Does my business really need a website and will it be a good investment?
In almost every instance, the answer is yes. A website is the foundation of a modern marketing campaign and is often the first place potential customers will form an opinion of your business. A website not only helps generate new customers, it also increases the return on your investment in other marketing channels.
What is a content management system (CMS)?
A content management system (CMS) is software that allows you to update and manage your website through an easy-to-use interface. Think of it like Microsoft Word but for your website. Without this software, you'll need to hire a web developer to make modifications to your website. We use WordPress, the most popular CMS in the world, as our content management system.
What is search engine optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving a website's rank on search engines like Google or Bing. Having your website show up higher than your competitors on these services often leads to more visitors and customers. While there are industry standard techniques used to help improve your rank, SEO techniques are subjective and can be thought of as an artform. Our SEO services are designed to provide the biggest impact at prices that make sense for small business.
I keep seeing the term "responsive web design". What does this mean?
Responsive web design is a technique used to build a website that adapts its layout to fit the size of any device. Instead of having to build an additional website for mobile devices, you can lower initial costs by only needing a single website. Since responsive web design is really only a classification, each company has their own interpretation and implementation.
Are there any recurring costs involved with owning a website?
Yes. At a minimum, you'll need web hosting and a domain name in order for your website to be accessible on the Internet. Web hosting is typically paid for on a monthly basis while domain names can be registered for multiple years at a time. Our website packages include monthly hosting, domain name registration along with managed maintenance to keep everything running smooth.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting refers to the server which responds to requests to view your website. It's simply another computer connected to the Internet for the sole purpose of transmitting your website to users. Any time you visit a website, there is another computer somewhere in the world you connect to in order to view it.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a memorable phrase used to access your website, often "yourbusinessname.com". Every computer connected to the Internet has a long string of unique numbers used to identify itself called an "IP address". Without a domain name, you would need to remember the IP address in order to view a website.
Domain names are purchased using a "registrar" which acts like a phonebook. When someone types in your domain name, behind the scenes your registrar will look up your domain for them and return your IP address back. Their computer will then know where to find your website.
This is my first time purchasing a website. Will you help walk me through the whole process?
Absolutely! We have unique processes in place that will educate and help you make informed decisions along the way. The last thing we want is for you to be uncomfortable or overwhelmed.
Do we own the completed website?
After twelve months of consecutive service, we'll transfer full ownership of the website design to you. Although we'd hate to see it happen, you're free to move your website to a third-party company. Since your website is built using WordPress, you can transfer it to just about any web host.
How long does it take to finish a website?
Once you provide the content for your website, we typically have the first beta to you within five business days. We've been able to complete projects in as little as 14 days, but typically websites are finished within 30 days.
I've received quotes that are much higher than your prices. Are you cutting corners to offer lower prices?
Websites come in all shapes and sizes, just like cars. You'll find quotes ranging from a few hundred dollars all the way up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our websites are designed to be the perfect balance of features and price for small businesses. We've been able to keep our prices low by reducing overhead and streamlining our process. Our finished product often exceeds the quality of agencies charging ten times more than us.
I’m not local to your area. Can you still make my business' website?
Yep! We're great at communicating via phone and email and our clients come from all over the United States.
I have an idea for a website but it's not exactly a small business. Should I still contact you about my project?
Sure! We'll listen to your idea and let you know if we'd be a good fit for the project. If not, we'll even try and steer you in the right direction, free of charge.
Can you put together a proposal for my project?
In order to keep our prices as low as possible, we do not offer proposals or accept RFPs. However, we do start each project with a plan in place. Once you hire us, we outline content and design details prior to starting.
Can you revise my current or finish my incompleted website?
Our answer is typically no, but you can always contact us to discuss your exact situation. We've found it's cheaper in most cases to start over than it is to retrofit or complete an existing website.
I don't see any work examples from my industry. Do you work with all types of businesses?
Our primary focus is working with service oriented business-to-consumer (B2C) small businesses. We have experience with creating websites within almost every major industry. Contact us and we'll consult with you to see if we'd be a good fit.
Design + Development
Are your designs pre-made templates?
Nope! A lot of our competitors purchase "themes" or use pre-made templates to cut costs. We hand-code every website to the exact needs of each client.
Do your website designs work on mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.)?
Yes. We believe our solutions are some of the best you'll find. Some of our clients see a majority of their traffic from mobile phones. We put a high emphasis on making sure the website experience on a phone is second-to-none.
How many design revisions do you allow for?
We don’t limit revisions to a specific number. However, we do ask that you give us a comprehensive list of changes each time to make the process quick and smooth. Revisions only become an issue if it's obvious we're moving in circles. If this happens, we'll work with you on ways we can get the project back on track.
Do your website include content management system (CMS) software?
Yes. We exclusively use WordPress, the leading CMS currently in use on the Internet. We believe it provides the right balance of customization and usability for small businesses.
Payments + Guarantees
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept all major credit cards and under certain circumstances, we offer check payments. Our payment processing is handled by Stripe, and we never store payment information outside of their secured system.
Do you offer a warranty?
Absolutely! Bug fixes are included with each of our monthly website packages. We'll keep your website running in the same condition it was as the day it launched. This is one of the biggest benefits of being on a monthly plan.
Do I need to have all my content prepared prior to contacting you?
No. We can get started by using placeholder content while you work towards completing your content. We'll even provide you with a content outline to follow to make things easier. This gives you guidance on the type of text and images that would perform best on your website.
I don't have time to write my own website copy. Do you have copywriters who can help me?
Yes. If you're looking for a hands off solution, our team can draft content for you. Contact us for more information about this service.
My business doesn’t have a logo. What should I do?
We offer logo design services for an additional rate. Our logo designs are perfect for small businesses looking for something simple and clean. We pair typefaces and icons together to create timeless logos. If you're looking for something very specific or artistic in nature, you might be better served working with a dedicated branding agency. Contact us for more information.
What if I don’t have photos for my website?
There are few options depending on your business. If you're located within 150 miles of our office, we offer an on-site photography service at additional rates. If you're outside our location, we can work with you to find a photographer in your area who is capable of providing the images we need. As a last resort, we're able to pull stock photography to use on the site. While we don't recommend using only stock photography, this can be a good way to augment the images you do have.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is content management system (CMS) software that allows you to edit and manage the text and images on your website. It's open-sourced and community developed, meaning anyone is free to build their website on top of the software.
I've used WordPress in the past and had a bad experience. What is your philosophy behind using WordPress?
We believe WordPress is currently the best CMS available for small businesses. Unfortunately, not all WordPress websites are created equal. There are a lot of low-quality pre-made themes available that give the platform a bad reputation. We build each website from the ground up and use industry leading plugins.
Do you use and/or purchase pre-made WordPress themes?
Never. We design and code each website by hand.
Do you use WordPress plugins to create your websites?
We have designed and developed our own collection of plugins to extend WordPress for small businesses. The only third party plugins we use are Yoast SEO and WooCommerce. While there are a ton of WordPress plugins available, they often cause issues with maintenance and security down the road.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Does my website need search engine optimization (SEO)?
Yes, in some form. Many people are shocked to learn SEO isn't a single process that takes place. Google has thousands of different factors it weighs in order to rank your website. How fast your site loads, ease of use on mobile, how long people stay on your site, and more are all taken into consideration.
On-page search engine optimization is almost always a good idea. This ensures your website is coded to correct standards and the content on your website is structured properly. This makes Google happy and gives you a boost within their rankings.
Off-page search engine optimization is more complex and primarily involves something called "backlinks". These are links on other websites pointing to your website. Getting authentic quality backlinks is very time consuming and difficult. Some agencies will try to "game" the system by creating fake backlinks. Google is getting very good at figuring out if a backlink is fake. If you're caught, you can be completely delisted from Google searches. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Does Harvard Park offer search engine optimization services?
Yes. All our websites are coded using search engine optimization best practices. Our on-page SEO comes standard with our Premium Package and is perfect for small businesses looking for an extra marketing push. We'll perform industry keyword analysis and make content modifications monthly to help improve your ranking.
With our Plus and Premium packages, we include Local Search Marketing where we'll list your business on "Google My Business" and other major directories. This can also be a good way to gain visibility if your business operates within a small geographical area.
Can you help me to get my website to show up on Google?
Yes. It's almost always possible to get your website to show up for "branded" searches, meaning someone typing in your business name. It can be much more difficult to compete on industry keywords if your market is oversaturated.
Can you guarantee my website will show up first on Google?
No. If someone is making you this guarantee, be very careful. There are a lot of bad actors out there who claim this is possible. They typically use techniques that can penalize your website or even get you removed from Google. Every business's circumstances are unique and the outcome of every SEO strategy is different.
I want to sell products on my website. Do you build eCommerce websites?
Yes. Our eCommerce solutions are perfect for smaller web stores with under 500 products. We use WooCommerce, the leading WordPress eCommerce platform. For larger stores with more than 500 products, we recommend finding an agency specializing in Magento development. This software tends to be better for enterprise level eCommerce.
What payment gateways do you support?
Do you take a percentage of each transaction?
No. The only transaction fees will be from your payment gateway.
Is there a limit of the number of products I can have?
While there is no technical limit, we find that the WooCommerce platform works best when it's under 500 products. With our eCommerce solutions, we'll set up the first 25 products for you and you're free to add as many more as you'd like.
Can you calculate shipping costs in real-time?
Yes. We are able to pull shipping rates for UPS, FedEx and USPS. You'll need to ensure you have accurate product dimensions and weights to get accurate quotes.
Support + Maintenance
What happens if my site is inaccessible or displays incorrectly?
Contact us immediately. If your site is hosted with us via our WordPress Care Plan, we can almost always resolve the issue with a single phone call or email. If you're hosted with a third-party, it's possible the issue could be on their end. In these instances, we'll let you know the source of the problem so you can contact the third-party host.
Do you charge for technical support?
As long as you're on a WordPress Care Plan with us, there is no charge for technical support. All of our work is guaranteed to be error free or we will fix it free of charge. For websites that are not hosted with us we will provide technical support for 30 days after project completion.
How long does it take for someone to respond to an email?
We try our best to respond to all emails within 2 hours. If you have an emergency, we recommend calling us at (217) 502-2519. If it's outside of our normal business hours, leave a message and we'll be notified immediately and call you back.
Hosting + Domains
Do I need web hosting?
Yes. This is what makes your website accessible through the Internet. We offer hosting through our WordPress Care Plans.
Do you offer website hosting services?
Yes. "Fully-managed" web hosting is included with all of our WordPress Care Plan. Simply put, we take care of everything for you.
Do you offer email accounts with your web hosting?
No, but for very good reason. Most web hosts that bundle email service into web hosting give you a barebones email system. There often isn't spam controls or fraud and virus protection and you're given a very limited amount of storage space. We recommend both Google Apps for Work and Microsoft Office 365 as they provide a level of service almost nobody can match. We'll set you up on either of these services for no additional charge with our WordPress Care Plan.
How do I purchase a domain name?
If you don't have a domain name, we can purchase and register one on your behalf at no additional charge. As long as you're on a WordPress Care Plan, we will automatically renew your domain for you annually for free.