What should it cost to set up a web-page?

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by sly, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    My New Year's resolution this year was to get a web page set up for my photogrgaphy. Due to my high frustration level with a computer, I knew I'd need help. Talked to a friend who does this kind of stuff, and he gave me an estimated cost to get set up. Last week he told me it's been more work than he'd anticipated, has cost 70% more, so far, and it's not done yet. It's still not set up in a user friendly way for me to upload, edit and move photos around; it's not set up for paypal; and the slideshow I'd wanted to have as part of it is not yet incorporated. This is the first time he's mentioned that the cost was getting significantly more than he'd quoted.

    What would be a reasonable cost to get a photo web site set up? I want to be able to show my work, in a number of categories (ie - portraits, landscape, alt prints.... with a more info tab for inforamtion about film used , printing method or whatever for those who are intereseted); be able to sell prints through paypal; have people be able to contact me through the site for commisions; and be able to add, delete and move prints around myself, without having to be frustated and annoyed every time I attempt to do anything, or having to pay someone to do it for me every time.

    I'm thinking I should tell him to stop working on it, dicker the price down, and live with it until I can take a course or something so I can figure out how to work with what's done so far and expand it to closer to what I'd envisioned.
     
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  2. timparkin

    timparkin Member

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    I'm afraid you've hit the classic 'What is a reasonable cost for a table?' or 'what is a reasonable cost for a car'

    Well, sticking with the car motif, you can get a second hand car for a few hundred dollars and it will work fine as a car. You can get a website for a few hundred dollars and it will work fine as a website

    If you want a shiny new car with basic functionality, you are talking a thousand dollars. If you want a photography website with more than just a template look and feel youre talking about a thousand dollars.

    If you want something with a few frills, then you're talking a few thousand dollars. Same for that website - you see where I'm going..

    If you want a typical professional car that is very reliable and look nice, you're probably talking $8-10k ... ditto website

    If you want a car that is going to wow people and will draw heads, 10-20k. This will have lots of gizmos and doodahs..

    You can pay 20-30k for a website and it will have been hand designed with lots of consultation with you and have integration with your digital asset management system etc..

    Some people have a friend who can take a second hand car and pimp it up to make it look like the 20-30k car for 8-10k..

    Some people think you can buy a second hand car and throw a few hundred dollars at it to get the same - they might even manage it, but it's unlikely..

    Tim
     
  3. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Prices will vary depending on complexity of the site's structure and what your final requirements are.

    I remember wishing to update my site and *not* wanting to spend a fortune, and finally settled upon a "template" site that I can change myself. It is fully independent of any other website (SmugMug etc) and meets my needs exactly. I did ask for some changes, which I was charged for, however they were reasonable expenses and the resulting site does everything I need it to.

    I'm not sure how much your estimate started at, but I would expect that 70% more at this stage, without being able to update yourself, *not* having PayPal integrated and no slideshow working, means the designer has 1) grossly underestimated the time and features required, 2) has no idea of how to build a "Portfolio" site for a photographer 3) wants to make as much money as possible or 4) all of the above.

    Yes, good website design does take time, however I would expect that somebody "who does this kind of stuff" would be able to estimate from my requirements much, much closer than suddenly being 70% over(!?) - photographer's estimates usually stipulate +/- 10% difference maximum.

    Personally, I'd be pulling the plug now. 70% over estimate leads me to believe this person has no idea about what they are doing, and there's no guarantee that it isn't going to blow out by another 70%.
     
  4. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    This really is a question without a right answer. Fundamentally it depends how idiosyncratic your needs are (therefore how much original thought/coding etc) and how much work you are able and prepared to do yourself.

    For me the answer was £400 (c $600 US) to have www.photography001.com developed and put up with my chosen webhost. But

    I did all the work on images myself. All the designer had to do was load them. I think most people who cared what their photography looks like online would want to do that.

    I had no e-commerce aspect at all, though I think a lot of the freeware/shareware that web designers use has this built in so it could be a nil cost extra.

    The basic creative concept-backgrounds, colours, was adapted from a previous site not started from scratch. That does get the cost and input levels down because you don't need to have a stage of briefing designers, and having them come up with several (usually) creative interpretations of your brief. If its been hard to settle on a "look" then this is an area where website development costs can run up quite quickly if ( for example) the designer based his estimate on putting up 4 ideas one of which gets chosen, but ends up producing lots more candidates and variants before the client is happy.

    In addition to scanning and image prep. there was a significant workload on me during the development phase. You can write the best brief in the world yet are still a myriad things to sort out on the hoof that your designer will want you to approve or decide between alternative treatments.

    Finally do make sure that the site is designed so it can be updated by you in terms of adding new images, new portfolios and so on. Otherwise it will be one of the myriad websites conceived as dynamic but which never actually changes and eventually dies of boredom.
     
  5. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    For a photographer's website, being able to upload, edit, and annotate images without the aid of a "web master" is a key requirement. There is also a need to add and edit statements, perhaps a bit of blogging as well. For this, there are several web frameworks available that should be relatively inexpensive to customise. I've been playing around with Django and found it quite capable for my needs.

    Someone with experience of Django should be able to have a basic website up and running in less than an hour. Customising the look & feel would be two or three hours (a day at most).

    If you also want some eBusiness built in to sell images, that could get expensive..
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I agree with Nanette, that 70% over budget is a little much, and your developer really doesn't understand what's needed, though you might also be dealing with licensing costs of additional software, depending on what he's using.
    I did a simple one page thing for a local ski club for a couple hundred, OTH the designer that did VCP's site (www.vcphoto.org) charged around 2K, and I know since I now maintain it, that it has quite a lot of work in it.
     
  7. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Believe me, you DON'T want to get into programming or doing webpage design yourself, unless you have had previous (work) related experience in IT.

    It will not be worth it, nor in the time you need to invest to even learn the basics, nor in money. In addition, some people never learn software development and programming at any useful level, their brain just isn't wired for the kind of super dry coding of if/then/else logic. I have seen it...

    That said, if you do want to have some control of the site, I think there are companies providing services targeted at photographers that allow you to control a website or its contents yourself, much like a blog. Don't know any from the top of my head, but some others might be able to point you in the right direction.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2010
  8. tlitody

    tlitody Member

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    If your friend has gone that much over budget it means he doesn't know what he is doing unless you have been changing the spec significantly as he has been working on it.

    Designing a photography website has been done to death over the years and there are thousands of off the shelf solutions to be had for very reasonable prices of only a few hundred dollars. But if you don't want to worry about organising your own hosting then I would recommend the following who will have you a site up and running in no time at very good prices.

    http://www.clikpic.com/index.cfm?section=prices
     
  9. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I did my site using iWeb from Apple. It's not perfect, but it was easy. There's also jalbum for a add your own and customize it type site (it has more capabilities than iWeb).
    If someone else does it, I could see $500-$2000 depending on the details. I agree that being off by 70% is a sign that your friend didn't really know what he was getting into.
    IMO, it's better to use a ready-made program where you can drag and drop your photos in rather than doing a full reinvent the wheel site unless you're in IT and like to sit and fiddle with it a lot.
     
  10. Hello Sly,

    You've posted a very good topic (and concern) for today's presentation options. The above posts all contain very good comments and suggestions. In terms of pricing, I'm afraid there's no concrete answer. Interactive designers and developers charge "all over the board".

    Be advised, that the "democratization" of the personal computer, and availability of graphics applications/programs, has creating a "designer" and "expert" out of anyone who can turn on a computer. There are a lot of people out there who call themselves designers, but have no formal training in the discipline. I have a masters degree from Pratt Institute (New York) in Communications Design -- specializing in corporate identity and print design. Although I do understand the vernacular and architecture behind "good" and appropriate web applications, I do not, the least bit, tell anyone that I can cobble together a site. It's not my specialty. And, it's not just about aesthetics; you have to also have a very good grasp of user experience and interface design (regardless of how simple the site or single page).

    Getting back to your original post request, a photographer's site doesn't have to be outlandlishly expensive. Should you have an idea of what you want a site to do for you, a good web designer/developer would be able to give you a few options and price estimates (start to delivery -- not counting web server hosting). He or she should be a collaborator, and be able to interpret your needs, coupled with giving you suggestions for improvement (look and feel, as well as user experience). No matter how simple the site, it's a process; one that needs to be planned out from start to finish. You should never be presented with unforeseen price changes in the middle of a job/project; those estimates are decided and agreed upon prior to start (regardless if it's $50 or $5,000). Look at other photographers' web sites, and see what you like or don't like about them; what works and what doesn't. Look though some design books in he books stores, as well, to see what's new "out there".

    One option (and not expensive) is to build a site within a larger photographers'/artist's site. I can't think of any, off hand, but recall seeing some very good ones. Maybe other members from this forum can make some recommendations. This forum's portfolio section is a great place to start. You can subsequently place a link to an additional, larger site.

    Another option/consideration, for you, is to solicit a graduate student in one of the art programs/schools in Vancouver to assist you in this project. Most at that level are learning industry best practices in their respective programs, and are usually open to working on real projects, rather than solely fulfilling experimental investigations for advanced classes/seminars.

    Hope this helps. Happy hunting.

    Andrew
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2010
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I'm inclined to agree, there's a lack of professionalism which puts Sly in a difficult position as it's a friend.

    Maybe Sly should get the site online as it is and ask for comments.

    Ian
     
  12. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    I have been in the web business for about 15 yrs. You get what you pay for, and it is a business. Treat it that way. Here are some things you need to consider.

    1) Know exactly what you want. If you don't know, it's hard to convey to a web head.
    2) Make a commitment with your designer. This is business and if he/she/it made bad quotes, that's their fault and they live with it.
    2) Stay away from Friends or Family. It's hard enough to defend your rights as a client without bringing that baggage into the pile. Just don't do it. The side effects can last a lifetime.

    The ecomerce websites I worked on generally start at 50k. It's not all visual. You can guess the quality of the designer when they low ball sites, as they really don't know what it takes to do it or they rely on being able to "adjust" you bill. As an example I am a programmer and worked with the graphic designers. What does it take to support those salaries to get the job done? It's not happening for a couple hundred. For a higher end job it takes manpower and high skills to do it. I code html by hand.

    You need to think of it as a business. How much will it take in and how much of an investment is actually required. The rest will be compromises based on real value of the task at hand. Then and only then you can be satisfied with the outcome.
     
  13. tlitody

    tlitody Member

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    The design, css and html is the cheap bit. It's the backend which costs the money. That is, the ability to design and setup a database to store the data which is the images and which gallery they are in, the text associated with each image, the price and shipping cost of each image. Also the accounts records for each sale which also means an account for each customer with a log in so they can check whats been happening etc etc etc.
    Then you have to build the content management system to handle all of that which is more design, css, html and probably PHP or ASP coding to manage all of that which means advanced online forms processing with insert, edit and delete options where necessary. Then you need more php or asp code to build the actual web page content dynamically with buttons for buying which also needs coding to interface to a payement gateway including collecting sucessful payment data and subsequent update of your own database with that client payment data etc etc etc.

    To put it bluntly, anyone who thinks that a simple website for selling images is a breeze to knock up, doesn't know what they are talking about. It's simple relatively speaking with regard to some really complex e-commerce sites but its still a lot of work and is beyond your average hacker who just tries to bolt together some free utilities they got there hands on.

    That's why a bespoke package is usually a better option because they have already done the hard work and refined it over time so you get a decent content management system and they provide some templates you can tweak for your own look. They make their money on selling the work many times over so you get a good a price. Go for a bespoke from the ground up package and you pay big bucks for an unrefined system.
     
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  15. sublimeone101

    sublimeone101 Member

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    how does free sound? minus the cost of the domain, etc. but if you'd like to save money check out indexhibit.org and download their php/css driven sites. customize them and there you go.. your own website :smile:
     
  16. lns

    lns Member

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    I'd worry only about how to salvage the friendship. The website sounds like a lost cause.

    -Laura
     
  17. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Maybe I missed it but what was the original quote? If he quoted $100 and is now +70% then that is not a big deal as he probably didn't know what he was doing.
     
  18. R Shaffer

    R Shaffer Member

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    +1

    Can't agree more. This is business.

    I have been working as a consulting structural engineer for the past 20 years and I have done work for family and friends. Family and friends get the same contract as any other client. If I don't have them sign a contract it is because I do not expect to be paid for helping them.

    I would shut down your friends efforts. If you decide you want him to finish the job, then y'all need a written contract.

    Going 70% over budget needs to be justified. Did you ask for changes or more features? Or was your friend overly optimistic in what he could get done?
     
  19. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    I just used indexhibit and like it, for the cost, but it has a steep learning curve for the novice web designer.... I have a small amount of experience, not really html, but about setting up a domain, etc. I struggled with it and put together a site, partly completed, that is pretty bare bones (williambretzger.com) - with indexhibit you can do a lot of customizing I haven't gotten into... but I have a hard time recommending it to someone without a reasonable base of experience. A lot of fine art, artsy type of photographers and designers do put it to good use.
    That said, it is a free download - can't hurt to try. And it gives you control over maintenance of the site.
     
  20. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    My wife uses Clikpic for her art work. The whole process went flawlessly and we can both highly recommend it. http://www.jcstudioart.net/
     
  21. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    For the quality of the sites (other samples here: http://www.clikpic.com/index.cfm?section=sites&mode=featured) and what looks customization and control, the prices for Clikpic look really, really good. Never used it, but it seems to me that you won't be paying much more for your site than if you went it alone and had to pay for the hosting, etc.
     
  22. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I paid $300.00 to have my website designed by the same company that host the site. Great service and they maintain the site for a monthly charge.

    http://www.dudleyviolins.com
     
  23. tlitody

    tlitody Member

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    I would add that clikpic does have built in payment gateway for paypal although its not used in this example and they don't take a cut for providing the service. i.e. the transaction remains between you, your client and paypal which is not the case with some of the online photo site hosts.
     
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  24. williamtheis

    williamtheis Member

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  25. tlitody

    tlitody Member

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    There will be a lot of photographers winging and moaning that their beloved website doesn't work on IPads. He said, rubbing his hands together with glee at the prospect of many photographers having their sites rewritten in css and html so that they work on an IPad.
     
  26. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Excellent point about Flash for websites.

    Apple doesn't support it, seems intent on abandoning it and IIRC Adobe is working on a non-Flash software. Given the increasing prevalence of Apple, that should tell you which way things are trending.