What is included in the website design process?
The process begins with a free consultation to make sure that we understand your project and that our services will fit your needs. If we agree to move forward together, you will pay a deposit on your site design and sign a contract. Next, we will send you a form to fill out that will let us know how to best begin your website design. Once we have a good idea of what you like and you don't, we will develop a mock up version of a page or two. We'll then check back in to make sure that you are happy with how things are progressing. We will make adjustments as necessary. We will develop a final version and let you interact with the site fully before publishing it, to ensure your satisfaction. Then, voila! You have a website.
What do I need to provide to Dark Horse for the development of my website?
Once we decide to work together, we will ask you to fill out a survey that indicates your website preferences. We will also ask for you to provide us with a link to your old website, if you have one. If you have a logo and high resolution photos that we can use, we will provide you with a Google Drive folder where you can upload them in the appropriate format.*
* Please be sure that you are legally allowed to use the photos you upload. If there is a copyright or watermark on your photo, you should check in with the photographer to see if there are limitations on the use of the photo and keep their written consent for use on file. Failing to do so could put you at risk of violating copyright law, and the consequences of this can be quite severe.
How long does website development take?
This depends on a number of factors, including the content management system (CMS) you choose and the size of your site. At minimum, you can expect a basic site built on Wix or Squarespace to take two weeks to develop. Larger sites or those built on Wordpress may take up to two months or more.
Can I maintain and update my own website after its been created?
Yes, absolutely! We are happy to help you choose the best CMS for your needs, and to train you on its use.
If you are not comfortable maintaining your own site, or you'd just prefer to have us do it for you, you can keep Dark Horse on retainer for a reduced fee.
Do you use pre-made themes in website design?
Nope - not ever. Your design will be unique from top to bottom.
Are there ongoing fees related to website creation?
Yes. Based on a variety of factors, you can expect these to be about $5-$30/month. These fees go towards the ownership of your domain name (like www.darkhorsedesignstudios.com) and the company that actually hosts your website. Once your website has been created, these fees will be paid directly by you to those businesses.
Do I need a website if I already have a business site on Facebook?
In short, yes. In recent years, the number of people who see business posts on Facebook has decreased substantially. There are two reasons for this:
While we recommend having a social media presence, it is often not solely enough to effectively gain new clients.
The number of businesses on Facebook has increased dramatically, which means that more businesses are competing for attention from users.
Facebook made changes to its platform in 2018 which prioritize visbility from posts by friends and family over posts from businesses.
Which content management system do you use?
Which content management system (CMS) do you want us to use? In all seriousness, we can work with most of them. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, which we have touched on below. We will be happy to cover this in more detail during our initial consultation.
Many of the websites used by large corporations were created on Wordpress. Wordpress is the most complex of the design tools we use, but is also the most customizable. While it gives us nearly unlimited design options, Wordpress can be a bit glitchy, and needs semi-regular maintenance to stay up to date and secure. It's unfortunately also not very user-friendly for folks who are inexperienced in web design. Consequently, if you would like to take over the management of your own site after it has been created, we would highly recommend that you choose to have it built on a different CMS unless you are experienced in web design and/or coding.
Alternatives to Wordpress are builders like Wix or Squarespace. While traditional designers may shun these tools, they have their advantages - especially for small businesses. Although these website builders are a bit less customizable, they are much more user-friendly and less prone to bugs. They can also produce truly beautiful results. The downside of choosing Wix or Squarespace as a CMS is that once you commit to using them, you will largely be stuck with them moving forward - because they are hosting platforms as well. Changing hosting platforms will require an entire website redesign because unfortunately, these builders don't let you easily take your website code and transfer it elsewhere.
Sites built on Wordpress will cost significantly more (roughly twice as much) to build up front, but monthly hosting fees will be less (~$8/month vs ~$13-$20/month).
Choosing a CMS for your site is important, and we will make sure to answer any questions you have so that you make the choice that's best for you.
Do you offer ongoing or comprehensive media management?
Yes! We can design your webpage, keep it updated, design and manage your social media, and help you develop print or online newsletters and ads. Clients who wish for us to handle these things will keep Dark Horse Design Studios on retainer at a reduced hourly fee.