Your Business Needs

To make a long story short, you need a website. 🙃

This is known – but I played around with the idea of ways to increase your web presence while also remaining mindful of your current signal-to-noise ratio.  I reviewed this thoroughly thought of simply making an automated email newsletter and maybe a medium blog without a website. That would increase engagement and most likely act as a lead generation tool/attraction magnet but it would not solve the head-scratching involved when a potential buyer or seller realized that you don’t have a website.

To make a long story longer, you need more not less engagement.

I used to watch cartoons back when Saturday morning cartoons were a thing and Scrooge McDuck’s mantra “Work Smarter, Not Harder” was something that stuck with me. So not just more engagement, but more useful engagement.  Deploying tools that make it comfortable for you to engage your audience and drive interaction with less friction will go a long way towards improving your brand position.

Your Customer Needs

Your target audience isn’t just buyers and sellers in that you’ve already crafted a following that consists of people who aren’t necessarily active in those roles.

Studies and trends are showing that millennials are waiting later than previous generations to look towards buying homes. As a social influencer in your industry, you have a voice and an opportunity to “put a bee in the bonnets” of people before they experience life transitions.  Think baby boomers potentially looking to downsize, Gen X/Yers that have growing families, and now millennials who admittedly are not as eager to buy homes and may need more signals to prompt them to even want to engage in the sales process.

Being a trusted thought leader before, during and after the active transactional phase advocates in your favor without being sales-y [not a word, but it should be].

The Solution

  1. The first tool that I recommend is, of course, the aforementioned website. You already have a great audience so adding even a single page website to the mix would immediately solve problems 1 and 2 on our list.Your suggestion to rework some of your blog posts and commit to creating more content would go a long ways towards solving problem number 3. Developing a strategic content pipeline and automating some of your processes would take it the rest of the way. This is as simple as scheduling a regular time at your convenience, be it weekly, monthly or quarterly where the content for the website is planned and outlined so you have at the very least the preliminary work done on your regular content and can spend your day to day time focusing on the day to day things that inspire you and your audience.
  2. Let’s talk about channels!You have messages and information coming to you from various social media platforms, in multiple ways on each platform and via phone, email, smoke signal, and probably carrier pigeon. So now we’re adding a website, which on the face of it would add additional channels in the form of emails and possibly chat. The solution to this problem [number 4] will most readily depend on what type of processes and tools would be most convenient for you. I believe that taking the time to answer a few questions about how you like to engage and what types of communication are most comfortable and then funneling all of your channels into that method would be the key to success.
  3. Last but not least we arrive at solution number 5.
    Two things come to mind:
    1. Knowing Facebook is a silo, rather than have both links available for people to leave feedback giving them one link couldn’t hurt.  You could always encourage Facebook feedback from within Facebook.
    2. The second suggestion seems simplistic at first blush, but may be just the thing to set a clear expectation:  Add some verbiage to the body of the email that requests the person to not reply to the email.

These two tweaks are designed to present a more precise message about the type of feedback that’s being requested and close the loop to other avenues.

Project Timeline

This timeline highlights the places where your time and input will be critical so that you can have a good idea of the time investment and plan for it.

Proposed Start Date: Monday, May 20, 2019

Phase 1 — One(1) Week

  • Content review and planning
    In the first week, we will collaborate and go over your content so that we can tweak what needs tweaking and I can develop a design focused on presenting your content in the best way.
  • Develop marketing content strategy for the website launch

Phase 2 — One(1) Week

  • Review and approve the sitemap and website layout
    The sitemap and content will be in place and ready for your edits and approval
  • Implement analytics and reporting systems

Phase 3 — One(1) Week

  • Plan and develop marketing automation
  • Review and approve email verbiage
    Based on your existing email templates and messages we’ll craft some automated messages to go out at specific intervals in your sales process.

Phase 4 — One(1) Week

  • Submit final pre-launch change requests
  • Complete pre-launch change order checklist
  • Test and refine workflows and processes

Review

Your digital presence should be both agile and iterative. We will schedule a meeting for about two weeks after the launch to review your initial feedback and reports so that we can conduct any post-launch adjustments to the content strategy. I consider this meeting a very important part of the development process because it provides you with a stage for retrospection that’s integrated into your schedule.

Investment

Project Essentials › $1634

The following elements are considered essential to the project:

  • Development and configuration
    This includes the design, development, configuration, and placement of your content and technical concerns such as content management, add-on software, domain mail, marketing system, and social media management software.

    • $937
  • Support solutions
    I have learned that maintaining a simple but strict process helps to keep a project on track. Support solutions include digital “utilities” such as website hosting, marketing software, analytics platforms, password management, storage, and collaboration tools.  These accounts will be 100% yours and although I will complete the initial setup and configuration, you will be given the usernames, passwords and license information for your future use.

    • $697

Project Options › $3975

This information is considered optional at this time and services that you can deploy at a later date, if ever. 

  • IDX add-on software integration
    I did some research on making attractive MLS listings on your site and it’s doable and although optional, there are some affordable options out there – most likely more than the last time you had a website.  Here is the price range:

    • $40 – $300 monthly
    • ~ $99 setup fee

So you’re looking at roughly $480 – $3600 annually with a one-time roughly $99 fee. I say roughly because they all charge a similar fee, but some it’s $99.97 and some it’s only $99…I think they all took the same pricing class.

  • Social media management upgrade
    – Current plan – free
    The paid plan offers team collaboration, keyword or traffic monitoring, repeat posts, smart scheduling, and reports.  I actually recommend this upgrade to increase your scheduling peace of mind, that being said, this is a definite try-before-you-buy scenario.

    • $120 annually
  • Domain email upgrade
    – Current plan – $12
    At this time the domain email platform has a free plan, but I actually budgeted above for the $1/month plan so that you could forward those emails to your normal email account rather than have to log in elsewhere. The upgrade(s) would provide more storage, larger attachments and access to more business suite tools such as online meeting software. This is the starting price.

    • starting at $36 per year
  • Marketing email upgrade
    – Current plan – free
    This includes up to 2000 subscribers and allows for sending 200 emails per month, but you can add unlimited sending and a few bells and whistles for a reasonable starting price

    • starting at $10 per month

Total Project Investment › up to $5609

Amount to budget if you agree to this investment right now › $1634
This proposal is available until Monday, May 27, 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions

More information about general website development and terminology is available on the frequently asked questions page.

What are your hours of business ?

Feel free to contact me Monday – Thursday between the hours of 9AM and 2PM Eastern Time

How do I get in touch ?

Why are some of the pricing items optional ?

This proposal contains my high-end estimation of your development costs. I will schedule a meeting with you to review your options and set your final price.  

HOW DO PAYMENTS WORK ?​

Once you have completed the mutual agreement (below), you will receive an invoice via email.  You can use that to pay your deposit for 50% of the final price. The remaining balance is due once I have completed your development testing.

What happens if I want to add more features?

I have learned to be careful about allocating and budgeting my time. New business – work that is more than a minor adjustment – in the middle of an existing design deserves a very thorough review.  Ask yourself this.  Why?

  1. Is this a need that will impact your bottom line?
    How will this new feature help you recoup your desired return on this investment?
  2. Do these new features align with the existing project goals.
    Business strategies are iterative.  Your engagement and productivity goals are never “done,” so there is nothing stopping you from planning for the next project.
  3. Am I willing to invest more money and undoubtedly more time in pursuit of this new feature?

The Next Step

These are the steps to proceed with this project:

  1. Schedule your proposal review meeting.
  2. Accept the proposal as is by submitting the Mutual Agreement, or discuss desired changes.
    • Please note that changes to the scope of the project can be made at any time, but additional charges may apply.
  3. Upon email receipt of your invoice, submit an initial payment of 50% of the total project fee to guarantee your start date – which we will discuss during your proposal review meeting.
  4. Check your email.  I will email you the next steps, including a link to schedule your project planning meeting if we do not schedule one during your proposal review.

Mutual Agreement

Introduction

At the beginning of any project, it’s best to have a few things written down so that we have a clear understanding of both our expectations and what happens if things go wrong. In this agreement, you won’t find complicated legal terms or long passages of unreadable text.  I want our roles during this project to be clear.  This document is an outline of those roles.

What is your role as a client?

As the person entering into this agreement, you are confirming that you have the competence, power, and ability to agree to these terms on your own behalf, or that of your company, or organization.

  • You agree to provide me with everything that I’ll need to complete the work as and when it is needed and in the format, or platform that I ask for, up to and including authorization to access any systems necessary to carry out my duties.
  • You agree to review my work and provide feedback in a timely manner.
  • You agree to pay for my work. (Yes I know that should be a given, but the whole point of a contract is to put it out there).

What is my role as a contractor?

I will maintain the confidentiality of any information that you give me.  I have the experience and ability to perform the services you need from me and I will carry them out in a manner that is professional and cost-effective.  I have provided you with a fee estimate with my observations of

  • your goals,
  • the tasks associated with achieving your objectives,
  • the time required to complete these services, and
  • the costs associated with your project.
You are free to determine which of those solutions and subsequent fees will actually apply to this project prior to accepting the estimate. My number one priority is to fulfill your needs and provide services necessary to achieve the outcomes that we set for this project.

Project Scope

Upon approval of this document and payment of your deposit, I will consider the project requirements to be firmly set and put your timeline and start date in my schedule. This is the scope of this project.   If you request additional products and services, they will require a separate agreement and separate invoicing.  The goals, desired outcomes, and technology of each project vary.  Based on my experience, I have further outlined some guidelines to set your expectations of common project processes:

Design

Should your project require me to design visual elements, I agree to provide one or more mockups for each requirement with the opportunity for you to make up to two rounds of revisions for the idea that you pick. If you are not happy with the design after those revisions, you may either discontinue my service or continue to commission me to make further design revisions at the hourly rate set out in the estimate.

Development

This project may include web development with HTML markup, CSS templates and PHP coding for the content management system.  I will use these technologies to create web page layouts that reasonably match your design specifications.  You will have the opportunity to make up to two rounds of revisions to the layout of your website.  If you are not happy with the look and feel of your website after those revisions, you may either discontinue my service or continue to commission me to make further design revisions at the hourly rate set out in the estimate.

Deadlines & Deliverables

Together, we will review and refine the timeline of milestones geared towards the goal of completing your project.  We will implement a project management process for you to submit requests for changes, review and approve my work and keep track of the development of the project.  If I have any questions about a request, I will contact you immediately for clarification.  My processing time depends on your approval, or notification of changes to your project and I can’t be responsible for a missed launch date or a deadline if you have been late in supplying materials or have not approved or signed off on my work at any stage of this project. Communication works both ways. If at any time there is a processing delay on my end that will affect the deadline I will let you know. You may request that I issue a final invoice for all completed work. Upon receipt of that payment, I will consider the project completed.

Changes and revisions

I have no desire to limit you to your first idea about how something should look, or how it might work. Throughout the course of this project, you will be presented with options, opportunities to change your mind and my estimate of the resources that will be necessary to accomplish everything that you have told me you want to achieve. This agreement provides for up to two rounds of revisions to the designs and features that develop.  If you do want to change your mind beyond that, there won’t be a problem, but there will be a fee. You will be responsible for any additional expenses that I might incur on your behalf in the performance of my duties.  You will be provided access to my project management system.  I expect you to request all changes via that medium.

Browser Support

The landscape of web browsers and devices changes regularly and my approach is to look forward, not back. With that in mind, I will test all of my markup and CSS in current versions of all major desktop browsers to ensure that we make the most of them. Users of older, or less capable browsers or devices will experience a design that is appropriate to the capabilities of their software. For example, people using Microsoft Internet Explorer will experience a typographically focussed design with no layout. I will also test that these templates perform well on mobile devices.

I will not test old or abandoned browsers unless otherwise specified. If you need me to consider these older browsers, additional fees may apply.

Photographs

You will supply me any necessary photographs in the format that is needed to complete your project. If you choose to buy stock photography, I can suggest vendors of stock photography.  If I purchase photographs on your behalf, you will receive the licensing and the charges will be applied to your account.

Text Copy

I may have written a best-seller (I haven’t), but I am not responsible for writing or inputting any text copy unless it is specified in this agreement as a solution. I’ll be happy to help as requested, though additional fees may apply.

Website Hosting

You may already have professional web site hosting, you might even manage that hosting in-house; if that’s the case, great. If you don’t, I can set up an account for you, or you can find a web host for yourself. I will charge you a one-off fee for installing your site on a server.

What is not included in the project scope?

Copyright Infringement

I will not be able to copy someone else’s work for you.  Any materials subject to copyright will need permission from the owner.  Any request to alter someones copyrighted material will require a license in order for me to do so as well. The bottom line here?  I will not agree to do something for you that I think is morally reprehensible.

Search Engine Optimization

Although a website will increase your opportunities to grow your business, I cannot literally provide you with website traffic.  I will take the time to populate your site with an accurate description and keyword meta tags, but I am not a search engine optimization strategist and I cannot guarantee that you receive a high search ranking.  Just so that you know, advertising will cost you money over and above paying for your website.

Content Management

Website maintenance is not included in this agreement.  Editing, revision, update and input of new and existing content would require a separate agreement and would be invoiced independently.

Technical Support

Tasks such as managing your server, website hosting, and any other support issues are also not apart of this process.

A Warranty

I can’t guarantee that the functions contained in any web page templates, or in a completed web site will always be error-free and so I can’t be liable to you, or any third party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages arising out of the operation of or inability to operate this web site and any other web pages, even if you have advised me of the possibilities of such damages.

I will see that the final deliverables that I provide to you are uniquely made, or properly licensed for your commercial use. I accept your guarantee that any materials you provide are legally approved for your use as well and as such I am not liable to you, or any third party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings, or other incidental, consequential, or special damages arising out of the use of, or inability to use the final collateral pieces in whole, or part.

If any provision of this agreement shall be unlawful, void, or for any reason is unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from this agreement and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.

Payments – Mana from..well, you!

My day job consists of helping businesses and entrepreneurs create successful strategies for getting things done – and I love that I get to do that. This entire proposal provides you with a detailed summary of how I plan to do that with you – a love letter in plain old English about how technology is my jam! If you are reading this, then we have met and you have seen first hand how excited I am about working with you – yes?

It is vital to both of us that you pay your invoices immediately.  I will hold your start date without a deposit for five calendar days. After that, I will have to give priority to another client and we will have to reschedule your project for my next available start date.

✅ Payment schedule:
  • Deposit 50% of the total project cost is due upon receipt of the invoice
  • Final Payment The remaining balance is due once the site is feature complete and ready to go live
Once the final payment has cleared, the development server account will be placed in your name.

📣 Unfortunately, I cannot hold up my process in the event that you are unable to provide your content before the website is ready to go live. I have learned from experience that attempting to wait for an actual launch creates nothing but friction and complicates, or even sours a successful working relationship, therefore once the site components are in place and ready to go live the job is done and I will expect your payment.

Should you fail to pay any invoice at the close of the project scope, I reserve the right, but am not obligated to complete the following tasks:

  1. Add an inconvenience fee of 25% to the overdue invoice(s).
  2. Bring legal action against you for the outstanding balance.
  3. I am under no obligation to keep your site on my development server and as I stated above, the development environment will not be turned over until your final payment has cleared.

Ending our relationship – Say it aint so!!

You can cancel this agreement at any time, by providing me with 30 days written-notice and making sure that all of your current fees are paid-in-full.  If I intend to cancel this agreement, I will afford you the same courtesy and provide you with 30 days written notice.  Please understand that all projects require me to make a dedicated allotment of my time to you, so I will issue you a final bill upon cancellation that includes all completed work and a $97 termination fee.

Who’s the Boss?

Just because we are entering into a mutually beneficial agreement does not mean that either of us is granting the other employment, principle partnership, or benefit of a joint venture. Neither you, nor I have any authority to assume or create any obligation or liability, either express or implied, on behalf of the other. When we receive your final payment, copyright is automatically assigned as follows: You own the graphics and other visual elements that we create for you for this project. We will give you a copy of all files and you should store them really safely as we are not required to keep them or provide any native source files that we used in making them. You also own text content, photographs and other data you provided unless someone else owns them. We own the XHTML markup, CSS and other code and we license it to you for use on only this project. We love to show off our work and share what we have learned with other people, so we also reserve the right to display and link to your completed project as part of our portfolio and to write about the project on web sites, in magazine articles and in books about design and development. Just like a parking ticket, you cannot transfer this contract to anyone else without our permission. This contract stays in place and need not be renewed. If for some reason one part of this contract becomes invalid or unenforceable, the remaining parts of it remain in place. The language is simple, but the intentions are serious and this agreement is written under and governed by the applicable legal authority of the United States of America.

Phew! That is definitely longer than a tweet.

 

My thoughts on all of this!

I, Ragni J. Lewis accept the terms of this agreement.

Your thoughts on all of this?

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