What should you be spending to create a good website that truly enlarges your web presence – and your business?
While paying an expert may seem expensive, you can minimize the cost by understanding all the factors that add expense to a website project.
Knowing how to work with your website designer can drastically reduce the cost of developing your website while getting “more bang for your buck.”
1. Time is Money
Consider the cost of your designer’s time, and use it wisely.
The designer requires your input, and you need to be clear on what you want to do. The designer will ask to meet with you to clarify the objective, design, scope, direction and development of your website. You need to be clear on who in your organization is managing the process and how much time that person is devoting to the project.
Warning: Be aware that most website developers are not necessarily content experts.
If you or someone on your staff will be writing the content and updating it on a regular basis, you are one step ahead of the game. If not, your website developer might be able to suggest someone to work with you, but that will add to the cost.
2. Scope Creep
Websites are rarely static, and the ones that fail to change once in a while tend to perform poorly.
You need to talk to the designer about whether the website project will have a set contract or an estimate that can change over time. If you reach the limit of your projected budget when the site is not yet finished, you have a problem. If you understand that the website developer is going over budget because you made unanticipated changes, you may want to make adjustments. A better plan is to assume that there are going to be changes along the way and plan for them in your initial budgeting process. If the developer is doing something outside of the original plan or accommodating changes you made along the way, it is only fair that he or she be compensated for it.
3. Ongoing Maintenance
Most websites are embryonic.
They evolve and grow along with your business, or you might see something that a competitor is doing that you want to try.
You need to factor in that ongoing maintenance or spur-of-the-moment changes. You have to be aware that you have to add updates, write content and make changes. Unless you or someone in your company can do it, plan on spending for web hosting, monthly maintenance and periodic changes.
4. Marketing Costs
Plan for marketing costs for your website.
If you want people to find you, you need to advertise your website, offline and online.
What does that mean?
That means you have to budget for an SEO firm or social media manager or use Google Adwords or Facebook ads to get people to your website.
5. Opportunity Cost
How do you gain return on your website investment?
Choose the best website developer you can find and build in the hidden costs before you start the project.
That is how you will have the maximum impact and the most sales.