Can anyone give me an idea of how much extra to charge a client if I make their website a Content Management System website? I've never built a website for CMS. I hope the learning curve is not too steep.
You mean that he wants a custom CMS? or he wants to adapt his current site to Joomla, Drupal or any other existing management system?
This is no different from any other new project. You've got to come up with your best estimate of how long it will take, multiply it by your hourly rate, and add a bit for contingencies.
The big question is: how long will it take? Nobody can answer that better than you, as you're the only one who knows how fast you work, how quickly you learn new techniques, etc.
Also, as Molona rightly says, you've got to be clear as to whether the client needs you to write a custom CMS, or to build his site on an existing platform like Drupal. Probably, he won't care one way or the other provided he gets the functionality he needs. In that case, I suggest you start experimenting with one or two existing products, and get a feel for how comfortable you will be working with them - and how likely it is that the chosen platform will meet the customer's needs.
Once you've done that, you might even try building a small site of your own, just to get a bit of experience. That should give you an idea of how long it will take to do the real site.
One other point: you might want to write off a bit of your time on this project, on the basis that it's in your interest to learn new skills. In other words, don't charge for time it takes you to learn the product (including making mistakes and having to do stuff again), but reckon you'll eventually recoup that cost by means of the other clients you'll be able to attract with your new skills.
Another thing to keep in mind, some CMSes such as Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, etc are very extensive. They have lots of bells and whistles that are not convenient for all clients. Some clients just want a pure and simple CMS that let's them update their pages when they need to. In which case, this is a really good thread to read.
Just curious as i've always used wordpress. but for simple needs, when would people need a custom made cms?
Well, we don't know that it is a simple need in this case. Which is all the more reason to establish exactly what the customer requires in this respect.
Sorry, let me clarify that statement a bit better with (please note, I'm not advocating that a simple CMS would need to be a custom made CMS; per say*):
Some clients just want a pure and simple CMS that let's them update their pages with a very simple administration dashboard/area. They don't need countless plugins, might not care about allowing visitors to leave comments, etc. The best way to explain it, I guess is to see the difference between Perch's administration area and that of a default installation of WordPress. The differences are HUGE. Some clients would love the simplicity of Perch over WordPress, others won't care which one they are presented with.
* depends on one's definition of "custom made CMS". To me Perch feels custom made, simply because you have to inject the PHP code for the content where you want it in your theme, granted, from a programming standpoint, I would still not call it a custom made CMS.
Thank you all for your feedback. As I have stated, I have never built a website using a CMS program. I only updated a current website using Joomla. I guess I will just have to come up with a figure and quote it to him. It will be reasonable.
Make sure you sit down and talk with the client as to what he wants to be able to update, does he want users to be able to leave comments, a photo gallery, a blog, articles/pages, spam filtering, a calendar, etc.
Based on what he wants, you will need to find a CMS that either fits, or one that can be modified with plugins to make what he wants happen (or one you can modify to add these features).
So that will help you determine, do I use Joomla, WordPress, Perch? Which will help with pricing. For example, I would charge less for a Perch solution, than a WordPress/Joomla solution, because I can tie it into a theme far faster than I could with Joomla and WordPress and I would have less training to provide to the client (Just my Opinion).
[ot]I have never used Perch but if you have to inject PHP code to it then it may be harder for the general designer with little knowledge of progamming. That would mean that it needs someone more specialized, with solid knowledge of PHP, and therefore I would rate more.
Still, this is one of the CMS that I need to download and study a bit.[/ot]
Sorry, should have phrased it slightly different, you usually inject a single line where you want the content (that can be edited in the dashboard) to be shown. Something similar to
<?php include('myfile.php'); ?>
, so tying it into an existing template is really really easy.
Normally when the work flow needs to *best reflect the end-user business goals. When it comes to off the shelve CMS systems it is just about impossible or very difficult to change the work flow of things. That is probably why it is best to go over the admin and workflow with someone before choosing a CMS. The client will need to be comfortable with using the admin because changes are not practical. If not developing data entry intensive web application though most of the off the shelve CMS systems will get the job done without a considerable price tag. The disadvantage with those systems is that they can be considered bloated, inefficient and have a somewhat convoluted work-flow for the end-user. However, there is a considerable difference between 5–10K and 50K.
Never thought much about it. Just used wordpress hoped it would turn out okay ... i think i got much to learn ...
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