Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For those that are new to the web and web design, here are a few commonly-asked questions about websites as well as our technical and business practices. If you have a specific question you would like to see answered here, please let us know by clicking Contact Us on the left menu.

By clicking on the questions, the page will scroll to the answer.

General Questions
How does one get a domain name (URL)?
What is a subdomain?
How is a URL mapped to my content on a server?
How do I find out if a domain name is available?
What’s the deal with Spam?
Isn’t outsourcing offshore the way to go today?
Questions About Our Technical Practices
How can you help drive traffic to our website?
Do your websites support on-line payments directly to us?
What is your backup protocol?
Why doesn’t Noetic Harbor have its own servers?
How much bandwidth can do we get?
Can you do a re-design of an existing website?
I noticed a small version of your logo () in the Address Bar. Can we do that?
Questions About Our Business Practices
What do you charge? Why don’t you list your prices on your website?
How small or how big are the websites you build?
What are your billing practices? When are payments due?
How do you work with your clients?
I’m not from Rhode Island. Is it still possible to work with you?
Do you have a large backlog of work?
Do you have references?
Can you host a website that you do not design?
Can you design a website that you do not host?
Does Noetic Harbor require that a contract be written?
General Questions — Answered
How does one get a domain name (URL)?

A domain name is part of a Universal Resource Locator (URL) such as “http://noeticharbor.com”. Domain names are reserved for two or more years’ duration from a “registrar” such as Network Solutions, Inc. or GoDaddy. There are hundreds of registrars accredited to do business by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Internet Council of Registrars (CORE). Domain names can be licensed for from $18 for two years to $75 for two years. The most common domain names end in .com (commercial), .net (internet related), .org (non-profits), .edu (educational), and .gov (government). Either you can obtain a domain name on your own or Noetic Harbor can help you with that. We register names through GoDaddy because of their good reputation and low price.

What is a subdomain?

A subdomain is the part that comes before the domain name. “www” is a common subdomain, but is not necessary if your site is set up properly. In “fleet1.j109.org”, the “fleet1” part is the subdomain. Once you have the domain name reserved, you can have as many subdomains as you want and they can act as independent websites.

How is a URL mapped to my content on a server?

First you use a browser (such as Internet Explorer or Firefox) to enter the URL. Your computer contacts a Domain Name Service (DNS) for the address of the corresponding server. Once your DNS is set up to reference a specific server machine (this may take 24-48 hours), there are routers all over the Internet that send your requests across the Internet for fulfillment. Often these requests take a half dozen or more hops to reach the final destination. On the return trip, the data takes just as many hops to return to the client machine to display the content.

How do I find out if a domain name is available?

Every registrar has a service to do this using a form you fill out with the name you are interested in. This is a so-called “WhoIs” query. We have provided this service with a form at the top of the right column for your convenience.

What’s the deal with Spam?

More than 90% of e-mail today is Spam (unwanted and unsolicited commercial solicitations). Almost everyone who has an e-mail address has one or more filters to prevent Spam from reaching their mailbox. Some corporations have taken steps to “outsource” their Spam controls. One problem comes when servers such as ours send out e-mail (e.g. we send passwords to members) that site visitors need, but that are considered SPAM because they come from a machine. This is called a “Type I” or “false positive” error. The filter thinks this is SPAM, but it is not. A “Type II” error is a “false negative” when a SPAM filter does not recognize SPAM and passes it along to you. Sometimes a user can “white list” a source of e-mail even though the filter would normally reject that mail. Or a user can look in a segregated mailbox for the missing e-mail. But if Spam controls are outsourced, this becomes increasingly harder to handle at a local level.

Isn’t outsourcing offshore the way to go today?

If you like to play Russian Roulette, you’ll love sending your web design work offshore. Yes, you can get it done cheaper in Rumania or Russia or India, but you’ll have trouble communicating. You’ll find that your sites have fractured grammar. And you may find the company you deal with is out of business in six months. It is very high risk to do this.

Questions About Our Technical Practices — Answered

How can you help to drive traffic to our website?

Traffic is generated in several ways. A general marketing campaign with print and other advertising is one way. Links from other sites is another way. Third, if your keywords are properly chosen and incorporated into your site, you can be referenced by search engines such as Google.com and Ask.com. There are also services that submit sites to search engines to improve your placement. Finally, there are other services such as AdWords that put paid advertising on search pages based on the keywords that a searcher uses. Noetic Harbor can help with all of these strategies. (See links on the right.)

Do your websites support on-line payments directly to us?

Yes. We can have money deposited into your account when a payment is made through the website. Since you, not Noetic Harbor, would have access to this account, you can have the funds moved to your checking account. The fee for this service (about 2-3%) goes directly to the service provider, but Noetic Harbor can set it up for you.

What is your backup protocol?

This is a very important question to ask when shopping for a hosting provider. We backup the databases and sites daily to the server and weekly to our local machines. In the case of a disaster such as a head crash, we can recover all but your most recent data.

Why doesn’t Noetic Harbor have its own servers?

In a sense we do have our own server, but it is a dedicated server leased from a “server farm”. This is better than having a server locally because of all the services provided by such a facility. These include a geographic location that has low incidences of natural disasters, and a site that has air conditioning, climate control, redundant access to the Internet, technical support 24x7x365, and disaster recovery personnel and services.

How much bandwidth can do we get?

Our largest sites are using about 1 GB per month. We have plenty of headroom for more, but if you expect to use more than that, we should be consulted first.

Can you do a re-design of an existing website?

Of course. As a matter of fact, more often than not we start from an existing site that needs to be improved.

I noticed your logo () in the Address Bar? Can we do that?

Of course. This is called a “favicon”. We have designed these for many of our clients.

Questions About Our Business Practices — Answered

What do you charge? Why don’t you list your prices on your website?

We could offer rules of thumb on cost per page, but we’d rather refer you to what other design companies charge (see the sidebar for examples). Each website is different in complexity. Depending on the quantity of specialized graphics, who provides the graphics, whether there is a database involved, or whether there is an administrative interface provided, the costs vary greatly. We can discuss your needs and give you a firm quotation if you know what you need.

How small or how big are the websites you build?
We have a large range. We have built sites with as few as a half dozen pages and as large as several hundred pages. See our portfolio page for examples.

What are your billing practices? When are payments due?
In general we request that 50% be paid up front, and 50% upon completion. We offer a 100% money back guarantee on our work if you are not satisfied for any reason up until delivery. If you are hosting with us, we charge a monthly fee (payable quarterly in advance) for hosting and routine maintenance. This is agreed upon before we accept a job.

How do you work with your clients?
We design a website together. The most common mode of operating is to design something on our server and have the client comment on it. There are things that he or she likes and things that he or she does not like. After several iterations, we home in on a final design. After a site is in operation, there are often small (sometimes large) modifications. Usually these are covered by the hosting and maintenance fees, but occasionally there are additional charges for upgrades.

I’m not from Rhode Island. Is it still possible to work with you?
We work with customers across the country. Some we have never met face-to-face. Others we have never even talked to on the telephone, but this is rare. The vast majority of our interaction with customers is through e-mail. Most clients can point us to other sites that they intend to emulate. This is very helpful in getting started on a plan. We have Skype and can videoconference if that is more reassuring.

Do you have a large backlog of work?
We are currently accepting new work.

Do you have references?
We have many references. Choose one or more sites from our portfolio and we will give you appropriate references. Please use the Contact Us page to request references.

Can you host a website that you do not design?
As a courtesy we host a small number of websites we did not design. But we are not in the hosting business and we are not seeking this business.

Can you design a website that you do not host?
It is much easier for us to design sites for our own server because it is set up with the tools that we use. We would consider doing a design and hosting it elsewhere, but we would have to discuss this.

Does Noetic Harbor require that a contract be written?
We do not require a contract be written, but if you need one from your end, we will help you with the wording. Normally, we write a proposal of what we will do for you that you approve before we start work.

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