Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some frequently asked questions we get at Hearts and Laserbeams – hope they help you out!

Still have questions? Contact us.

What do I need for a new web site?

You need to do two things before you can have a new web site:

1) Buy a domain name

2) Get a hosting account

The domain name is the yournamehere.com that you type into the address bar of a web browser to get to any web site. You can’t have a site without one of those!

You also need a hosting account. When your web site is built, the files that make up the web site need to be put somewhere so the internet can see it.

My favorite company for both of these is Bluehost. Bluehost has been hosting Hearts and Laserbeams for over 5 years now, and I recommend them to everyone. Low monthly rates, easy to use control panel, really great customer service. Bluehost makes us happy!

Plus, with Bluehost you can use one hosting account for unlimited domains. So if you come up with a new web design project in a month, you only need to pay for a new domain, you’ve already got the hosting covered!

Looking for another hosting option? I also hear really great things about Hostgator!

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A friend is using Bluehost for their hosting, and their site is down. What gives?

No web hosting is 100%. You are going to run into outages here and there as time goes on no matter what service you go with. It’s just a part of internet life. (Stories of Twitter and Facebook being down become big news quickly, reminding us that web site hosting outages happen for everyone no matter how big the company is or how expensive their hosting is.)

I recommend Bluehost for hosting because when a server goes down, they are on it. And if you’ve got any other techie questions for them, their live chat tech support is second to none.

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We worked on search engine optimization and targeted search terms on my site. Why am I not showing up on Google?

There’s a variety of reasons the site isn’t performing as you’d like it to – the following may offer some insight:

  1. Is there any online marketing going on? Have you been on Twitter and Facebook and told people about your website? Have you directed them to sign up for the mailing list? Folks won’t go to a website or sign up for a mailing list that they don’t know about. Marketing your business is more than sending out a press release to the media – you need to get the word out to the masses through blogging and social media.
  2. Your rank on Google depends on more than a search engine optimized page. Google is like a popularity contest. Part of how it ranks websites in searches is “how many people are going to this website” and “how many people are finding this website relevant”. (The algorithm judges that in part by how much time is spent on the site.) Sites that have lots of activity and longer chunks of time where people are on the site are viewed as more relevant than others. To get your site to show up higher in searches, you need to get people to start going to your site. A great way to do this is with doing blog posts, then posting the link to those posts on Twitter and Facebook.
  3. Your rank on Google can change at any time based on site inactivity. There’s millions and millions of web sites out there. Through lots of promotion and lots of hard work, my current website rank (on http;//www.alexa.com) is in the 700 thousands worldwide, and in the top 100 thousand in the US. I have done so much work on my site to get it to that point, and it’s started showing up in great places on Google for some of my target search terms. BUT I used to have even better numbers than that. I was off of the computer for 3 weeks in August, and when I came back my site had dropped into the 500 thousands worldwide. It dropped because there was zero activity going on with my site – no new blog posts, and because of no new posts, no people from Twitter or Facebook being reminded to come check out my site and read the new post.
  4. How long is the text on your site? When you’re writing for the internet, you’re writing for an audience with zero attention span. It’s really important to get out your information in short concise sentences and bullet points. Say what you need to say before your site visitor clicks somewhere else.
  5. Do you have enough text on your site? If someone comes to a page on your site and there’s 3 words on it, they’ll click away faster. Simple as that.

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One of Our Most Frequently Asked Questions: How much will my project cost?

Most designers charge a flat rate, with a large chunk due at the beginning, middle and end of the project. I price things out differently in a way that works better for both parties. I charge an hourly rate, billable bi-weekly. On the client’s end, it makes things more affordable because the invoices are broken down into much smaller chunks of money. I work on a variety of projects throughout the work-week, so time spent is usually 5 to 10 hours on any given biweekly invoice. (Keep in mind that web projects nearing completion can have more hours on the invoice as they take higher priority the closer they get to deadline, and that I do offer flexible payments in terms of piecing out that larger invoice into smaller, easier to pay chunks.) It also works better on my end, as I receive a more steady biweekly income to pay my own bills.

I am very flexible with scheduling, and if you can only afford X amount of hours for each biweekly invoice, your project will be scheduled so it doesn’t go above that time constraint. This works out great, because it makes solid graphic design work attainable for small business that might not be able to afford it otherwise.

Please contact us to talk about your specific needs so we can get you our current rates and an estimate!

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So you do an hourly rate. How long will it take to build my web site?

That’s our next most frequently asked question! The answer is different for literally every client.

A simple website like www.gustavoarellano.net can take up to 5 hours design time and up to 15 hours to build. A more complex website like www.sweetperversion.com or www.bakeallthethings.com can take 5-7 hours design time, and 30-40 hours to build. Factors like shopping cart functionality affect the amount of time it takes to create your web design. Design elements like logos and background images, as well as custom-made social media icons can add design time to your project, as well. All estimates are estimates, and if it looks like your project will go beyond that estimate you’ll be notified as soon as possible to discuss options. Please contact us to talk about your specific needs so we can get you an estimate!

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How many revisions can I make to our project?

The great thing about our hourly charge setup is that you’re not limited to the number of revisions you can make to the design or the site. Most flat rate designers will allow 1-3 rounds of revisions on a project. With Hearts and Laserbeams, the project isn’t complete until you say so. Have questions about the process as we go? Ask away, we’re happy to answer questions and share information!

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So how do we design something that is… ME?

I work very collaboratively, and before we begin with laying out your site, we’ll talk about other sites you like, colors you like, and other design considerations. If needed, we’ll sometimes start the paid time clock with pulling reference, which creates a presentation of ideas that will help us fine tune the direction we’re heading. This step isn’t always needed, but when it is, it can create very strong branding direction for your business.

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Why should I work with Hearts and Laserbeams?

Know that i work fast, and I’m extremely honest about time spent on projects. If your project only takes 30 minutes to complete and I quoted you 5 hours, 30 min is all you pay for. I’ve completed all kinds of design and illustration projects for large companies like OshKosh B’Gosh and Kohl’s, down through small indie businesses like Bake All the Things. The truth is there’s not a lot of designers out there that do web, layout and illustration well, and I have a dozen years of experience on top of that. Your estimate may seem like a lot of money, but you’re getting quality and great customer service, along with flexible scheduling and payments.

You can also click here to see reviews from our happy clients on our Yelp page.

I firmly believe small biz needs access to great design, and that’s why I’m so willing to work that kind of stuff out. Please contact us to talk about your specific needs so we can get you an estimate!

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