Website Design Meeting Your Needs

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

“I have been very pleased with the construction and ongoing development of our website over the past year or so which you have carried out for us.

“You will recall that I expressed initial concerns over the difficulties of working with you from a distance, but these have since been proven completely unfounded, as it has been possible to build and perfect new web pages using a combination of e-mail and telephone communication. You have been able to carry out minor changes just over the phone, and I have been able to see the alterations you have made within moments, this being the most efficient and time-saving way of doing this. You are easy to contact, and are able to respond quickly when something requiring urgent action occurs.” – A C Pilmer (Read more…)


Word Cloud website designIf 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 the information people forget to ask you about in person, or from a business card, and enables them to contact you easily. It can also include testimonials from existing clients or customers. 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.

Before you buy anything: 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, or point, your domain to recommended web hosting. My recommendation is to take a look at UK2.net in the first instance, since they offer plenty of options, competitive pricing, reliability, and excellent free technical support – including a live instant message ‘chat’ facility. I would also recommend SiteGround.

Important considerations

  • Think about the purpose of your website and what you expect it to achieve for you
  • If you already have a facebook page, you can still benefit from your own stand-alone website
  • Make sure you have content, images, and artwork, ready to populate your website
  • Do you have a logo, or do you require one?
  • 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 (see uk2, above)
  • If you only need one website, basic web hosting is fine. If you may eventually need more than one site, get business hosting. (You can change this anytime after purchase, if your needs change)
  • Good websites take a certain amount of time and expertise to build. Much work goes into background areas that are not public facing. On average, initial setting up can take several hours and managing content correctly can take several hours more. Please bear in mind that a significant proportion of cost covers time, as well as knowledge and expertise

What you can expect from Richard

  • Professional consultation
  • Excellent communication at all times
  • Total reliability
  • Editorial help with content and basic proof-reading (grammar, typos, punctuation, capitalisation)
  • User Experience Design and Navigation (easy to navigate without getting lost)
  • Attention to detail
  • Reasonable quotations
  • Choice of ad hoc, 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
  • Be clear that having a website does not automatically put you at the top of search engines. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) takes time and relies on you to produce new and updated content for your website, on a regular basis.

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 requirements
  • Estimated work involved (construction and time)
  • Available budget (Clients are asked to set an initial maximum budget*)

*A maximum budget does not mean that this will be reached. Often, final costs will come in under the set budget. However, to give you some costing examples, you will have to pay for web hosting and a domain name (unless included with hosting) up front. The minimum cost for my time creating a website is £200 and this is payable on completion of agreed work.

All websites are built using WordPress. Discussion about your website can take place over the phone, by email, or via Zoom or facetime.

Visiting your premises
Consultancy visits to your chosen location or premises – £50 for first hour (within 15 miles of the WF4 postal area) plus £35 per hour pro-rata for any subsequent time taken during the same visit. (Paid at the time or can be invoiced afterwards).

See also, my consultancy page here.

Pricing
A WordPress site, produced by Richard, excluding the cost of web hosting and domain names, will cost you from £200 upwards, 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. This occasionally occurs when a client requires something additional that was not mentioned as part of the original design brief. For example, requesting an informational site, but then deciding you want to set up an online sales function.

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. Richard can purchase this on your behalf, in your name, but will charge an additional £5 for time. You will also be expected to refund payment immediately (via direct bank transfer) after purchase is made on your behalf.

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:

  1. Continue to manage the site yourself*
  2. Pay the pro-rata rate when you would like Richard to make changes or up-dates
  3. Pay a monthly fee* by bank 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 and can be between £10 and £60. 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.

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Meetings
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: Up to 1 hour, £15.

Meeting at your location: £50 for up to the first hour (within 15 miles of the WF4 postal area) plus £35 per hour pro-rata for any subsequent time taken during the same visit. (Paid at the time or can be invoiced afterwards).

 
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WordPress logoWordPress 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 £15 per hour, via facetime, or Zoom.

Training at Richard’s house (when available) – £15 per hour.

Training at your premises (within 15 miles of WF4 postal area) for 1 person* – £70 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, £35 per person per hour.

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.
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Design assistance
If you require help with graphic design or artwork, such as a new logo or a top banner, costs range from £35 depending on requirements and designated usage rights.

WordPress Plugins
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 or google reCAPTCHA)
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Social media links
  • Client portals
  • Slide shows
  • Audio or video players

Smart PhoneMobile 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 a screen top App for your website.

A last word
Many years of experience are 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