How much for a good commercial website for a book publisher?
October 15, 2008 10:53 AM   Subscribe

About how much should I budget to hire someone to redesign my website (I work for a small press, so it's like a book catalog) and provide me with a custom word press (or other type of blogging software) blog type front page as well as a database driven book catalog (300 plus, a page for each book)?

I'd need a fairly robust back end so I could manage the content myself and I'd like to do direct sales as well, so a shopping cart and ssl set up and the like.

Just ballpark is fine, two thousand bucks? Five thousand? Any suggestions for where I could find someone to do that?

I currently have a website that does all this, but for various reasons want to switch up, I have a pretty good export of all the data from my current site.

posted by Divine_Wino to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A standard wordpress installation plus installation of your choice of free readymade template shouldn't count for much of the cost - most web developers can set this up blindfolded in about 10 minutes.

How much the back-end will cost will depend on whether the developer can find a ready-made plugin that will do what you need. If they (or you) can, then the total cost could be quite reasonable.

I'd guess that something like the e-Commerce plugin (see screenshots linked from page) would probably do most of what you need.

So... assuming the work is 95% off-the-shelf WordPress stuff, plus a bit of tinkering and configuring, you shouldn't expect to pay a competent freelancer more than $1000. But the price would obviously go up if you need things that WP or the plugin can't handle. Really you need to sit down and formulate a clear specification and get a few people to quote on it. If you can point them to a specific WordPress plugin that you feel will do what you need, they'll be able to account for that in any quote.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:44 AM on October 15, 2008

Best answer: I would not run a commercial catalogue with more than 300 products out of WordPress. WordPress is fabulous, and I love it, but that is a plugin built to add a whole layer of functionality to WP it was never really intended to have. There are many, many other ecommerce systems out there that were actually built to do the job, and do all kinds of things like stock control, state taxation, weight-based shipping calculation etc. that are useful to a full-scale business.

I would use a proper catalogue and cart system and simply theme WP so that the blog looks exactly like the rest of the site.

I would charge €1500 minimum for this, so convert to your currency and see what that gets ya. I live in euroland and the dollar is tanking, so that may be a poor yardstick. I put a lot of emphasis on design time for ecommerce systems; someone who just skins the existing template the catalogue comes with would likely charge less. Or possibly more. People charge all over the map.

With a catalogue system, however, it shouldn't matter to the developer how many items are in there. You should never be priced on whether you're selling 10 widgets or 1,000 widgets when they are all being driven out of a database. That's what databases are for, and widgets are widgets.

The data importing will either make this project an inexpensive snap to put together, or be a complete nightmare because your old system's data format looks very little like your new system's.

You might try jobs.metafilter? A lot of us do this sort of thing for a living on MeFi.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:58 AM on October 15, 2008

Best answer: Honestly theres really no such thing as a ballpark in web development. Pitch the same project to 10 different companies and you'll get 10 totally different quotes. Post it on a few sites like rentacoder, elance, guru etc and you'll probably get everything from $500 (or less) to $10k+

IMO a fair price to pay (ie, what I would charge ;) ) would be $1,000 for the catalog + blog (including design). Then another $500 - $1,000 for the cart depending on the options required and which payment processing platform you were using (excluding the costs of ssl certs which I would advise you to arrange with your hosting company).

You could probably find someone to cobble together some ready made scripts with a free template for a lot less but they're never as good as a bespoke site IMO (I am of course highly biased ;))
posted by missmagenta at 12:02 PM on October 15, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you very much, this is all very helpful.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:07 PM on October 15, 2008

Best answer: I'd probably charge in the $3000-5000 range for this. Assuming you were going to put in all of the content. If I have to type it all, that's an hourly fee on top of the base charge.
posted by Netzapper at 12:23 PM on October 15, 2008

Best answer: Keep in mind "you get what you pay for" is very, very, VERY true in web design.
posted by micawber at 12:56 PM on October 15, 2008

Best answer: Keep in mind "you get what you pay for" is very, very, VERY true in web design.

Not necessarily true. I had a client that was charging over £4k for a joomla site + some plugins, of course it didn't do exactly what they wanted and he spent nearly £3k of that hiring me to fix it all ;)

If someone charges a very low price they're probably just cobbling together some free scripts but just because they charge a lot doesn't mean they're not also doing that. Beyond a certain price, they're just bilking you, no matter how good they are.
posted by missmagenta at 1:35 PM on October 15, 2008

Best answer: I think you're looking at somewhere in the low-to-mid thousands of dollars, but it depends on the exact requirements, how much thought & talent you want to go into the design & interactivity, and how much hassle you are to deal with. That last point is often the most important one, if you come across as sensible and organised then you'll receive lower quotes.

In my view, clients get the clearest quotes and ultimately the best value by setting a budget and then asking companies what they can do within that limitation; otherwise everyone's really just playing Guess How Much Money The Client Has. A good web dev company will immediately want to understand your requirements & audience, and should fire back some probing questions, probably pointing out pitfalls and opportunities you've overlooked.

Start by looking up local firms that seem to deal with businesses of a similar size and type to yours, and are of comparable size themselves. Just drop each one an email and arrange an informal chat, you'll soon get an idea of who you'd like to work with, and from there you can ask for a proper quote, including an outline of technologies, timescales, etc. If possible, run quotes past a cynical web developer or two (there are lots here) to check there's nothing too crazy in there.
posted by malevolent at 2:55 PM on October 15, 2008

Email me. I'll work cut rate for a mefi member.
posted by srboisvert at 2:54 PM on October 16, 2008

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