We've put together some questions that are frequently asked about wed design and other related areas. If you have any questions that aren't covered here, feel free to contact us.
How much does a website cost?
Like any other product or service, a website's price will depend on what features it has, how well it's designed and how it's built. Its difficult to give a generic price because we design each website to individual requirements so the amount of work involved in each project will differ. For instance, a custom web application involves a lot more work than a simpler single-page website. Similarly, all of our websites have basic search engine optimisation in place to ensure that they're well indexed by search engines, but if you need your website to appear very high in search results, additional time and work is required which will increase the cost.
Once we have an idea of your requirements, we'll be able to give you an immediate quote for your site. Why not give us a call, or fill in the enquiry form on our contact page and we'll get back to you. If you're not sure what exactly you're looking for, we can explain the various options that might best meet your needs.
How long does it take to create a website?
It depends on your requirements, but we can have smaller websites fully completed in 3–4 weeks, while larger, more complicated sites can take a number of months. Some web design companies advertise website turnaround times of 1–2 weeks, but these websites are generally based on templates and not custom made. If you have a very short time requirement, we may be able to work with you depending on how busy we are. The most common delay in the creation of a website is waiting for the initial content and imagery to be compiled by the clients.
I'd like you to create my website — what are the next steps?
If you'd like to use our services, give us a call so that we can discuss what you have in mind and give you a quotation. We'll then arrange a meeting to flesh out your exact requirements, plan your websites structure and discuss some design ideas. While you gather up the initial content and imagery, we'll come up with a proof of the proposed design. Once you're happy with the proof and supply us with your website's initial content, we can start to put your website together.
What happens if I don't like it?
We'll work closely with you at the planning stage to get an idea of the style of site you want and provide you with a graphical proof. We won't start building your site until you're happy with the proof so the end product should be exactly what you had in mind. We haven't had an unhappy customer yet.
How / when do I pay for my website?
After we've met to discuss your requirements and design, we generally request a 35% deposit if you decide to proceed. The balance of payment is then due before the website goes live.
How much will it cost to update?
It won't cost anything. All of the websites we create come with a content management back-end as standard which means you can update your website yourself. Technical knowledge isn't required — if you can edit a Word document, you'll be able to maintain your website. We think its important for clients to take ownership of their websites because they're the subject matter experts and best qualified to edit their content.
I don't have time to update my website, can you do it?
We can update your website for you but strongly recommend that you take ownership of your content. To get the best return on your website, you should put a little time into it. We encourage clients to keep their websites fresh and 'sticky' (something that people will visit again) by keeping their content current. Your website has excellent potential for generating leads and sales if you put some effort in to it. If you need any technical maintenance such as setting up additional e-mail addresses etc., we're more than happy to do it for you.
Will I be able to see how many hits my site gets?
Yes. We install tracking software as standard that records where your visitors are coming from, which pages they looked at, which search engines and search phrases they've used in addition to many other tracking statistics that can be used to monitor your site's performance.
Are there any ongoing fees?
The only ongoing costs are your annual hosting and domain name registration fees which are the basic fees associated with every website. We charge €120 per year for managed hosting (which means that we'll look after any software upgrades that are needed), while domain name registration starts at €10 per year for .com domain names. The price of other domain names (.ie, .org, .net, .co.uk, .job) varies.
What is hosting?
A host is where your website files live. A website consists of a collection of files that must be placed on a publicly accessible server that's permanently connected to the internet. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server they own or lease for use by their clients as well as providing internet connectivity, usually in a dedicated data center. This service is known as hosting.
What's a domain name?
A domain name is the address of your website, such as www.beanstalk.ie. Different domain name extensions have different purposes and restrictions. For instance, anyone can register a .com domain name but .ie domain names are only available to individuals or organisations based in Ireland that have a proven relationship with their chosen domain name. The domain name and extension that you choose usually depends on personal preference and availability.
Will I have e-mail with my new site?
Yes. We can set up as many e-mail addresses as you need, all of which can be accessed through a desktop e-mail program (such as Outlook) and/or through a secure webpage. We use Google applications to manage e-mail. This is similar to Google's gmail service but your e-mail addresses will use the domain you choose for your website (such as email@example.com).
My existing e-mail service attracts a lot of spam, can you improve this?
Yes. Transferring your e-mail to another mail server with better spam protection should do the trick. Google applications has very effective anti-spam software which should drastically reduce the amount of spam you get. Having your e-mail address published on the internet is one of the main root causes of spam. We can show you techniques to publish your personal details online in a way that won't be visible to spam crawlers.
Who owns the website once its finished?
The website will belong to you. If at any stage you want to use another web design or web hosting company, we'll send you a copy of your website on CD and close your account with us. You are completely at liberty to do this, we would never make it difficult for you to change to another company.
What kind of qualifications do you have?
There are two of us involved with Beanstalk. Eddie has a Degree and PhD in Computer Science and previously worked as an Business Analyst and Consultant with Accenture. Riona works on an ad hoc basis looking after website content and documentation. She has a degree in English and is a full time Trainer and Facilitator.
Will my website be unique?
Absolutely. Some web design companies build websites using publicly available templates meaning their websites have an identical design to hundreds of others. Because we consider your brand to be the most important asset of your product or service, we work only on custom website design. All of our designs are created and conceived from our client's exact requirements and brief. Their uniqueness is guaranteed.
Do you re-design existing sites?
We can redesign any website, but if it is small (typically less than 10-15 pages) and / or hasn't been built to a high standard in the first place, we would typically rebuild the site from scratch.
What are web standards?
Web standards are a set of guidelines for good website development that are compiled and maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Web standards help ensure that everyone has access to information on the internet regardless of their platform or ability, and when adhered to, result in streamlined, future-proof websites that are fast loading and search engine friendly. Standards compliant websites are easier for people with special needs to use — their content can be magnified and rearranged and even narrated by the computer or transferred to braille on certain workstations. They can also be browsed on multiple devices, from mobile phones to high-resolution displays.
What is the W3C?
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international industry consortium dedicated to "leading the Web to its full potential". It is led by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and has more than 450 member organizations including Microsoft, Apple Inc., Adobe and a variety of other hardware and software manufacturers, content providers, academic institutions, and telecommunications companies. The W3C develops open specifications (standards) to enhance the interoperability of web-related products (such as internet browsers).
What is CSS and why is it important?
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are a system of rules that control the display properties of a webpage such as the colors, font, background images and layout. CSS is a W3C standard (see above) and the recommended way of controlling the presentation of a webpage because they allow the pages appearance to be separated from its content. Instead of embedding style rules into each and every page of your website, the rules are placed in a separate file which means that the entire appearance and design of your website can be changed by editing only one file.
Some designers don't use CSS (it can be difficult to master) and hardcode the design of each page into the page itself, but this means that each and every webpage will need to be edited individually in order to make changes to the websites appearance, and the website will not be viewable on all platforms. All of the websites we create use external CSS sheets resulting in an accessible, future-proof and search engine-friendly setup for your website.
What is XHTML?
XHTML (eXtensible Hypertext Markup Language) is a markup language for writing web page and is also a W3C standard. Unlike its sibling language HTML, XHTML is designed to annotate data as well as display it; extra information can be added to XHTML pages that can be read by custom applications but safely ignored by other applications and browsers that don't understand it. The ruleset of XHTML is more strict which means that valid XHTML pages are more robust and less prone to error. You can check to see if a webpage is valid XHTML by using the W3C validator tool.
What is accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to the practice of making websites usable by everyone, regardless of their abilities or the technology they use to browse the internet. Creating accessible web content reduces the barriers faced by many people who try to access information and services online. These include people with disabilities, people in rural and remote areas who have slow internet connections and people using alternative technologies to a computer, such as mobile phones to access web sites. We can create websites that fully comply with current accessibility guidelines and offer a website accessibility auditing service for evaluating existing websites.
What is WAI?
The WAI is the Web Accessibility Initiative, the section of the W3C that develop guidelines to help make websites accessible to people with disabilities. The WAI maintain a set of guidelines, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2) that websites should implement in order to make their content more accessible. Each guideline has a priority level (1, 2 or 3) associated with it based on the guideline's impact on accessibility. If a website meets all level 1 checkpoints, it has level A conformance to the guidelines. Level AA sites meet all level 1 and level 2 checkpoints, while Level AAA sites meet all WCAG checkpoints and are the most accessible, conforming to all of the accessibility guidelines.
What is new media?
The terms "new media" and "social media" generally refer to websites that have content provided by people or groups of people and that foster a sense of discussion and community. New media websites such as Facebook and Myspace can be powerful marketing tools for businesses as they provide the ability to target advertisements at specific demographics (such as all 30 year old Irish males), something that isn't possible with other forms of online advertising. The nature of these websites means that their users often share their product preferences with their friends, which is an added advantage for 'trendy' products and services.
What's a Blog?
A Blog (short for 'web log') can be described as an online diary or journal. They're a way of sharing information and ideas and can establish a sense of community by allowing people to respond to your blog posts and share their comments. Blogs can be used in lots of ways, from keeping customers and clients up-to-date of new products or services to expressing your opinion on happenings related to your field.
Video Blogs (or Vlogs as they are also known) are a type of blog where content is delivered through video in addition to or instead of text. Similarly, Podcasts are audio blogs which can be downloaded and played through portable music devices like iPods.
Having a Blog allows you to build your profile and establish a stronger personal connection with your customers. If you're knowledgeable in a particular field or simply have something interesting to say, your blog can develop a following of readers and lead to more referrals, sales and conversions. Blogging is an excellent way of promoting your company's expertise, building additional web traffic, and connecting with potential customers.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of increasing the volume or the quality of traffic to your website from search engine result pages (SERPs), resulting in an increased web presence for your website. An increase in the quantity or quality of visitors to your site should convert to increases in enquiries and sales.
Effective SEO involves, among other things, changing the structure and content of your site, increasing the number of inbound links and ensuring that each element in your website is correctly 'marked up'. There are over 200 different factors that influence your websites position in SERPs. All of our websites come with basic optimisation that will ensure your site is indexed by the major search engines. We offer full search engine optimisation as an additional service which will optimise your existing website or a site that we are developing for you. Having a very highly ranked website requires a lot of additional effort which is why SEO is offered as separate service.
Do you do Flash websites?
I have another question...
If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to give us a call or fill in the contact form. We're happy to answer any of your queries.