We highly recommend you read this section before you proceed with hiring us to create your web site. It contains important information about how we work with you to create your site as well as answers for other commonly asked questions.
Do I own my Web site when you build it for me?
Yes, you own your Web site with exceptions:
- Any material supplied by third party companies
- Items that require yearly subscription/renewal fees. If you renew your subscription, you can continue to use the material even if you move your site to another host. News feeds, for example, are technically owned by the companies supplying them not by the people using them.
- Software which runs only on the Sizzling Studios server.
Some web designers and design companies do not give up rights to the sites they design. This can be an issue if you want us to redo a site you have that was designed by someone else.
I am trying to choose a Web package, but I don't understand what a 'page' consists of.
Web site visitors would rather click than scroll. Using this guideline, a page covers one subject. When you want to switch to another subject, provide a hyperlink or button. Don’t make visitors wade through hundreds of words they don’t care about to get to the few they do! Most of your visitors will leave before they get your message when you bury that message at the bottom of a long page. Give them enough information to interest them and encourage personal contact with you. You are not on the Web to sell houses but rather to generate leads.
I don't want people to leave my site when I link to other sites.
We create all offsite links in new browser windows or in frames depending on your site design.
Please note: it is pretty easy for a webmaster to install frames-busting code. Consequently, you will find some sites that cannot be connected to within a frame from your site. In those cases, a new browser window is the only alternative.
What do you need to get started?
We need a deposit equal to 1/2 of the web site package you have chosen plus hosting fees for the first three months. These initial fees must be paid by credit card.
What about photos?
Send photos that are already digitized as email attachments. COMPRESED .JPG format or .GIF only please! Mail photo prints to us for scanning. We have no way to turn slides into photos for the Web.
Do I get to choose a design?
We will speak with you on the phone about likes, dislikes, and ideas as the first step. Then, we send you by email one graphical mockup of your site, before we proceed with construction. You can, of course, request minor changes.
If you want additional mockups from which to choose, we bill you for each. We do not begin actual construction of your site until we have your okay on the look from the mockup and all your content in hand.
If you change your mind about the design after you have okayed a mockup and we have started work on your site, you will be charged for changes.
What about changes during construction?
Our package pricing is based on your providing accurate and complete information the first time around. Most of our customers are able to do this with success. Although we request that you send us already-digitized material, we will scan and/or have your material typed if you cannot take care of this yourself. When we do the content conversion for you, errors are likely to be introduced. Your proof reading burden can be considerable. You will be charged for typing and scanning.
Once a page is built, any changes you request are billed to you at our normal maintenance rates even if the entire site is still in the construction phase. Adding bells & whistles, extra pages, etc. during construction is fine. We bill you for each addition.
What if I don't like my site after it's done?
You wrote the material and okayed the design. If we have to go back to the drawing board, it’s a site redo or a whole new site which we must bill you for.
Why do I see typos in some of the example sites?
We request that all site owners send the site content material to us in digitized format – either e-mail or word processor files. We copy and paste your text. If there are errors in the text, they are your errors, and we charge you an hourly fee to correct them. You’d never send something to a printer without a full proofing. Extend the same principle to the web.
Can I update my site myself?
Yes – all the custom sites we construct are compatible with Microsoft FrontPage and Expression Web. FrontPage is no longer sold by Microsoft. However, you can purchase the latest version of Expression Web at just about any computer store or online software supplier. There is a learning curve for FrontPage and Expression Web, easier if you are facile with Microsoft Word. For an additional cost, you can also add our homes database option to any site which allows easy updating of your properties.
Any of our databases can, of course, be updated by the site owner.
Some of the external links at my site are broken...
Webmasters call this phenomenon link rot, and it happens regularly as sites you link to are redesigned or discontinued. When we create your site, all links are current and work properly. If they later break, standard maintenance rates apply to fix them. Just send us the replacement link or instructions to remove the broken link.
How long will it take you to create my custom site?
That depends on several things. We work on sites in the order in which we receive complete site packages. A complete site package includes text, photos, your package choice, your bells and whistles choices, how to handle houses, and a deposit. We have no control over the order in which site materials are conveyed to us. If we tell you today that our queue is short, other packages could arrive before yours does and completely change our work schedule.
Once we receive your materials, if we need additional items that are not immediately forthcoming, we put the construction of your site back at the end of the queue.
In general, we can “finish” your site 4-6 weeks after we receive your complete package, but all timing depends on your full cooperation in providing items we request. Sometimes the timing is less, sometimes more depending on what we have in house at any point in time.
What about changes to my site after it is up and running?
We bill for maintenance in 15 minute increments. Some items are fixed-fee, but most depend on the time required to make the changes. Charges also apply to telephone technical support. If we help you configure your browser or answer questions about Microsoft FrontPage or Expression Web, we must charge you for the time spent assisting you. It is more cost effective for you to call the supplier of the product. Their tech support is generally “free” because the cost is built into the price you pay when you purchase the product.
Is the server down? I can't connect to my site!
The answer to this one is “the server is probably not down”. If you have trouble connecting to your site, it is most likely a traffic jam on the Internet. or else you forgot to renew your domain name and your registrar pulled the plug.
If the site really is down, tech support is working on it and aware of the problem. You don’t need to notify us. To check on the status of the Internet, do a trace route which works with MOST Internet service providers as long as they aren’t behind a fire wall.
To do a trace route: make sure you are on line. Open a DOS window and at the C:> prompt, type in tracert plus the domain name you are trying to reach, e.g., enter without the quotes “tracert sizzlingstudios.com”. You will see a print out on your screen that shows all the hops, the hubs your connection crosses, and the time to cross each. Do this before you have a problem so that you become accustomed to what the connection should look like. Normally a connection would take somewhere between 9 and 13 hops. At very busy times, the number can be significantly higher, with time-outs experienced.
Can I put videos at my site?
If you want video, you can upload it free to http://www.youtube.com and we can link to it for you. When your video is at youtube.com, many, many people who would not visit your site will view the video.
Why can't I find my site the search engines?
Real estate search engine optimization and positioning is somewhere between an art and a science. Search engines change their submission “rules” constantly. When a major change occurs, your site may even be dropped from the engines. All of the sites we create (sites started as of 8/1/02) are search engine friendly, but Sizzling Studios does not submit to search engines. However, we do offer real estate search engine optimization and positioning. You can read about it via the SEO section of this Web site.
How do I...?
We provide tech support at a rate of $100/hour, charged to your credit card.