Hiring out website design... questions....

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2ndLife

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Hey all, I am considering farming out the website and am wondering what the norms are for this, I know there will be some variance from place to place but in general terms -- for a B&B website:
Cost of designing?
Cost of maintaining?
Do you give the designer money up front (a portion as you would a contractor?)
What if you don't care for what he/she ultimately creates?
Are you obligated to pay for the work - if you don't use the product?
Is photography/photographer typically included? If not how much for this service...?
Looking for any and all input as I am clueless, a total newbie. Any ideas, opinions are appreciated!
Thanks!
2ndlife
 
Well from my prospective as a freelancer, I do things pretty much off the cuff because I choose who I want to work with :) And I am fairly informal about most things. However there are real pros who will give you a contract and charge you for everything and every minute they do.
That said, hiring someone to do a professional looking site is a MUST. It is not a do it yourself job if you have no experience. This is your business you are projecting and it has to be good!
This is for me only:
I ask them to show me sites they like, then I do a mock up of an idea first, show it to client. If they like the look then we proceed or make adjustments according to what they want.....within reason and my capabilities.
I charge $50 an hour and base fee is 10 hours. And it goes up from there. I don't charge until I am done. I don't do it for a living..so this doesn't worry me. Most designers will charge a large deposit.
I only charge for any changes/maintenance taking 15 minutes or more. Same rate. Pros will charge you for everything!
Yes you are required to pay!
Any good designer will work with you to be sure you like the site and you are satisfied.
No photography is not included. You must provide it. The sky is the limit if you want good photos.
Good luck. Oh...I don't need more work.
 
I've heard rates around $7000 for a fully-designed website for a B&B with 6 rooms. Not including the photos and maintenance.
The website I refer to was designed using a template so every website this company does looks the same overall. It was about 12 pages, including individual room pages, breakfast, places to go in the area, etc. You provide all the information, BTW.
What you're paying for is what you can't do - design work, seo, copy writing. But you have to provide the company with photos, lists of things to do, room descriptions, a basic 'this is what we're about' - they don't do that part.
If you get a fully-designed website, meaning you contact them and say, "build me a website," you might want to undertake the little changes yourself. If you want to change out a seasonal photo, as an example. You need to change a price. Little things that add up quickly, but would take you 2 minutes.
 
I hired via elance. Basically, I had my theme. I had my stuff together. I had hosting setup and basically I needed them to configure it all for me. I put it up for bid. I went not with the cheapest, but with someone with a good reputation that spoke English well and was willing to work with the escrow system. I read the reviews and such. And I was happy with the outcome.
 
I hired via elance. Basically, I had my theme. I had my stuff together. I had hosting setup and basically I needed them to configure it all for me. I put it up for bid. I went not with the cheapest, but with someone with a good reputation that spoke English well and was willing to work with the escrow system. I read the reviews and such. And I was happy with the outcome..
Jon...what is this at the bottom of your home page.??? never seen this and looks out of place there...... Add Copyright in Wordpress Dashboard: Appearance > Customize
 
I hired via elance. Basically, I had my theme. I had my stuff together. I had hosting setup and basically I needed them to configure it all for me. I put it up for bid. I went not with the cheapest, but with someone with a good reputation that spoke English well and was willing to work with the escrow system. I read the reviews and such. And I was happy with the outcome..
Jon...what is this at the bottom of your home page.??? never seen this and looks out of place there...... Add Copyright in Wordpress Dashboard: Appearance > Customize
.
Whoops. Fixed :)
 
My $.02 worth:
Cost of designing? Can be anywhere from $1k to $15k. If you pay any less, you're getting crap. Pay any more, and you're getting robbed. May sure you specify how many pages you get for what you pay, and whatever functionality you need (links to online booking sites, flash animation, etc.)
Cost of maintaining? If it's done in WordPress and you're relatively savvy, you can do it yourself. My designer didn't want a full-time webmaster job so training and limited support were included in my price.
Do you give the designer money up front (a portion as you would a contractor?) I agreed to pay my designer 50% after I saw the first 50% of the website pages he'd designed, and the remaining 50% once it launched and I was satisfied.
What if you don't care for what he/she ultimately creates? Then you'll get whatever they want and not what you want.
Are you obligated to pay for the work - if you don't use the product? Yes.
Is photography/photographer typically included? If not how much for this service...? It should be. Very important: Make sure designer has bought the rights to the stock photos he/she uses, and make sure they give you copies of all documentation showing this. You don't want a demand letter from Getty Images for thousands of dollars for photos.
 
My $.02 worth:
Cost of designing? Can be anywhere from $1k to $15k. If you pay any less, you're getting crap. Pay any more, and you're getting robbed. May sure you specify how many pages you get for what you pay, and whatever functionality you need (links to online booking sites, flash animation, etc.)
Cost of maintaining? If it's done in WordPress and you're relatively savvy, you can do it yourself. My designer didn't want a full-time webmaster job so training and limited support were included in my price.
Do you give the designer money up front (a portion as you would a contractor?) I agreed to pay my designer 50% after I saw the first 50% of the website pages he'd designed, and the remaining 50% once it launched and I was satisfied.
What if you don't care for what he/she ultimately creates? Then you'll get whatever they want and not what you want.
Are you obligated to pay for the work - if you don't use the product? Yes.
Is photography/photographer typically included? If not how much for this service...? It should be. Very important: Make sure designer has bought the rights to the stock photos he/she uses, and make sure they give you copies of all documentation showing this. You don't want a demand letter from Getty Images for thousands of dollars for photos. .
Don't use stock photos, period. Guests should not be 'surprised' that the building, grounds, rooms, area, food don't look anything like the photos.
 
If you go with a development firm that does this for a living, most likely you will end up paying over 1K for sure, no matter where they are from.
If you decide to do as much as you can yourself, and hire someone just to fix the things that you break, then there are different websites for hiring freelancers.
When you go with someone that charges $20 to fix your website, well, hang on tight.
When you go with an experienced developer, expect to pay from $50 to $150 per hour of custom coding.
An inexperienced developer will try to charge you $15 / hour for 8 hours, and an experienced developer will charge you $100 / hour for 2 hours.
Photography is never included in website development, unless you hire a developer that lives in your area and he charges you 5K+ for the website.
My advice to you is this (just like EmptyNest mentioned earlier): this is your business (is it?), don't take too many chances with dubious developers/designers, unless you are OK with having weeks or months of downtime, a potentially compromised website and data, etc.
 
a few things about photos
1. my first website for the b&b just to get it up online i bought a template with a picture of a beach on the top - strip of sand, water - never dreamed people would think that was something they could see at the b&b til i got an email asking if that was the view ... boom, down came that photo.
2. we were able to partner with one 'big city' restaurant, briefly, and could i use images from their site? yes. then i got a frantic phone call not to use pictures of the food and diners on their site because they were stock photos they had 'lifted' from the internet and other sites. swell.
3. i manage two websites for two non profits. i often use free stock images for things to round out the site, like closeups of plants or random things ... but i still go around with my little camera and take pictures. it's not the same as for a b&b. images are so very important to selling a stay. but i once stayed at a place and none of the rooms were there. none! and if the common area shown on the website actually existed, i never found it. they even claimed to have a cafe where you could sit and drink coffee with locals. oh, sorry, they closed that five years ago. amazing. you HAVE to show your own rooms, your own place, your own views, your own grounds. they didn't care, i was there for the night and good riddance. (i think they closed)
yes you want people to come - and stay - but you hope they will return (repeat visitors). totally agree with Morticia. you don't want to have to explain the pictures on your website to unhappy guests.
most of my guests were great and i was delighted when they'd come back again.
ps - we were in a harbor, but the nearest beach was 2 miles away.
 
2ndlife I hope you have been online to see some websites that you think are a nice example. From aesthetics to functionality - go as far as try to book a specific date away for yourself and see how far you go without getting frustrated.
If you are looking at a specific area, go to all the other online B&B sites for that area and do a quick google search and see the other B&B's in that area and click on their websites to see the comparison.
If there is one thing I would say that would be you will pay for it now or you will pay for it later, it is much better coming into it with reservations and money coming in, then spending a year or two before you get to that point with a lousy website. Then it is even harder to make the change! You will have SEO underway on your current website and not wish to toss the whole thing out or make too many changes and be stuck with a dog.
People with said lousy websites have no idea how much business they are NOT getting by putting out a poor first impression. In today's world, this is the most important marketing tool in your tool box. Consider how much some items in the B&B cost, then consider how much bang for your buck a decent website is worth! The photos being super important, so if you have great photos to use be sure to give them to the web designer, or hire someone who can take some for you.
(Visit our friends at Jumping Rocks to see how important these photos are and what a difference they can make by a small tweak here or there).
How much you do on it depends on your ability. Many here are pretty savvy, many here aren't. I would not want to be in taking down the site by adding or subtracting something, costing me business. I would also not want to be in a position if I COULD run simple edits to not be allowed to or to have to pay each time I asked for this.
Cost is usually a few grand and up...
I can't recall the story of where you are or the B&B, so forgive me for that if you have shared it. Is there a website already in place? If so we can help give you ideas and trash that one to show you insight, we are good at that! ALL THE BEST!
 
Maintenance costs: this is a few years old, I do my site myself with nudging from empty nest.
$25 to add a photo, change a photo, + cost of time to edit photos to fit.
$25 per edit - add info, make changes to text
$100/month to make sure website was working, links were active and, back in the day, to resubmit website to search engines every month.
There was another charge to create new pages. At one point my site had almost 100 pages. It still has close to 50 now.
Luckily, I cut my teeth on website building back when doing it yourself was ok. There is some stuff I do not understand at all. It would be nice to call someone and say "fix that" instead of having to learn a bunch of stuff I'm not interested in any longer!
As JB said, if you have a website already, or you hire someone down the road, we'll be happy to go over it for you and point out what doesn't work from the guest standpoint.
Make sure whoever you hire doesn't copy from other places in your location. That is a huge no no. Some folks have had that happen. Brand new site goes up in their location with all of their info stolen from other sites. Or the designer models the new site on a high producing site with similar layout, photos, text. To the point the guest thinks it's all the same property.
 
Maintenance costs: this is a few years old, I do my site myself with nudging from empty nest.
$25 to add a photo, change a photo, + cost of time to edit photos to fit.
$25 per edit - add info, make changes to text
$100/month to make sure website was working, links were active and, back in the day, to resubmit website to search engines every month.
There was another charge to create new pages. At one point my site had almost 100 pages. It still has close to 50 now.
Luckily, I cut my teeth on website building back when doing it yourself was ok. There is some stuff I do not understand at all. It would be nice to call someone and say "fix that" instead of having to learn a bunch of stuff I'm not interested in any longer!
As JB said, if you have a website already, or you hire someone down the road, we'll be happy to go over it for you and point out what doesn't work from the guest standpoint.
Make sure whoever you hire doesn't copy from other places in your location. That is a huge no no. Some folks have had that happen. Brand new site goes up in their location with all of their info stolen from other sites. Or the designer models the new site on a high producing site with similar layout, photos, text. To the point the guest thinks it's all the same property..
So, I've talked to a guy, and he talks a good game... but is he any good? Major inducement - he is willing to barter
... they say you get what you "pay" for and in this case it is about $5,000 with photo's but how do I know if he can produce..?
His own website does not show up on the first two search pages (SEO is something he is supposed to be really good at.) Some of the websites in his portfolio are good, some are kinda lame... matter or taste I suppose. The one other b&b he did - well, they aren't using his stuff on their actual site. Last week caught some code exposed on his website -- gone now.
Bottom line this is a big decision... and I don't have the budget for it without the barter. I don't know if I could do it myself or not... I think I'll be taking your advice and sending you to check it all out, whatever I end up doing....
Thanks for all the input!
 
Maintenance costs: this is a few years old, I do my site myself with nudging from empty nest.
$25 to add a photo, change a photo, + cost of time to edit photos to fit.
$25 per edit - add info, make changes to text
$100/month to make sure website was working, links were active and, back in the day, to resubmit website to search engines every month.
There was another charge to create new pages. At one point my site had almost 100 pages. It still has close to 50 now.
Luckily, I cut my teeth on website building back when doing it yourself was ok. There is some stuff I do not understand at all. It would be nice to call someone and say "fix that" instead of having to learn a bunch of stuff I'm not interested in any longer!
As JB said, if you have a website already, or you hire someone down the road, we'll be happy to go over it for you and point out what doesn't work from the guest standpoint.
Make sure whoever you hire doesn't copy from other places in your location. That is a huge no no. Some folks have had that happen. Brand new site goes up in their location with all of their info stolen from other sites. Or the designer models the new site on a high producing site with similar layout, photos, text. To the point the guest thinks it's all the same property..
So, I've talked to a guy, and he talks a good game... but is he any good? Major inducement - he is willing to barter
... they say you get what you "pay" for and in this case it is about $5,000 with photo's but how do I know if he can produce..?
His own website does not show up on the first two search pages (SEO is something he is supposed to be really good at.) Some of the websites in his portfolio are good, some are kinda lame... matter or taste I suppose. The one other b&b he did - well, they aren't using his stuff on their actual site. Last week caught some code exposed on his website -- gone now.
Bottom line this is a big decision... and I don't have the budget for it without the barter. I don't know if I could do it myself or not... I think I'll be taking your advice and sending you to check it all out, whatever I end up doing....
Thanks for all the input!
.
Funny you mention this, this morning. I was reading one of the blogs that I normally read and he was discussing this from the perspective of looking for Freelance jobs. But I thought... what a great list to use to find freelancers...
So look at http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/best-freelance-websites/ for the list. Look at the sites where their portfolios are available for you to peruse.
 
Maintenance costs: this is a few years old, I do my site myself with nudging from empty nest.
$25 to add a photo, change a photo, + cost of time to edit photos to fit.
$25 per edit - add info, make changes to text
$100/month to make sure website was working, links were active and, back in the day, to resubmit website to search engines every month.
There was another charge to create new pages. At one point my site had almost 100 pages. It still has close to 50 now.
Luckily, I cut my teeth on website building back when doing it yourself was ok. There is some stuff I do not understand at all. It would be nice to call someone and say "fix that" instead of having to learn a bunch of stuff I'm not interested in any longer!
As JB said, if you have a website already, or you hire someone down the road, we'll be happy to go over it for you and point out what doesn't work from the guest standpoint.
Make sure whoever you hire doesn't copy from other places in your location. That is a huge no no. Some folks have had that happen. Brand new site goes up in their location with all of their info stolen from other sites. Or the designer models the new site on a high producing site with similar layout, photos, text. To the point the guest thinks it's all the same property..
So, I've talked to a guy, and he talks a good game... but is he any good? Major inducement - he is willing to barter
... they say you get what you "pay" for and in this case it is about $5,000 with photo's but how do I know if he can produce..?
His own website does not show up on the first two search pages (SEO is something he is supposed to be really good at.) Some of the websites in his portfolio are good, some are kinda lame... matter or taste I suppose. The one other b&b he did - well, they aren't using his stuff on their actual site. Last week caught some code exposed on his website -- gone now.
Bottom line this is a big decision... and I don't have the budget for it without the barter. I don't know if I could do it myself or not... I think I'll be taking your advice and sending you to check it all out, whatever I end up doing....
Thanks for all the input!
.
for $5000 he had better be damned good! I would love to see his site and portfolio and then I will give you my real opinion. Care to share a URL? I hope it is not the company who did the current site. I would never use them again.
You MUST MUST have a responsive website.
 
Maintenance costs: this is a few years old, I do my site myself with nudging from empty nest.
$25 to add a photo, change a photo, + cost of time to edit photos to fit.
$25 per edit - add info, make changes to text
$100/month to make sure website was working, links were active and, back in the day, to resubmit website to search engines every month.
There was another charge to create new pages. At one point my site had almost 100 pages. It still has close to 50 now.
Luckily, I cut my teeth on website building back when doing it yourself was ok. There is some stuff I do not understand at all. It would be nice to call someone and say "fix that" instead of having to learn a bunch of stuff I'm not interested in any longer!
As JB said, if you have a website already, or you hire someone down the road, we'll be happy to go over it for you and point out what doesn't work from the guest standpoint.
Make sure whoever you hire doesn't copy from other places in your location. That is a huge no no. Some folks have had that happen. Brand new site goes up in their location with all of their info stolen from other sites. Or the designer models the new site on a high producing site with similar layout, photos, text. To the point the guest thinks it's all the same property..
So, I've talked to a guy, and he talks a good game... but is he any good? Major inducement - he is willing to barter
... they say you get what you "pay" for and in this case it is about $5,000 with photo's but how do I know if he can produce..?
His own website does not show up on the first two search pages (SEO is something he is supposed to be really good at.) Some of the websites in his portfolio are good, some are kinda lame... matter or taste I suppose. The one other b&b he did - well, they aren't using his stuff on their actual site. Last week caught some code exposed on his website -- gone now.
Bottom line this is a big decision... and I don't have the budget for it without the barter. I don't know if I could do it myself or not... I think I'll be taking your advice and sending you to check it all out, whatever I end up doing....
Thanks for all the input!
.
for $5000 he had better be damned good! I would love to see his site and portfolio and then I will give you my real opinion. Care to share a URL? I hope it is not the company who did the current site. I would never use them again.
You MUST MUST have a responsive website.
.
Can I post the url here - not taboo? Or should I pm it? I would love some opinions on what's what here. Because even with the barter - that's a lot of energy and rooms wasted if the site isn't popping at the end of it!
Meantime, I have a folder ready to grab a word press theme and give it a whirl myself. But the only website I've built in the past was for another business and it was drop and drag... no ecommerce, booking, or merchant accts. to weave in. Go that route and I could get stuck from what I'm reading here.
The current website is well...old! It was built by a guy from the Ukraine who speaks only Russian... this is not a joke. He is a friend of my SIL's. It just sounds like a joke!!
 
I would never hire a web designer who did not have a great website for their own biz!.
I think his website is probably cutting edge (but not intuitive for me, I found it a bit confusing). And then seeing his code out, was like seeing a bride with a green slip peeking out from under a white gown. (cause that ain't supposed to happen)
 
Maintenance costs: this is a few years old, I do my site myself with nudging from empty nest.
$25 to add a photo, change a photo, + cost of time to edit photos to fit.
$25 per edit - add info, make changes to text
$100/month to make sure website was working, links were active and, back in the day, to resubmit website to search engines every month.
There was another charge to create new pages. At one point my site had almost 100 pages. It still has close to 50 now.
Luckily, I cut my teeth on website building back when doing it yourself was ok. There is some stuff I do not understand at all. It would be nice to call someone and say "fix that" instead of having to learn a bunch of stuff I'm not interested in any longer!
As JB said, if you have a website already, or you hire someone down the road, we'll be happy to go over it for you and point out what doesn't work from the guest standpoint.
Make sure whoever you hire doesn't copy from other places in your location. That is a huge no no. Some folks have had that happen. Brand new site goes up in their location with all of their info stolen from other sites. Or the designer models the new site on a high producing site with similar layout, photos, text. To the point the guest thinks it's all the same property..
So, I've talked to a guy, and he talks a good game... but is he any good? Major inducement - he is willing to barter
... they say you get what you "pay" for and in this case it is about $5,000 with photo's but how do I know if he can produce..?
His own website does not show up on the first two search pages (SEO is something he is supposed to be really good at.) Some of the websites in his portfolio are good, some are kinda lame... matter or taste I suppose. The one other b&b he did - well, they aren't using his stuff on their actual site. Last week caught some code exposed on his website -- gone now.
Bottom line this is a big decision... and I don't have the budget for it without the barter. I don't know if I could do it myself or not... I think I'll be taking your advice and sending you to check it all out, whatever I end up doing....
Thanks for all the input!
.
for $5000 he had better be damned good! I would love to see his site and portfolio and then I will give you my real opinion. Care to share a URL? I hope it is not the company who did the current site. I would never use them again.
You MUST MUST have a responsive website.
.
Can I post the url here - not taboo? Or should I pm it? I would love some opinions on what's what here. Because even with the barter - that's a lot of energy and rooms wasted if the site isn't popping at the end of it!
Meantime, I have a folder ready to grab a word press theme and give it a whirl myself. But the only website I've built in the past was for another business and it was drop and drag... no ecommerce, booking, or merchant accts. to weave in. Go that route and I could get stuck from what I'm reading here.
The current website is well...old! It was built by a guy from the Ukraine who speaks only Russian... this is not a joke. He is a friend of my SIL's. It just sounds like a joke!!
.
No not taboo....I don't think we "trash" lots of posted urls here......LOL
devil_smile.gif
But only in the name of trying to help out. :)
 
Maintenance costs: this is a few years old, I do my site myself with nudging from empty nest.
$25 to add a photo, change a photo, + cost of time to edit photos to fit.
$25 per edit - add info, make changes to text
$100/month to make sure website was working, links were active and, back in the day, to resubmit website to search engines every month.
There was another charge to create new pages. At one point my site had almost 100 pages. It still has close to 50 now.
Luckily, I cut my teeth on website building back when doing it yourself was ok. There is some stuff I do not understand at all. It would be nice to call someone and say "fix that" instead of having to learn a bunch of stuff I'm not interested in any longer!
As JB said, if you have a website already, or you hire someone down the road, we'll be happy to go over it for you and point out what doesn't work from the guest standpoint.
Make sure whoever you hire doesn't copy from other places in your location. That is a huge no no. Some folks have had that happen. Brand new site goes up in their location with all of their info stolen from other sites. Or the designer models the new site on a high producing site with similar layout, photos, text. To the point the guest thinks it's all the same property..
So, I've talked to a guy, and he talks a good game... but is he any good? Major inducement - he is willing to barter
... they say you get what you "pay" for and in this case it is about $5,000 with photo's but how do I know if he can produce..?
His own website does not show up on the first two search pages (SEO is something he is supposed to be really good at.) Some of the websites in his portfolio are good, some are kinda lame... matter or taste I suppose. The one other b&b he did - well, they aren't using his stuff on their actual site. Last week caught some code exposed on his website -- gone now.
Bottom line this is a big decision... and I don't have the budget for it without the barter. I don't know if I could do it myself or not... I think I'll be taking your advice and sending you to check it all out, whatever I end up doing....
Thanks for all the input!
.
for $5000 he had better be damned good! I would love to see his site and portfolio and then I will give you my real opinion. Care to share a URL? I hope it is not the company who did the current site. I would never use them again.
You MUST MUST have a responsive website.
.
Can I post the url here - not taboo? Or should I pm it? I would love some opinions on what's what here. Because even with the barter - that's a lot of energy and rooms wasted if the site isn't popping at the end of it!
Meantime, I have a folder ready to grab a word press theme and give it a whirl myself. But the only website I've built in the past was for another business and it was drop and drag... no ecommerce, booking, or merchant accts. to weave in. Go that route and I could get stuck from what I'm reading here.
The current website is well...old! It was built by a guy from the Ukraine who speaks only Russian... this is not a joke. He is a friend of my SIL's. It just sounds like a joke!!
.
No not taboo....I don't think we "trash" lots of posted urls here......LOL
devil_smile.gif
But only in the name of trying to help out. :)
.
Alrighty then: http://jarthur-co.com/
 

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