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Gave one of my webs a makeover
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DewDrop
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Joined: 13 May, 08:53
Posts: 186
Location: USA

PostPosted: 22 Jan, 08:37    Post subject: Gave one of my webs a makeover

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[link]

Tested on IE, Firefox, and Safari.
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Jeff
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Joined: 23 Jan, 07:17
Posts: 769

PostPosted: 22 Jan, 09:25    Post subject:

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DewDrop wrote:
http://theology.fether.net/

Tested on IE, Firefox, and Safari.
Hey cool! I love those sidebars, they look very awesome. Great job on that Dew. This is running your custom CMS as well isn't it?
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DewDrop
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Joined: 13 May, 08:53
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PostPosted: 22 Jan, 09:46    Post subject:

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Tanx!

Actually, this web predates the CMS and uses an older backend, but it is served from a database. But the layout would be easy to use in the CMS, and I'm thinking about replacing the current boring look with something like this.

Those sidebars were frightfully easy to make. For the red tubes I made a vertical rectangle, filled it with dark red, applied a brushed metal filter, then adjusted brightness and cranked the contrast up to maximum. Also applied layer style bevel and emboss. The little edges on the tubes were another rectangle with the herringbone pattern.

The cherry-looking corners were made from the overall border, with layer style satin and a pattern overlay, plus bevel and emboss.

I'm finding that filters plus brightness/contrast can make a lot of cool effects.
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DewDrop
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PostPosted: 23 Jan, 06:10    Post subject:

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Redid the CMS site:

[link]


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Jeff
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Joined: 23 Jan, 07:17
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PostPosted: 24 Jan, 08:20    Post subject:

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looks very cool - nice and warm calming colors. I like it. I clicked on the styles chooser "PDA" and the page kind'a funked out - have you not created the PDA template yet?



Best regards,
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DewDrop
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Joined: 13 May, 08:53
Posts: 186
Location: USA

PostPosted: 24 Jan, 08:29    Post subject:

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Well, I don't have a PDA to check it with, but there is a css in place for it. For some reason it looks a little better on a page reload, but without a PDA I really can't say. There's a place you can go to simulate it, but I'm not sure how realistic it is.

But thanks for the compliment on the colors!
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DewDrop
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Joined: 13 May, 08:53
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PostPosted: 04 Feb, 02:43    Post subject:

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Added another design, built around the "lens" graphic I posted in another thread:

[link]


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Jeff
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Joined: 23 Jan, 07:17
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PostPosted: 04 Feb, 09:06    Post subject:

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Very cool, l love these tech looking sites you can do. Great job on that DewDrop!
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DewDrop
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PostPosted: 05 Feb, 04:07    Post subject:

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Thanks Jeff! Smile
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DewDrop
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Joined: 13 May, 08:53
Posts: 186
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PostPosted: 09 Feb, 09:01    Post subject:

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The tech site is being developed for actual use! Here is its temporary location until I finish it: [link]

The existing site is here: [link]

I'm doing this for free since I consider it giving to charity, but if I were to charge for a web like this, can anyone advise on rates? Per hour? Per page? How much? Different rates for graphic-intensive sites, or for database-driven sites?

Right now I'm in the tedious stage of converting content. But from first making the graphics to getting it to this point, I'm guessing it took maybe as much as two weeks.

Just curious... in case I ever get someone to pay me for stuff like this.


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Jeff
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Joined: 23 Jan, 07:17
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PostPosted: 09 Feb, 09:18    Post subject:

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Hello Dew, wow it looks great after getting fleshed out and having some content dropped into it.

I'm not sure how many people here on the board do development for a living; but l know l do.

Anyway, I end up with a different price quote for every customer. After my initial meeting with a potential client l try to feel them out and see what they're expecting to spend - because l don't want to price myself out the door; and l'm very careful to avoid this.

I know designing a site for cheap isn't exactly the best thing, but it helps build a local word-of-mouth rep, and obviously you'd rather be working for $600.00, than sitting on your thumbs not working at all.

---

Another thing to keep in mind is hosting. If the client is going to host with you you can develop a couple different packages. If they do host with me, l am able to drop a few hundred off of the price, because l know l'll be making that back (and then some) in the long run. For instance any of the clients l host that require an SQL database the rate is $25 USD per month, right off the top. (this adds up when you get a few hundred clients). I then have one package above that that offers a free hour of maintenance, and one below it for for users that have static sites that don't need constant updating/changing.

Anyway; l can see that this could easily go into an entire book of information here so l'm going to pull up a bit - because l'm by no means an expert on the subject. But long story short; you need to find out what your local competition charges for similar sites, and see what they're capable off.

---
But for the site you are working on and how much l personally would charge, a few questions:

1.) Are they going to be able to update it on their end, through a CMS?
1a.) If so, did you have to custom program this (for this client) or was it already made?

2.) are you going to provide the hosting?

3.) Do they expect you to write the new content? (l never do that; all contracts of mine read "Content to be provided by client, in whole.") - l'm a web designer, not a copy writer.

---

Best regards,
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DewDrop
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Joined: 13 May, 08:53
Posts: 186
Location: USA

PostPosted: 09 Feb, 09:43    Post subject:

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Thanks Jeff...

I'm just not a business person I guess. Can I just be a subcontractor?

Smile

ADDED LATER: Hmm, webhosting... tell me more!

I currently have a plan that allows me to host up to 35 sites. Would I have to set up a virtual ftp or something, so they could upload their own content and manage the webs themselves? Or do you only host a site if you do all the ftp and software maint., and only have them change content thru a CMS? After all, they could easily get a host and only pay less than $10/month on their own, so what advantage would I be offering to justify charging the monthly fee?
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Jeff
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Joined: 23 Jan, 07:17
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PostPosted: 09 Feb, 02:58    Post subject:

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DewDrop wrote:

I currently have a plan that allows me to host up to 35 sites. Would I have to set up a virtual ftp or something, so they could upload their own content and manage the webs themselves? Or do you only host a site if you do all the ftp and software maint., and only have them change content thru a CMS? After all, they could easily get a host and only pay less than $10/month on their own, so what advantage would I be offering to justify charging the monthly fee?


Well first off, if you ask *any* successful web developer they'll tell you; most of their income comes from the "set-it and forget-it" hosting.

For about the first year that l did web development full time, l set my clients up with a cheap 7 per month shared hosting plan, and made no income off of it. And finally realized how much potential cash l was dumping down the drain - unbelievable amounts of money. So l researched what local competitors were charging for hosting, and priced myself accordingly.

In any event, l'll try to answer some of your questions as honestly as l can.

First, l don't know what kind of plan you have, or how much you spend a month. But l personally have several semi-dedicated server packages, that run on average of $50.00 per month. However, l can host 30 to 40 client websites in each semi-dedicated account. (though the accounts have unlimited domains/sql/email accounts etc - l limit it to around 30/40). So; on average of $20 per month l charge my clients for hosting services, $1 buck of that goes back into the hosting fees for my servers. So as you can see, after years of building clientèle, things really add up.

Regarding FTP access; again my semi-dedicated plan(s) allow me to quickly and easily set up an unlimited amount of FTP accounts and control what directories said FTP accounts have access to. This is as simple as typing in a username/passowrd and directory permissions. Same goes with email accounts. However *very* few clients even know what FTP is, let alone need access to it. So if they don't ask, l don't tell. So yes, most of the updating (that they do on their end) is done through custom CMS that l develop for them.

Why would they spend 25 bucks, for something they can get for 10?
Well again, these are people that aren't as privy to the online world as you and l. These people don't know what the rates are, or how much these things cost. 90% of them don't even know how to check if a domain name is available.

A case and point of this: a new client of mine came to me; and already had a domain name that was bought from: [link] (a company l'd never heard of until this).

Anyway, namecheap.com charges $35 bucks a year for a domain name; and we both know that me or you could get the same domain name for 7 bucks from godaddy.
(PS> l charge $18 bucks a year for domain name registration).

What advantage would I be offering to justify charging the monthly fee?

Well here's just a few points l brush on if there's any question about my hosting prices:

-The server is up-to-date, virtual as "hack proof" as current server technology can possibly be. It's not being run out of some guys basement, this is the real deal. My servers are monitored 24 - 7 - 365.

-Also, l host my own personal web sites on these servers, which means that l'm *constantly* logged on poking around and working. So if something goes wrong l'll know about it before you, and get it fixed.

-Lets say the site does go down, and l don't realize it before you. Call me, tell me the problem - hang up and l'll take care of it from there. I wrestle with tech support, so they don't have to. I know the technical words/information/etc that they don't.

-You need a new email address set up, call me and it'll be done on the spot.

etc etc etc... l could go on, but you get the point. On top of that, if they want to host with me, l knock 100 or 200 bucks off of the development cost right there on the spot (which makes them very happy).

----
I'm sorry for such a long post, but l'd just like to urge you to get out there and make some $$$, you'd be amazed at how much people are willing to pay for your services, and how much fun you'll have doing it. But you just need to get in the mind set that it's a business, you're not doing it as favors, or to make friends. You have bills to pay.
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DewDrop
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Joined: 13 May, 08:53
Posts: 186
Location: USA

PostPosted: 09 Feb, 03:09    Post subject:

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Thanks Jeff!

It's one of those "how the heck do I get started?" things; it's the unknown. But you just put out some light on it that gives me some idea.

Right now I'm with Globat, on one of their medium-range plans. If I want to add a site, I get a domain name and fill in a form, then wait for them to activate the site, which can take a day or two. Once I have that I can upload my pages.

So if I set someone up, you're saying I'm pretty much the "middle man", doing what I do now for my own sites but on someone else's behalf (and moneyyyyy)? In other words, you don't have to be running your own T2 and server farm, just able to get problems solved for your clients if needed and making the space available. Right?
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Jeff
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Joined: 23 Jan, 07:17
Posts: 769

PostPosted: 09 Feb, 03:26    Post subject:

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DewDrop wrote:
Thanks Jeff!

It's one of those "how the heck do I get started?" things; it's the unknown. But you just put out some light on it that gives me some idea.

Right now I'm with Globat, on one of their medium-range plans. If I want to add a site, I get a domain name and fill in a form, then wait for them to activate the site, which can take a day or two. Once I have that I can upload my pages.

So if I set someone up, you're saying I'm pretty much the "middle man", doing what I do now for my own sites but on someone else's behalf (and moneyyyyy)? In other words, you don't have to be running your own T2 and server farm, just able to get problems solved for your clients if needed and making the space available. Right?


Hey there Dew,
Exactly - with my hosting company (we can talk on the phone, or in email if you want to go into more detail) but l point the DNS from godaddy, and fill in a form and it's done within the hour - the server automatically configures; but yes same principle. You deal with the technical stuff; because your client doesn't want to. Lets face it; most of them are businesses themselves and even if they did know all about this stuff - they don't have the time for it.

A quick phone call, or 1 sentence email to you; and it's done. And it's almost better to do the hosting through a big legit company; because again - it's monitored 24/7 where-as a unit at your house isn't.
------

As far as "getting started"... here's how l did it. I put an ad in the local yellow pages; and called all the telecom, and ISP's in the area and asked them to refer any web development inquires to me (if they don't offer the service themselves) - what's the worst that could happen, they say no?

Once you get a couple clients from ^these tactics the "word-of-mouth" networking monster begins to roll; and you'll be up to your ears in clients, unless you live in a desolate wasteland.

At that point l dropped back to part-time at my day job, and took care of clients in the afternoon. I did both jobs for about a year, and ended up making more than twice what l was making at my day job - better yet l enjoyed doing it a lot more Very Happy

Another darkhorse to fill your cup, is google adsense.
When l don't have any client websites to work on (which has been over 8 months since this has happened) l build my own sites, and run google adsense (etc) on them - such as this site.

It is very easy to build a site with adsense that makes $2 bucks a day - l mean really easy.

I know what you're thinking "...wow two bucks a day <rolls eyes>"... well, l've been building personal sites for myself with adsense (etc) on them for the last couple years. Long story short, $2.00 a day X 100+ websites = 100K + per year.
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