Frequently Asked Questions
Pricing & Billing
What is your pricing structure?
We charge $40 per hour, billed in ten minute increments for all work. For new projects we provide an estimate of the total cost and guarantee that we will complete everything spelled out in the estimate for the price listed.
Do you bill on a regular schedule?
Since post-construction, many of our clients only engage us sporadically (they may be handling the bulk of the work themselves and only need our help occasionally or they may be a seasonal operation) we generally invoice a client when there account has at least 4.0 hours ($160) on it. During the construction of your new website we bill at the end of each month or the end of the project – whichever happens first.
What about work requested that is not in the original quote?
If additional work can be squeezed into the current budget, we’ll tackle it at no additional charge. Otherwise, each item will be evaluated individually and the client provided with a cost estimate before the work proceeds. It’s important that everyone is on the same page.
Do you adjust the billing should we decide not to complete all of the original quote?
Since we record the time we spend on your project in detail, should we complete the entire project in less time than expected (or if aspects of the project are dropped from the quote) we only bill for the time being used. Likewise, if you elect to drop aspects of the project we can either reduce your final invoice accordingly or reassign that time to additional features at your discretion.
Why don't you offer flat rate billing on web design?
The reality is that no matter how much time is spent in laying out a design document detailing the project, every client has changes they wish to make as the project evolves. Some changes are minor and involve very little additional time – others are so major as to completely alter the entire project. In a perfect world every client would know exactly what they want and we would be 100% accurate in every estimate we provide. Unfortunately this isn’t possible as every job is unique and the needs of every client evolve as they become more invested in making the best website possible. To ensure that the invoicing we provide our clients is as fair as possible to both Simply Ducky and the client, we follow the below rules:
- Our hourly rate is an exceptionally reasonable $40.
- We record all of our work accurately and bill in 10 minute increments.
- We provide free estimates and will spend one hour discussing the project with you.
- The estimate we provide is as accurate as possible given the information you have provided.
- We guarantee we will complete the work listed on the estimate for the amount quoted.
- Clients will be provided with an estimate of any extra costs for any work not covered in the original estimate.
- We have worked hard to build our reputation – references are available.
- Travel time to and from a clients workplace is billed at the standard rate.
- Work is invoiced at the end of the month or project, whichever comes first.
The rule of thumb is: If we are doing something which we wouldn’t do if it weren’t for your project, you get charged for it.
In the end we do not offer flat rates for web design because the only way for us to guarantee that Simply Ducky is able to receive a fair wage at the end of a potentially evolving job is to take the original estimate of what you need and pad it by at least 30% or more. This isn’t fair to those clients who are able to develop a detailed plan with us and stick to it. Neither is it fair to us when we have clients whose abuse of a reasonable flat rate fee ends up doubling or tripling the number of hours involved.
Hosting / Registration
Do you provide hosting services?
No, we do not provide hosting services. We generally do not recommend clients use hosting services with web developers. Web developers tend to either host themselves on their own hardware (which makes your site subject to the whims of the local internet or Mother Nature) or they are reselling services from another, larger provider.
We are happy to help you find a reasonably priced hosting solution and will either handle the complete setup ourselves or hold your hand along the way.
Do you have recommendations for hosting services?
There are half a dozen hosting companies that we routinely recommend (Hostutopia, Bluehost, CanSpace Solutions are just a few) for clients. Major hosting companies provide services that local companies often cannot – regular automated backups, on-site power generation in case of extended power outages, 24-hour technical support, redundant hardware in case of hardware failure, etc. Since major hosting companies generally jockey for market share, pricing can change on a month to month basis.
We prefer to look for the best deal for our clients at the time rather than simply recommend a single company. We only recommend companies that we feel we have had the chance to fully evaluate based on our working relationship with them. Although Simply Ducky Designs will work with the hosting company of your choice, we cannot take any responsibility for performance issues due to the capabilities of your preferred hosts system.
In whose name will the domains or hosting accounts be registered?
We never register products for clients in our own name. All accounts for your website should be set up in the name of the organization, or one of its key individuals . They should also be paid for by major credit card by a member of the organization. As domains cannot be owned (only ‘leased’), it is incredibly important that your organization maintain ownership of that domain at all times. In case of disputes over ownership, many hosting and domain registrars will default to determining that the product belongs to the person who paid for it.
Will we have access to the hosting account and domain registration accounts?
Yes. The login information is kept on file at our office and provided to your organization as accounts are setup. If you would like to engage our services going forward for maintenance and/or updates, please notify us should you update passwords or other login credentials.
Will we have full ownership of the hosting account / domain registration?
Yes – all products will be registered in the name of your organization with a contact person that you designate. All products will be billed directly to a major credit card in the name of either your organization of a member that you designate.
Will the site be mobile optimized or using responsive design for mobile devices / tablets?
Yes, all websites that we have created since the spring of 2014 have been built using responsive design and have therefore been mobile optimized. Before that time mobile optimization was offered to clients as an option – given the ever increasing percentage of web traffic originating on mobile devices this is no longer a choice. Mobile optimization is a must in web design.
Will the site incorporate Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Yes – all of our websites incorporate search engine optimization (also known by the acronym SEO). As a basic feature we provide SEO for all content submitted to use for use during the construction phase. We are also able to rewrite and optimize your content to create even more effective SEO as well. Since sound Search Engine Optimization practices involve not just the use of keywords but matching and complimentary content, it is just as important to tailor your content to your SEO goals as your keywords.
Will we be able to maintain / add to the SEO after the project is completed?
Yes – we strongly encourage clients to not only update their SEO as content is edited but to ensure they enable SEO on newer content going forward. All of our sites use a simple interface to allow you to quickly and easily add keywords to specific pages and posts. As part of the basic orientation for your new site we will review these features for you. Interested clients are encouraged to engage us on a more advanced course on the effective use of SEO.
Will the site be using a Content Management System (CMS)?
Yes – all of our sites utilize the WordPress Content Management System (CMS). WordPress is easy to use, flexible for a wide variety of projects, and available without any license or purchase fees.WordPress was created as a collaborative project to address the problems of the overly technical, cumbersome content management systems that dominated the market. WordPress has a massive user base and aside from the extensive formal documentation available, there is an active online user community providing everything from YouTube walkthroughs to step by step instructions on virtually every aspect of the system.
All clients have access to a PDF of a step-by-step WordPress user guide (complete with screenshots and visual guides) and can request a print copy for their reference.
Will staff be able to maintain and update the website themselves?
Yes – staff can certainly maintain the site themselves. Anyone who can use software such as Microsoft Word or Google’s Gmail can use WordPress with very little training. Please keep in mind that people tend to remember skills they have had a chance to apply, it is important that staff trained in the use of the website put those skills to use on a regular basis. Barring that, we are happy to provide yearly refreshers for seasonal users or bring new employees up to speed.Should you find yourself unable to tackle updates yourself due to a demanding schedule, please feel free to contact us. We are always happy to help you keep your site up to date.
Will we be able to add or remove users from the site ourselves?
Yes – you will have the ability to add or remove users from the site and even assign them different levels of access. Please note that all users must have a unique email address.
What is your process for engaging us on the initial design of the site?
Before we can create the first draft of your new site we’ll need to discuss (either by phone or ideally in person) your specific goals for the site, how you anticipate your visitors using it and how you expect it to grow your business or operations. Also, ideally you would be able to discuss several sites you like and several sites you don’t like – pointing out the positive and negative features respectively. Armed with this information and samples of any existing branding (business cards, logos, banners, newsletters, signage, etc.) we can create an initial draft.This initial draft will be very rough and provides us with a concrete point of discussion. From there we will continue to incorporate feedback into the design until we are ready to polish it.
Will the site be designed from scratch for us (custom design) or will it be a template?
Every website that we create is a unique. We do not resell or buy canned themes for any of our clients. This ensures that your website stands out and, most importantly, is designed for your specific needs. To speed up the design process we will often use templates – pre-fabricated layouts for specific types of content that we have created for just this purpose. Each template will then be customized to match your design in color and style.
What aspects of the design will we be able to change during the construction process?
Every aspect of the site is open to change during construction within reason. One of the reasons we do not simply drop a completed site into your lap and instead build one gradually using your feedback is that we seek to avoid any major changes during the construction process.Some examples of minor changes that can easily be accommodated at any time would be colors, fonts, photos, button design and the changing of layout on the page (making the header larger for example, or increasing the width of the entire site).
By ensuring that everyone provides honest and timely feedback throughout the design process we can minimize the number of major changes needed and instead focus on the minor changes which, when combined, result in the perfect website for your organization.
What is your policy on feedback during the construction process?
It is absolutely necessary and will be requested regularly. We cannot overstate the importance of timely, honest feedback. It is the only way you are going to be 100% certain that the website we build for you will be exactly as you wanted. We do not engage clients who want us to ‘surprise them’ or make them a website which is a duplicate of another organization’s website.
Will we be able to make changes to the site to reflect new company branding?
Yes, but… Elements of the website (colors, photos, logos, and prose) can be easily changed by your staff. More technical changes that involve changing the dimensions of the site or its basic layout can be changed but will likely require our assistance. Should you have someone on staff with good PHP and HTML skills and a familiarity with the WordPress Content Management System they would also be able to make technical changes for you.
Why does that website look like that?
Not so much a question as a comment we receive every once in a while. We don’t always agree with the design decisions that our clients may make, but ultimately we respect their wishes as long as doing so does not jeopardize the integrity of the website.This may mean we are asked to use a particularly ‘unique’ color combination or told to withhold information that would otherwise be an ideal addition to a site.
In other cases we have created the site, trained the staff and moved on to other tasks. The staff operating the site may choose to make changes in layout, color scheme or content that does not always represent their company in an accurate or aesthetically pleasing manner and becomes a significant departure from the original aesthetic of the site.
We do not take responsibility in any way for the content or appearance of a site that is maintained by either the site owner or a third party. It’s simply out of our hands unless Simply Ducky is brought in to make changes.
Help! Do you do site maintenance?
Yes, we certainly do. Unlike other web design companies, we do not charge a flat or monthly fee for website maintenance. We charge our usual rate of $40/hour and bill in 10 minute increments. If you would like to discuss regular check-ups for your site (checking for broken links, update to sit software, checking comments for spam, and more), please contact us and we can make arrangements.
A well designed and built site running on WordPress (as an example), would only need between 10-20 minutes of maintenance each month. A site that is updated rarely and does not allow for social interaction (no public posting or commenting) may only need to have its software whenever there is a new release of WordPress.
We do not charge a flat monthly fee for maintenance for much the same reasons as outlined above (see: Why don’t you offer flat rate billing on web design?).
What training do you provide during the construction process?
We strongly suggest that we have at least one training session with staff members who will be using the website before the site is launched followed by a second session after they have had a chance to practice some of their newly acquired skills. The most effective sessions are one-on-one but we can accommodate groups of up to six individuals in each session.If you organization is seasonal in nature we recommend scheduling a refresher session before the start of the season to ensure that everyone is up to speed.
We offer several different options for training during the construction process. We can provide face to face training here at our offices in South Side Harbour, Nova Scotia or at your location depending on the distances involved. We can also engage your staff via Skype or over the phone.
What after-completion support do you offer for our staff?
We are always available via phone during our regular business hours or via email. Appointments can generally be scheduled just one day in advance for visits to our location. Depending on the distances involved travel to your location may require several days to schedule. All such support is billed at our regular rate ($40 / hour).Should your business or organization require seven day a week support or 24-hour support please contact us with the details. Weekend and evening support pricing will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
We do check emails on the weekend but will reply on Monday morning with the exception of emergencies.