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Thinking about making my first website a free-bee

I have written an internal use only MVC website using MVC3, Entity Framework 4, LINQ to Entities and SQL Server 2008. But I have stil not yet written my first customer facing website.

I am thinking about offering my first website for free to a construction contractor, so I couild work at my pace and have a lot of latitude about how it would work.

I am no artist so I would say I wil not pay for any artwork that's needed to be purchase or fabricated. I would also not pay for hosting costs

1) Are there any other out of pocket costs to worry about?
2) Once it's deployed, would I need to support it? If so, what costs might I charge for that so it's not just about covering my costs but where I could make a trickle of revenue?
3) What kinds of things might a contractor want on his website?


* I'd expect there would be a gallery of photos from past jobs
* Possibly, a page where people could register by adding their names, addresses to a database

What else?

Would this be ASP.NET? MVC?

I don't really want to do an HTML only website, since I want this to be a learning experience for me.

What about the artwork? Does the artist make the CSS files?

Thank for your comments. I want this to be a nice first step of a site, and then I could write my own website which uses this site as the start to a portfolio.

Thanks,
newbieweb
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newbieweb
Asked:
newbieweb
1 Solution
 
Jeffrey Dake Senior Director of TechnologyCommented:
Other upfront costs you may have is you will need to purchase the domain for the website to go along with the hosting.  

Once you deploy the website you will always have to worry about maintenance.  Here is a really good article about doing work for free.  http://www.experts-exchange.com/ITPro/Consulting/A_2111-WARNING-5-Reasons-why-you-should-NEVER-fix-a-computer-for-free.html.  You may want to consider charging a small amount just so your customer has some idea that your work is of value.

As for what you are building, you should really talk to the contractor themselves.  You really need to find out what the needs of the contractor are.  I would expect the contractor to want descriptions of previous jobs, probably real customer testimonials, locations that they service, as well as a way to contact the contractor for an estimate.

Don't forget while you are building this website that the most important thing is to consider SEO while you are building the site.  Contracting is a competitive industry, so the site needs to stand out and needs to rank well in order to succed. Check out this article for seo information http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Internet_Marketing/Search_Engine_Optimization_SEO/A_971-SEO-Articles-A-Beginner%27s-Guide-to-Onsite-SEO-Best-Practices.html?sfQueryTermInfo=1+30+seo 
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newbiewebSr. Software EngineerAuthor Commented:
Thanks!
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