Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

What is web design?

Web design involves several things, not just the graphic element of a website. Web design takes into consideration the overall look or a site, the feel of a site and the functionality of a site. Since a website is viewed through a web browser, it differs quite a bit from print design. Elements that normally work in print, do not necessarily translate into web. One should always ask: Does the website convey who I am, or what my company is about, visually? This is essential, and is usually the first step in the process. There are numerous elements that can make your site visually appealing, yet at the same time, make it a nightmare to navigate. The job of a professional designer is to find a happy medium between a stunning visual presentation and ease of functionality.

Do I need a professional designer?

Yes. There are many programs and software packages out there that can offer you a self-help or do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to creating your website. There is nothing wrong with these programs. However, if you want a house built, generally, you hire an architect. There are intricacies that sometimes really need that professional touch. There are also standards in (X)HTML and CSS that, if done correctly, will boost your site's foundation for search engine optimization (SEO). I recommend entrusting your website to a professional.

How much does a website cost?

Prices will vary depending on what part of the country you live in and also what sort of website you need. Most personal websites can be simple and do not take that long to design and build. Websites that incorporate e-commerce functionality or blogs, tend to take longer to design and build. These will cost more. Prices will depend on the web designer's experience, overhead cost (big design firms) and how they charge - either a flat rate, or an hourly rate. Always check with the web designer what the cost structure is, and what the billing procedure is.

Who owns the website and graphics?

This will depend on the web designer. At Bird Rock Designs, the designs are created for the client, so the client owns the material. Not only are you paying for great service, but the graphics and end product are yours.

What is server technology?

Generally speaking, server technology can be boiled down to two main 'languages'. The first is a Microsoft® technology called .NET. This has evolved from ASP and ASP.NET. This is a programming environment and server technology that allows for functionality and interactivity with databases for websites. Blogs and e-commerce sites are examples of websites that require databases. The other widely used server technology, or language, is PHP. PHP is an open source server language that basically does all the same things the .NET does. Programmers can work with PHP or .NET and build exactly the same custom functions for your website.

What do I need to get a website created?

There are 3 things that you need:
  • A domain name
  • Hosting
  • A good web designer

There are numerous places on the Internet that offer domain name services, such as Go Daddy or Network Solutions. Generally, you can 'purchase' a domain name for about $20 a year. You are not required to have your website hosted with the registrar of your domain name.

Hosting refers to where your website files reside. Bird Rock Designs uses Blue Host. Many companies offer hosting programs that are very reasonable. You can get a great hosting program for $7 or $8 a month. Along with your hosting, you get email addresses and many other options to track your sites visitors. A host is a location where your website 'lives'. The files are located on a computer, called a 'server', that responds to HTTP requests. When someone types your domain name in the address bar, for example www.birdrockdesigns.com, this is sent to a central server called a Domain Name Server (DNS). This server checks to see if the domain name exists, then finds out what the IP address is, then finally you are directed to the website. A domain name is a lot easier to type into your web browser's address bar than an IP address. An IP address is similar to a phone number. The Domain Name Server figures out what 'phone number' a domain name corresponds to, and sends you to the right place.

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A CMS is way for multiple users to add content to a website through an interface like a word processor. A CMS is a convenient way for companies to manage their content. Some examples of a CMS are Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal. These are constantly being improved upon, so a user can enter content and media. If you do not make constant updates to your site, it is generally recommended to not use one, as it takes more time to develop a CMS. Generally speaking, a CMS can cost more than a 'regular' website.

Are there any suggestions on how to find a designer for me?

Even with the advent of the Internet, and the ability to communicate with people all over the world in an instant, some people really prefer the personal touch. There is no substitute for face to face interaction. Bird Rock Designs caters to everyone, but for those in the San Diego area, we are here and local to assist you with all your web design needs and solutions. Make sure your shop around and find a designer that works with you. This does not necessarily boil down to how cheap you can get your website done. You might save some money up front, but then if you have an issue, the designer is nowhere to be found. Make sure you research the designer's portfolio, ask for references and ask many, many questions. You must be able to trust your designer so you get most out of the experience. It is YOUR website. It represents YOU.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact us.

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