What am I paying for...?
This is a great question. And, it is complex. So, let's look at the real costs versus what firms like Fuse Troupe need to charge to make money.
- First off is the domain name. This is the thing you type into your browser. In our case, http://wwwfusetroupe.com. Already have one you love? Great. Click here for more information. But, if you're just starting this adventure, and don't have a domain name, it does cost money. How much...? We'd love to give you a straight answer, but the fact is, it can range between less than $20 per year to several millions. The difference being, and it's a big difference, is simply who else also wants the same name? For example, you're not likely going to get http://www.coke.com, but if you did, it would cost a bunch of money. The real trick, with over 17 billion websites, is finding one you like that is descriptive of who you are that people can easily remember. At the end of the day, it's not that complex, but can be pretty frustrating - particularly when you come up with the exact right name only to find out someone has already registered it and isn't even using it. Grrrrr... If you need a domain name, your Trouper will guide you through the process and we will do our best to help you find the right name, and get it registered to make it yours.
- Next, is hosting. Again, costs can range pretty widely and "free" comes into play. So, let's consider what hosting really is. Most simply, it's a place to store your "web" files. Look at the address above, http://www.fusetroupe.com/faq.html. This has a very specific meaning on the internet. It means that my web server (or domain name) is called fusetroupe.com. The "faq.html" portion after the forward slash, is simply the name of a file on my server that tells your browser how to draw this page. So, "Hosting" is really nothing more than a computer, plugged into the internet, that stores your internet files and allows folks from around the world to draw them on their browser. Clearly there are real costs. The computer costs money, and access to the internet costs money. So, how can companies give hosting away for free? The truth is, they can't. Free does have a price, and depending on what you want to do with your website, this may be ok. Free and cheap will expose you to unwanted advertisements, and other such internet nonsense. Additionally, specific web functions such as security, password protection, email, videos, eCommerce, simple control of your site, etc. would typically not be available. In other words, you get what you pay for. Fuse Troupe's hosting plans range between $10 per month to $50 per month depending on what you want to accomplish with your site.
- Design. This can be a big capital cost and we've seen people pay way way too much. So, be careful. We've also seen customers take advantage of their developer, so, I can assure you, we're going to be careful too. In everyone's best interest, we're going to apply the KIS principle, and "Keep It Simple" for both our sakes. Believe me, we could complicate the design process, we've developed large government enterprise software applications spending 10 times more on design and little to no time, just"doing". We hate it, and we won't do it to you. So, we'll start with "Style". Style is how your site should look, the colors you like, how it navigates, etc. It should help convey, non-verbally, who you are. To get us rolling quickly, we'll select from hundreds of templates available to us, customize a few for you, and in many cases give you something to react to i very short order just days after we start. We don't want to talk about it by waving our hands in the air and white boarding what could be, we just want to do it and create another absolutely delighted customer. Next comes "Content." Content includes things like the words, pictures, videos, etc. and can take a bit more time ( cost more money). However, if you already have a lot of material to start with, this too can be pretty easy. If not... well, it has be created and someone has to do it. The good news is, we'll work with you and do as much or as little as you need from us and can afford. We'll also help fit you into one of our service plans so if you want to have something basic up and running in a few days and develop more content and sophistication as you move forward, no problem.
- And this leaves us with Service. It is where our team really excels. We cannot tell you how many of our clients have come to us and said, "I like my website that Company X made, but every time I want to make a change, I can never get a hold of a developer." In fact, service is so important to us that we have decided it is our niche - the one key thing that makes Fuse Troupe unique and so much better than everyone else. It is also why we deeply discount our design fees. We're not in business to design you a website and leave it completely up to you to manage moving forward. We're in business to develop a long term partnership with our clients that is mutually beneficial. We have even extended our services into areas that have absolutely nothing to do with a website by creating collateral marketing material, graphics, newsletters, brochures, etc. It is not uncommon for us to call you and offer suggestions or provide input intended to help make you more successful - whether we are compensated or not. We really do go the extra mile. Like you, we're a small business. We're eager to please. We love what we do, and we want to create clients that are completely enamored with Fuse Troupe.