So this week, we're going to address the golden question - what's it going to cost me to have the website of my dreams?
You know what you need, but now you have to know what you need to budget and whether you'll get value for money - or even whether you can afford the spend at all.
Let's start by talking purely about the cash...
See that piece of string over there?
Ok, we're being facetious - but the answer to this question can be vastly different for each and every project. The 2 key things that will make the largest impact on the cost will be scope and risk. Lets break these down:
So it's clear - both these factors will have the biggest effect on the cost. That and of course finding a web team who you feel are the right team for the job (see part 2 of this series), and whose daily rate seems reasonable to you for the value and skills they provide.
But there's a third key piece you need to consider which will put that cost in context. The all-important 'ROI', or 'Return On Investment'.
The question should really be, "How long will it take for me to see a return on my investment?"
If you know your requirements, and you are clear about what the absolute key problems are that your website needs to solve (you should be after part 1 of this series!), then you can start talking about value, rather than cost. So the question should really be, "How long will it take for me to see a return on my investment?". That return will relate directly to the business goals for your website, which we outlined right at the beginning of this series. It depends how much you have available to invest, all web agencies will appreciate that - but essentially it comes down to how well you understand your requirements and what you think the growth generated by the website will be, versus the cost.
Here are three examples (descriptions and data have been changed to protect the innocent… but % increases are the same!).
Example 1: This model shows the 'before' and 'after' for the creation of a small, simple, re-designed and re-branded responsive 5 page website, with basic news, case study and FAQ capabilities, search engine optimised.
Example 2: This model shows the 'before' and 'after' for the creation of a re-vamped, responsive catalogue website with some additional pieces of functionality such as detailed search engine optimisation, advanced product finder and downloadable materials.
Example 3: This model shows the 'before' and 'after' for the creation of a mission-critical internal back-office system which stores, shares and gives easy, secure access to pdf documents and a large database of other information, enables bookings, entering of reports, allows review and comments, and alerts users to upcoming actions.
Your budget really could be anything. We have seen very simple sites executed brilliantly, and for some, a simple site is enough. For some, having an online catalogue of products, or a full e-commerce capability, or even just making their website more user-friendly and responsive for mobiles has given a lift in sales that has paid for the website several times over within the first 6 months. We have also seen a variety of sites start simply, and grow in complexity over time into really powerful, mission-critical systems, that paid for themselves in savings to the business with each new piece of functionality. Scope and risk will determine the cost, but this should be balanced against the growth your web project will bring you over a period of time. Be clear on what value you want to drive, be realistic about what your requirements are and what your measures of success are, and set a timeframe within which you expect to start seeing the dividends... and monitor them.
One additional and important thing to consider is this - what is the ongoing detrimental effect to you and your business if you don't invest enough in your web presence, especially if it's not responsive for mobile devices? How many customers could you be losing to your competitors if they are frustrated with your website but can easily use someone else's? How many customers simply don't know that you exist because you aren't appearing as you should be in Google searches?
And this leads us nicely into our final installment next week... what happens if you wait too long and don't prioritise your own website. See you next time!