What do you really need on your website

Last 7 Studios | 05-22-2012
What do you really need on your website? This is unique to every website but the theory is somewhat consistent across most websites. There are the usual things like your phone number, email address, and content that are always things that a website should contain but what else is there, how do you know what you need and how expensive is it? If you are concerned with cost, a good way to keep website cost down is to limit the amount of pages on the website. But before you get started it is a good practice to develop a site map with your web designer. This allows you to hash out what you need in the way of technologies and development, and will help you better understand what is involved in building your website. Below is a brief list of some of the services and technologies that you might require on your quest to build your perfect website, with a general idea of what they cost.

Flash: Flash is a very powerful technology that has many applications. Usually moving graphics or animation on the web are built within this coding environment. Flash can absolutely make a website pop-out from its competition. But, flash is a labor intensive so big flash projects tend to greatly increase the price tag of the website. Some research has shown that too much flash on a website can take away from the true purpose of the website. The idea here is to keep any flash driven elements of a website to a minimum. If you determine that you want flash on your website, be prepared to pay a little extra for it and be prepared to be patient. Average cost of Flash work is $500 per hour

Mobile version: Today everyone seems to have a smart phone. If you have a website you should absolutely take advantage of this. In most cases, creating a mobile version is relatively inexpensive. The process of paring down a your existing website to its most basic components is where you should start with this. Having too much information in a mobile version can hurt the sites usability in the same way as having to little information. Simply put you will never regret having a mobile version of your website but you may regret not having one. Average cost of a Complete Mobile site is around $500.00

Logo Design / Branding: It is always a good idea to have a brand identity. The key here is to have this done before developing the website. This allows the website to be built around your color scheme, thus creating a consistent feel to your brand identity. There are more than a few websites that have competing colors on their website that can cause confusion in their customers.

Content Writing: When it comes to websites it is all about the content and that can include so much more than just words on a page. One of the first questions you have to ask is, are you going to write the content yourself? or are you going to hire another company to create it for you. Developing content can become very time consuming and there is a specific process. If you have limited time it might make sense to have someone else write it for you.

Content Management System (CMS): A CMS or content management system, is a site that is built so that the owner of the site can add or change the content on the website without having to pay a web designer to do it. There are many different types and levels of CMS avaialbe to day. Some of the more popular CMS's available today are Joomla and Wordpress. Both of these are free to install and feature generic templates of designs. Custom CMS's costs more than standard websites to build upfront, but can save you money, and time in the future. The key things to ask yourself here are will I be comfortable editing the website myself? Will I have the time to edit the website myself? How often will I need to edit the website?

Shopping Cart: Some companies sell directly from their website via a shopping cart. Good shopping carts aren't cheap but when you consider the amount of people that could find your products online and purchase them then the investment is small. That being said if you aren't planning to spend any money on search engine optimization then consider this cost closely as the traffic to the website will be low and so will the return on your investment. Other costs involved with a shopping cart are a payment gateway (credit card processing) and SSL (secure socket layering) hosting to protect yours and your customers personal information.

SEO (search engine optimization):Search Engine Optimization is the backbone of being found on the internet today. The key to deciding on what type of SEO you will need is to decide how you will be using the website. If you are merely using the website as a way to get information to potential customers that you have sourced from more traditional forms of advertising (Billboards, print adds, TV ads) then you really won't need SEO. An example of this would be a carpenter who uses his website to show a potential new customer that was referred to him by a friend the quality of his work without having to travel. He could simply direct the potential customer to his website to see a portfolio of his work. If you are using the website to capture new customers and increase sales then you absolutely need to have SEO on the website so that people and search engines can find your website before they find your competition's.

There are many other things to consider when building your website, too many to list in one article. And consider what we say here as a guideline, not law, as many companies have many policies and costs will vary from company to company. If you have any comments or suggestions please post them below in the comments and we will reply.
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