Questions & Answers
A. As a website owner, you will have several responsibilities:
- Domain Name Registration - A domain name is your website's address on the internet. My site's domain name is DefinedByEye.com. Domain names can be registered for anywhere from 1 to 10 years. After this time period is up, you need to renew your domain name or it will expire and someone else could register it. You can register your domain name on sites such as Register.com and GoDaddy.com.
- Hosting - Your website needs to be stored on a server so the rest of the internet can access it. A hosting provider such as Netriver.net can rent you this space. Often, hosting providers can also provide you with email addresses at your domain name, such as megan @ definedbyeye.com. I recommend setting up info @ yoursite.com once you find a hosting provider.
- Maintenance - A website that is not updated regularly may fall out of date and reflect poorly on you or your business. I recommend updating the information on your website every few months so it does not stagnate and lose its usefulness.
- Marketing - Simply creating a website will not bring new attention to you or your business. If you want your website to work for you, you will be responsible for spreading the word about your new site.
A. This is a myth. It is possible to 1) purchase your domain name from one company, 2) host your website with another and 3) work with one or more development companies to update your website.
A. First, contact me and we'll chat about what you want to do. It would be helpful if you have:
- ideas of what your site is going to be about
- who will be visiting it
- and what other sites and colors you like
- any available logo files, business names, and business slogans
Afterwords, you will need to provide content (text) and possibly some pictures. You will need a domain name and a hosting package in order to get your website online. See the first question for information about this. If your website is not hosted by NetRiver, I will need an FTP username and password for your website (with read and write access please). This can be easily provided by your hosting provider. Once your site is ready, and you give your final approval, I will put it online at your domain name.
A. My rate is $50.00 an hour (half an hour minimum). At the start of the project, I will provide you with a written "not to exceed" quote that you must agree to before I start to work on your website. If it takes less time, then you will only be invoiced for the time used. Payment is due at the end of the project (when all components have been posted to your public domain).
A. I will work on your project as soon as I can, but the realistic answer is that this is unlikely. An average timeline would be 2 to 7 days for website maintenance, and 2 to 4 weeks for a full website.
A. Online security has become a hot issue, so there are several items to consider.
- Shopping Cart Software - You can do your own shopping around for online shopping cart solutions, but my preferred shopping cart solution is ZenCart. This opensource (free) software is highly customizable and is well supported. So, while I do not charge for the software, it does involve some setup and customization fees. Check out the Resources page for more information and the chance to test it out.
- Merchant Account - A merchant account determines what cards you can accept online. It also directs the funds you collect online into the bank account of your choice.
- Payment Gateway - A payment gateway, such as Authorize.net securely processes online transactions to approve or decline cards.
- Secure Certificate - Sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and social security number must be collected over an encrypted connection. Secure certificates can be purchased through your hosting provider, and are good for 1 to 2 years (depending on which you purchase).
- PCI Compliance - Websites that accept funds online are required to fill out a security questionaire and have a third party scan their site to determine any vulnerabilities. ScanAlert.com is probably the largest and most popular scanning service out there. They can also provide your site with the increasingly popular "Hacker Safe" icon.
A. Per Wikipedia.com, "Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines". In other words, getting your site to be first on Google, Yahoo, or MSN. The basics of SEO involve making sure that your website contains keyword-rich content and the appropriate meta tags (a site title, description, and list of keywords). Meta-tags are a part of my website creation process, but this alone will not put your website at the top of the search engine lists. SEO campaigns quickly become complex and time-intensive, so if you are serious about Search Engine Optimization you might look into hiring a professional SEO business to manage your online SEO campaign.
A. Please feel free to email me! My email is megan @ definedbyeye.com. I will get back to you as soon as I can.