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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are our most frequently asked questions, mostly about web design and SEO.

Answers

What is mobile first web design?

Mobile first means designing websites primarily for mobile phones rather than desktop or laptop computers. Google recently (2018) switched to ranking websites by their mobile version rather than their desktop version. The majority of websites in the past have been built with their desktop as their primary website, with the mobile version sometimes lacking usability and features. Mobile first design means creating the mobile version of the website and making it responsive so it scales up for users on other devices.

What is a responsive website?

A responsive website will automatically adjust to fit the device viewing it. A website with 3 columns on a desktop computer might switch to two columns on a tablet, and one column when viewed on a phone. The content typically stays the same, but the style adjusts to better fit the device. Most current websites use a responsive design.

How much does a website cost?

It varies quite a bit depending on the project. It depends on factors like how many sections the website will have, how complicated the site is, how much detail the client wants us to put into the site, the amount of time it’s estimated to take, if there are programs or templates that need to be purchased, if they want analytics setup, if they want caching software [What is website caching?], SEO [What is SEO?], and other factors.

What is the payment process for website design?

We require a 50% deposit before starting a project. The final 50% is due before launching the project. If completing the project is delayed by the client then the final payment is due at the estimated completion date.

Can I make installment payments on a website or app?

Yes, we offer an installment payment option for projects over $250. You can choose to pay in 3, 6, or 12 months. If you are interested in making installment payments let us know and we will send over the information. Most clients are able to instantly qualify for our installment program.

How do I get more visitors to my website?

To get more visitors from Google your can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) [What is SEO?], add more content to your site, or get other websites to link to yours (building backlinks). You also make improvements to the site like install an SSL certificate, improve the website loading speed, optimize for mobile, or use a CDN [What is a CDN?]. Google uses 200+ ranking factors, so there are a lot of different things to do to improve the rank. You can also get visitors by starting a pay per click advertising campaign with companies like Google, Facebook, Instagram, or Microsoft.

How long have you been in business? How did the company get started?

Chico Designs was launched in 2009, by Robert Stigers while he was a student at CSUC in the psychology science masters program. He did his thesis research project on how behavior and opinions about social media and dating sites vary by personality. He had been doing freelance website design for more than 10 years before launching the company. You can read his thesis online here: http://csuchico-dspace.calstate.edu/handle/10211.3/10211.4_376

How long does it take to build a website?

An average WordPress website project with a few pages can be completed in less than two weeks. The content for the site would need to be available to the developer at the beginning of the project. Small websites sometimes can be completed in less than a week. Revisions to sites usually add a few days to a project. Large or very complex websites can take months to complete. We offer expedited web design and can work additional hours if necessary.

What is WordPress?

It’s a content management system that is free, open source, and is used by nearly a a third of all websites. It uses plugins to add functionality, and themes to change the design. It includes an administrator area where it’s easy to edit content and make changes to the site using the built in editor. Most of the websites we build are made using WordPress.

Will you sign a non-disclosure agreement?

Yes, of course. You can fill out this online form to request non-disclosure: https://chicodesigns.com/forms/non-disclosure-agreement/. We will then print the form, sign it, and email you back the completed agreement. If you have your own non-disclosure for you’d rather use, that’s no problem just send it over to us.

How are websites and apps different?

Apps are applications that are downloaded and installed on your device, rather than being rendered within a browser like a website. The app may pull content and data from the internet, similar to a website, or it may download the content so that it can be used without internet. Apps often create an icon, and display more prominently on mobile devices, so are preferable for most users compared to needing to open a browser and type in the address.

What is a website conversion rate?

It’s the percent of visitors who perform a certain action on your website. The action could be to buy a product, sign up for a newsletter, fill out a contact form, request a quote, or something else. Websites can be designed and optimized to maximize conversions. They can be tracked with software like Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel. If a site is optimized to have a high conversion rate then visitors to the site are more likely to perform the action.

What makes a great website?

There are a lot of opinions on this subject, but here is the general consensus. It should be well organized with content that is easily accessible. The design should be aesthetically pleasing to the target audience. It should have effective navigation. It should work on all different types of devices including mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. It should also load quickly and respond to user actions as fast as possible.

How can I decrease the amount of SPAM sent through my website contact form?

Using CAPTCHA will significantly reduce SPAM. We recommend using Google ReCaptcha V2 Invisible; It blocks bad agents, while appearing invisible to your legitimate visitors. If your contact form is on a WordPress site, and integrates with Akismet, that is another great tool to reduce SPAM. Using a honeypot SPAM trap is another really popular technique that will successfully block most bots. If you are getting a lot of SPAM through your website contact forms let us know and we can get the issue resolved.

How do I add a page in WordPress

Here is a step by step tutorial for WordPress sites using WPBakery Page Builder: https://chicodesigns.com/blog/add-page-wordpress-site/.

Where can I get free images to use on my website?

One of our favorite sites for free photography that doesn’t require attribution of any kind is Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/. Another great site is Gratisphotography: http://gratisography.com/. Some other sites worth checking out are: Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org, Pixabay: http://pixabay.com/, Skitterphoto: https://skitterphoto.com/, and Public Domain Pictures: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/.

What is WebP?

It’s an image/video format designed by Google that is significantly smaller than most other formats. It can reduce image sizes without losing quality by 30-50%. For image heavy websites, or websites that even have a few images per page it can decrease loading time significantly. Websites should likely convert their images to WebP and use this format rather than old image formats like PNG, GIF, or JPG. WebP format is used by many large data companies including YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, & Ebay.

What is website caching, and why is it important?

Caching decreased website loading time a significant amount, which is an important factor in Google rankings. When caching is enabled your website stores a copy of data it sends to visitors, so it doesn’t have to render all the elements again each time a visitor lands on a page.

What is browser caching?

This is when the website tells the visitor’s browser to save a copy of the elements (HTML, Javascript, CSS, & images) so next time they are needed they are available almost instantly. The elements are stored on the computer rather than needing to be downloaded again. On an Apache web server this is usually setup by adding the amount of time the browser should save elements to the htaccess file.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO typically means optimizing your content to get as many relevant search engine visitors as possible. Google uses 200+ factors to rank websites, so SEO is basically improving the website in ways that are important to Google. Some of the ways to improve search engine ranking are make the website faster, organize the content, add images if there aren’t any, using page titles, using meta codes in the header, etc. See more here: https://chicodesigns.com/web-design/search-engine-optimization-seo/

What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

A network of servers that work together to deliver your website data to visitors as fast as possible. Most CDNs have servers around the world,  when a visitor lands on your site the nearest server to their physical location will serve the content to the visitor. They are optimized to be extremely fast, and can make most websites that aren’t using a CDN much faster. Almost all major websites use a CDN or some kind of distributed network of servers. Some CDNs also have built in security features that can protect websites from hackers, exploits, and denial of service attacks. The three most popular CDNs are CloudFlare, StackPath, and Amazon AWS. We can connect web sites with CDNs so the CDN will pull content from the site, and distribute the content to end viewers.