Web design, by Ackadia

Web design, just how you like it, Sir!

Sir, or ma’am, of course.

First the good news:

I am considering offering to do websites again for a reasonable, possibly even near-cost price. Huzzah!

See our daughter site, Ackadia.co.uk

Now the bad news:
I’m not a big fan of the curious idea that ‘the customer is always right’. Ooops!
In my experience, across several fields, the customer is generally… let’s be generous here and say ‘misinformed’, and occasionally is trying to pull a fast one.

I have long been done with people coming to me for help and advice and then completely ignoring it. Then coming back and saying, "I should have listened to you, I’ve made a mistake, can you help." You may note the lack of a question mark in that last sentence. That too is annoying. They waste my time and then, because I’ve helped them in the past, for free, expect me to fix a mess they made by penny-pinching elsewhere. Help them for free again, of course. Asking for an expert’s help, then ignoring it because you think you know better is silly.

Smiley wizard Or because your nephew did a month’s web design at college and reckons he can do it for a fiver, aunty. (Yep, that happened!)

I get inordinately grumpy when people do that. Do not be that person.

You can read more and get a better idea of what’s on offer over at ackadia.co.uk, but feel free to continue reading this page for the bigger pictures.

Full disclosure: it is what is it

I will be doing this to reduce the not-so-modest cost of running Ackadia. I am not doing it to make money, not doing it to cover wages (mine or anyone else’s); if avoidable, I have no great desire to start another business, though it’s looking that way.

So, I am mostly looking to take a small number of commissions, with preference given to animal and nature-related charities and start-ups that understand and appreciate the importance of a professional website.

The modest set-up fees, if needed, will be upfront and non-refundable.
(e.g. Suppose you want to promote “Sid’s Cafe”. The first-year fee for the domain sids.cafe is under £15, which is fine, but the subsequent renewals are at the full price, which is closer to £45 a year, so registering ahead for 5 years is around £180).

On the plus side, for near or less than cost, you might get a web presence in your budget range at a standard that might otherwise cost you thousands of pounds.

While I can offer websites – designed, with a year’s hosting, registration and email – all for as little as £10 a year, it ain’t going to happen, not again. It’s generally slow and annoying to work with at that end of the market and, without volume, would be running at or near less loss to boot. Plus, I have neither the time nor the inclination.

I can, however, offer fast, secure, accessible sites starting around £120 to £140 a year (inc. design, updates, hosting and domain fees), which, let’s be honest, is less than you might pay a plumber to change the washer on a tap and half what my dentist charges just for a filling!

Whistles and bells come extra, or not… For example:

If you already have an existing domain and can change DNS, that drops the prices.

Setting up a simple email redirect is free (e.g. yourname@yourdomain.co.uk delivering to acme1234@gmail.com)

More professionally, business email via Google Workspace or Godaddy and Microsoft starts at about £60 a year

Pushing it up a notch, such as professional forms, mass mailing (say 10,000 a month), Paypal etc., naturally comes extra, but if a few people are interested, it can bring the price down substantially.

Basically, as I get economies of scale for Ackadia, you may effectively get my help for free in some cases. This gives a sliding scale of around £140 to £1,200 a year, depending on options.

Note that I am a developer and a grammarian, but not a graphic designer. This means I can take your content and artwork, find a theme (design) that suits your needs and make it shine. (I use and recommend WP Astra Pro, by default). If you need graphics or pictures. I can probably find them for you, also quite probably for free (I use Pixabay mostly), unless you want custom artwork, in which case I can point you to people. What I cannot do is draw worth a damn. I’m a coder, not an artist.

Here’s one I prepared earlier: Pool of Life: Breast Cancer Survivors’ Dragon Boat Team: A floating support group.

Still interested?

Read on.

Web design

If you are still reading this and are not doing this yourself, I can assume you are interested; accept I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, know what I am on about and that I can do a better job than you or anyone else you know. (Unless you are also a web developer checking this out, of course. No hubris here, no Sir!)

Development is negotiable; price is not. Well, OK, it’s flexible in terms of options.

At the lowest, it will be £120 per year, with upfront costs payable in advance, non-refundable. (As mentioned, an example of this would be registering a domain for you).
There are completely optional extras, but there are no hidden costs. The lowest ‘class’ will be of a standard similar if a tad slower than this site (i.e. Ackadia). More realistic and fundamentally better options kick in at £300 and £600 price points and up. Agency rates for these would be 5x to 50x more expensive than the equivalent! (No, I’m not even slightly exaggerating).

For this, you can get a secure, padlocked site set up with my host of choice, depending on plan options.

If you take my advice* your site should load in under 2 seconds on mobile and under 1 second on desktop. It will be fully accessible, mobile responsive, and, within reason, optimised for search engines.
*(e.g. No sliders, ease back on Google’s junk code, avoid Facebook and Twitter feeds like the plague!)

If you have an existing site that needs migrating (moving across), I can help with that too. I can also help set up Cloudflare, which is hosted at Enterprise level, with WAF, Argo, etc. Ditto extras like helping set up plugins like Jetpack. Extra enhancements like GeoTargetting and eCommerce again would be examples of premium extras, but will still be at cost price, or even included in some options.

Layout, menus, pages, posts, forms, landing pages, response, mobile-ready pages, maintenance and support are all included in the price, within reason. If you want 12 pages a year, I’m OK with that. If you want 12 pages a day, find someone else, I’m too busy, and you can’t afford me!

As an example of a ‘recommended’ business configuration, I would suggest the following:

WP Forms Pro / Elite
WP SMTP Mail, configured with Active Campaign Postmark SMTP
Professional email, such as that provided by GoDaddy and Microsoft, or by Google Workspace.
Yoast SEO (free or pro) or similar, such as All-in-One SEO
Online shopping (via Woo Commerce) may be extra again.

Need to know more? You know where the Contact page is. Background, discourse and a price table can also be found over at ackadia.co.uk

(Feature image is by Werner Moser from Pixabay)

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