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Topic: Web Sites?

  1. #1

    Web Sites?

    I keep seeing all of these incredible web sites. Where do you get them made? Hosted? If you got them made? How much did it cost and where?


  2. #2

    Re: Web Sites?

    Hi Sean -

    I sent you a reply to your form submission on the site - thanks for the comments.

    I am a web designer by trade, so that has helped me out with the whole site/demo cd\'s/business cards, etc. A lot of the sites here are really good. Some are so-so. It just depends. However, I can definitely say that work has come in based on the site design. Not incredibly high-paying work, but work nonetheless [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]


  3. #3

    Re: Web Sites?

    Same here. Web design is my \"specialty\", I guess you could say. Well... Flash, moreso (seven or so years experience in Flash itself).

    If you\'re looking for something in Flash, probably some of the best places to look around are by going to forums and simply asking, as the whole Flash community is a very pleasant and friendly atmosphere. You\'ll get some nice recommendations, and people can show off their work to you.

    A good place is FlashKit. Check out their forums and follow some links in people\'s signatures. If you like their stuff, shoot them an email. If/when you find some you may be interested in, come back here and ask the group what they think. If I\'m around, I may even be able to identify them and have some knowledge of their past work behavior. Even if you want a Flash-free site, it\'s a great place to look for budding designers.

    Most web designers will never list a flat rate. There are simply too many small details that up the difficulty, and up it fast. For example, it takes many more man hours to add a news script with a file uploader that you can easily use to post new items yourself (with no knowledge of HTML). CGI or PHP work like that generally up the time and cost plenty.

    It\'s safest to go with a designer that doesn\'t charge an hourly rate. I\'d say the third of the time one may spend on a site is brainstorming. Should they charge for that? And what about when they get stumped on a neat, new idea to incorporate into your site? How is that handled?

    So with that in mind, it\'s generally best to go with an agreement of \"this project is a total of $___, with this, this other thing and that incorporated within; it will be finished by such-and-such date\".

    Now, how much? For a simple site with minimal graphics, no or little Flash work or extra scripting, and a layout with 5 or so main sections (news, files, bio, etc.), you\'ll definitely spend sub-$1000. Maybe half, or even less than half of that. If the person you hire has another job or just really, really loves doing this as a hobby, you might get a clean-looking Flash site with minimal \"ooh and ahh\" effects for around $500 that could be finished in around 3 weeks, with relaxed communication and plenty of your own input. It just depends on specific needs. Though don\'t be suprised if someone asks a thousand or two...

    As far as being hosted, that\'s probably the worst part. A good host is hard to come by. One that may be *amazing* one year seems to end up disappointing everyone the next, then end up bankrupt. But bandwidth is the biggie. If your site has minimal traffic, $10-15/month might suit you, with extra room to breathe and grow.

    There\'s a unique deal currently at http://www.1and1.com lasting until 1/21/04. Might want to check that out for temporary usage, if they fit your needs.

  4. #4

    Re: Web Sites?

    While my site is not quite as nice as others, it is all mine, except the forums. All the graphics and code was written by me, using notepad+ (old notepad.exe replacement app, still works in XP).

    All the graphics were done from scratch using Photoshop. The forums are the only part with code \'borrowed\" from somewhere else, and that is even modified a bit to personal taste.

    Hours (ok, months) of research and reading: books, web sites, etc. I had alot fo programming background back in high school (started on IBM punchcards doing Fortran...and now I have just dated myself [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] ), and continued for several years after. Getting in to the code used for doing web pages wasn\'t too difficult due to that background. Photoshop was a different story. A simple menu background would take me a day or two to get the way I wanted, but after learning that, future work would go very quickly.

    Which brings me to my opinion:
    If you are designing a site for personal use, and want it to be a creative reflection of you, take time to learn the code (html, combined with css and php can be extremely powerful!), and then take time to learn the basics in something like Photoshop. The best I could suggest here is to start on paper. Yep, good old paper and pencil [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] Develp the navigation and such, sketch ideas, make little notes, develop a directory and naming system. Once you have the ideas down, start \'fleshing it out.\"

    If it is something you dont want to \"waste time\" on, or simply do not have the time to spend, or if you need it for business, then by all means- find a good designer, and pay them to do it.

    My site isnt \"awesome,\" and it isnt \"spectacular.\" But, I smile everytime I visit it, and feel it conveys the mood I wanted it to, and accomplishes what I wanted it to [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    Oh yeah- the 1and1.com offer- I actually decided to do that last week, and even grabbed another domain name for $5.99 a ear. SMOKIN deal!!! So now I have a site for my band/project in addition to my personal/studio/music/forums site (which I got from a friend for helping him with some server stuff some time ago, and will never find a deal close to it).

  5. #5

    Re: Web Sites?

    Originally posted by Puterguy:
    It\'s safest to go with a designer that doesn\'t charge an hourly rate. I\'d say the third of the time one may spend on a site is brainstorming. Should they charge for that? And what about when they get stumped on a neat, new idea to incorporate into your site? How is that handled?
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Nothing personal, but I just had to comment on this. Hourly vs. lump sum.. one is not necessarily safer than the other. It all boils down to how much you trust who you hired to build your site. For example, sometimes I charge hourly, but obviously I don\'t charge for brainstorming or when I get stumped. The clock is running when I\'m programming, sketching a logo, doing a mockup in Fireworks, and so on. It\'s not running when I\'m in the bathroom dreaming up something cool to add to the site.

    Designers who charge lump sum can just as easily abuse trust as those who charge hourly. It\'s all about the person you\'re dealing with.

    Just my two cents.

  6. #6

    Re: Web Sites?

    double post. ignore

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Web Sites?

    Haha. My site sucks eggs from a design perspective. I actually have a WAY cool Flash site I work on in my spare time, but I get SO annoyed at Flash\'s audio tools. They are so ridiculously designed...there\'s no toolset to do the simplest thing like \"fade this loop over 12 seconds and stop playback at the end of the fade.\" They have some envelope tools, but they\'re only suitable for things actually playing back on the timeline. For designs which are dependent upon the viewer\'s choices, there are no \"tools\" in the chest to deal with these situations. One would literally (if I\'m correct) have to set up a custom timeline loop which had no purpose other than decrementing the audio levels. by the time you\'re dealing with 10-12 audio layers in a scene, you\'d be cuckoo for cocoa puffs!! It makes it so incredibly difficult to nest sounds and make transitions from one scene to another on the timeline...which is why most Flash sites and pieces with any complexity of audio tend to sound like ****.

    And as luck would have it, I did some investigation at Macromedia to find out who their audio \"guru\" was. As I expected--they ain\'t got one!!

    But I digress...

    As much as the web design community will spew bile and say \"pooh,\" I author my modest little site in Front Page 2003, because it essentially creates all the code and allows me to do an update in minutes. It ain\'t pretty yet, but I am determined to reapproach the design over the summer, with a personal challenge to take Front Page\'s constraints (rather like David Byrne\'s pieces in PowerPoint), and use them to somehow make a statement in and of itself.

    I\'m making some inroads at Macromedia, too. They are very secretive about their design processes, but I have finally caught someone\'s ear and am getitng some interest. There is a model we use in the Theater design world--a program called SFX--whose audio design tools would be picture perfect for Flash. Not so ironic, since Flash\'s entire design conceit is based upon \"the stage.\" If they actually latch onto the ideas I\'ve been feeding them, Flash just might turn into a sound designer\'s dream tool.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Web Sites?

    I have to add: If Flash\'s audio tools were even 1/100th as cool as their graphics handling, it would be amazing. I love being able to design with the varying transparencies, text handling, all that. Just too cool. Then you start adding sound, and it\'s so primative in comparison...ARRRGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

    For a while, I thought, \"Surely, I am just not getting this. It can\'t suck this badly.\"

    So I hired a high-dollar Flash jockey to come in and sit with me. I started asking my \"How do you...\" questions, and he looked at me like I had a cockroach crawling across my face. Needless to say, most of the answers were: I don\'t think you can do that.

  9. #9

    Re: Web Sites?

    Export your flash movie to avi and score/sound design it. Then, bounce final mix to mp3 and import into the flash time line.

    Your flash movie will \"stream\" much better if it is speaking to one sold audio track.

    That\'s how I always did it [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  10. #10

    Re: Web Sites?

    True, Sam... but it\'s a scary thing for someone as new to this as Sean to trust that the designer is using the hours without fault.

    Unless you\'re more experienced with these things and \"in-the-know\", like I\'d imagine Bruce is, an hourly wage allows more ways for a sleazy designer to jerk their client around. And that\'s an important part: in a manner of speaking, the designer should view themselves as YOUR client and see you as their boss and working for YOUR company... not the other way around, which unfortunately happens all too often.

    Either way, a lump sum is often a tighter contract if at least one side in the scenario is newer to the whole web deal. I\'ve even known some people that have done work for VW and Nike that had this situation proposed to them: an hourly rate, which would be converted to a higher paying lump sum if the project was finished ahead of schedule while still meeting company standards.

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