“Do not judge by appearances” is not a valid adage in the world of website creation. A quote is an exercise in form as much as in substance. When you receive a quote with 5 colors, as many spelling mistakes, and lots of generic text, you should not expect rigorous and meticulous work. That doesn’t mean to exclude the provider, you just have to anticipate a longer recipe, lots of back and forth and a little more aspirin.
In fact, quotes vary from a PDF page with a more or less detailed table for projects of a few thousand euros to proposals of a hundred pages. For a budget of 5,000 to 10,000 €, you can receive very short proposals and others already well developed. Before judging too quickly, remember that website projects are very similar, it is not very complicated to produce two or three developed and very professional quote models. As in other areas, it is not the size that matters but the level of attention and personalization. A proposal of two pages precise, rigorous and made really tailor-made in relation to your request is largely preferable to a nice powerpoint of 15 slides, 12 of which are simple copy and paste.
To see concretely what the quotes offered by web agencies generally look like, we invite you to look at the analysis that we carried out on 9 ecommerce quotes.
Content of a website creation quote
Obviously, everything depends on the nature, but above all on the size of the project. For a showcase site for which the client specifies a budget of around 3000 €, the same agency will not make a proposal as developed as for the creation and monitoring of an ambitious e-commerce site.
At a minimum, the quote must contain the following elements.
- Legal Notice : Company name, SIRET, Intracommunity VAT number (the opportunity to take a look at societe.com …)
- Objective of the service: type of website, details of the need expressed
- Work evaluation: number of days, functional breakdown, etc.
- Price & payment terms: initial service, maintenance, invoicing, etc.
For the creation of a more complex website, the quote will take the form of a complete proposal.
- Presentation of the service provider: Areas of expertise, team, references, etc.
- Reformulation of the requirement: Objective of the website creation project, understanding of the issues, etc.
- organization: project management, methodology, calendar, deliverables, etc.
- Technical choices: technologies used, architecture, hosting, etc.
- Functional division: organized list of the main functionalities with a possible load plan
- Graphics and ergonomics: brand platform, graphic identity, user experience, etc.
- Tree structure and content: tree structure of the main pages, list and organization of content
- Natural reference : Meta-information, internal networking and other on-page SEO techniques
- Promotion of the site: Marketing plan to help you set up your acquisition strategy
- Evolution and updates: Applicative / Evolutionary maintenance terms (TMA / TME)
- Financial proposal : financial conditions, validity of the offer, invoicing and payment terms, etc.
Reformulation of the requirement
This is a part to which we do not always pay a lot of attention, even though it reflects a lot of qualities / defects in the provider. The reformulation of the need can take various forms: objective of the project, context or challenges, in any case, this will help you to know if the service provider really understood your need. Why is it so important? Two main reasons:
- A service provider who sends you a proposal without having fully understood your need can completely deliver a website which does not meet your requirements. Listening is a very important quality, it is even in my eyes the first quality of an agency whose job is to translate the vision of the project leader into a website.
- A provider who fully understands your needs will save you time. During the development of the website, the agency is confronted with a series of small arbitrations, whether on functionalities, text or graphics, on subjects not specified in the specifications. You will not always be consulted on these arbitrations, and if you are, it will take you a long time. Therefore, make sure that these arbitrations are carried out by a team that fully understands your needs and your state of mind.
Website creation – Personalized price estimation
Websites Are Us has developed a recommendation engine which allows you to obtain a free detailed price estimate as well as a selection of software and providers adapted to your website creation needs.
No need to stress the importance of the initial technological choices. Even without technical skills, we can easily understand that a bad choice can be very dangerous: functional constraints, very expensive custom developments, complete overhaul after a year, etc. To make a relevant technical proposal, the service provider must have fully understood your short and medium term needs, and have a strong and up-to-date technical culture, to know all the technologies that could be appropriate. This is not to be taken for granted, especially since many agencies are specialized in certain technologies, particularly in matters of CMS. You usually only need to look at their website and their references to realize this. Without technical skills, it is difficult to know if their technical recommendation is really suitable.
This may not seem very reassuring for uninitiated people, but rest assured, lots of solutions exist! Already, you have to think about calling a friend. If you are not fortunate enough to have a computer friend who can give you an opinion on the proposal, there is another very simple way. You just have to confront the providers on their technological recommendations. If the second provider offers technology X instead of the technology Y offered by the first, call them to ask them to detail the reasons, then call the first one giving them the arguments that you have carefully. Next, keep in mind that the Internet is full of articles and commentary on key web technologies, especially CMS. WordPress or Joomla? Prestashop or Magento? You will have no trouble finding information on these issues. For server-side language choices (PHP? Ruby? Node JS?), It will be more difficult. Finally, don’t forget that Websites Are Us can help you for free! Call us, our advisers will help you decrypt the technical proposals you have received free of charge.
The functional breakdown occupies a significant part of the estimate for a website creation project. Again, this is a good way to assess whether the provider has understood your needs. It’s also a great way to see if the agency got involved with the proposal. The deeper, more precise and personalized the functional breakdown, the more time the agency spent on the estimate. An agency that really wants you, whether to enrich its references or fill its empty calendar, will generally be more involved in the project than another for whom you are a small client.
In addition, the functional breakdown has legal value, it must not be validated before a careful study and possible back and forth with the service provider. Few of the customers send precise specifications to the service provider. In his absence, it is the functional plan of the estimate which formalizes the agreement on the content of the service. Conclusion, the functional breakdown must be precise, even in the case of a simple project. Do not hesitate to refer to documents or emails to specify the content of certain features.
Project organization and responsiveness
In a complete proposal, we generally find several valuable information relating to the organization of the project: methodology adopted, team in charge, main contact, etc. The part dedicated to the methodology should not be overlooked. This often reflects the positioning and maturity of the service provider. At Websites Are Us, we tend to favor providers who pay particular attention to this subject. There are generally fewer delays (and less tension …) when the direction and organization of the project is good. Even if I must admit a strong personal inclination for agile, in particular the scrum, it is naturally necessary to privilege the provider who adapts the methodology according to the constraints of the client.
The quote section dedicated to monitoring and maintenance of the website is naturally very important. Many models are possible, but in all cases, it must be ensured that the service provider offers technical maintenance including the update of all the tools used and the resolution of bugs encountered on the components delivered at the start. Generally, it is advisable to also take a monthly plan for small improvements. By taking for example a package of X days per month for improvements, you make sure that the technical maintenance will be done correctly and you are sure to have someone to quickly intervene on the website if necessary. However, be careful not to be fooled by unscrupulous providers who seek to lock you in a long-term contract without continuing to provide the same quality of service!
If the service allows you to modify the site yourself, you must inquire about the availability of training tutorials on the use of the site. If nothing is available to you, the provider may charge you for training. In this case, make sure that it does not only include the basic site administration functions, but also good practices in terms of SEO, marketing and conversion pressure, emailing etc. Ensuring maintenance conditions is necessary to avoid having to pay for each modification on your site.
It is important to check that your service includes the security of your site. This means preventing site hacking and securing it approximately every two weeks. Indeed, most of the sites are created on WordPress which makes this CMS a perfect target for hacking programs. Updating WordPress once every two months helps to minimize the chances of hacking, but it is no small task. Generally this also involves updating the plugins and can cause incompatibilities. Choosing an agency that takes into account this service will probably change your situation if you are not comfortable in this area!
Rates & general conditions
Websites Are Us has already touched on the subject of the cost of a website here. When you receive a quote from a provider, the price naturally requires a precise analysis, especially when looking for a “low cost” provider. Quotes for website creation often have the distinction of being at the border between package and provider per day / man. In the case of a package service, the provider must offer a price independent of the number of days. He undertakes to create the website described for the price given. The provider to assume if it takes him longer than he thought, and the client to assume if he wants to add or specify features along the way. In the case of a day-to-day service, often carried out by agencies that work in agile, the service provider does not commit to the final price of the project. It gives an estimate of the number of days for each functional block, but the final price may vary. There is no good formula, it all depends on the needs, but in any case, you have to know clearly which model you are in.
Invoicing methods are rarely neglected in quotes. There are many delinquencies in terms of website creation and web providers are naturally suspicious. Generally, this gives a 30% deposit on validation of the quote, 30% on the first delivery and 40% on the final delivery, but this may vary. Generally, next to the section dedicated to billing methods, there is a reference to the service provider’s general conditions or a clarification on intellectual property. This is obviously a very important element, make sure you have full ownership of the source code, and if necessary the written statement that the provider can not reuse the features developed for you.
The quote of the selected web service providers, along with their references, is at the heart of the crucial choice you will make. To properly analyze quotes, you need to take the time to study each facet and read between the lines. A quote is a wealth of information on the service provider, on their way of working, their positioning or their culture. “Give me a quote and I’ll tell you which provider you are…. ”