1. How do I know when I've found the right design firm?

Portfolio, portfolio, portfolio Do you like what you see? Does the design firm’s past work speak to what you’re trying to accomplish for your site? Are the sites user-friendly in addition to being attractive? Does the company seem to focus on one industry or have they built sites for a variety of businesses?

Quality of Proposal A good proposal from a design firm should include details about every component of your project, including cost and estimated timelines for each phase of delivery. The detail and care in the proposal is often a reflection of what you can expect if you decide to do business with the firm.

Knowledge and Responsiveness The sign of a professional firm is one that takes the time to answer any questions you might have about how the process works and is completely accommodating when explaining terms and topics that are new to you.

2. Why do some websites cost $400 and others cost $150K?

These days, anyone with the right software can call himself or herself a web designer, so it’s often challenging to separate a one-person operation from a full-service agency. Beware of those who say they can do everything!

Here are some things to consider when interviewing a potential design firm:

Size of the team
Small outfits are usually less expensive, but are often plagued by people who wear too many hats, or a staff that consists of jacks-of-all-trades and masters of none. If you choose an organization that is too big, you might be dealing with (and paying for) unnecessary overhead and less personal attention.

Amount of hours devoted to a project
Many firms will limit the number of concepts or revisions that you get. Just be sure you are clear on those details up front.

Quality of the designers
A seasoned designer, one that has a solid portfolio, and a fine arts degree, is going to charge more for what they do. That said, having a degree does not necessarily translate into talent, so trust your gut when evaluating a firm’s portfolio. Design is incredibly subjective, much like buying artwork for your home. Pick someone whose work you like and what feels like the best reflection of your style.

3. Why should I hire a professional copywriter? Can't I do it myself?

Your website copy is your first point of contact with potential customers — in effect, your virtual salesperson. It is the only persuasive element of your site. Copy, when properly written, is what reaches your customers on a personal level and shows them how you are the solution to their problem. Words are our primary means of communication. They trigger emotions and are the defining factor in most of our decisions (especially buying decisions). A professional copywriter understands how to blend emotion, the communication style of your target customer, and the details and facts about your business into a harmonic flow that is well received by your clients, which in turn, elicits a desire to buy. In addition, if search engine positioning is of importance to you, the selection of effective keywords and delicate balance of keyword saturation in your copy is absolutely vital to success.

If you feel you are able to accomplish all the requirements listed above, you can certainly write your own copy; however, if you have any doubts, we strongly suggest enlisting the talents of a pro!

4. Why should I put video on my site?

In today’s market video stands out. Many users enjoy watching video of any kind and offering it on your site encourages users to stay longer and urges them to connect with you and your brand. Your video need not be longer than 90 seconds – we help you come up with some interesting topics, whatever the nature of your business.

5. How many changes can I request to the design concept?

We offer two revision cycles included in the design costs, however, if additional revisions are necessary, we invoice for them at an hourly rate. We’ll make as many changes as necessary until it meets your approval. Most of the time, the work is completed to everyone’s satisfaction during the two revision cycles included in your estimate.

6. How do I get a high ranking in the search engines for my website?

High ranking in the search engines is dependent on a host of different factors, including the number of keywords in your content and linkages. Never trust a web company that says they can guarantee first page placement on Google. Google does not design their search engine to be easily manipulated. Even the world’s top search engine experts would never claim to have a search engine “figured out”.

Writing good, relevant content for your website is the best way to place high in the search engines. This gives your site credibility and offers tremendous value to web users. We always work with a reputable search engine marketing firm to pursue an aggressive placement campaign.

7. How long will it take?

If you have the copy for your site written before the design process begins, it generally takes 4 – 8 weeks from start to finish. Copy should be in electronic format, preferably MS Word. If your completed copy is not ready before the design process, it will add to the timeline, depending on the size of your site, number of pages, etc.

8. Who owns the completed Web site?

We’ve heard of cases where people pay for a website but then have to pay licensing fees to use it. Unless the site is built upon proprietary software or is powered by a data engine that you don’t own, you should absolutely have full ownership of your website. Like any work for hire, you should have the ability to move your website to a different hosting environment if necessary, use another vendor if your current designers go out of business, or you end the relationship for any reason. Make sure your rights to the work are clearly outlined in your contract before you engage any design company and make a backup of your website on a regular basis in case of emergency.

9. What is a domain name and why do I need one?

Every website needs a domain name (url). This is your site’s unique address on the Internet. As an example, the domain name for StorygemsMedia is The most common domain names will end in .com, .net, or .org, but there are many more to choose from. You will need to purchase the domain name separately from your hosting – it’s inexpensive and, in fact, many hosting services offer a free domain name when you sign up.

10. What is hosting and why do I need it?

Your website needs a home on the Internet – a place for web page files and graphics to reside. You buy or rent web space through a hosting company. We can recommend reliable and affordable hosting. Often your domain name resides at a service company separate from your hosting service. If your hosting service goes down or out of business, your domain name will be preserved. If you already own a domain name and it is serviced somewhere else, you will need to provide the login information for us to proceed with your project.

11. Once the site is complete, can I make changes and updates to it myself?

Depending on what you have contracted us to build for you, there are many ways to update a site and we will be happy to discuss your options before we bid the job.

12. What is your payment policy and what type of payments do you accept?

For most projects the payment schedule looks like this:

  • 50% of your estimated total upon the signing of the contract
  • 20% once the design has been approved and we are ready to move into production
  • 30% once the site goes live

We will accept credit cards for smaller projects under $500. We accept Visa, Mastercard or PayPal. Your project will begin once we have received a signed contract and down payment.