CyberArtisans is a full-service web design and development shop. We can take your website from conception to online reality.
I am in the business of building you a website that reflects your business, not mine. Your website is the front door and display window of your business on the web. It is as important to your business as any brochure, advertisement, or sign you present to the public. It is, as the cliché goes, your only chance to make a first impression.
At the same time, my objective is to build you a website you can afford, and usually, to build you a website you can edit yourself. The last characteristic, that you can edit the website yourself, has increasingly been a requirement of people coming to me for a website. After trying a number of methods for accomplishing this, I have landed on WordPress as my answer to this need and I’ve been very happy with the results.
The first question most people ask is “How much?” But building a website is a labor-intensive process, so the answer to that question depends to a great extent on your answer to several questions that I have to ask before I can answer your question. My questions are:
- What do you want this website to do? Many people want a brochure website – a website that introduces the visitor to your business, lists your services, offers some information about the people running the business, and provides several means of getting in touch with you. Others have more ambitious goals; organizations, for example, often want to offer member sign-up and payment options. And yet others want to sell their products online.
- What is the tone of your business? This may sound like an odd question, but think about it: If you are a start-up, you may want your website to reflect a brash and ambitious tone to attract investor attention. If you are in a visual business (architect, kitchen designer, artist), you probably want a very attractive website to set the tone of your business and make it clear you have a good visual sense. And if you are a serious professional (engineering, law), you would want a site that reflects that seriousness, with a calm and business-like atmosphere throughout.
- What is your budget? I know, you started out asking me the cost, but there are many tradeoffs I can make when I build your website. Depending on your answers to the previous questions, I can make some nearly-invisible shortcuts in some areas and spend more time on other areas to meet your budget requirements. Of course, I may say that your ambitions for the website and your budget limitations are simply incompatible. Then you have to decide whether you want to pull back on some of the requirements, stretch the budget some, or look for a cheaper way to build a website.
Once we have gone through the questions, I usually have enough information to draw up a formal proposal, which I will send to you. We can negotiate about the details of the proposal, but once you decide to accept it, I draw up a Letter of Agreement that lists what I will build, how long it will take, and how much it will cost. Your signature on the bottom plus a check for the down payment starts the process.
The process of building the site is not invisible to you. I usually start the building process on a server in my office, so it isn’t visible to anyone else, but once I get the basics in place, I put the prototype on an external server where you can look at it at any time and review the progress. Usually my clients send me email asking me to make changes to the prototype, and I reply when the changes are up on the external server.
The presence of the site on an external server also makes it possible for you to have business associates look at it and give you their feedback.
Website repair and update
Already have a website but it has problems? We repair and update websites. Repairs are done on an hourly basis because I can’t tell how much work is required until I dig into the code and see what the problem is. If the site was working and recently stopped working (or some part of it stopped working), the fix is often quick and easy. I will, however, check it out for free and give you an estimate of the cost of repairs before actually starting work.
Updating a website is a little more like building a new one. The big question is how much of an update you really want and need? Again, we will go through the site with you and then draw up a proposal to do the update, complete with an estimate of the cost.
A big feature of websites these days is their compatibility with mobile devices. Most websites built more than a couple of years ago didn’t have this capability because there was no need. The number of smart phones that had sufficient access speed on the web was so small as to be negligible. But as you know if you watch the news these days, that has changed dramatically. Today, any website owner should consider how many of his/her site visitors are likely to be on a mobile device. If the number is anywhere above 10%, you should talk to a web developer about what actions are available to you.
Usually there are two approaches:
- If you really like your current website and don’t want to change it, the best solution is to build a separate mobile site, along with a “browser sniffer” that will detect if the browser requesting the site is on a full-screen computer, a tablet, or a smart phone. Depending on the answer, the server will send out either the original site or the mobile site.
This mobile site is, in fact, a second site, so this requires building an entire site. But usually it can be done on a fairly tight budget because you only have to deal with mobile devices, and you have all the content (text and photos) already from the original site.
- If you were considering updating or replacing your current site anyway, I would recommend starting from scratch with a “responsive” WordPress theme. “Responsive” is the current code word meaning the site automatically adapts to the screen size. This is convenient because you only build one site and the theme code adjusts the site to the screen size with no input from you.
Of course, the choice of theme is vitally important, since not all WordPress themes adjust to screen size well. Here’s where an experienced web developer can save you a lot of disappointment down the line.
Hosting – CyberArtisans Tier 1 support
When choosing how you host your site, consider this: If you contract directly with a hosting service, you will have to talk to tech support yourself when something goes wrong (note that I said “when,” not “if” – we are talking about computers here). As owner of a single site, you will almost certainly be routed to Tier 2 support, which uses less-skilled support people than you encounter on Tier 1 support. You may be able to argue your way into Tier 1 support, but the Tier 2 people are instructed to resist that unless they really can’t solve your problem after several tries.
CyberArtisans offers our own variety of Tier 1 hosting support: You email or call me and report your problem. That’s it. I take whatever actions and time is required to fix it. It might take 5 minutes or it might take 12 hours of dealing with tech support. In either case, I do it, with no cost to you and no additional work on your part (except maybe my calling you to ask you to check that the problem is resolved).
Does CyberArtisans Tier 1 Support cost a little more? Yep. Is it worth it? Depends on how you value your time and your frustration levels. Contact me for the details.
Other web needs
Do you have other needs involving the web? Please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your needs with you and tell you if we can help. If we can’t we will refer you to somebody who can.