Here is a curated list of topics new clients ask me about most.
I offer fixed project pricing only for work that I have been involved in from the beginning, where I am familiar with the code and can vouch for its quality.
All other work can be done on an hourly basis.
My Q2 2016 hourly rate is SGD 130 (USD 95). Fixed price projects generally cost between SGD 2,700 and 7,000 (USD 2,000 – 5,500).
Not explicitly, though in practice there’s not much work that I can do in under seven hours.
Yes, I have a general contract, applicable to any work we do together. The goal of my contract is to make sure we each understand what our responsibilities are, not to deceive you. As such, it’s written in plain English and available in a version controlled GitHub repository for you to review at any time.
For fixed-price work, I will also submit a project proposal, outlining the scope, timeline, and price for the individual project.
Depending on the size of the project, I usually require a deposit of 20%-40%. An additional sum may be payable at the midpoint, and the balance is payable on completion.
Payment terms will be clearly stated in any project proposal I provide.
For fixed price work, I invoice as per our agreed upon payment terms.
For hourly work, I invoice biweekly, (approximately) on the 15th and 30th.
A full site development project typically takes 6-9 weeks for design, development, and review. Coding a provided design can take a few weeks less.
I try to turn around hourly work items within 2-4 business days. Of course, this may vary based on the complexity of the work.
From my general contract:
I will test any markup and CSS that I make for you in the current stable version of the four major desktop browsers by market share, as well as in iOS. Users of older or less capable browsers or devices will experience a design that is appropriate to the capabilities of their software.
I am happy to design your site responsively, so that it will dynamically restyle to better fit different device sizes. However, I don’t code responsive design by default, so please let me know you want this feature as early as possible, since it will likely change my development approach and cost estimate.
For Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), I guarantee layout compatibility, meaning that site elements will appear where they should be on the page, but they probably will not look as good as on modern browsers. (For example, IE8 doesn’t render shadows, gradients, or rounded corners.)
I will not test old or abandoned browsers, for example Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or 7 or previous versions of Apple’s Safari, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome. If you need me to consider these older browsers, I will charge you at my standard hourly rate.
This site itself is a good example of my browser support philosophy. It looks best on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, and it resizes to fit any screen width under 930px, with specific targets for tablets and phones. It looks okay in IE8, but the transparency, corner, and shadow effects are gone. I haven’t looked at it in IE7 or below.
It depends. A CMS will allow you to update your website without calling me (or learning HTML), but implementing a CMS adds a lot of weight to the backend, since you’ll need to communicate with a database on every page load (caching aside). This adds extra loading time to your site, compared to just using static HTML.
You’ll have to ask yourself, “Will I make regular updates to this website, once it’s completed?” If you won’t, then it may be best to opt for the simpler non-CMS solution.
WordPress. Easily. I’ve worked with the big three open source CMS’s (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla), as well as many of the lesser-known ones, and WordPress is absolutely the best in my opinion:
- It has a massive developer community, meaning that the code is thoroughly documented and that there’s a huge pool of knowledge to draw upon when trying to code custom functionality. This reduces development time, and makes for better solutions.
- It’s updated on a regular interval. WP releases a major update twice each year, innovating new features and improving performance on a consistent cycle.
- It’s free, both in cost and in openness. Every line of WP code is accessible to anyone who wants to look.
- It’s secure. The WP core software very rarely has major security issues, and when these arise, they’re quickly patched. So long as only well-vetted themes and plugins are added to WP, the software remains secure. Most WP site hacks, as well as articles about WP’s insecurity, are the result of running outdated software.
When was the plugin last updated? Is it currently maintained? Is the source reputable? How much customization will be required to make it fit your site? How well does it perform? It is secure?
Plugins may look like ideal solutions. (Who would argue with free?) However, many plugins you find online are long out of date. Even those that aren’t will often mesh poorly with your site. What’s the point of paying for a bespoke web presence when you just throw a neon green contact form into the sidebar on launch day?
In addition, plugins, by definition, aren’t as tightly integrated into the rest of the site as custom developed functionality. They often execute when not needed, or load extra files on every page, or just work really inefficiently.
Generally, I try to use as few plugins as possible (<5) on the sites I design. When I do use them, I make sure that:
- They don’t perform a functionality I could easily code myself.
- They’re actively developed by a reputable source.
- They don’t excessively hinder performance.
For instance, on this site I’m using Gravity Forms, WordPress SEO, and Advanced Custom Fields. That’s it.
I evaluate these reports and either fix the issues flagged or explain my reasons not to (such as the validator’s rule being out of date or the performance boost not being possible on your current server).
No site is 100% secure in all circumstances, but I do my best and am confident in the products I deliver. Security is multi-faceted issue, and I try to address every aspect, including:
- Writing secure code, with version control
- Making regular backups
- Making sure your site is on a quality web host
- Encouraging good practices, like using strong passwords and rotating credentials
- Sanitizing any user data inputs
- Using encryption as appropriate
Probably not much. I’ve worked with dozens of hosts over the years, and most are pretty awful. Personally, I only recommend a few hosts, based on your budget/scale:
- DreamHost, for small sites
- WPEngine, for premium WordPress hosting
- Amazon Web Services, for larger implementations
For domain registration, I use and recommend Name.com.
I try to write modular code, broken down into easy to follow chunks, with clearly named functions. I try to conform to the WordPress Coding Standards as much possible and create consistent, well-integrated interfaces when extending currently existing software.
The exact text/image documentation provided will vary by project. I want to make sure that my code is clear and that you’re able to use the products I create, but I don’t want to write volumes unnecessarily. Please specify your documentation requirements before we get started, so I can provide you with what you need.