My goal is to help people manage and edit their own websites and navigate through some of the issues that people will be dealing with. Both the ones you know about and the ones you do not know about yet. I come from a commercial background in senior engineering and product design roles which is where I spent most of my career before I started developing sites for the 3rd sector. In this role you have to be able to conceptualise and consider how something may meet the requirements or needs of a client. When most people are faced with a blank sheet of paper in an area where they are not familiar they don’t generally know where to start, or equally may come with some pre-conceived ideas that limit what you might be able to achieve.
I can help organisations in the following ways:
- Identify the different users that will have different needs from a website and how to meet them
- Describe the pro’s and con’s of different approaches paying particular attention to how you market yourself through the web and social media
- Share experience working with volunteers, many of whom don’t think they are very computer literate. I usually prove they are wrong.
- Share an understanding of how people can work efficiently, even in remote locations
- Develop a process flow if something needs to happen initiated by an input from the web
- Help to develop a specification or Statement of Work with varying levels of detail
So even before anyone has coded anything, you will have some appreciation on what can be done, and how a website may help (or not) and the costs involved.
Then moving to implementation:
- I currently use WordPress as the foundation for any websites I develop for clients, this is open source, and is estimated to be the foundation of more than 10% (66 million) of the worlds websites.
- Sites may be branded for the client, so not necessarily standard off the shelf templates.
- I use a relatively small selection of reliable and popular plugins to enhance the functionality of the site.
- I train members of the organisation to edit their own sites, including managing and configuring email, this can be done on site or over the phone.
- I generally avoid the use of code or highly specialised mark-up because this will make it difficult for the average user to edit.
- After the website is completed my support website is available to my clients which includes training videos, tutorials and other guidance particularly aimed at charities
I am frequently asked “how much does it cost?”. It largely and not surprisingly depends on what your requirements are. Most medium sized sites cost between £300-£400 to large sites (>30 pages) costing up to £1000 or more. The cost as with any developer will be based on the development time plus any additional costs incurred where premium plugins or templates are needed or stock photography, You can mitigate your costs by starting small and expanding the site yourself as your needs evolve. The core part of the WordPress website and the majority of the plugins that I use are free. WordPress website development starts from £160.
Website and email in shared high performance hosting starts from £4/month.
Off the shelf web sites
I also provide low cost off the shelf solutions (starting at £140) for Home-Start groups across the UK and members of the National Association of Child Contact Centres. These are pre-built sites that already contain relevant (editable) content and are localised for the respective groups.They can be turned on very quickly provided the information to localise them is available. These can be turned around in as little as 24 hours.