One thing I’ve learned after working with small business owners for more than a decade is the idea of marketing and promoting a business can be overwhelming. I’ve gathered a list of questions that I’ve heard often over the years to try and help make the process of marketing your business a little easier. Click on a question below to read the answer. Not seeing your question on this page? Simply fill out the contact form at the bottom and send me your question. I’d like to hear about your business.

WordPress Website Design

How much does a website cost?

My price varies depending on a number of factors. A basic brochure website with up to 10 pages starts at $1500*. Price is affected by functions needed on the website (e.g., adding a shopping cart), the size of the site, or if the client needs additional features such as search engine optimization upgrades or mobile upgrades. Also, because I’m a website designer with a graphic design and marketing background, oftentimes clients come to me with little to no established branding. I then need to take into consideration how much design I need to put into a project to create a custom look and feel for my client.

This cost is strictly for the set up and design of the website. Costs for domain name registration and hosting plans are separate.

*If the website is already up and running on a WordPress platform, I will do a website redesign at a lower base rate. Contact me for details.

Do you only design in WordPress?

Yes. I’ve been asked about other platforms in the past, and while they are simple enough to use and design in, I feel strongly that WordPress is the best platform for my clients. WordPress offers a ton of flexibility when it comes to custom design and functionality. WordPress is a strong and robust platform to build the foundation of a website on, and it comes with an entire community of support through forums on WordPress.org. Plus, once the website design is complete, I train my clients to manage the website themselves if they want to do that themselves.

What are some benefits of having a website on a WordPress platform?

There are many:

  • High amount of custom design ability
  • The ability to add functionality with plugins
  • Easy to manage
  • Updates are simple without the need for a programmer
  • Comes with an easy to use blog
  • Solid and robust platform
  • Clean code increases optimization

Is there a difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

Yes. They are two completely different platforms. WordPress.com websites are hosted on WordPress.com servers and offer a very limited amount of custom design ability. Some small business owners consider this a viable option since it is free, but when we’re talking about optimization and putting forth a professional brand, you often get what you pay for. I primarily use WordPress.org. These sites are hosted on a third party servers such as Go Daddy or Bluehost which means you will need to purchase a hosting plan. The WordPress.org application is installed on the hosting server, and the website is built there. We are then able to pull from the thousands of WordPress themes and plugins available to build a completely custom and professional website.

Do you host websites?

No. I believe my clients should have control of their domain name account, as well as their hosting account. I’ve met many clients who lost touch with their old website designers, only to be left completely in the dark when they come to me without any knowledge of where their domain is registered or how to access the hosting account for their website. I walk clients through the process of setting up both a domain account and a hosting account if they need my help. I typically recommend Go Daddy for both, though a domain name can be registered anywhere and still be connected to a hosting plan. I recommend Go Daddy for hosting after many years of working with their excellent technical support. Plus, while other companies have been bought out by web.com and suffered when it comes to customer service, Go Daddy continues to offer quality support and service.

How do I set up a hosting account and buy a domain name?

Simply contact the provider you want to use for both accounts. It can be easier if your domain name and hosting account are with the same company, but it’s not required. I will assist you with both if you need help.

How are my domain name and hosting account connected?

A website is built on nameservers. These nameservers  are connected to the hosting account when you purchase one. Your domain name needs to point to these nameservers. In the domain name account, there are settings where we add the address of the nameservers where your website is. This is why your domain name can be with one company and your hosting account with another. We simply need to update the settings of your domain name with the address of the nameservers which are specific to your hosting account.

Once my website is done, is there anything else I need to do to maintain it?

Absolutely! So many times, website owners work very hard getting a website up and going, but then get wrapped up in the day to day needs of their business, letting website maintenance fall to the slide. Websites need to be regularly maintained (check out the blog Websites Need Love Too). This includes making regular backups of the website (if your hosting plan doesn’t already include this). WordPress releases updates periodically so you’ll want to be sure your website is running the most current version of WordPress available. What happens when WordPress releases an update is they list out the fixes from the previous update which shows hackers the vulnerabilities allowing them to potentially hack your website. Plugins also come out with regular updates. Keeping up with software updates and making regular backups are instrumental when it comes to website performance. I offer website maintenance to clients if this is something that they simply don’t have time to do.

What is Google Analytics and do I need it?

Google Analytics is a free reporting software provided by Google that tracks activity on your website. It is an incredible resource for every website owner. Learning how to read and understand analytics reports can be confusing. Basically, analytics will show you who visits your website, where they go, how long they stay, how they engage, and where they come from…among numerous other bits of information. You can then take the information you receive from these reports and use it to your benefit. If you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me.

Logo Design

How much does a logo cost?

My cost for a custom logo design starts at $400*. This includes up to 8 rounds of logo concepts. I start off with concepting rounds in black and white. This way, the client and I work together to get to a final design before bringing in color. Most rounds include anywhere from 6-10 concepts. Once we’ve determined the final design, I do 4 rounds of color concepts. In this second phase of the logo design, I take into account the target audience and the message that the client wants to convey, then use color to bring that into the logo. At the end of the logo development, I supply the client with versions of the logo for print as well as online. If desired, I create a version of the logo that can be used as a profile image on many social sites.

Additional costs incur if the project goes beyond the set number of rounds offered in the proposal.

*The base price may be higher if the Client requests a substantial amount of illustration during the concepting phases.

Do you just create a logo for me or do I have some say?

You have a ton of say! I work very closely with my clients during a logo design project. A logo is not just a reflection of their business, it’s a reflection of them. They need to be an active part of the design process. Once a business has a professionally designed logo, that image is going to be their face for a long time. Because of this, I want my client to absolutely love their logo, which is why I expect them to be an active part of the design process.

How long does it take to design a logo?

That depends on my production schedule at the time, but what’s more important when it comes to a timeline is how available the client is for feedback. Depending on the client, it can take as little as 2 weeks or as long as 6 months. Sometimes it can be hard to make a decision when it’s this important, so I understand some clients take longer than others when deciding on a final logo design.

Do I really need a logo?

Every business, no matter how big or how small, needs a logo. Not just a logo, but a professionally designed one. Often, to save money, a small business owner will “throw together something” to use as a logo. This is a bad idea. A professional will take into consideration your business, your target audience, your goals, your services, etc. when they design a logo. Using things like clip art in a logo design is unprofessional. Putting little effort into your branding reflects a business owner not committed to their business. A logo becomes your identity as a business. It can be what makes you stand out from your competition. These are just a few reasons why you need a logo. Read Want to Grow Your Business? Brand Yourself with a Logo! to learn even more reasons why a logo is so important for your business.

Branding/Graphic Design

What is a "brand identity"?

A brand identity is the way your business is perceived by customers. Your brand is how you appeal to your target audience and consists of your company name and potentially a tagline. These are then incorporated into a logo where detail is paid to the use of typeface and color.

How do I use my brand identity to market my business?

Once you have your brand identity established, you can repeat the same look and feel across various platforms (e.g., website, social networks, marketing collateral, etc.) What’s important is keeping that look and feel consistent throughout. That’s how you’ll establish your brand identity. Potential customers will relate your brand to your business.

What type of marketing should I be doing?

That depends on your business. Basically, be where your target audience is. I’ll meet with a client to discuss the target audience they want to reach. From there, we will develop a marketing strategy to get them in front of their audience. Some businesses rely on printed materials while others are strictly online. Most do a comfortable mix of the two. A good rule of thumb is to take a look at what your competitors are doing that is successful. That can help you determine what you should be doing. At the very least, make sure you have a website. It is very important that your business has a place online. Even if it’s just to find out your address, contact information, and a description of what you do. Every business needs a website!

What sort of marketing materials do you design and how much does it cost?

Anything you need.

  • Business cards and stationary
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Ads
  • Posters
  • Banners
  • Trade show materials
  • Postcards
  • Rack cards
  • Etc..

The price varies depending on the project. For design projects like these, I charge an hourly rate. Contact me if you are interested in more information.

Social Media Marketing

Should I be on as many networks as possible to reach the most people?

No. It’s nearly impossible for a small business owner to be everywhere. I recommend my clients pick 2 or 3 where they feel the bulk of their target audience is going to be. Also, picks social networks where you feel comfortable and focus your social media marketing efforts there. Be sure your marketing on social networks reflects the brand identity you have established for your business. Consistency is key.

I don’t have time to get on Facebook or any of those networks. Do I really need to?

If you believe that you have absolutely no audience there, then no. But, I highly recommend you make sure your business has some presence on social networks. It’s truly a relatively simple way to reach people you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. It’s worth the time and effort.

Can I just have my neighbor‘s teenage son handle this? He’s always online.

If you plan to hire someone to do your social media marketing for you, be sure to hire someone who actually understands more than just how to use the network. They need to understand marketing. They need to know how to reiterate your brand identity in the tone of your posts. It’s true that there is a generation of highly knowledgeable people out there when it comes to jumping around the social networks. But a business page needs more than that. If you don’t have the time to manage your social media marketing yourself, contact me and we can discuss setting up a strategy for your social platforms.

How often should I post on social media?

This will vary for each individual business. Every social media marketing strategy is geared toward what works best to reach your target audience. Each network works differently. Basically, you’ll need a strategy that works with your schedule. Contact me if you have specific questions.

Search Engine Optimization

How do I get my website to show up on the first page of a search engine?

Many factors go into how well your website does in an organic search. Just because you have a live website does not mean anyone will find you when they use a search engine. SEO (search engine optimization) takes time. The longer your website is active and engaged with, the better your rankings. Some things that help increase your website optimization are:

  • Proper keyword use in your content
  • Meta tags
  • Optimized images on your site
  • Quality content; clear writing
  • Fresh content (blogs are great for this!)
  • Visitor engagement
  • Outbound and inbound links on your site
  • Heading styles…and more…

I recommend clients develop a strategic plan to enhance website optimization. This is where regularly monitoring Google Analytics reports can help you tailor your website for increased optimization. I also recommend adding a WordPress SEO plugin to your website to help optimize individual pages.

How can I optimize my website so search engines find it?

As I stated above, there are numerous factors that contribute to a more optimized website:

  • Proper keyword use in your content
  • Meta tags
  • Optimized images on your site
  • Quality content; clear writing
  • Fresh content (blogs are great for this!)
  • Visitor engagement
  • Outbound and inbound links on your site
  • Heading styles

I also recommend utilizing your business pages on social networks to drive visitors to your website. The more visitors who land on your site and engage with it, the better. Make sure your website includes calls to action and other attractive things that will encourage visitors to move around your website.

Are keywords really that important?

Keywords are important but they are only one factor when it comes to SEO. The quality of the content is important as well. If quality content is important to you, it is well worth the money to hire a professional writer to write content for your website.

Why does my competitor’s website show up before mine?

There could be numerous reasons. Maybe their site has been up a longer and has a lot of engagement. Their may have strong content and highly optimized images. They may be driving a lot of traffic from other places online. They may be using a number of outbound links, or have other websites linking to theirs. Search engine optimization is a daily competition. With so many businesses on the web, it can be easy to get lost in the crowd. Begin with a well designed website, develop a strategy for optimizing your website, offer fresh content, all while monitoring website traffic should become a regular part of your business if you want to show up ahead of your competition.

Have a question not answered here? Just fill out the form below and send me your question. I’d be happy to answer you.