Frequently Asked Questions

Working with Us

Q: If I choose to have you design my website, do I have to host the site with you?

A: No, provided your web host meets the minimum requirements for your website’s features (e.g., you may need to be able to modify .htaccess files or have access to a database).

Q: Is there a limit to the number of pages I may have on my website?

A: There is no practical limit to the number of pages you may have on your site. We do define storage limitations based on your web package, if you host with us. For instance, if you contract for a basic hosting package, we provide you with 100 MB of disk space on our server. As long as you do not exceed that limit, you may add as many pages as you like.

Q: Does my website come with emails?

A: If you choose to host with us, we will provide free email accounts for the primary domain name associated with your site. The number of free email acccounts depends on which package you purchase. email service includes:

  • Mailbox service (500 MB storage per mailbox)
  • Auto-responders
  • Forwarding & aliases
  • Webmail thru SquirrelMail or Horde
  • pop, smtp & IMAP (allows you to use a mail client, e.g., Microsoft® Outlook, to send & receive mail)
  • Virus checker & spam control

Q: Do you offer discounts?

A: We offer some quantity and prepayment discounts as the case arises.

Q: I hired a web company to host my website; they went out of business and I lost my website. How do I know that won’t happen with you?

A: We prepay annual hosting costs to our isp at the beginning of every fiscal year. Should we ever dissolve our business, we will notify you in plenty of time to make arrangements to host elsewhere.

Q: How long will it take to complete my site?

A: The length of time it takes us to complete a site depends on a number of factors.

  • How complicated is the site?
  • How large is the site?
  • What are the site’s goals?
  • How many extra features does the site need (e-commerce, multiple forms, JavaScript programming, etc.)
  • Do you already have an existing site, company logo or colors, or other material we can base our design on?

You can help keep your project’s deadlines on track by promptly supplying all requested materials, e.g., pictures, product brochures, and website copy (text).

Bottom line: some sites can be built in a week. Other sites may take months.

Q: I don’t like the design you created; will you change it?

A: Yes, within reasonable limits. Whether we are designing a logo or a website for you, your design package includes a specific number of revisions. If you require revisions beyond that, we will charge a revision fee in addition to your contracted fee.

Q: You made a bunch of revisions at my request, but I still don’t like the design. Do I get a refund?

A: Before we start designing, we work with the customer to determine what they want in the design. Only when we understand the customer’s needs do we create and submit a design.

Any agreement to produce work for you is made with the understanding that you agree to pay us for our work; you are free to accept or reject it, but you must pay for it. As noted in the previous answer, you can choose to pay for revisions beyond the contracted number.

The best way to avoid additional revision fees is to have a clear idea of what you want, and communicate it clearly to us. We, in turn, will do our best to understand your needs and to deliver. If a particular design feature is ill-advised for either technical or functional reasons, we will explain it to you in clear, jargon-free language.

Q: What is ‘scope of work’?

A: Scope of work is defined in your contract with us; it is the description of what you and we agree that our company is to do for you under the contract. Defining scope of work in the contract helps prevent any unwarranted expectations from either us or you.

An example of scope of work is that we might revise a design up to 5 times before assessing additional fees.

Q: Will I get website traffic reports?

A: We include free Google Analytics website traffic reports. In order to access your report, you must have a valid GMail address.

Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you’re more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.

Q: Do I own the rights to work you create for me?

A: That depends on your specific agreement with us, but in general, you own full rights only to the material you provide to us.

What You Do Own

You own all materials you provide to us for use on the site, such as

  • Text (copy)
  • Images
  • Documents
  • Files

If you provide us with an existing logo and we do not have to modify it for use on your site, you retain the rights to the logo. You certify at the time you submit materials to us that you are the legal owner of those items.

In case of logo designs, we usually release IP rights to the client as part of the contract. As with our other work, we retain the right to feature logos created for clients as part of our promotional portfolio.

What You Don’t Own

Our standard contract does not release the rights to any work we produce, apart from a non-expiring, non-exclusive right to use the work. In other words, it’s like when you buy software: you purchase a license to use it, but we own it. Unless your contract with us specifically gives you IP rights to a portion of your website, your rights are limited. Limitations include:

  • You may not modify our designs or code without permission
  • You may not sell, barter or exhange our design or code without permission
  • You may not create derivative works for resale
  • You must retain, and may not modify, any and all copyright notices found in the <head> portion of the html document

While developing a design for you, we may submit intermediate ‘comps’ (design samples) for your approval or comment. We retain all rights to these comps, including the right to create future work dervived from them.

Your website may utilize third-party assets, such as open-source code. The IP rights to these assets are independent of our contract with you.

Q: Does my website come with ‘after sales’ support?

A: We’ll continue to make minor tweaks or amendments at your request, free of charge, for one month after completion of the project, or as otherwise spedified in your contract. If you need changes after that, you can hire us to perform maintenance on the site. We are available for technical support during office hours.

Website Questions

Q: What is web hosting?

A: Web hosting is a service that makes your site accessible on the internet. A copy of your website is placed on a high-end computer called a webserver. Various other arrangements, including dns, domain name registration, and possibly database access and scripting are also needed to make your website available. Hosting companies, including Messenger Web Design, charge a monthly or annual fee for hosting.

Q: What is site maintenance?

A: Site maintenance is the regular updating of your site’s content (as opposed to updating the site design or structure). Unless you keep your site’s content up to date, you may find fewer and fewer people visiting it over time.

We provide optional site maintenance for a fee. You can reserve a certain number of hours of site maintenance each month in advance, or you can contact us when you need an update, and we will invoice you when we finish them.

Q: What is a ‘domain name,’ & why do I need one?

A: A domain name is your website’s address. Domain names must be registered by a central authority, ICANN, or one of their authorized agents, e.g., Godaddy or Network Solutions. Without a registered domain name, there is no way for your website to be displayed or found on the Internet.

You can have more than one domain name for your website. There are a few reasons to consider doing this:

  • You might own one of several businesses in your area manufacturing widgets, and wish to prevent your competitors from registering a similar address to yours
  • You might produce widgets and thingamabobs, and wish to register and
  • You might want to register a name that is a possible misspelling of your business name, in case someone ‘typos’ the address

If you register more than one name, we will configure the nameserver (a sort of ‘post office’ for websites) to direct requests for all names to your site.

Q: What is a ‘static’ website? Should I buy one?

A: We don’t generally recommend static websites, where no pages are ever added and the site content does not change. These sites do not offer a compelling value to potential visitors, and they also tend not to rank very high in search engine results.

Web users are a pretty savvy bunch, and they’ve come to expect websites to be more than just a glorified billboard. While the primary goal for most visitors is still to gain information or knowledge (or to be entertained), today’s web users expect:

  • Interactivity / 2-way communication
    • Forums
    • Ability to leave comments
    • Multi-media
  • Fresh, relevant content
    • Blogs / newsletters
    • Essays & informative articles
    • Up-to-date information (you shouldn’t have a page featuring a service you no longer offer)
    • Events postings / calendars

Our content management system (CMS) make it easy for you to maintain fresh, ever-changing content on your site. Call us to learn more »

Q: What is conversion?

A: Conversion is the when you set a specific goal on a page, for the purpose of meeting an objective. A successful conversion occurs when a site visitor performs the desired action after visiting the page.

For example, when you create a page with a volunteer signup form, the goal is to get visitors to fill it out and submit it. The form processor is designed to send the visitor to a confirmation page after they submit the form; for you, this is a successful conversion. Using Google Analytics or other website analysis tools allows you to track how many people make it to the confirmation page.

Q: What is website architecture?

A: Website architecture is an approach to the design and planning of websites involving various criteria, including:

  • Functional
  • Technical
  • Æsthetic

Website architecture’s primary emphasis is on the user and on user requirements. A strong knowledge of information architecture is paramount to successful website architecture.

Q: What is UX? What is UI?

A: In web terms, User Experience (UX) is the human-focused discipline of designing solutions for user needs. UX designers typically employ research and design to arrive at solutions.

User Interface (UI) design is more technically-focused, bridging the user emphasis of the UX designer with the technical (coding, hardware, applications) emphasis of a back-end (application) developer.

This essay describes the differences pretty well. Geek bonus: a neat-o Venn diagram!

Logo Design

Q: What’s your method for producing a logo? In other words, what’s it like working with you on a logo?

A: After our initial consultation, we’ll furnish you with 1 or more comps (proofs) we believe meet your requirements. From there, you have the option of accepting 1 of the designs or having us revise it. We’ll continue to revise the logo up to the number of times specified in your contract. After that (if it comes to it), you can either contract further revisions or reject the design (see your agreement for specifics on terminating the contract).

After you give the design final approval, we’ll provide you with the logo in a variety of formats in black + white, greyscale and full color (CMYK & RGB) for reproduction in physical and electronic media.

Q: What do i get with my logo package?

A: We furnish the final logo in the industry-standard Adobe Illustrator® format. You’ll receive a layered file containing at least 3 versions of the logo:

  • Black + White
  • Greyscale
  • Full Color

Other layers may include variations featuring the logotype-only (text-version) and graphic-only versions of the design. The Illustrator file is fully scalable — usable for everything from business cards to embroidery to billboards.

We generally employ pantone® spot colors to ensure consistency in all print media, so you may also receive documentation listing the colors in your logo.

We’ll also provide files for in-house use: PNG, Adobe PDF, JPEG or GIF.

Technical Questions

Q: My website looks funny on my home computer, but it’s OK at work … and what does that message about an old web browser mean?

A: No website looks exactly the same on every computer screen. Displays come in different sizes, they may not be color-calibrated, and the computer operating system may not be the same from machine to machine.

Beyond that, there are currently at least 6 popular web browsers:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Apple Safari
  • Google Chrome
  • Opera
  • Konquerer

Each of these browsers interprets web pages slightly differently; a lot of our time is devoted to “smoothing out” the differences among them. Internet Explorer is notorious in our industry for not displaying pages according to published Web Standards, although they are improving.

As each new generation of browsers is released, the number of people using the older versions eventually gets too small to make it economically feasible for either us or our clients to continue supporting older versions. Costs include:

  • Extra development time for backward compatibility
  • Increased security risks
  • Poor performance of advanced features, and
  • A high risk that the site will “break” in the future

Therefore, we no longer support older browsers, including Internet Explorer 6 and earlier.

If you are using an out-of-date browser, you will see an automatic notice directing you to upgrade. Visitors are not required to do so, but we highly recommend they upgrade.

Read more on this subject »

Q: What kinds of image formats can I provide you for my web site?

We can work with the following popular image formats:

  • jpeg (a.k.a. .jpg)
  • png
  • gif
  • Adobe Photoshop® .psd
  • Adobe Illustrator® .ai
  • tiff
  • raw Image Format (support depends on camera model; file suffix varies based on manufacturer)
  • bmp (a.k.a. dib)

Clients are advised to provide images in the highest resolution available. 1st generation originals are preferred; later generation copies of lossy file formats (i.e., jpeg) can suffer considerable quality loss.

If you decide to provide original photographs, and your camera supports the tiff or raw formats, you should adjust your settings to use one of these formats instead of jpeg. Please contact us prior to using the raw camera format so we can confirm support for your camera model.

When furnishing an existing logo, please provide the logo in a vector format such as Adobe Illustrator or Encapsulated Postscript File (EPS).

Q: Which file formats should I use for text I provide to you?

A: Please provide text files without formatting if possible. Headings, bold text, colors or other formatting have to be stripped out and reformatted for the Web, potentially increasing production time and delaying project completion. We can work with the standard Microsoft® Office files, as well as a number of other cross-platform file formats.

  • Plain text files (e.g., Notepad, Notepad++)
  • Formatted text files (Wordpad, Word)
  • Spreadsheets (Excel)
  • Adobe pdfs
  • OpenOffice files

Files may be compressed in any standard archive format:

  • zip
  • rar
  • 7-zip
  • tar
  • gzip
  • iso

We can also work with non-digital files, but at an additional cost.

Q: I don’t like either of the web mail portals for my domain. How can I set up a mail client, such as Microsoft Outlook, on my computer?

Frankly, we aren’t big fans of web mail, either. We’ve written a tutorial on how to set up Mozilla Thunderbird with secure imap & smtp, so you can download messages to your computer. The method for setting up Outlook is similar, so see the tutorial, even if you are using Outlook.

Still don’t see the answer to your question? Why not ask us directly?