RE: Cost to redesign a company website

Subject: RE: Cost to redesign a company website
From: "Char James-Tanny" <CharJT -at- helpstuff -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 08:27:40 -0500

Hi, Marj :-)

> We are redesigning our company website, and I am wondering if
> the estimate
> from a vendor is reasonable. I'm hoping you web-savvy people in
> Techwhirler land can give me some perspective on this.

Wow...I think the whole estimate sounds extremely high, but maybe I'm
missing something.

> --We are redesigning an existing website of 12 pages (the
> number of pages will stay about the same).

Unless your pages are huge, $800 per page just sounds wrong. You say the
number of pages will stay the same...are you providing new content? Or can
the existing content be copied and pasted?

> --The big changes in the redesign are: provide a new
> design/look; change
> the sitemap/headings; add some existing or stock photos;
> provide a link to
> a 5-minute video clip; provide links to some brochures and
> manuals in PDF
> form; and add a password-protected part of the site for our customers.

New sitemap/headings are part of your redesign and should be part of the
underlying template. If you want to really stretch it, you could estimate
five minutes per link (even to a video clip...the code is slightly different
but not that much).

The password-protected site should definitely be considered separately.

> --The password-protected part will include links for
> documents such as
> customer bulletins and our manuals--we will not be doing any
> e-commerce.

So the password-protection lets your existing customers in, but not those
just surfing around. Shouldn't be anything major there...

> Our "password audience" will be 500 to 1000 people.

Number of visitors is only an issue if a) they'll all be logging in at the
same time and b) your server can't handle it. For the most part, this number
affects the underlying database that's storing the information, but once the
database is built, it's done.

> --All of the revised or new text content for each page is
> being provided by me, not the vendor.

Answers my earlier question :-) (Guess I wasn't paying attention on my first
pass through!) Therefore, once the shell is built, the content is
transferred by copy and paste.

> --The website code currently is in FrontPage. The new website will
> be coded in straight HTML by the vendor, who will incorporate
> Macromedia's Contribute, to allow us to make some future changes
> on our own. I and others at my company have enough HTML experience
> to make smaller changes when needed.

While it will be coded in straight HTML, they will probably be using
Dreamweaver. This automates link creation, plus a slew of other things.
(Even if they were coding in Notepad, they should still be building a shell
for the site and then adding the content.)

> --The website will be hosted on a server at our company.

This (technically) isn't an issue as far as your costs for the redesign go.
Once the files are delivered, they go wherever they'll be hosted.

> From a vendor, who is a well-established multimedia company, we have
> received an estimate of $10,000 for the website redesign, with an
> additional $8,000 to develop the password-protected portion
> of the site. I
> especially quesion the $8,000 because I'm thinking that with all the
> websites out there using a standard password setup (which is what we
> want), there must be some ready-made code that could be
> adapted for our
> company--as opposed to creating the password portion from scratch. $800 per page...

OK, this is the process I use.

When I'm creating a new site, I build a template for it. Sometimes, I have
to build two templates: one for the home page and one for inside pages
(typically, the differences are a smaller logo and breadcrumbs). It can take
me from 8-16 hours to develop the first template, depending on my customer's
needs. I work with just one page (typically the home page first) and make
sure it's coded correctly...that the design is what the client wants...that
the navigational links are set up correctly...colors...that sort of stuff. I
continually modify the CSS and validate both the CSS and HTML file.

All pages are straight HTML and JavaScript (except for the
breadcrumbs). CSS files are imported, not linked, so that the site works in
all may not look the same on, for example, Netscape 4, but the
content is there and it won't blow up.

Once the first template is built, I build the second. I can incorporate most
of the code from the first, and then just make minor modifications to
accommodate the differences. (You can see this at my site at ... The main page uses a large graphic in the
content div, while the inside pages have it at the bottom of the nav div.
(Oh, and I don't use tables except for tabular data...)

When it comes time to transfer content, I find the content div and just
merrily copy and paste. Because the shell is built and has been validated
and tested, I check each page to see if I missed something (typically,
spacing around graphics and such), but for the most part, that's it.

As far as the password-protected page...yeah, I think $8000 is high. For two
sites that I've worked on, we hired outside help to create a
password-protected database (since it requires programming and I can't do it
at that level)...the code cost us $1000 (each). And then I just added the
necessary stuff to the correct page on the site and it was good to go. (I
made tweaks to their CSS, too, but that's a given ;-).)

You might want to get some other estimates first. I think you can get better
prices for both pieces.

Char James-Tanny ~ JTF Associates, Inc. ~
2004 Microsoft Help MVP ~ MSHelpWiki
AuthorIT Certified Consultant ~ AuthorIT Development and Training
RoboGURU: RoboHelp Consulting, Development, and Training
Moderator, HATT and MSHelp2
Web site Hosting and Design ~



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