Website Design & Development Can Be An Ocean Of Unknown Fees & Terminology To Many Start-Ups
So you’ve started up a new business and your confidence is sky high! You’ve done it, you’ve taken the huge step in to the world of independent working and you should feel fabulous about it. The first few steps can be difficult though, building a website particularly can be a costly task and so to ensure that investment is necessary, properly suited to your needs and sustainable as well as scalable, you should take some time to understand what you’re buying into.
Below, we’ve put together a few questions you should be asking and why.
- You’ve been given a price, what does it include and do you need it all?
Any company worth it’s salt will speak to you at length about what you need your website to do, for many start-ups, an online presence is the immediate goal but ideally they’d also like an e-commerce platform, gallery, blog, social media integration and maybe an online reporting system. A sales person might see pound signs and quote for everything despite the need not being there immediately. Have a straight forward conversation, ask for the prices with and without the features you could happily wait for until the business has grown to the point where it’s necessary.Make sure that if the quote is reduced by £500 because one feature is removed, adding that feature on later is possible and the price is reasonably similar. You might get a discount for all of the work being completed at the same time but you shouldn’t be paying more than 25-50% more for that feature later down the line and if that’s going to be the case, find out whether this is because the platform being used is difficult to expand on. The last thing a growing business needs is a website that can’t grow with them. Also important to remember, copywriting is not usually included, are you writing your content yourself? If not, this should be clear from the beginning, it could have a huge impact on your bill and your deadline.
- You’re happy with the quote, but is that everything?
Many website designers who host their clients’ sites might assume that you know there are additional costs besides the initial cost of building the website and as such won’t make a big deal of clarifying it. Those who don’t, could happily assume that you are hosting your website yourself or with your IT provider and you are fully aware of the costs involved. Ask where your website will be hosted, who will purchase the domain and how much it will cost, monthly, annually, in advance? Also, how much it’s likely to change based on the features you intend on adding later down the line, larger sites take more space and cost more.
- How much will technical support and updates cost?
When the initial project is complete, you could find yourself needing to make changes to your site. Most development platforms now give you the ability to manage the majority of your own content easily but not everything. How much you can edit needs to be clarified from the outset, as does the cost of the edits you can’t do. Some companies provide monthly packages for technical support at a discounted rate, some however, might surprise you with a hefty bill following a phone call request for some changes you might not have understood the magnitude of. Certain platforms require continuous updates, requiring monthly checks and doing them yourself can be relatively simple if you have access and a good understanding. This could be included in a technical support package but check, if not, find out whether you can do it yourself or need to pay extra to keep your beautiful new site in tip top condition.
- Will it be visible to Google?
If you want to be found on Google, unfortunately, simply building a website isn’t likely to be your whole journey. Depending on how you want to be found (ie by people searching specifically for you OR people searching for your services in an area), your site will need to be optimised for the words and phrases which are searched for. This needs to be discussed in great detail to ensure the relevant research is undertaken and you’re attracting the right audience to your website. On-site Search Engine Optimisation should always be possible on a website, whether you intend to do it yourself or pay for it though, definitely deserves some consideration.It’s worth pointing out here that this is not an easy DIY job, experts spend years doing research into it and their time is definitely worth paying for, some website designers & developers will have an expert in-house (like Cybernautix) but some will refer you to an external SEO consultant, either way – good SEO doesn’t come for free.
- Do you have any deadlines to meet?
You will probably let your chosen supplier know that you want your website to be complete within X weeks, it’s important to note though that your input will be required. Even if you’re paying for copy to be written, images to be sourced / purchased and for the site to be designed for you, your approval will be sought before work continues at various stages. If your response is required within a specific timeframe in order to meet your launch date deadline, you need to know what that timeframe is.If you’re providing your own content you also need to be clear about when it’s due and if you don’t think the timing works for you, discuss it earlier on in the process to ensure you don’t end up with an empty site launched on your go live date or a 12 week wait for another project to be completed before yours can continue.
We try to be completely open and honest about our services in order to simplify the process, being upfront about the costs avoids any awkward conversations later down the line, and establishing a growth strategy with small businesses helps us to build a website around their plans to ensure that it works for and with the business and doesn’t become a restriction.
For a chat about your business and how the right website can help it, get in touch.