Question: What do I need to get started with a web site?

Answer: As a starting point, we suggest you read our "Website Design Approach" article.

Question: How much does a website cost?

Answer: It depends on the number of pages, complexity of the content, how material is provided to us, and client requirements. More information is presented on our How Much Does a Web Site Cost page. Custom scripts, slideshows, extensive scanning and graphics manipulation, and similar tasks can increase cost. To learn more, request a meeting.

Question: How much does site design impact search engine marketing?

Answer: It can have a major impact. Common practices favored by many designers may even have a negative impact on your site's searchability, or even prevent it from being effectively indexed by search engines.

Question: Can't you just stuff the backend of a website with keyword phrases to obtain a high search position?

Answer: No. Search engines are far too sophisticated for trickery, and pay far more attention to visible text than hidden tags. While some tags remain important, developing and updating good text content for your site is the most important aspect for search and people.

Question: How does one obtain a high position in search engines using relevant search terms?

Answer: First, think in terms of keyword phrases that appeal to your potential customers, not search engines! You'll need to develop a list of keyword phrases that potential customer's are likely to use. If possible, you want to use keyword phrases that help narrow the returns toward your product or service.

Second, include the most effective keyword phrases in your site where visitors will see them easily. Again, think in terms of people, not search engines. If your site appeals to people, it will appeal to Google or Bing. There's no quick and easy solution to getting a high rank. Obtaining a good position in the top search engines takes time, analysis, and experience. Because it takes time for search engines to index new submissions, you will not know the results of changes until weeks or months later.

Your site also must provide meaningful information. Search engines want the "best of the best" at the top of their results. To rank highly, you need to provide good, solid content. Links from other relevant sites are also an important factor.

Question: I frequently receive e-mail offers that promise me a top position in search engines for a small, one-time fee. Sounds too good to be true – how can they make that claim?

Answer: Those offers are generally worthless, and should be ignored. Most search engines and directories now charge submission fees that are higher than what the submission "service" charges. Even IF they get you a top position, it's not likely to attract people to your web site.

For example, imagine you had a company called Pretend Associates. If you've been submitted to a search engine and try searching using your company's name or URL, you're likely to get a "top ten" rank. That's often the "promise" these offers deliver. But how many people will enter your company name into a search engine?

If our example company sold second hand books, someone looking for books isn't likely to use "Pretend Associates" as a search term. Potential customers would use search phrases such as "second hand books" or "first edition books." So unless Pretend placed highly when searching on those terms, the "top" position under the company name is useless.