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  #11  
Old 11-25-2006, 02:38 AM
topsites topsites is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WebMan
One other thing to remember about photos.
You don't have to be; but to be W3C compliant all photos need an "alt-text" tag. (Most all programs have a way to insert this either called alt-text or alternate text). The reason is for visually impaired people who use reading programs to "surf". A photo isn't read by these programs so it could make a page confusing if it "read" the caption in the middle of whatever text was above and below it or if the photo is described by the text but to the "reader" there was no photo.
The alternate text allows these programs to "read" it to the visitor as "photo; lawn after fall clean up" or whatever your text description was.
Ohhh yeah, excellent point and that brings up bad memories lol, specifically:

You will most likely NOT find a php-based software that turns out w3c-compliant code. I had to edit the code on Pickle considerably before it came out in compliance with a standard, but most every single software-driven application is like that.
Finally, after much ado, it validates...

On that note, most Web designers apparently don't conform to any standards, either.
So the question remains, whom to recommend...

... I would say find someone local to you, so you can talk to the person face to face & you'll be somewhat less likely to get ripped off.
Ask around...

Last edited by topsites; 11-25-2006 at 02:46 AM.
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  #12  
Old 11-25-2006, 02:18 PM
Kent Lawn Care Kent Lawn Care is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Team-Green L&L
We actually paid a whopping $1800 for our site design and a (halfway finished) MySQL database that does not function properly. It is a great product by the GD, but look real hard for your database guy and don't get ripped off like us.


Mine was about 1800.00 also, the company that did mine wont correct anything, they even used the wrong logo, they let me preview it, i told them the problems, they didnt fix and posted it anyways. nothing for requesting quotes, lawn maint pages, snow removal pages, nothing that NEEDS to be there, my website is more of a info page, not a sales page. im getting ALL my files next week and switching designers.

Ooh yea, need i mention, they USED THE WRONG LOGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its not even one an old one or a new one, its something THEY came up with.
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  #13  
Old 11-25-2006, 05:08 PM
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WebMan WebMan is offline
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Web design is not that expensive for conventional sites. It's when you get into "applications" that you need "programmers" instead of "designers". Applications are actually programs that do specific tasks. Like maybe a customer can log in to view their balance, order additional services, change their schedule, maybe even make payments (if you wanted to go that far) so it gets expensive fast. It is someone actually writing a piece of software just for you (even though the software program only runs when someone is on your web site).

That's why I asked the OP what the "login" was for. What happened when the customer "logged in" would determine whether $1,800 was reasonable, too low, or too high.

As I said earlier I have had as much frustration as anybody with these types even though the colleges turned out way too many of them and now there is a lot of international competition (people in France have French programmers etc.) so the market is saturated with them. You would think somebody honest & good would be glad to have the work at their average "going rate" of ~$75 per hour. Maybe honest is the operative word there?

Anyhow a service business like landscaping should be able to have a great conventional web site for under $500, add a bunch of Flash animations and stuff and you can add from a couple hundred to several hundred dollars depending on what you want (which IMHO may look really "cool" to you but probably won't sell one more landscaping job than a site without all that) but then add a "program" where visitors can do their own landscape design or calculate the costs or do the things I mentioned above and you can get into the thousands in a hurry (and only you can decide if that will pay for itself)

I was trying to help a local "Internet" fellow out the other day when his staff designer went AWOL and a potential client of his needed a "bid" right away. I agreed to "freelance" the job for him and act like I worked for him.
It happened to be a general contractor.
He wanted a complex program where people could select things like "XY Ceramic Tile" enter the sq. ft. and it would give them an estimate (and this would include 100s of items-roofing, siding, everything) so I told him I would need to get a quote from a programmer after he told me how many items & parameters he needed then get back to him. He started asking questions about why I needed so much info...like he thought this would be simple.
I explained this would cost thousands and furthermore would have to be re-programmed if the cost of tile went up 50 cents or whatever so it would require periodic maintenance.
He also wanted a very special "fancy" effect on his photo gallery. I told him that would be a bit higher than a "normal" gallery but I could do it with no problem. Then he went on & said he didn't care about people finding him on the search engines or anything just wanted the gallery so he could tell people who called him to go see examples of his work...confused I asked if he was already talking to the person to give them the web address, why would he need to spend all that money on a calculator program, why couldn't he just give them a rough estimate over the phone? He asked if I had ever seen a home contractor around here with a calculator like that on a site and I said no. Then he got madder than heck and said "that's why" hung up and never called back.
If you looked at the "big picture" he told me he (a) didn't want to waste money (b) didn't care about search engine traffic (c) wanted nothing but basic black letters on a white background except for his logo (d) wanted a calculator program that would cost thousands of dollars... all contradicting things.
I'm still wondering what kind of logic that fellow has (or doesn't have). If he wanted a classy site and people from search engines to be able to calculate and see how reasonable he was then it might make sense to me, but to want a "75 Chevy" site with a "Rolls Royce" calculator just doesn't add up for me... but what do I know? Only that he got mad when I asked why
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  #14  
Old 11-26-2006, 06:02 PM
topsites topsites is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdvaden
I've been hesitant to put alt tags on many of my photos.

Especially for some pertaining to popular search keywords like "Japanese Garden" or "pond" - etc., etc..

Google and others, store the alt tag information.

The result is that some people with search with the images tab on Google, for say, Japanese garden.

Then they get that image and hot-link to my image, using my server to send the images to other forums, myspace, etc..

Different issue, but I just found an entire webpage of mine stuffed into somebody's website lately.
Yeah, the bit with google storing images doesn't completely amuse me, but seeing how they ARE my top traffic referrer and it doesn't cost me anything, I find it difficult to argue about my images being shown in the results.

As for a visitor clicking the image and then landing in a framed setting OR someone else showing my stuff inside their frames, that's where I draw the line.

But all you do is use a framebuster script, on every page, like so:
Code:
<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript">
<!--
if (top!=self) top.location.replace(self.location.href);
//-->
</script>
And that ensures that anytime something from your site is shown, your entire page opens in the visitor's browser.
This way, they can see the image in the results, but click it and the whole page opens.
I find this is fair, if the visitor might find it a bit tricky, I'm not tricking anybody but feel much like you do, it is MY content dangit.

//////////////////////////
As for hotlinking...
That requires an .htaccess trick as such:
Code:
###STOP HOTLINK FILES
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?yoursite.com.*$ [NC] 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?yoursite.com:80.*$ [NC] 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?lawnsite.com.*$ [NC] 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?lawnsite.com:80.*$ [NC] 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteRule \.([mid|wav|exe|zip|mod|com|avi|wmv|gif|jpg]+)$ http://yoursite.com/ [R]
Notice I included lawnsite, so when I show a picture here, it still shows...
Which, you need to include any other domain where your site might be showing a pic...
Now you can include or exclude |gif|jpg... in the final line, but then that prevents Google from spidering this and again they do send me the most traffic out of all of them, for free...

Last edited by topsites; 11-26-2006 at 06:11 PM.
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  #15  
Old 11-27-2006, 07:14 AM
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WebMan WebMan is offline
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Hotlink locking is as simple as going to your control panel, clicking Hotlink protection, entering the file (image, entire page, whatever) you want to protect and click "add protection". The above post will work but why so much trouble? The posters here are generally DIY folks or not really "hand coders" or as "geek" oriented as you or I.
Also JavaScript may or may not perform as expected on all browsers and may or may not create unexpected results with some search engines (not inherently bad just worth noting: IMHO I prefer keeping JavaScript to a minimum, you may have tested that snippet extensively and it may be perfect but things change constantly.) and htaccess is surely a doable but all are unnecessarily "hard" ways to go about it. Hotlink blocking is a simple click, enter filename, click procedure...a few seconds, anybody can do it. Any host that doesn't have it in your control panel is lost in the 90s somewhere. (Hotlinking draws resources from your site, thus their servers/network too so it kind-of benefits them for you to use it.)

PS: To the above: not being personal, but why post the link to the page of all the porno links & such here in your signature? If you are mainly a lawn care guy; "link farming" as a very unsavory practice/money scheme to associate yourself with anyway, especially "porno link farming" and could really hurt your lawn care business if your customers put 2 & 2 together (and if I was a lawn care guy competing with you...I might just "happen" to mention it to any home or business customer we were competing over who seemed to be more conservatively inclined.) I'm kind of suprised you post it here...
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Last edited by WebMan; 11-27-2006 at 07:24 AM.
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  #16  
Old 11-27-2006, 09:51 AM
steveparrott steveparrott is offline
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I never cease to be amazed how business people balk at spending a few thousands dollars on a web site that will bring many times more than that in business over the next several years.

This is especially true for businesses that target high-end homeowners. These homeowners are quite likely to choose you over a competitor if they see you are more professional in your web presentation.

These days a funky web site will cost you business and continue to downgrade your reputation to an extent and in ways that you may never even know.

I used to work as a freelancer designing small business sites. My usual charge for a 10-page site was between $3,500 and $5,000. In that fee I included an online marketing plan, search engine strategy and a maintenance plan that ensured the customer could make timely changes and additions to the site.

I worked into the fee as many drafts as needed to get the ideal design and architecture. I also re-wrote much of the text to make it more readible, interesting and search-engine friendly.

Sites that I designed for that fee are still making money for the businesses after five years.

I share all this not to blow my own horn, but rather to encourage businesses to seek out web design companies with excellent design, programming and marketing skills.
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  #17  
Old 11-27-2006, 12:53 PM
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WebMan WebMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveparrott
I never cease to be amazed how business people balk at spending a few thousands dollars on a web site that will bring many times more than that in business over the next several years.
These days a funky web site will cost you business and continue to downgrade your reputation to an extent and in ways that you may never even know.
I used to work as a freelancer designing small business sites. My usual charge for a 10-page site was between $3,500 and $5,000. In that fee I included an online marketing plan, search engine strategy and a maintenance plan that ensured the customer could make timely changes and additions to the site.

I worked into the fee as many drafts as needed to get the ideal design and architecture. I also re-wrote much of the text to make it more readible, interesting and search-engine friendly.

Sites that I designed for that fee are still making money for the businesses after five years.
I surely agree with you. But I am talking about the same thing, a professional, very sharp looking, easy to navigate web site. Heavy SEO would be above the prices I mentioned but basic SEO would. If you got that much money for it that's great for you. But that's not realistic in today's web design marketplace. $5,000 could buy a super-site with many bells and whistles (like the customer logins & such mentioned earlier, lots of Flash or other special effects)
The problem is the people, just like I'm sure everybody here knows a lawn person who does crappy work for a certain price it's the same in the web business. But for a service business like landscaping (no e-commerce, on-line ordering, etc. etc.) Those prices would be really unbelievable (although anybody wanting to spend $5K on a lawn service site please call before Christmas .
The most expensive HTML site I ever built, a few years back; 22+ pages with one Flash slide show and #1 page ranks for their terms on all the major engines within 6 months to a year was less than $2,000 and a LOT of that was tons of photo work because they wanted lots of photos and virtually every photo to have a "click to see full size" counterpart plus I had lots of photo work to do cropping/fixing the originals.

But I agree some people want to skimp, they look for $2.95 a month hosting and wonder why the site is down half the time or they hire one of those "5 page custom site for $399" people...if you don't know why not... would you run an ad--"lawns mowed, edged, & cleaned up for $X"? No because it might be average lawn or 2 acres and their idea of "cleaned up" might be a lot more than yours. The same for web sites, nobody decent charges by the page, because who knows what you want on a "page"? ANY designer should talk with you extensively to understand what you need, want, expect, etc. from a site. Then quote you a price for delivering that before you consider hiring them!) They should continue to communicate with you throughout the design process to be sure everything is the way you want and doing what you want it to for your visitors.

I fully agree. In some of my marketing stuff I mention that web sites (good ones) are the single most cost-effective marketing tool there is. And like you I get amazed when people want to cut corners on one when they spent $400 for a lousy weed eater...well it's a good weed eater not lousy but they saw the sense in buying that instead of a $59 Wal-Mart model because it's better for their business...but they can't see the same connection with spending a bit more on web sites or other important parts of their company "image". And in some of my stuff I have an entire chapter entitled "Image is Everything" because with any service business you are selling your image of what you can provide. The product (service unlike retail goods) doesn't exist until after the sale & the work is done. So since they can't hold it, shake the box, or "try it out" all you can sell is your "Image".
The only exception is the people with a combination of learning ability and a limited budget who want to do their own like the fellow at Teacher's Turf I mentioned in my first response who can do a good looking job on their own and on their budget.
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  #18  
Old 03-14-2007, 06:29 PM
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Subseven Subseven is offline
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Thanks for the framebuster script!
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  #19  
Old 03-14-2007, 06:42 PM
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Team-Green L&L Team-Green L&L is offline
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Webman, do you have a portfolio we can see?
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  #20  
Old 03-14-2007, 06:46 PM
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Team-Green L&L Team-Green L&L is offline
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Topsites, what position are you on Google for "Chesterfield Landscaping" because I couldn't find you on the first few pages?
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