I wish I had an easy answer for you! Unfortunately, too many variables need to be considered by your team and addressed in your RFP before we can begin to estimate our time, materials and costs.
To get the ball rolling towards a budget – start by asking yourself – “what does our website mean to our business?” Is it simply a way for customers to find your contact details online or is it your primary sales and marketing vehicle? Either deserve a proper investment to insure that your business/products/services are represented in an attractive, easy to use and easy to share manner. If your company’s sales depends on the cash register ringing online – then you must do a thorough vetting of the platform, shopping cart and complete ecommerce solution that any design agency proposes. And you will pay more for those tools then the business who simply needs to hang their shingle.
What you need your website to do for your business should also determine who does the work. Web designers and web developers can be professionals at specialty shops, independent freelancers, students and outsourced firms you can find on Craigslist. Their costs will vary and so will the quality of their output.
If your website is a brochure site or if it requires more complex functionality will also determine how the site is built. At M2i, we build some websites “from scratch” and others we construct by customizing templates and modules using open source content managment systems or blogging software. The development costs tend to end up where we predict at the beginning of a project. Design and creative concepts are where most projects can affect the original estimate. Well, conflicting aesthetic opinions and indecision are typically the chief culprits to be fair. (Disclaimer! M2i is not responsible for their client’s inability to make up their minds! ))
Design that is of good quality, that stands out and that reinforces the site’s key functionality and overall user’s exerience should be left to the professionals who have experience creating modern business tools for the web and who take the time to really understand the best practices for your business now and as your business grows. Design should be a consultative relationship and make sure that you enjoy working with the team you select for your project. Your website can look great, average, mediocre or stunningly beautiful and the quality of the aesthetic will affect the price tag.
In my experience, not enough thought goes into considering how a company’s website should net a return on investment and every website should today. When you’re coming up with your budget ideas – think about making the investment accountable to the spend – and consider spending more to get more out of it.
Your company’s investment could foster better communication with your customers and therefore lessen your operation costs. Good customer communication will also build your brand’s value and the customer’s loyalty. Logically, your business will grow because of good referrals from a valid source – happy customers. Ideally, your website will allow your customers to connect with one another and get more out of their relationship with your brand! Or, your ROI will come in the form of stronger sales because your customers can find what they’re looking for easily and your site provides a clean, simple purchase path. ROI can come in many forms and make sure to ask your agency selection to help you identify the possibilities for your business.
The benefit of working with M2i on your next website design project is that we are experts in the next phase of marketing that follows a website launch - advertising and bringing the crowds to your new cyber doorstep. This means that we build sites that consider your customers needs today and your prospective customer’s demands tomorrow. And there my friends, is your ROI.How much is it worth to you?