The Website Development Specialist


Overview  |  Design Capabilities  |  Technical Capabilities  |  Rates


  "I provided them with the basic concept and they did the rest. We were so impressed with the first draft that it required very few adjustments."

Ralph Morris, General Manager
Texan Harley-Davidson

Overview

The bulk of the upfront costs involved in most website development projects is usually attributable to the area of Production. The two other essential elements, Hosting and Promotion, are usually either considerably less expensive or can be spread out over some extended period.

We can define production as the work that's performed in creating or modifying the files that are necessary to make the site load, appear and function properly. Both design and technical capabilities are needed for fulfilling this critical phase of your Internet project. And both areas must be managed and implemented with care and professionalism.

Website production can involve a great deal more than just the content that the visitor sees when he loads your site (the text, graphics, photos, etc.) Though that is often a large part of it, production also includes the work done in creating any hidden items, such as scripts, field parameters, meta tags and embedded notes. Content-related setup charges would also be classified as production, in that they primarily refer to the carrying over of common material from one page to another (i.e., headers and footers, logos, backgrounds and hidden elements).

Design Capabilities

TC Concepts offers an extensive variety of design capabilities to help you get the most out of your Internet presence. However, before viewing a list of these features, several things ought to be understood:

That said, we offer a wide range of design capabilities so that your site can incorporate the best of what's available in website development. Here are a few of our features:
  • Web Site Design and Layout
  • Basic and Advanced HTML
  • Copy writing, proofreading and editing
  • Custom Graphic Design
  • Digital Photography and Scanning
  • JAVA & Javascript
  • Custom and template CGI scripting
  • RealAudio and RealVideo
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Service
  • eCommerce (simple or shopping cart)
  • Custom Logo Design
  • . . . and more!

Technical Capabilities

Many of our technical capabilities are inferred by the design capabilities listed above. Indeed, many items require both. For example, cgi scripting can involve a form interface in the design stage that relies on the stability of the technical element. Certain HTML tags on secure sites have to be written differently in order to function properly at the technical level. And there are others.

Then there are the purely technical items that do not require any design interface. This would include features like password protection for creating limited access pages. Setting up email (POP accounts), email aliases and auto responders would also fall into this category and TC Concepts can certainly handle any of these for you. We can also set up statistical logging to provide you with a wealth of information about the visits (and visitors) to your sites. And of course, we have the capability to run typical UNIX commands via either FTP or Telnet. (We can even grant you the same access, but these last items are covered in more detail in our hosting section).

Finally, because we network closely with others in the industry, it is almost a given that if the question is "Can you _______ ?", the answer is "Yes". For example, though we do not personally perform ActiveX programming, we do work with those who handle that activity professionally and affordably. Other similar areas could inlude custom Java applications, QuickTime video and active server pages.

In short, our technical feasibility is practically guaranteed to be sufficient for your particular needs, whatever they may happen to be. If you have a specific area that you would like to know more about, please call or email and we'll be happy to get back to you with more information or a custom quote.

Rates

Understanding the System

We discovered early on that no bidding system is perfect. In fact, we had to scrap our first several methods. However, rather than abandoning the idea and bidding by whim, we opted to refine and adjust our methodology to create what we are now convinced is the best possible pricing system for website design services.

Unfortunately, it is not the easiest system to understand. Because no job is identical, we have to use an averaging method, making adjustments as needed along the way. Hopefully, the explanation below will help.

The System Itself

Our production charges are based on a rate of $75/hour. However, this is not the charge for the actual work performed. Rather, it is merely a formula we use in conjunction with the elements on our production worksheet.

Here's how it works:

Every project involves a custom bid. As we determine the elements needed for a given website, we check them off on an in-house production worksheet, where each item has a pre-determined number of hours assigned to it. These allotments are based on the amount of time it would take to complete each task if, in fact, all we had to do was sit down . . . type . . . point . . . click . . . and save. We then add up the hours and calculate the total job to complete the production aspect of the bid.

In a way, it is similar to the method that auto mechanics use to determine an estimate for a repair job. But the similarity ends there.

Unlike the mechanic, ours is creative work, so much more goes into each task than merely the time it takes to strike the keys and click the mouse. Thought time, outlining, layouts, trial and error, variations, proofing, revisions, testing and uploading are only some of the factors that extend the activity well beyond that which is alloted on the worksheet. On average, we put about three times the amount of work into a job than what is bid through the worksheet process.

The System in Practice

Perhaps the best way to understand our system is to consider a custom logo design. Our production worksheet allots two hours ($150) to this "task"; which means that if, a) we knew exactly what we wanted, b) got everything right on the first shot, and c) didn't need to review the work or even upload the file to the server, we ought to be able to complete the job in about two hours.

Fat chance.

After initial input from the client, we generally begin from scratch on a single thought process. This inevitably spawns several variations, each of which present a number of unique possibilities of their own. For each variation, we need to save separate files each step of the way -- as many as twenty files for a single version -- in the event that we need to go back and modify any single element. Which we always do.

We then spend a good bit of time refining each version, after which, we review them independently and then place them all together and begin a process of elimination. If more than one version of the logo proves noteworthy, we will show each to the client, who will make a preference, and usually suggest more modifications or additions. Back to the drawing board for the final draft. It is then proofed again and eventually authorized. But we're not done yet.

We still need to size the file and save it to the right directory. Then comes the HTML work to make the graphic load on the initial page where it will reside. This includes assigning the source, border, width, height and alternate text elements and verifying that everything appears correctly . . . and quickly. We then upload it to the server and check it again on the remote site.

Hardly two hours. Indeed, we will generally put in about six to seven hours on a custom logo and have gone up to ten and even more.

Flexibility

In all of this, please keep in mind that the production worksheet is just that . . . a worksheet; we are not bound to it by any means and it actually gives us the ability to make adjustments on the fly. For example, you may already have a perfectly acceptable logo and just need it to be incorporated into your website. While this, too, involves more than you might imagine, we would likely split the difference and reduce the charge to a single hour ($75). Just like that.

The real beauty of the worksheet system is revealed in this flexibility. On the one hand, it provides an accountable system so that you know exactly what you're paying for. On the other hand, it allows us to organize a custom bid, set a definitive course, and document our work. So far, it has worked extremely well.
 




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TC Concepts
PO Box 3672
Conroe, TX 77305

Phone:  936-756-2292
Email:  info@tcconcepts.com


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