Website Strategy: Your Website Budget
If you’ve listened to RickDees through Hitz.FM on weekends, you’d have heard them say the reason they can distribute expensive prizes is because the show has “Nooo budget!”. In other words, there is no planned budget or no limit of spending on the radio show.
For a website on the other hand is different, a well planned budget for a website can take you a long way without hurdles or a shorter way with a few stops. What I hope to do today is clear the murky waters of pricing and share with you the dangers of not planning your budget.
For every client that have approached us, they’re unsure of how much their website will cost. Most of them have a budget that is too small and rarely have we come across a client who’s got a budget that is too big. Now, in Malaysia alone there are a lot of website design providers varying from freelancers still in high school to big name agencies. So the bigger the agency or the team, the more the cost normally.
But here’s the first danger of the equation at times. Are you paying for the salaries of these people or are you really paying for the work they produce for you? The only way you can judge this is by the service they provide and their current portfolio that most agencies normally show. In Malaysia’s harsh greedy market, even your friends’ recommendations aren’t the best because they do it out of commission they get to earn. Do you still think what your friend says is the best opinion?
Moving on, every website project has a set of requirements just like when you’re building your house. You’ve a number of bathrooms and bedrooms that you want. In a website, how many pages of content is like how many walls you want to build without the exception of leaving them empty. Then when you decide to add a Flash animation, that’s like asking for a bar in your house.
The bigger the requirement or the more difficult the demand, the more you’ll have to spend without excuses. The danger I’d like to speak up here is regarding agencies who use the ‘package offer’ with a Flash animation thrown in. Even if you spent on a Flash animation, have you ever asked yourself why are you spending on the Flash animation? The answer you should be giving isn’t because you think it’s cool or because you think it’ll help your website.
Other than yourself viewing your own website the whole day, who else will be your viewing your website? Exactly. Your customers are the ones who’ll be viewing your website and how sure are you that your customers feel the same way about the Flash as you do? The next time you think of purchasing a package with a Flash thrown in, stop being selfish and think about your customers for a moment. This is one of the reason why I try and hope clients ask us about Flash before actually telling us to implement it without hearing us out.
Speaking of requirements, here is a list of standard requirements for clients:
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Content insertion
- Website design (no Flash)
- Website development
- Database design
So we’ve covered the myths of paying according to the size of the company and the requirements. The other thing you might want to know but probably won’t do is some solutions bigger agencies offer like search engine optimization, website marketing, and custom built applications.
Search engine optimization (SEO) requires detailed analysis, research and most importantly; trial and error. Yes, SEO isn’t like a website when implemented or changed then it’ll have an affect. It requires a minimum time of 1-3 months for your ranking to improve depending on your website activity. I’ve seen local agencies charging RM1000+ just to have a client’s website listed on the search engine.
When we say ranked on the search engine, the aim is to reach at least the first 3 pages within the designated period. The agencies who guarantee that your website will be listed on the search engine mean that it will in the list or directory of search engines but not necessarily targeted as one of the top ranking positions. So beware of deals or exploitations when some boast about having SEO solutions.
Website marketing is related to getting traffic to your website but within the means of advertising. For instance, creating a banner and putting it somewhere so that others may see and follow it back to your website. Other means of website marketing are Google Adwords, paid rankings and other methods of paid advertising to gain traffic.
In conclusion to all that I’ve said, your budget should be based on your requirements of what you and your customers need. Not what you need and what you think is cool. The better the portfolio, the more you pay. A different way of saying James Goldsmith’s quote; if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
If you want monkeys, you pay peanuts.
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