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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Quotes for website design?


I am making a decision of buy vs. build with respect to a website. If I had to describe the type of site I want - it would be a simple front end that ties in to back end code and functionality depending on usage (e.g. link clicks). I am not looking for dancing elves or a bunch of animation.

Actually, I have created a quick skeleton of the front end to the site myself already. I used an open source template and modified to suit my needs.

But, that is just a start. I need a logo, a seamless way to tie into backend functionality (e.g. via PHP maybe), recommendations on how to host the site (e.g. using wordpress on HostGator), and recommendations on how to update the content in a productive way (e.g. is adding content right within an HTML page the best way -- or -- is creating a form whose input maps to templates on the site better).

All this stuff (except the logo, maybe -- I am not very artistic) I can probably figure out and do myself. But I need to decide the cost/benefit ratio on doing it myself.

So, I want to get some quotes from reputable web designers to make my cost/benefit decision. Even web designers who frequent this site is fair game. The key thing is that I am not necessarily looking for cheap (although I don't want to break the bank either) -- but I am looking for fair with respect to the type of site I want to develop, and I am looking for someone with good, proven work.

Any advice on the best way to do this?

Thanks a lot.
Joel Marcey Send private email
Monday, December 17, 2007
If this comes across as harsh, I apologize. I mean it kindly.

The description you've provided is vague enough that the bill could run anywhere from hundreds to hundreds of thousands. Probably toward the low end of the range, but what businessman would take that chance? Nobody with two clues to bang together will take the job on anything other than a time and materials basis, with frequent installment payments. If you came to me I'd request a retainer equivalent to 15 hours at my normal rate, and I'd warn you that simply turning your description into requirements that I can base an estimate on would probably exhaust that.

The biggest problem I see is that the back-end programming is likely to make up the majority of the work, and you've completely glossed over that part. You said:

> it would be a simple front end that ties in to back end code and functionality depending on usage (e.g. link clicks).

That describes everything from the personal home page I built when I was 19 on up to eBay. Do you see the problem? In fact you don't seem to even realize that you need programming work done -- you specifically ask for web designers. Design and programming are separate skill sets which aren't often found to a high degree in the same person.

I say all this not to berate you but in hopes that you'll realize that you're out of your depth and choose not to go it alone. Find somebody trusted and experienced to mentor you and help you learn about your requirements. If you go out there with what you've posted here, one of two things will happen. Either you'll be cheated by somebody who sees your inexperience, or you'll accept a lowball offer from an equally naive contractor. That always ends badly, with each party blaming the other for the inevitably massive cost overruns and neither having any documentation to back up their claims.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I would have to agree with clcr. Your requirements aren't clear. To elaborate on clcr, I would sit down and flush out as much of the requirements as you can on your own. Next start a search for a web developer using your existing requirements. Try to find someone who you can trust and work with. Flush out more of the requirements for the project
if necessary. Next break the project into parts so there is less risk for both sides. Establish some type of ongoing work/support agreement for when the first version is complete. Issues will arise in the future.

p.s. The dancing elves part would be the easiest thing to do.
Peter Gadzinski Send private email
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Thanks for the replies.

I must have not made myself clear enough. I would give full requirements to the person(s) I ask for the quote, of course. My original post was not meant to be read to give me the quote now.

My original post was to layout context. I feel I could do the work myself, but I want to do a cost/benefit anaylsis.

My question is, rewritten for hopefully better clarity, is where should I go to get such a quote? I don't want to go to rentacoder.com or anything like that. My hope is that there are people on this forum who do web design who may be interested -- or -- people on this forum who have had web design done that can tell me where they went to get a quote, and possibly ultimately, their design completed.

I hope that makes better sense. I purposely glossed over requirements because that wasn't supposed to be the crux of my message. So I don't feel berated -- yet ;-)
Joel Marcey Send private email
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
In other words, when I said:

"Any advice on the best way to do this?"

in my original post, I did not mean advice with respect on *how* to design the site. I meant advice with respect on recommendations on where to go to get a quote for a web design -- i.e. people on this forum who are web designers or who have had web design work done for them.

Then once I have chosen the person or persons who I want to get a quote from, then, of course, I would "sit down" with them to give them my full requirements.

Sorry for the confusion.
Joel Marcey Send private email
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I'd suggest first of all you sketch out a detailed specification, then google 'free website design quote' and spend the next few weeks looking through them all...


If nothing else the forms you will see will give you an idea of the kind of info the developer needs. Do you need Ecommerce, cookie sessions, shopping cart?

Do you know your target audience? Have you actually researched them or just guessing and stereotyping?

Generally I'd suggest keeping coding and graphics as 2 different things, though many firms will be able to supply their own graphic artist.

Really graphics are something that is either what you wanted and think your visitors will like, or it isn't. There's no reason not to use RAC or Guru etc for that and you'll save a bundle

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Man, I really screwed up this post or something. I shouldn't have put the simplified website context in my original posting.

I have a specification. That's not my issue.

All I am asking is for web designer recommendations from people on this forum who may be one or who may have used one. Of course, depending on my requirements, some may not be applicable, but I am trying to start with word of mouth "goodness" and dwindle down from there.

I really am sorry for the confusion -- usually I am more clear with my posts, I think.

Maybe I will grandfather this post and start a new one with a more accurate title like "Needed: Word of Mouth Recommendations for a Good Web Designer" or something like that.
Joel Marcey Send private email
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
"Of course, depending on my requirements, some may not be applicable"


But without at least some kind of spec beyond no dancing elves, we have no idea?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dude just do a google search for web designers.  Or if you have a theme, you can add some words to it like "web 2.0 designer" or "wedding website designer" and you'll get all kinds of links, and most will have a quote option. 

The posters above were one step ahead of your question, they predicted what the instant quote would say.  "We need more information."  However, given your question, if you wished for an answer like mine, you should have simply asked,

"Can anyone recommend a good designer?"
Phillip Zedalis Send private email
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

There's two that I've used and recommend.
Dick Kusleika Send private email
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
My goodness. This has gotten a bit out of hand, hey ;-)

> "Can anyone recommend a good designer?"

Yes, that would have been much simpler, I do believe. In the end, that is really the crux of my question. I can provide verbal or written requirements to a web designer.

> Dude just do a google search for web designers.

That is exactly what I am trying to avoid. That's sort of like saying, do a Google search on HDTVs and you will see a bunch of them. Or do a Google search on web hosts and you will find a bunch of them. I know I can do that and find web designers from here to Timbuktu. But I am a firm believer in word of mouth advertising -- which is exactly what I am looking for.

> But without at least some kind of spec beyond no dancing
> elves, we have no idea?

Right no dancing elves :-) I suppose I wanted my question to be generic. I would get a list of recommended folks and then I would go offline to see if they can do what I want done, and dwindle down my options. I suppose I could have laid out my complete spec here and had the forum members dwindle down my options for me.

OK, so far, I have had about 6 replies saying I either need to Google search for web designers or provide non-dancing-elf requirements. I have had one reply giving me links to some designers (that is a start).

I actually did have someone email me personally to start a conversation. That's good and the sort of thing I am looking for :-)

So I am officially renaming this thread -- Can anyone recommend a good web designer that they have personally used or know, or are one themselves? :-)
Joel Marcey Send private email
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Our average rates our $50/hour and include custom programming and graphics design work. Please contact us to let us explain how we can help you.

Leo Polus Send private email
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Give Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain a call. http://www.31three.com/

I have heard good things about him and I like his work e.g. http://www.31three.com/weblog/archive/mobile_web_book_design3

I also will need a site done soon and will be giving him a call.
MT Heart
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Well the one I sometimes use is too busy right now but I can offer some helpful tips :o)

1. Grab Snagit (check if the freebie is still available, search this forum) or similar image grabbing app, if necessary just use prtscrn and Gimp ('copy from clipboard')

Verbal is hopeless and written is not much better, you need to be somewhat graphic in your communications.

2. Right from the star check the design at different screen resolutions and in different browsers. Many an achingly beautiful site fell on its arse at 1200+ on FF.

3. Regularly grab someone who doesn't know what they are doing and put them in front of your site - you cannot 'proof read' your own design. To idiot proof you need a supply of idiots, familiy members usually fit the bill nicely!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Don't worry about web designers. There are lots of pre made packages out there that can be found. Why pay to have the wheel reinvented?

First you need to decide what type of site you want. e.g. Blog site, content site, ecommerce site. Then you have an idea of the software to look for. For example if you were looking for ecommerce software then you would look at one of the following:

I don't recommend any of the above specifically. I am just pointing out that there is lots of pre-built software at quite reasonable prices.

Now you mentioned about HostGator and how that is done. Well this guy called Tellman has done up these beaut Camtasia thingys that show you exactly what to do. You can sign up to his site to see the free videos at:


I can't find the exact site but hopefully this will head you in the right direction.

1) Say what type of site you want. You don't need to give away your secrets.
2) Try to get the Tellman videos and watch so that you understand how to a) get a domain, b) get a hosting site, and c) upload or install your database to the hosting site and d) connect them together so that they work.
3) Go to rentacoder to get someone to do the graphics only for you. Quite often the pre-existing software comes with different skins and then you can get the graphics guy to either do you a logo or suggest colors. Just make sure that your files are small as if your site doesn't hold the interest of the viewer for the first 3.7 seconds you have lost them. The graphics guy will give you the logo and then you add it to your site. Sounds like you know enough to do that.

Good luck. Try it and see how you go.

Just do it!
Denise McNerney Send private email
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

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