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  Web Development and  Design Frequently Asked Questions    
 

The list of Frequently Asked Questions listed below is not intended as a comprehensive answer to all your potential website design and web site development questions. Rather, it serves to answer a few of the more common queries and give you, if you have not experienced it yet, a feel of what is entailed during the creation process of a web site. We are here to answer all of you questions either by emailing or calling us toll free at 1-866-282-1438.


Q. How long does a web site take to design?

Q. How does a database improve my website?
Q.
What is the procedure for the development process?
Q.
Does ASP require any special hosting?
Q.
I have no internal web development staff, how do I update the site?
Q.
Will I have to purchase or develop my own pages, every time I want to add a product?
Q.
Do your e-commerce sites require e-commerce hosting, like Mercantec Softcart or Miva Merchant?
Q.
How are the credit cards processed with e-commerce sites?
Q.
How do I secure information on my site, like customer billing information?
Q.
What is SSL? (Secure Sockets Layer)
Q.
How can I prevent unwanted visitors viewing private information? 
Q.
What is a cookie?
Q.
How can I improve customer service and retention using a website? 
Q.
What is an Intranet?
Q.
What is an Extranet?
Q.
How can I personalize what each user sees on my site?
Q.
What is a database?




Q. How long does a web site take to design?
A. Each web site is unique. Once we both have a clear understanding of exactly what it is we are about to create, we can provide you with definite timelines. Many variables come into play when estimating design time. The size of the site in terms of number of pages, complexity and volume of graphics, special features such as interactive forms to name but a few. As a guide line, an average web site may take 2-6 weeks to complete in full. 

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Q. How does a database improve my website?

A. Databases allow you to control the content of your website my make changes to the database. Once you have made a change such as adding 10 products or 2 new employees to your company intranet, the website will dynamically pull the new information from the database within seconds. You can add database items, without typing a single HTML change. Simply upload your updated database using FTP, and viola your catalog has just been updated and your new employees can now log in to your protected intranet.

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Q. What is the procedure for the development process?
A. For an explanation of the process visit the "about us" section. Click here to go there now. 

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Q. Does ASP require any special hosting? 
A. Yes and No, ASP will run on any Windows NT/2000 server running IIS 4 or higher. There are several operating systems that hosting companies use to host sites, the 2 most popular operating systems are UNIX and Windows NT/2000. We would recommend our sister company http://www.vphosting.com for your ASP hosting. 

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Q. I have no internal web development staff, how do I update the site?
A. For the do-it-yourselfer, Microsoft Frontpage 2000/2002 is a great html/asp editing software that comes with Microsoft Office Professional. We can provide web site maintenance to your site in one of two ways. Either we can schedule revisions on a fixed time frame or we can do this only when you require it. No matter which way, the cost of maintaining your web site is based on time, which is charged out at US$50 per hour. It is strongly advised that you consider this and budget for maintenance as there is nothing worse than to go to a web site and find information which is months or even years out of date. It does not reflect well on the company! 

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Q. Will I have to purchase or develop my own pages, every time I want to add a product? 
A. Absolutely not. All of our ecommerce sites are integrated with a database. This database dynamically pulls your products from a list, and displays the information from the database onto the page. If you need to add a product, simply type in the quantity, price, description, etc into the database we provide you. 

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Q. Do your e-commerce sites require e-commerce hosting like Mercantec Softcart or Miva?

A. No. Any windows 2000 Server running Internet Information Server 5 

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Q. How are the credit cards processed with e-commerce sites? 
A. With your e-commerce site there are several credit card merchant account providers out there to choose from, we recommend starting with your bank. Any e-commerce site needs a merchant account if you wish to accept payment online.
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Q. How do I secure information on my site, like customer billing information?

A. by purchasing a SSL from Thawte, a wholly owned subsidiary of Verisign. We can purchase and install your SSL for you. 

 

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Q. What is SSL? (Secure Sockets Layer)
A. SSL is a transaction security standard developed by Netscape Communications to enable commercial transactions to take place over the otherwise notoriously nonsecure Internet. It's one of a few competing security standards. 

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Q. How can I prevent unwanted visitors viewing private information? 
A. By password protecting sensitive data. With any website, we can integrate a users database that will check the user's credentials (cookie), every time sensitive data is viewed. If the user has permission from you, they can see the page, if not the user is referred to an error page denying them access to the protected data. This can also be combines with an SSL for an even better security solution. 

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Q. What is a cookie? 
A. According to Netscape, cookies are a "general mechanism which server side connections can use to both store and retrieve information on the client side of the connection." In English, that means cookies are small data files written to your hard drive by some Web sites when you view them in your browser. These data files contain information the site can use to track such things as passwords, lists of pages you've visited, and the date when you last looked at a certain page. 

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Q. How can I improve customer service and retention using a website? 
A. Most businesses have standard forms, brochures, and product sheets, that they either fax, mail or email to support their customers needs. With an extranet for your customers, you could provide protected access to a secure area within your website that would allow users to view or download your brochures, manuals, etc., immediately whenver your users wants it. 

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Q. What is an Intranet?
A. A play on the word Internet, an intranet is a restricted-access network that works like the Web, but isn't on it. Usually owned and managed by a corporation, an intranet enables a company to share its resources with its employees without confidential information being made available to everyone with Internet access. 

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Q. What is an Extranet?
A. Companies often use extranets to provide nonpublic information to a select group of people, such as business partners or customers. So while an extranet may look like an ordinary Web site, you have to enter a password or use digital encryption to access it. For example, Federal Express's customers can track packages on the company's extranet by simply entering a tracking number. And Bank of America's extranet lets users transfer funds or look up account balances online. Using an extranet can help companies save money by allowing customers to find information themselves, without having to call and talk to a person. 

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Q. How can I personalize what each user sees on my site? 
A. Cookies! No, not chocolate chip, but small files placed on users' computers to identify them every time the view the site. 

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Q. What is a database?
A. A database can be as simple as a shopping list or as complex as a collection of thousands of sounds, graphics, and related text files. Database software is designed to help users organize such information. While early "flat" databases were limited to simple, searchable rows and columns, modern relational databases allow users to access and reorganize data in a variety of ways. Even more advanced databases let users store and retrieve all kinds of nonstandard data, from sound clips to video. 

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