also requires a meeting or e-meeting.

As a general rule of thumb, avoid clutter, keep your message simple, and present the user with elements s/he uses the most.

For the average business, keep colours and interfaces light, and pleasant for the user.

This obviously does not apply if your site addresses a niche market or thematic feel.

The only right or wrong answer here depends on your customers’ preference. The challenge is trying to identify that preference. Start by asking them.



Branding is creating a company image or company brand. In order have increased marketability potential, almost all websites should have some kind of branding thought put into them.

This translates into identifiable logos, a uniform colour scheme, a consistent layout and design, and general look that the user can identify with.



Yes. It is standard procedure regarding the look of your web site. Even the basic web site described above will have a some level of branding.

Talk to an OptoDesign consult about what type of branding would suit your business.

E-business



Almost every business needs an online presence of some sort these days. This is especially true in North America and Europe.

Whether it is as simple as a one page contact information site or as complex as Facebook, having an online presence helps you connect with your customers easier, and more efficiently.

The more content and applications you add to your site, the more you can offer your customers/clients. Services, documentation, and forming a community are just a sample of the types of things you can offer your clientele online.

From your perspective, the advantage of building online applications means that you can get the computer to do a lot of your dirty work, and shave off time you spend on tasks such as accounting or inventory.

The advantage of building these applications online means that you don’t need *your* specific computer to access them. You can access them from any computer, anywhere in the world. This means you free up your mobility. The extra mobility translates into something as simple as skipping rush hour traffic to get to a physical location or, even more appealing, running parts of your business from another location (this includes resorts!)



We get this question very often, and understandably it is an important issue.

When we build your site, we implement SEO (search engine optimization) elements into the code. That’s standard.

But we cannot guarantee exactly how the search engines will respond to your site. If we knew their secrets, we’d be Google!

But we can optimize your site to stand a better chance. For additional costs, we can also consult you on how to market your site online so you can continue this on going process. We can also do some of that work for you if you prefer.

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

Keywords: Branding, Programming, Project Management

Other products and services from Optodesign

09-12-2011

OptoDesign -- Web Design -- Print Media - director

George has either lead or been involved in projects from organizations such as the Westin Grand, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Global Biostocks, Simon Fraser University, and Festival Cinemas. He currently teaches web related courses for the Bachelor of Applied Design degree at the Art Institute of Vancouver (Interactive Media and Graphic Design departments).