Useful Advice: Website Evaluation
When there is a dispute about the charge for creating a web site the skills of an IT expert witness could be invaluable to independently determine the value of the work carried out.
Alternatively it is common to require a valuation of a web based business - this can also benefit from the skills provided by a forensic accountant.
The following points are intended as a guide (based on years of experience in producing web sites) to the things which need to be considered when determining how much work was involved in creating a web site and how much it should have cost.
- Visual concepts or mock-ups - These are graphical representations of key web pages intended to determine the look and style of the web site (see example below showing 4 different variations for a local village web site home page). Usually 2 or 3 are produced and generally take between .5 and 1 day to produce.
- Logo design - This can be central to establishing the identity of a company or business and can take anywhere from an hour to a week or more if the budget allows.
- Meetings - Consideration needs to be given to how many meetings were attended, how many people were involved and how long each one took.
- Conversion of mock-up to web site - This is the actual coding of the web site to turn the purely visual representation of the mock-up into a fully functional web site.
- Number of pages - Obviously, the larger the web site, the more time taken and cost incurred to produce it. Generally add at least 1 hour per page produced.
- Animation - If the web site uses any animation then the creation of this can add greatly to the cost of production, an apparently simple animation can take days to produce.
- Programming - If the web site involves e-commerce (allowing items to be purchased online) or if it uses databases, ASP or Java Script to generate any of its content then this needs to be considered. Add on at least a day.
- Content - Who produced the written content for the site? A writer may be able to produce from one to five pages per day.
- Photographs - were photos supplied by the client or were stock images used (if so who sourced them)? Was a professional photographer employed?
Example of 4 visual concepts or mock-ups