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No you can't have a new custom-designed site for $300 in 2 days

No Custom-Designed Site for $300 in 2 Days

I know I already posted today about the leadership blogathon, but I saw this exchange on Facebook that cracked me up. Here’s the backstory to my rant.

Custom-Designed Site Wanted

A well-intentioned and trusted WordPress developer asked her trusted tribe if anyone was available to do some work. The intended client had already created a 4-page Photoshop spread that needed to be translated into a WordPress site.

All good so far, right? Right.

So she starts getting a few interested nods and passes them on to the client she is helping for free. Mind you, said developer’s network is valuable in and of itself. People are interested because of who’s doing the asking, not who the client is.

Oh wait…here’s my budget

That’s when it gets fun and interesting. Because the developer found out that the client wanted a rush job, was hosted in a poor environment, and only had $300 to spend.

Now I know, I totally know, you would never do that. You’re good people. You’ve been trained.

You don’t go to a dentist, ask for teeth to be removed for, like, $25.

You don’t go to the mechanic and ask for an engine restoration for, say, $100.

So this isn’t for you. But you can read along anyway.

My Letter to Clients Like That

To Whom It May Concern I want to thank you for custom designing your own site in Photoshop. I know you’re thinking most of the real work is done already. But that’s where you made your first mistake. Because a Photoshop design is to a web site what a floor plan is to a new home. They’re related. They’re useful. They’re a good focusing and decision making tool, but the construction involved with each is completely different. Your custom design will take work. And it will take time. And that time has a value. Knowing how to translate your exact design to code requires even more work and talent (to keep it looking just like you’d hoped). So that’s going to cost you. It might cost you a little. Scratch that. It might cost you a lot. But I know it’s going to cost you. And wanting a fast turn around with no lead time. It might cost you a little. Scratch that. It might cost you a lot. But I know it’s going to cost you. And the fact that you’re on a crappy shared host is going to bother and slow me down. It might cost you a little. Scratch that. It might cost you a lot. But I know it’s going to cost you. Oh, and your budget is fixed and only $300. Well, I know it won’t cost you that. So no, you can’t have a new custom-designed site for $300 in 2 days. Sorry.

What We Can Learn From This

So what can we take away from this other than now knowing that if you do something silly like this, you might end up in the narrative of someone’s blog story? I think we can take away 4 simple truths.

  1. Engage web designers and developers early. If you don’t, don’t be surprised by “rush” fees.

  2. If you custom design your site, plan to spend some cash. Taking a custom design and turning it into a site isn’t easy.

  3. If you don’t have a lot of cash, you can’t be demanding & picky. Enough said.

  4. Don’t put your dev friends in awkward positions. Talk about project details up front so they know if they want to share it with their network.

And with that, I’ll leave you to have a great night!

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