Richard Gentle: “I work with individuals, small businesses, special interest groups, and other organisations, to produce high quality ‘informational’ websites.”
Typical feedback from a customer
“Richard was recommended to me when [we] needed to refurbish our website and bring it up-to-date with regard to Social Media and our Archiving of gig images. He has done this in a conscientious way, not only responding to all aspects of the brief we gave him but in a proactive way suggesting improvements himself. As a result of the “success” of our site we have been asked about our webmaster, or I have recommended him, to all three other organisations with which I am associated.
“The requirements of the organisations have been diverse so not all their needs have had obvious solutions that Richard could “plug into”. In all cases he has sought solutions by research and generally arrived at results which have satisfied the customer. His greatest strength is his rapid acknowledgement of requests for action and, almost as frequently, rapid achievement of the actions sought. He is praised for this promptness of response by all those who have employed him. His fees and requests for expenses are very reasonable – in one case a competitor for a job withdrew saying he could not fulfill the brief for the budget offered (Richard did).” – Chris de Saram (Promoter Wakefield Jazz, Chair NorVol Jazz, Board Member Wakefield Sports Club, Ex-trustee YLMP)
If you run a business, you really need to have a web presence for full credibility. A personal website reassures both your existing and potential clients or customers, that you are publicly established. It gives you the opportunity to market your business and provide basic information for people to contact you easily. A website can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be and you do not have to spend a lot of time maintaining it.
Note: If you are thinking about having your own website, please get in touch before you purchase domains or web space. If you have already registered a domain name, you will need to buy appropriate web hosting or be prepared to transfer your domain to recommended web hosting if necessary. My recommendation is to take a look at UK2.net in the first instance, since they offer plenty of options, reliability, and excellent free technical support – including a live instant message ‘chat’ facility.
- Think about the purpose of your website and what you expect it to achieve for you
- If you already have a facebook page, you still require your own stand-alone website
- Make sure you have content, images, and art work (e.g. logo) ready
- You may require some graphic design help with your website’s ‘look and feel’
- Do you plan to maintain your website alone, or will you require help?
- Don’t forget that you will need web hosting space in addition to a domain name
What you get from Richard
- Professional consultation
- Excellent communication at all times
- Total reliability
- Editorial help with content and basic proof-reading
- User Experience Design and Navigation
- Attention to detail
- Reasonable quotations
- Choice of pro-rata hourly rate, or fixed monthly payment, after main work completion
Not entirely sure what you want?
Having decided that you would like a website, you also have to decide what sort of a site you want – what is it going to say about you? What style and colours would work best? Here are a few things you can do:
- Look at sites offering similar content to the one you want to produce
- Keep the addresses of websites that capture your attention or imagination and make notes on which bits you like and don’t like – e.g. colours, design features, etc.
- Make a list of ‘what you want your website to do’ for you
Costs and initial consultation
In the past, I have offered a number of pricing options to balance customer requirements with their budgets. However, attempting to create a public price list for these variations only resulted in wordy confusion. Therefore, I now say that all costs are negotiable, depending on the following factors:
- Complexity of website request
- Estimated work involved (construction and research time)
- Available budget (Clients are asked to set a maximum budget*)
*A maximum budget does not mean that this will be reached. Often, final costs will come in under the set budget.
All websites are built using WordPress. Your initial 30 minutes consultancy discussion, in person, is free at Richard’s home location, or via an arranged phone call. Further time is charged at £20 per hour pro rata, but up to the first paid hour will be refunded by deduction from your final invoice, if you decide to proceed with a website.
Consultancy visits to your chosen location or premises – £50 for first hour plus 45p per mile 2-way car travel (for anything over the first 20 miles return from WF4) plus £35 per hour pro-rata for any subsequent time taken during the same visit. (Paid at the time or can be invoiced afterwards). £20 will be refunded by deduction from your final invoice, if you decide to proceed with a website.
See also, my consultancy page here.
A WordPress site, produced by Richard, excluding the cost of web hosting and domain names, will cost you anywhere between £150 and £1,000 depending on your requirements and the complexity of the site. You will also be asked to provide a maximum budget, and this will not be exceeded without prior consultation.
Web hosting and domain names
If you wish to check on available domain names or the costs of web hosting, you can perform a search on UK2.net and/or check details of their business web hosting. Quite often, if you are a new customer, business web hosting is half price for your first year, or even first two years, if bought at the same time.
Once your website is ‘signed off’, you will have a choice of options for on-going website maintenance as detailed below.
On-going website maintenance
After completion, you have three options:
- Continue to manage the site yourself*
- Pay a pro rata rate when you would like Richard to make changes or up-dates
- Pay a monthly fee* by standing order for on-going maintenance and alterations
*This is only recommended if you feel confident to learn about WordPress. Richard will provide a teaching lesson based on his hourly WordPress lessons rate (see below).
*Monthly fees are negotiable, based on the estimated monthly work involved. Termination or renegotiation of payment arrangements can be made at any time without penalty, but should be discussed or notified in advance of any change being made.
There may be times, after completion of your website, when you wish to meet in person to discuss your site, possible changes, or future direction, etc. The following charges will apply:
Meeting at Richard’s house: £25 per hour pro-rata.
Meeting at your location: £35 per hour pro-rata (plus 45p per mile over a round trip distance of 20 miles).
WordPress Intensive Training
If you would like to learn about using WordPress yourself, whether it be setting up your own website or simply maintaining the one you’ve got, then Richard can provide lessons from £30 per hour.
Training at Richard’s house – £35 per hour pro-rata.
Training at your premises for 1 person* – £80 for first hour plus 45p per mile 2-way car travel (for anything over the first 20 miles return) and £35 per hour pro-rata for any subsequent time taken during the same visit. (Paid at the time or can be invoiced afterwards).
*For 2 or more people, £30 per person per hour, plus one payment of return travel, as already detailed above.
Your training will cover everything you need to know to get started, or take you on from whatever you already know. You will learn about ‘child themes’, and some essential [free] plugins that will protect and enhance your WordPress site and be given key tips and advice on organisation, navigation, and layout. In addition, you can learn how to create banner mast heads, add personal logos, manage your media images, and create slide shows, etc. You will also learn about ‘Posts’ and ‘Comments’ and basic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
Depending on need, some more advanced information can be provided on basic php code editing – useful when you want to tweak the appearance or functionality of your chosen WordPress Theme. This will also include, ‘how to search for answers online’. You can also learn some of the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and start to understand the processes and requirements necessary for producing the right information and content for SEO.
If you require help with graphic design or artwork, such as a new logo or a top banner, costs start from £50.
Richard will carefully select a number of essential ‘plugins’ for your website which will help to keep it secure, back it up, and count visitors. Most plugins are free to use in their basic form, but additional functionality, if required, must be be paid for. A few of the many options available include:
- Contact forms (with captcha)
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- RSS Feeds
- Client portals
- Slide shows
- Audio or video players
Mobile devices access
Most of the recent WordPress themes are designed with automatic mobile, smart phone, and tablet optimization, built in.
However, if you require your older website to be optimized for mobile devices, such as Smart Phones, then you will need to use either a replacement WordPress Theme that is already optimized for mobile device access, or have an account on a third-party site – such as Duda Mobile. (The free version of Duda Mobile has a small top-banner advertising area, but this usually isn’t an issue for most clients). Although Duda Mobile may not have many reviews, I have found it to generally work well. You can create this account yourself or I can create it for you for £35 (my hourly rate). In addition to creating the mobile site for you, I will design a ‘load screen’ and icons that are used by iPhones to generate an App for your website. (You can see an example of this if you access this site [gentle-enterprises] from a mobile device.
A last word
Many years of experience is drawn upon when creating your website to a high standard. You’d perhaps be surprised at what has to happen behind the scenes before a website is considered of sufficient quality to be in the public domain. Everything from improving and resizing images to ensuring layout appearance stays exactly as it is intended to be. Appearance, typographic consistency, editorial sentence construction, grammar, spelling, typos, and usability, together with design and content of information, all has to be checked and rechecked several times – by both designer and client. Very often, the background code of a website has to be modified to better suit customer requirements – again, something that demands a high level of experience and continually developing knowledge.
Even as a website is being created, you [the client] will often change your mind – and this is expected. You often have to see something to appreciate it’s not exactly what you were thinking about, or that you get a new idea that will make something even better! The great thing about the Internet, is that you can see what is happening in real time and make amendments quickly.
Creating websites is a bit like redecorating a room in your home. You eventually make a start, go through a phase of stripping back the room – wonder why you ever started – and then gradually put things back as you want them. For a while it looks like a building site with dust and rubble that is never going to go away until suddenly, you paint the walls, lay a carpet, and re-fit the contents. It looks great! Now you feel it was all worthwhile.
“I want your website to be the best it can be for you – and the more content and feedback you can provide, the better.” – Richard Gentle