Working Together Terms
548 Market St #97291
San Francisco CA 94104
firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com
Link to my W9
- Send, share, invite: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or email@example.com for google related sharing. Please ensure these email addresses are added to your email client’s approved list and always check spam.
- Send images or other visual assets via a file sharing tool like Dropbox or Google Drive. Send a direct link to the folder or asset file, or give me access.
- If using Dropbox, please share in a way that does not require me to add the content to my own Dropbox account. Share the direct link, don’t “give me access”.
- Do not send images or other visual assets via an email attachment. That degrades the quality. We cannot use this.
- Do not share images or other visual assets that are added to a Drive doc or other online document format. That degrades the quality and is difficult to extract. We cannot use this.
Sharing Account Access
- You might have to share your logins to pertinent apps like social accounts, email clients like Mailchimp, or other apps like Calendly. I use a password manager that safely encrypts stored passwords.
Adding me to your Team / Onboarding
- For WordPress: Please create an Admin level account for me in WordPress. Use: firstname.lastname@example.org. My services won’t be fully funtional with a lower account level, it must be Admin.
- Or, you can send me an existing login that I can use to access WP and from there I’ll create a new Admin account.
- Any other apps/services: invite email@example.com. If it’s a Google related service, invite: firstname.lastname@example.org
- I will need an admin user account for your web hosting service.
- I will need an admin user account for your domain hosting service.
- For GoDaddy, it’s best to “delegate access” to me. Here’s how.
Keeping Resources and Assets
- If I send you instructions, links, downloads, or other resources or assets, please save, download or keep as required for your own reference. I might not maintain those documents or resources on my end long term. Once I send them to you, I assume you are taking over responsibility for their long term storage and retrieval.
- When a project is done, I will share with you any pertinent assets and files.
- I like to keep things lean and streamlined. I use Google Drive whenever I can. It’s the most universal platform to create live docs, store assets, share docs, comment and collaborate.
- I often send Google Drive links. You may need a Google account (@gmail) to view or collaborate with these.
- Any document requiring a signature will be sent via Hello Sign.
- I occasionally send screencasts to assist in visual explanations and reviews.
- We use a VPN for security purposes and thus do not have a set IP address.
- We use 2-factor authentification whenever possible, and store any sensitive information in an encrypted vault.
In accordance with our Working Agreement, I can only accept digital payment options that have no receiving/transaction fees. We cannot accept checks. All methods below have no receiving-end fees. *If there is a transaction fee on our end, we will immediately pass that fee to the Client, or not accept the transaction and require a new one.
All invoices are due upon receipt.
You can find me via my email (email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org) or my name with all options below.
- ACH/direct transfer (preferred): contact me for my Schwab bank account info. An ACH option will also appear on any Stripe invoice you receive from us.
- We suggest setting up an ACH auto-pay to avoid late fees. ACH is a direct bank transfer and has no fees. Clients usually use Zelle for this as most banks support it.
- VENMO: A transaction marked as a “goods or service” cannot be accepted as there is a fee.
- WISE: For international clients.
- CREDIT CARD via Stripe: There will be a 2.9% fee added to cover the transaction charge. Let me know if you prefer this method and I can send an invoice via Stripe.
*Note that for some of these payment methods they can take up to a week or longer to process. Bill.com an Melio particularly take a while, so for these types of delayed options, please plan the payment ahead of time to meet the due date.
Payments made later than the 7th calendar day may incur a 10% late fee, and service may be suspended after 30 days.
- Invoices are sent on the 1st and due upon receipt, with a 5 day leeway to allow for accounting and transaction processes to complete.
- Payments completed later than the 7th calendar day may incur a 10% late fee, and service may be suspended after 30 days.
- If late fees are applicable, we will send an invoice on the 7th with the new balance.
- Since our hosting+maintenance+retainer invoice (or whichever configuration of these we have with a client) is a fixed monthly fee, we can assume the client’s accounting is expecting this invoice and thus has a payment plan in place, avoiding delays and late fees.
- If you don’t have a method in place to support recurring payments, we can send over an invoice via Stripe where the client can easily pay and confirm the invoice or card for recurring payments. There is a 2.9% fee added to the invoice to cover the processing fees.
- We suggest setting up an ACH auto-pay which is a direct bank transfer with no fees.
- Invoices are sent from Deanna Sonni, “email@example.com” or Stripe. We will assume the client properly has this address not marked as spam and successfully receives invoice emails.
- We don’t send “payment confirmation receipt” emails, but let us know if you would prefer to receive one. Happy to do so.
Web & Tech Insights & Considerations
Your Email Provider
Unless you use Google Workspace or SaaS solutions like Sendgrid or Sendinblue, you’re going to have a hard time with email, even with MS Exchange. I guarantee it. Your emails probably will go to spam, fail security tests, or not offer the features and information needed for 3rd party apps like email marketing, sales solutions, marketing funnels, etc. Or you’re stuck with figuring out how to generate DMARC and SPF records in your DNS. If you are in the online business space, you need a proper email hosting service with technical features. Email is actually a really complex tech heavy thing, and it is important to get right. Plus, there are a lot of compliance rules and regulations around email, which is why sticking to the leaders is the smartest move.
Our Email Service Package
We offer an email package where we can get your custom email domain (@yourcustomdomain.com) setup and configured: DNS records, validations, website-side configuration, advanced security features, etc. We only work with SendinBlue and Google Workspace because they are the industry best in terms of security and features.
We can setup and configure a new custom email domain so it’s all ready to go and be used, but we are limited in how much we can help you with your existing email setup on your local computer. There are endless personal customizations and settings that we wouldn’t be able to have knowledge of or assist with. If it’s available on your current email host, we can back up your emails, but it’s up to you on how you handle your existing email accounts on your local computer. Example: we cannot help you regarding your Outlook email configurations or troubleshooting, we can only provide you with the login information to use your new Google Workspace account, and the necessary login credentials to add your new Google account to your existing email client.
- $100 one time setup fee.
- First email account is free.
- Additional emails: $10/month per email account.
- We charge a few dollars more than the Workspace going rate of $6/month per email to cover costs associated with the integration of email service into our ongoing technical maintenance and enhanced ongoing security features and DNS management we provide.
Contact us to learn more about getting setup with a proper email service.
Browsers are one of the annoying compatibility challenges for web development. All browsers are independent with different tech development and rendering, which leads to websites looking different on different browsers and their screen sizes. For instance, Safari usually shows fonts as sharper and thinner and colors brighter than Chrome. Firefox renders fonts even thicker than Chrome. Unless your audience is extremely fringe, the majority of your users are using Chrome and on their phone. Second would be Safari. Internet Explorer is a notoriously junky browser full of problems. Certain scrips will load better on some browsers than others, with Chrome being the most sensitive to script issues and programming incompatibilities.
The point is, all browsers are different. Your website will look a bit different on each one. There is also considerable development time put into appeasing all browsers and providing the required programming for each browser’s unique specifications. We can only focus on providing the best browser experience for the latest two versions of each browser. Most people receive automatic browser updates, ensuring we all are on the latest version.
Working with 3rd Party Service Providers
We are picky and cautious about implementing 3rd party ideas. The blunt, honest answer as to why is because they are usually bad ideas/work. One of the many reasons we developed our service ecosystem is because of the flooded, anyone-can-join market of sub-par standards and disguised low skills, entities that sell services yet lack real industry knowledge, and just plain bad work that was finding its way to well-intentioned clients. Navigating the web industry to find a resource that knows about effective web experience, useful tactics, and the comprehensive multi-disciplinary knowledge sets that go into those fields, is to navigate blind unless this is your expertise. We empathize with clients and their unintended misdirection in hiring their friend who “does content marketing”, or is convinced by an SEO agency to redo their website (their core competency is Sales and confusing jargon, not SEO, but an argument I’ll save for another day), because how are they to know what’s good and what’s not. It’s a technical and niche-based assessment, but clients don’t have that level of insight so I think we tend to rely on initial good vibes to guide us when we are out of our realm.
Over the years, we’ve consistently observed disappointment and pointless paid work from our clients as they hire the next person/entity that promises them this, or say they specialize in that, only to have no real ROI. These entities sometimes pass the buck on why they failed to some obscure metric that’s out of their jurisdiction that also doesn’t matter. We’ve seen it all. It takes experience and industry knowledge to know how to sift out the good from the bad and hire correctly, and seek actual good advice. Most are bad, guaranteed, unless you are working with a top-notch reputable agency. I know that’s disapointing to hear and hard to believe. It’s disapointing to see it happen so much. We can help you navigate that.
And all that being said, I do have service providers to recommend!
The delimiter is competency, quality and relevance. We do indeed work with other web entities associated with our client’s portfolio, because it’s a smart relationship or a preexisting relationship that we knew we could contribute to. But we ideally avoid implementing work/suggestions/opinions coming from an entity that our client sourced using their best guess, because again it takes breadth of industry knowledge to know how to source properly. And frankly, we don’t want to ruin our good work. It takes a lot of experience to say it usually degrades outcomes for both sides.
Sonni Web will be your DNS manager and account holder. DNS management is a vital part of our ecosystem, our service stack, and is integrated into the services and features we offer. Example: SSL automatic renewals are handled with our DNS configuration, as well as security measures we add, google verifications, app verifications and so on that we setup and manage for you. We use Pro industry leading tools in everything that we do, including our DNS provider which is the leader in security, security compliance, up-time, and features for technical managers like us.
If you engage an IT service company, or similar:
#1. We hope Sonni Web can be your strategic partner in helping you assess if you even need an IT company. The answer is usually No, and they usually just resell cheap, low security services like Go Daddy, so in general we are very weary of IT services and their worth. We take care of many IT related needs and services with high standards.
#2. If you run a complex multi-system business that does indeed require IT services, we are happy to work with them to add whatever DNS records they need to add. DNS is a records management interface and adding any DNS records that a 3rd party needs to add is a simple single transaction that should not be problematic for them.
Your DNS is safest in our care and management. DNS management is a requirement of Sonni Web.
Google Page Speed Insights (GPS) is the only analytics worth looking at for site metrics. For SEO, there are some leading software options, which we use for our retainer clients.
GPS is tricky and misleading for non-web professionals to understand and place in perspective. I’ll continue to expand on this topic to provide more insight. GPS has a ranking system, bad to good, – red, orange and green. For desktop – your site should be in the higher end of orange or green. For mobile it probably is in red. Websites that have invested $30k++ into website performance will still show mobile in red. Google will tell you orange and red is “bad”. This is where clients get confused out of context because there are so many factors and players involved. First, we need to remember that this is all a business. There are billions of dollars to be lost if Google takes it easy on us with these rankings. It’ll be almost impossible for a large website to be in high orange or green for mobile.
It’s best to focus on the number and how your site compares to its competitors. If you are a Sonni Web retainer client, you will notice your website ranks better than your competitors with similar sized websites.
The biggest ranking killers:
- Ads. If you have ads on your site, you have extreme limitations on improving your ranking.
- Third party scripts. These are unavoidable. Social feeds are a good example. It’s important to have a professional managing your website like Sonni Web to ensure only what is needed is used.
- Unused scripts. Sonni Web services resolves these to the fullest extent available.
- Images that are too big and not in next Gen format. Sonni Web services resolves these to the fullest extent available.
- High quality images. Unavoidable to a large extent for photography-centric websites.
- Slow hosting. Sonni Web services resolves these to the fullest extent available.
- Compression, minification not being utilized. Sonni Web services resolves these to the fullest extent available.
All of these (except Ads to a large extent), can be improved, but not eliminated. And since they cannot be eliminated, GPS will always show it as a “needing improvement”. GPS is delivering a black and white assessment of a gray world. There’s a lot of technical nuances and complications to it, making it a frustrating element for clients to navigate. To be blunt about it, you won’t understand it, nor understand why your website cannot be in green for mobile. Many businesses spend a ton of money hiring agencies to “fix” their ranking, only to end up with no significant changes or to end up with an awfully ugly “SEO website” that looks like it’s from the 90’s.
The insider’s truth is: At the end of the day there’s a certain amount of work, a critical mass, that is needed for a great, successful website, and after that it’s just wheel spinning that results in no real ROI or goal conversion for you. Plenty of marketing and web and SEO agencies pray on the confusion and paint a different picture and have a lot of confusing jargon to sell you on. We’ve seen this happen a lot. A client invested significant money into an SEO agency to increase X and Y, only for it to result in moving the actual needle that matters 0%. There are endless metrics out there, not all of them will matter to your goals.
Sonni Web delivers high-performing websites that users love. A website that performs well on google, and has all the best practices applied on the front and back end so that it’s living its max potential considering the tools, resources and applications needed for the website. We put effort and Best-Of where it matters.
Our Design and Build Perspective and Approach
The web world gets the benefit of large data to learn from: What do users like, how does our brain and eye work on the web, how does our psychology respond, user psychographics, how does color, scale, space and visuals shape our experience, what does google like, what works best on phone, etc. There’s an objective side to web design and how we experience the web – what’s literally effective (the science), and what’s attractive (the art), and the beauty and skill is knowing how to blend the two. A quick answer is to say that websites perform best when they are simple (because mobile dominates), polished, easy to navigate with clear call to actions, and every feature is intentional, consistent and serves the user.
Our skillset lies in this broad spectrum of multi-disciplinary principles to bring our clients effective and fantastic websites that elevate the communication and feeling towards their brand and business.
See our Updates Log for our record of hosting and website updates and issues.
Our Hosting Platform, Onyx
How We Work
As a digital, remote operation we don’t follow a traditional “office lifestyle” and aim to apply balance, efficiency, care, and leading edge tech and web knowledge in all that we do. Since we work a little differently, I’m hoping this section will provide clarity for how we sustainably best serve our clients and offer the unique higher-touch services we do, whether that’s working with Deanna, or Luke for software projects (“us, we, I, me, my”). We keep a small group of clients so that we can provide a high level of attention, standards and care, which is a cornerstone value of Sonni Web.
In supporting our best work environment, we follow a Maker’s Schedule, which includes working at our best hours of focus, not necessarily 9-5. To focus uninterrupted on client work we do not take unscheduled calls and primarily communicate via email, which over the years has proven to be most effective. Sensible flexibility is always offered when it can be accommodated. I can only do scheduled calls before 12pm noon PT. Due to my schedule, I cannot accommodate calls later than that. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Email is the best communication medium for me. Slack and text messages are not in my task management pipeline. Our working agreement is not an “on-call” one. We are not immediately available and work needs to be communicated early. I reply to emails within 24 hours during regular work days, usually sooner. All U.S. holidays are observed and extended time-off periods are communicated via email.
December is a busy month for web development work. December 1st is the deadline to request any new work that needs to be completed in the month of December. Major holidays are a busy work time for us, and any holiday specific work should be communicated and planned well in advance. We won’t be available for rush work or edit requests during the week leading up to major holidays, primarily Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, as that time is allotted for pre-planned work, final reviews and personal time off. As a reminder, even during any off-time our hosting, maintenance and insights are still being monitored and maintained 24/7.
2023 Time off Schedule
November 21 – 26
December 21 – January 3
In supporting a healthy work environment and mindset, we do take hard time offline, and those times may not always align with your downtime, your business’ downtime, launches, new ideas, or your personal schedule. The best way to ensure you have support when you need it is to plan ahead for the work you’ll need. We will communicate any extended time off in advance. As a reminder, even during any off-time our hosting, maintenance and insights are still being monitored and maintained 24/7.
We focus on offering long term value from our outcomes, insights, results and expertise, not counting hours. A Retainer is required for our ongoing engagement and availability. Please see our Retainer options.
(For non-retainer clients)
It’s the Clients responsibility to communicate if they have a budget or time limitation for any communicated project, task or time frame, so we can tailor the work accordingly. Accurate estimations with web work is near impossible due to the reality of work collaboration and the complex, always unique process of building a website, managing a web environment, or open-ended tasks like research. There are many intelligent examinations of this online if you’d like to learn more. If there is no specific budget given, billable work will proceed in a manner that satisfies the client’s requests, scope of work discussed, web development best practices, and exercising time efficiency.
There might be online work you need that is not within the Sonni Web scope. I’m not available in an “on-call employee”, “Virtual Assistant” or “extra set of hands” capacity. Rather I do focused work designed to achieve the goals, value and services outlined for Sonni Web. Primarily:
- managed web hosting,
- website technical maintenance,
- ongoing website work, website updates, and valuable insights for Sonni Web hosted websites in the form of a retainer,
- and website redesign.
If a task falls outside of that arena, I might not be the best suitable resource. It is possible that I will turn down work that is outside my scope of services.
Advanced Custom Programming and Software Development
My partnership with Onyx Edge Hosting provides access to software engineers whom I can engage for advanced technical work. Examples: custom software work such as database builds (think: Membership software, customer database, custom e-commerce system), custom apps, widgets, scripts, Slack bots, iOS/Mac app development, micro-services, etc. This would be subject to the availability and suitability of the Onyx Edge team and is quoted on a per project basis. Deanna acts as project manager and liaison, but the work is entirely executed by the Onyx Edge team and is subject to their own terms and rates. A Retainer is required.
your strategic web partner