Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions we've recieved from clients that may answer some of your own. We have also added a few tips that we think you'll find useful
Question: How long will it take to get my site running?
Answer: Many variables can impact the time it takes to build a website. Step 1 of our design process needs to be completed in order to give a decent, more accurate response. However, as a general rule, expect a simple website with very little extra coding to take from 1 to 4 weeks from initial consultation to completion. Obviously, the more complex the site, the longer it will take. Large sites can take from several months to a year.
Question: It was estimated that my site would take 3 weeks to complete and now it's going on 5 weeks. What is taking so long?
Answer: Nobody wants to promise a time estimate that they cannot deliver in. Most businesses estimate in some "fudge" time to absorb any unseen issues that may arise. In web design this is especially true, although 99% of the time it is not due to design or development issues: generally a site going past its initial estimated completed date is due to changes from the client. That's why at Synectx we assign a project manager to each client to guide you every step of the way. We attempt to get as much information from you at the beginning to ward of any surprises at the end. We also know that things sometimes look better on paper than in action. That is where the prototype comes in. Not many web site companies do this, but we feel it saves a lot of time in the end. So, while it is possible that your site may take longer than expected, we’ll always keep you updated and aware of any deviations from the original plan that may cost extra time or money.
Question: I know I want a website. But I have no idea what I want it to look like or have on it. I like what you've done for others. Can you just surprise me?
Answer: We strongly urge all of our clients to do a little homework. We recommend all clients fill out our questionnaire; it contains many questions to help you (and us) get an idea of what you’re looking for in a website. The more information you provide, the faster and smoother the process becomes. We understand it’s not always easy to pinpoint what we want, though, so we have put together a few tips to help get you started thinking about what your perfect website might entail.
Question: Okay, now I have a website. How do I get visitors?
Answer: Of course, putting a website online does not guarantee sales. Like any business, if customers don't come in to browse around, they won't buy anything. Luckily for you, it can be easy to harness the power of your existing network of friends, family, and co-workers to bring attention to your site. Below are just a few tips to get you going and the list will continue to grow.
1. Are you already branded? We have built many sites based off of a business card, brochure, logo, or menu. If your business already has a theme, logo, or colors that your customers know you by, we can use that to seamlessly incorporate your site into your business world.
2. Check your competition. It never hurts to have your finger on the pulse of the competition. Looking at competitors’ websites can provide a great jumping off point for new ideas—even if it just helps define what you DON’T want.
3. Surf's up! Beside checking your competitors’ websites to see what they are doing, spend time browsing the internet to see what's out there—across a variety of industries or topics. Make sure to have a notepad with you to jot down addresses and notes, or capture screenshots and save them for review. Our questionnaire asks for the addresses of websites that you like and what draws you to those sites. It could be simple things like, “I'd like a similar color scheme.” “I like the layout of the columns.” “I like the menu bar.” You get the idea; let other sites visually tell us what you want if it's easier.
4. SEO your S-I-T-E. Search engine optimization is a popular technique for getting visitors to your site. SEO targets those key visitors who are specifically targeting you (or businesses like yours): they specifically typed key words into a search engine such expecting to get back links to website that match.
However, generally there are hundreds of thousands, even millions of matches returned for most searches. For example, a search for "dog grooming Cincinnati Ohio" will result in over 102,000 results, and only a fraction will be for actual dog grooming businesses located in Cincinnati. And there’s the problem: few go beyond the first couple of pages of any given search, so the likelihood of anyone actually finding your site, if it’s buried several pages deep, is almost non-existent.
That's where SEO comes in. Nearly all websites online would never turn up in search results as they are normally written and coded for the traditional web visitor. Search engines return results based on the weight your website is given based on that particular search engine’s system—and they are all different. Granted, most are still based on the keywords being searched, but where and how those keywords are placed on the site varies, and it’s often a moving target.
Knowing this information is what makes SEO a separate service, apart than from adding content to a website and submitting it to search engines. SEO actually requires knowing the exact keywords that you want to use and then strategically placing them throughout the website, both visibly and embedded in the unseen code.
Now, if it were that simple we all would have our websites showing up on the first page of every search engine. To try and deter cheating, each search engine has its own rules for optimization. Breaking each rule cost the website “points,” which in return cost ranking in the search results. Keeping up with these rules is a full time job in itself, and keeping a website optimized is a continuous project. Still, if being found through the top search engines is a priority for your website, search engine optimization is a must.
One very important note: SEO cannot guarantee that your site will land on the top pages of your requested keyword search for any search engine, although many web design companies or SEO services may make this claim. The only true way to guarantee that your site will be listed is if you take out an ad or pay to have your website listed. Yahoo!, Google, and others will sell you the top spots for any keyword you choose if you’ve got the money.
5. All the rest! If you have read our tip above regarding SEO and think that we are trying to talk you out of it, we are not. SEO is actually a valuable service that we provide and even suggest for most sites. However, there are many other effective and cheap ways to attract visitors and visitors that are purpose driven to your site.
At Synectx we call these "word of mouth" solutions. In its simplest form you or someone in your network of friends, family, and colleagues tell people within their networks about your new website. Not that this is anything new, most small businesses run solely through word of mouth, and the old adage that word of mouth is the best advertising is certainly valid. But what makes this really work is that with social networking sites, everyone is connected to everyone else’s networks simultaneously, making word of mouth even more powerful and instant.
Take Facebook for example. Add a link to your website to your Facebook page, and you’ve instantly notified all of your friends about your website. Some of those friends will add your link to their site or give it a mention. Now they’ve spread the word to their network, and so on.
Take it a step further and create a Facebook fan site for your business. Ask your friends to become fans of it and pass the word. You get the idea: use this on everything you do electronically. It's free, effortless, and the possibilities are nearly unlimited.
- Add your website to your email signature.
- Add your website link to your signature for forum posts.
- Join online groups and become active in discussions with people that you want to visit your site.
- There are tons of networking groups that are ripe for passing your website on with: Linked In, FaceBook, Myspace, Twitter, to name a few.
- And don't forget your cell phone email signature.
Not Internet savvy? Don't worry, Synectx can help you with all this as well. Get connected today!
6. Increase your sales force. Synectx can help you create an affiliate program that can really give a boost to websites that have online sales.
This is how a typical affiliate program works: Suppose you sell t-shirts on your website, and you place a link on your homepage that says something like "Click to make extra income—earn 10% for each sale generated."
Let's say someone sees it and decides to check it out. This link will take them to a page that allows them to add a link to their own site (let's say their Facebook page—is this true?). They fill out a short form, and after approval they are emailed a link with special identifying code and are given instructions on how to place the link on their site.
Once the link is in place, someone visits this person’s Facebook page and clicks the link to get to your website, where they in turn purchase a shirt.
You have just made a sale that you otherwise would not have made from your website, and your affiliate earned 10% of the sale. The is tracked in the affiliate program software via that special code embedded in their link to your site.
Affiliate programs are powerful ways to increase sales, and they let others do all the work for you without having to retain a staff. Multi-tier affiliates, sales tracking, and automatic payment make these programs extremely hands off. Check out our web services for more information or ask a sales associate.