Common questions & their answers

GENERAL

How do we get started?

Most projects begin with a chat during which we'll zero in on your needs and find a price + payment terms that fit your budget.

For web projects, you can get a head start by downloading the Website Planning Guide as soon as possible. 

You can get the ball rolling by completing the "Start Your Project" form here.

When can we start my project?

That depends on the current state of my project calendar. Typically, new projects can start 1 - 3 weeks out. I reserve a day in my schedule every 10 days or so to complete maintenance tasks and edits.

I recommend giving new website projects at least two weeks of lead time so you can focus on completing the Website Prep Guide. However, if you've downloaded & completed it already, get in touch. We may be able to sneak you to the front of the line.

All Build Days and project start dates are tentative until the set up fee or deposit is paid. 

Where are you located?

I'm based in Chewelah, Washington which is a tiny ski town tucked into the beautiful Inland Northwest. But I have clients all around the globe. Whether you're in Spokane, Washington or Wellington, New Zealand the design process is the same.

What is your preferred method of communication?

There are definitely occasions when voice communication like a phone call or a Zoom call will be our best option.  

On Build Days, we'll collaborate through a combination of instant messaging (on your choice of Zoom chat or Facebook Messenger) and voice chat + screen sharing on Zoom.  

Any other communications can be sent using the Send a Message form here.

Can I hire you on retainer?

I do occasionally work on retainer. I prefer to only enter retainer agreements with clients who have established a good working relationship.  

If we find we're doing a lot of work together, I'll typically suggest that a retainer will save you money and hassle. If you're interested in talking about a retainer, let me know. 

What is the difference between a concept and a revision?

Your design concepts will provide you with several different creative directions or ideas to choose from. I offer a number of concepts or versions depending on your design package.

Once you have narrowed down the options to one or two of your favorite concepts, I begin to refine your choice.This refining is called design revisions. It can include slight changes to the color palette, iconography, typography, and proportions. Revisions typically do not involve changing the main concept of the design itself.

What is a revision round?

Once we agree on the conceptual direction for your design, I offer a number of revision rounds based on your design package.

A round refers to the feedback - implementation - presentation loop.  Before a revision round, you'll provide feedback on the concept.

I'll interpret & implement that feedback in the form of edits. Then I'll present the updated design as Revision 1. At this point, all feedback is added to the to do list for Revision Round 2. This loop continues until you are happy with your design.

A revision round happens each time I apply your suggested edits to a design.  So, it will help both of us if you collect all of your feedback into one list with as much detail, clarity, & examples as possible.

What if I need more revisions? Or more concepts?

If you "run out" of revision rounds or if you would like to be presented with entirely new concepts, more can be purchased. The price depends on the type of project.

WEB DESIGN

What is a responsive website?

A responsive website is designed to automatically adjust according to your visitor's screen size. The site is designed to look beautiful & function properly across devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone).

Will I be able to update my own site content?

Absolutely! If you can place an order on Amazon or send an email, then you have the necessary skills to manage the content of your new website. I'll teach you the basics and make sure you're comfortable with the content management system. 

Do I have to host my website with you?

If you are on a Website as a Service contract, then yes I do require that we host the website...at least until the end of your contract term at which point ownership is transferred to you.

If you're paying with standard payment terms, your price includes 90 days of hosting. I strongly recommend that you start a site care plan after that.

Please get in touch if you're considering migrating your website to your own hosting account. I can clarify what that means for your continued costs (themes, plugins, etc) and recommend a few hosting services that I trust implicitly. 

Will you also host my email accounts?

No. Mindmeld Creative does not host email accounts.

I recommend setting up your @yourwebsite.com email addresses with G-Suite from Google. For most small businesses and organizations, this will be $5 per month per person. 

Follow this link and the wizard will walk you through the process of setting it up.

Feel free to reach out for help if you hit a snag. Or if you'd rather, I can set up for you for an additional $45. Contact me and we'll get the ball rolling.

Do you need my content before we start building the site?

Yes. The content is the most important part of your website. The site is designed & developed to showcase your content.  

The first step in the site design process is to consider the overall goal of your website so we can work together to create the site architecture and user interface that will be able to achieve that goal. 

Can you help me plan my site?

Absolutely. I created the Website Prep Guide to take as much anxiety and overwhelm out of this process as possible.  

The Guide is a comprehensive step-by-step tool designed to help you gather everything we'll need to build your website.  This will be your homework in the weeks leading up to your Build Day.

If you need more hands-on help completing the guide, you can schedule a 1 hour advising session with me for just $115. Learn more about advising here.

Can you help me source gorgeous images and photos for my site?

Yes. I love sourcing just the right images to convey just the right message! Each site design package includes a certain number of photos that I can source for you.  I can find more for an additional fee of $15 per photo.

Do you provide copy writing?

No. You know your business better than anyone. So, I encourage you to write the initial copy yourself.  However, I can provide copy editing and refinement for an additional fee.

I can help by massaging the words you've written, making sure that your site not only looks and functions great, but also reads well.

If you aren't comfortable writing your own website copy, I can make a recommendation for a professional copywriter.

Do you do SEO?

Mindmeld Creative does not provide search engine optimization services (SEO).  Your site will include the tools necessary to manage your own basic SEO needs.

Most website packages do include the set up and configuration of the basics of your SEO tools.

Still, if you have more advanced needs (like page redirects, site migrations, guaranteed ranking, etc), I highly recommend you consult an SEO professional.

PAYMENT

Tell me more about Website as a Service

After almost 2 decades of building websites, I know one thing is true: your website will never be done.

Your business may have small shifts that change your direction or you might completely pivot and start focusing on something entirely different. This is a natural part of evolving businesses. But, small business owners and grassroots organization leaders often decide to hold back an evolutionary next step because "I can't afford to update the website again." 

Other than making space for your business' growth potential, Website as a Service is just smart decision making. Rather than dropping a relatively large sack of cash for a website that’s going out of date as soon as it goes live, you can make small monthly payments for one that gets better and better every day.

What is the Website as a Service contract term?

We require an 12 month commitment for Website as a Service contracts. At the end of the contract term, your monthly price reduces to just the cost of the Site Care plan.

You can think of it kinda like getting the fancy new phone with your mobile phone service. You pay a slightly higher monthly payment until that phone is paid off. Once the phone is paid off,  your monthly payments go down. 

How do I set up my Website as a Service contract?

When you choose a Website as a Service plan, you'll receive an email with a link to your terms and agreement. Clicking that link will take you to the Partial.ly customer checkout. This is a fully secure, custom checkout page with the payment plan amount and details listed.

You'll be asked to enter your payment method details, agree to the terms and conditions and type your name in a digital signature box to complete checkout and initiate the payment plan.

All future payments will be timed and automated according to the custom terms of your payment plan.

So is Website as a Service a loan or a service?

At first, it's both.

The minimum term on your Website as a Service contract is a no interesloan not service contract.  The Website Care plan is the service contract portion of that payment.

When you sign your payment agreement with Partial.ly, you are agreeing to pay the full amount of the loan according to the terms in the agreement.

At the end of your minimum term, after the loan is paid in full, your Website as a Service plan will become a pure service contract for the Site Care plan.

What happens at the end of the term?

After your 12 month term, you'll be enrolled in the Site Care plan.

At the end of your 12 month term, ownership of the site design transfer to you.  (You always own the content on your site.)

If you decide to cancel your account with me at that time, I'll help you migrate to another host or package up your website in a zip file.

Remember, the Site Care plan includes the cost of maintaining licensing on premium plugins and themes. If you switch to another host, you'll need to purchase licenses for those items.

What if I'd rather just pay for my site instead of a Website as a Service plan?

No worries. You don't have to choose the Website as a Service plan. You can still choose to pay for your website with standard payment terms (50% deposit/50% at the end of the project).

What are standard payment terms?

Standard payment terms split your project costs into two equal payments.

The 50% deposit will get your project in my schedule. While waiting for your project start date, you can focus on completing the Website Planning Toolkit.

The remaining 50% is payable on the site launch date or 30 days after the date of your scheduled Build Day, whichever comes sooner.

I include 90 days of hosting & site care with Standard Payment terms. After 90 days, you'll either pay $45 per month for Site Care or migrate the site to your own hosting. 

What if my project takes longer than 30 days to complete?

Website projects taking longer than 30 days will be charged a bi-weekly continuation fee.

On day 45, I’ll send an invoice for the $325 fee. I’ll send this invoice every two weeks until website launch.

Yes, I know this fee is prohibitive. It's meant to be. This policy is in place to avoid bottlenecks & long-lead times in my project calendar.

To avoid continuation fees, you are encouraged to clear time in your schedule during your project so you can provide feedback and meet any deadlines that might delay the project.

With the introduction of 1 Day websites and custom websites (which I think of as 1 Week websites), this should not be an issue.

However, delays are possible if you come to Build Day with an incomplete Website Planning Toolkit, are unavailable to collaborate or provide instant feedback during your Build Day, or if you are indecisive about your design...requiring many time-consuming revisions. 

The 30 day limit allows us time to schedule a second or possibly even third Build Day if we need to.  

The moral of this story is to be prepared, be available, and never, ever, never utter the words "I'll know it when I see it" to your graphic designer.

How do payment plans for graphic design services work?

I understand that you may not have a few thousand dollars laying around to drop on a book launch, business branding project, or a social media campaign. This is why I've decided to make payment plans available to my clients.

Most design projects over $750 can be paid with a payment plan.

Payment plans require a 25% deposit and include a 9% service charge. Monthly payments are made automatically. The number of monthly payments will be determined by the total price for your project. 

When you request a payment plan, you'll receive an email with a link to your terms and agreement. Clicking that link will take you to the Partial.ly customer checkout. This is a fully secure, custom checkout page with the payment plan amount and details listed.

You'll be asked to enter your payment method details, agree to the terms and conditions and type your name in a digital signature box to complete checkout and initiate the payment plan.

All future payments will be timed and automated according to the custom terms of your payment plan.

NOTE:  Payment plans are loans not service contracts.  When you sign your payment agreement, you are agreeing to pay the full amount of the loan according to the terms in the agreement.

Can I get a refund if I change my mind?

I do not offer refunds for website design or graphic design services.

There is one exception. If you've made a 50% deposit under the standard payment terms and you change your mind, you can get 50% of your deposit (25% of the project) refunded to you if you cancel your project in writing (via email is ideal) at least 7 business days before your project start date or website Build Day.

The 25% deposits for Partial.ly payment plans are non-refundable.

Website as a Service setup fees are non-refundable.

Automatic payments might be refundable. If you have a WaaS or payment plan agreement and if you cancel your project in writing (via email is ideal) at least 7 business days before your project start date or website Build Day, you will be refunded any automatic payments that may have been paid in the time between paying your setup fee/deposit and your start date/Build Day. You will be able to avoid additional payments by cancelling your Partial.ly agreement as early as possible. 

What if I miss a Partial.ly payment?

If you're on a Website as a Service (WaaS) contract or a payment plan for graphic design services, your payments are processed automatically each month. Please keep your payment method up-to-date in your Partial.ly account.

If your payment doesn't go through, Partial.ly will attempt to charge your credit card three times.  

If it doesn't work after three attempts, your payment account may be suspended. 

Remember, your payment plan is a loan not a service payment. 

If you do not update your payment method to re-initiate your account within 14 days, a $50 late fee will be added to your account.

If a WaaS account remains inactive for 45 days, your website will be taken off line until the account is caught up.

If a payment plan account is inactive for 45 days, a late 20% late fee will be added to your account.

If your Partial.ly account remains inactive for 60 days, the remaining balance will become due in full, and we will begin the debt collection and credit reporting process. Any legal fees incurred in the collection process will be added to your amount due.

 

Can I pay off my Partial.ly balance early?

Absolutely! You can log into your Partial.ly account and make additional payments anytime you like for any amount that you like.

Keep in mind that, regardless of additional payments, your automated payments will continue according to the terms until your balance is zero.