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Thread: I'm looking to have a site built, and have no idea about pricing. Help?

  1. #1
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    I'm looking to have a site built, and have no idea about pricing. Help?

    I'm looking to have a website designed and built, but have no idea how much it should cost. I'm looking at hiring someone from elance.com. I figure that's important to know. I'm looking for two ideas on pricing. One for sort of a design with a template, and one from scratch.

    I'm looking to have a review website built that reviews a small (but growing) market. Users can add any website that pertains to this market, and write a review about it. Any site that is added, will first have to be approved by me (to prevent spam, and sites not pertaining to the subject from being added). From there, any registered user will be able to write a review about the site. People who read them (don't have to be registered) can + or - it if they found it helpful. Registered users will get a score next to each one of their reviews, showing how helpful they as a user are. In their reviews, users can add proof of an incident (say if they get scammed), but any proof will have to be approved by me, but the review does not, and it will automatically be posted.

    You can search for a specific site, or by categories.

    When you search for a site, it will have the site name and URL, how many stars, along with how many reviews. Then it will have the system similar to Amazon.com where they show a helpful high-rated review, along with a helpful low-rated review. Each individual review has the person who wrote it, along with the date, how many stars they gave, the comments they wrote, along with the pros and cons. Below that I want two buttons to post the review to Facebook or Twitter (in hopes to get more traffic to the site).

    Also, the owners of the sites have the option of registering, but have to provide proof of ownership. Owners will be able to respond to individual reviews.

    That's the basics of the site.

    If I were to outsource through elance.com, how much (ballpark) should I expect to pay?

    Thanks for any help, and if you need anymore info, feel free to ask.

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Interesting idea on the surface, although it's hard to say how good of an idea it is without more details...specifically, what is being reviewed? You say "a market", but are we talking products, companies, services being provided, what? The more detail you can provide, the better.

    Second, don't restrict yourself as far as where you hire from. A lot of freelance developers either don't use or are looking to migrate away from the elance.coms and the odesk.coms of the world for a few reasons: not getting paid reasonably for their work, (coincidentally) flawed review systems, unstable or inaccurate time tracking software, etc. So be prepared to look in multiple spots to find who you want. I also used the word "developer" rather than "designer" here because the majority of your idea will require development (i.e. programming) and design, as important as it is, will be relatively small in terms of complexity. So be prepared to broaden your horizons.

    Third, and this comes from someone who actually has built a review section for a site (my bowling alley site allows for user review submission), I would suggest not banking on the reviews themselves as the primary aspect of your site. Even if you look at a site such as yelp.com, the vast majority of the businesses on there have no reviews (anecdotally, I'd only say between 5-10% do, but I'm purely speculating). Approx. 1% of the centers listed on my bowling alley site have legitimate reviews. So whatever your idea is, make sure that it doesn't sink or swim on the reviews themselves...if it does, it'll sink. The majority of the "reviews" will be people who don't know it's a review form, people who use it to spam on behalf of the business, people who ask dumb questions of the business, and of course automated spam along the lines of this:
    What's the current interest rate for personal loans? <a href=" http://www.uktobacco.com/pallmall.html ">pall mall price in malaysia</a> NA UT Not Invoked, P&C Approved <a href=" http://www.uktobacco.com/parliament.html ">parliament cigarettes price uk</a> second (and other) claim(s) will be treated as either a balance owing from the original prescription, or a duplicate claim. For <a href=" http://www.uktobacco.com/hilton.html ">hilton cigarettes price</a> Students who fail an APPE rotation will be required to repeat and pass that
    Whoever you deal with will need to be aware of this and have at least some measures in place to deal with bot attempts and other annoyances. It would help if they knew how to create a honeypot as well.

    As far as costs themselves go, there really isn't a way to estimate that. That depends on who the developer is, what the developer has to offer, whether or not the developer really understands your project (and this is a big one), whether the developer will contribute ideas of his/her own, and whether the developer has the capability to do what you want. I'd suggest you're looking at somewhere in the four-digit range (very rough estimate between $3000-$5000), depending on exactly what features are proposed from the development point of view and the factors I mentioned above. A decent design will be another few hundred dollars. You may be able to get it "cheaper", but "cheap" is not the same as "more valuable".

    Hopefully that gives you some idea.
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  4. #3
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    This gives me tons of idea, and I appreciate the detailed response.

    I'm not going into detail about what is being reviewed for a specific reason. However, my site will review other sites for a specific market. There is an absolute need for this review site for many reasons; mainly to prevent from losing money. It is coming up time and time again, countless times a day, and I realize the need and want to take advantage of it before someone else does.

    I guess I'll use a larger example. Say you're looking to buy a new PC online and are looking for the best deal, and you come across a site that has an amazing deal, but you don't know if the site is legit or not. You could go to my site to check out the reviews for that site. You would go to my site and see the reviews to see if there has been any issues, and if it is even legit.

    However, my site would be for a very small and specific market, for one thing only. I know you're probably thinking that makes the chance for success even worse, but I assure you it doesn't.

    Where else would you suggest looking besides odesk.com and elance.com? I'm looking for a combination of the best price, and best work. I'm by no means just looking for the best price. Further down the line, if it succeeds, then I'll go all out and make it an amazing site.

    I'm hoping the community will realize it is a review site, but I've already thought about the spam comments, and the sites trying to boost their own ratings, and would address that with the developer. I used to have a WordPress site that I made, and knew how much of a problem spam was. I know where you're coming from about it being only a review site. I'm hoping it starts that way, and branches off into other areas (I have some thoughts already).

    I'm not going to lie, I thought this was a bit on the simpler side (I know developers hear that all the time), and that it wouldn't be in the $3-5k range. I was hoping more for the $1,000-$1,500 range. Hell, the quotes I got on elance.com from people (with good portfolios, although one was 90% WP sites) were $500, although they were located in India, which may play a big factor.

  5. #4
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, there's no nice, politically correct way to say what I'm about to say, so I'm just going to go ahead and say it. This comes from someone who has managed Indian developers. Wait...let me reword that...attempted to manage them and failed miserably at it. That's better. Stay away from Indian developers.

    If you're not sure why, have a look in our SEO forum. Have a look at the posts from India in there, and also pay attention to the ones from "USA" or from (way too much information about an address in "USA") or someone that pretends to be from somewhere other than India. They're usually pretty easy to spot; their grammar is horrible and more importantly they don't offer anything other than generic advice that is supposed to solve all the world's problems. That's exactly the kind of thinking you get when you hire an Indian firm. They're great if you've got a job that requires assembly-line thinking, but anything requiring critical thinking skills is Kryptonite to them.

    It's also probably the reason you got a lowball quote...they're probably thinking they can retrofit WordPress or something else into what you want, which almost never works. I had a client who had that happen to them and I was the one who discovered it. Fortunately, US banks are very understanding of the situation, and when you phone them and say "I hired an offshore developer to do some work for me, and nothing was done", the response is "yes, sir / ma'am, we understand completely, the refund request has been sent and your credit card should be refunded within 48 hours."

    I say none of this to sound racist or prejudiced (even though there are some people who will probably interpret it as such, and I'm not about to change their minds). I have nothing against East Indians. I just haven't seen anything decent from a quality point of view from that country, and I'm far from the only one. This isn't an "offshore outsourcing is bad" rant, either. There are a couple of offshore locales that have "decent" developers (e.g. Vietnam, Belarus) but they're not outstanding, they're not really independent thinkers, it's a hit-and-miss proposition, and the "decent" developers usually work best when there's a big-picture thinker with a developer's mindset leading them. So you'll probably want to stay within North America if you can, although as I said if you can find an offshore developer you can work with by all means you should do so. You want the best person for the job, and it doesn't matter where in the world they're from in the end; although it's a lot more likely you'll find that "best person" in some geographic areas than you will others.

    As far as where else I'd suggest looking..."anywhere you can". Here's a good place to look, for example...there are a couple of guys and gals who may be able to help you. You may find other job boards that will help you. You may luck out with Craigslist and/or Kijiji (be prepared for some asinine and/or one-size-fits-all responses, though...you may want to register for those sites with a throwaway email address just to deal with the insanity). Your rule of thumb should be, "if there's a shot that I can find the person I want to build my site for me using X method, I will use X method."
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  6. #5
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    Oh trust me, I've pointed that out to most of the devs I've talked to, that they are simple WP sites with plug-ins. I can do that; I've found the plug-in that I can buy for $100. It would be nothing for me to set up a basic site of what I want. I've also noticed the "USA" people on elance, and just like you said, their grammar is poor. It might fool some people, but you read a line and say "huh?" to yourself.

    I'm just throwing the feelers out in all directions right now (although I want it off the ground ASAP). There was only one (out of the many) devs that I've talked to that I liked, and felt like he knew what he was doing. Two friends of mine are going to talk to their friends who do this who live in the US. Like you mentioned, I would prefer to hire someone in the US since I'm here, and dealing with any issues would be a lot easier. Though if I find someone who I feel confident in, I will go that route. It is incredibly funny that you mention the WordPress thing, because that's exactly what most of them are doing, and sure, for a basic site they can look really sharp and satisfy most of the people on there looking for a small site. I however, am looking for more.

    I was considering a WP site just to start, but that I would do myself. I can do that for <$200.

    Again, I appreciate the input!

  7. #6
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    No worries.

    Obviously, you know why you don't want the WP site for your project, so I don't need to cover it further...which is good because it saves me some time.

    The other thing you need to watch out for is people who create clone scripts of "famous" and "profitable" sites and try to retrofit those as well, even when the site is at best tangientally related. Here's an example of a company that does that:

    Affordable Clone Scripts to help Launch your Online Business Today! - Agriya

    As you can see, they have several of these scripts as if throwing one of those up turns the site into an instant perfect replica of the site in question, complete with user base, marketing plan, and all the other things that made the site great. That won't happen...ever. But they do that. So ask them how they're going to build your site. Using a framework is okay...using a script is not (the difference is that a framework is a starting point and a script is usually the ending point).

    I hear you on the US thing...as a Canadian, I understand your sentiments. We're still brothers, though. Most Canadians have lots of love for our friends on the other side of the long invisible line that separates us (there are some idiots that don't, but we don't count them).
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)


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