Online Systems Processes for Web Design, Development, SEO and Support

We have updated our current processes to reflect changes made on various systems. We have also implemented a range of new systems to enhance support, improve customer service and have better results from SEO efforts. These processes impact web design, web development, SEO, support, training, customer service, accounting and reporting.

Web Site development, support and general processes:

  • Support: All support to be done on the client portal. This is to track the requests and ensure quick resolution on support. Only registered clients have access to the support system - if you require more people to have access to the support system, please login, and create a support ticket with the username and email address to be used and we will add an extra user on the support system.
  • Change or Work Request: We are handling many web sites. To ensure an efficient process to changes, we employ project management principles. These are coordinated by using the client portal work request system. All work requests needs to be logged on the system. The project office will schedule the work and reply on your ticket to give you an indication of when the work will be complete. This could be anything between 2 and 4 weeks (20 working days) depending on work load. All work requests will have an invoice which will need to be paid within 7 working days of completing the work.
  • If the work request is more than 1 hour of work a 50% deposit will be required before commencing with the work request.
  • Systems that needs to be bought require full payment before development starts.
  • Photos, images, illustrations, etc. require full payment upfront.
  • Maintenance options are available on request. Work requests via email will not be accepted, these must be completed on the online support system. Email issues, hosting issues are part of the monthly hosting fee if you host your site with us.
  • Any code change(s) will attract fees at current support rates.
  • Web Site Development, design, corporate identity and logo: The development of a site requires input from you as our client. to assist with the process we have questionnaires that need to be completed.
  • Images, Photos and Stock Items: We often use current elements available online to create ideas and use in the design of logos, concepts, websites, brands etc. These are available to anybody to use. In some cases you can obtain exclusive rights to an image, stock photo, design, etc. In most cases to get the rights will cost something.
  • Custom development or coding is always excluded unless stated otherwise. Coding is a very involved process and usually takes very long and is expensive due to the time to do the work.
  • Quotes and proposals are based on discussions we have with you. If your requirements or ideas change, they do from time to time, then we will need to re-look at quote. Most sites are based on our standard packages based on standard rates and standard hours to be completed in a standard time.

The development and design process for a website is as follow:

A) Accounts and Payment

  1. The client opens an online account (www.onlinesystems.co.za/clients) using our FREE Quote option. This gives you access to our download area with valuable FREE reports, and our Welcome Pack on how we work.
  2. We discuss with you what you need, the time lines, the functionality, etc. In client client download area is full questionnaire to help.
  3. Once we have the information we will create a quote for you that will be valid for a certain period based on what we talked about.
  4. When you are happy with the quote you give us the go-ahead and the order is placed and invoices are created.
  5. All quotes will have set facetime. Facetime is time we spend discussing the project with you. This includes talking about the project, emails, meetings, telephone calls. All of these items will be scheduled and will be detailed separately on a project.
  6. The required payment is received and confirmed once paid
  7. The marketer, from this point forward is not the primary contact - the support desk and website designer will assist with getting your site designed and live on the internet.
  8. Optional: Depending on the service required a debit order form will need to be completed and faxed to 086 618 9012.

B) Development

  1. The client completes the Online Systems Web Questionnaire available in the client download area and needs to send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  2. The client sends all text and images to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This will open a ticket and support will confirm receipt of information.
  3. Once ALL information has been received will Online Systems start with the development of the web site.
  4. This development cycle is 30 business days. The 30 business days begins when the client has sent all images (JPG format), all text (word format), has paid all required monies - and submitted a completed Online Systems Web Questionnaire. If the cycle is delayed by the client, a new completion date will be determined by Online Systems according to current work load. If after 120 days we have not received the required information the project will be re-scoped. 
  5. The web site will be developed on a domain of Online Systems or in a subdomain of Online Systems.
  6. Look-and-Feel: A template (look-and-feel) is developed which the clients needs to approve before content is added to the site. If a template is bought then that template with be used "as-is" unless quoted differently to include code changes.
  7. Content and Images: The content is added to the website. Once the content and images are added will the client review the site. Three set of changes is included in this phase (2 to 3 hours). This excludes design changes (changes to the design of the site).
  8. Images, photo editing and graphic design will be levied at current rates.
  9. Please understand a website development project encompasses the hours:
    a) discussing the project with you (facetime),
    b) the actual doing of the work,
    c) the hours discussing what you don’t like (facetime),
    d) the actual changes,
    e) the hours discussing new changes that you might want (facetime),
    f) those actual changes.

    the biggest cost and time in any website design project is liaison with you (facetime).

    It’s important to understand that time spent liaising with you is part of the cost incurred by the designer, we call this facetime.

C) Final Stage

  1. Client involvement is key to the success of any web site. Your input is needed to enable effective delivery of  the web site.
  2. Once the client has approved the web site will final payment be due.
  3. The web site will become live on the internet upon final payment (please ensure you have checked with your hosting provider that the system will be compatible - just ask your hosting provider if the system is supported - we can't help with any hosting on any Telkom based package) - if you are hosting with us then the systems are compatible).
  4. You have 14 working days to request changes after approval. These include images not loading, spelling mistakes, links not working. Design changes will be levied at current web support rates. Adding pages will also be levied at current web support rates.
  5. Design (look-and-feel, image enhancements, color, etc) changes will start the process from the beginning and attract additional fees.
  6. Extention and other sites updates will follow the normal "Work Request" procedure.

D) Marketing Your Website

  1. The following step is the marketing and promotion of your web site. Online systems offers a complete package to assist with getting good results from your site - go to Internet Marketing to find out more.

Hosting and Domain Registration Fees

All hosting fees must be paid on time or the account will be suspended. Domain registration fees must also be paid in time. If your domain fees are paid late, you could lose your domain name as it become available to the public. It is your web site for your business. You have the responsibility and accountability to ensure it is correct and paid for.

Clients opting for hosting have two options:
a) Monthly debit order: A monthly debit order will run as per agreement
b) DISCONTINUED: Paid in advance for 12 months: Your hosting is paid for 12 months in advance (discounted rate)

All hosting and hosting support is available on the client portal. Please log all support queries via the client portal.

Web Site and Domain Transfers

We may not request domain transfers on behalf of a client. This is the process (and no other process) for domain transfers:

1. The client is responsible to contact their current hosting provider to confirm a domain transfer.
2. Once confirmed, the client must send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to indicate that we may proceed with transferring the web site.
3. Online Systems will compete a ticket (transfer request) to the domain registrar requesting to move the domain.
4. The current host has 24 hours to accept the ticket.
5. If the ticket is not accepted we start again with the process (at number 1). If the ticket is accepted the domain will be transferred to Online Systems.

.co.za - 48 hours for transfer
.com - up to 5 days for transfer

If a client wishes to transfer their domain away from Online Systems:

1. Email request for transfer to support at online systems.co.za (detail what needs to be done with the domain and to whom)
2. Pay all outstanding fees (if any). There is a 30 day cancellation period.
3. We will confirm that is in order for the new host to send the request
4. Online Systems accepts the ticket within a 24 hour period (work days only)
5. The client is responsible for making backups of the site, emails and all other items when transferring a domain away from Online Systems.
6. We provide a full backup functionality in cpanel to backup the site. You can log in and create your own backup of the site for the transfer.

Web Site and Email Back Ups

Back-ups of emails and the web site is the responsibility of the client. In the cpanel is a full site backup functionality. We strongly suggest to backup your site from time to time. Download this backup from the site and keep it in a safe place.

If you need a backup of your domain contents on our server, please get it from the steps below.

1. Login to cPanel.

2. Click on Backups

3. Click on 'Download a full website backup'

4. Select the backup destination as 'Home directory' from the drop down list.

5. Provide the email address there so that after backup is taken, you will get a notification to the mail account specified.

If we need to restore a backup we will levy a fee of R600 per hour for the restore process.

Website Updates, extensions, hosting, security and more

Code, the stuff that makes a website work, does not last forever, especially with advanced systems like a CMS (content management system). From time to time you hear in the news of sites attacked, or defaced, or accessed without approval. It is important to keep your website updated. Use systems that have been updated to ensure the protection of your site.

Your website is an asset. Keep you asset secure and safe. Make backups. Update your site to keep it secure. You are ultimately responsible for your website.

What to update? Some sites only using basic code. In that case there is not much to update. Do ensure you have a working backup. Sites that use a database, where you are able to update the site yourself are not that straight forward. Here you can have your CMS as a base that needs to be updated, extensions that add functionality (editors, gallery, directories, any extra type of functionality / functions installed), and templates, that need updates. Keep track of these extensions and update as needed. Some are free and some cost money (each extension / system will have their own support method / license).

Hosting is about keeping a site live on the internet. The code is development. The hosting company focus on keeping a site live on the web. If the site is a security threat or has code that impacts the server, the hosting company will shut down the site to limit the impact.

Keep your code clean. Update your site. Backup and make sure your website is in good shape.

Web based CRM Software Application

The web based CRM software application is a hosted solution. A system will create a backup of the database. This is to ensure that the data on the site is saved offsite. We use an email backup system. The system downloads the database and emails to a pre-determined email account. 

We have made code changes on the files to enable the CRM to work better. These files we license to the client to use. Therefore, no access is granted to the files on the site.

The domain is owned by Online Systems and rented to the client on a monthly basis. 

If a client requires to move the CRM to another server, then the following will apply:
1) The client will create a new domain and new setup of the system, the current domain is owned by Online Systems
2) Online Systems will only provide a backup of the database, no files will be provided as these contain code changes licensed by Online Systems.
3) The client is responsible to setup the new site and new system
4) We strongly suggest to setup the new CRM before moving the current CRM

Scope Creep - Scope Changes

All development (web design, web development, SEO, updates, design, etc.) is proposed according to the information we have. If the information changes, or information previously unknown to us become known, we will amend the scope (work to be done). We aim to include all elements in a proposal. A quote is an estimation of the work involved (scope of work). This may change as new requests are received or if new information becomes available. These requests will be handled as change requests. This will change the scope of work as well as the pricing. 

Our packages are based on previous work of successful projects. These packages cover a wide range of services and in most cases will offer more value for money. Other times the scope of work will need to be determined.

Support, Maintenance, Development, Training, Updates and Design - What is the difference?

These requests all sound the same, but they are different! Here is a short explanation for each (these do have associated fees) - all fees detailed in the client portal:

Support - getting assistance when something is not working (email is not being received, ftp access, cpanel access, etc.) As mentioned above the client support system has been created for all support requests - client portal

Maintenance - updates of software or applications. We use Joomla, WordPress and others. These systems get updated form time to time. So, it makes sense to update your site as well. What is important to note is when a site is created different systems are put together to make a complete site. Updating one section might break another, therefore the maintenance process will entail creating backups, then testing the update, and finally making the update on the live site.

Development - creating, updating, changing code. This is work done on a website. It involved creating code to make the site work differently. Code changes is a time consuming, highly specialized function that takes a lot of time in most cases. All development is outsourced. 

Training: Training is either done at a venue, at your offices, or over the net using skype or another system. This is to assist you get the most out of your website. Training is available on request at a fee. Videos are available for some systems. We kindly request to do the video training before doing live training as this speeds up the training process and the understanding of the systems. 

Updates: Updates to websites may include adding content, changing wording, changing pictures, adding menus (Joomla and Wordpress). Updates exclude code changes. 

Design: Design is changing the overall look and feel of a site.

Important: all requests to be logged via the client portal.

Professional Service Support or Consulting:
- Template design and customization as this is a service offered
- Conflict with other 3rd party component or templates
- Anything that require modifications to the core code, such as adding new customized features (coding is outsourced)
- Modified code (mainly outsourced)
- Website migration
- 3rd party integration
- Any beta or trial release
- Installation on a localhost
- Non CRM, design, hosting, related issues
- Basic configuration of systems
- How-to use questions on used systems (there is a range of videos and material available on this in cpanel in the Client Portal)

Assistance for the items above is available through our Professional Services, Consulting engagement or Training. We offer training sessions to learn and understand how to use these systems (user training).

Joint Ventures

After much consideration have we decided not to be involved in joint ventures.

Servers and Server Admins

We are not server administrators and do not offer services relating to the management, control, set-up of a server.

Custom Development, Extensions and Functionality Research

How long is a piece of string? When it comes to custom development, or researching functionality of systems, we will levy a fee to cover the research as this takes a considerable amount of time. The fee will be levied at current support rates. We use current systems available in the market.

If you require custom development or changes to the code on these systems we will levy the work at R795 per hour, and a minimum of 30 hours.

Changing code is a tedious process that requires a lot of human intervention. Code changes include changes to the core system, extensions, and development that requires code to be written or changed.

Open Source (Free, GNU) extensions will be used for most development. If a paid extension is required it will be detailed specifically. All fees, the full amount, for paid extensions must be paid before development begins. The amount for extensions may change as it is impacted by exchange rates. These extensions are supported by these developers. We do not develop these extensions. Any code errors will need to be taken up with them as well as any updates. Each developer has their own set of guidelines, terms, support packages, support processes, etc.

Testing some Functionality or Extension for your website

The world wide web is a very interesting place with lots of places to find ideas, information and systems.

As all things in life, not everything works the way you think it will work or planned.

On the web there is an added layer of complexity. This layer is most often when, two, three or more systems need to work together.

Sometimes systems just click, and they work quickly, effortlessly together, and most other times they don't.

It is like pulling a piece of string and you do not know how long the string is … You might have heard the saying: “How long is a piece of string?”

For these reasons we have decided to work on some specific steps to review functionality. These steps are guidelines when trying our new options on your site.

  • Step 1: We will review with you the functionality of the system and what your requirements are.
  • Step 2: Some extensions are free, and some cost money. We will invoice upfront for the full cost of any paid extension.
  • Step 3: We will create a backup of your current site before installing a system (this means downloading the site and making a backup of the database)
  • Step 4: We will install the extension for you.
  • Step 5: We will do some work on it, between 2 and 3 hours to see if it works with your current set-up (this is not full system testing)
  • Step 6: We will report back with ideas, suggestions, on whether it is working as intended or if something needs to be considered.
  • Step 7: We discuss with you how to implement the system / change / update / and the way forward.

As you can see this is an involved process with many steps. Our fee for testing and reviewing an extension is on the client portal.

A basic systems check with the steps above will take roughly 5 hours (excluding the cost of the extension). We will invoice upfront with a 50% deposit and the final amount payable after testing.

No extra coding work will be undertaken on getting the system working. This will be a separate scope of work.

Listing in Search Engines

No company can guarantee listings in search engines. The reason is, a search engine is managed by a third party, over which we have no control, they decide what gets listed where and how and even when they make changes to their code (this moves organic listing). Part of SEO (search engine optimization) is to do certain activities to get your site listed (listed means indexed on the search engine - they have included you in their database), and then get your site ranked (ranked meaning listed higher, on the first pages relating to a keyword or key phrase).

Organic listings (SEO) takes time. A new site can expect an improvement in traffic in about 12 months (sometimes sooner). That is why the SEO programme is for 12 months. The age of your site, the links from directories are all factors when it comes to organic listings. The company that is focused on keywords, and that is continuously involved in link building will benefit from it and perform best.

If you refocus on a new set of keywords, you will need to start again. Your site is not ranked for all keywords and never will be. Your web site is ranked for what you have on the site and what you focus on. These keywords might change over time as the market changes (seasons, new products, competition, etc - all business and environment factors have an impact here). Markets where there are more searches will be more competitive and most likely more profitable. In most cases you want to focus on a niche, in your area of expertise, close to you (especially if your business is running only in a certain area - if you don't have offices in Cape Town, don't focus on ranking in Cape Town.

Three important considerations for web site SEO:
1) Transaction value: if your transaction value is small, you will need a lot more traffic to have a successful web site. The higher the transaction value, the more likely a web site will be profitable to you. We mainly work on sites where the transaction value is higher.

2) Two guys are in the bush and they stumble upon a lion. One guy starts putting on his running shoes. The other guy says: "You are not going to outrun a lion!" - the guy answers:" I do not need to outrun the lion, I need to outrun you!" - for SEO it is the same. You need to outrun the competition and stay ahead. The company with the most links, interesting information, valuable content, viral information, target market focused etc. will be ranked the highest.

3) Visitors are only valuable if they convert. Conversion is process where a visitor takes a certain type of intended action on your web site - a transaction (a sales), or completes a registration form, or submits a contact form. These are all considered to be a successful conversion. There is no hard rule on a specific percentage as this will differ. This percentage is dependent on the offer, targeted traffic, the type of conversion, the market, transaction value, demand, etc. To optimize you will need to do at least A/B splits to test results. This is an important step in any web site development process.

Do not be fooled - Google, Yahoo, Bing, and all other Search Engines, etc, are third party providers and will change their algorithms at any time. These changes will impact your rankings - good or bad.

Online Systems Business Divisions

Online Systems consist of three main divisions:
1) Marketing and Sales: responsible for the marketing and sales of solutions (sales consultants, marketing experts).
2) Operations: responsible for the development, hosting, support, updates, changes to systems and web sites (the support desk forms part of this area - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - designers, developers, content creators, system administrators)
3) Administration: following from marketing and sales, and operations is administration, responsible for debit orders, invoices, collections and other finances (finance clerks, accounting officer).

Web Site Training - Blog Training, Joomla Training, CRM Training

In the cpanel you can find a range of videos relating to setting up emails, ftp, and more. We are in the process of creating a training site relating to internet marketing, Joomla, Wordpress and more. Training at our offices, online or the clients offices or other venue will attract fees at current rates.

Web Site Changes (work requests)

A change on your web site will trigger a work request. A work request is support ticket we do out of the client portal. This ensures work gets done in a timely manner. If the request is ad hoc, an invoice will be generated once the work is complete. If you are on a web maintenance package, we will check if the request falls within the package or outside. If it is not included in the package an invoice will be generated for work completed. Work is levied at current support fees as detailed in the client portal. If you require a quote, please indicate so on the request.

All requests needs to be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Project Plan

We have a project plan that is handled by the operational department. All work, change request, work request, etc, are indicated on the project plan and then completed accordingly. Your request will be slotted in on the project plan. For web site development we will need all detail of the site before commencing with the site. Once we have all the detail will work commence. This will impact the delivery time of your site. Work requests will be slotted in on the plan according to current work load.

Email - Spam (not tolerated at all)

If a person has not given you permission to send him / her an email - it is spam. That is an unsolicited email. Your account will be closed / suspended with no warning and no discussion, if you engage in these type of activities.

Emails Per Hour and Email Lists

We make use of shared servers - dedicated servers are available on request. On a shared server (a shared server is computer linked to the internet and hosts many web sites on the one server) you may only send 300 emails per hour from all accounts. If you send more than that, your account will locked for a period after which you can send again. This is to manage loading on the web site. If you need to send bulk emails, please discuss it with us before sending.

The email list must be a Double Opt-In list. This means a user has subscribed for a newsletter or other email marketing messages by explicitly requesting it and confirming the email address to be their own. Confirmation is usually done by responding to a notification/confirmation email sent to the email address the end user specified. The double opt-in method eliminates the chance of abuse where somebody submits someone else's email address without their knowledge and against their will. You will not be permitted to mail any mailing list that you were given or purchased. In doing so, this will also be considered spamming and may result in termination of the offending account.

Continuous Process Improvement

Online Systems is committed to a continuous improvement in processes towards client satisfaction. This means processes will change. These changes will be reflected on this page or linked to a page if more detail is required on a specific process.

The main support function is the Web Design and Support Client Portal. Make use of the portal. The portal has further items relating to hosting, setting up emails and more.

Online Systems Terms and Conditions

Change Log 16-05-2017:

USA domain options not available. Only on special request.

CRM: Changed to international app. 

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Online Systems contact form.