You may have seen George Osborne deliver the 2014 budget for the UK in the last week – from business to bingo, no matter how big or small it will have an effect on us all.
I personally like talking about money about as much as I like being elbowed in the eye…standing on a power plug…losing my keys at the last minute…you get the idea! I’m not a fan of talking money and avoid it at all costs. However, no matter how much going through the crushed receipts that I’ve stuffed into my purse leaves me cold, I know it’s an inevitability that we all have to face at some point if we want to budget and ultimately, save money.
And so, whether you are pleased at the announcement, are having a good grumble about it over the bar as you’re handed your extra penny change or if you couldn’t give a holey highway you have to admit that budgeting for an entire nation can’t be an easy task. I certainly wouldn’t like to do it…I’d rather have salt in my cup of tea…spit in my cereal…again, you get the idea (it’s been a rough morning!).
So when it comes to moving your business online, how do you build realistic expectations that will suite your company expenses?
Well the first step is to set a realistic budget. Unfortunately, much like those Primark leggings that leave nothing to the imagination, you get what you pay for when it comes to budgeting for your website.
Therefore, you may have a few nasty surprises on the path to building and paying for your perfect website. The best way to avoid these is to seek out quotes while armed with a detailed wish list of specifications to hand to your web designer from the get-go.
What to think about when budgeting for your website:
Think about your audience and how they will best interact with your website. Will a pre-made or basic site template suite your business needs and work well with your target audience?
Or will you need a bespoke build – or a little bit of both? You have to think about this as it could make a big difference to your budget.
For example, if a pre-made template won’t do and you’re starting from scratch or want to create a new look then as well as budgeting for the extra time needed, you may have to budget for a series of design ‘mood boards’ or a wireframe of your site. If the majority of your audience views your site via mobile, you may need a mobile wireframe creating too.
Another important factor is your images – are you creating your own images, paying for a series of professional images or are you happy to use stock images that the web designer may have? Keep in mind that if you don’t provide or create your own images you may a) have to pay out for the designer to create images for you (which can be time-consuming and therefor expensive) OR b) end up with the same stock images that feature on every other site this designer has created…
Of course it’s crucial for your site to function as you wish, but this is where the majority of companies will come unstuck: building bespoke pieces of design functionality can be extremely time-consuming – and of course time is money!
First things first – a site map: if you don’t create one, you may be forking out for someone to do the navigating for you.
Then you’ve got to think about site interaction or calls to action – do you need a contact form, downloadable PDFs or e-commerce options? Third party integration is a particularly time-consuming task that may seem like a simple request, but frequently has our Mobius developers hitting the red-bull, for example.
Also, if you’re moving your site across from an old one, you have to think about the size of your data. For example, an e-commerce site with hundreds of thousands of products and therefor quite data-heavy is going to take some time to move across.
Like with images, uniquely written, quality content can be expensive and time consuming. Think about whether you will need to outsource this task and be sure to count up your site pages – after all you will need to fill each page with your content and this will give you a good idea as to how many words we’re talking.
If you chose to outsource this task to your web designer or a third party, think about how much extensive research will need to be undertaken and how much this may bump up your cost.
Your content will also need to be optimised for SEO purposes – something which will be recommended by your web designer but may cost more.
It’s only when you have created your specific wish-list that you can begin to search the market and find the right developer for your project. Of course, it’s inevitable, much like with the Chancellor’s budget that you can’t entertain every specification. I mean…I hate Bingo.
But, sending out your proposals and collecting some quotes is a great way to see which developers are willing to balance your expectations with your budget and find you the best-fix solutions should you hit any bumps in the road. This is most important and will prevent you having to constantly reach deeper into your pocket as you go.
So it’s time to talk money! Deep breaths! (just me!?) It means there’s to be some heavy planning and organisation ahead, but if you take every penny into account, you could have a site that perfectly meets your customer’s needs much sooner than you can collect enough penny-change to afford a whole new pint.