When business owners are planning a web development project, the usual conundrum they face is: Should I go with a professional firm and pay a little bit more; or should I partner with the lowest bidder? Both sides of the “go low” versus “go pro” debate have supporters and detractors. However, as the ultimate “consumer” of the results from this decision, you need to understand what the costs of each side of the argument are. Let’s explore this in more detail.
The “Real” Cost Of Doing Business On The Web
When you hire a web designer to design and develop your website, the expense is generally attributed as a cost of doing business – you have to have a website. Before you incur these costs however, it behoves you to know what your options are. Generally speaking, there are four choices that are available to you:
“No Frills” Website Service
There are a number of web service providers that come under this category. The hallmarks of such firms are:
- • They usually offer a select, and sometimes minimal, set of services to their customers
- • Being minimalistic in their approach, they don’t leave you room for personalisation – most of their services are template-based, which may or may not fully meet your needs
- • Such shops do not usually offer consultation or advice – they simply get some photos, get to work and give you what they usually offer for the agreed price
- • While working with cookie-cutter “no frills” website design shops may suit some, most businesses end up needing some form of customisation to their websites – or, you end up doing a website redesign in 6 months time. Their lack of customisation is a real challenge for your business! No frills shops will charge a significant premium to personalise their websites for you – something you need to factor into your costs of doing business with them.
Using Web Freelancers
Alternately, you may choose to engage a web freelancer to design your website for you. To be successful with this approach:
- • You need to spend lots of time finding a freelancer you can trust – there are hundreds of them out there but no one knows which ones are good
- • They’ll expect you to do most of the heavy lifting, in terms of defining your exact requirements
- • A freelance web designer will charge you additional for even slight deviations from the agreed specifications. You really need to be organised and project managing the project yourself.
- • The biggest challenge is trying to figure our whether your freelance website contractor will be around next month, in the event that you have a problem with the website. That’s another element to include in the “real” cost of working with web design freelancers!
Using Free Web Builder Tools
Not for the faint of heart, but if you are feeling bold enough and you have time on your hands, you could invest the yours efforts and patience to use “free” web builder tools and build a website yourself. The question is: Does that really make the effort “free”. No, is the answer. If it was that easy then none of your competitors would have spent thousands on their websites – they would have just built it themselves.
How about your time? Don’t you have a business to run? You need to include your personal time and effort in the cost of this supposedly 'free' website too. What will actually happen is that the website will take 3-6 months to build, it will look quite amateur and your fr3inds won't be honest enough with you to say that too you, and then you'll get a real website built after a few months when you can't stand the site of it any longer or you notice that the website is not getting any new customers sales calls any more.
Going Pro – The 'No Brainer' Choice
When all’s said and done therefore, none of the above three options end up costing you what you thought they would – and in most cases you will not end up with the website you wanted, even after putting in lots of work and time yourself. You’ll eventually end up paying a lot more than you had bargained for. The fourth option would therefore be to engage a professional firm to design, build and perhaps manage the website for you.
Going with a professional web hosting and web development company is the best choice when it comes to business-critical, high-availability web sites:
- • You deal with a company, not individuals or fly-by-night operators only contactable on certain days on a disposable mobile phone number
- • They are customer focused, which means they won’t split hairs with you over an extra feature or page here or there – because they want to create a long-term client-supplier relationship
- • With a professional web design company you will get a customised design, created specifically for you and your clients, resulting in a website that truly represents your businesses’ personality and business sector
- • You know EXACTLY what you’ll get, and exactly how much it will cost you BEFORE you enter into a contract with them
Most importantly though a professional web design form will invest a lot of time to get to know you, your products/services, your clients and your business, before they start the design or development process.
They understand that you are not “technical”, so they will take the project management lead on the project and will find out everything they need so as to deliver a great design and website to you. You won’t need to create specifications or technical documentation for them – they’ll do it all for you!
While using professionals for your website design and hosting may seem a little bit costlier than, say, using a freelance contractor or a web builder tool, when the invoices are all in and all tallied up correctly, they end up being the cheapest of all four options available to you. Hard to believe perhaps, but it's true.
If its quality, cost and peace of mind that you are looking from your web developer, then going 'pro' is a no brainer. If you would like to discuss your new website plans with an experienced team, call us on 01-65216866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org