Thrive Online Web Design

Frequently asked questions.

I design all of my websites on a platform called WordPress. It provides all of the required back-end infrastructure, allowing me to focus more on the design and usability aspects of your site. The WordPress theme I use will depend on the specific requirements of your project, however the one I use most often is GeneratePress. It is fast and robust with very clean code and no bloat.

There is also a community based around the theme where we help each other out with any problems that may arise. The last piece of the puzzle is a page builder plugin called Elementor. This allows my clients to very easily change and update the content on their website within a simple and easy to use drag-and-drop interface if they choose.

The only exception to WordPress is if you require an e-commerce store. In some of these cases I suggest that clients use Shopify, depending on their requirements (more info about this below). WordPress is still a great option, and has a very good open source e-commerce plugin called WooCommerce, which has no monthly fees attached.

WordPress is the most popular open source Content Management System available, with a huge community of developers constantly working on updates and improvements. It provides the back-end infrastructure needed for you to easily login and edit the content of your website yourself (if you choose to do so). I include a one-to-one training session with all of my web design packages, to introduce you to WordPress and show you the ropes, so you can have the ability and confidence to update your own websites at anytime if you choose to.

Another great advantage to using a popular open source platform like WordPress is that (heaven forbid) anything should happen to me, you still have full access and control over your website, and another web designer/developer can very easily take over and quickly have a good understanding of how the back-end of the site works. With some web design companies, this is not possible if they build websites on their own internal platforms which other developers don’t  have any knowledge of, essentially locking you in for the entire duration of your website’s life, without any ability to switch companies if you choose to.

The one downside to Shopify is that the software costs 30 USD per month. Although this includes web hosting so it balances out as you will not be paying monthly fees to a website hosting company.

Compared to WordPress, Shopify is a superior platform in my opinion for running a small online store, in terms of ease of use and simplicity. If you’re looking for something more advanced, or your budget doesn’t allow for the monthly fees, then the WooCommerce plugin on WordPress is the best option for your online store.

I have learned a lot over the years working for various companies in New Plymouth (Taranaki). I have perfected a highly efficient process for every website I design and build, allowing me to design a modern, clean and effective website in much less time and therefore being able to charge less.

There are two ongoing costs associated with keeping any website up and running and accessible via the Internet.

The first is your domain name registration. This is a small annual fee that allows you to reserve a website address of your choice, e.g., which you then point to your website. The fee for a domain name averages around $30 per year including GST, depending on the type of domain you would like to register.

You can reserve multiple domain names if you choose to, and have them all pointing to your website. Your domain name can also be used for your email addresses, e.g. [email protected], along with an email service like Google G Suite which uses Gmail. I will organise your domain names for you as part of any of my web design packages, and can setup your business email account with a provider of your choice, using your own custom domain name.

The second service required is website hosting. This is a monthly cost paid to a web hosting company which stores your website on their servers, making it available to your visitors over the Internet (read more about this below). The average cost for this is around $30 per month, but can differ hugely depending on your specific requirements and the plan you choose. E.g. the lowest cost option is shared website hosting, where your site is hosted on the same server as multiple other websites. On the higher end is dedicated hosting, where you get an entire server to yourself just for your website, which obviously has speed and security benefits. There are also other options in between. Usually, shared hosting will suffice for a small to medium business. I am happy to provide as much advice as needed and recommend the best option for your business.

If you like, I can organise hosting for you. Or if you already have a preferred web host, e.g. a local New Plymouth or Taranaki web host, just let me know and I can launch your website on their servers for you.

Once your website has been designed and built, it is ready to go public. In order to be available via the Internet when people type in your domain name or web address, it needs to be “served” on a special computer called a web server.

These servers are provided by web hosting companies in various data centres around the world. Their data centres are secure buildings containing hundreds of servers with multiple fast Internet connections ensuring your website loads fast for visitors, and is constantly monitored and backed up by technicians in case something happens. This service they provide is called website hosting.

There are web hosting companies based in New Zealand and even a few based in New Plymouth (Taranaki), however they are quite expensive and so I use an Australian based web host to keep costs down for my clients. Although if you choose to use a local New Plymouth or Taranaki host despite the cost, I’m more than happy to work with you on that and can organise it for you.

Once your deposit has been paid and you have provided all of the content I need, it generally takes around 5-10 working days for your website to be planned, designed, built, tested, optimised and launched. This is based on prompt communication and feedback on your behalf whenever required for your project.

A website project is very complex and we like to be thorough ensuring our clients are 100% satisfied, and sometimes things do go wrong which takes time to fix – this may add a few more days, although I do keep the lines of communication open and keep you informed every step of the way.

If your web project is urgent and you need it completed quicker than this, please get in touch with me to do discuss options, I will probably be able to work around your deadline.

Yes, once we’ve launched your website, I will sit down and go through everything with you. The training session is included in all of my web design packages, and can take place either in person or over Skype with a shared screen.

If any additional training sessions are required for you or any of your staff members, I charge a reasonable $65+GST per hour, and am more than happy to come out to you if you’re close by.

I’m currently working on a video series which will be available to all my clients once completed. It will have walkthroughs and tutorials for all common changes you may need to make to your website. 

While your website should continue to work properly on the front-end without any updates or maintenance work being performed, this is definitely not recommended. If your site hasn’t been maintained properly then you go to update it 5 years from now, you will find that it will most likely break and you’ll have to either roll it back to the outdated version which you’ll be stuck with or have a new one built from scratch.

The reason for this is that WordPress (as well as any other content management system) is constantly being updated with security fixes, new features, performance updates, improvements, etc. New versions of themes and plugins are also constantly being released to keep up with the WordPress updates. If your website hasn’t kept up then different things will no longer be compatible with each other.

It is therefore highly recommended that your website is properly maintained and updated every month. I can teach you how to do this yourself in our training session (in person if you’re based in New Plymouth / Taranaki, otherwise over Skype), or I can take care of it all for you for $65+GST per month (one hour dedicated per month, in line with my hourly rate below).

I have a flat rate of $65+GST per hour for any web work, content writing, online marketing, search engine optimisation, graphic design, website maintenance, updates or support.

Before becoming a freelance web designer, I have worked for years at various multimedia and design agencies, with a focus on web design, web development, graphic design, online marketing and photography.

I am open to discussing a payment plan for your web design project that works for you. Flick me a message regarding your situation and I will be happy to provide some options for you.

As a freelancer / small business supporting my family, I protect my time by requiring a 40% deposit upfront. This ensures I can begin dedicating my time to your website project straight away, and helps me to manage my cashflow – because if I continue to run my business like a well-oiled machine, then all of my clients also benefit from this.

An additional 40% deposit is required halfway through the project once the first draft is ready to present for you to review and provide feedback on. The remaining 20% balance is due at the completion of your website project, once your site is ready to be deployed.

Accepted payment methods are credit card and Internet banking transfer. All invoices are due within 7 days from the date of issue.

If these payment terms wouldn’t work for you for whatever reason, get in touch with me and we can discuss other potential options. 

No, I am not a banana.

Any other questions?