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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
when hiring a web developer, web designer or digital marketer

Before you hire us, or any web developer/digital marketer, there’s a bit of information from our most frequently asked questions, about how we work, that we’d like to share with you.

If you’d like to hire The Smart Bear to design, develop, renovate or maintain your website, or to help you with your digital marketing, please get in touch to discuss your needs.

We strongly believe in being up front beforehand so there are no misunderstandings or nasty surprises. So, if there’s something you want to know that isn’t covered here, please feel free to ask.

We realise it’s a lot to read but it’s always best to be clear about what you’re paying for, right!?

How long are quotes valid for?

Quotes are valid for 30 days before a contract is signed and for 3 months after a contract is signed.

Do we provide contracts?

We feel contracts are very important and we ask every client to sign a contract of our terms and conditions for the work they are engaging us to complete

Do we take deposits?

Yes, we take 50% upfront if the project estimate is over £120. And, for website builds or large re-development, the remaining 50% is paid off in two installments, after completion of each phase of the website and prior to go live.

What methods of payment do we accept?

We accept payment via BACS, or cheques. And, for website build payments and some products, we accept payment by credit or debit card. Please ask for information.

Do we provide a website project plan?

Usually, our clients come to us with a plan or brief in mind. Whilst we’re happy to help you plan your website using our knowledge and experience, we do not provide a formal report.
If you do need a written project plan or a full marketing strategy plan, we can help with this for an additional fee.

Do we provide mockups of the potential design?

To save our customers money, we don’t provide mock ups. We prefer to provide a link to an interactive version of the ‘basic’ design. We feel it’s a lot easier to visual the final product rather than looking at a flat piece of paper. And, the time spent producing one could be better spent elsewhere.

What if you change my mind on the design?

We want you to be happy so we try to ensure you are on board during the design process, and major changes can be made at the First Draft stage. After that, however, major changes would be on a chargeable basis.

Can we change the scope of the project?

Yes, of course. If during the process, the scope of your project needs to change (for example due to a new marketing plan or a change in circumstances), simply let us know and we will review both the contract and the initial quote.
Scope creep during the project, however, is not allowed and any changes in the project scope must be officially communicated via email to allow us re-quote if necessary.
Example changes to a project:

A new service
A change in branding
A change of client-targeting
An additional function
A layout change after First Draft Stage
Additional pages to design

Do we use templates?

We do use templates, as building blocks but only the best (premium themes) and ones you have approved in advance. Premium themes usually come with a lot more free after-support than bespoke templates but they’re not for everyone.
We’re coders so we can change anything you need us to, however, custom coding is not included with any of our website packages unless we deem it absolutely necessary. But it can be purchased separately if you want something bespoke.
If you’d prefer a hand built theme, we’re happy to provide a quote outside of our standard packages, this will include any ongoing maintenance costs if applicable.

Do we have to have loads of meetings?

We understand you’re probably on a budget and you are busy running your business so we try and keep meetings to a minimum.
Although we love meeting in person (covid regulations allowing), we prefer to carry out consultations over the telephone or on a video call.
Usually, we have an initial meeting to find out the requirements, then up to 2 more at various stages throughout the project, the rest being carried out via email.
Face to face meetings are usually held in our presentation suite at our Urmston office.

Do we provide content or images?

Our clients are responsible for providing, and proofreading, content but if you need help with this we can source appropriate copywriters for your field of business.
Generally, it is the same for images but we do have a number of ‘stock image’ accounts meaning we can buy images on your behalf and pass the costs on. This can sometimes work out cheaper for our clients.
Content should be generally more than 300 words and no more than 2 sides of A4 per page and content stuffing is not permitted as this can both affect ranking, give a poor user experience, and slow down the website.
Remember, you should have the appropriate copyright or license for any content or images.

Do we input the content for you?

Each website package comes with a set number of pages that we will input for you and up to 3 blogs. And, of course, we will provide training on how to add your own pages and blogs.
However, we do not input more than three products or portfolio entries as we feel it’s important you are in control of this aspect from the start. We can, however, bulk import a CSV file for products making life a little easier.

Can we edit your photos or images?

Yes, we can! We’re happy to do the off tweaking and anything we think is critical to the design. There will be a charge, however, for any unreasonable amount of editing or cropping of images.
It’s always best to provide images in the size and dimension you want them to be displayed on the site, and relevantly named to aid Search Engine Optimisation.

Who owns the website?

Once the site is completely paid for the website and the domain (url) belong completely to the client, to do with what they want. The client is not tied to The Smart Bear and we will provide all files on request.

Do we use websites in our portfolio?

We’re proud of our work and we like to display it in our portfolio once complete and officially launched. And, sometimes, we include a discreet link back to our website in the website footer. But, if you’d rather us not do any of these things, just let us know.

What training and support do we provide?

Training is included with all our packages and we provide access to our support website which holds a knowledge base and video tutorials.
Once live, glitches and bugs are fixed free of charge within the first 2 weeks and after that, charged at our normal hourly rate. We provide a 5 Minute Fix service for small issues or maintenance packages for ongoing additions. Layout changes or adding new content after go live would be on a chargeable basis.

Do we make changes to the site?

We’re happy to change or amend the site for you at our usual hourly fee. If you want to make major developments, we can provide a quote for you in advance or, if you need us regularly, we can set you up on a monthly maintenance package.

Do we offer hosting?

Yes! All our website packages come with basic hosting for one year (includes email account hosting).
Or we can organise it for your website if you’d like to move your website from your current provider.
However, we’re not classed as a hosting provider and use third party suppliers. We take no responsibility for the service they provide but we will always help you where we can if you experience any issues.
If you prefer to source your own hosting, just let us know – we may be able to get you a discount!

How long does a website take to build?

Websites can take anything from 1 week to 6 months to build depending on the complexity and the content being provided in a timely manner.
If there are any lead times due to other projects, or annual leave implications, we will tell you at contract stage so we can plan the timescales around it.
We do stipulate that all websites builds should be completed within their 3 month time slot unless there are any unusual circumstances. The free hosting included with the packages starts from the date the build starts.
To keep things running smoothly, we use the workflow template as below;
Contract signed
50% Deposit
Design agreed
Copy, images etc provided by the Client
First draft review
30% Payment Installment
Changes provided by the Client
Second review
Final changes provided by the Client
Final review
Hosting/Domain/Email acquired/transferred
Website Transfer and ‘Go Live’
Final 20% Invoice
All glitches reported by the Client within two weeks of being ‘live’
Training period
We prefer not to rush websites and so we don’t normally agree to tight deadlines. However, if it’s a must (and we’re available to help), we can turn a website around very quickly (the quickest has been 3 days!) but we would charge an additional cost to put our existing workload to one side for you.

Do you work with other developers?

We currently don’t work with any other developers. We prefer not to outsource our work as we can’t control or guarantee the quality of work that comes back, and so we’d double check everything which seems like a false economy.
We have partnered with other developers which the client may want to use for part of the project, or was using prior to getting in touch with us, but we find this is a lot more complicated and time consuming with efficient project management.

This page was last updated: October 2020.