Frequently Asked Questions
Undoubtedly, at the stage of hiring a contractor, you have
a lot of questions on your mind. In this section you
will find commonly asked questions and brief answers.
If none of these entries answers your questions, don't hesitate to contact Bassline Design directly.
Q's About the Company & the Features
What is the difference between the two companies?
Bassline Design is Jonathan Siegel, an independent print/web/Flash designer, programmer and musician. Bassline Design works closely with Positronic Design, a full service design and printing-brokerage with over 15 years of retail experience in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Positronic Design affords Bassline Design a wealth of production resources and access to the expertise of numerous individuals who specialize in various areas of interest: print, database programming, server administration, web site hosting, 3-D animation and more.
For web sites, what is the Content Management System?
A good web site is an up-to-date web site. However, most people don't want to deal with all the FTP, HTML and PHP knowledge in order to make updates. Others think they can handle it and unfortunately break pages of their site while attempting updates. Then they need to hire us for more hours to fix the errors.
The Content Management System is simply a tool that lets you easily access the content of your web pages from a password protected area of your site. You login to a section of your own site and from there you have user-friendly, custom designed tools that allow you to update all the main content of your pages, include uploading new images. This can also be designed to fit specific tables, like a schedule of events or a list of services and prices. Altogether, it rocks. Trust me.
What is the difference between POP and web-mail?
Your server lets you create many personal email accounts like YourName@YourSite.com. In the simplest terms, a POP account is an email account that you can set up through an email application like Microsoft Outlook or Mac Mail. You open an application right on your computer and send and receive emails from it. All the emails get downloaded from your web site's server to your own computer.
On the other hand, web-mail is like a window right into your web site's server. From any computer connected to the Internet, you can login to your email account from www.YourDomainName.com/webmail/. It is similar to a Hotmail or Yahoo account, though it is cooler and more professional because it is unique (@YourSite.com instead of @hotmail.com). It is very useful when traveling. All the hosting plans above offer both. Personally, I use both as well (POP at home, web-mail when I travel).
How do I rank high on Google?
Positronic Design has truly mastered the realm of Google. Having researched how sites get spidered, and having set out strict guidelines for the creation and overall design of web sites, Positronic has ensured your web site a very solid chance at ranking extremely high on Google searches (if you follow our advice in the overall design).
For example, try searching "Full Service Graphic Design" on Google. That's our site (usually) in the top three out of over 5 million! This wowed me when I first came to work with Positronic Design. Want more? Try searching "CD Cover Design" on Google. There is Positronic Design again in the top three out of 3.5 million sites. There are many other searches that we continue to find each week that bring us more and more customers.
Such high rankings are crucial to the success of your web site. Aside from all the discrete work that goes on under the hood of your web site, there are some essentials that we have found are necessary to raise your chance at high rankings. If you wish to rank highly, we strongly suggest you follow our advice on arranging your site with some basics. These include: the more pages and the more broad your site content is, the better you'll rank; having basic useful pages that Google loves to see, like an About Us page, a Contact page, a Links page, a F.A.Q. page, a Site Map page, etc, then the better you'll rank; having a copy of the full navigation, in text, along the bottom of each page, then the better you'll rank; having reciprocal links with other high ranking sites, then the better you'll rank; having Positronic Design work an extra 2 hours to submit your site aggressively to all the top search engines, then the better you'll rank.
I have many items to sell, and I need an online shopping cart. Can you help me?
Yes. Positronic Design has updated a shareware online store entitled Zen Cart, and customized it to fit directly into your own site template. This shopping cart has everything you may ever need. It can accept credit cards if you have already chosen a secure server and a merchant account, or it can link to PayPal, or just request people to mail in a money order or check. You can continually add and delete items, put others on sale, create lots of item categories and sub categories. You can do everything you need and more. And after the code-based installation procedure, I'll teach you the basics to maintain your products. Generally, the installation takes about 6 hours to complete. If you want us to initialize your store with your products, we charge between 10 and 30 minutes per item to install and set up. This also depends if you need us to take photos.
Cost Related Q's
What is the billing rate?
For all print, web, Flash and photography project, the rate is $60 per hour. Generally, with some exceptions, the price/time is agreed upon in advance. The project starts when you put half the money down. The rest is paid upon completion.
In setting up a web site, what is the difference between design costs and hosting costs?
Design costs cover the graphic design, page creation and coding of your site: essentially the labor costs. The hosting costs are the rent you pay to own a web site. Depending on where you host your site, you may pay your design costs to different entities than you do your hosting costs.
What's the range of prices for a fully designed and executed web site project?
The smallest project (which does not adhere to our Google guidelines) may cost the client as little as $300. This type of site has very simple, minimal and static pages. There is no Content Management System whatsoever (so the client would pay us for updates), and we would not submit to any search engines.
The high-end projects are limitless. Once Flash is involved, and increasingly complex Content Management Systems and online stores, and tons of pages and lots of power, a site can easily cost in the $10,000 range.
Our average site design usually costs around $2,400.
How do I buy a web site name?
You have options, but first you need to find an available domain name. This is the "www..." name that people will use to access your site. A valuable resource to search for the availability of domain names is online at http://www.better-whois.com, which is easy to use. Just enter a name of interest and hit search. When you find the right name, it is often advantageous to act fast so it doesn't get taken from you before you place the order. Generally, the name itself costs only about $20 per year to own, or it may come free with your basic hosting plan. I can help you make the purchase.
And where can I host my site?
Positronic Design houses high-end servers on T1 lines at the Alabanza Data Center in Washington DC. This hosting plan comes with lots of disk space, numerous email POP accounts, web-mail, full-featured statistics, and the Positronic administrators, at your service if server errors should arise. An added plus is a suite of tailor designed database code written by Positronic Design. This is the Content Management System. This is an extremely useful tool for your own web site maintenance. Essentially, this means that without any knowledge of up-keeping web site content (knowing HTML, PHP, web image formats etc.) you can easily login to an admin section of your site and control the content on every page of your site. This includes adding or changing text and images. We have received great feedback from this custom made tool, and it is only available when hosting through Positronic Design.
Through Positronic Design, hosting fees are $15 per month for the basic plan, and, if you are opening an e-commerce site and wish to process credit cards through your site, then the cost is $35 per month for the secure server, as well as a secure certificate (required for all online resellers processing credit cards) that proves you are reliable reseller to obtain credit cards. That costs $149 per year (or $189 per two years, $229 per three years).
One other choice that I recommend often for hosting is through http://www.IPowerWeb.com. When paying 2 years in advance, IPower will host your site for as little as $6.95 per month for basic service (not secure server credit card ready - service). The service comes with lots of space and lots of email POP accounts. I find their hosting to be very reliable considering the low cost, though a few of my clients have complained that the web-mail feature is not very good. This fact is debatable, and some clients never use web-mail anyway.
One other point of note is that the Content Management System (the tailor made admin controls) are still possible when hosting with IPower, as described above, but to a lesser extent than when hosting with Positronic Design. That is, I can still create special content controls for you, the owner, to easily and without prior HTML knowledge upload images or change text on any given page. But because I have less control over administrating the IPower servers, I have to set this up specially for each page which takes a little more design time and money to complete (usually about an hour or two of extra time per page that you wish to control, whereas hosting with Positronic Design, all the code is already installed on our server system and ready to use for all pages of your site just one hour extra to install and link the tool to your site's pages. That works on all pages of your site).
I want to sell items online, but secure servers are too expensive!!! What do I do?
Another point to note is that if you do wish to sell products online, but don't want to accept credit cards directly on your site, and you don't want the hassle of creating a merchant account and spending extra for secure servers and secure certificates, then http://www.PayPal.com offers very reasonable rates to host the credit card processing for you. They simply skim off a small percentage of each sale. I can easily set up PayPal on either Positronic servers or on IPower servers.