Web development and hosting at affordable prices
I’ve created an updated, maintained version of this to ackadia.co.uk.
On reflection, my prices were far too generous, so I’ve hiked them right up to price breaks of £300, £600 and £1,200. Huzzah for capitalism! On the upside, I am offering/bundling some serious plugins that allow for secure forms, Paypal and card transactions etc.
There is also a 50% off offer for the Gold plan for the first 20 takers.
Explaining the plan options
This is strictly limited to kin and folk I am happy to support, like small animal charities.
This is essentially free, covering fixed related costs, such as domain registration fees. There are no hidden traps like adverts and affiliate links sneaking in.
The Brass (“I ain’t got ha’penny to me name”) class: £300 a year
Still playing around with this option as I feel there’s a need for a budget (£120 a year, £15 a month option).
It won’t be the fastest, and it won’t be massively optimised. However, it will get you going. It will be reasonably secure. It will be SEO-friendly. And, within reason, have all the features of a site others might charge several hundred quid for.
Prices assume a standard domain, such as .co.uk. The price will rise accordingly if you require something different (e.g. .org, .com, or .shop) or a premium name. See GoDaddy domain name search for examples.
However, if you already have an existing domain, you can repoint the nameservers, and the cost decreases accordingly.
The Brass sites are currently hosted with Siteground, though this is subject to change. (I may give free upgrades and dump Siteground).
The Silver (“Ma, I found the tanner in me Christmas pud!”) class
In simplest terms, this is a one-man-band or small business saying,
Look, everyone says I ‘need‘ a secure web site an’ I ain’t paying all that money for nowt. I don’t need anything fancy, just get me on the web!
Artistically speaking, it won’t be a masterpiece, but it will cover all the essentials you are likely to need.
The Gold (“A whole sovereign, m’lord!? I ain’t never seen so much in all me life!”) class
This is both the default and the recommended option.
It still won’t be a creative piece of art; however, it will be fast to work with. For visitors, whether using a smartphone or a laptop, most pages will load almost immediately. It has multiple layers of resilience and security to reassure both you and your customers of your online safety. It also includes and supports more whistles and bells. Furthermore, written with this in mind, every page will aim to be search engine friendly.
It includes extras and full licences such as WPForms, which, along with its many other features, will allow the creation of forms like this:
Explaining the prices
I can be flexible.
If you make my life easier, I may be willing to reduce the prices, even substantially, so the price goes down. An example of this would be migrating an existing site – unchanged – to the gold plan. Similarly, if you have prepared all the text content and images you want for your site, it makes my life easier.
If you want premium features and I decide it’s suitable for everyone, I’ll look at bundling it, so you get more value.
However, if you want me to sort a one-off, or I can’t negotiate bulk licenses (e.g. Yoast Premium), that would raise the annual fee accordingly. Such extras would require payment upfront.
The plans are priced ‘per year’
The prices reflect actual fixed costs of running the sites, such as domain registration, hosting fees, and product licenses. The bulk discounts are passed on to you.
Monthly payment options are available, but, as is standard, they are more expensive.
On its own, if you wanted WPforms – with authorize.net support (for card payments) – at full price, it’s around £500 a year. You’ll want SMTP etc on top, so another few hundred. A securely hosted site with Rocket is another £350 per annum, a professional theme like Customizr or Astra, more again. As you can see, it rapidly adds up.
I do not charge registered charities for my time as such or at all. Themes – web designs – are off-the-shelf and customised slightly to meet your needs. It’s quick and efficient. If you want to do it the agency way, I’ll consider it or point you in the right direction, but you will probably have to add another zero to the price.
Themes and web design
Not an artist!
As I explain in other places, I am a developer rather than a designer. This means I can create good-looking user-friendly sites quickly, easily, and cheaply – but I cannot create more picturesque websites. Simply put, I can work with supplied images but can’t draw.
Some, actually most web designers now create sites using page builders, but I prefer to code.
These block builders can have many excellent features and widgets, such as accordion text, drop-in tables, and panels. Drag, drop, configure, done. I have played around with many of them and have to edit some sites that use them – I do not find the process enjoyable! Some are better than others, but all impact the loading times of pages due to added layers of code and scripts. Some of these page builders can be removed gracefully, leaving the page intact; others are less tolerant.
In contrast, I am writing this page in a text editor. Not just the words and the text, but formatting code, adding the style classes from memory, editing and changing the style sheets as I go, if required. It might be a seem boring, but it’s solid and more search-engine friendly.
As for the actual themes.
A few reservations aside, I use and recommend Astra Pro, but there are others I like, such as Customizr Pro and Hueman Pro. The latter two have nice features at the expense of speed and responsiveness.
If you want something different, I can also offer a selection of styles from the Studio Press range. If you want something more niche that I don’t already have, I may look into it.
If you want to use plug-in page builders yourself, I recommend, well, none of them, really. Some are better than others, and some are garbage. All dump ugly code into your site!
However, if you want a custom design built from the ground, I suggest looking for a top agency. I use the designs I do because they are supported and maintained by the developers. They are secure. A theme, a plug-in, or anything that is not patched and revised frequently is a security risk. I don’t want that, and neither should you.
Adding pages to your site
If you shop around – as you should – you’ll notice some plans just offer a single page, while others may offer 10 or 25, for a price.
I work a little differently. I assume you’ll give me something I can work with. The more you can give me, the better I can help you – within reason.
If you want 25 pages and you are supplying all the images and copy, it might take me a few days, but sure. Like that, it’s just a matter of copying and pasting text and formatting. It’s not a big job, as long as it’s a one-off.
I’ll even proofread it, correct any prominent (none specialist) gremlins, and, time allowing, may rewrite it a little to suit your target audience.
However, if you want me to write it for you from scratch or want it every month, I will have to add a charge. If you expect me to research and write it as well, it goes up.
Adding pictures to your site
I will make these as search engine friendly as possible within your target audience, as long as it doesn’t break any rules. This need not cost you a penny – unless it does, of course. There are a few excellent free image and photo libraries and some more obscure ones, such as Kodak Eastman’s archives. However, other image libraries, such as Getty Images, can be expensive if you require something specific.
The image below was free via Pixabay and appropriately named ‘search-engine-optimization’. The alt tag and title tags are similarly added. If you also wanted to include a caption, that’s an option.
In contrast, as an example, license permission for even a small stock photo of ‘Businesswomen at a flipchart, presenting ideas for a search engine optimisation‘ would set you back £150.
That was GettyImages UK. iStock, also owned by Getty, would be a lot more reasonably priced. Against that, the ideal image may be harder to find and less evocative, less suitable or catchy.
Still, for a few quid instead of a few hundred, maybe this will do the job as well: New generation of mobile applications developed by young team Asian designers. Team of UI/UX designer planning and analyze applications on mobile phone.
These are not all standard features and can infer additional costs. However, not all of them must incur charges, though they can also be available at a premium — for instance, webchat.
Webchat can be free, as with Talk.to, though this too has options, some of which might surprise you, such as:
Professionally trained agents (that) are ready to answer chats on your behalf 24×7 from as low as $1/hr.
(Note that last I looked, Tawk.to hadn’t been updated in 7 months)
As you can see, web chat can be free and still good, while other others – such as Formilla – start at £15 a month and climb in cost in line with your requirements. You would be responsible for such extra costs.
I consider ‘on request’ as ‘no reasonable request refused. Like ‘your.name @ your-site. co.uk’
This will extend to other design, usability and function requests, such as galleries, member’s areas, etc.
Backup and extra backups
This is one of those “we may need to talk” things, as it depends on the importance of your site and your level of paranoia. All the options include at least basic levels of backup, but extra layers offer more resistance, off-site rollbacks in case of problems and general peace of mind.
The ‘gold’ option is good. It is certainly robust enough to handle an eCommerce site securely. You can add to that by making your own backups, free or otherwise. There are options; for instance, various Jetpack plans. Or you can take it much further.
I won’t charge you extra for setting these up, but you are again responsible for any additional costs.
Updates: corrections and revisions
By this, I refer to minor changes to pages, widget entries, changes to custom styles sheets and so forth. So, corrections, amendments, and minor alterations, not major revisions.
As Captain Barbosa would say, the code is more of a guideline.
As a good example, one site wanted a price change. I did it a few minutes after getting the request. On reflection, they also needed the change applied elsewhere, such as a form, which means loading documents, editing, saving and exporting, and uploading and replacing files. Not a 30-second job, then. I didn’t and won’t charge, but I was also distracted and didn’t do it immediately.
In short, the more involved it is, the less likely I will drop everything and do it, and the more likely you will need to remind me.
Also – within reason and subject to my moods and workloads – I may consider more major revisions without arguing about feature creep and piling on charges. I would probably be fine with something simple like swapping a theme and or juggling the footer widgets.
I can also offer some social media advice.
This will basically be an extension of this page, SEO: Go BIG or go home. I can give you a few pointers if you are expanding your activities into other platforms. It won’t be a full-on service, there are experts for that, but I can give you some free advice.
If I haven’t covered it already, it means you are going to have to ask.
Things like SEO, Google Ad campaigns and EV certificates go far beyond the ‘do it for a few quid’ range. For instance, Google would take £1,200 a month from you and consider it so triflingly small it’s not even chump money to them. SEO companies can easily ask as much again, depending on your required level.
There are things you can easily do to improve SEO, things that cost nothing or relatively little, such as Yoast, which is either free or over £100 a year for the premium version. However, this is more DIY. Full-on search engine optimisation and rank building start to look more like this:
If you are still reading and interested, you know how to search Ackadia for related pages and posts and how to find the contact form.