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What Type of Website is Best for My Needs?

What Type of Website is Best for My Needs?

Websites are one of the most important marketing tools you have. People use the internet and especially search engines to find products and services they need; who has time to open the yellow pages?

When contacting a website design firm, be careful not to be drawn in for the most expensive options with fancy bells and whistles- chances are you will never use over half these features. Some of the first things you need to decide are:

  1. Which market am I targeting?
  2. Who is my target audience?
  3. What age group do my potential clients fall in?
  4. Will I be selling products online?
  5. What kind of functionality do I want my clients/visitors to have?
  6. How big will this website grow?
  7. Will I need to add new functionality?
  8. How often will I need to update the website?

 

Points 1-3 help you decide the design aspect of the website. Remember- you are creating a marketing tool which needs to be appealing to your clients and visitors! Don’t let your personal preferences dominate the design layout. A competent graphic designer will be able to guide you through appropriate designs that would work for your industry. I have seen many clients make the mistake of allowing their personal preferences to dominate the design… and the result was a website that looked horrible, did not effectively communicate what the company was trying to say, and did not have the functionality a user would expect to have.
Points 4-8 deal with functionality- this needs to be decided as soon as possible. While functionality can always be added, keep in mind that when a website is done, it is always more expensive to add new functionality afterwards. A knowledgeable Project Manager will analyze your requirements and advise which functions should be done in initial development, and which can be added later. If your company has new events, new products and services, new topics, etc to talk about on the website, adding a content management system is best. This will allow you to edit the content on your website, add new pages, etc. There is a higher cost initially to develop a CMS based website, but it will more than pay for itself in the long run, as designers and firms can charge anywhere between $40- $120/hour for updates.

Remember: most website development firms are reluctant to give pricing over the phone and via email. If you call prepared, sales people will be forced to narrow their sales pitch down to your requirements, which will make it harder for them to distract and confuse you. Never let a sales person use technical jargon; this is a tactic widely used to justify inflated pricing. For example, if you need an e-commerce website, you know that you need a shopping cart function, member a/c function, payment gateway to process transactions and the ability to maintain the catalogue yourself (just a few examples of the functionality). if you ask for something that seems would/should come with an e-commerce site, like specifying bestselling products, chances are the system already comes with it. HOWEVER! always ask for a complete list of functionality before going into the details of what you need. If the sales person sees you are asking for functionality that already comes with the website, chances are they will scale down the functionality and charge you separately for each additional function, even though the base system comes with it!

23 Comments
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