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Web Design FAQ

Questions

If your question isn't listed here, the answer is unclear, or you have a suggestion for a question yourself then please contact us and we'd be happy to help.

General Design Questions

  1. Why do I need a website?
  2. How will people find my website?
  3. How much information will you need to build my website?
  4. Could you redesign my current website? How much would it cost?
  5. I want an ecommerce site. Can you do this?
  6. If I purchase an ecommerce package, do I get full control?

Standards Compliance

  1. What is web standards compliance?
  2. What is this anti-spam measure all about?
  3. I've noticed that you prevent parsing of MS Smart Tags. Why is this?

Answers

General Design Questions

  1. Why do I need a website?
    The short answer is that you don't. A well-run business should survive perfectly well without a website, at least for the next few years anyway! There are however a number of good reasons why a website can help your business:
    Access to a global marketplace. Previously a businesses marketplace has been limited by the reach of it's advertising budget. A website is accessible worldwide, and can be found just as easily by someone in the USA as someone in a neighbouring town. More and more people use the internet to find goods and services and will just as happily order from a company in another country if the product and the price is right. You don't need a huge e-commerce site to achieve this either; the cheque is still a perfectly acceptable payment method to many people if they want something your business can offer them.
    Information 24 hours a day. Many people search the internet to find products and services available before they approach a company or visit a shop. With a website you have an effective 24 hour information service, catalogue and advertisement all rolled into one package which costs less than most single print adverts.
    Everybody else has one. Strange but true. These days, not having a website can reflect badly upon your business in much the same way as not having business cards can seem unprofessional. People expect businesses to have websites. Another factor is that many of your competitors will already have websites and are attracting clients searching the web for products and services that you also offer, possibly of a higher quality or at cheaper prices. If customers don't know you're out there, they won't find you.
    Keep in touch with your customers & clients. People like to feel valued when they're regular customers and clients. A website is easily updated so you can inform regular customers of special offers, product or service news, new developments and anything else you wish them to know. You can have special client areas on your website, even password protect pages so that the general public can't get access.
    Let your customers & clients contact you easily. A feedback form is a popular feature of many websites. Customers are often hesitant to get in touch, even by email, but a feedback form is more anonymous, has questions for the customer to fill in and involves very little effort. The responses and messages that the customer leaves are emailed directly to you, making customer support and care that much easier, and providing more opportunities for you to gain more customers.
  2. How will people find my website?
    There are several ways to lead people to your website:
    Promote your website. You can put your website address on your business cards, stationery, advertising and marketing materials. People are far more likely to visit a website to find out about a company than they are to actually visit a shop/office or call you, because it is anonymous and they don't feel under pressure. Once you've got them to the website then hopefully your website will convince them to contact you in person or to buy online.
    Search engines. When someone enters keywords into a search engine to find something they will get a list of links to websites based on the search engines judgement of the relevance of that website to the search terms. The trick is to make sure that search engines put your website as high as possible on the ranking for certain keywords. Fortunately for you, here at Receptive Design we are experts at getting your website high in the rankings of the major search engines, and will work with you to decide what keywords you should be aiming to get good results for, and tweak your website to that effect. This is part of our web design service. Many other web design agencies charge a small fortune for this but we believe that a good website is useless without it getting good results on search engines, so we maximise your search engine results for free.
    Web Directories. A bit like search engines, but with a hint of Yellow Pages. Directories are listings of websites under category headings and are often vetted by real humans for relevance of content and suitability. These can be a bit hit and miss because there are a lot of different directories and people use them less than search engines. Local directories are often the best to go for, and we'll suggest those you might be interested in submitting your website to.
  3. How much information will you need to build my website?
    It depends entirely on whether you have definite ideas of what information you want on your website. Cost is a factor too.
    Our lower-priced web design packages are based around you supplying all the images and text you want on the website. We will happily scan your leaflets, logos and other printed information for free, in order to get the images you want on the website, but creating images and photos from scratch is a time-consuming business and costs extra. If you need photos on your website we can take these for you using a high resolution digital camera at a very reasonable charge.
    Text to go on the website needs to be supplied on disc, via email or on CD so that we can incorporate it into the pages we design. Typing text up from printed pages is another time consuming activity and we will have to charge extra for that too.
    The bottom line is, if you want a basic low-cost website, you'll need to supply all the text, images and photos yourself. Anything else will take more time and customisation and hence cost a bit more. Contact us to discuss your needs and we'll work out something within your budget.
  4. Could you redesign my current website? How much would it cost?
    We would be happy to redesign an existing website, and will provide a free critical appraisal of any website you submit to us so you can get an idea of what needs changing and updating to make the most of your website.
    The cost of redesigning a website can vary from a small fee for optimising your search engine ranking all the way through to a full design fee for a website that really needs scrapping and starting all over again. It really depends on how much work is involved, but sometimes it is better and cheaper (especially with our design prices) to get a new website. Feel free to send us a request for an appraisal along with the websites existing web address and we'll get back to you with our suggestions and an idea of cost.
  5. I want an ecommerce site. Can you do this?
    We have the ability to develop e-commerce websites to your specifications, whether it is a simple online catalogue using cheques as a payment methods, or a fully featured online shop supporting credit card transactions.
    If you are wanting to accept credit cards online you will need an internet merchant account from a bank, which is different from a normal merchant account. We recommend you discuss this with your business banker to see if you can be authorised for one.
    It is possible to accept credit cards online without an internet merchant account using payment gateway intermediaries such as WorldPay, but the fees can reduce profit margins considerably and along with the cost of building a database driven e-commerce site it is something that has to be considered carefully.
    Online catalogues that require customers to send cheques before merchandise is posted to them can be successful though, so don't give up if you can't get a merchant account or don't want to use an intermediary.
  6. If I purchase an ecommerce package, do I get full control?
    Yes. If you require full administrator access to your ecommerce software, simply ask.
    Please note that given administrator access, you would be able to not only make any changes you like to your own website, but you also would have the ability to break it. We offer full support services for most software, and if you do break your software, we can always restore your website from backup.
    If you would prefer us to administrate the software for you, let us know and we will talk you through all the setup costs and potential future costs.

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Standards Compliance

  1. What is web standards compliance?
    Web standards are designed to create a level playing field across all web browsers, and to enable web designers to easily seperate and distinguish between formatting and content. Cascading Style Sheets allow the designer to place all of the site design elements inside one file which is shared across the site, thereby allowing the easier creation of the initial HTML template and enables the use of multiple style sets, amongst other things.
    Although the standards used on this site have been around since late 1996 some older browsers do not support these standards. Access to the content is still easily accessable although the design and layout of the site is not seen.
    More information on web standards can be found at the W3C official site.
  2. What is this anti-spam measure all about?
    On this site we utilise a method of displaying email addresses without opening that email address to all manner of spam (unsolicited email). It has been found that spammers (those who send unsolicited emails) utilise all manner of methods to harvest email addresses, and one of the top methods is by trawling websites looking for the 'at' symbol (@), so the masking method we use is that we seperate the email address into it's phonetic equivalent and embolden the symbols (Eg: 'test@test.com' would become 'test at test dot com'). Unfortunately this means that you have to manually enter the email address into your mail client.
  3. I've noticed that you prevent parsing of MS Smart Tags. Why is this?
    Microsofts Smart Tags system for Internet Explorer 6 is basically more spam. The department responsible for this idea seems to believe that it's users would like lots of links to Microsoft and any other sponsered companies to be parsed into whatever webpage they visit, regardless of whether the web designers have authorised the alteration of their site. A link would normally be placed on common words and often have no relevence to the site being viewed. You may notice that web designers have to prevent Smart Tag parsing, and not the other way round. This basically means that without that tag being present on your site, Smart Tags will appear!

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