I have my car fixed at a small business owner/mechanic <snip>link deleted</snip> here in Vancouver Washington. I asked him out of curiosity sake what it cost him to have his website made, he said that it costs him +/- $96 a month to host it!!! He has been doing this for two years. I almost burst out laughing, clearly he is a guy who wants a website and doesn't know anything about how to go about the whole process (same as many other people as well) and unfortunately settles for a crooked moneymaker . I asked him why not just host the site on something like godaddy.com or ipage.com or something like that that will cost him $50 a year. He seemed baffled and thrilled at this, but said the company (based in Florida or somewhere) probably won't give him his domain name, and for that matter, his website.
So I honestly think it is about the dumbest, cheapest site I have ever seen. Apparently if he wants to update the site by putting up promotions or something he has to get in touch with them and they do it for him. I want to help the guy out by redesigning the site and for sure getting him to host it for A LOT cheaper. I can design sites with html and css and hope to learn java script soon.
The company that designed his site is web.com and apparently they also have rights to the domain name. How do I help this guys to get the site content and domain name? And secondly how do I launch a site for another person/business? I know how to launch my own site so I assume it's the same. But what about giving him the means to alter or change things on his site himself, something easy.
Anyway, your assistance in the matter is much appreciated.
While it is more than likely that he's paying for more than he should right now, I'm glad that you resisted the temptation to burst with laughter. The reason that he's paying more than he should may be that he's not on a shared hosting (and then, the price would be about right), maybe because he had the expectation of growing his businees and expand it rather quickly (it could have been because he was badly advice by his web developer or because he truly believe that he would have a great publicity campaign and lots of traffic)
We don't know what happened and it is better not to assume.
Regarding to the rest, it is not only a question of saving him money and paying for what it is fair, it is also a case of what he needs. Before thinking about if he should change things himself or about domain transfers, or with the rights of that domain, not even mentioning if you can deliver the site soon or not, you should really evaluate what he needs and his market to get the best solution possible.
So that would be the first point. When will the site be updated? How often? what content will have to go there? Whe would he like to get his new site live? What features does he require? you don't need to have the content right now but a few basic questions should be answered in order to know if you really can take the job and comply with it.
Second would be if the domain can be transferred and if it is worth it (knowing the amount of traffic will tell you that). To know if it is worth to keep it or not is important because if the company who did the transaction don't want to transfer, maybe they will sell. Else you will have to think how to compensate the loss of traffic because you'll likely have to get a new domain.
Then you get the contract, sign it, get the content, organize it, design and code
Before you get too far into telling this potential client how much more he's paying than he should and offer him to do it for him MUCH cheaper ... you may want to research a bit further.
First, you don't know the actual hosting situation as molona stated. First, I would never recommend a client to host on godaddy.com or one of those "cheap" hosting sites ... as they say, you get what you pay for. I have worked with many clients that were originally hosted at godaddy.com and experienced very slow load times and lack of customization. For a business that is putting an emphasis on their website representing their business, you need to find a host you can count on. Cheap shared hosting packages are a dime a dozen ... but I wouldn't ever recommend them to a client.
As for their hosting, they are not simply paying $96 for hosting, they are probably utilizing their eWorks XL package, which included the creation of their website, the hosting as well as many other features (including an hour of free updates each month and a toll-free phone number with call tracking). Does godaddy.com offer those services? Are you able to offer those services on the side if you set them up with a different system? If they do not use these services, then perhaps moving them to a basic host is an option, but if not, then you cannot simply promise them it would be so much cheaper elsewhere.
Regarding the domain, that could be a tough call. You'd have to do a Whois on the domain to find out if they're listed as the Owner or one of the contacts on the domain registration. If they are, then they would be able to transfer the domain somewhere else. If they are not listed, then they would need to convince the company to release the domain. If they are not willing, that is when I would believe they are a shady company. Otherwise, I don't see how they are a "crooked moneymaker", they offer a service and the amount they charge is what their business offers. You can find anything for cheaper, but it's not always the best option for everyone.
As molona stated, you would need to get all of the details first before you offer anything too advanced. Find out if they are using the toll-free number, what features they are needing, how often they update and if they even WANT to update it themselves. Perhaps they like calling someone to handle it for them instead of having to learn a CMS program to update it?
So I would hold back on the promises and talk with them about the scope of the project, their needs and expectations, then figure out what the costs would be to set them up. It may be a little more advanced than you think.
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