Frequently Asked Questions
... with answers!
We get a lot of questions about our company and our services, and that's great! We love questions.
If you've got one, please don't hesitate to contact us directly.
To save you and us some time, though, we've posted answers to the most common questions here.
- Q: How much does the initial consultation cost?
A: Nothing at all. The initial consultation is on us. It takes as little as 15-20 minutes. We ask a few questions to find out what kind of solution would best meet your needs, and you can of course ask us anything about our company and services.
- Q: What languages and technologies are you familiar with?
Here are some of the technologies we are most familiar with as of October 2019. If you don't see what you're looking for in the list, there's a good chance we will be able to (1) refresh our memories, (2) learn it quickly or (3) get help from a partner in order to meet your needs. Bold text indicates our preferred solution.
- MySQL 8, 5.x
- Microsoft SQL Server
Third Party Software
Server Operating Systems
- Ubuntu LTS (Linux)
- Amazon Linux
- RHEL/CentOS (Linux)
- Windows Server
- Q: Do you offer UI/UX services?
A: We sure do. However, most UI/UX-type work is done under contracts that do not allow us to display the finished product in our portfolio, which is why we can't show any examples here.
- Q: Can I make my own custom Service & Support plan?
A: Previously, we pushed clients to stick to our standard pricing plans, but that was because of our creaky old billing system, and that's all in the past now. So if the listed plans don't seem right, let's talk!
- Q: How often can I request updates?
A: You can request changes as often as you'd like, but remember that we bill in quarter-hour increments, so a 5 minute change request will be billed as 15. For this reason, it's a good idea to send us work in batches of 30-60 minutes.
- Q: What file formats do you accept?
A: Just about anything, but some formats are easier to work with than others. The simplest way to submit copy changes is in plain text (such as an email or text file). Microsoft Word or PDF documents are also accepted. Price lists, event results, or other kinds of tabular data can be submitted in Microsoft Excel, CSV (comma-separated values) or tab-delimited format. Graphical formats vary widely, and some files are too large to be sent via email, so please contact us if you have questions about image files.
- Q: Which tasks are considered maintenance, and which are billable enhancements?
A: Compared to other companies in our industry, we are pretty forgiving with our definition of maintenance. Broadly though, anything that would create a new use or a new audience for your website would be considered an enhancement, not maintenance. But everything else (generally in the vein of adding/updating/removing content) is considered maintenance.
If your request is deemed an enhancement, we will give you a time and cost estimate and confirm it with you before proceeding.
- Q: I'm concerned about entrusting my website to a small company. What happens to my website if you go out of business?
A: Excellent question. As of 2019, Bigger Bird has been doing business continuously for 14 years and we have numerous policies and safeguards in place to ensure that our clients are protected in the unlikely event that we terminate our operations for any reason, or if something happens to us individually. We would be happy to discuss this with you.
As well, if you decide to leave Bigger Bird, we commit to doing everything in our power to ensure a smooth transition to your next vendor. Many former clients can attest to how well we perform this final act of customer service.
- Q: What is a domain name?
A: A domain name is a name that an organization or individual can reserve for its exclusive, world-wide use by paying an annual fee to one of many domain name registrars. For example, Bigger Bird owns biggerbird.com, biggerbird.net, and several other domain names. Domain names are used in website addresses, email addresses and for many other kinds of internet services.
- Q: What is a site map?
A: A site map, as used by Bigger Bird, is a diagram that describes how a website is organized. This diagram is not made visible to the public, but is furnished to clients at the start of the project to give an idea of how we plan to organize the site content. A change in the site map late in the project can affect dozens of pages and delay the project by days or weeks, so it is important to review the site map carefully at the time it is provided and submit any revisions promptly.
The term site map is also sometimes used to describe a special page on a website that contains links to all the pages on the website (or on a very large site, just the major pages). The general idea is the same: it is a way to communicate quickly how the site is organized.
- Q: What is a TLS certificate (a.k.a. "SSL certificate" or "secure certificate")? Do I need one?
TL;DR: Every site needs a TLS certificate, and it is included in all of our plans.
TLS stands for Transport Layer Security and SSL stands for "Secure Sockets Layer", but don't worry, that won't be on the test.
As data travels across the internet, it often traverses a dozen or more different networks, each owned by a different organization. When you are sending sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and personal information, that can be a scary thought.
Obtaining a certificate for your website allows us to encrypt all data flowing between the server and the visitor, ensuring that none of it can be seen or tampered with by third parties. This level of trust is essential for doing business online, and because modern browsers now flag sites without certificates as "Insecure", every site needs one. Bigger Bird will obtain and install a TLS certificate for your site at no cost to you, as part of your Service & Support plan.
As a side note, email is rarely encrypted end-to-end in this manner, and can also be "spoofed" (made to look like it has been sent by someone else), and is therefore considered insecure. Never send sensitive information by email, especially in reply to an unsolicited email.
- Q: Can you make my home page play music?
A: The short answer is yes (we can do just about anything you need), but we strongly recommend against doing this.
The reason you don't want to put music on your home page is the same reason you wouldn't start talking to a stranger during a movie: it's unexpected, unwanted and distracts from what they are there to see. As with any rule, there are exceptions: for example, music and sound might be appropriate on a children's website, a website including online games, or a website for a band or musical group.
Still, many effective websites that do fall into those categories do not employ sound or music. Why would the owners choose to forgo such a powerful attention-grabber? This trick, often used by retailers to lure passing customers into the store is simply not necessary on a website, because the customer is already inside.
In addition, customers often browse at work, school, or some other place in which a sudden, unexpected sound may attract unwanted attention. The embarrassed visitor will quickly exit your site to stifle the sound, and is unlikely to return later.