Design help for User Subscription/Management Code

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Maxiseller, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Little grey, chilly island.
    #1
    Hi all,

    My website www.examfinancial.com has been up and running for around 12 months now. The website is essentially a revision tool for UK would-be financial advisers looking to revise for their exams.

    It's something that I'm running in my spare time, and has been fairly sucessful in generating income for me; but there are a couple of problems with the site.

    Firstly, the subscription handler seems to be problematic. There have been reports of people not being able to use the subscription element, or not being able to make a payment - or simply that the design of it is not straightforward.

    Mainly however, it isn't very integrated into the site. www.examangel.co.uk seem to have a better system whereby the log in is at the top of the page - but how do I set about acomplishing this if I were to code myself? I'd need to be able to protect certain folders in the site; and users would need to register, purchase (I use worldpay) and then access the protected content by way of a password/username manager. I currently use Omni Secure to do this side for me - but it isn't an easy integration into the site.

    Would I be better off hiring a web design company to code all the back end? I telephoned one today, and was quoted £15,000 to complete all the work required - is this a reasonable quote?

    I don't mind paying this sort of money for a quality product; but as always if I can save money, I'd like to.

    Finally, has anybody got any recommendations for web design companies? It seems a lot of these companies have poor websites themselves which tells you a lot about the company!!

    Thanks in advance; all comments welcome!
     
  2. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #2
    It is impossible to tell you if someone shafted you or not on a quote. The quote should have included details as to how long it would take, a high level view of tools and software needed, and how many staff would be required and so on. Even though you did a great job explaining the situation here and only seek an informal "I won't hold you to it" response, what you really need to do is get two other quotes. Then check references, and go with your gut. You'll also get a better idea generally what is likely required, simply by comparison of those quotes.

    Informally, and don't hold me to it, most developers will usually attempt to troubleshoot your current setup before advising change. Often its as simple as checking error logs and running a few test transactions and see how they get lost. The logs might reveal a misconfig, or the third party vendor is dropping the connection, time to switch, etc. Don't just assume a new expensive "professional" product will solve all your woes. It might even make things worse, if research and thought is not put into this.

    As to usability issues, do you base that on your own use of the site, or customer feedback, surveys and basic business analytics to reveal how your site is being used? New to all these terms? Hire a CRM consultant who can help you identify weaknesses and solutions.

    If you can put in the time, i.e. sweat equity, do not hire a pro - instead do better research, try demos, read reviews on products, and consider trying new platforms in the open source world. This might include anything from osCommerce to Drupal/Ubercart - for example. Save yourself some serious cash. But don't do this if you're over your head in terms of skills - you'll know by reading white papers and visiting product support forums. What you called "back end" involves many disciplines - database, scripting, cron, networking, hardware, apps, and so on.

    As to finding professional developers, start with the competition of the one quote you got, i.e. another company in the same general area with the same skills. Beyond that here is an often recommended site to narrow your search and help you find someone, if so required.

    http://www.123findawebdesigner.com/

    -jim
     
  3. Devan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    #3
    Who quoted you? As in the company.

    Alot of companies charge high prices but deliver crap tacky designs/products.
     

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