You have decided that you need a website for your small business and now you have everyone who can spell web approaching you to develop your website. Some are graphic designers, others are IT developers, and are even others picked this up as a hobby and turned it into a business. As you weed through the fog, you find some that are truly full service web development houses. The problem is that the average small business owner will go for door number one or two because the price appears to be better. The truth is, that can truly be a mirage. With a website today, you truly get what you pay for, because there is much more to a website than a pretty graphic or well developed form with a backend database. So before you think about saving a buck and going with your friend that develops websites on the weekend, or the graphic design house around the corner that created a great brochure for you last year, think again.
If you were to select an accountant for your small business, you would research their specialities, look at their designation, find out about their background and if they have a proven track record with clients. All of this seems to fall by the way side when choosing a firm to develop a website that truly represents your business online. Think of it this way before you act. Since most customers research companies they buy from online before making a business decision, do you want the first impression of your company to be made from the website you got for less than a thousand dollars from your neighbor with the revolving picture that is irritating and keeps search engines from optimizing your site?
One of the most important things to keep in mind is to not focus on the price being quoted for the initial website, but how much is it going to cost you over time for every change that has to be made. Websites are not stagnate today and if you think you are going to have a website developed and then never touch it again, that is not the case. You may find out that you got the initial site for a great price, but over time as you want to change or add a page, after 6 months you have paid more than any of the more expensive quotes.
Before you approach anyone to develop a website, you need to have a web plan. The web plan is your business plan for your website and will end up saving you money in the end. The web plan should contain everything that is needed to develop a website for your business, which is much more than a pretty design and how many pages. It provides the requirements for a website for your particular business along with the skills that the web development group should possess for your specific website.
A web plan is your web insurance policy. The same plan should be provided to several web development groups. The quotation that you receive should be tied to the web plan and your requirements. As with other professions, you will find firms who will commit to having the skills and ability to develop the website and they do not. The web plan will cover you, because if they develop a website that does not meet the requirements of the plan, then you have a document to hold them accountable for the requirements at the price quoted.
What are the basics that your web plan should cover?
What skills should your web development group possess today?
So before you decide to go with the lowest price for having your website developed, make sure you understand whether you are going to get what you require for your business. You also want to make sure the web development group has skills required on staff or partners with external resources in order to develop the website you require. It may seem to you that a website is easy to develop because there are 5 web development groups within a half a kilometer radius, but the fact is this is not the case. If a web development group will quote you a price on the phone based on a certain number of pages without understanding your business, then buyer beware.
RK Fischer & Associates