- How long have you been designing websites?
- Do you only do online design work?
- Where are you located? Do you have a storefront?
- Do you work with clients outside the Corvallis area?
- What kinds of websites does Visual People create?
- Will you create a custom design for my website?
- How do you come up with your designs?
- How long does it take to design a website?
- What kind of content do I put on my site?
- Why do I need professional quality images on my website?
- What do I need to keep in mind when I’m writing for my website?
- How often should I update my site?
- Should I collect email addresses of my visitors and send them email?
- What is a Content Management System (CMS)?
- What CMS does Visual People provide with its websites?
- Why is having a CMS beneficial for my small business website?
- What kind of computer and/or software do I need to make updates?
- How much does the Visual People CMS cost?
- Why do I need web hosting?
- Does Visual People provide web hosting?
- Do I have to host my site with you?
- What is the cost for hosting with you?
- Do you host our email as well?
- Do you provide Internet access for our company?
Frequently Asked Questions: About Visual People Design
A. Visual People was founded in 1998 to provide web and print design services for small business clients. Along the way, we began working exclusively for a couple of larger clients. In 2006, we returned to our roots and re-organized so we could work primarily with a variety of small businesses. We’re well suited to provide affordable service to small and start-up businesses and non-profits.
A. No. We do print design as well as electronic design. Our services include logo design, business identity creation (business cards, letterhead, etc.), newsletters, postcards, brochures, etc.
We also can provide professional photography, video and writing/editing services. Our principals have backgrounds and extensive experience in photojournalism and copy writing and editing, giving us an edge over marketing communications companies that only provide design services.
A. Visual People is operated from a home office near Corvallis, Oregon. We have found that we can keep overhead costs lower by forgoing a storefront, but our customers are welcome to visit our office by appointment. Our dedicated office space has room for meetings and computer training. We’re also happy to meet you at your office or at a local coffee shop or restaurant.
A. We work with clients throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Linn and Benton Counties, Salem, Eugene, the Oregon Coast and the Portland metro area. While we love to meet face-to-face with our small business clients, it’s possible to create a website or other marketing materials for any business in any location. We can communicate via phone and e-mail as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions: Content Management
A. A Content Management System, also called a CMS, is a way for website owners to manage and organize the pages, files and images on their site.
Once considered only necessary for very large sites, a CMS is actually one of the best ways for a small business owner to organize and update a website.
A. We have our own CMS based on the open source software called Textpattern. You can use Visual People’s CMS to make changes to your website, including editing text, adding pages and inserting images. We provide training and a manual for how to use the CMS, and our clients consistently remark about how easy it is to use.
A. With an easy-to-use CMS, you can make changes to your website yourself, saving time and money. Or, an authorized employee can make changes without needing to learn and understand complex code.
Since adding the Visual People CMS to all our small business websites, we’ve found that business owners take a greater interest in keeping their sites updated. A regularly updated site is more useful for customers and gets higher search engine rankings.
A. You can use your existing computer with just about any current web browser software (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.) and an Internet connection. Because all your content is stored on the web server, you don’t need to use just one computer or any special software. With a login and password, you can access your site from anywhere.
Some web designers offer to set you up with Adobe® Contribute software, which is one way to make website updates. The problem with Contribute is that you need to purchase the software ($170+ per license) and learn to use it. Visual People’s CMS is easy — you don’t need to buy or learn any special software — and you can use it from anywhere, not just a single computer with the Contribute software installed.
A. Our CMS is included with every website that we create. There is no additional charge, no setup cost and no monthly fee. We think it’s that important!
Frequently Asked Questions: Search Marketing
A. Just as each business is different, your goals for how people find you online are going to be different. Some of our clients are primarily concerned with local residents finding their sites, while others sell their products globally.
A. All of our web design packages include basic search marketing: setting up your site to be search engine friendly; including keywords and phrases in your text; suggesting content that will appeal to search engines as well as real customers; and submitting your site to Google (other search engines as requested).
Frequently Asked Questions: Site Content
A. You’ve heard the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In many respects, that’s true. Describing your main service or product should start with well-lit, professional quality images. You’ll also need concise and clear words that give your potential customer reasons to buy and serve a dual purpose of attracting more potential buyers through search engine marketing. A truly effective small business website combines good design that guides your customer through the site with good content that answers his or her questions about you and calls them to take action – contacting you, stopping by your physical location, or making an online purchase.
A. Quality still matters, even on the Internet. Having sharp photos gives your visitor a good impression of your site and your company as a whole. On the web, when building trust is an issue, you need to take every step to convince your potential customers that you are professional and reliable. Whether they notice it consciously or subconciously, potential customers get a good feeling about your company when every piece of your website, especially the images, look top-notch.
A. You have two audiences for your words: your potential customers and search engines. Visual People can help you edit your text so it appeals to both. Your text should be descriptive and concise, and should help sell your products and services without being purely “marketing speak.” We can take your message and make it work for you, sound good and register well in search engines.
A. How often can you update your site? A website that is updated frequently keeps people coming back. If applicable, we recommend including a blog or news section to which you regularly add information. For example, a retail establishment might post information about new products and upcoming sales; a consultant might post tips about his or her industry and information about projects and relevant business topics; an artist might write about works that have inspired him or her and progress made on current projects. This regular updating helps keep people interested in coming back to your site and lets search engines know that your site is dynamic and keeps changing.
A. Email newsletters or broadcasts make sense for many businesses, as long as you do not abuse the privilege of having your customers’ email addresses. There’s an art to knowing how often to send information out – too often and you risk alienating people; too infrequently and you miss out on getting more business. Visual People can set up mailing lists for you that your users can automatically subscribe to and that adhere to federal regulations for sending email.
Frequently Asked Questions: Web Design
A. We specialize in websites for small businesses and non-profits that emphasize usability. A pretty website is no good if it doesn’t work for your customers. Our designs are attractive and functional at a cost that most small business owners can afford.
We’ve been in business for more than 10 years and have experience with design, usability, search marketing and web technologies. We use this background to make websites for our clients that are easy to use and extend their marketing strategies online.
A. Yes. Every site we design is created after consulting with you about your company, your other marketing materials and your needs and goals for the site.
Some web designers use templates or themes for their sites, customizing them slightly by popping in your logo or preferred colors. But inevitably, those sites look like they weren’t created for your business. We just don’t like that “canned” look and we think your customers will be more interested in viewing a site that reflects the personality and philosophy of your unique business. It will give you an extra edge that makes you stand out from your competitors.
A. We talk to our clients about their existing websites, other sites they like, colors they prefer and other marketing materials they use. From there, we come up with a few different designs that will meet these goals.
Quite frequently, our clients like pieces from two or three designs. We’ll take that feedback and come up with a final design that works for your company. Once you approve a final design, we create a framework for the entire website based on that design.
A. Our schedule often depends on the needs of our clients. Generally, a site takes from eight to 12 weeks from start to finish. Often we can get a site done more quickly if you have a deadline or event coming up. The schedule can also be shortened if you have copy and images ready at the beginning of the project and can complete reviews quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions: Web Hosting
A. Your website needs to “live” on a computer that is connected to the Internet so your customers can access the site at all times. Ideally, this computer is fast and is located in a facility that has power backup, data backup and other guarantees that it won’t stop working.
A. Yes. We have a dedicated server that hosts only our clients’ sites, located in a secure facility.
If you’d like the technical details, our server is connected through six different Tier 1 connectivity providers on a multi-homed, redundant network featuring Gigabit and OCx Internet connections. Multiple power systems, including UPS and diesel generators, provide protection so your site will be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. Also, the hard drives in a RAID array and are backed up every night for data security.
Because we host only sites we’ve created, we can keep the server running fast. Your customers won’t have to wait for your site to load.
A. We strongly recommend it. We can work faster on our own, customized server and we don’t have to worry about whether another server can accommodate our Content Management System or programming.
However, we usually can work with you if you are committed to using another web host. There may be a setup fee for uploading your site and ensuring all features work correctly on a third-party server.
A. Our rates are extremely reasonable. Please see our hosting information page to learn more about the features in our available hosting packages.
Plus, when you host with us, it’s one more detail you don’t have to worry about. We’ll be managing any issues you may have with your account and handling any changes you need, saving you time (no long hold times waiting for your provider to help you!) and money.
A. Yes, we can host email accounts for you and your company. We can also set up aliases and forwards (additional email addresses that go to your account). If you prefer to host your email elsewhere, that is possible, too.
A. No, you will still need an Internet Service Provider to connect your office computers to the Internet. While some ISPs provide hosting services as part of a package, many do not or have limited functionality.