10 Basics When Creating a Website Budget

April 21, 2017

If you launch a new website, and no one is around to look at it, did it make an impact?

The fact is, in business, everyone wants a beautiful website that generates a lot of new leads. Why not, right!?

The problem is, in business, there is something called ‘budgeting’, which won’t allow for everyone to get the ‘Ferrari’ website of their dreams.

If you have a small budget, and are expecting the Ferrari of websites, maybe remind yourself of the age-old statement “in life, you get what you pay for”.

My advice is simple: if you are not a professional web developer, you need to find one you can trust. If you approach a professional website design firm with a small budget, it should be their responsibility to tell you to focus more on meeting the basics rather than trying to be the prettiest. 

I’m telling you this as the owner of a web design firm. That’s because we choose to do the basics by default (a few mentioned below) … and I don’t care if we lose deals because of it.  

Why? It’s the right thing to do.

Not all web design firms operate this way. Always remember, when choosing the right partner, ‘if it’s too good to be true, chances are it probably is’.

Most of our clients are wanting to generate more business with a new website. That is a great goal! If your goal is to get from point A to point B with a new website, don’t be fooled by someone trying to sell you a Ferrari that fits your small budget. Corners will be cut. The car will not have an engine. Think straight. Get the Toyota. It’s dependable, looks good, and will get you to where you want to go.

What is a Ferrari without a steering wheel?  It’s a beautiful site to see… in your garage… but no one else is going to see it unless you are dragging them into your garage to show it.  Why not buy an actual car that can get you to where you want to go?

You may want to focus on glitz and glamour for your new website, but take my advice: if you are on a strict budget, stick to making sure the basics are done, not just the visuals.

Below, you will find some of the bigger questions to ask yourself when determining a budget for your website. I purposely left dollar values out of it. This is to help you understand all the things outside the front end ‘pretty stuff’ that clients typically don’t know about.  

Is the product/service offering searched on Google?

If your company offers products or services that are searched on search engines, make sure your new website is setup to communicate well with the search engines. 

#1 Keyword Analysis

It’s a good idea to ask your designer to do some research on keywords being used by your target market on Google. It’s called Google’s Keyword Planner Tool, it’s great.

#2 Page Structuring, Sitemap, & Content

Who’s providing the copy of your site?  What is the overall structure of the site? If search engine optimization is important to you, do not say ‘we’ll figure it out’. That is doomed to fail. You are investing into your businesses future with a new website; don’t half-ass the basics.

#3 Social Media Shared Images

Whether you promote social sharing on your website or not, when a link to your website is posted on social media outlets, it is paired with an image pulled from your website. Unless you addressed this, chances are the images are not selected or formatted correctly, which will result in less interactivity on social media.

#4 Page Load Speed

You may think a 500 megabyte video on the home page is a great way to get your company’s message out, but that decreases the page’s load speed, a HUGE factor for search engine rankings (not to mention humans don’t like slow websites either).

#5 Page Redirects

If you have an existing website and are wanting a new one, you will need to make sure old links redirect to it’s new location. For example, the old contact page, lawfirm.com/contact-us, will need to redirect to it’s new location, lawfirm.com/contact .

#6 Meta Tags & Descriptions

As we continue to trend in the direction of adding visual stimulus in replacement of relevant content, do not forget that each and every page must be read & understood by search engines. Have your developer define a meta title & description for each page of your new website.

Are you aware there are ongoing expenses?

Far too often do we build a beautiful, powerful website, only to find out our client wants to put it on the cheapest hosting provider in the world. My thoughts: Why would you put your mansion in the ghetto?

#7 Choose the right server (and hosting package)

A server is in all essence a computer that will store your website files & database tables. It is the server’s job to show the website as quickly and safely as possible to users wanting to learn about your business. This is not the place to go cheap.  Ask your web design company to provide their advice on the best hosting solutions for your new website.

A good server keeps your website secure, loads your website very quickly, and is easy to use. 

#8 Server Enhancements

For security, get an SSL certificate. This gives you that green https:// you see on all the sites you trust. Users like this. Search engines like this. Make it happen. Also, enable server-side caching & integrate a content delivery network (CDN) for faster page load speed. Too much info for you? Then contact an expert who can trust to make sure this stuff is being done!

#9 Choose a partner, not your sister’s boyfriend’s college roommate, to maintain your website

In this dark and scary web world, there are the brave souls who extend a hand in keeping a website secure as well as up to date as your business evolves. Choose the right partner to represent your business online. This is a cost. Ask ahead of time what this looks like.

Design doesn’t matter if no one is looking.

#10 Get the basics done first, then invest into design

There is no point to getting a pretty website if no one is visiting it. There is no point to owning a Ferrari without an engine.  

Your business wants pretty. Your businesses needs results. Budget accordingly.

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