Can I take over or transfer my site management?
We’ll never stand in the way of client wanting to move away from our services, but you if you would like to take over or transfer the management of your site, you’ll need to consider the following:
- Hosting. You’ll need to establish a contract and working relationship with a hosting provider. There are many hosting providers out there, some are very good while others are poor. We’ll happily advise and guide you appropriately.
- Domain Registration. This is usually managed by your hosting provider, but doesn’t have to be.
- Software Licensing. Various top notch software packages are required for each website we build. My software licences are not transferrable, and you would need to purchase your own software licences.
- We’ve spent many working hours sourcing the best software packages, and eliminating those that don’t work for me. Training on these packages is not provided, and we don’t offer a facility to assist you with these as you go.
- Once the site management has been transitioned, you’ll be responsible for maintenance and support of your own site. Any consultation from Digital Trails will be charged at a standard hourly rate.
Can I access my own site to make small changes?
As part of our website management service, we do allow for several small changes each month. We can quickly and easily implement these changes for you as you request them.
This is a recent business policy change. Previously, we had allowed certain clients to access their sites. In each case, there were one or two advantages to this. Unfortunately, without exception, every one of those clients has done things to damage their own websites.
Types of problems caused by client access to sites include:
- Causing functional damage, leaving us to repair the site.
- Doing changes which don’t fit into the basic SEO design, penalising their Google rankings.
- Doing changes which don’t fit in with proper design principles, making future changes difficult.
- Doing poor changes, which upset the cosmetics of the site.
- Deleting important data, and not knowing how to get it back.
- Uploading excessively large photos, resulting in poor loading speeds, penalising their Google rankings.
- Not saving changes correctly or making other fundamental errors, and then blame us for their information disappearing.
- Encountering difficulties while making changes, and then demanding immediate support and training in the areas they’re working on.
- Overlooking key security principles, exposing their site to hackers.
In some cases, clients use back-end access as an opportunity to learn about web design and to copy our intellectual property.
There are a multitude of ways to learn about web design, but fiddling with a live production site is not one of them.
Where do we get photographs for my website?
Photos are often the most important component of any website, and awesome photos can make a massive difference to the appeal of your website.
Typically, photographs in websites will come from various sources. Sometimes from a professional photographer, our own dedicated photographer, stock photography or our clients very own photos.
When supplying us with photos, you need to confirm that you own the rights to the photos. We take no responsibility for photographs obtained without proper permissions.
Please have a look at our dedicated photographer’s website here.
We have an account with Deposit Photos. They have a good library, and are reasonably priced. If you find photos that you like, please take note of the reference numbers, and let us know.
If you supply your own photos, please ensure they are uncropped and of high resolution and quality. We always edit submitted photos, and starting with a high resolution allows for better editing and more flexibility with cropping. If the photos are in RAW format, this is even better.
Photos downloaded from Facebook and other social media, or from WhatsApp are of poor quality and not usable. Please ensure the original photos are sent via email, in their maximum resolution and file size. A good option for sending photos via phone, is an app called Telegram. This is similar to WhatsApp, but doesn’t destroy photo quality as you send them.
Any other questions, please ask.
How long will it take to build my site?
We can’t give a firm guideline right now, but once we’ve discussed and planned properly, we should be able to give a rough idea.
In our experience, the following have been the causes of a delayed go-live:
- Delayed submission of content and photos. In some cases, we’ve waited in excess of a year. If you’re unsure of anything, please rather talk than delay further.
This is also why we’ve started working with copywriters more often. A good copywriter can get us good quality content quickly and easily.
We do keep a register of items required from clients, and if you’re ever unsure, please check with us.
- Indecisiveness. As above, please rather chat to us. I find that clients often chat amongst strangers on social media groups, get all sorts of weird and wonderful advice, and then insist we implement it. Our business philosophy is that your success is our success, and we’ll do what it takes to get you the good website you need. We’re professionals and are aware of various opinions, theories and approaches out there, but trust us, we’re here to do a good job for you.
- Last minute rush. We often find that clients get anxious, and ask for things to be done asap. There are times where things can be done quickly, but we work methodically, to ensure things are done correctly and properly. Working in a rush often results in problems further down the line, and is best avoided.
If you are presented with tight timelines, please be sure to inform us in advance, so we can plan accordingly..
Can Digital Trails take over management of an existing site?
Each case is unique, it depends on the technology used, and how well it’s been built.
In the past we’ve had cases where sites were so poorly built, that it was practically impossible to do any useful work on them, and with the worry that future support and maintenance would be very difficult or impossible.
In several cases, we’ve actually built a brand new website based on the older one, with less effort than trying to understand the existing site. In each case, it’s been a huge success, resulting a new website way better than the older one, which was easier to support and expand on in future.
Where will my site be hosted?
Our standard hosting is with Xneelo (formerly Hetzner), and is the Basic Shared Hosting option. This is ideal for most small businesses, personal sites, etc. For larger businesses with busy websites, there are various options available, which offer higher capacity and performance.
Xneelo servers are based in South Africa and Germany, so we’ll pick the location that suits you.
We can also work with other hosting providers based in the UK, US and parts of Asia. If the need arises, we’ll determine the best option to suit your needs.
What's included in the basic site management package?
The following are included in our website management package:
- General website support
- Email setup
- Software updates
- Software licensing
- Uptime monitoring
- Daily backups
- Disaster recovery
- Website security
- Small changes
What is domain registration?
Take for example, digitaltrails.co.za . This is the domain name that we’ve obtained and registered. I am the registrant of the domain and owner of this domain. It gets renewed every year. If I don’t renew it, I’ll lose ownership, and someone else can register it for themselves.
Behind the scenes of this domain, information is stored, and this will ‘tell’ the internet where my site is hosted, emails should go, etc.
What is hosting?
Once a domain is registered, all the information for the website needs to be on a computer somewhere. This computer is essentially referred to as the ‘website host’.
For South African websites, where most of the site visitors are based in South Africa, it is best that this host is in South Africa itself. This makes our websites less dependant on the long undersea cables that stretch the length of Africa, allowing them to perform better for local users.
If the bulk of your clients are abroad, it’s probably better to host outside of South Africa. This will allow your website to perform faster for your overseas clients.
There are also more advanced methods such as CDN and Cloud Hosting, which distributes content across the globe, allowing your site to perform well to a global audience.
CDN is currently a service we offer.
Can my .co.za website be hosted outside of South Africa
Yes, pretty much any domain can be hosted anywhere you like. So .co.uk sites could be hosted in South Africa, and co.za sites could be hosted in the UK, US, Asia, or where ever appropriate.
What's this cookie notice all about?
I know… it’s annoying… but it has to be there.
If you’re curious as to what cookies actually are. They are short pieces of information, stored at the back end of your website, for use when you come back to pages you’ve visited before.
It’s obviously a lot more complicated than the explanation above. If you’re really curious, Google it.
Are there types of sites you won't build?
We believe in operating both legally and ethically. We’re an honest organisation that operates under good principles. Some jobs we’ve turned down in the past include pyramid schemes and online stores that just didn’t seem right. This list may grow with time.
Send a Message
Interested in driving growth? Have a general question? We’re just a message away.