How much do I need to spend on my website?
The big question broken down.
This is a question that is impossible to answer by just providing a single figure that applies to everyone. It can depend on the demographics of your clients, the products or services you provide and how much of your business can be enhanced by the addition of a website. I'll break this question down now so that we can tackle the individual issues one by one. This will also assist you to make calculated decisions yourself in the future.
Many of our clients, for example, have chosen to put a large percentage of their advertising budgets towards their websites and are experiencing excellent results. Some have even gone as far as allocating 100% of their annual advertising budget to their websites. Making such a big decision like this must of course always be backed up by careful research before commencement.
In most cases your business will be competing with other businesses in the same or similar areas. Take a look at their web presence. Does it work for them? Does it feature more professional design or more relevant information? If you know for sure that they are generating great results from their website then take note and learn from them.
Before you embark on upgrading or creating your website, your web developer should be able to provide you with some information on exactly how they propose to equal or better your opposition (on the internet) and how to couple that with your existing advertising.
So with all of the above information, more often than not, the question actually becomes:
How much is not having a professional website costing my business right now?
With the help of your website consultant, define your target audience, research your competitors and then make educated decisions on how much of your budget you can allocate to the creation or improvement of your website.
With so many people providing web development services now, can I still find a good cheap deal?
As with everything in life, on the whole, you really do get what you pay for. Web design is no different. For every story of someone getting a “cheap” deal on a website there are unfortunately another ten stories of people buying websites that turn out to be less than satisfactory.
Website development is as much of a trade as any other. It requires many years of working in the industry to even begin achieving great results. You wouldn’t let an unqualified plumber into your house to fix your plumbing! Then why do so many people allow unqualified people create them a website? I think it comes down to putting things into perspective.
Building a website for your business shouldn’t be about trying to save as much money as you can. Of course I know we all have budgets we need to adhere to and you should research a number of developers before you make any decision. While doing so, understand that cheaper is not always better. There may be some fundamental part of the website or the ongoing service and commitment from the web developer that could be missing from the proposed project outline.
You may find more useful hints and tips on building a website on the Flaming Yeti home page.
As with any important decision regarding your business, do your homework before you buy!!
If my website is like an online brochure for my business, am I getting the most from the money I have spent?
If your website is no more than an online brochure, chances are, you are not benefiting from your current website.
For a website to be effective it must be created with a target audience in mind. Together with your web designer, you should be able to pin point who you want to sell to, what you want to sell them, and most importantly, how you are going to do that effectively.
Once my website is finished, can I sit back and enjoy the rewards?
In my opinion, a website is never “finished”. Long gone are the days when you could create a website and then sit back and watch your bank account grow. To be honest, stories you hear about such success are either fabricated or the part of the story that was left out was regarding all the hard work that went on behind the scenes to make the website perform to that level.
A website should be approached as a work in progress. A place where you are constantly improving your products appearance and fine-tuning the areas that you wish to improve on. No (honest) web designer can tell you that their method of displaying your product or service will be 100% effective from day one. The only way to create a site that is effective is to launch it into the market place, monitor the results and then make the appropriate adjustments where necessary.
Why can’t I just let my website designer build the site? That’s his job isn’t it?
It is your web designers job to build your website, but please consider the following:
Only you know your business, how it runs and the results that you want to achieve. If you do not take the time to define what you need before you meet with potential website developers, you will run the risk of being sold every website product and enhancement under the sun. You could walk out with CMS (Content Management Systems), shopping carts, galleries and more but none of them will actually be geared to the results that you need from your web site.
Lets look at a simple analogy. If you went to a car dealer to by a new car, would you go there with an idea in your head of what you are looking for and then explain that to the salesperson? Of course you would! If you didn’t, you could be driving home in a 2-door sports car with leather interior, a huge stereo system, every optional extra known to man and a loan that is well outside of your budget. Now, if you’re reason for buying a new car was to take your family of five to school and soccer, you would obviously be left with some explaining to do when you got home. Worse still, the car has met none of your needs whatsoever!
You have read this far and I am sure you understand the benefits of defining what you need before you take the next step. Do your research!! Ask friends who have businesses with websites and get their opinions. What do they like about their website? What don’t they like? You will be surprised at how much you can learn from others who have already been through the process.