pix (piks) n. var. pl. of PIC.  Slang.  1. A photograph.


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Frequently Asked Questions
 
Everybody's getting their own website, but why should I? 
Will a website really help my business?

What if I don't own a business?  Can I still have my own website?

Can I mix a business website with personal information?

What if I'd like to learn how to update my website myself?

Can you put a shopping cart and secure payments on my website?

Will my website come up if I search using Google or other search engines?

What if I already have a website, but I want to hire you to make some changes?  Can I keep my current domain name?

Can you make changes to a website that someone else designed?
I own a very expensive digital camera.  Why would your photos be any better than mine?
 

Everybody's getting their own website, but why should I? 
You may be wondering to yourself whether your own web site is really worth the cost.  Whether you're paying someone to design it or doing it yourself, or if you're paying someone to host it or simply using one of the "free" options that include pop ups and banner ads, having your own site will cost you something, even if it's just the time you've invested.  So why bother?  Should you have a web site just because everyone else does?

We think so.  Everybody IS doing it, and there's probably a pretty good reason for that.  Having a web site enables you to communicate with every person on the planet!  Whether you own a business, need to post pictures or information about yourself (for example, your resume or portfolio), or simply want to show off wedding photos, a web site is a way to make that information available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

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Will a website really help my business?
If you own any kind of business, a web site is a great place to post your hours, contact information, products and services, rates, directions to your location, and photos of your staff and facility.  It might also be a great place to post coupons or other incentives to bring people into your business.  Sometimes, just having a web site lends credibility to your establishment.  And specific types of businesses could use a web site in different ways.  For example:

  • If you own a restaurant, you can post your menu, prices, weekly specials, even a suggested dress code! 
  • If you own a dance studio or karate school, you can post registration information, rules of conduct, and a biography about yourself and your credentials.
  • If you own a retail store, you can post photos of some of the merchandise you carry, as well as information on credit terms, types of payment accepted, layaway or installment plans, and shipping information.
  • If you own a grocery store, you can post information about the brands you carry and any other goods or services you provide, such as lottery tickets, movie rentals, or made-to-order pizza, subs, or party platters. 
  • If you own a construction or repair business, you can post photos of previous jobs you've completed, insurance documentation, or testimonials from satisfied clients.

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What if I don't own a business?  Can I still have my own website?
You don't need to own a business to have a presence on the web.  You can have a page dedicated to your new baby, your most recent vacation, even your pet!  If your family has recently held a reunion, or if you've gone on a landmark trip with a group of college friends, a web site is a great way to share photos or stories with those who attended and those who wish they had!

Can I mix a business website with personal information?
Absolutely!  You can post your business information on one or more pages, then have an entire section of your site dedicated to your family, friends, or any other personal matter.  We can provide a "password" page in order to enter the personal section of your web, or you can just give those close to you a special link to take them into your personal site.

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What if I'd like to learn how to update my website myself?
You're paying us to design a site for you, so we don't own it - you do!  When you hire us, we'll design your site, post it, and bill according to our standard rates.  At that point, the site is yours.  (Although we will provide a link to it from our web site for advertising purposes.)  If you need updates at any time in the future, you may contact us and we will be happy to provide that service and bill according to our standard hourly rate.  On the other hand, if you choose to handle future updates yourself you may do so, and if you choose, you may continue to use the initial pages we designed!  You're also free to change the entire look of the page if you desire.  However, if you hire another professional designer, we request that you do not use any of our images or graphics without first obtaining our express written permission.  If at any point your site ceases to look like what we initially designed for you, we'll remove our link to it.  We reserve the right to post copies of our original design on our own web site for advertising purposes. 

Can you put a shopping cart and secure payments on my website?
We can, but we don't.  We prefer to design information-based web sites instead of sales-based sites which would require more maintenance and greater security.  We can, however, link to other sites where you may offer products or services for sale (for example, ebay).  We are also happy to include information on your site instructing potential customers in how they can purchase and pay for your goods (for example, instructions on submitting credit card information through PayPal, mailing checks to your business through the US Postal Service, etc.).

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Will my website come up if I search using Google or other search engines?
This depends on a variety of factors.  To answer this question, it might help to understand how search engines work.

We've probably all used search engines, like Google, to find information on the web.  Search engines collect information by sending software robots, or "spiders" out to search the billions of pages on the web through a process called "web crawling."  These spiders are looking for information which identifies what each page is about.  The spiders get this information from a web page's title, text, and meta tags (words that are coded into the html of the page, but are invisible to anyone viewing the site on the web).  After collecting the information, the spider will follow any links on that page and continue the process of storing text and following links.  Because it has to start somewhere, a search engine directs its spiders to begin their search on directory sites, which contain lists of links collected by humans.  Since a search engine must follow links to get to each new page, a site with no links to it from any other web site will never be found.  (Note: Any site designed by Moran Photography and Graphic Design will have at least one link to it from our web site.)

When someone types a word or phrase in a search, the search engine returns a list of sites based on a combination of those pages' titles and text, how many other sites link to them, and what text those sites use to describe them.

Different search engines use different criteria to rank their pages, but o
ne way to ensure your page ranks highly in a search is by paying for it.  You can choose from thousands of companies promising to push your site to the top of the search engines.  Fees range from $2.50 to submit one URL to $49 annually for full-service web optimization.  Or, for $39.95 per week, you can guarantee your site will consistently appear as one of the first three listings of most major search engines!  Other companies offer pay-per-click options, which involve a small set-up fee ($10 and up) and an additional fee ($0.10 and up) every time a user clicks to your site from their search engine.  You can even bid on greater per-click rates to ensure higher placement.  There are also free submission options, for example http://autosubmit.com/promote.html, which allows you to submit your site to 20 major search engines, or http://businessweb.com.au/add-it/free which allows you to submit your web site to 28 popular but lesser-known search engines at no charge.

At Moran Photography and Graphic Design, we've chosen not to pay for search engine placement, because internet traffic is not crucial to our business survival.  We haven't even bothered to use any of the free services listed above.  Instead, we rely on our web site's title, content, and meta tags to bring our pages up in an internet search, and we treat the sites we've designed in the same way.  When we first launched our site, it took some time before it began appearing in search engine lists, and different searches still yield different results.  For example, if you do a search using askjeeves.com and type in "Moran Photography" you might see our site appearing among the first few listed.  However, do the same site on google.com and our web site may only be in the top 10, (or vice versa)!  Also, the more specific the search words used, the more likely it is that your site will pop up.  Go to another search engine and type our entire business name, "Moran Photography and Graphic Design" and our site may top the list!

The decision to pay for search engine submission is entirely up to you.  We do not include the cost of web site submission in our prices, nor do we offer those services, but we will always provide as many descriptive terms in the keywords, text, and meta tags of the sites we design (as well as links from as many relevant sites as possible) to ensure that the software "spiders" find your pages on their own!

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What if I already have a website, but I want to hire you to make some changes?  Can I keep my current domain name?
Yes.  We can make changes or updates to your existing site as you request, and bill you at our standard hourly rate.  First, we should explain that a web site involves three basic components: a registrar, a web host, and a web designer.  

Let's start with the domain name.  That's the address you type in to reach a site on the web.  A domain name can cost anywhere from about $8 to $30 a year to register.  Some of the top registrars include Register.com and NetworkSolutions.com.  (Free domain names are available, but they tend to be longer, more difficult to remember and often involve pop ups or ad banners.)  Many times, when you choose a web host, domain name registration is taken care of and included in your fee.  This is the case with your-site.com, the web host we use, but you are free to move your domain name to any registrar you choose.  

The second, and often most expensive step, involves web hosting.  The web host we use offers a package for $80 a year.  This includes a $20 domain name registration/renewal fee and a $5 per month hosting fee.  Other web hosts charge anywhere from $1.50 per page, per month, to several hundred dollars a month, depending on the services they offer.  Free web-hosting is available, but you usually have to settle for a long domain name and advertisements on your site. 

The third step involves web design.  This is what we do.  If you're hiring us to create a new web site, we can help you choose a domain name, and set you up with a web host (usually your-site.com, but we will work with any web host or registrar you choose).  However, if you already have a web site and you are unsatisfied with the price or the service, you can move your domain name to another registrar, your web site to another web host, or both.  If you've hired us to work on your site, we will do our best to facilitate these changes.

The process goes something like this:  Let's assume that last year you ordered a new web site, called www.yourbrandnewwebsite.com, through a large web hosting company called 123HOSTING, and you're paying $200 a month.  Now let's assume you've hired us to create a new look for your site, and you'd like to switch to a less expensive web host while you're at it.  However, you need to keep the name www.yourbrandnewwebsite.com because you already put it on your business cards.  

Chances are when you hired 123HOSTING, they chose a registrar for you and listed themselves as the administrative contact for your domain name.  (You can find out by going to www.whois.net.  Type in your domain name to find out who the registrar is.  Let's say it is ABC-Registrar.  Next, go to ABC-Registrar's web site and type in your domain name again to see the contact information.)  

Regardless of who is listed as the contact, you are the owner!  If 123HOSTING's email address is listed as the administrative contact, you must notify ABC-Registrar that you'd like your email address listed instead.  ABC-Registrar might ask you to call 123HOSTING to verify that you are the owner of that domain name.  123HOSTING should give you the username and password so you can log in to your account with ABC-Registrar and change the contact information, the name servers, and more.  

Now, suppose ABC-Registrar charges $35 a year to renew your domain name, and you'd like to find a registrar with a lower annual fee.  Let's assume you've decided to transfer your domain name to XYZ-Registrar.  First, initiate service with XYZ-Registrar.  They will email the administrative contact (which, by now should be you!) to request transfer approval.  Once approved, XYZ-Registrar will send a transfer request to ABC-RegistrarABC-Registrar may ask for your approval.  Once XYZ-Registrar receives this approval, they will attempt to transfer your domain name.

Keep in mind that each company may have a slightly different procedure, but regardless, your domain name should always belong to you!

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Can you make changes to a website that someone else designed?
That depends.  If your previous web site was created by a professional, chances are they won't allow their graphics to be used by a new designer.  However, if you created the site yourself, or if someone did it for you as a favor and can no longer maintain it, we would be happy to build upon what you already have.  In either case, we must have written permission to use the original graphics before we will begin any work on your site.  It is your responsibility to obtain this permission.  If the previous web designer does not allow the use of their images, we will have to create a whole new site and bill accordingly.

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I own a very expensive digital camera.  Why would your photos to be any better than mine?
We own a complete line of professional digital Nikon equipment. 
While consumer-grade digital cameras on the market today have a variety of handy functions, including some zoom capabilities, they can in no way compare with the tools used by the pros.
The foundation of a professional photographer’s equipment is the camera body.  Shooters often own several, all of which must have an incredibly fast shutter speed.  The Nikon D-1, for example, can shoot 4.5 frames per second.
Film speed is another important factor.  You’ve probably seen this when purchasing film for your old 35mm camera.  A film speed of 100 is considered slow and is useful only for taking photos on bright, sunny days.  A film speed of 400 is higher, and can be used indoors or to take action photos.  Although digital cameras don’t use film, they do have adjustable light sensitivity levels which are stated as ISO film speed equivalents. Professional digital cameras can be set to a much higher ISO than their consumer-grade counterparts.  The Nikon D-1 has a variable ISO of 200, 400,
800, and 1600.

The next and nearly as important component is the lens.  A pro may own dozens of high-powered, interchangeable lenses.  Some of these lenses can shoot close-ups at great distances, or can capture great action photos in low or poor light.  Some lenses, depending upon the function and capability, may cost more than a new car!
Other professional equipment includes lens converters, light kits, tripods or monopods, and photo editing software.

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All images and text appearing on this web site are the exclusive property of Mark Moran, Melissa Moran, and Moran Photography and Graphic Design unless otherwise noted and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced in any form, and may not be copied, transmitted, or manipulated without the written permission of the owners.  Use of any images as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration (digital, artist rendering, etc.) is a violation of U.S. and International copyright laws.  NO IMAGES ARE WITHIN PUBLIC DOMAIN.