Getting a Website Designed and Built

Stuuuuuu

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...for a reasonable price? Just been quoted £5k+ which was a bit of a shock and several times above what I was thinking. Can anyone advise? I'll paste below what I sent to the designers.

I've been developing a digital product (i.e. pdf files) which I plan on selling to schools.

What I'm looking for:
* a great and professional-looking website where schools can pay electronically (not just through PayPal but by credit and debit card / bank transfer too) and immediately receive an e-mail containing the product(s) of their choosing as an attachment.
* If possible, I'd like the pdf files to have a small automatic watermark/modification to say something like 'Licensed for use by [school name] only. Unlicensed use prohibited.' before being automatically sent to them as an e-mail attachment.
* A design that looks quite formal - like an authority such as a government department or similar.
* A design that loads quickly and works well on all types of devices including tablets and smartphones and all browsers.
* Needs to be Mac-friendly at my end.
* Various e-mail addresses set up to work with the domain name and the ability to set up more when I need them.
* An automatic follow-up / confirmation e-mail sent to anyone who purchases the product(s).
* Collection of data as entered into a form on the site by a school and the automatic storage of this in a database which I can access at any time.
* Depending on how things go, I may want to expand the number of pages and downloadable content significantly over a number of months.
* Optimisation for Google / Bing rankings.
* Automatic storage of the details of all the people who buy the product (based on what they enter in the online form).
* I have a large database of e-mail addresses (somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000). I would like a marketing e-mail to be sent to all of them (with an attachment), followed up by a second (different) marketing e-mail sent to those who didn't purchase the product the first time round. Can this be done in a way that the e-mail isn't flagged as spam? I need to be sure that the e-mails will actually make it to all of the intended recipients.
* Can the name of the recipient be included in the e-mail subject? I.e. ‘John Smith, Product X Now Available’ I have the names of the intended recipients in the .csv file along with their e-mail addresses.
* Contact page with FAQs at the top. These should each be clickable to reveal the answer.

A few questions:
* About hosting of the files: how would it work in terms of storing the files and them being available to be automatically e-mailed to purchasers at any time (potentially to numerous people all at once)? The files won't be particularly large.
 

TCIB

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Hold the files in a ramdisk setup with them backed up on ssd then further down on mechanical.

To build a site like that from scratch is not cheap at all, a lot of it is redundancy, the coder will have to allow for the many many user mistakes that will be made for a start. The scripting would be copious, 5k i would say is a fair price for that tbh.

Yes you can have their names parsed into the emails via more scripting.

You will also be wanting a dedicated server based around your needs it sounds like due to the possible numbers visiting your site. A cloud hosted site personally for stuff with user details i do not trust, the hypervisor could just go apeshit and fuck you over for example. I would suggest debian on a ramdisk setup with a minimum of 32GB ram for such a site.

For the data storage, again more scripting to call x document with y as the input. that is not to hard, all the backend stuff combined though would take a while. Watermark licensing is also not cheap as far as i know for well maintained trusted vendors.
 

1961_vintage

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How many hours in total and at what hourly rate have they quoted you? I would be very wary of an outfit that puts a "+" on the quote!

Some of what you have spec'd is pretty simple - have you thought of trying a local tech college - they might be willing to run it as a project for their students to get you off the ground with the basics?
 

Stuuuuuu

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Bums. This is all sounding a lot more complicated and expensive than I'd envisaged. Can anyone recommend any possible ways of cutting back on cost?

If I went for the super basic option, my needs would be:
* A simple website with just a few pages with a shop where people can download some .pdf files (about 4 product options available). They need a variety of payment options including PayPal, bank transfer, various bank cards and a form to print off and send with a cheque.
* Some associated e-mail accounts. If necessary, I can sit for hours and hours and hours sending individual e-mails to 20,000+ accounts, but could do with some advice on how I can do this without it being flagged as spam/junk (I should mention that these are genuinely useful products that I think will be of real interest to the recipients).
* Some way of automatically recording the details of customers in a database when they purchase the products.
* All the other stuff is more desirable than essential, so I can live without it.

Any advice gratefully received.
 

Blue Smarties

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Digital isn't cheap mate. I hate it when people expect it cheap as it's 'just a few clicks'. Not saying you're one of those people, but there's many out there!

No different to wanting a top of the range kitchen installed, etc.
 

TCIB

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Neither here nor there!
For emails, i would advise a timer so google does not clock stats that trigger it to send emails from you to spam. I do not know what their limits are before it triggers a spam tag though. For payment and site, use something like sagepay as a payment processor and a stock template site like wix/jumla etc. This will save you a lot as making the back end guts is a large chuck of the cost simply due to time taken to code it.
 

Blue Whale

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I use Wix.com, they offer pretty much offer most of features you've outlined and if not, would help create them. Premium with unlimited space costs me just over £100 a year.
 

Helmet Cole

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23 Jul 2007
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I appreciate margins in business can be tight, but what the op wants this system to do would have taken an office full of admin and sales staff a few years ago. I think 5k is a steal compared to staffing and equipping an office.
 

shaiomarali

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4 Jul 2009
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I'm a web developer. My portfolio include government websites and eCommerce sites. What you are asking is basic considering you only have 1 to maybe 5 products to sell.

although I have been put off Wix because of the City website, nico1 might be right to try it out. I would rather, seeing that your project scope is very basic, use Wordpress with merchant transaction embedded like Verisign and PayPal. This would set you around £200 per year. Get a domain name, get a hosting, install Wordpress, buy a premium template if you like to be less generic, then just learn how to Wordpress and a bit of SQL for the database. Most hosts have very friendly SQL platforms.

Most websites I see selling 1-10 products are 90% Wordpress nowadays. If you're selling more and have an inventory something like Magento will be better. For eCommerce sites I use Magento. I've not handled a bigger franchise though like H&M or Argos, so my understanding of very big catalogue retail is very limited.
 

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