Pay the right price for your website
In your search for a good website provider at a good price, how would you know what price is too much or too little? Life's experiences have probably already taught us not to value commodities or services on price alone. We all love a bargain where possible, but not at the expense of quality and by the same token, why would you believe that you'll receive quality, simply because you've paid out an extortionate amount of money for your purchase?
Why do you need a new website?
First of all, if you're seeking to replace an existing website for your business, then I'm guessing that your reason for replacing it is probably because it isn't up to scratch, or maybe your business has expanded and your website is unable to cope, it's too static or just plain outdated? If you didn't previously have a website running alongside your business you'll recognise that it's an absolute necessity today.
What type of website do you need?
Before looking at the cost for a website, you should first try to assess what your business and your customers need from a website. Consider what features it should possibly include which would enable both you and your customers to gain the greatest benefit.
The vast majority of businesses, regardless of what category they fall into,can and do use the same type of website, the difference is generally only found in the website layout and/or its bespoke design. Try to get a rough idea of what you require from your website, (it's not crucial at this stage) Would you describe your business as small, medium or large? In addition to the obvious pages i.e. home page, About Us, Contact and Services pages? how many other pages do you think your site may need to begin with? Do you have any idea of what functions you might want your website to provide? Will you want your customers to provide you with feedback relating to your goods or services?
Good or bad feedback is priceless, it lets you know where you're going wrong and where right. Analyse that information properly and it will show you exactly where to focus your efforts and to what degree, it will increase your customers positive experiences with your business whilst also increasing your business prospects. Another positive move is to provide a News page or Blog
Website News or Blog page
Will you want to communicate news and offers etc. to your customers on a regular basis or write a blog. Either of these will keep your customers informed about your business, your plans, any projected business developments and related information, including product changes, price reductions and any special promotional offers you might provide etc. Communicating via a News or Blog page will improve your customers experience with you and your business, plus it will help create a closer awareness of your brand.
Do your customers purchase directly through your website? If yes, do you require a fully functional e-commerce website or do you need only a checkout? The former will require an entire website in itself, the latter, in a lot of cases, can be accommodated by adding a checkout interface through which your customers will be transferred to a secure checkout portal issued by your chosen merchant provider/s, i.e. Google or PayPal for instance.
A fully functional e-commerce website is a purpose built website which involves a mass of technical and mathematical correlations;
- The site has to display images and rafts of information related to each product
- It has to have the ability to calculate which products are available from stock and which are not.
- It has to calculate the cost depending on size/type of items and/or numbers ordered.
- It has to add shipping and perform innumerable other actions. (The best of these features can be turned on and off as required)
Content Management System:
One of the most important functions of a modern website which many people neglect to ask about before purchasing, is a content management system (CMS), does it have one and how comprehensive is it? Will it allow you to edit text and images on your website without having to ask permission from the web developer or worse still, having to pay him/her to edit your site for you? A good CMS will give you control to add and update text copy, images, other media (video for instance), add pages, and alter Meta Tags, if and whenever you want to.
Website Design and Capabilities:
How do you want your website to look? A good way of coming up with ideas for the general style you might like to aim for, is to take a look around the internet at a range of websites, see what sort of thing takes your fancy. Websites in the same business category that your own falls into would be a good place to start. Get an idea of the functions they may have available on their websites, but consider how important your existing brand is to you and whether there is anything else associated with it that you should consider? Will you prefer to continue with your brand as it is presently, or would you like to tweak it just a little to invoke a fresh appeal? Will any important elements be lost if you decide to alter or even replace it?
If you're just setting up your business from start, looking at other websites might give you inspiration to develop your business brand around a range of designs that you've spotted elsewhere. You might feel that certain tones reflect your business persona. If you've been inspired to come up with a general idea of the direction you want to go with your website, I would recommend that you follow the old adage "sleep on it" you may see it from another angle the day after plus it will allow you time to reflect on your ideas before presenting them to a web development company. Remember - design time is expensive but its only half as expensive as re-design time.
Although web design has become the normal expression when referring to anything connected with website development, you should be aware that there are actually two very distinct skills involved with the production of a website and each is equally as important as the other. A web designer is the first person you'll communicate with and they will discuss how you would like your website to look. They will have a good understanding of how each web page will function and will offer advice and suggestions. They will work with your requirements and approach you with a draft design. Once the design has been approved then all of the visual drafts go off to the web developer. The developer starts by piecing together all of the graphic and building the scripts that format the web pages. After this has been completed the developer will start adding the functions, features and all of the other necessary programming that is required to complete the project.
Only after considering all of the fore-mentioned, should you be approaching the question of price.
- Define exactly what type of business you are in and exactly what it does?
- How bespoke must your website be to fit your particular business niche?
- Why you need a new website?
- What benefits you and your customers will get from the right website?
- Will your website take payments online for purchases?
- Which functions does your website need in order to fit your business purpose?
- Will it have a suitable CMS to enable you to do what you need with it?
- Have you got a few website examples in mind?
- Have you approached several web development companies?
- Is the price you were given, the right price?
The right people at the right price
A professional web development firm will be happy to answer your questions, as well as provide you with advice on which features you should definitely include in your website design and which to avoid. When your fully satisfied that you're dealing with the right people, who have the right skills, put your trust in their judgement, they'll have the right experience too.
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