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Website Development Suggestion


#1

Hi Kim,

Alright. As one Orchidian mentioned, the website development issue
is not as easy as it seems yet on the other hand, it’s not as hard as
seems either. I am currently working on an article about how to
select a web developer and associated services, which I’ll post a bit
later when it’s done. In the meantime, here are some suggestions
based on my experiences.

If you can, by all means DO hire somebody to put together your site
and to do the original coding on the front end. I did this and don’t
regret the cost I paid to have it done. There’s absolutely no way I
would have gotten what I wanted if I had done it myself. I paid to
have it done with the intention of maintaining it all myself
afterwards-everything from shooting and uploading photos, writing and
changing out web copy, changing out Paypal info, etc. I maintain and
update EVERYTHING.

If you go this route, no matter who you hire-friend, relative,
professional, GET A THOROUGHLY DETAILED QUOTE that spells out
EVERYTHING, especially time lines. Also, DO-PLEASE DO get at least
three references, and don’t be shy about the questions you ask them.

When I got the first few quotes to have my site done (after firing a
former colleague of my husband’s who enthusiastically volunteered to
do it for free.took him at least three months just to get going!!!),
I found that a lot of companies and developers try to sell you on
back-end content management, which costs money over time. I was
prepared to pay the monthly fees for that; however, luckily enough,
the developer I did hire found a free resource, Joomla!
(www.joomla.org), that allows you to get a site up and running AND
allows you to maintain it and whatever you want-storefront, etc.,
for free!!! It’s an excellent Open Source resource for what you want
to do, I think (I don’t usually do wikipedia, but this does seem to
be sufficient enough to explain what Open Source is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source). I can tell you a bit more
on how I use Joomla! and how it works for me, if you’re interested.

I am using godaddy.com for hosting. My developer said I need just
their basic hosting package, which is pretty darned cheap, and which
has worked out well for me so far. Because I haven’t gotten to the
point where I’m doing any shows or fairs, I don’t need anything
beyond Paypal’s basic, free, merchant solutions plan (actually, I
think it’s their second level option)-which is integrated into my
site.

As I mentioned, so far, everything is going pretty well. It’s a lot
of work to do everything yourself, but it’s to be expected and I
really do enjoy it. I am by no means done with my site, and wouldn’t
have launched it except that my husband recognized I was starting to
sink into one of my grumpy-uber-perfectionist modes with it all. So,
he lovingly but strongly suggested I get it up. It’s up (I’m
scowling, smile). It probably won’t really be where I want it for
another few months as I’m still learning a lot about everything I’m
doing to get it where I really want it.

I have a number of product manuals and books that I’ve acquired in
the process (Joomla!, Paypal, Creating Web Pages for Dummies
All-In-One Desk Reference (which I strongly suggest you get so you
have a general idea of how it all works together-a bit thick, but an
easy read), all-things-Photoshop, etc. I also have a list of other
resources, many free, in the “List” section of my site.

So, again, depending on what kind of time you have and what you want
out of your site aesthetically and otherwise, I strongly suggest
hiring somebody to do it. Would I recommend my guy? Hesitantly, yes;
however, just know that he charges for asking questions if you do use
him. But, my husband says that, in more of a post-production
"consultant" role like that, it’s typical. I think it’s
nickel-and-diming horsepucky. I also learned quite a bit about web
developers and timing-which is why I stress that you should spell out
a detailed timeline and communication expectations with regard to the
same. BUT, more about that when I post my “article” on “How to
Select a Website Developer.” Oh, and do learn what “scope creep” is-I
thought I had a really informative, readily available link, but I
can’t find it at the moment.

I can’t stress enough though, if you have somebody do it, DO
ABSOLUTELY GET DETAILED QUOTES AND REFERENCES, period(!), be very
specific about a timeline, and finally, ask them about “scope creep.”

If you have any other questions, feel free to hit me on or off-line.

I SO have the t-shirt for this one.

Best,
Tamra Gentry
www.agjewelrydesign.com