Boer Goats in the Field
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Boer Goat Farm

Web Design and Hosting Comparison

NOTE: If you have found your way to this page, I want to let you know that I have discontinued tracking my competitors because they keep going out of business.

I used to have a compreshensive table comparing my services to 15 other designers who design in the Boer Goat niche. After only 1 year, 10 of the 15 were out of business. Of the ones that remained, only one still has comparable rates. Essentially, my site had the best value for your money - and that has only gotten better over the past year (I add a lot more value now due to my admin area that gives my clients full control over their site). I am not sure why the other sites have gone out of business, but I suspect that it was because they were charging too much money and not providing adequate services to stay in business.

I have left some of the notes on this page so you can see how I was comparing the prices, but have removed direct links to the other sites (since most of them no longer even exist). If you would like to see the old table, email me.

 

I started to do some market research to see how my rates compared with my competitors. So, I went to Google and did searches for "Web Design" "Boer Goats"; Boer Goats Web Design; and Small Farm Web Design. I also used a Search Engine Optimization tool to find competitors based on keywords. Then I started to sort through the pages to find out how much everyone else was charging.
The first problem I had found was determining common ground. What a headache it must be to try to compare plans since not everyone speaks the same language. Some sites give package prices, some break down each features and some leave areas undefined. Some boast things like "unlimited e-mail", and some don't even mention e-mail (although it surely is easy to set up and is probably included).

Some sites offer a variety of plans (1 page, 3 pages, 5 pages etc.). In those cases, I chose to compare the plan closest a 5 page plan to have a similar comparison. Recently, I have gotten so that I don't really limit on the number of pages to start with, typically putting between 5 and 15 (without added fees).

The other great difference is the maintenance. Some make changes by the hour and a few have a flat fee for maintenance (like mine). Although I typically work 2-4 hours per month on each of the sites I maintain, the comparisons below just assume 1 hour of work per month (although, I still don't think a site will be successful if the designer only spends 12 hours a year updating it).

Another thing that sets me apart from the others is that I have a maintenance plan designed to add content to your site (2 pages per month). I did not see that addressed in any of the sites in the table below (some have hourly fees of up to $50 an hour fee to add such work, which can get very costly, very quickly, and some have nominal fees of up to $25 to add a page).

Eventually, I was able to sort through the sites, lump them into categories, and I have made a comparison table below to assist you in your decision.

Please go and visit these sites to see for yourself. Although price consideration is very important (and my site is the best value of the group), I think the most important part in determining who should design your site is the portfolio (my daughter could design a site for you for cheaper, but it wouldn't be very good). After looking at the sites designed by the designers below, I believe my sites are far superior in design as well as price!! Check out my Web Design Portfolio.

 

Please check back for an updated table with prices and specifications


*True averages are difficult to express because of the packages. In some cases, the numbers are rounded. The mean is the statistical average. Totals are averaged, and a median is declared where a definite fee is assigned. Median equals the middle number in the set. Standard Deviation is a measure of the spread of a set of values from the mean value (sorry, my Ph.D. has a large focus on measurement).

BDot 50 page site not included in mean since none of their sites appear to have reached that and it is a statistical outlier (otherwise, the mean would be 8.36, which is not a statistic representative of the population - or even the sample).

N/S = Not Specified on the site (in some cases, they might be inclusive - in others I would imagine there are additional fees not listed).
Mean and median are also good indicators for the sites that don't specify (or offer) one of the features.

** Some sites have setup fees in addition to design fees. When this was the case, I included the setup fee in with the design fee (since it is essentially a one time fee). The additional notes below list the sites with the setup fees - along with other information about the designer.

*** Maintenance is calculated at 1 hour per month (although my site has no hourly fees, most of the others do). With mine, if the work requires more than an hour, you won't be hit with hefty (unreasonable) fees.

Notes: Prices may change. Numbers are based on my interpretations from the designers' web pages. It is not my intention to display deceptive figures here, but to provide an honest comparison for potential customers. Please feel free to contact me to correct the figures if I have misinterpreted what was on the web pages. This list is by no means inclusive. Prices were reevaluated in July 8th, 2006.

Additionally, after some further thought, I am going to only list web designers who have designed at least 10 sites to keep the comparison against "professional" web designers.

Additional Notes on the plans:

J&C Ranch probably has the next best package (compared to mine). I would never put an annoying mouse tail on a web site, but that is just me. J & C's base plan is only for 4 pages, but since they charge $20 for additional pages, the table above reflects a 5 page plan (for a true comparison). Note: my plan adds 2 pages per month as part of the maintenance plan, so theoretically, if you were to add 24 pages over the course of a year, J&C would charge you an additional $480..

On his site, Jack lists that his packages are $600 - $700 annually, and the maintenance (for the second year and beyond is $400 - $600). I used the average to get the figures on the chart, and I put the final total for Mauldin at $650 (so with $500 as the middle value for maintenance, the design breaks down to around $150). Check out his site for the exact details (I was just trying to break it down to similar categories so you could see where the variability is in the statistics).

BDotWeb sounds pretty good if you are getting a very large site (from the outset). They have packages from 50 to 250 pages. Their portfolio consists of nearly 10 sites, most of which are only of the 5-10 page variety - so I don't know if the 50 pages is even in reach (at least it doesn't appear to have been met). The maintenance is listed as $150 - $300 - so I chose a number in the middle. The designs are somewhat cluttered, plus they ineffectively use a text-center alignment style, and often have dark colored text on dark colored backgrounds (making them difficult to read). Of course, if you are dying to have a leather or dark wood background, this is the guy to call.

Moon Ridge maintenance fees are $29 per hour. Unimpressive portfolio. Please be careful before you let a designer put annoying flash banners and the slow javascript transitions on your site. Things that look "neat" once, will often drive away a visitor if they have to endure it over and over. Moon Ridge does not say if their plans include any hosting. It does say that domain names are additional, but does not list a price. I am considering removing them from the list because their portfolio no longer shows 10 sites.

Country Lovin' has a number of package sizes, and each has a more expensive maintenance package (essentially, the maintenance package is based on the size of the site). Their 6 page site only includes 12 images - which seems awfully low (I stopped counting images a long time ago). Extra images cost $2 per image, and extra pages cost $100 each. They have around 15 sites in their portfolio. Most of the sites appear disorganized (some are in the category of "eyesores".

Web Nanny is actually confusing as to what the complete cost would be. It appears that it costs $150 to do the graphics and $25 a page (which is $125 for 5 pages). That is why the design feel is listed as $275. I have grouped them together in the design fee for the purposes of this comparison. Maintenance is $40 an hour. The amount of web sites they have designed is impressive. Most of them are just adequate (in terms of graphical design).

Polaris did not specifically include hosting, but they refer to a host who charges the $84 annually listed. Their updates are billed at $45/hr. They have a pretty decent portfolio. The $45 an hour is still too expensive, but their work is a higher quality than some of the the others that charge as much or more.

Elite Web Design lists $499 for the initial design and then $34 for maintenance. They also say $15 a month for hosting, which is included in the maintenance. For comparison purposes, I went ahead and broke out the hosting and maitnenance to show the figures in the table.

East Texas Goats is an example of a site that charges a huge premium for extra pages. Their maintenance is already too expensive ($45 an hour), but they also charge $50 per extra page -- which is utterly ridiculous! If you knew how easy it was to add a new age (while using site templates in a program like Dreamweaver), you would never be able to accept a fee of $50 to add a new one. Also, and this isn't something I have focused on the other sites in this list -- but probably should -- this designer limits the number of images on a site (in this case, it is limited to 11 graphics on a 5 page site). To me, this is an example of a designer who wants your money, but doesn't want to do the work (in fact, the three factors put together -- high maintenance fees, high premium for adding pages and low image count -- are demonstrations of a designer who is going to hold your site "hostage" (demanding a ransom to make changes) and will probably result in a site that gets out of date fairly quickly). Also, they say that they have been designing sites for 7 years, but only list 5 sites as samples (each of which are very ordinary -- bordering on eyesores).

Farm Web design doesn't really have a breakdown in the same manner as the others. In fact, they leave it somwhat of a mystery as to what the maintenane will cost for subsequent years. The $999 price includes 2 updates - so it is not a comprehensive maintenance plan like mine (or some of the others on this chart). The price listed in the total is for their package (which doesn't specify the number of pages either). One interesting thing they offer is to write the copy for a site. Recently, my focus on editing copy has really helped my sites get in good with the search engines. I still have my clients write their copy, but with some very specific guidance, and I do a lot of the editing as well.

Canyon Sun actually has several packages (including a 20 page special for only $2000 - yikes!!). The values in the table are for their 5 page package which has 5 hours per year annually for maintenance but charges $40 an hour for additional hours of maintenance, which is why there is an additional $280 annually for the 12 hours of maintenance prescribed in the assumptions. The sites in their portfolio are very hard to read (visually) as they break a number of rules of design.

2Clones.com is also overly expensive, particularly since the sites they design are very ordinary. I wasn't exactly able to determine how much maintenance costs. They have a $1200 package that includes maintenance, but they also have a $50 per page addition, so I just went ahead and used that (to add one page per month). Also, they offer 3 months free hosting, and then $25 a month after that (so the second year will cost $75 more). It is remarkable, though, that they charge $25 a month for hosting only 50 MB of storage.

GoatRancher was very hard to figure out what it will cost for a comparable plan. First, their domain names are still at $35 (no one should charge more than $15 - since the most pouplar registrars only charge $8-$9). Their design fee of $750 is a composite of the costs associated with a 5 page site. They charge $250 for the first page, $100 to make a template for the other pages, $100 each for 3 more pages and $100 for a contact form. Altogether, that adds to $750. They have 3 hosting plans $25 a month, $35 a month and an astounding $45 a month. The $45 a month only gets you 200 MB of disk space! For maintenance, like some of the others, they do not have a real maintenance plan. They do charge $25 to $50 a page for updates. So, I assumed that you would want to update one page a month for 12 months - which is the similar assumption to needing 12 hours a year maintenance for your site throughout the year. With all of that said, I doubt anyone in their portfolio updates 12 times a year. Finally, the portfolio is very weak.

Although DeltaWebs does not specialize in this field, I did find a couple of sites that were done by them (including one for a guy who asked me to design a new logo for him). I don't know how they can get any business charging that much, but they have a pretty fat portfolio. In fact, their rates are actually closer to the rates you see in a lot of web design outside of the niche markets.

Plans that I evaluated, then dropped because they did not meet the 10 site portfolio criteria:

I originally listed Hia Laura, who charges $600 for a complete web site (including some maintenance) and $50/hr maintenance for additional pages. But since she had no portfolio posted, she did not meet the criteria of 10 sites designed to see how well she can design pages. Additionally, the design of her design page is fairly simple. I was confused if the hosting was included or not (I think it is), but she refers to Lunar hosting, which might cost an additional $95 per year). She charges $500 per year for maintenance after the first year.

Shaltz Farm was also originally listed, but also failed to meet the 10 site portfolio. His fees were $15 for a domain, $200 for design, $300 for hosting and only $120 for maintenance (by far the lowest). But, when I checked, he only had 5 sites done, and none since 2002. Additional notes:, the designer claims to have no graphics skills ("Something I don't do is graphics, as I have no skill in that area.") , which may be why his maintenance is lower (just updating text is not too difficult); If you check out the portfolio, you would agree with his claim. Shaltz Farm advertises a $100 setup fee and a $100 design fee. The combination is listed together in the design fee.

I considered Bacardi Designs, because Debra Wilson helped me with a project a year or so ago. She has just posted an ad on a bulletin board advertising between $175 and $225 for a complete 5 page package (the latter price is for a more graphic intense site). Her price includes an hour of maintenance (but charges $15 for additional pages - which essentially equal the $30 a month in my plan which includes 2 additional pages per month). Her portfolio has 6 sites, which does not meet the criteria. And of those 6 sites, 4 are off free (or piggybacked from their AT&T Web Space), one is probably on a local computer (listed as an IP Address) and one is not in service anymore. Hopefully she will get business out of her advertisement, though.

I removed Halena Dairy Goats. The original listing was based on a posting on the Boer Goat e-group on 15 August. There is no web design information on their site. I only put her on this list because her posting said, "I am now offering a web site design service, and have adjusted my prices to beat most others (all that I knew of)." The price came out to $747 for the package. Clearly, though, there are others that have better prices who have more experience and have a larger portfolio.

I also removed Whimsical Artwork. Their original addition was based on a very confusing special of $80 off posted on 5 August on the Goat Barn bulletin board, but only if you spent $80 on a magazine subscription (smaller savings also included an equal amount purchase. Their plan did not include a domain name or hosting - which they leave up to you.

I dropped Linda Cozy corner because the domain is no longer active. She hads a 3 page plan and a 6 page plan. The prices above reflect the 6 page plan (since that is closer to the 5 pages required). Their portfolio is not overly impressive - although the sites are not as "flat" as others. The sites do violate a few simple rules of design, though (namely color and organization). Linda's corner does not specify if their plan includes hosting and/or domain name. Their site is hosted by a company that charges $95 per year, which is why I listed that price. Total cost was $845 ($450/$95/$300).

Also dropped Fiasco farm, which designed pretty good looking web sites (appropriate colors, organization, etc.). I wasn't clear if a domain was included (I don't think it is). They also only allow 12 images for 6 pages - which is ridiculous for the price. Additions are $35/hour. Dropped because the site says she is not designing any more websites. Prices were $915 ($400/$95/$420)

 

I will keep adding to this list as I find them. I have seen some that just have the price for design, but not for the other facets (namely design). I might consider adding them, and then somehow referencing the mean or median to give you a good comparison.

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