What Sets Us Apart
This is often the question that is foremost on your mind, so we will be upfront.
XRC Media is not a factory. We do not produce web sites by recycling existing and predefined templates. When we are hired, we begin a process of personal consultation, design, development and finally produce a web site that is bespoke and totally unique to our client. It is uncompromised in it's technical foundation, it started from a blank sheet of paper, and generally speaking, it looks fabulous.
We cannot compete with the "factories" that roll out web sites that are generic clones of each other, so we trust you understand that you are getting what you pay for.
It is also impossible for us to give you a definitive price list due to the unique nature of every project we undertake. Each project is different in scope and complexity, and these determine our charges.
That said, you may use the following two examples as general guidelines to what you can expect to pay when working with us. Note that all projects we undertake (including the two example scenarios below) include the full complement of our expertise, described in more detail further down the page.
Also note that we generally charge by the project and not by time. This means we don't have to be calculative by tracking the detailed time we spend on any project. It also enables clear budgeting on your part. We also understand that during the course of a project, specifications and requirements change. Generally speaking, our project fee remains the same in spite of these changes (within reason). We try to spend more time getting the job done rather than worrying too much about our bottom line.
A basic static information or promotional web site with 4 or 5 individual pages, a contact form, some photographs, basic graphics work and a bespoke design.
Circa USD $1,300 / GBP £700
A full e-commerce web site with a bespoke design integrated into a commercial off-the-shelf shop engine with full order tracking and product administration. Includes PayPal payment integration and the cost of the engine itself.
Circa USD $3,300 / GBP £1,800
Types of Web Sites, Technologies and Modules
No two web designers are alike. So what makes us different? The following features are a core part of our business and apply to every job we undertake.
We are a partner and consultant, not a contractor.
We are not just a provider of technical services. We are much more holistic than that.
From the moment we receive your enquiry, the first thing we do is try to understand your needs and targets of the project. This, coupled with your deadline and budget, help us to complete a picture of what would be the best technologies and methodologies to use to build your site.
Throughout the process, we advise on matter of compliance, accessibility, content and visual ergonomics. We ask questions that address issues you never even thought of. We do this to help you build the best and most effective site for your needs.
You are not just buying our programming skills; you are buying our commercial expertise across this entire area of web site building. Sometimes this means that we earn less than we could have because we feel your site need not be as advanced as you initially requested, and we advise you as such. So be it.
Our underlying philosophy is simple: would we be happy if this site was our own? We don't stop working with you until the answer is an unequivocal yes.
There is no deal until a visual has been agreed.
Through the initial stages of consultation and production of rough visual design concepts, you have no obligation to us. You may back out at any time.
Only once has a design been agreed do we build you a site and you are indebted to us.
We start from a blank sheet of paper.
Literally. We actually take a pencil and a sheet of paper and sketch out a rough visual layout to suit the specific needs of your project.
From day one, your site is guaranteed to be unique and bespoke.
We are very versatile.
You will see evidence of this within our portfolio.
We have successfully handled all kinds of site designs and technical specifications across a wide range of clients and different industries.
We code to a very high standard.
Our websites feature efficient and optimised programming across the board; so much so that any competent developer can take over at any point and carry on from where we left off.
We build sites that validate and are standards-compliant, cross-browser compatible, and up to what is possible given budgetary and technical constraints, are accessible to handicapped or disabled visitors.
We use modern standards and techniques to ensure your site still works and remains relevant years from launch.
Our spoken and written English is excellent.
You'd be surprised how rare a skill this is these days. All content you give us includes a comprehensive proofread as part of the package, and advice on how best to optimise this content to suit the visual framework of the site and to maximise your chances of higher search rankings.
We don't just check spelling and grammar, but phrasing too. We tailor your content's linguistic style to match your target audience.
We optimise your site for search engines.
We are not like one of those companies who offer "SEO" (search engine optimization) as an extra cost to building the site.
In our world, a site is not a good site unless it is built in such a way, using modern best-practice techniques, that ensures it has the best possible shot of doing well on Google, Yahoo and Bing. And we only build good sites.
Check out our portfolio for some examples of how we have taken clients from nowhere to Number 1 on Google searches, thereby multiplying their revenue significantly.
We offer the personal touch.
We only take on a limited amount of projects at any one time to ensure we are not stretched too thin. At all times you have a personal contact whom you can call or e-mail to check on progress or to ask questions.
We're in it for the long run.
We don't just build the site, collect the payment and never see you again. We aim to build a long-term relationship.
This means you can come to us for technical support (which is built in to the cost of the site) after it has been launched. We will even host the site on our servers (free of charge for the first year, with reasonably-priced renewals).
Your site belongs to you.
Once you pay us in full, all intellectual property relating to the site is released to you and is yours to own.
We do not build anything proprietary into our code, and we do not hold anything to ransom.
The full source code of all dynamic applications we build for you are also all yours (except for instances where certain modules and engines are from third-party vendors).
Databases, Hardware and Security
Every site is different, but all the sites we build lend from a combination of the various technologies and methods listed below.
Static Web Sites
A "static" site is a web site where, regardless of which visitor comes to the site or what they do, what is presented to them is the same.
This web site you are reading now is an example of a static site. The content doesn't change from visitor to visitor.
Static sites are the easiest and fastest kind of sites to build, and therefore also the cheapest.
Dynamic Web Sites
A "dynamic" site is a web site where the content changes depending on user input or other parameters. There is advanced logic and programming involved to determine what content is extracted and how it is delivered to the visitor. This programming is called a web "application".
Sites with registration and login functionalities, live ordering of products, blogs and control panels to update the content are all examples of dynamic sites.
Dynamic sites are not just a "step up" from static sites - they open up an unlimited world of possibilities.
E-Commerce and Online Payment
One popular type of dynamic site is the online shop, where product selection, ordering and payment are all performed online.
We can build you an e-commerce site with integrated card payment facilities.
Blogs and Content Management Systems
Another subset of dynamic sites would be online blogs. Blogging engines, like WordPress, are types of content management systems (CMS).
The principal function of a CMS is to make it easier for the site to be edited and updated. Most often that means some kind of control panel is installed in a hidden area of the site that allows the owner to go in and add, edit and update content without any need for advanced technical knowledge.
They are very powerful, and allow what is otherwise a very complex and intricate web site to be thoroughly administered and updated by the owner.
Depending on your needs, we can develop a custom CMS for you from scratch or install one of a few third-party systems available and wrap a custom web site visual around it.
Multimedia and Visual Tools
We are adept developers of Adobe Flash-based applets, which allow you to extend a site's functionality beyond just boring text-and-pictures.
A common usage for a Flash applet would be the embedded playback of videos within your web site. Flash can also be used to display custom animations to visually demonstrate key ideas or concepts that would be difficult to acheive using traditional methods.
The Life Cycle of a Project
Databases are the go-to tools of choice for sites that need to display groups of individual data that have consistency in their format.
For example, if you were to sell a large number of products online, you would need a way of storing specific details against each product, like prices, stock levels and product descriptions. A database is ideal for this situation.
We integrate databases into many of our sites. We use MySQL as a database technology. It is extremely powerful, scalable and secure.
Hardware Platform, Hosting and E-Mail
We develop sites that run best on Linux/Unix-based web servers. We can also tailor sites to run on Windows servers, but we do not recommend it for reasons of reliability, cost and security.
We run our own servers in Texas, USA and London, UK. They are located in state-of-the-art datacenters and offer over 99.999% uptime. All new web sites get free hosting for the first year on any of our servers, with no restrictions on resources, bandwidth or disk space used (within reason).
You may choose to take out your own hosting for your web site, and this is fine. However, if you are not sure, we do recommend you use ours (at least for the first year). We prefer this because we are very familar with the software specification of our own servers, which means we can easily build sites that are optimised to run on our servers. In the event anything does go wrong, we have full administration access to the server, which puts us in a good place to diagnose and rectify problems. Finally, it is free or charge for the first year, with very reasonable renewal rates should you wish to retain our web hosting services through the following years.
As a matter of course, we also set up and manage any e-mail accounts you might need as part of your hosting package.
We take security very seriously, and strongly advise you to make sure you hire a web developer who does. Too many amateur developers today can produce a good-looking site but whose codebase is open to all kinds of attacks, and whose user data (personal details, credit card numbers etc.) is easily compromised.
We adopt best-practice methods for ensuring our programming does not have known loopholes or vulnerabilities. In fact, a significant proportion of our time is spent in ensuring that sites are secure against any malicious attack.
Our servers are also patched frequently with security updates and undergo a full security audit every month.
We can also install SSL certificates on your site, which are crucial for any site that processes or accepts any kind of sensitive information. SSL certificates run the gamut from the basic ones all the way to Extended Validation "Green Bar" premium certificates, all of which we can help you install and set up.
The following is the general process you can expect to undergo with us when you choose to engage us to build you a web site:
Stage 1: Enquiry and Consultation
This is the stage where you first approach us, and we spend a lot of time listening, reading and understanding.
Once we have a good idea of what you want and the goals for the site, we hit you back with focused questions and advice.
We move back and forth like this until we both have a mutual understanding of the general scope of the project.
Stage 2: Design Concepts
Then we start with a blank sheet of paper and construct some mock visuals to fit the site's requirements.
We send these to you, and we hear your thoughts. If it looks like we can agree on a general direction, then we enter into a formal arrangement.
Up to this point, there is no obligation on your part. You may choose to exit discussions at any time.
Stage 3: Design is Finalised and Converted
We continue working to refine the design until you are completely happy with it.
Once we have your approval, we start the job of converting that design into a working web-based framework.
Stage 4: Development Commences
This is where we build the individual pages of your site, the navigation elements, the content, the dynamic applications and anything else that fits into the visual template.
This is the stage where your site comes to life.
Stage 5: Initial Preview
Depending on the nature of the site, we may elect to give you a working preview during development or only after initial development ends.
In either case, we give you a working draft of the site on a private test server. We use this as a basis for further refinement and development based on your feedback.
Stage 6: Beta Launch and Test
We launch the site in full on a private test server, and begin an extensive and methodical series tests for software bugs and other problems.
We then spend time ironing them out.
Stage 7: Full Launch
Your brand new web site goes live, and we can then discuss the option of ongoing maintenance.