Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

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I am currently the webmaster for the local Greater Baltimore Sierra =
and I maintain the website which was handed down to me from the previous =

webmaster. Here it is, in all its ugliness:=20
http://maryland.sierraclub.org/baltimore . I am hosting it on my own =
because the official server does not allow SHTML for the hit counter, =
has been averaging about 8/day, most of which are bots.

Today I received an email from one of our executive committee members =
has suggested that we use some of the grant money, that was given to our =

group about a year ago, to contract a professional website developer in =
hopes of making it attractive and representative of our "presence" and=20
purpose. This was in response to another email from a member who has =
working on our Facebook page, which replaced our old one which is being=20
phased out and archived.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=3D76458501970 (Old page)
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sierra-Club-Greater-Baltimore-Group/1347136 =
(New one)

I do not do much with Facebook and I refuse to tweet, so I don't care =
about these social networking efforts. But I do care about doing the =
best we=20
can to present our message and promote our activities. We do have a =
of fairly active and useful sites:

http://www.meetup.com/baltimoresierraclub /
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3D669627 (This is actually a National =


The excom member who suggested the professional developer had the =

    "On to another related matter,  I have been sitting on the clean =
implementation plan  (WIP) conference calls hosted by Claudia and down =
the DC area.  Although our county is not getting any direct support on =
WIP, I would like to start up some campaigning in our area.  The big=20
take-away for me is that the GBSC needs to create a professional website =
communication.  It's not only a valuable tool of communication but also =
validation of our organization.  For example, someone on the conference =
this morning suggested  posting letters to the editor on the website and =

forward this website with postings to the elected officials. "

    "I would like to present a motion to obtain  3 bids from  =
website firms to create a GBSC website that would basically entail =
for us to post and update with minimal ongoing support and to pay for =
with our benefactor donation?   This is just a motion to obtain bids - =
which time we could then decide on going forward with the expenditure.  =
cannot think of any other better way to use a small portion of our=20
benefactor money  for advancing the causes of our organization. "

My response was essentially as follows:

    "I am not opposed to getting quotations on a professionally done=20
website. In fact, I have been very busy lately and I really =
can=E2=80=99t put a lot=20
of time and effort into maintaining what we have. However, if we want=20
someone to create a80=9Ccool=E2=80=9D website, we need to define =
just what we want as=20
far as appearance, content, and means of management. And we also should =
at the metrics for our website to get an idea of how much it is being=20
accessed and by whom. From my observations, it is getting only two or =
non-automated hits a day, and perhaps none at all. I think the counter =
increments significantly when I am accessing it for information and=20

    "I have tried to create a website, similar to the Montgomery Group, =
people seemed to like, but it would be difficult to set up and maintain=20
(although probably a professional web monkey could do so more easily). =
And I=20
also cloned a website similar to the Catoctin Group=E2=80=99s, which is =
consistent in form and function with the Maryland Chapter=E2=80=99s. But =
I have had=20
essentially zero response to my requests for critique and suggestions =
what people want. And we were supposed to set aside at least a half-hour =
our excom meeting, which I think was originally scheduled for last Fall, =
somehow never happened."

    "It seems to me that the Meetup group is the preferred means for =
outings. I also have them listed in a simple form on our existing =
and I=E2=80=99ve also entered them into the searchable database and =
calendar which=20
is a resource available to all outings leaders and excom members. But I =
know if they are being used, and certainly nobody else is posting =
to it. It can be used for other activities as well, but AFAIK only the=20
outings have been published, and I have done that."

    "I just checked the new facebook page, and I was not even aware that =
existed (and I have the old group linked on the website). I =
=E2=80=9Cliked=E2=80=9D it and=20
found that it had just four followers. But I rarely do =
=E2=80=9Cfacebook=E2=80=9D, and I=20
also do not80=9Ctweet=E2=80=9D. There is a rather active and =
interesting discussion=20
group on80=9CLinked In=E2=80=9D, which is referenced on our web =
page. I=E2=80=99ve participated=20
in a few of their topics. It has a fair amount of activity, but not =
very much considering it is a National group."

    "I participate in two usenet newsgroups that pertain to HTML and=20
Webmasters, and I can ask there if anyone is interested in contracting =
create a website that everyone will like and perhaps actually USE. A =
website with flashy animations and multimedia presentations may attract =
few new people, but it is the content that is important. I sometimes add =

interesting links and information, but mostly I am concerned with the=20
technical aspects of the site. I agree that it is not pretty, and I =
the alternate format which is also linked there, but I doubt that any =
than a couple of people have even visited it:=20
http://www.pauleschoen.com/SierraClubBaltimore/indexnew.shtml "

    "And, yes, we can post80=9CLetters to the Editor=E2=80=9D on =
our website, and we=20
could send the link to elected officials. But we can just as easily =
create a=20
document (in PDF, MS Word, or HTML) that would have these letters nicely =

formatted and easily printed. The home page serves mostly as an index to =

other content, along with80=9Cteasers=E2=80=9D that are visually =
appealing and designed=20
to attract viewers to click and go to other pages with more detailed=20
content. Our website has a lot of dull and ancient content that takes up =

much of the page, and it is set up with a narrow format that requires =
to scroll down to see everything. Ideally, the home page should mostly =
in a single window that automatically adjusts to the width of the =
screen. This is even more challenging now with the explosion of portable =

hand-held devices such as iPhones and tablets that are often used to =
web pages."

    "Perhaps the website is a worthy candidate for the use of the grant=20
money, but I vote80=9CNay=E2=80=9D. Certainly, let=E2=80=99s come =
up with an outline and=20
specification for our desired website, and get some quotes, but the only =

GOOD purpose I see in that is to get peoples=E2=80=99 input by drafting =
a document=20
to present to the web developers. At this point I don=E2=80=99t think we =
know what=20
we want, other than more participation and favorable publicity. As I see =
the outings are dwindling and there=E2=80=99s not much we can do to get =
people to=20
get off their butts and do stuff outdoors, and a cool website =
won=E2=80=99t help.=20
The meetup group has the best exposure for that, and it seems to be =
But otherwise, most of our effort seems to be channeled into political=20
activity and environmental activism, which is important, but not really =
area of expertise or interest. My back and knee issues keep me from =
hikes, so about the only things I might be able to do are social =
which used to be a major part of the outings group. But now it seems =
most people just want to go home right after a hike, rather than spend a =

couple hours at the local beer and pizza joint as was the norm in the=20

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to provide as much information as=20
possible. I have no idea what it would cost to build a website such as =
to be desired (and it is perhaps not even adequately defined at this =
I would imagine it would cost several thousand dollars, and then would =
to be maintained. Frankly, I would not be too happy maintaining a =
that was constructed by someone else who was paid for their efforts, =
I were convinced that it was a stellar effort and well beyond my own=20
capabilities. And I think it is asking too much for others to update=20
content, since I have tried to create forms for adding activities and it =

resulted only in a learning experience for me, since only one person =
tried to use it.

But if the majority of our group excom votes to get quotes and pay =
with the grant money we have "burning a hole in our pockets", perhaps =
may be interested in taking on this project, or suggesting anyone who =
be good for the job. And, needless to say, they must be pro-environment =
at least professionally neutral.



Re: Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

On Sat, 28 Jan 2012 18:36:31 -0500, P E Schoen wrote in

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The slam dunk on this would be to do a wordpress install. It would
handle all your 'easy' to update issues, you could migrate the content
with copy/paste and integrate all the social stuff.
The only thing you'd need to do would be to customize a theme.

None of us is as good as all of us.

Re: Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

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I emailed Paul. That is exactly what I'd suggest doing, and I can create
a custom theme if he doesn't find one that he likes...

Steve Sobol - Programming/WebDev/IT Support

Re: Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

"Steve Sobol"  wrote in message=20

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I do have a Wordpress account, but I have not used it except to respond =
other peoples' blogs. I've also looked into other CMS, and I maintain a=20
website for another group:  http://www.baltimoregreenforum.org , which =
the Google Sites system. But the decision to use that was from the =
founder and overall administrator, who also makes some changes to the=20
website occasionally. I have also played around with=20
http://bgf.doodlekit.com/home , which seems easy to use and attractive, =
of course has ads to maintain its "free" status.

The problem I see is the misconception that a professionally created and =

maintained website will be the answer to our problems, which IMHO is the =

lack of proper focus and attention to the overall picture. If I use my =
ideas to create what I might like, it would focus on nature, hiking,=20
wildlife, energy conservation, alternative lifestyles, EVs, and =
and service animals. And I'm also fascinated by website technology so =
play around with server side scripting and Javascript and other =
more for my own education and experience than for actual need. But I =
most of the local group is heavily involved in politics, which I =
as a necessary evil but not something I can really "get into".

I'm waiting to hear back from others in our group. So far I had one =
from an outings leader who said that there was only one other active =
who used the internet, and he maintained the Meetup group and got some=20
response from our web page listings. Whether a nicer-looking web page =
help, I don't know. It can't hurt, unless we waste our money on =
with minimal returns.

If enough others in the group want to get bids on having a website=20
professionally crafted, I'd just like to have some idea of typical cost =
what is required. And I'd want to be able to maintain it without having =
conform to the demands of a CMS, unless the interface is very easy to =
and does not restrict me as the Google site does. It takes me an hour to =
what would take 10 minutes if I could just edit the HTML and FTP to the=20
site. Of course, that is beyond the capabilities of most other members, =
of whom even have problems with email, or who refuse to use the internet =

Thanks for the responses.


Re: Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

Go to wordpress.org instead of wordpress.com
You would install the cms system on your own server.

Re: Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

jjrmy1 wrote:

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Go to "Learn to Quote.org".


   -This space for rent, but the price is high

Re: Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

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I didn't realize there was a difference, but now I see that the .com =
site is=20
mostly for quick and easy personal blogs, while the .org site is the=20
complete CMS. It looks pretty powerful and seems to be more flexible =
many others. I found an environmental site that I can present as an =
of what can be done:

http://earth911.com /

However, I found no reference to wordpress on the site, or even the =
code. These may be better examples, and do mention wordpress in the =

http://ourworld.unu.edu/en /
http://www.riverkeeper.org /
http://www.evsc.virginia.edu /

I'll see what response I get, and I'll present these sites to those who =
be interested. And I might as well download the CMS and install it on =
server so I can get an idea of how it works. But I'm rather busy right =
and don't have time to play around with it much or invest any serious =
or effort. Maybe I'm also a bit jaded by the previous lack of real =
on the part of others. I think they believe that they can just tell a=20
developer that they want a website and they'll magically present just =
they want. The problem is I doubt they really know.

If possible, I'd like the site to look like the one I cloned:

and the ones that other groups in our chapter have:

http://maryland.sierraclub.org/Catoctin /
http://maryland.sierraclub.org/ES /
http://maryland.sierraclub.org/Southern-MD /
http://maryland.sierraclub.org/Western-MD /

I would imagine it would not be difficult to incorporate that design as =
template for a Wordpress site. What do you think?


Re: Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

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I agree with you. I have a client who is a graphic designer who hosts is
clients on Wordpress, and that is EXACTLY what I do for him... I take
his designs, which he sends to me as Photoshop PSD files, and turn them
into Wordpress themes.

Steve Sobol - Programming/WebDev/IT Support

Re: Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

On Sun, 29 Jan 2012 18:49:05 -0500, P E Schoen wrote in

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http://wordpress.org/showcase/archives /
There's a ton of good reasons to use WP as a core CMS engine and with
the huge plugin community, it can basically do whatever you need it to
just by adding the correct plugin.
As for theming, it's relatively easy as well and there are tons of
existing themes, free and premium, that can be easily modified to meet
needs, as well as simply building your own from scratch.
Regarding :
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That's easy, but you may want to keep in mind, especially now that
you've got the opportunity to make the change, i.e., members allocating
a budget, to go reponsive so that you can show on any device from a
desktop to a smartphone with one design.

None of us is as good as all of us.

Re: Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

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There are benefits to using a CMS. And using a Wordpress site hosted
somewhere other than Wordpress.com, you get a lot of benefits that
Wordpress.com doesn't give you.

"Wordpress hosting" doesn't have to mean "hosting on Wordpress's
commercial blogging service."

The best of both worlds IMHO is a custom-designed theme and a Wordpress
install; but of course, I'm a little biased because that's what I do for
many of my clients :)

Steve Sobol - Programming/WebDev/IT Support

Re: Where/How to get quotes for professional website development

That's exactly what I was going to say. Plus there's a mod for everything,
should you want to expand the functionality later.

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