Website Pros

Mike Labbe

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Get The Picture
Hi

Is that a company?

Mike
 

FraminGal

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
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Apr 24, 2002
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376
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Pittsfield, MA - The Berkshires
So sorry! www.websitepros.com is a website builder service. They are promoting their services through Discover business services. I was wondering if anyone currently has a website through them and if they have any positive or negative comments. They offer a 30 day trial then it's $59.99 per mos. Five pages, 10 links, etc.
 

Bill Henry-

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Aug 17, 2002
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20,884
From
Boondock Bowerbank, ME
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Retired from the grind
Judy,

I have a friend whose business is goin’ South because of a bad web designer/service.

She has spent over $12K on it and it still is not right – bad links, broken graphics, order forms that won’t allow a customer to send, etc.

Admittedly it is a site which is a lot more complex than most of us framers need, but some of the problems are,

1) A few days to a week before they get to and fix a problem.

2) A $200 flat fee every time she has to make even a minor change on the pages. More if she has to add a new product

3) Seldom talking to the same person at the company more than once.

I have no first hand knowledge of WebSitePros, but $60/month for only five pages and ten links seems a bit excessive to me. Does that include space on a server? You can get 100 megs of storage for less than $15/month independently. My fairly simple site has about thirty pages (I’ve never really counted them, though).

If you don’t have the inclination to learn how to create your own, I might suggest you find some very small local company who can devote personal one-on-one time with you as often as you need it at a reasonable price. And make sure that they don’t hit you with an exorbitant bill if you simply have to change a few spelling mistakes.

However, if you’re in no great rush to get your site up and running, there are some very good web design programs like “DreamWeaver” and “Adobe Go-Live” out there. The learning curve is a bit steep, but Adobe (at least) has a “Classroom in a Book” tutorial which will get you comfortable so that you can publish your site in a few months if you’re willing to spend a few hours a week at it.

Doing it yourself gives you the flexibility to make whatever changes you want at no charge, of course, and those programs let you experiment before you go upload changes or additions.
 

Todd-Art4you

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 13, 2003
Posts
122
From
Ontario, Canada
I totally aggree with Bill. Invest in yourself and you will never be disappointed. I first built my site 3 years ago using frontpage and then last month I rebuilt it using dreamweaver. My suggestion is to use dreamweaver. It is very easy and I update mysite weekly at no charge. You can download a trial from there website and they even have online tutorials to help.

Good luck.
 

Dancinbaer

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Apr 26, 2002
Posts
1,268
From
De Pere, WI
Judy,
I'm with Bill & art4you. I also started with Frontpage and about a year ago switched to Dreamweaver with it's companion software Fireworks. A comprimise might be to find someone local to help get your site up and on-line. Then you take a class in the software and do the simple up dates and minor changes yourself. It's all really pretty easy.

Good luck.
 

Mike Labbe

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One more vote for Dreamweaver here.

Web hosting will run ~3.95-30.00 per month (USD), but that doesn't include the design of the site. The "2003 technology survey" from the voting forum surveyed what grumblers are paying monthly and how often they update their sites. I'll quote the results below.

If website design isn't something you're skilled at, there are people who specialize in this sort of thing. Generally, you'll do better by keeping the designer and the host apart. This gives you the flexibility to move around as you please without being tied into an expensive contract. Some places to find designers are local colleges, through associates, or www.elance.com Our company logo was purchased through a freelance artists on ELANCE and we were very happy with the transaction. It works almost like EBAY, with artists bidding on your project.

John Ranes will hopefully have some suggestions too, and just gave an excellent presentation on web pages 3 days ago in Atlanta. I wish we could have attended his class.

Mike

42% OFFER EMAIL SERVICE FOR CUSTOMERS UPON ORDER COMPLETION

61% HAVE A COMPANY WEB PAGE

19% SELL A PRODUCT ONLINE

25% THAT HAVE WEB PAGES, OFFER A COUPON OR PROMOTION ONLINE

$20.00 AVERAGE MONTHLY WEB SITE HOSTING COST

WHO DESIGNED/MAINTAINS YOUR WEB SITE?
Myself 44.4%
Computer consultant/web designer 42.8%
Friend or Relative 12.8%

HOW OFTEN IS YOUR WEBSITE UPDATED/MODIFIED?
Monthly 39%
Yearly 25%
Weekly 18%
Never 10%
Daily 8%

DO YOU HAVE INTERNET ACCESS AT THE SHOP? (93% do)
Dialup ISP 50%
DSL broadband 27%
CABLE broadband 15%
NO 7%
OTHER (T1,etc) 1%
 

Mark Rogers

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Posts
138
From
Dallas, TX
You first need to determine exactly what you are trying to accomplish with your website. Static websites are not much use, although if you at least have good contact info and a good map and directions you can refer phone customers to it. If you do not promote the site, it will not get traffic. If you do not put useful information on it, the search engines will not see it. You also need to consider localized search and make sure that the search engines can see your location. Are you going to do any e-commerce, sales, online catalogue? You also need to check your email and keep your site in working condition. I have seen multiple messages in forums about one of my competitors because they do not respond to their email. People are not patient online. Click, they are gone elsewhere. Dont forget, in the real world an unhappy customer will tell 10 people about you...online they can tell 10,000 in about 10 seconds.

Depending on what you want to do you can consider rolling your own with FrontPage or Dreamweaver. FrontPage is easier to learn, but it is not a serious development tool. If you are going to be updating your site a lot and are concerned about browser compatibility issues, or e-commerce then Dreamweaver starts to quickly become worth the extra learning curve.

If you are going to have someone else do your website you need to consider how long they will be available. As I said, most people have little use for static pages. Dynamic pages require constant work. Depending on what you will do with the site, it may be difficult to separate the developer from the host. Serious e-commerce developers will want to provide the host or recommend a partner host so that they can be assured that all back end scripting and database stuff work on their servers.

I have a placeholder site with Dreamweaver hosted by Yahoo. Unfortunately I have outgrown the standard Yahoo e-commerce stuff, and I do not have time to finish my site properly and to maintain it so I am moving it to another company that will design and host it.

If you hire someone, a few things to consider: Many people have different styles. You need to see examples of their portfolio's and make sure they are compatible with your needs and tastes. A guy who was very talented approached me, and did cool flash type stuff. It could not hire someone like him because flash is the kiss of death for an e-commerce site and he had no knowledge about database management, shipping company interfaces, inventory management, or search engine optimization. You also need to consider if you will maintain the site or they will. They can easily create a site with special tools that will be very hard for you to maintain, or to even move to another hosting company. It will be hard to judge the style of a real big company since they will have an army of programmers and canned sites that you may not get exposed to until it is too late. A small firm with just a small group of people will have a style approach that you can more easily identify.

Mark
 
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