I often get asked for estimates on how much a website costs. Although a fair and innocent question, the number of variables that determine the cost of a site can make it a somewhat complex question.
It is important when looking at the value of a website, to not equate the size of the site with it’s value. The intended audience, number of features, and degree of maintainability are just a few of the variables that affect a site’s value. Let’s look more in depth at a few of the most important site attributes.
No two websites are the same.
Much like a house or a car, a websites quality can be measured on several different levels. A house with a nice looking design, interior and exterior, tells you nothing about the foundation, plumbing, wiring, and overall integrity of the house. You could impress your friends and family with such a house, and end up spending a fortune repairing it’s most important, yet hidden, functions. In the same way, a website that looks cool, or trendy, or exciting, tells you very little about the overall stability and quality of that site. You will enjoy it until it starts crashing under moderate loads. Or you might be forced to redo whole sections(or even the whole site), in order to add new features in the future as your business grows. The ability to expand your site in the future, is an oft overlooked consideration in building a professional site.
Good impression from start to finish.
“…your guests aren’t coming to see your site’s incredible design, they’re coming to find information…”
So what does a good site look like? A good site not only provides a good visual first impression to your (potential) clients, but leaves them informed and pleased when they leave as well. Good first impressions count for little if one can’t follow through to the end. What does this mean for a site? 1. Clean, easy to use site layout. 2. Fast loading site. 3. Simple navigation. 4. Consistent layout throughout the site. Factors such as these play an overwhelming part of your guests overall experience. It is important to remember that your guests aren’t coming to see your site’s incredible design, they’re coming to find information, or to contact you to begin a business relationship.
Building a strong foundation.
With a professionally produced site, you are getting a site with an excellent foundation on which you can expand. One of the measurements of a good site is whether or not it follows the code standards set up by an organization called the W3C. Essentially a site that meets these standards is most likely to display correctly across different browsers, operating systems, and most importantly, future browsers and operating systems, and other internet enabled devices such as mobile phones.
Investing in a long-term solution.
When a website can be built by an amateur with a minimal investment in time, a professionally built site might not seem like a good investment. But considering the amount of time that can be saved in maintaining an enterprise level website, not to mention the potential increase in business inquiries/transactions, your investment in a good site can pay off tenfold.