To understand why one site costs a few hundred dollars, and the other one a few thousands, please read the article. Here you will find useful tips on how to order a website and save your time and money.
Table of contents:
When do you need a website developer?
It is a fact that you can spend a lot of money and get a website with inappropriate functionality. It is not about dishonesty or the unprofessionalism of agencies; you speak different languages.
If you want to get a site today, do not wait until the agency learns to speak your language. Sometimes it can be difficult for you to find the right words to explain why it is better to create a site on Joomla, for example.
Here you will find information that will help you order a quality website.
Step 1: Determine why you need a website
If you do not know the purpose of the site, you are wasting your time. And you throw money away discussing changes in templates and resources.
How to determine why you need a website?
Engage in your goal setting. Set up the tasks that you need to be solved to achieve your goals.
By the way, if you order a business website, the goal is ready. Usually, it sounds like this: make more money.
And then you have to work hard. You should write down tasks that will help you make money using the site to increase your incomes and profits.
Your ultimate resource can solve the following tasks that contribute to profit growth:
- Attract new customers.
- Provide the ability to sell the product online.
- Increase marketing effectiveness.
- Reduce the cost of customer acquisition.
- Increase LTV (lifetime value).
- Overcome advertising deafness through content marketing.
- Reduce offline marketing and advertising costs.
- Provide potential, and existing customers access to reliable information.
- Overcome geographical restrictions.
- Show product face: photos and descriptions of products, portfolios, a list of customers and completed projects, etc.
- Provide social evidence to the audience.
- Improve customer service.
- Meet the specific needs of the audience, etc.
The list goes on. You need to fix the tasks that your site will solve. For example, formulate the goals and objectives of creating a website for a dental clinic. Be sure to write them down on paper.
Why do you think a website is needed for an enterprise that works exclusively offline?
Let’s say the purpose of the site is to make more money.
Tasks for creating a site:
- Informing the audience. Here you can distinguish several sub-tasks notifying users about the existence of the clinic and its capabilities to educate clients.
- Confidence building.
- Customer acquisition.
- You are improving the quality of service. For example, you can choose a doctor, see the cost of services, ask a specialist, make an appointment, etc.
The goals and objectives written on paper will help you understand what the site should look like. Thanks to this, it will be much easier for you to communicate with developers.
Step 2: Determine the required site functionality
This is a simple step. Take your piece of paper with written tasks, take the red pen, and formulate questions about the functions.
You will get the following questions:
- What is needed to inform the audience using the site?
- How to attract new customers?
- What should a site be able to improve the quality of user service?
Answer the questions yourself.
Answer in detail and write it down.
For example, write down the functions needed to inform customers.
- Your site should have the following pages: About the company, List of products, Contacts, working hours, payment conditions, etc.
- The site should have a blog or a Useful Publications section.
- Somewhere on the side, messages from the Twitter of the chief specialist should be displayed.
- In the basement, the working conditions must be published.
- Somewhere in a conspicuous place, you need to hang licenses, certificates, awards, and links to social profiles.
Now practice. Write down what functions the site of the dental clinic needs to improve the quality of patient care.
Be sure to discuss the recorded features with a developer. A professional will undoubtedly adjust the list. What if the specialist suggests adding a function that you are not familiar with? Ask to tell you more about it. If in doubt, take some time to think it over and study the information yourself.
Step 3: Determine how the site should look like
Everyone has their idea of an ideal, good, bad, and sloppy design. If you like the site, this does not guarantee that your customers will like it. Because you are creating a website for the public, not for yourself, so put its interests in the first place.
To coordinate with the developers the appearance of the site, you need to solve two problems.
First, determine the appropriate site layout.
Secondly, imagine the necessary visual components.
How to choose a site layout?
You will select the layout with the developers of the site. Before communicating with them, remember a few points:
- For different pages of the site, you can use different templates. For example, the main page, the publication page, and the advertising landing page can be organized in different ways.
- The markup should correspond to the theme of the site and the tasks that the page solves. For example, it is probably better to use different templates for the content project and the photographer portfolio.
- A page structure affects the content perception
- Choose a layout that helps your audience draw attention to the essential information.
Usually, the user scans the material from left to right and from top to bottom. This structure is suitable for corporate sites, content projects, services. It is crucial to provide easy navigation and quickly search for the necessary data, and an essential information for users.
You probably can call a dozen sites with a visually dense hat and a highlighted central column. Supporting information, such as a menu, a list of categories, registration forms, are in the left or right columns.
- You do not have to choose typical structures.
- Ask the developer to suggest markups that are appropriate for your business.
- Compare them with the layout of sites that you like and appeal to your customers.
- Ask and listen to the opinions and recommendations of the designer. It is useful when your ideas about the site will go through the filter of his professionalism.
Which option to choose?
For adaptive pages, modular blocks change size depending on the resolution of the users’ screen, and the location and content of the modules also vary. For example, a layout can be displayed in three columns on desktop and a smartphone screen in one.
Responsive page layout: changing the position of modular blocks.
Choose an adaptive design. Thanks to it, your site will be equally convenient for gadget owners with any screen resolution.
How to choose the look of the site
It is one of the most comfortable work steps for you, but one of the most difficult for developers. You need to pass the brand book to the specialists and discuss your idea of the ideal design. Agency representatives will have to translate your ideas into reality.
By the way, it is better not to waste your time and the nerves of contractors on games with colors and fonts. Believe me that a professional knows better than you what the background should be, the color of the buttons, the size of the font, etc. But if you have free time and want to participate in the development of design actively, pay attention to the following nuances:
- How to make content readable.
- Study typography before asking to play with fonts. Materials on choosing a font and creating text will be useful for you. And in the list of required elements for a blog, you will find important information about the length and width of the line, intervals, and background.
- Estimate the landing page conversion potential.
- Pay special attention to the design of the home page.
- Study information about usability. For a meaningful conversation, check out articles on navigation, forms, and buttons. If you do not have experience in this field, you will have to trust the professionalism of the designer.
Remember, the site is a complicated task. Web design should provide visual appeal and readability of content. And bay the way, your users should not think about design at all. Therefore, do not require designers to add, remove, or change anything just because you want to demonstrate artistic preferences.
Step 4: Select CMS
At this point you will have to solve two problems. First, determine whether you will use CMS or order a website in HTML. Secondly, if you decide to make a site with an engine, determine which particular content management system is the best for your business.
Website on CMS or HTML?
According to Web Technology Surveys, 41.9% of all sites work on CMS, and 58.1% do not use the engine. Which one to choose?
HTML sites give you the following benefits:
- The practical absence of restrictions on the choice of structure, design, and functionality.
- Low resource requirements. HTML sites load quickly and work stably at peak traffic.
The lack of binding to the CMS allows developers to implement any customer ideas. However, the main drawback of HTML resources can cross out all the benefits. If you build houses well or cook steaks, but you do not know how to code, you will have to hire a developer to publish and update your content and support you with everything.
Are you ready to pay for what you can do yourself?
Sites with a content management system provide the following benefits:
- The ability to add and edit content independently without in-depth programming knowledge.
- The ability to change the architecture, functionality, and technical characteristics of the site. You will spend some time studying the admin panel of the engine, but you would be able to edit the menu, set up backups, manage caching without changing the code.
- The ability to solve specific tasks using template tools, modules, plugins, widgets, etc.
- Ability to change the template design. Your site design could be updated easily.
Which CMS to choose?
If you are offered a proprietary engine, refuse. You need a content management system that any developer will be able to work with without studying and fixing bugs. Therefore, choose the popular CMS, the advantages and disadvantages of which are well known and confirmed by practice.
The manager of the agency will certainly offer you several engines to choose from after studying the goals and objectives of creating the site. You can consider the following CMS:
About a quarter of all sites on the Web work on this platform. You can create different types of sites on WordPress:
-a personal blog,
– a corporate website,
– an online store,
– a large content project.
Joomla is the second popular engine after WordPress. It is considered more functional and customizable compared to the leader. But it will be more difficult for you to deal with Jumla on your own. Some experts believe that Joomla is more suitable for creating online stores.
2.1% of the total number of sites work on Drupal. If you have non-standard tasks or want to support multiple services, you can choose this engine. Please note that with Drupal, you will have to contact web developers more often.
This engine is used by 1.2% of the total number of sites on the Internet. This content management system provides sufficient data security. The website on the Bitrix CMS is easy to integrate with 1C software products.
0.9% of sites working on this CMS, it is mainly for online stores. The content management system is simple, customed with plugins, and security. It has essential built-in functions necessary for organizing online trading.
You can also consider UMI, NetCat, Magento, and other useful engines. Before the final choice, please consult with the developer. Evaluate the functionality of the proposed systems. If possible, check the convenience of working with administrative panels.
There are no ideal engines. Some CMS may not solve the problems associated with your business. Please consider the following:
- The opinion of the developer and colleagues whose sites you like.
- Access to support, updates, community.
- Personal preferences.
Step 5: Discuss and agree on additional features that the site should comply with.
In short, your website should meet the needs of the audience and the technical requirements of search engines.
Check a list of features you should agree with the developers:
- Correct display in popular browsers.
- Correctly configured site map and robots.txt file. Some engines, for example, Joomla and WordPress, allow you to create and maintain a sitemap using extensions.
- Acceptable site loading speed.
- Human-friendly URLs.
- SEO options. Ask developers if they prepare your site for the further ranking (URLs, tags, categories, keywords, indexing/non-indexing pages, titles, meta descriptions, etc.)
- The ability to optimize meta-data.
- The ability to embed codes of third-party services, for example, analytics services.
- Ability to optimize graphic content: resize photos, add title, caption, and alt attribute.
- User-friendly functions: comments, rating system, search forms and feedback, social buttons, etc.
- Is your site mono or multilingual? Bay the way, the multilingual option can double or triple the cost of your website. Discuss it with developers from the beginning.
- Resource security: protection against unauthorized access, creating backup copies, blocking spam comments.
- Ask the developer what other characteristics the resource should match in your case.
Step 6: Determine where you will order the site.
Do you want to work with an agency or with a freelancer?
There is no universal recipe for finding a contractor. Collaboration with studios and private professionals has advantages and disadvantages.
Why is it worth collaborating with reputable agencies?
Here are the main reasons:
- Studios usually provide comprehensive services.
- You will sign the contract and pay for the services accordingly. However, you can conclude an agreement with a private specialist as well.
- You will communicate with the manager and not with the web developer or designer directly. The manager will help you speak the same language. Remember, sometimes this advantage turns into a disadvantage.
- Agencies can be official partners of CMS developers. Thanks to this, you can get additional benefits: a discount on the purchase of the engine, special conditions of the engine service, other guarantees, etc.
In theory, cooperation with the studio protects you from deadlines and other force majeure.
Collaboration with freelancers has its advantages:
- You can save a lot by coordinating the site yourself. For example, you can hire a private web developer, designer, copywriter, and negotiate with them and monitor the implementation of the project.
- Freelancer is more comfortable to work informally. You can find competent specialists in the near and far abroad who take less money for the work. But there is a risk: you can pay cash and get a little in return.
- You will communicate with the leading performer directly, decide whether this is an advantage or a disadvantage for you.
- Freelancers work for the result. Therefore, you can order and receive the site during the summer holidays or New Year holidays.
A right partner can be found among studios and private professionals. Before your final decision, please pay attention to the following:
- Overall experience.
- Experience with your chosen CMS.
- Examine social evidence: reviews, social networks, awards, certificates, etc.
- Make sure you are comfortable talking to the developer.
- Long-term site support and internet marketing. If you are busy, choose a contractor who can take over the site entirely.
Step 7: Evaluate whether you can build the site yourself
You can make a site yourself. But to create a website that meets your audience’s needs, you will have to spend time. Therefore, evaluate whether if it is worth spending time studying CMS, dashboards, design principles, CSS, meta-data, etc. to the detriment of the core business.
Create your site yourself if:
- You need a personal blog.
- You want a simple site with a few static pages, a blog, and contact details. Your audience will forgive you for the stereotyped resource.
- You have a lot of time and a desire to learn. The market will not forgive you for a lousy site, so you will have to learn and do a lot.
- When you have charisma, and it is too strong to be simple online.
Step 8: Determine how you promote the project
Are you going to do Internet marketing yourself or delegate this task to professionals?
Before deciding, look at the list to be done as a part of integrated Internet marketing:
- Maintain the site (all updates, respond to new technical requirements of search engines, problems solving, pay bills of the hosting provider on time and do a lot of other routine work, atc.)
- Assess the marketing effectiveness of the site (web analytics reports, site performance, atc.)
- Create and publish content regularly.
- Engage in SMM, guest posting, newsletters.
- Content marketing.
- Attract users through different types of advertising.
- Handle leads, etc.
If you have all these skills, plan and implement it. If you do not have them, contact the agency, or hire a professional.
It’s great if the studio simultaneously creates your website and is engaged in Internet marketing. In this case, it will be easier for developers to plan the necessary steps for solving marketing problems.
Step 9: Determine your budget.
You probably saw ads with an offer to make a site for $300. You also heard about organizations that spend many thousands on developing a website. Where does this difference come from, and how much will you have to pay for the site?
Imagine that you do not need a blog or a business card site, but a functional online store with a secure personal account, integration with payment systems, an online user support system, and other features. Their development, installation, and configuration significantly increase the budget.
The final price of a site depends on its characteristics: functionality, design, the volume of content, and so on. You will find out the approximate cost of a site after agreeing on its attributes with the developer. You will see the final amount in the act of completion. Do not forget that you will have to continually invest in the development of the website and Internet marketing.
So, from what to start?
To order a website, start with brainstorming: clearly define what tasks you will solve using the web resource. This will help you describe the necessary functionality. Then everything will go like clockwork: you will describe the design that is ideal from your point of view, choose CMS, determine the required technical characteristics. After that, you will understand whether it is worth creating it yourself, or is it better to turn to professionals.
I hope it was helpful. Please share your opinion or experience, and we can discuss it.
If you have any questions related to the topic, let me know about it.