tips-for-first-website-website-pic

Intro

Websites are a must have for every business but many business owners that are looking for a website go into procuring one with very little information, we have put together this blog post to give an explanation as best we can to the following subjects:

 

  • Costs
  • Hidden Costs
  • What you need on your website
  • What you will need to do / input
  • What to expect from your website
  • How to get the most out of your website

Costs

The cost of a website is something that can vary hugely. It will depend largely on the agency you choose to use; some will charge more than others for the exact same work, which is not necessarily a bad thing. An agency’s pricing is based on their experience, expertise, overheads, staff, location and a number of other factors. Another price variable is what functionality you will need to have on your website (a shop, blog or booking system for example) these will also add to the price of the project as it is more work for the team or individual undertaking the work. These variables mean that it’s impossible to say £X is the right price, we can however give you our quote for the work you may be looking at getting done (with examples of our previous work) and provide you with the mindset on how to view the pricing. We also encourage you to get a few different quotes from various web designers and it should give you an indication of a reasonable price.

When considering the price of the project the only way to be confident in what you are paying is to estimate the value of what is being provided to you. Speaking to multiple agencies about what they are offering you (look at their live examples and previous work), getting multiple quotes and comparing them will help you assess if the pricing is fair. You will need to put in a bit of work researching each agency to see what they offer and also speaking to each agency to get detailed information about the quote.

The important factors to be clear on each quote and to raise with the agency are:

 

  • Deliverables – what you will have at the end of the project
  • What is included with Hidden Costs – more on this next
  • Timeframe – how long it will take for the project to be complete

Hidden costs

Having a website built is not the only cost involved in getting your website online, there are some additional costs you will need to consider. Be sure to check what your web designer or web builder is offering in relation to the following and if you can’t find any information, ask! It’s good to be clear about the agreement in place for the following before you get any work done.

 

  • Domain purchase and maintenance
  • Hosting
  • Maintenance
  • SSL certificate
  • Updates to content

What you need on your website

When building the website you will need to think about your page structure as well as any functionality (blog, shop, booking systems). Below is a quick summary on the more common types of functionality and what purpose they serve as well as our advice on who might make the most out of each. Before we jump into the list we recommend you talk to your designer about the ‘problem’ you are looking to address rather than ‘I want {insert functionality here}’ as they may be able to offer you additional ideas or potentially a better solution to your problem.

Shop: this one is pretty simple, if you’re looking to retail a product online (either physical or digital) you will be looking for a shop. We have seen some ‘service’ based websites have packages for sale on a website however we discourage it as with services you will generally want to talk to the person buying the service and by using bank transfer you will pay less in fees.

Blog: A blog is a great way to post articles that are relevant to your website’s readers and tell a story about your company. A blog can also be beneficial for SEO (ranking higher on search engines). We would recommend having a blog on your website but only if you can post on a regular basis, an out of date blog can reflect negatively on your business. Blog posts do not have to be very often, we think at the least one every few months is fine.

Booking System: a booking system can be implemented on your website and is a great tool for your visitors to be able to see what time slots are available and book them. Having a booking system is great but you may also need to change your usual process for taking bookings. You may need to consider how you will manage bookings offline as well as online (i.e. if you get a booking over the phone you will need to go on and remove that time slot from the online system).

Social Media Feeds: social media feeds are similar to a blog in that they are a great way of getting news and your company’s story on your website. Similar to a blog they are most effective when kept active and up to date. Also keep in mind that anything you post to your social media account will be automatically pushed to your website.

 

What you will need to do / input

We are going to break this section down into three areas:

  1. Build phase – What you will typically need to do during the build of your website
  2. Go live – What you need to do after your website is ready
  3. Post live – Ongoing responsibilities

Build phase – What you will typically need to do during the build of your website

Part A: ‘The Plan’ here you will need to work with your designer to make sure both parties are clear on the following:

  • What the website needs to do
  • The overall layout and structure
  • The look, feel and design of the website

Part B: ‘Resources and Content’ during this part of the website build you will need to provide your designer with any specific content (e.g. logos, pictures, text) the web designer may be able to come up with something for you from your social media, previous website and stock images but be sure to understand that if you want things a particular way you will need to provide that to the designer in the form of specifics or a rough guide. Here you may also need to provide the web designer with any login information and extra detail to connect any functionality (e.g. paypal, booking calendar logins).

These steps will help you to get a website that works how you want it to work and is tied in with the brand you’re building.

Go live – What you need to do after your website is ready

Once your website has been designed and you’ve given it the greenlight the next step is to get it live on the domain either you or the web designer purchased. If the designer is also hosting the site they will need your domain login credentials and will be able to do the rest, if your site is being hosted elsewhere the designer will provide you with the website files and you will need to take those files over to the host and follow the next steps with them.

Post live – Ongoing responsibilities

Depending on your site and the plan you have with your web designer / host you may need to consider the following as things you may have to do, look at what your web designer offers included with the build / hosting and if these are not referred to ask.

  • Site maintenance – keeping any technology and plugins up to date
  • Domain renewal
  • Content – make changes to content yourself or provide updated content to your designer
  • Manage – management of the shop / blog / booking systems will reside with you (in most cases)

What to expect from your website

Making sure you are clear on what a website will give you prior to getting one built is essential when it comes to pricing and budgeting for a website.

 

What you can expect your website to do:

  • Increase conversions / provide a sales platform: having a website for your product or service will give you an increased conversion rate, once you have got a prospect to your website it should be about converting that prospect into a sale.
  • Tie in branding and give your company a professional and trustworthy feel

 

What your website will not do on its own:

 

  • Generate traffic – your website will still need to be promoted and marketed, over time it may grow to rank highly in search results if it has been set up well for SEO and dependent on the competitiveness of the search term, but it’s likely your site will not be instantly at the top of Google’s search results for a term that is not very unique.
  • Maintenance – on most occasions your site will need maintenance as the technologies it uses or the hosting infrastructure it resides upon will need to be upgraded to later software versions. Updating your software helps reduce the risk of security threats.

 

How to get the most out of your website

Work with the designer

Use their expertise and experience of the field and try to approach the project with an open mind. Pose the larger problems you are looking to address with the website to the designer or developer and see what they return as solutions (you don’t have to agree), it may be that their experience can provide a better solution to one you had in mind.

Ask questions before, during and after the build / quote

Make sure you get as much information as possible and if the information is not outlined make sure you ask, it is common interest to both you and the designer to make sure deliverables and timescale are clearly outlined. The last thing both parties want to end up happening is the client having an expectation of what they will receive from the quote that does not reflect the end product.

Some great ‘prior to accepting the quote’ questions would be:

  • Do you consider SEO whilst building the site?
  • Do you add a Facebook pixel / Google Analytics to the site during the build and if ‘not normally’ can you?
  • Will the hosting you are offering include a security certificate?
  • If you purchase the domain name for me, who will be responsible for renewing it?
  • If I wanted you to no longer host my site and move to another hosting provider what would happen contractually and technically?
  • What support will I be offered ongoing?
  • If I wished to update the site once it is built what is the agreement?

 

Asking questions goes further into the process too, during the build you can ask ‘why’ something you may not be too keen on has been done a certain way. This is a low conflict way of providing feedback and gives the designer chance to explain why something may of been designed in a certain way (from their expertise) meaning you can find a solution that you are happy with and takes into account things you may not have considered. Feedback from you is an important part of the process, be prepared to assess the website at various stages of the project in order to help guide the design process and ensure you are happy with the end result.

Considering your content for your website is also important, put yourself in your customers / clients shoes and structure the content and language to what you believe they would want to see and in the language they would use. Here are some more great tips to writing content for a website.

What next?

Once your site is built and released into the wild it will be your responsibility to ensure you are getting the most out of it. A site will not be top of Google in the first week and in today’s age you still need to market and promote your business across multiple platforms and networks. A website is not a one stop solution but now more than ever is a great tool to help you achieve your business goals.

Thanks for reading

We hope this article will help inform, provide a better experience and give you a higher quality of product when it comes to your website. If you would like any further assistance please get in touch with us. If you would like a quote for a website we are happy to provide one. Feel free to look through our portfolio