Websites: You Get What You Pay For!
So you finally decided to invest in a web presence or upgrade your current site? There are many available choices in "web designers" to choose from. This decision is an important one! You may have a relative or friend of a friend who will do your web site at a very low cost from the comfort of their house. At the same time you receive a quote of a higher price from a professional design house. Who do you choose? The first instinct is to always assume the lower price is a better choice. This article will discuss why this isn't always true, and why "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!"
After 5 years of web site development, I noticed a reoccurring response when I did project estimates. That being, "My sisters' neighbors' cousins' daughter has a friend who will do it for $300!"
Lets cover a few examples of the difference between an inexpensive, inexperienced "web dude" and a professional developer.
Throughout my experience in estimating websites, I have learned some valuable lessons. It's easy for the customer to look at the bottom line number on an estimate. What's more important however, is that the customer knows and understands exactly what they are getting for their money. There should never be any misunderstanding between a developer and a customer in regards to what exactly the project entails. The experience of the designer affords him/her to accurately estimate and communicate every aspect of the project to the customer. This avoids the very common customer concern of, "I thought that was included in the price!".
The relationship between a developer and their customer is very important. The more the customer understands and knows about the technology, methodology and limitations, the more comfortable they will feel. A professional developer understands that their customers are not "techies" for the most part, and beyond "surfing" the internet, they may not be aware of their options, or understand development terminology. A professional developer will offer terminology definitions, explanations, and details. The customer should understand every aspect of the scope of work, and understand why certain programming languages or methods are used.
The success of the project lifecycle and its implementation is a direct reflection of the planning and pre-development decisions made.
A professional developer focuses on the "big picture" from the very beginning stages. A developer should never assume anything in regards to what the customer wants. Professional planning encompasses documentation, flow charts, site layouts to name a few, and most importantly, inclusion of the customer throughout the planning. Knowing what the customer wants and expects is the key factor. This can be accomplished through surveying of the customer for information, including getting to understand their business, their mission, their vision, their likes and dislikes about other sites, and who their competitors are. The time spent on this is invaluable.
Communication between the developer and the customer is critical for the success of the project. A "web dude" will assume too much without consulting the customer, or involving them in decisions. A professional communicates and documents every aspect of the project life cycle. This gives the customer the ability to be involved as much as they want, giving them a feeling of inclusion and reassuring them they made the right decision in hiring a pro. Detailed communication and documentation of conversations and decisions, ensures that all involved are "on the same page". This helps to derail issues and misunderstandings upon completion of the project.
Every "web dude" thinks they are great designers. Professional developers prove they are! This proof comes with vast experience, successful project completions, and a history of customer satisfaction. There are many different variables to consider when designing the "look" of a web site. Consideration is given to the company branding, or visually showcasing their "vision", and most importantly, understanding what the target market is, and what that market likes. A "web dude" will generally use the same methods and design basics for all the sites he/she does. This is all good and dandy, except that they don't reflect the image of their clients. You wouldn't expect a doctor's website to have the same "look and feel" of a high-energy nightclub, would you? Great design gives character and individuality to a web site.
Behind the scenes
Choosing your developer - summary
A couple key notes to remember when decision time comes are:
- Look beyond the estimated price before making your decision!
- How long has the developer been in business and will they be in business when support is needed?
- Every developer MUST have a portfolio of completed work! Take the time to view the portfolio and the success of those sites.
- Who are/were their customers? Has this designer ever done a project similar to the size and scope of yours?
- Is the developer easily accessible for questions, meetings, or general concerns?
- Will the developer be available in the future for support?
Although the analogy may be overused, I submit a comparison between a web site development project and the construction of a house. Although two houses may look identical in many ways on the outside upon completion, the real level of quality is apparent in what lies within. Solid construction, infrastructure, and quality of material are what give the home its true value. Just like a web site requires solid programming, functionality, dependability, management, and ease of scalability.
About the Author:
How do I know so much about this? My career in web development started 6 years ago, and by all respects I was a "web dude". Through trial and error, and over 50 web sites later, I have successfully become a professional developer by following these standards.
Professional Web Developer
Selecting a Web Content Management Product
So you want to take a look at a real Web Content Management (WCM) product. How do you go about evaluating all the different products and vendors? What should you be looking for in a WCM package? Is it better to build your own, buy or use Open Source?The best way to answer this question is to compare the products on an apples to apples basis.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Website
In the time that I have been using the Internet, (since 1996) I have seen a lot of websites. I have seen a lot of good websites and I have seen a lot that were just plain awful.
5 Ways to Build a Website
If you are like me you have wanted to build a website but didn't know how!Why?Because you haven't learned htmlBecause it costs too much to have someone do it
for you.The software you have found is too complicatedYou just didn't have the time or patience to read
the 500-page manualThere was no one to teach you how to do it.
Running An Effective Website
Running an effective website is a continuous process. I have compiled five (5) ways of doing it on a regular basis.
Getting One-way Inbound Links: the 5 Major Strategies
With search engines putting a damper on direct reciprocal links, the hunt for the elusive one-way inbound link is on.As someone who works with small business website owners, I've heard just about every inbound-linking scheme there is.
The Top Ten Benefits of Having a Web Site
Do you need a web site? Are you considering getting one but are unsure? Here we take a look at the main reasons why a web site could be beneficial to your organisation.1) It will give you the competitive edgeIf you do not have a web site people cannot visit it - an obvious point you might say.
50 Ways To Use Your Website
A website is the most versatile and cost-effective marketing tool on the market. It is also an investment.
3 Reasons Why You Need URL Rewriting Module To Enchance Your Web
URL rewriting are major needs for your sites that produce a dynamic pages like PHP pages with redirection pages inside your index page.What is APACHE URL Mod Rewrite ?URL Mod Rewrite is a Apache web server module that can manipulate your URL on fly when a visitors join your URL pages.
Before starting on how to design a website effectively, how about clearing some basic web design concepts? Designing Effectively
Now that you know what web design and related terms mean, lets get down to the real thing: Designing Effectively How to balance artistic design with practicality and functionality.
Cost Effective and Powerful Dynamic Websites w. Fantastico Web Hosting
If you are developing your website on a host that charges less that $5 a month, make plenty of backups as you are likely to loose your website files when the webhost goes out of business without notice. Indeed, be extremely wary of any such host.
Why Your Brick-and-Mortar Biz Needs A Website
The internet has taken over our lives with a vengeance, and has changed the way many of us do business. More and more consumers are now doing their shopping online and, unfortunately, some business owners have felt the pinch.
Instant Relevant Web Site Content - No Its Not a Bot
In about the Time it takes to Watch a Reality TV Show
(About 1 Hour) I added 10 Pages of Relevant Content to my
Web Page without a Bot.Adding content to your Page Fast is Easy with the Use of
Free Articles you Can Reprint.
How to Draw Icons or Images on a Mapserver Generated Map
In this example I have used the map of the Itasca demo of the Mapserver.
I have done only small changes to the map file.
Having a Domain Name And Web Site Gives Your Business The Key To The Door
Just like all things in life, the ways to run a business are rapidly changing and evolving. The potential involved with having a domain name/web site is staggering to say the least.
What is SQL?
What is SQL? SQL stands for Structured Query Language and is the lingua franca in the database world. SQL is a standard that is used by all database vendors and programmers to define, extract and access the information that is stored in databases.
7 Questions to Understand Your Customer Better
Customer service questionnaires can help your clients better understand their requirements. Your clients can benefit by:* Focusing on immediate project requirements
* Increased awareness of budgeted time and finances
* Better understanding of project goals
* Setting priorities of essential project features
* Planning for project post-implementation phaseOn the other hand, you as a service provider will have a clearer understanding of what your clients want.
Ten Ways NOT to Set Up a Website-based Service Business
1. As the first step, "Hire a web designer.
Web Success Secret - Keep Your Visitors Interested
Visitors to your site come looking for information or solutions
to their problems. They will remain there if they find what they are looking for.
Learn to Build a Better Online Business Website Using Keywords and Content
Are you aware that 90% of the websites on the Internet today are a waste of time and space. You have probably been on some of the sites I am referring to.
Trust Us! Sending Credible Messages
A company must earn and keep trust or sales don't happen. Imagine that last Sunday, while you were reading the paper, you saw an ad for a great deal on a digital camera.