Getting value for money for your website can be complex and confusing. There are a lot of free online services that companies use to enhance their reputation and audience, and I think this is one of the reasons people assume a website should be a cheap proposition.
I have been in lots of meetings when the client wants a fairly complex site but only wants to pay $500 for it, just because they have seen an poster advertising $500 websites. That is akin to wanting a brand new car that has nice leather interior, all the latest gadgets and a 0-60 time that rivals a Ferrari, but only wanting to pay $3,000 for it. The reality of the situation is, for your money you will get a 14 year old Nissan – that does not quite achieve what you wanted it to! (By the way I am not mocking Nissan – I am actually a big fan!).
Getting value for your website
When a company really starts thinking about a new website (or updating a current one) it is important to have specific goals for it. Just putting up a website and hoping it will be effective does not mean that the company is maximizing the return on investment potential of the site.
Goals may include:
- To get more leads.
- To save staff time by having FAQs / solutions that the customers can find themselves.
- To increase sales of a particular product.
- To establish your name in the marketplace.
When you have goals and you are tracking if you are making them, then you can have a tangible sense of the value your website is bringing to you brand name and your bottom line.
Graphic Design vs User Experience Design
Cheap websites will have a graphic designer who can nicely brand the site so people know it is you, but as a website owner you don’t want a graphic designer – you need a user experience designer (UX sometimes called ‘user interface’ designer). You need your designs to be strategic and deliberate so that users are gently guided the way you want them to go, and so they don’t leave until, firstly – they got what they came for, and secondly they did what you wanted them to do (buy a product, sign up for a newsletter, learn more about a topic etc). Without an effective UX you could be missing potential additions to your bottom line!
Content is King
In today’s world – content is truly king. Again on a $500 site you can get your content up there, but in most cases you will need a developer to change any content for you. This delays the process by at least a few hours, but in some cases days or weeks. People are used to consuming timely information and having a website that you can easily update is vital. Lots of web companies offer what is called a Content Management System – there are many of them (A few open source ones I love are WordPress, Drupal and EZ Publish – but there are many more). These allow the customers to update their own information without having to know code. In general for text and images, updating a website on a content management system is no more complex then using web based email such as gmail! You will always pay a little more to have one of these developed for you – but the ROI on this, not to mention the efficiency increase, will make it well worth it.
A responsive tool
Having a website means to have a tool that, if implemented correctly, is responsive to the needs of your market. A cheap website is not likely to allow for a site that allows mobile users to access what they need in a way that won’t leave them frustrated.
For a website to be truly responsive to your market and the times, you need to be easily able to change the design. This is so that as fads and technologies change – you change with them, don’t get left behind.
Good value doesn’t mean cheap.
All in all you need to remember that with a website. If you want a $500 website, you will get that. But, in reality – no one wants a $500 website. Everyone wants a website that aids their cause, and makes a positive difference to the bottom line. To do that you need a site that meets your needs. Don’t just have a website because everyone does, have a website because it will genuinely make a difference to your business – plan your goals for the website and partner with a consultant or company that can make them a reality.
My last analogy is this. If your business was in farming – you know you could plough your fields with a horse pulling a plough – the job would get done and the equipment would be relatively cheap. But think how much more you could plough if you invested more and got a tractor. That is the difference in value for your business between a $500 and a website tailored to your needs!
If you have any comments on this article please leave them below. If you want a conversation about this article and its implications for you and your business – please feel free to contact us.
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