We get asked a lot of questions about websites. Sometimes there is a simple answer, but many times there is not. We are working to compile some of the more common questions here for your consideration. If you have questions about our services that is not answered here, please contact us.
- How much does it cost to build a website?
- Can you help us prepare an RFP?
- Can you make our website usable for people with disabilities?
- Can a graphic designer create a website for a company?
- Do you provide cost estimates?
- "My cousin's friend's brother-in-law can build me a site for free."
- I can build my own website but I have some questions. Can you help me?
- Are there any legal requirements I have to consider for my website?
Costs can range from $500 to $5000 and up for a custom web site. The price depends on the functionality that is required, custom modules, the level of visual design, content management, and volume of information.
With my strong background in municipal government, and having personally worked on the "other side of the fence" putting out Requests for Proposals, I am able to help you put together a document that can respresent your needs. People in this industry can easily see your level of knowledge in this field by the request you put out. It's very important to have the correct teminology, ask the right questions, and establish the right requirements to let those in the industry know you are knowledgable about this subject.
Ontario was the first province to bring in legislation that requires web sites to be usable by people with disabilities. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is largley based on legislation in the United States. All governement sites, government funded sites, and even private businesses with more than 50 employees are required to adhere to this legislation or face steep financial penalties. I am certified for programming accessible web sites. Please contact us if you wish to have your site reviewed or rebuilt to meet these standards.
Graphic designers are very good at what they do, creating eye-catching visuals, information placement and style. However graphic designers are not web site designers. The training and backgrounds are quite different. The internet is interactive, constantly changing and so many aspects are integrated with varoius sytems, functions and code. A true web site designer must have an excellect working knowledge of all of these areas, and be able to produce a site themselves to truly understand the nature of websites. I am a true website designer, able to work on all aspects of website design, development PLUS workflow for our customers to get the best ROI on their investment.
Yes, we have plenty of experience preparing Requests For Proposals, and Cost Estimates for governments at various levels. These do take quite a bit of time to research, write and tabulate so we are selective in what projects we choose to respond to. We are happy to provide cost estimates to serious inquiries only.
We have rescued many organizations and companies from websites that have been "put together" for free or little cost by associates, relatives or volunteers. While this can be how many sites get started, in the long run it can be detrimental to the business. Because the website is a reflection of your business or organization, it's better to have no website than to have one that is badly designed or functions poorly.
The old saying "you get what you pay for" applies right across the board when it comes to professional services. We cannot just give away our hard earned experience and knowledge. There are many free options out there to build websites, but you will literally be on your own. Yes there are plenty of resources online to Google ... if you have the time. You will need to learn why things work the way they do, not just how to use the tools themselves. For personal websites and hobbies and interests, a small free site is an option. You will be part of a larger framework that will try to provide the tools you need, until they change their platform, remove features (i.e. Facebook), go out of business or are sold. There is no bigger turn off than hitting a website for a business or organization that comes across as amateurish, poorly designed navigation, outdated or does not function well. Expectations of users are great, and with a click they are gone. So while building your own website may save you money, you will need to invest a lot of your own valuable time in trial and error, and in the meantime it will cost you in terms of lost customers who will quickly move on. If you are expecting a big return on minimal investment, you will most likely be disappointed.
There is Government legislation regarding some of the aspects of websites - mainly in the areas of privacy and accessibility. You need to be aware of what these rules are and comply with them, otherwise you are opening yourself up to potential lawsuits and bad publicity. Privacy is critical and being transparent with website users about what you do with their information is essential.
Accessibility means providing your information to those with disabilities - whether its motor skills, eyesight or hearing challenges, colour blindness etc. There are actual laws surrounding with significant fines for website owners who do not comply. Right now it depends on what province you are in as to what those laws are.
A professional website designer will be aware of these, and other laws and rules that must be applied. If your webmaster or designer is not aware these, its time to get a new website designer who is in tune with the industry!