Everyday our team fields calls about designing websites for individuals and companies. The first question we get is ‘how much will it cost?’. That question is a bit like saying you want to build a house, how much will it cost? There are a million different factors that go into account when considering a website that should be thought through before you begin the process. Most people just want to build the airplane while in flight and that is the reason people are unhappy with their online image, often use multiple designers or switch in mid stream when working on the website.

The first thing most people think about is really the last thing that you should focus on – design – because the behind the scenes details that inform the design should be done well in advance of someone creating the finishing touches on the site. What colors your site uses and what pictures you put on there are the last items, not the first.

Nothing happens just because you have a website. You have to then drive traffic to the website if you want people to see/read/buy/act on what you have put on your site. When you drive traffic to your website you have to make sure there is content for the user to connect with.

THE BIGGEST MISTAKE most businesses make is that they fail to adequately plan for content. Hands down the biggest issue that most clients have is that they create too little content that is actionable, well written and optimized for search. Your website will not perform well under any circumstance without relevant and FREQUENT updates to content.

Below is a basic list of questions/needs/considerations for building a website. If at any time while reading this list you feel overwhelmed, out of your league or unsure, then you should consider hiring a website development firm that is skilled in project management as well as design. There are designers who design well enough, but most are not project managers. At Accelerated Marketing Services we pride ourselves on not only great design, but project management and user experience. Sure, you can get a site up quickly if you don’t plan but then you will spend an enormous amount of money and time fixing the site because you rushed.

  • How long does it take to build a website?
    • How long does it take to build a house? Same kind of question. There are many details that go into designing a website that must take place before the first bit of code is even released into the internet.
    • Pre-design planning should take 4-6 weeks. That includes your marketing strategy, lining up your team, developing your goals, writing your content etc.
    • Design and build could take 4-6 weeks depending on the amount of content, how many bells and whistles you want, if there is an ecommerce portion, custom graphics, etc.
    • Testing and debugging could take 1-2 weeks depending on the issue.
    • Total time to prep, design, test and launch a website: 12 weeks on average, if you have all your ducks in a row.
  • How much does it cost to build a website? Hmmmm, hard to answer – goes back to how much does it cost to build a house?
    • Do you want Formica counter tops or granite, 3 bedrooms or 6?
    • Very simple, very little custom code $1500-$2000
    • Some custom work, basic functionality $2000-$6000
    • Anything beyond basic — $6000 and up
  • Why do you want to have a website?
    • How is your website attached to your overall business goals?
  • What portion of your budget have you allocated for website development and maintenance?
  • Have you done any target market research for your business that will inform your website design?
    • What industry do you serve?
    • Who are 5-7 competitors and what are their websites?
    • Have you done an evaluation of your competitor websites – what do they do well, what do the miss the mark on? What do you like about their website?
  • What type of website do you need?
    • Informational
    • Store/ecommerce
    • Service provider
    • Blog/magazine
  • How will you promote/market/drive traffic to your website?
    • What is your overall marketing campaign and how does your website support that campaign?
    • What online and offline activities will you do to get people to the website?
    • Will you create custom campaigns that direct users to landing pages or just to the website?
  • What role will SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, etc. play in your marketing campaign?
    • Have you determined what your business keywords are?
    • Do you know what people search for when they are looking for your products and services?
    • How will you measure the success of your website and who will be responsible for adapting/adding/adjusting content to gain greater reach?
  • Who will be the project manager for this website?
    • Does this person have any web design experience?
    • Will this person be driving the planning or will they be working with the website development team?
    • Who has to sign off on pre-launch items such as graphics, text, layout, functionality?
  • What is the domain for the website?
    • Where will the website be hosted?
    • Will your site have an SSL certificate? Yes is the answer if you plan to sell anything on your website.
    • What platform will you use for your website – WordPress, custom code, out of the box like Wix or Squarespace?
  • Who will design your site?
    • A friend who knows a guy
    • Freelancer
    • Student
    • Professional freelancer
    • Marketing agency with a team of experts
    • Do you have a Google Analytics account/number for your new website?
  • Who will update your site?
    • There are a few updates that you need to plan for – content, graphics and the backend platform.
    • Who will update content? How often?
    • Who will update the technology? How often?
    • Who will update the graphics? How often?
  • What graphics do you need for your website?
    • Each page has custom graphic elements.  At the least you will need:
    • A logo in a variety of orientations – vertical and horizontal
    • Your emblem or special feature to be used throughout the site as an embellishment
    • Custom graphics for main products or services
    • Custom graphics for homepage sliders, headers, calls to action
  • What pages do you want on your website?
    • It is good to create a site map prior to building a website. Here are the suggested starter pages for a website: Home, Blog, Contact, Services, About, Shop.
    • What dropdown items do you want? For instance, under About you can have – Mission, About the founder, how we work, etc.
  • What social media accounts do you want linked to your website?
    • Make sure you own your brand on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
    • Create a LinkedIn profile
  • What lead capture platform will you use? MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Aweber, Constant Contact, etc.
    • Do you want people to opt in to your newsletter or special offers list?
    • Do you want a pop up opt in?
  • If you have an ecommerce site, how will you handle payment processing?
    • Bank
    • Paypal
    • Woo Commerce
  • What do you want your audience to ‘feel’ when they come to your website?
  • What is the goal for your user when they visit your website?
    • Sale
    • Opt in
    • Download free offer
    • Read blog
    • Share socially

As you can see, there are many questions and issues to address when building a website. Sure, you can try to answer some of the questions while in the build phase but note that your answers could change the way you are building the site and will incur more design expense. Obviously we favor working with an expert but if you can’t , at least you will know some of the 10,000 questions you should ask before you get started.

 

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