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So how does Plan B provide web sites?

The how of this question is generally in respect to three areas…

How do you provide websites ?
How long will it take to build the site I want?
How much will it cost… in total ?

The "How?" of the first question is quickly answered...

We develop and provide websites on WordPress. The history of WordPress is long and much written about. So the question here really becomes more “Why?

The answer can get quite wordy, so apologies in advance for the quantity of material in this section. Please feel free to skim ‘n skip as you choose. If it doesn’t provide any adequate answers, please drop us an email and we’ll fire someone for not providing the right material.

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Isn't WordPress just for "bloggers" ?

For many, WordPress still carries the label of being a “bloggers app.” In reality, WordPress outgrew this epithet years ago, to become the leading and most popular content management system (CMS) in the world.
Today, WordPress is used by tens of millions of sites that publish new posts every second. So this widely used CMS has now become a favorite among businesses because of how powerful and engaging a tool it really is.

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Here’s just a few reasons why WordPress is best likely to answer your website-related requirements… whatever these might be. To quote Ian, “Reasons to use WordPress1, 2

Free!

…or a better term is “open source“, i.e. freely available… and for evermore will be so. The other advantage of being “open source“, if you’re inclined, you can improve or alter the source code to create the right site for your needs.

Search engine friendly

The most popular search engines actually prefer sites that are powered by WordPress because its framework is easy to crawl.

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Useable out of the box

Unlike some CMS’s, WordPress is ready to use immediately after installation. This means that you don’t have to hunt down, install, and configure a long-list of add-ons just to get many of the features WordPress considers core.

Flexible

No matter what your website is for – whether as a personal blog or to an ecommerce site, WordPress is versatile enough to meet any and all of your needs through its extensive features and extensions.

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Safe and secure

WordPress is such a popular CMS, it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s a target for hackers. However, WordPress takes the security of its users very seriously. While you can practice some basic security measures, such as not downloading a theme or plugin from an untrusted site, WordPress constantly updates its software to prevent attacks. In fact, WordPress has an automatic update feature ever since the release of version 3.7.

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Customisable

Because of the thousands of plugins and themes that WordPress has available to it, it becomes so much easier to customise your site to appear and function as you would like. Furthermore, because of the seemingly endless number of features available, you can create the website or blog as close to your vision as is possible without bespoke and costly design.

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Easy to use

Another great perk of using WordPress is how easy it is to use. The platform is user-friendly, intuitive and easy to learn. In fact, you can learn how to use it in a very short time indeed.

Lots of support

WordPress also comes with unprecedented levels of support. This is in part to the extensive WordPress community where you can troubleshoot any question or concern through the WordPress Forums.

Numerous eCommerce solutions

If you’re intending using WordPress for a business, then you will be happy to know that there are a number of eCommerce solutions that will convert your site into an all-out digital store. By using plugins like WooCommerce, WP eCommerce or Prestashop you can easily begin to grow your business online.

Hosts multimedia

The addition of images, video or audio files is a great way to enhance the experience of your users. WordPress makes it easy for you to insert multimedia files into a page or post. Not only is it easy for you to upload multimedia files, you can also edit files in-situ.

Mobile friendly

It’s more important than ever for a website to be mobile friendly to accommodate smartphones and tablets. With WordPress, however, you don’t have to be concerned over that. It’s already mobile friendly, thanks to many of the themes being responsive.

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Keeps your site looking fresh

Whether you need to update your theme because you’ve had it for too long or you’re looking to take advantage of something like the holiday season, there are thousands of themes to choose from. By doing this you’re keeping the appearance of your site fresh for your customers.

WordPress keeps getting better

Because WordPress hires top-notch developers, you can be certain that it will continue to get better as time goes on. Also, because WordPress is “open source“, any developer can enhance the user experience so that it can become the best CMS available. You can be confident that WordPress is one of the best platforms for your business.

There are more reasons and we could go on… but tell us that doesn’t address all your requirements !

Other questions you may have...
When can I get my site up 'n running?

The answer to this question lies in the need for

  • content
  • resources
  • time

If you’re actively looking for a website, then it’s likely that you have the very first ingredient all sites require… content.

If you’re in anyway uncertain of your content (i.e. what’s going on the site), then it’s possible that your reasons for wanting a site are not yet fully formed and you would do well to sketch out what you feel you want your site to say about you, your business or your reason for wanting a site.

If you have content, or know (almost) exactly what your content is going to be, then this will drive the remaining aspects which determine “When can I get my site up ‘n running?” And if you have art work, logos or are looking to migrate an older site, then this will help greatly.

What are the costs and where does the money go?

Pricing a website is not easy and a site can truly cost almost anything, depending on what it is required to do.

As with all things in life…

  • time is money
  • resources cost

To address the second element, “resources cost“, while WordPress is indeed free, the following requirements for any website have both a purchase cost and a subscription. Subscriptions are renewable and go on to become annual costs associated with maintaining your website.

Purchase Costs:

We use, and recommend you use, “premium themes.” The theme provides the shape of your website, before you add your content. The use of themes is what has driven the costs of providing websites to a more reasonable level and shortened the delivery time, as the theme provides the site’s functionality and “look ‘n feel” without needing to be coded from scratch. Choosing the right theme can be crucial, but it’s not a permanent decision as themes can be swapped in and out as the site changes.

Subscription Costs:

  • Obtain a domain name (the “www.” bit). Ownership of a domain name usually runs for 1 or 2 years, needing a renewal to retain the use of the name.
  • Rent some space… or “hosting.” This where your site will exist. Hosting usually runs for 1 or 2 years, needing a renewal to retain the use of the space.

You may have one or other of these already, which is absolutely fine. With these items above we’re ready to start spending the time… the second of the two cost elements.

Where is the time spent?

Cost and time are two sides of the same coin, given the only sane way to budget a project is with reference to the time it’s expected to take, multiplied by an (explicit or implied) hourly rate. And allocating firm numbers is a hugely imperfect best-guess – but they’re the closest we can get, and can all grow or shrink wildly based on dozens of variables that are impossible to predict.

But in any and every site there’s Common Tasks – a list of commonly performed activities in every site, which drive a minimum time requirement. Often simple, most tasks can grow unpredictably in complexity if something unusual crops up.

  • Obtain the domain name (where required)
  • Purchase hosting and prepare it for a WordPress install (set up username and password, FTP credentials, etc.) (where required)
  • Troubleshoot a hosting/registrar/backend problem (improperly set memory limits, bad .htaccess rules, wrong DNS, etc.)
  • Install WordPress on a given hosting account (including database creation) (where required)
  • Update WordPress and all plugins, test to make sure nothing’s broken
  • Install a plugin/solve a problem that revolves around a plugin install (e.g. Akismet for comment spam)
  • Use a plugin’s interface to create what it’s designed to create (a contact form, a social button bar, etc.)
  • Migrate a previous site (where required)
  • Set up a domain-specific email account or onward email forward
  • Change a post’s contents, rearrange the site nav menu, etc.
  • Site administration, add a user, etc.
  • Any individual CSS changes (change the color of an object, change a font, re-position an object, give it a shadow)
  • Create any accounts in other systems, applications or websites, e.g. Twitter or Facebook (where required)
  • Then add anything else which could crop up, stalling and delaying progress, or is made a new requirement in the project
How long should it take?

The Shortest Possible Development Cycle is the smallest amount of active development work that is feasible to set up a WordPress site that could potentially be used.

Projects can feel like they’re “almost done” for much of their actual duration. This is because the transition from “building the project” to “putting it live for the world to see” reveals a lot of details and complexities that may not come up beforehand. For example, client testing & feedback, bug-fixes & improvements not in original spec, late troubleshooting, add-on features, the list can seem endless.

These estimates contain only development work and no overhead (initial consultations, planning, estimates, feedback, invoicing, etc.). As such, they basically break down into items from the list above, such as “choose hosting and install WordPress on the hosting” plus some amount of more idiosyncratic work to make the whole thing usable (like fiddling with the homepage layout).

  • A dead-simple blog on a simple blog theme, no customisations – this would entail installing WordPress and some theme on a particular hosting and domain configuration, setting a site title and permalinks, and that’s it, and could be done in under a day.
  • An informational site (Home, About page, Contact page, maybe a blog) on a very lightly customised premium theme – this would be the absolute minimum time to launch a simple informational site that you could use for a small business and could include bare necessities like a contact form, but very little custom design work, could be done in under a week.
  • A simple e-commerce site – this would be a fairly minimal WordPress site running WooCommerce that is able to properly list and categorise products and process customer transactions… hmmmm…
What are the time overheads?

A time “overhead”, as defined here, is time worked on a project that is not actual development work – that is, tasks that don’t involve working directly with the technologies used to build websites. Overhead could be either non-billable (e.g. an initial phone consultation), or billable (involving some form of work or activity).

  • Total initial conversation and consultations before work can commence can run to a good couple of hours, to fully understand your expectations from your site.
  • Time to draw up a project estimate – an idea of what’s needed and how to go about the development work.
  • Additional communications, including progress reports, feedback, invoicing, etc.
  • Curveballs” – these could be anything from having troublesome obsolete hosting, frequently needs or requirement changes, desires for a logo or other photgraphy to be included (but isn’t able to send these in a usable file format), etc.

And to your final “How…” question:

The information presented here is intended to inform your further interest rather than deter you progressing with your own website, and to explain where cost/time is required in creating/advancing your website.
So we trust this has helped to inform you about what goes on “behind the scenes” when building a website.

To recap and answer the questions as best as is possible
When can I get my site up ‘n running?
and/or
How much will it cost?
the answer to both questions lies in the need for content, resources and time, but these prices for 2016 provide some idea of the cost to build and maintain your website.

2016 Renewals

for your domain name & web hosting
£80/year
  • renewal of your domain name subscription
  • retaining the website hosting for your site
  • ensuring site availability is maintained

Updates & Changes

amendments to your website, post-delivery
£25/hour
  • updates and changes can be simple or lengthy and complex
  • send us the updates needed and we’ll ensure your changes are done efficiently and quickly

Branding & Collateral

marketing materials to tie to your website
£?/job
  • for fliers, business cards, newspaper advertisements
  • call us with your needs and we’ll source and sort your requirements for the best price

So... what more can we do to help you?

Get in touch and I’m sure we can find an alternate solution that gets you back on track.

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