Production Animal - Website Design
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Frequently Asked Questions    

Instead of a question/answer format, this page will just supply answers to our most common inquiries. Websites are like any other product: you get what you pay for. Media, like art, is somewhat subjective. The first thing you need to do is find someone who has a style you like. Websites, especially Production Animal's, have a huge artistic emphasis. Different people like different artists.

We're by no means trying to scare you away, yet if you don't like our style, you're probably not going to like your website. So take some time and look at our previous work. If you like what you see, we can begin.

Production Animal does custom web and print media work. No templates, no cookie-cutter solutions. Everything is started from scratch and everything is yours once you pay for it. Nothing we develop for one client is used for another. Below you will find not only our most frequently asked questions, but also a list of what we will need before we begin your project and our guidelines/policies for our business. New clients must read all of the information on this page before we will begin our first project for them and submit the short form below to verify such. This acts as a contract between Production Animal and our new clients. We believe an informed client is a happy client.

Mountain Lion
 
Pricing Pricing

Again, you get what you pay for. There are a lot of people and companies out there that fancy themselves web designers. We hear all the terms: web developer, webmaster, etc. Unfortunately, our industry has become saturated with people who want to work out of their homes, people who are "webmasters" basically because they're too lazy to go get a real job. We've heard stories from "my web company folded" to "they disappeared." Because people CAN do websites doesn't mean they're any good at it.

We've heard "he's a computer genius so we believed him when he told us he could build us a great website..."

Computer geniuses, or "techies," or "IT people" are usually not good web designers. Its the old "left brain, right brain" thing. Websites are more creative than technical. Though there is technology involved, your sites success really depends on these things: design, layout, art, marketing, sales and creative search engine coding. All of these things are creative, not technical. Don't assume your neighbor or cousin that builds computers can do you right when it comes to your advertising media, because while they're intentions may be good, chances are they are fish out of water. Find someone with a proven track record at not only making professional looking sites, but who also knows how the search engines work and how the internet works.

We work at $35/hour. However, most people want to know what they're project will cost them in total before they begin. We will give estimates, but that's all they are-approximations.

The reason we can't give a concrete price is simple. Once we get going on a project, there is almost always an addition here, a subtraction there. The estimates we do give before a project starts are meant to give you a ballpark figure. But here's the thing. Once that estimate is given, if you add or change ANYTHING, it will cost you more.

Maintenance can either be done on a project by project basis or for those who know that maintenance is what willl keep you at the top of the search engines, we can set up a monthly budget. Production Animal does not demand you maintain your site. Some people just want a website address to put on their business cards and we understand that too.

What we need from you We need the following from you, if you have it:

Like any advertising product, your website or print media will always be better the more imput we have from you. You will always know your business better than we do.

We have clients who draw us sketches, give us lists and put a lot of time and energy getting us elements to use on their websites. We have clients who tell us they want a site, pay us and then disappear, leaving us to fill in the blanks. Either way, we'll take the work. However, the sites and media we do for the first type of client always comes out better than those we do for the second. We will tell you what we need (see list to the right) and then give you a certain amount of time to get it to us. If you don't, we'll forge ahead without your imput. If you're just too busy to get that into it, we understand. But if you want a site that really speaks to who you are, then we need you involved. Communication and speedy responses are always appreciated.

* Any photos, graphics and the logo you want displayed on the website. If you do not have a logo, we will create you one because every business needs one. If you don't supply these or have Production Animal take or make them for you, we can try to make do with what we can garner from the internet, but your site will be much more "you" if you either supply us with these or have us create them for you.
* Copy (text) for your site. Again, we can do this for you based upon what your competition or others in your industry across the country have on the internet, but again, the best copy comes from you.
* We need to know what you want your site to "do." Forms, listing services, shopping carts, etc.
* What your long term goals are for the site.
* A list of keyphrases you think are best for your business (see Search Engines below).

We need all the pieces...
When we say we "need all the pieces" up front, this means once you hire us to do your site you have a set amount of time to get us all the elements above before we begin designing. Once the development has begun, anything you add will be up and above the estimate given to you before you asked us to do your project. It never fails (and we don't blame you and understand why this is so) that we get a homepage done for your approval and you see what is possible and then a thousand other ideas start forming. We will change the original plan for your website a thousand times in the initial site design process, but just know...every time you change anything during that process, you will be charged more than the original estimate. If you're fine with that, we will make change after change until you are satisfied, but for those working on a strict budget, it is more important you get us everything up front and be as specific as possible about what you are expecting from that project.
Big Horned Ram Search Engines - Yahoo and Google
 

Chances are you've received an email from some company stating that for a certain price, they will submit you to a X amount of search engines. These offers always make us laugh for two reasons. The first thing that occurs to us is that there are not X search engines out there anymore. There are two. It takes us about five minutes to submit you to Yahoo! and Google, and most of the time, submission-wise, this is all it takes. So why are they offering to submit your site to X amount of engines if there are only two?

Because back in the day, there were hundreds. But now most of those search engines have turned to Yahoo! or Google for their results. If you look closely at your searches, and you are doing them on other 'engines', a lot of the time you will see something like "powered by Google (or Yahoo!)".

So why do you get these offers? They are assuming you don't know what we know. We're not saying Google and Yahoo! are the only true search engines left, just that they are the only super engines left. Though others like Overture and Ask will try, it's a little late in the game to expect them ever to have the indexes that Google or Yahoo! do.

The other reason these offers make us laugh is that they expect you to believe that just by submitting your site to these engines, that you will have done all you need to skyrocket to the top of all your relevent searches. Not true by a long shot. So let us tell you a little of what we know so you can decide how you want to approach "The Game," as we like to call it.

It is a game. Every four to six weeks, Yahoo! and Google will come around and look at your site. The terms "crawl" or "spider" or "scan" have long been used to describe this process. In reality, the search engines deploy a sophisticated software to take a look at your site. As long as you keep updating on a monthly basis, the engines will come around on that same schedule, sometimes even more often than the 4-6 weeks. But if you don't maintain your site, the engines will stop coming around so often and can take up to three months to return. The advantage to having them come around more often is that every time they are done crawling your site, you have a new chance to be placed in new categories and to be re-ranked within those categories. In other words, you have a better chance to get to the top.

Every six months or so, Yahoo! and Google update their spider software. Each time it looks at your site, it has a criteria of what it is looking for. We, as web designers, know about half these things. Think about it. If we knew everything, we could manipulate that software thus making the engines no longer fair. The reason so many people use the free index of Yahoo! and Google is because it's a completely unbiased list of results. If we could manipulate those results, the search engines would become worthless and corrupt.

So they change this agenda every six months. Some of the things they tell us to do change and some of the secret things change. Its up to the person maintaining your site to know and keep up with the changing trends of this agenda.

Thus anyone telling you they can 'guarantee' you results on the search engines is either fooling themselves or fooling you. The only way to guarantee you will come up on the first page of any search is to pay for 'sponsored links'. On Yahoo! and Google, these results are always displayed in the right-hand column of the page and announce themselves as sponsored, letting you know that they paid to be there and aren't necessarily a good match for your search. As a result, most people who use the engines regularly know all of this and only click on those links as a last chance to find what they were looking for. Paying for results is never as profitable as getting to the top of the free index.

So how do people do it? How do they get to the top and what are the things we know will help? You have to play the game.

Content will always be king. Rich, informative and to-the-point text on your website allows the search engines to understand what it is you do and the more you have, the better it can place you. Sales fluff like "we're the best" and "we're number one" won't do. Search engines are looking for concrete information. The more information, the more categories you can fit into and the better that information, the higher you go in those categories. Why do people use search engines? To find information. Without informative copy on your site, you're never going to get high in the index.

There are several 'tags', or hints, you can place in the code of your site to help search engines place your site better. Some are META tags. Most people have heard this term before, but basically there are several, not the least of which are your title, keyword and description tags. These tags give the search engine software a 'heads up' when it first enters your site. These tags say to the search engines, "This is what my site is about." Then the engine moves down into the content of your site to verify and match up those tags with your copy. The more these are in unison, the better the play you will get with the engines.

How do you decide which keywords or keyphrases to use? Production Animal always recommends that you sit at your computer and pretend you are one of your potential customers. What keyphrases might they use to find you? What words say the most about what you do? Make a list and give it to us before we begin your website. It will help us get you where you need to be because, again, no one knows your business (or customers) like you do.

So what else matters? Professional website design for one. It's very important that the code is clean and readable for the search engine, something most amateurs don't realize or can even overcome. Layout and image tags are important to the engines as well as knowing how to set up a website so that it can be built upon in the future instead of having to tear it down and replace it every year.

Research. Knowing what categories to go after in the index. Some of the obvious ones are so convoluted that the time spent trying to overtake that category could be better spent going after three other lesser categories that yield the same ultimate result. The engines can only place so many sites on that front page of any search and about a million new websites hit the internet every day. Things that worked a year ago will no longer work so keeping up on the search engine trends is key. Every six months the criteria changes so if you keep doing the same things year after year, before you know it you are way behind the curve. There are many other things that matter when it comes to search engine optimization, however that's our job.

All you need to decide is what do you want your website to do for you?

Do you just want a site because nowadays every business has one, or do you need it to bring you more business? Because if the latter is true, you will need to get used to the reality that you will have to play The Game. It means uncertainty, no guarantees and a monthy investment. If you think it about it, its not different from other media in that it does require more upkeep, but the same in that it is usually a monthly expense. Its no different that way. It used to be, you could make a site and if you included a few tricks, you could get to the top of searches easy and do nothing to your site for months, even years, and it would stay there. This is just not so anymore. With the number of sites on and coming on the internet every day, its almost impossible to get there quick and even harder to stay there once you are there. Reality says the work you do now on your website will effect it for the next three months. However, if you are one of those people that don't care about the engines, then maintenance isn't an issue unless you want a change made to the site. On that note, let's move on to maintenance.

Website Maintenance   Chimpanzee
Websites, unlike print media, cannot be updated when you want unless you don't care about search engines. Depending on the categories on Yahoo! or Google that you're trying to get into, maintenance should be done on at least every other month. But if you're trying to beat out your competition, that won't happen unless maintenance is done every month. The search engines place some emphasis on longevity. The longer you've been on the internet, the more your site has spidered out to other engines and they all crawl each other, thus the easier it is to stay ahead of the competition. So if you're trying to keep up with or overcome anyone on the engines, monthly is always best. That doesn't mean, however, that if you don't maintain your site that it won't find it's way into the search engines or that it won't rank. Just like everything, its supply and demand so the more competitive your market, the more you need to maintain your site.
That's why Production Animal takes maintenance on a client by client basis. No contracts. It's up to the client to let us know what they're intentions are for their site and then we will make a recommendation. If you heed our advice, great, if not, then you've decided not to play The Game. Either way is fine with us.
Chameleon   Ecommerce, listing software, games

We call them 'add-ons' because most of the time, though they may not look like it, they operate seperately from the website itself. Add-ons become the 'back end' of your website (front end). Production Animal can integrate any add-on into your site. We've worked with many different shopping carts and can recommend one that will fit your needs. Same thing with listing services and games. Whether it be to process credit cards or have an area of your site that is just fun, we can make it happen.

Listing services for real estate or automobiles are very effective in selling product. Games can keep visitors on your site longer and the longer customers stay around, the more likely they are to buy from you. Shopping carts cover impulse buyers and when your website traffic (visitor numbers) is large, you're almost assuredly losing sales when you don't have one. Production Animal will work with you on what you need without forcing you into things you don't.

Sealing the Deal

Web and print media demands that you not only capture the attention of your viewer, but also that you hold it. Getting people to your site is half the battle, sealing the deal is the other.

So how does that work? On websites, its imperative that you give your potential customers a reason not only to stay awhile, but also to come back. Whether that be compelling copy, attractive graphics or interactivity such as games, forms, etc., the more you do to keep your customers on your site longer, the better the chance you have to seal the deal.

So let us help you close the sale. But before we can do that, you must decide what it is you expect back from your media and only then can we try to find a way to get there.

  Penguins
  Production Animal web hosting, domains, SSL Certificates, etc.

 

 

Every website needs two things to work: Web hosting and a domain name. Domains are the "www" name that you type in to get to a website. Hosting is where all of the files that make up your website reside. Domains are "pointed" towards the hosting servers and wa-la..website.

Domains
When the internet began, the name you chose for your domain could effect search engine rank. In other words, the name itself was a lot more important, because there weren't that many (compared to today). So one of the criteria a search engine used to rank your site was it's domain name. With a million websites coming online each day, the importance of keywords in your domain name is slowly slipping in importance to the search engines. So what should you pay attention to when buying a domain? Make sure it's easy to remember, short as possible and easy to spell. That's the best advice we can give you.

Your domain name should be a .com if you are a business and when you say it to someone it should be very easy for them to remember without having to think how to spell it.

Hosting
Hosting is your file cabinet drawer and your domain is the label on the outside of the drawer. It's where all your site files reside. If you have an existing site and have good hosting and are happy with it, we will use it. However, if you're like most you think you pay too much. Reliable hosting can be acquired for less than $10 a month, just visit our online store.

One problem we've noticed with a lot of our new clients is they have a website, but don't have access to their domain and/or their hosting. We can help with that. We are firm believers that the owners of the business should at all times have ultimate control. We can help you get your domains and website back if you truly own either or both.

 

It's Never Guaranteed   Production Animal

It's just not possible. It's a Game. Like all advertising. Anyone who ever gives you a guarantee in advertising is not being honest with you. What we can guarantee is that we will speak with you personally (you might even get to talk to El Presidente...), we will provide advice with integrity, service with good intent and use every grain of knowledge we have to give you what you want.

Production Animal has 20 years experience in graphics, advertising, sales, customer service, website and print development, technical management, marketing, search engine ranking, and general kick-ass production on a professional level. We don't believe in micromanaging, we don't believe in conference calls, we don't believe in our clients being uninformed or not in control of their media. We believe in loyalty to the business owner, long-lasting partnerships, and in doing...producing.

Production, we're Animals at it.

Terms and Conditions

Once you have discussed your project with Production Animal and wish us to begin your project you are requesting Production Animal, after you have read, understand and agree to everything on this page, to start billing you. Once we start your project, you will get an initial bill. This is your investment in the project and lets Production Animal know you are seriousl about the endevour. Then you will be billed once a month as we complete your project.

Once we give you an estimate of cost, anything added to the project will be charged our hourly rate. All invoices are due within 14 days. If invoices are not paid in 14 days there will be a 10-20% republishing fee, at our discretion.

All maintenance is billed at our hourly rate. If you would like an estimate of cost before engaging in the project, then you need to let us know. We are always happy to prove we have the best prices and get the most done.

Production Animal reserves the right to refuse service to anyone, anytime, anyhow.

If you can't pay the bill, don't ask us to work.

Other than that, we're pretty easy to work with, so if you need help, extra care or just don't want anything to do with a website and still need to have one, give us a call, send us an email or just holla'.

Matt Storrar
El Presidente
Productiones de animales
Presidente@productionanimal.com

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