The value of web design and hosting may seem to you as the consumer, like a ‘black box’, but price and value are not interchangeable terms. So in your search for value, where do you start?
We would like to always believe it is not about the price, but unfortunately, price will always be a major factor in any buying decision. Some of the most important parts of your decision making should include needs and wants and to focus on value for money, and not just price.
Step 1: You need to identify exactly what you want as project outcomes. You may have a list from ‘must haves’ through to ‘nice to haves’. From this list, you can determine what type of supplier you need.
Step 2: Identifying potential suppliers is the next step in your journey. For example, some of the questions you need to ask could be
- Do you need a web developer who can also host your site
- Do you need access to them 24/7 (what if your site went down the night before you have to present a project to a client?)
- Is it important that they can support online shopping carts
- Do they need to be able to fully code your website, or are there existing templates you wish to replicate
- Do you or your team need training, is the developer able to provide this
- Does your site need optimisation, will you be relying on customers being able to find you in search engines such as Google. If this is the case, can your developer do that for you also, more importantly, do they design the website initially to be search engine friendly
- Will you have the time to write all of the content for your web pages and regular blogs or do you need access to a competent copy writer and if so, can your developer supply this also.
Step 3: In the beginning of your journey, your potential suppliers will be in the ‘discovery’ phase. At this time, it is critical that you are open and clear about what you need and want from a website. Try to capture these requirements in a document which is available for all suppliers so they are quoting on the same scope of works.
Step 4: Take the time to truly understand the value of your website to your business. What would happen tomorrow or next month or next year if your website didn’t exist or suddenly went off the air for days or weeks? Put a real number on it. I used to do an exercise with customer service personnel when I trained them. It went something like this;
- how many phone calls do you take a day (say about 40)
- how much per annum do our customers spend with us (for that Telco then it was about $500pa)
- how many days a year do you work (47 weeks x 5 days = 235 days)
- So the influence you have on our company’s bottom line is 235 days x 40 customers x $500 pa =$4.7million every year! If they annoyed every one of those customers enough to make them leave, it could destroy a company!
So now, be critical in how you evaluate how important your website is, or could be to your business. For example, paper based directories are becoming obsolete, most business is done through Internet searches, so if you are relying on your website to be valuable, you must look to the quality and subsequent value of web design, development and hosting.
For example, each new customer you acquire has a lifetime value of maybe $50 000. If your aim is to have 30 customers cycling through your business constantly, and 1 in 10 come to you, or potentially come to you via your website, then 3 customers or $150000 revenue at any one time is a direct result of your website, would you be willing to invest a small proportion of that for a quality website?
Step 5: Evaluate the tenders or quotes. Remembering the adage of paying peanuts and getting monkeys, your suppliers are not wanting to do business with you for fun, they are in it to be successful. You would expect that there will be a range of prices due to their cost structures or ulterior motives (which may be to work cheaply for you if you have contacts they wish to make, or you are geographically convenient etc). The important point to consider first is what are they offering? Review this against each quote and create a short list of the best offers. Then consider the costs. Ensure you are measuring apples against apples, and that you understand what one will give you over the other.
It is rarely a good idea to take the cheapest quote in anything, but it is a good idea to evaluate the solutions comparing continually back to your ‘must have’ list. The value of web design is how well it achieves your business goals, not in how much money you saved at the outset.