Websites. Businesses need them. But there’s an underlying fear when it comes to budgeting a cost for a website. .net Magazine, a terrific web design site based in the United Kingdom raise up the key concerns businesses have with with paying someone to code. Businesses fear:
- Paying too much
- Being unhappy with process
- Getting something back that they did not want
However, software and programming code are difficult to cost estimate. They require development to put a given set of elements – images, written content, inputs such as a product order – into a functional order that can be read by a browser or within an app. Not understanding code makes an estimate harder to envision.
Moreover, there’s a prevailing attitude that code is static – that if I commit X,Y, and Z steps, my website will look like P,Q,and R. That’s not a precise great way of planning a site, even less so for apps.
When you get to the heart of the matter, programming code is a language. That means there are many styles, which means many ways to provide functionality. It also means many designers and developers can have “dialects” – different approaches to code which may affect the choices and how the relationship works.
So with these challenges, what should a small business owner understand to make better budgeting choices?
- Select the content that will be updated regularly – designing their implementation in a webpage will allow for easier maintenance.
- Simplify = focus less on flashy introductions. In fact, because of mobile and tablet usage, splash pages are on the way out. Instead decide on the social media platform on which you can interact and respond. The interaction will create a “dynamism” that will retain customers better than a flashy page.
- Be upfront rather than hide changes. Doing so will avoid day-to-day minutiae on website details that can drive cost. Explain the overall objective, and let the designer/developer work to recreate those objectives within the structure of the website.
- Be prepared to explain and justify the reason for specific content changes. Don’t just insist on features because you think you know what to do.
- Be leery of beating down the price. 10-15% differences are reasonable; Huge swings in cost are not sustainable for many developers and only encourage incomplete website development rather than a thorough review.
- Ask questions about how a site is maintained. Maintenance drives cost for a site beyond its launch, so understand what support become necessarily beyond a launch. Host solutions such as Godaddy or Fatcow can handle basic functional concerns, while content and marketing optimization (SEO, paid search, etc.) requires a strategist.
One Bonus Tip (added after this great list was created!)….
Be wary of making huge changes to site templates – Templates are still governed by code, so some changes beyond images and worded content would require reviewing the CSS files and HTML files, or other files necessary to construct your site. A template is meant for simple, quick changes, but may not be structured for a customer experience that benefits your business. Have a professional review if you have a myriad of changes. Even paying a developer an hour or two to review a site can save you time and effort on a DIY project.