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  1. #1
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    Need help with having a site built.

    About a month ago, I posted about having a site built by people on elance.com, or odesk.com. After some great responses about how it isn't a good idea, I decided against it. That in the long run it won't be saving me any money.

    Anyway, the time has come where I'm looking to have my website built. I have my investor. I have my idea in my head (and somewhat on paper). The next step is getting a designer. I'm thinking about going with a local company, but as I did some Google searches, I didn't understand why I was limiting myself to a company that was local, when I'm sure there are many web designers across the US who can do the site remotely without any issues at all.

    As of Monday, I'm looking to contact some web designers for quotes, and this is where I'm completely lost. This is all new to me, and I wanted to be as prepared as possible so that I look like I'm serious about this, and so I can get a realistic idea of how much it is going to cost. This is my first business idea that I'm actually able to follow through with, and I feel completely unprepared because I know I still have a ton to learn in every area.

    If I'm meeting them in person, what should I expect? How do I come to a price? How important is an NDA? What should I have prepared? What types of questions should I be able to answer when asked?

    I have an idea of the functionality of the site, and a basic layout, but as far as design is concerned, I have no idea. Is that normal?

    Basically, how can I be as prepared as possible for meeting in person, and over the phone?

    Thanks in advance for any help

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    An NDA is very important. Personally, I recommend that anyone who wants a site built has their developers / designers and whoever else is working on the site sign one. A developer / designer doesn't just have access to the site and its code, but to proprietary information that pertains to the business model behind it. So have one prepared.

    Chances are that you can use something boilerplate and have it serve as a legally binding document (although I'm not a lawyer and therefore I can't say that with absolute certainty):

    NDAs to Go : Sample Non-disclosure/Nondisclosure Agreements <-- here are some boilerplate templates you might be able to use.

    You should be able to answer...well, anything. Budget would probably be first and foremost. You say you have a "basic layout"...does that mean you have something drawn on paper? A Photoshop document? A wireframe? What exactly does that mean? That's a big question.
    Have you got a logo?
    Have you done any market research on your idea to see if anyone else is doing it or anything similar?
    Is there anyone involved in the project besides you and the (presumably silent) investor?
    Have you got a marketing plan?

    Basically, questions that pertain to how far you've thought the idea through.

    One other thing to keep in mind is that, depending on your idea, you may need both a designer and a developer. If your idea is unique in any way, you probably will require a developer since unique ideas require unique programming logic i.e. web development. Designers draw pretty pictures...developers create code. That's the difference.

    What I would suggest you do is to hire a consultant / project manager who can bridge the gap between you and the web design / development community. Someone who can take your ideas, tell you what does work and what doesn't work, and be able to coordinate between you and anyone else you hire to get a positive result. I've been involved with projects as a project manager (and still am involved with a pair), and I've been involved with projects as a developer that did and did not have a project manager. Whenever there's a team involved, a project manager will make everything go much more smoothly than it normally would, as a good project manager can increase developer efficiency and spot bad developers right away.

    Hire a project manager before you hire the designer / developer or anyone else. It will help increase the talent pool you can draw from that way as there is someone involved that actually can speak the tech language and will deal with tech issues, and it eliminates the "this guy just has an idea and he's going to do it all by himself and as a result it's going to absolutely suck" perception some designers and developers will have based on past precedent.
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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264 View Post
    An NDA is very important. Personally, I recommend that anyone who wants a site built has their developers / designers and whoever else is working on the site sign one. A developer / designer doesn't just have access to the site and its code, but to proprietary information that pertains to the business model behind it. So have one prepared.

    Chances are that you can use something boilerplate and have it serve as a legally binding document (although I'm not a lawyer and therefore I can't say that with absolute certainty):

    NDAs to Go : Sample Non-disclosure/Nondisclosure Agreements <-- here are some boilerplate templates you might be able to use.

    You should be able to answer...well, anything. Budget would probably be first and foremost. You say you have a "basic layout"...does that mean you have something drawn on paper? A Photoshop document? A wireframe? What exactly does that mean? That's a big question.
    Have you got a logo?
    Have you done any market research on your idea to see if anyone else is doing it or anything similar?
    Is there anyone involved in the project besides you and the (presumably silent) investor?
    Have you got a marketing plan?

    Basically, questions that pertain to how far you've thought the idea through.

    One other thing to keep in mind is that, depending on your idea, you may need both a designer and a developer. If your idea is unique in any way, you probably will require a developer since unique ideas require unique programming logic i.e. web development. Designers draw pretty pictures...developers create code. That's the difference.

    What I would suggest you do is to hire a consultant / project manager who can bridge the gap between you and the web design / development community. Someone who can take your ideas, tell you what does work and what doesn't work, and be able to coordinate between you and anyone else you hire to get a positive result. I've been involved with projects as a project manager (and still am involved with a pair), and I've been involved with projects as a developer that did and did not have a project manager. Whenever there's a team involved, a project manager will make everything go much more smoothly than it normally would, as a good project manager can increase developer efficiency and spot bad developers right away.

    Hire a project manager before you hire the designer / developer or anyone else. It will help increase the talent pool you can draw from that way as there is someone involved that actually can speak the tech language and will deal with tech issues, and it eliminates the "this guy just has an idea and he's going to do it all by himself and as a result it's going to absolutely suck" perception some designers and developers will have based on past precedent.
    Hey!

    You were the one I talked to (I believe) in my original thread a month ago, and I'm glad you responded to this one, too.

    I have a Google Drive word document of the basic layout of how I want the site to work; it is a few pages long. There is no drawing of any sort. Do you think I should make one? The issue with that is that I don't have adobe photoshop and while I used this online program before for an app idea I had, it bogged down my computer so badly that it took forever to make a basic design.

    I'll answer your questions in the order you asked.

    I have a $5k budget, but that's max (and I'm worried it might be tight). With that money, I need to form an LLC as well.

    I do not have a logo.

    I have done market research to see if anyone else is doing it, and there is two competing sites out there that are lacking countless different things (in my eyes). They are all new as well, as the area I'm focusing on is currently a race to get things up and going.

    I have another person involved. He's has a very small interest in this. He's helping me with the business end mostly, and will be helping with the SEO and SEM. But other than that, it is just me.

    I have a rough idea for a marketing plan, but nothing concrete by any means.

    I am aware that I will need a designer and developer. I use the name interchangeably, but I am aware I shouldn't.

    How much would a project manager cost, and would it be feasible given the budget I gave you? My investor wants to keep it as close to $2,500 as possible, with the $5,000 being the max. That has me nervous, because I know the site has to work and look a certain way since there is already (crappy) competition out there.

  5. #4
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    As far as an LL.C., goes, I know that you can incorporate for about $300 in Delaware. I've seen it done legitimately, but not for many years (mostly because I'm from a Toronto suburb). So there's at least some savings.

    I'm glad you answered my questions, but they weren't really "my" questions as such...they were questions you could expect to answer yourself. That was why I was asking them. It's good that you know the answers, though.

    Given the budget you gave me, and I'm assuming marketing is going to have to be a part of that, you're not going to be able to hire a project manager unfortunately. A project manager would use that budget up (at least a good one) by him/herself in no more than 6 weeks, assuming a full-time workload...and 6 weeks is a very generous time estimate. Realistically, you'd be talking 2-3 weeks to use up that kind of money. So you're on your own. What's going to make that particular budget more difficult to deal with that you'll have to find the right developer and designer the first time, and if you have anything even remotely complex in mind (I'm not sure of the industry) you'll probably brush up against your max if not go completely over. The developer in particular may be tricky, because if there are features you want that require anything other than basic database programming that takes time and time costs money.

    In other words, you'll pretty much have one shot and only one shot at this to get it off the ground, and you may have to temper your expectations somewhat and go with "if it's at least ahead of the competition, we don't have to do everything we want right away" sort of thinking.

    I seem to recall answering your questions about a month ago as well, although I can't find the thread any more.
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  6. #5
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    I agree with the project manager idea. You can't discuss your business (site idea) on here, so if you had a project manager that knew a lot about web design AND development, he/she could put together the right people to make it work. The project manager, like all others, would have signed the Non-Disclosure-Agreement ... thus protecting your business idea and plan.

    The web designer would take your sketches and layout ideas and turn them into a real website. The designer is probably capable of the actual logo creation as well. The web developer would handle the background programming ... what makes the website actually work. The designer and developer work closely together.

    I guess I just repeated what TheGAME1264 said. I should probably read the posts more closely


  7. #6
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    I'm looking to have a site built, and have no idea about pricing. Help?

    That's the original post I made inquiring about things.

    Now I'm wondering if it is possible to get this done. I think it is somewhat complex, mainly because of some points you made in the original thread I created (you mentioned I would need something extra to be able to make the site profitable).

    What should I look for in the right designer/developer? Should I go with a company, or an individual who can do both to try to get it for cheaper (less overhead)?

  8. #7
    WDF Staff AlphaMare's Avatar
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    So many of your questions are so general that it is difficult to answer them with anything approaching specifics.

    I know you don't want to disclose your idea (and certainly shouldn't do so here!) but without details it's so hard to give good answers.

    There are quite a few pretty good articles online about what to ask a prospective designer/developer - they are by definition fairly general, but could help you out. Try Google.

    If your site is going to require any custom coding I think your budget of $5000 is probably going to turn out to be on the low side. Perhaps you can organize the development into stages, and spread out the costs that way. This would require you having a detailed discussion with your developer, so that you can have very good confidence in your developer's ability to create code that will be able to integrate the later stages.

    I'l be interested to hear what you decide and also to see the site when/if you go forward with it. Good luck.
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  9. #8
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    In your case, a $5000 budget with the idea you described won't get you a company. If it were feasible, chances are the company would have a project manager that you would "liaise" with (another noun bites the dust, once said the unknown yet incredibly talented actress Kate Trotter) and that would coordinate the designer and developer.

    I think you'll need an individual, and quite possibly a pair of individuals (developer and possibly a designer if the "competition" has pretty enough stuff that the developer can't "out-design"). As far as your budget is concerned, I'm not going to say it can't be done; I estimated roughly that it could be, and it may very well be true. However, I estimated based on the thought that your idea was unique...and on some level, it isn't. Your investor also cut into the budget with the cost of incorporation, which means your budget is now somewhere between $4,000 - $4,700 for design and development. So now what the developer in particular is going to have to do is take the ideas that your competition has and make sure anything (s)he does is as good or better than the competition with the features from your previous thread at a budget level that makes all of that pretty tough. Doable, and the developer may have to make a bit of sacrifice him/herself. But not "easily" doable and not a given that you'll find the right person that can do it in that budget.
    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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