We frequently get calls/emails from people who just want to know: How much is a Website?
It's a bit like asking a builder: How much is a house? The first thing the builder is going to ask is: What type of house?
So before you call a website company, here are 10 questions for you to think about before you make that call - because these are the questions they're most likely going to ask you!
If it's a refurb, you'll need to get all the logins required for the web firm to be able to work off the old site. They'll tell you what they need.
Choose only one! This is the cornerstone, you can add more stuff later on. Examples:
- Information/brochure website
- Ecommerce website
- Membership/community website
The URL is the website address, and it doesn’t need to be related to your business. Also note down the URL of 1 or 2 of your strongest competitors.
Time and Cost. If you don't have any material ready it'll cost you a lot more to get the web firm to create all this for you. Another thing is that you can't use images off the web. If you own them, fine - otherwise you have to pay a licensing fee or risk being sued by the likes of Getty Images.
Apart from cost, gathering the material needed for your website takes a lot of time. Have a plan to get this stuff together, it doesn't have to be right away, but you will be expected to deliver your content, required images/logos and any videos on time and in the format required by the web firm.
If there's regular content being added, you might want to handle that inhouse to save on costs. It's worth letting the web firm know so they can build in a website editing area and train you/staff to update the content.
Have you any social media accounts set up and working? eg Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest etc?
You don't need them all, but you might want some. Set them up yourself, so you retain control.
Don't expect a web firm to run these for you - they're very time consuming and most firms will refuse to do it for you unless they're specialists in the area. The prime directive of Social Media is do it yourself. So be sure you know what you want and why you want it. Facebook Like buttons, Retweet this, Live Twitter feeds - all great things provided you have the time to be active on your chosen Social Media platform(s).
Whether you want them now or in the future, be sure to inform the web firm because it will influence the platform they choose first day. It could cost you a small fortune to put something in later on that the platform isn't designed to do. This is not a comprehensive list, it's just the more common ones we get asked for.
- Ecommerce capability
- Different languages/regions
- Rating/comments (built in to some platforms)
- Opinion polls/surveys/push marketing
- Photo Gallery
- Live customer chat
- Newsletter integration
- Members only content
- Recurring billing (not always built in to online store platforms)
- Restricted/secure download area
This is a specialist area - your usual web firm won't provide this functionality for you without a separate quote. What you can ask them to do is to make sure that your website is SEO Ready. That means that SEO title/description tags are available for when the time comes to hire someone to come in and do a proper SEO job for you.
Real SEO is pretty expensive. Some web firms will do a basic job for you, and some software platforms can be programmed to do some of it automatically - ok, well that's better than nothing, right? If you're serious about SEO you'd be looking to spend several thousands/yr - just to be clear about the difference between big boy SEO and "a little SEO will do you no harm" type SEO.
At a minimum you want the website to be SEO ready.
No probs if you don't, but you will have to before it all kicks off.
Domain name and web hosting - insist on registering your own domain name and purchasing your own web hosting account using your own name and your own email address and your own credit card. By all means take the web firm's recommendation for web hosting or compare offerings from a selection of Irish Webhosts. Read how to register a domain name so you don't hurt yourself in the process.
Google account - You will want to monitor your websites statistics at the very least. To do this, register a google account in your own name, with your own email address. Then when the website is nearly done, use that account to register for google analytics and other useful free products. You can give your web firm access later on. Always register for these products yourself, through your original google account.
All websites in the EU need a Privacy Statement and a declaration of any data gathering technologies (eg cookies) by law. If you're selling online you have even more obligations to provide information to visitors in line with the Distance Selling regulations. It's the law and it's a lot of work. Ask the web firm if they normally help you with this. These are your legal responsibilities (not theirs as you'll discover in the fine print). Read more about how to set up a Privacy Statement.
You can download and print the 10 Questions as a handy pdf file which you can use to make your own notes.