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Posted: 6/22/2011 2:43:31 PM EDT
My boss wants our company website updated (originally built in the late 90s) and he invited me to a series of meetings next week with developers from a few local companies. Both he and I know absolutely nothing about website development or the language used by the industry. I was hoping the hive could throw together a ist of 10 or so questions that I should ask them, or tips on what to look out for (I wouldn't know a reputable company from a fly-by-night one.). One offer was for $1000 in development and $250 per year thereafter for "maintenance".

The company is fairly small with only 33 employees. It provides a range of services for people with developmental disabilities (no physical items are sold). New clients are referred to them by county governments from across the state. There are four competing companies within 60 miles. The theme will be along the lines of "here's why your son/daughter with a disability should come here rather than to the other guys." Traffic to the site will come mostly from families who have been referred to the site by county case managers and through our own advertising, and not from random google/yahoo searches (although I suppose it's possible).

I told him I thought it would be a good idea if employees could print forms from the site, like timesheets and time-off requests; so I assume those forms would have to be built in somehow. Other than that, I have no idea of what to ask for.
Link Posted: 6/22/2011 2:49:08 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/22/2011 6:17:15 PM EDT
1k is a very fair price for what is essentially a "brochure" site.

To speed the project along, meet BEFORE YOU MEET WITH THE DEVELOPERS and make a four sentence paragraph that says what the site should do. Be realistic. (Sounds like you are.) Don't be stupid. Focus on what YOUR CUSTOMERS need. Not what YOUR BOSS WANTS.

Plunk it down in front of them in the beginning of the meeting.  Chop OUT sentences they say they can't do for the price.

They are sticking their neck out a bit by doing a flat fee for a yearly basis, you may find you don't need updates for the first year.  

You need to make sure you understand what the hosting environment is, and what level of critical infrastructure the site will be for your company.  What happens if it's offline for two weeks? Do you go out of business?

When you strike a deal, turn around, get out MS Word, and type out all the stuff you want in the site. DO NOT FORMAT IT. YOUR FORMATTING IS USELESS.  Let them decide how to format it, but have a "polishing" phase where you go through and ask for all those nit-picky corrections.

Otherwise, it's an easy project.  Good luck.  Try to learn stuff.  Being the guy that helped get the web site up is good resume fodder.

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