Website cost and pre-quote questions
Congratulations! You've decided your company would greatly benefit from a website. You've joined the ranks of those who know that an ad in the local phone book or newspaper just doesn't cut it anymore – on so many levels.
But now what?
You'd think that the next step would be to jump in the saddle, find a website designer and ask how much a website will cost. That's what I would do.
This grab-the-bull-by-the-horns enthusiasm is often good, however, an important step has just been overlooked: asking yourself - and answering - pre-quote questions. Details uncovered by specifically targeted pre-quote questions (below) are essential in determining what your website needs to be, and ultimately the investment required. Without these details, it's difficult to determine your website's requirements and cost.
If you'd like to maximize your initial website development consultation, take some time to prepare yourself by having a real close look at your company and its website marketing needs. I'd recommend grabbing a pen and paper, and jotting your answers down so you may discuss them with your potential designer. Doing this will start your journey off with clear directives.
What is the purpose of your website?
For most business owners, this is to supply company information, or details on their service(s) and/or product(s). For others it's a means of additional marketing by sharing knowledge, insight, ideas through a blog. A smaller percentage of online businesses may require an eCommerce site.
Who is your target market and what will they expect to find on your site?
A huge consideration when strategizing the design of your website is your audience or visitor. Layout, style, color, graphics, and content will depend on who they are. Create a customer profile and get a really clear understanding of your intended audience: gender, age, income, lifestyle, hobbies, attitude, internet savvy, ethics, values etc.
What website elements are required to accomplish its purpose?
A single brochure page is cost effective, but may not hold all the vital information required to turn your visitors into customers.
A simple multi-page website may contain some of the following pages: Home, About, Services, Products, Clients, and Contact.
Contact Form, Feedback Form, Photo Gallery, Promotions, Downloadable Company Brochures (.pdf files), Podcasts, Videos, Resources etc.
Note: your website developer should be able to offer some recommendations, once the purpose of your site, its target market, and budget have been established
How much of your marketing budget are you able to invest in your site?
Another very important consideration which affects your website's development strategy is budget. With regards to budget and website needs, planning can be approached in one of three ways:
The website’s development strategy is based strictly on the site's requirements to achieve its purpose. While not always realistic, this is ideal – lending itself to a potentially innovative and creative marketing tool.
Very Limited Budget
The website's development strategy is based strictly on a very limited and inflexible budget, and leads to the question "how much can be built for $X amount of dollars?". This is realistic but not always practical. In some cases this can pose a hindrance to your website's effectiveness and objectives.
The website's development strategy is based on the skillful balancing of budget vs need. This process of balancing is an on-purpose series of compromises... a give and take between one's budget and the necessary website requirements. A successful solution is achieved when website's objective(s) are achieved within the scope of budget and reasonable cost.
How often will you need to update your site?
The frequency of your website updates will hinge on the type of content you are presenting. This could be could be daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. Answering this question along with your budget can help determine which website tool is best suited for your needs.
Content Management System
This is ideal for a company that needs to edit or update their site frequently, and desires complete control of their site. Joomla CMS – a popular open source software – is an example of a powerful, easy-to-use website content management system.
Web Editing Program
Perhaps you simply need to edit only the content of existing pages – weekly or monthly and lack the budget for a CMS website. A web editing program like KompoZer may be best in this situation.
If your edits are far and few between, or you'd rather not have to deal with updating your website, hiring your website developer to maintain your site may be another option.
While there are more considerations for the development of a website, answering these questions in the initial stage will give you a solid foundation to build the rest of your marketing strategy on.
Posted in Website Development