I'VE GOT SOME QUESTIONS . . .
How much do you charge for a website?
Site Shack bases each cost estimate on the client's unique set of requirements. We charge a standard hourly rate, competitive with the Nashville market. Custom development would be charged at a higher rate — Our time is tracked using Harvest Time Tracking Software — this means that the final invoice will include a comprehensive, line-item list of work completed with corresponding time and cost per item.
Recognizing that successful web design and development do not rely on precise recipes, we strive to provide the closest possible estimate for each project. Throughout the process, we keep the client informed on all matters related to cost. If a particular work item appears that it will exceed the estimated cost, the client is notified for approval before the item work begins.
At our discretion, we offer a slight reduction in cost for nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status.
With each project, we require a 30% deposit invoice, based on the estimated cost.
A second deposit invoice is submitted during the development phase, with submission of the final invoice taking place immediately prior to the launch.
Setup costs for WordPress websites ("dot org") vary depending on choice of web host, domain name registration, premium theme and plugins plus backup/malware scanning programs.
For WordPress "dot com" see wordpress.com/pricing/.
Squarespace charges a monthly or annual rate for each of four different packages. See squarespace.com/pricing.
My niece is in middle-school and she builds websites all the time. Why should I pay someone to do this, when it's so easy?
At Site Shack, we have a saying "It's easy to build a website but it's hard to build a good website." Since beginning her career in web design and development in the late 1990s, Site Shack owner Judy Wilson has accrued a true wealth of knowledge in her chosen area of expertise. This knowledge results in a superior product that has genuine visual impact, functional strength and a steady place in Google search results.
Experience and knowledge count.
My site doesn't show up on Google's first search page. Can you help?
First of all, no one who claims to work in SEO or is an "SEO expert" can reliably tell you that getting onto the first page of a Google search (for a query relevant to your site/business) can definitely be achieved.
There are so many factors involved in achieving this — some parts need to be done through "organic" SEO, which is SEO built into the site and skillfully keyed to attract Google (and other search engines). Other parts are handled externally; these include the coordinated use of social media and good quality inbound links. With a thorough and correctly managed SEO system, it's possible to push your site high up in the rankings, even on the first page.
This is what Site Shack strives for and we love to succeed.
What are the advantages of using Squarespace?
There are numerous benefits to using Squarespace. Chief among them is that Squarespace is an extremely well-built application, designed in 2004 to facilitate a superior usability interface, both in the administration area and in the design, via the templates. In 2015, we taught an Introduction to Squarespace class in 2015 at Nashville's Skillery.
Is Squarespace better than WordPress?
Both applications are top-tier Content Management Systems (CMS). But depending on a client's various needs, one application is likely to be more suitable that the other. During our initial discussion, Site Shack will assist with making this decision.
What are the advantages of using WordPress?
The Amazingly Wonderful
Websites constructed using the software provided by WordPress.org (and not wordpress.com) offer extreme flexibility of design and development, packaged in a truly user-friendly interface. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of themes, ranging from sophisticated to simple in terms of design and programming. The software itself is free and there are hundreds (if not thousands) of ways to customize and extend the core functionality, typically by using plugins and widgets, as well as individualized custom code.
The Less than Amazingly Wonderful
WordPress.org websites are not intended to work with a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach. Your site will required updates multiple times a year.
The Worst that Can Happen
Because of its (justified) popularity, a WordPress.org website is a big, soft target for hackers of all types; this applies to both the "dot com" and "dog org" versions. Site Shack is highly skilled in building solid security into ever WordPress. org website. In 2013 (?) We also recommend (and frequently use) a few different plugins and third-party applications to monitor and secure your website 24/7.
Can you create a custom WordPress theme?
Yes. Within certain limitations, we can design and construct any type of fully functional theme. We an also create custom plugins and widgets.
I have a WordPress website but I want it to look different, like another theme I've seen. Can you help with that?
There are many factors that would affect our ability to do this. Depending on the size and complexity of the website and the extent of the requested changes, it is sometimes easier and faster to build a fresh website to accommodate the site's revised appearance. But yes, in favorable circumstances, we are able to do this.
I want to be able to update my own WordPress (or Squarespace) website. Can you teach me how to do this?
Yes. Site Shack can (and does) work with individual clients to train them in basic WordPress and Squarespace maintenance and content updates. We shape each training to suit the needs and wishes and of the client.
I have a WordPress plugin called "Yoast" but I don't know how to use it.
Yoast is considered one of the top WordPress SEO plugins, but like many components of a WordPress website (such as different types of slideshows, ecommerce applications, the Yoast SEO plugin comes with its own learning curve.
Site Shack is skilled at fully implementing these components and training the client in their ongoing use (such as may be needed with Yoast).
Do WordPress sites need regular updates?
Yes. With each new release of WordPress, developers fix bugs, add features and repair security vulnerabilities. So not updating is obviously necessary. Note that both types of WordPress websites require regular updates. Your website should be checked weekly for needed updates and there are numerous plugins that provide notification of such.
Do Squarespace sites need regular updates?
Updating software and other components is taken care of by Squarespace on the "server side."
Can you look at my WordPress website and tell if it's been hacked?
Yes, but the answer may not be immediately obvious. There are many hacks that WordPress or its host server are susceptible to. Some are very subtle while others are obvious. The good news is that there are numerous tools and methods for determining if your WordPress site is infected with malware (or hacked). And there are numerous tools that do a great job of proactively shielding your website.
Still . . . keep in mind that the best preventatives are regular updates and the use of strong usernames and passwords. It's also critical that WordPress's built-in security measures are fully implemented. That said, it's still important that certain third-party tools are also implemented.
Note that there are online applications that will identify a hack:
Once the hack(s) have been identified, the site can usually be cleaned. Due to the sophistication of current hacking methods, it's best that this work be done by a reputable cleaner/monitor such as sucuri.net. Site Shack also strongly recommends that your WordPress website be monitored by a third-party application such as Sucuri or https://vaultpress.com/.
Site Shack also recommends Vault Press for backup purposes. The backups (with an all-important "restore" function) are run daily or in real time, depending on your plan.
What does “real-time” mean?From Vault Press:
The VaultPress plugin uses WordPress hooks to receive real-time alerts when information on your site changes. VaultPress then immediately syncs your changes with our servers to generate a backup for your site. Any time you update your site, VaultPress is notified and immediately gets to work making sure your changes are replicated and synchronized."
Everything — including the database and plugins etc — is included in the either type of backup. If your site is hacked, the site can be manually restored in full at a date prior to the hack.