1. Difference between hosting and maintenance.
Many understand the main difference, the innuendos are what cause the cost variable.
- For large content management system (CMS) based sites you need individual (not shared) hosting.
- Host server speed and reliability are the next considerations.
- Although your Small Business, City, County or Government website may not have large traffic volume normally, you may have an increase if there is a storm or a major event that drives people to the site all at once. It needs to handle that. Most professional bidders won’t be working with a personal server in their home office. There may be some clarification needed once you get down to the chosen few bidders.
2. Design Development Platform (WordPress, Drupal, Custom CMS, etc.)
Big debates on this one.
- WordPress is the most recognized, so is the most likely to have features desired now and in the future. Also if there is an issue there are many local experts to fix or update and not have to hit the budget hard.
- Drupal – is a strong CMS, it is a good program. Some of our clients have found it is not as easy to learn. There are also not as many developers available resulting in higher pricing and harder to find experts.
- Joomla! – We don’t see as much about this one anymore but it is still out there – not as many developers supporting it as previous.
- Custom CMS – Many developers can build their own CMS. Before we embraced the simplicity and ease of updating of WordPress we also did so. However, the code is proprietary, and if something happens to the developer or someone else has to step in, it can get costly to pay someone to decipher what the original company did. The other caveat is if you want to move away from it, you are starting from scratch again. With WordPress and Drupal you can move to a new template, a new host, a new developer, and you can do as little or as much as you want. You don’t have to start all over.
There are other free CMS systems such as WIX, Weebly, Chamilo. Dotclear, Serendipity, Typo3.. etc. Typically these systems are very basic. They are great for individuals or small businesses with little to no budget, but hopefully are not recommended by any responders for your Small Business, City, County or Government website RFP.
We are partial to WordPress, we have chose it as the best CMS for our customers for over 10 years and have not regretted it due to its ease of use (front and back end) and high level of customization.
3. Maintenance – look for clarification on this line item.
Maintenance can be a developer/designer posting every meeting, street light out, etc. or just updating software and maintaining backups. There is a wide range. When you are closer to the chosen few RFPs or bid responders, make a list of what you think you are going to need (example: Updates, File Back-up). You may find some for the maintenance estimates include more than your Small Business, City, County or Government website needs and there could be a considerable cost savings per year.
We are happy to answer any questions when we bid on your website project as are most designers and developers, so don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.