Web Design FAQs

How much would it cost for you to design a website for me?

This is probably the most common question I am asked by new clients. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most difficult to answer without a clear idea of exactly what the client wants and needs.

The cost of a website can range from a hundreds of dollars to millions of dollars, depending on the site and what it entails. Consider shopping for a website to be like shopping for a car. If someone were to walk up to a car dealer and ask, "how much does a car cost?" the car dealer would need to know what kind of car the person was looking to buy before he/she could start quoting relevant prices to the customer. In that same respect, before I can give an estimate on a how much a website is going to cost, I need to discuss with the potential client exactly what it is that they hope to achieve with the website.

How long does it take to design a website?

This another one of those questions that isn't easy to answer, as there are a lot of factors involved in designing, developing, and launching a website. Theoretically, a very rudimentary site could be designed, developed and launched in a day (I wouldn't recommend doing this, by the way), while a large and complex site could be in development for many months.

Typically, I deal with small to medium-scale sites, with turnaround time generally in the 1-3 month range.

What is a CMS, and do I need one?

A CMS (Content Management System) allows clients to add content to their websites without the need for any knowledge of HTML. A CMS is particularly valuable for clients who intend to routinely add new information to a website (or update existing information). Of course, the catch is that integrating a CMS into the development of site will increase the cost of the website, so it is important to weigh the cost of being able to update the site versus how likely the site is going to be updated routinely.

For clients with fairly static content and few updates, if is often more cost-effective to have a static site. This does not mean that the site can't be updated or changed, however. It simply means that the source files for that make up the website must be directly updated, which requires an understanding of the markup language used in the source file. In cases where clients only update a website a few times a year, it's generally more cost-effective for me to update the site for the client.

What CMS products do you use and why?

For CMS driven websites, I use ExpressionEngine. From the designer's perspective, I choose ExpressionEngine because it allows for easy customization and implementation and has a great track record when it comes to security. Unlike some of the open source CMS products available, ExpressionEngine is a commercial product. While it is not a free product, the security and support benefits of ExpressionEngine more than make the purchase price worthwhile.

From a client perspective, ExpressionEngine's control panel allows the interface for data-entry to be easily customized to make the content management process as user-friendly as possible.

In addition, to ExpressionEngine, I also use WordPress for blog-centered sites. While I don't find WordPress to be anywhere near as versatile as ExpressionEngine, the strength of WordPress exists in the fact that it is practically ready to use as soon as it's installed. WordPress is also a free product, so for clients on a tight budget who are simply looking for a blogging outlet, WordPress is often times an attractive option.

Do you offer web hosting?

GTP Designs does not directly offer web hosting. However, many of my clients host with my partner company New River Computing, which offers website hosting for $50/quarter ($200/year). This hosting fee includes maintenance and support for hosting related issues.

Can I host my website with another hosting provider?

Absolutely! You can host your website wherever you please. While a bulk of my clients are hosted through New River Computing, I have multiple clients who have sites hosted with various hosting providers.

I've seen other companies that offer to build me a website for $200. Why don't you do that?

The short answer is that you get what you pay for, but there's really more to it than that. Every site that I build is "hand-coded" and started from the ground up. I do not use templates that can result in what I consider to be "cookie cutter" websites. Often times, these mass-produced site designs are also a big mess when you start looking at the site's source files, which means that if you ever decide to modify or update your site, it is probably going to be an arduous task for the person who has to deal with the existing markup.

That being said, there is clearly a market for these kinds of "designs," and if a quick and easy, low-cost website is what somebody is looking for, a company that offers $200 sites might very well be a better choice, in those cases.

I am not in the market of mass-producing websites nor trying to make a quick buck off of repeatedly selling the same site design with a few minor aesthetic changes here and there. My target website clients are those who are looking for a custom-designed website built around their unique identity and needs.

Can I get an email addres setup with my website's domain name?

You sure can, but this is really more of a hosting issue than a design aspect. That being said, almost any reputable hosting provider out there will offer the option of email accounts with your hosting plan.

Can you provide photography services for my website or other design?

I offer basic photography services primarily for websites and marketing documents. Typically, the photography that I have done for clients has included product photography, shots of office, general landscape photography, and client portraits (both group and individual). If you need somebody to photograph your wedding or take your family portraits, I probably can't help you there.

Can you get my site ranked #1 on Google?

Hmm, that depends on what search term you want your site to be hitting the #1 spot for. If your site is offering something unique, or you are trying to target a specific area, there are ways to effectively make the site visible to potential search terms and phrases.

For example, if you were opening up an antique thimble store in the remote town of Probstville, and you were hoping to get your new site ranked #1 for the search string "Probstville antique thimbles," it's probably a safe bet that I could get you ranked very high on Google for that particular search string. However, if you just opened a new chain of toy stores and expect to claim a #1 ranking for organic searches on "toy store," you're going to be in for a disappointment.

My site just launched. Why isn't it showing up on Google and other search engines?

When your site first launches, it might take a while for Google (and other search engines) to index your pages. There are legitimate techniques and practices to help facilitate this process, but sometimes it might take some time before the pages on your site are indexed and appearing in Google searches.