Web design for serious business.





Frequently Asked Questions:



How long have you been in business? Sidereal has been in business since 1997. Some of our principal staff have been working with the Internet since 1978. (More)
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Where are you located? Our offices are in the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC, but our staff are widely distributed. The business is entirely integrated by real-time, cooperative work via the internet.
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Do you have a guarantee? Yes. If you ever find anything in your web site that does not work as a result of our error in building it, we will fix it for free. Forever.
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What areas do you serve? Our business is global. We have clients all over the United States, but also internationally stretching from Australia to South Africa to Mongolia among others.
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How large is Sidereal Designs? We employ about 20 people including graphic artists, layout designers, coders, various specialists such as Flash, SEO and Sysadmin, and management.
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Have you built a site like mine before? In most cases the content of a site does not affect the methods, procedures and code used to build it. To take an analogy, you wouldn't ask a moving company if they had moved your color of furniture before. Some sites require advanced functionality to perform special operations and Sidereal Designs has great depth and experience to meet these needs. It would be unlikely that we had not had experience with your required web site functions. In some novel applications we have developed new web methodology where none existed before.
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What do you charge per page? We do not charge by the page. All of our sites are custom work and we make you an estimate for the whole job. In most cases the number of pages has only a small influence on the total price, which is affected primarily by the coding of special functions, commercial operations, interface with other sites or office software, databases and dynamic pages.
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Why did I get a much lower estimate from another company? There can be several reasons. First, it is a two-tier industry; at the low end are designers who provide pre-designed templates and general purpose, 'canned' programs for common functions. This can be acceptable for simple sites that don't need a unique look nor have any special requirements. At the high end are developers such as Sidereal that create fully custom web sites.

Second, a free-lance coder will have much lower overhead than an established web development firm. Be sure they have all the required skills and experience, and if you plan on needing support later be sure they will be available.

Third, less experienced companies, especially local companies, may not have fully understood the complexities of your application. Make sure you get a complete statement in writing of what the site will do.

Fourth, offshore firms can offer lower rates due to lower cost of business. You must be willing to accept the communications issues and a greater degree of risk.

It is possible that some of these lower-priced approaches may be suitable for your work, but you should be sure of this before investing.
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Can I have a site that looks like this? Actually, making it look like anything you want is not much of a factor. We'll start with your initial direction and then work with you to refine it. Making a beautiful website is about the same effort as making an ugly one unless we need to license special artwork, and the real cost-drivers are the functional requirements of the site.
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Do you offer hosting? Actually few if any web developers really offer hosting. Most resell hosting from a hosting service where they buy it wholesale. (Hosting and web development are two totally different businesses with different requirements.) We prefer to simply find the best hosting for your website according to its functions and place your site there, giving you the savings by paying the host directly.
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Can you design a website that will rank high on google? There was a time when the way a web page was designed had a large influence on search engine ranking. This is no longer true because the major factor used by Google is the number of other web sites not belonging to you that link to your site. You can still harm your ranking with a badly built page but if you do everything perfectly you will not guarantee a high ranking.

Today ranking is achieved through the efforts of a search engine optimization specialist (SEO,) and it is an ongoing job, not part of the one-time cost of constructing a site. We have an SEO with whom you can contract or we can recommend other honest SEO services to you. You should beware of cheap offers in this area as SEO work is a field with many charlatans.
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What kind of code or servers do you use? We prefer the 'LAMP' (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) constellation that is used by about two thirds of all sites on the web. This gives the greatest portability and security. However if you have an existing corporate system using other technologies we can develop in any other environment.
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I want a site like E-bay/MySpace/Youtube/...etc. Can you do this? Yes, we can, but be aware that these sites are worth millions to billions of dollars.
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Sidereal Designs™ is a trademark of Sidereal Designs, Inc. of Maryland.

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