Step 1: Ask Why?
Step 2: Identify Your Target Market
Step 3: Understand Which Type of Website Will Meet Your Needs
Step 4: Determine Your Budget
In my role as head of sales and digital marketing I hear the same questions posed time and time again, from “how much will a basic website cost?” to “which platform do you use?”.
Whether you are a startup or established business looking to catch up with the digital tsunami that is Google, there are certain questions which must be answered before embarking on any new development.
This blog has been written with the aim of helping you understand the initial considerations in beginning your web development journey. It is hoped by reading and pondering the following questions the chances of your new development being a success will significantly increase.
Best of luck!
There are a number of considerations you should make before contacting a web developer. The following questions will help you convey your needs to your next development company and understand what it is you are really looking for.
Clients come in all shapes and sizes and depending on their position in the sales cycle you need to ensure you meet their needs. Fundamentally there are four goals your website will fulfill:
1. Brand awareness
2. Information portal
3. Conversion facilitator
4. Retention portal
Websites can meet all or one of the above-mentioned needs for your business. To better understand each goal it may be helpful to develop buyer personas for each purpose you plan to fulfil through identifying key markets.
Depending on the stage in the buying cycle your website will need to facilitate multiple roles from introductions to your company to providing ongoing information and offers to ultimately converting (conversions is a topic for another day).
Your business is its own entity. As such it will have many moving parts and drivers. So too will your website. To meet any of the four fundamental goals of a website, you must identify what your ideal end user looks like.
To help you understand your end users you may wish to consider the following:
What is your client's demographic profile?
What does a day in the life of your end user look like?
What needs do your clients need to be solved?
What do you do to help solve these needs?
What do your clients value?
Where do your clients go to obtain information?
When determining which type of website will serve your ideal client you will need to choose from the following options;
Website builders (e.g, Wix or Squarespace), which are great for getting started or low cost solutions.
Template based websites (e.g, Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla), which start to offer a little bit more control over the design and features of the website.
Custom websites (Zimpleweb), ideal for people who need absolute control over the design and features of a website.
Assuming that a custom website is the chosen direction (well done!) some inclusions worth considering are:
A basic content management system (CMS) to edit text and images
An e-commerce integration for online sales
An advanced content management system to deal with products and databases and sales
Regardless of the direction pursued one thing is for certain given today’s use of mobile devices, your website must be responsive. Responsive design uses advanced code to automatically resize, reposition, show and hide content according to the screen size of the end user’s device.
In my experience price is alway a key determinant in any decision. That being said there is an inherent opportunity cost to be considered in any website development project. Unfortunately, within the website industry, there are certain “ businesses” which operate from their parents' basement. If you are only interested in the cheapest option then such “developers” will be more than happy to build you a website.
On the other hand, if you plan on running a digital business capable of being leveraged to meet your financial and business goals please consider the following quote from John Ruskin 1819 - 1900 titled “The Common Law of Business Balance”:
“ It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
Hopefully now you have a foundation to feel confident when you pick up the phone and talk with a web developer or designer about your new website. In future posts, I will discuss the next steps in undertaking the process of bringing a website to life once you have made a decision to work with a website agency.