What Questions To Ask?

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For the first time, I am dealing with a client who knows what they
want to do, but not how much they want.

It is for a magazine that wants an online version of itself, and the
site content, for the initial contract, would only be straight HTML
(maybe a PHP banner ad system).  I would also need to design the site.

I am trying to figure out pricing for this, as they want to do it as a
'contract' job, not hourly (normal for me).  I can figure out how much
to charge based on doing a design, but I am having a harder time
figuring out how to predict the amount of content.  Certainly I don't
want to be too conservative and have them hand me hundreds of hours of
content population (ack!).

What kind of questions should I pose to the client for the amount of

Thanks for any suggestions or advice,


Re: What Questions To Ask?

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Whatever you decide, make sure that you specify in your contract what you
will be providing - so they can't stitch you for more, and giving you scope
for charging if they want more than (say) 40 pages.

Hope it goes well.
Brian Cryer

Re: What Questions To Ask?

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Taking a few copies of their printed magazine and asking how much of them
they would want to be online would give you a good idea of the typical
amount of content they want for *one* issue.

You also need to suss out do they want to archive copies and whether will
this be  a simple edition listing, a table of contents with links for each
issue or a full search facility by topic and/or keywords.

One of the big questions would be how they intend to update the site with
each new issue - this will probably require some sort of CMS system.

Looking an online versions for similar magazines might give you some idea of
typical content.

Re: What Questions To Ask?

MW wrote:
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This is a recipe for disaster if you don't watch out.  If you spec for
50 articles, they might hand you 500.

The problem here is - if they don't know how much content they want
added, there's no way you can price it as a contract.  It's like asking
a taxicab driver how much a fare is when you won't tell him where you're

I'd suggest you give them a price for the basic site plus say 10
articles.  That's enough for them to get going.  Then tell them it will
cost $X per article after that.

Of course, if they want something special done to the articles, such as
html added for emphasis, you might want to charge $X per thousand words.

Whatever you do - don't give them an "open ended" flat rate - that is,
you give them the rate, and they add as much content as they want.
They'll keep you busy for at no charge for months (or years).

Alternatively - give them a price that includes a CMS so they can add
their own content.

Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.

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