It may seem strange for a Web development company to provide guidelines for how its customers can spend less with us, but really it’s not from our perspective. We believe applying the golden rule not only benefits our customers but also us in the long run. We might make less money in the short term, but we gain the more valuable benefits of building trust with our clients and playing a small part to ensure their long-term success. Such clients will spend more with us over time and become invaluable sources of quality referrals which is how a vast majority of our new business come to us.
So, with that preamble, here are a couple easy ways to reduce your Web development, technical service and graphic design costs:
Maximize the value of each change request
Like almost all Web development and design firms, we have a minimum charge for any task of one hour . This is due to the fact that to switch to a new client’s project, for even a small amount of work, compromises the efficiency of our day’s work flow and imposes an opportunity cost. We have to transition from another project, retool, login to appropriate accounts, backup data before changes, post changes, often test the changes (for example in different browsers) then communicate back to the client regarding the work.
The key for clients to realize is that once we have initiated a change request, the incremental cost is much lower for us doing other small changes while we’re already working within a client’s account. For example take a client who sends over three Website content change requests during a week. Each change may take 10 minutes of actual coding, but if they send those requests at three different times they would get billed 3 hours. If they save those requests and send them all at once they would only get billed for 1 hour or 66% less.
This strategy of course has the most dramatic effect for small changes that are not extremely urgent, and can most commonly be applied for changes for Website content. So if you find yourself with numerous small changes throughout the month, simply try holding them in an Outlook folder or whatever and sending them in groups.
Save 15% by prepaying
We offer prepaid hours with a 15% discount off our standard rates. There is no minimum quantity, you can use them immediately, they never expire and unused hours are 100% refundable. You can also track your prepaid balance real-time through our online client portal.
Save up to 40% through our retainer plans
For any client who regularly gets at least twenty hours of service from us a month you will save a significant amount of money through our flat-rate retainer. Not only do you receive a substantial discount on the number of hours in your plan, you are also entitled to a discount on additional hours each month if you should need them. Flat-rate retainers are paid in advance of each month. Additional hours are billed at a discounted rate of your hourly retainer rate + 20% and payable net 15. Unused hours in flat rate plans are not refundable nor carried over to the next month. Retainers automatically renew but can be canceled at any time. If you have any questions or would like us to personally review your ongoing service needs and provide recommendations please feel free to contact us by phone at 208.475.3192 or through our online contact form.
DNS stands for “Domain Name System” (or often incorrectly referred to as “Domain Name Server”) and is the service that assigns and directs where and how a domain name’s websites are hosted and email service is handled.
DNS has often been compared to a phone book* for domain names. It’s a giant index of the virtual address (IP Address) for each domain name’s website, email and other resources.
DNS is the service that “points” you to the correct server when you type a web address in your browser or an email address in your mail client.
*Phone books are actual books that old people use to find phone numbers to places like Walgreens and the VFW.
Who keeps track of all this DNS information?
It’s appropriate to think of DNS as a single database. However that database is dynamic and does not exist in one physical location, it’s virtualized . . . in other words it exists only in “cyberspace” and the physical information is redundantly maintained and physically spread across multiple locations throughout the world. (No, the illuminati are not involved.)
There are actually lots of places that DNS records are stored and kept updated but the primary places or services that keep the major indexes of DNS information are:
Walmart (just kidding)
One of 13 International Top Level DNS Root Servers (OK, maybe the illuminati are involved after all)
ICANN domain registrars. This would be the company with whom you have your domain name registered / DNS services through.
Facing the “P” word—Propagation
Propagation is a word internet professionals like to use to confuse others and make themselves look smart. It also is a term that simply refers to the update process that occurs when a domain’s DNS services are modified. Propagation is the time and process that your DNS service provider (likely your domain registrar) takes to update their information and send that updated information up the line to the Top Level DNS servers so that everyone in the world will get to the correct new server when they type in your web or email address.
Propagation creates much angst in the world because it can cause Websites and email services to do strange things and even go offline for a time. It causes angst amongst Web professionals because when a DNS change is made we cannot guarantee to a client how long or exactly what kind and to what extent service interruptions might be. It typically takes 24-48 hours for propagation to complete. Oftentimes it goes through much faster and sometimes, technically, it can take up to seven miserable days (something I’ve never seen personally).
Propagation is a lot like death, taxes and Britney Spears songs . . . as much as we would like there’s no avoiding them and, in all fairness to propagation, it’s not nearly as bad as the other inevitables. The best course of action is to go into a DNS propagation period in an orderly fashion hand in hand with your developer—schedule for a slow time and have the correct expectations (Also, don’t yell at your Web guy because he has no control once the change is submitted. He also is more sensitive than you might.).
To learn more fun facts about DNS and propagation and to know how to prepare for DNS propagation check out our other article: