What Have You Paid for Web Design?

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by Jake Wolf, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. Jake Wolf

    Jake Wolf LawnSite Member
    from NYC, NY
    Messages: 37

    I'm looking to have a website put together for my business and don't want to get ripped off. I want to be able to easily update things and have a photo gallery.

    What should I expect to pay?
  2. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    By "easily update" do you mean "do it yourself" or "have it updated inexpensively"?

    The two don't usually do together,
    1. You can use a do it yourself site builder like this participant: Teacher's Turf a guy with no experience devoting a few hours of his time & effort. You build it, control it, change it at will. The site building tools come included with your web hosting at no extra charge. So changes cost nothing and you do them yourself.
    2. You can have someone build you a site that would suit most contractors from what I have seen here, in a "guesstimate" range $175-$350 depending on what you want (photo galleries are no big extra cost unless you want them to do wild & crazy things) but generally then you can't easily update the site yourself personally. (like you adding text & not telling anybody) Changes can be mild to wild. My personal position is to price changes inexpensively so people are not discouraged from making additions or changes. However some web people kind-of consider it a bother and may charge as much as $75-$80 per hour with a 1 hr. minimum to discourage it. You can use this as a criteria when choosing a designer if it's a factor for you. I think those costs are outrageous but those folks don't really want to be bothered with adding a photo for you or changing your "fall special" to a "spring special" or whatever.
    3. Last you can have a designer build a site with areas you can edit yourself. This means doing 1 of 2 things from my point of view. (a) A "designer" building you a site with a DIY program so you can make changes whenever. But like me may "web people" would probably take longer building a site with our DIY program than we would "hand building" one because I never use our DIY program except to occasionally help someone or from a "server side" installing upgrades etc. I don't use it often so I probably wouldn't be a lot faster than you, faster yes, but probably not as fast as just building one, so it might actually cost a bit more then my guesstimates above-sounds backwards but maybe you understand...or (very last option) You can have a site built and areas inserted you can change. Generally this is limited to inserting text areas which you can open and use to edit the text a lot like the text editors in DIY programs. This would be the most expensive option by far and would limit the changes you could make (example if the text was under a photo it would always be under that photo, if you want to move the photo you'll be better off with a DIY program that's designed for you to do that type stuff like in option "a" above.)

    The answer depends on what you mean by "easily update" like I said...:cool:
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    A photo gallery in most cases, unless they code the pictures individually into the page (which is tedious and only works in the case of a few pictures that will not be updated often), is a little bit like this forum: It's a program that, once installed, takes care of itself.

    So for a photo gallery what I would recommend is have them install a php-based or similar piece of software that allows you to build the gallery by simply adding / deleting pictures, the software takes care of all the formatting, etc...

    And you can certainly find free photo galleries, I myself use Pickle which may or may not suit you, but it's just an example and there are many more just like it. This way you pay for the labor to install the software, but the software itself is free so then all you do is upload the pictures in folders, and the gallery software formats it / thumbnails / takes care of all the rest.

    See: Demo

    And yes it will conform to your site's look and feel, that's part of the install.
  4. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    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.
  5. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    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.
  6. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    Does your host not offer hot link protection/blocking? Very "standard" these days.
    Alt-text should not affect somebody "snatching" your photos.
    It would be more likely they would find it by image name if you name a "Japanese Garden" photo japanesegarden.jpeg An image search on Google will find that in a heartbeat. Better to use the alt-text like "A finished Japanese Garden Project by Our Company", find a host with hot link protection, and rename that photo file mydogsam.jpeg as a filename (which is what Google Image search "sees") :cool:

    Of course if you don't go to the trouble of coding copy prevention into a photo it's would be just as easy to copy & paste it into another site if a person happened across it while surfing landscape sites and wanted to copy your stuff. But if they were just "photo hunting" they just wouldn't be as likely to be looking for my dog sam.

    You would be absolutely astounded at the number of times over the years someone has asked me in all innocence "can't you just use these photos from www.whatever.com on my site?" and been dumbfounded when I said "sure, if you would like to get their written permission and send me a copy". There really are a lot of people who for some reason think just because it's on the Internet you can copy anything. With all the stories about music download, video clips etc. lawsuits on TV you would think they would know but somehow don't associate that with "regular" web sites.
  7. ECS

    ECS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,733

    Build your own. There is a great and easy to use program called Arachnophilia. It is totally free and easy to use and learn. Do all of your updates in that program and then click to update website and it will do it for you. you can go here to get it. http://vps.arachnoid.com/arachnophilia
  8. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    Yeah! I tried what ECS left for a site to try and Ill leave it to the pro's lol:dizzy:
  9. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    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.
  10. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    For Elk Country: the program you reference is OK for freeware BUT has very mixed reviews and doesn't generate very "clean" code. It also relies very heavily on JavaScript which some people love but personally when it is used totally...I don't prefer it.
    Your particular site has some serious tagging & SEO problems.
    Here are the keywords and density rate for your lawn services page for example (# of repeats followed by density %):
    nbsp 20 4.64%
    lawn 15 3.48%
    your 12 2.78%
    will 7 1.62%
    service 6 1.39%

    So to a search engine that page's top search phrase is nbsp which is most likely that software's "code" for "&". Then very general words like "lawn","your" and "will".
    Not a bad freebie program, has more positive reviews than negative on the review sites, but far from a "do it yourself" for the person with average computer skills and like any freeware learning it is a process. Easier for someone familiar with such things.

    For Team Green...WOW $1,800 and your "estimate" form doesn't exist...I'd be upset too, hard to get an estimate when there is no form.
    What did you need a database for? I didn't see anything that would need one but there is a prominent "login". What is supposed to happen when somebody who knows what that is "logs in"? That could explain a database & the high cost if it was supposed to do some fancy stuff like let customers login to change their schedule or order additional services or something... no criticism, just curious as to what it's supposed to do.
    Believe me I feel your pain... I found a PHP/database "pro" for someone (he had a GREAT resume' & references) and he left them with a bunch of half-finished stuff, now I'm trying to find someone to finish it for them. They lost about $300 in time he owed them & didn't deliver...
    A good database/PHP programmer is very hard to find but if you look on the 'net on some forums those guys are all complaining about the lack of jobs, over saturated employment market for database/PHP programmers, layoffs, etc. you would think you could find one easy but no...;)

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