Basic support

Once a website is launched, we offer a basic support package which includes technical support, training, hosting and a few other things. Your quarterly support payment includes all of them.

Technical support

Technical support refers to us fixing anything that breaks that we consider part of the original design and build of a website. So, for example, if all our testing hadn't picked something up prior to launch, and we later realised it wasn't working, we'd fix it for free.

It also involves us troubleshooting anything to do with the website, whether it's something to do with us or not. Perhaps you forgot to resize an image properly and can't work out why the page doesn't look like it should, or you're concerned it's loading slowly on your computer at home, for example.

Training

As well as being able to come in and sit with us while we take clients through looking after their new website, many of our clients enjoy being able to call us whenever they forget how to do something. We use good software, which minimises this, but if you need something explaining or a reminder of how to do something, no problem.

Hosting

We host our sites using a company called Memset. They offer what we believe is the best hosting in the UK. They aren't cheap, but instead offer high-performance servers and a lot of additional security features you won't find everywhere else. By hosting multiple sites on a server, we're able to balance performance and price so clients end up with hosting performance they wouldn't be able to get on their own without paying a lot more. And, because it's our hosting, we can support clients better, whether it's by saving them the need to work with a hosting provider themselves or because we know we're working on a server set up to meet their demands.

We take security very seriously. As well as keeping our servers up-to-date, the only people with access to our servers are us and Memset, and we never give out server access to clients unless their website is the only site on a server. This is important because human error is the most common cause of security breaches.

If you'd prefer your own server that's not shared with anyone else, we'll rent it from Memset for you so you never even need to deal with them.

Backups

We backup every account on every one of our servers every night. The backups are securely transferred overnight to our Amazon S3 storage and where they are kept for seven days. In addition, we take a weekly backup every Sunday and save that for four weeks. Should anything happen to your account, we can restore it using those backups.

Server monitoring

To help monitor our servers we use a third-party service to ping our servers every five minutes. We also use Memset's Port Patrol Basic monitoring. If a server is found to be down, we're emailed and respond as soon as we can to get the server backup. Please note, though, we do not monitor every website on our servers - if that's something you require, see our next-level support, below.

Web fonts

Web fonts mean we're no longer restricted to the fonts people already have installed on their computers, which gives us a lot more flexibility in our designs. Rather than require clients to have their own subscriptions for these web fonts, we make the most of our multi-client subscriptions and include our costs within your support payments.

Amazon S3

For clients with websites containing a lot of imagery, we use Amazon S3 to host the images and speed up their delivery. It means the server hosting the website performs even better and allows us to take advantage of Amazon's content delivery network for faster loading times.

Next-level support

For clients wanting even more peace-of-mind we can implement additional security measures and server monitoring. This typically means checking individual websites and responding to automatic text alerts within an agreed timeframe, keeping downtime to an absolute minimum. Note that Memset

For clients wanting even more reasssurance, we recommend a number of features offered by Memset, and we're happy to monitor/manage them all on your behalf:

Further support work

Websites are rarely a one-off investment and clients usually invest in further work after a site is launched, often for the life of the project. Whether it's more work on your website or helping you with your digital marketing (search ads, display ads, search-engine optimisation, social media, etc), we're got experience and the expertise.

Most clients make use of a combination of the following arrangements for further support work, typically using hourly billing or a retainer for smaller tasks, then the fixed price arrangement for larger jobs.

Fixed price support work

Fixed prices work involves setting a fixed-price based on some specified work. Work priced at over £1000 is normally paid for in two parts: a 50% deposit payment and a second 50% balance payment once the work is finished.

How do fixed prices work?

The clients specifies the work which needs doing, and we price according to the skills and time we think is needed to complete it. Because there are usually many ways to achieve something in our line of work, some clients prefer to specify a budget first to speed up the process and avoid us suggesting something unaffordable.

Changes in the specification remain possible, but may require changes to the price of the work.

When are fixed prices appropriate?

Any significant work where what needs doing can described accurately is ideal for fixed price billing:

  • Fixed prices are just what they say they are, which helps clients plan their budget.
  • For larger pieces of work, payments can be spread over two or more installments.

Hourly support work

With hourly support work, we work for an agreed hourly rate, and either bill monthly or when the balance reaches a certain figure.

How does hourly billing work?

Typically, we'll attempt to estimate the number of hours needed to complete a piece of work to give the client a guide, but hourly billing is different to fixed-price work in that the price of the work can vary once it has been started. Hours are billed in 15-minute increments.

When is hourly billing appropriate?

Clients who require small updates only occasionally are best using hourly billing:

  • Hourly billing offers clients the most flexibility if they don't quite know what what work needs doing or think they might have a change of mind.
  • It usually works out the most economical method of getting work done. Fixed prices, for example, require us to

Monthly retainers

Monthly retainers provide ongoing support work at a discounted rate up to a number of hours, and are paid either quarterly or monthly (in advance).

How do monthly retainers work?

With a monthly retainer, you are buying regular time at a discounted rate. This means the payments you make for a retainer are considered fully earned each month, which means they are non-refundable. Note that unused hours are not carried over with a monthly retainer, and it is your job as the client to make sure your retained hours get used each month.

Additional support work outside the retained number switches over to the standard hourly billing (above).

When are retainers appropriate?

Clients who require regular small pieces of design or development work are ideal candidates for a retainer:

  • Monthly retainers speed-up small jobs because they're already paid-for.
  • They guarantee our availability for the work.
  • If used regularly they typically save the client money due to the discounted price.

Any questions?

If there's anything you're unsure about here, just send Clive an email.

Want to go elsewhere?

If for whatever reason you aren't happy with our support and want to take your business elsewhere, we'll be sad to see you go. But we'll also make the process as painless as we can. As long as you have no outstanding invoices with us we'll package up your website and send you a download link so you can host it elsewhere. And, no, we won't charge you for leaving us.