Answers to some of the questions we get asked most frequently
- - What is the site for?
- - Appearance
- - Who are the audience?
- - Access/security
- - How will the audience get to the site?
- - Site content
- - Advertising
- - Content features
- - Maintaining the site content
- - Expected life of the site
- - Creating the site
What does it cost to have a website?
This is usually the first question everyone asks, and it is the most difficult one to answer as every site is different. There are at least four parts to the costs of a website; we shall take a look at each of these in turn.
Every client has different needs and ideas and in view of this we quote for each site individually after an in-depth free consultation with the client. We will create a design and development brief and put a cost and timescale to it. Once this has been agreed with the client we will stick to that price and deliver what is in the brief. There will be no hidden extras.
Very often creative clients, such as artists, have very clear ideas as to the design. Designer Jeweller Vivian Pare wanted her site built to a design she had in mind, as was Andrew Webber of the Orchard Day Nursery. We took their designs and turned them into the websites they wanted; at a fixed price. In the case of St. William of York Primary School, they provided the content the site was to contain (text and images) and left the design entirely to us; again at a fixed cost agreed beforehand.
In developing a website we concentrate on making it intuitive and easy to navigate, ensuring that the key information is presented in the most effective way. The focus is on creating a site that will help the client achieve their business objectives. In doing this we also take great care with accessibility for those users who may not be fully able bodied, e.g. blind, deaf, colour blind or may not enjoy full manual dexterity.
The way that a website gets its name, the 'www.name' bit (also known as the URL), is through Domain Registration. Getting this right is a vitally important part of creating a presence on the web. The domain name should be relevant to the content of the site, e.g. www.bbc.co.uk is completely unambiguous as to what to expect by visiting the site, whereas, www.diy.com does not immediately suggest that it is the site belonging to B&Q.
Once a client has decided to have WebCAL build a site then we work with them to register the domain name(s) relevant to their site. The cost of these registrations is fixed and lasts for two years, after which the domain will have to be re-registered for a further two years. A single UK domain e.g. www.yourname.co.uk will cost £25 for the two years, with a range of options for multiple registrations. As part of this service we keep track of the domain renewal process and timetable, alerting the client in advance of the need to renew - a vital service in order to ensure that the domain is retained for the client.
Web hosting is the service that presents a website to the Internet and makes it constantly available to visitors. There are many different degrees of web hosting service and associated charges. Some companies will even host a client's website without charge, but as with most things in life you get what you pay for.
At WebCAL we believe in managing the technical side of the Internet, allowing our clients to get on with managing their business. We work together with service partner NewNet plc, hosting clients' websites on high specification hardware in order to deliver the very best service to the client and the visitors to their website(s). The key service criteria that matter in web hosting are security, exceptionally high availability (in excess of 99.9%) and the fast response of clients' websites.
The costs of web hosting services depend on the type of web site(s) to be hosted and the technology required to effect that hosting, e.g. a dynamic website such as the new Open Studios website requires a database, whereas a static site such as Vivian Pare does not.
As part of the web hosting service we can supply clients with their own e-mail accounts and services tailored to suit the content of their website and the nature of their business. We supply personalised e-mail accounts using the website address, e.g. email@example.com, at no extra cost.
Many clients find the complexity of the Internet is something they really don't want to be involved with, preferring to get on with the job of running their business. As part of the hosting fee we offer a personal after-sales support service by phone or e-mail in order to help them get the best out of their website investment.
The Internet is a fast moving and powerful environment and its users expect sites to be up to date and relevant. This means any web site needs to be maintained, reflecting the changing aspects of the business, organisation, group or person it is representing.
We see the building of a website as the start of a long term business relationship with the client. Those clients who are hosted by WebCAL enjoy a degree of free maintenance during the year, particularly making simple updates to pages like events listings which change every few months.
In the case of a site where change is expected to be frequent then a maintenance contract can be individually devised for us to undertake the changes. However, sites can be built in such a way that the client can, with the right tools, manage the content of the site themselves.
Why have a website?
As with any project building a website that will deliver its business objectives needs careful thought and planning from the outset. What follows are questions designed to clarify and agree the details of the website design, development and maintenance.
What is the site for?
In meeting the business objectives of the site it is essential to be sure of its purpose(s); is it intended to:
- solicit feedback?
- establish two-way communicate with the audience?
- be an exhibition of works?
- be a source of news/current affairs?
- be a catalogue of items/services for sale online/offline?
- be a warehouse of resources/downloads?
- . . . ?
What criteria are important in creating the appearance of the site?
- ‘My’ design
- Style ideas
- Free design (no restrictions)
- Corporate restricted
- Logos already in existence
- Colours required/preferred/to be avoided
Who are the audience?
Visitors to the site need to be considered in various categories. Is the site aimed at:
- General public
- Selected closed group
Is it likely that the whole audience will be able bodied? It is important to consider whether some or all of the audience may be:
- Colour blind
- Limited in dexterity
- . . .
Having defined the audience for the site it is necessary to decide whether access to the site is to be:
- Wholly and freely accessible
- Partially controlled access
- Wholly restricted access
How will the audience get to the site?
Once the site is launched it will be competing with the rest of the Internet for an audience. Raising awareness of the site is essential to attract the right audience and meet the business objectives. Consider how visitors will arrive at the site.
- Domain name supplied by you via advert, article, direct mail, leaflet or . . . .
- Intuitive guess as to domain name
- Search engine
- Referenced from other site
- Automatic jump from a tool
Where will the site content come from and how will it be delivered? Who will guarantee the legality and acceptability of the content?
Will the site carry third party advertising?
The content of the site will be delivered as:
- Text only
- Lots of pictures
- Balanced mix of text and images
- Include external feeds
Maintaining the site content
If the site needs to be updated regularly is the work to be undertaken by:
- The client
- A 3rd party
Expected life of the site
What is the expected life of the website?
- Less than 1 year
- More than 1 year
- Long term
Creating the site
This list of questions is not definitive by any means, as we talk with clients about the needs of their sites so the discussion usually broadens. It is good practice to browse the Internet and use a search engine such as Google to see what sites are already in place offering the same or similar services and/or products. This research goes a long way to answering many of the questions above and keeps the workload and revisions to a minimum.