The truth about the cost of websites
Many people looking to get a website will often be confused with why there is such a variance in the cost of websites. They will initially encounter web designers who propose to get their entire websites done for as little as 10k, all the way to several hundreds of thousands and often they won’t understand why this is so.
So how can you ensure that you get value for your money, avoid being duped and and eventually get a sucky website? There are 3 key factors that play a role in the pricing of websites:
1. Skill level of the web designer
It goes without saying that once you’ve found a web designer you will checkout their portfolio and make sure you like their works and design style. additionally you will want to checkout how long they’ve been doing this for and how many projects they’ve handled. Also are they really a web designer or a broker?
What you will find is that the longer their experience and the more projects they’ve handled the more likely they are to be more stable and are in this for the long-term and that this is a full time job for them, which is really what you want when you call on them a few years down the line. However with this stability and experience comes a more expensive person since not only are you more certain to get a great looking website based on your original concept but you are also likely to be happy with the overall service.
In addition to what is mentioned above an experienced designer can help you solve some real business problems using the website since they are also involved in their own marketing and sales efforts.
2. Level of service you require
I’ve met people who initially explained to their web designer that all they needed was something “very simple” or “just standard”. Now often they will say this during the initial negotiation phases so that they get the best deal. Additionally while they might get several quotes and then go with the cheapest usually they haven’t communicated the full scope of the project other than the usual standard features. The problem with this is that once the project is underway their very basic project suddenly becomes a high maintenance project with multiple changes and multiple people from the organization and even friends of the client that will start giving them their input and suddenly you start modifying the concept you wanted initially into something else, needless to say this now costs the designer their time and pretty soon (since this was a fixed scope project) they start loosing money and start dragging their heels and looking for their next project elsewhere. The best way to avoid this however is to ensure you know what you really want, look at other websites and get the concept you want then secondly involve your other stake holders during the initial meeting with the designer to ensure they all communicate the ideas they have across during this initial meeting. then finally you can agree on a good price for both you and the designer.
In certain cases you might not have the full scope of the project in mind or you might be representing a board or directors who for some reason don’t want to involve themselves in the creative meetings especially in the beginning. Whenever you have this the best solution as an organization is to simply pay on a per hour basis which will obviously be more expensive but its the cost of being able to execute different ideas from different stakeholders or to get the full scope of the project where a clear one doesn’t exist in the beginning.
Personally I like splitting the project into 4 stages. The 1st where we discuss with all stakeholders and get the concept. The 2nd stage where I produce the initial version of the website then the clients can see the initial design and give their input (again all stake holders present to ensure all ideas are captured). Then a 3rd stage where their changes are implemented and the rest of the website is done. Finally a 4th finetuning stage after the launch for an additional 30 days to iron out any additional issues.
3. Scope of work
Although I left this for last it’s also one of the most important things that will affect the cost of your website. Any experienced web designer has obviously been asked to design a Facebook knockoff with 2 or 3 special features and the real kicker was when they heard how much the person was willing to pay…now you know why some designers throw tantrums especially if they initially agreed to such a project unless it was all just for fun.
Scope of work for a website project will often involve detailing to the minute level what you want to see at the end of the day and not just some vague generality. It’s often best to open a similar website and point out a specific exact feature if you have one in mind than just mention it verbally in the passing. One of the things that I like to do when scoping out the project during the initial meeting is to not only open specific websites but to also sketch out the website and the different pages based on your concept. What I’ve found is that once everyone is looking at the screen and also once it’s on paper there is a higher level of clarity.
Hopefully this has opened your eyes to understanding the true cost of what goes into a website. If you are looking for more insight or have a few more questions please get in touch with me here.
A Look at 3 Interesting Animated Side Ad Banners
First off, Most of these ad banners were either featured on related websites e.g. small business and tech websites for the tech products and others were mainly re-targeting ads I’d seen based on previous research, this means they didn’t need to provide a lot of descriptive information like for instance explaining what is QuickBooks and what does it do. These appeared on sidebars of other websites, mainly content websites like forbes.com. Most of these we swapped in mid 2016.
The cleanest of the 3 below is obviously the QuickBooks banner, which highlights both the new offer “40% off” and also the call to action “buy now” since it’s sold online. The Headline they choose to highlight their benefit is also interesting to look at “Easy accounting for SMBs”. Although personally the only reason I would use QuickBooks could be 3 fold: 1.”The most Popular accounting software” 2.”used by over 1,000,000 companies” and 3.”The standard software tool for most accountants, hence lower costs managing your company’s books”. That said, as with all ads, they probably tested their strongest benefits and used the other benefits on the other slides of the animation.
The use of animated banners was obviously powerful in getting noticed quickly on the websites they were advertised on.
An Amazing Sales Page Design Swipe
Recently I was checking out a sales page for an offer from Grant Cardone and unlike most sales pages you can tell he’s spending quite a bit to have the modern look and personalization which I should beleive is helping with increasing the conversions on the page. I just had to swipe it for that reason alone. Unlike most sales pages the page isn’t all that long, they’ve cut out segments like explaining who this is etc probably because the page is being seen by people who already know who this is and who have been following his work, so the page is going straight for the close.
What 6 Strategic Features Should You Focus on In a Standard Website?
I’ve recently found that many people who ask me about getting a basic standard website also wished to know what goes into such a website or at the very least the things they should take care of to ensure their website is a success. This article aims to enlighten you on some of the key elements that you should focus on. Please send me your feedback and other questions you may have.
1. Clear Goal & Call To Action
As you get started on your simple website this will be your most important element which is simply understanding the ultimate course of action that you want people or prospects visiting your website to take. A simple action maybe that you want them to call you or that you want them to fill a form and then you will contact them latter.
Once you understand this then your content, your pages and your visitor journey through the website will be directed toward this goal of getting them to take this primary action. Without this clarity from the very beginning we will be blind and directionless.
2. Strategic Design
The design of the website obviously plays a crucial role. What you don’t want is a website template that is simply slapped with your content that doesn’t really advance your partners or potential clients down the buying funnel.
An example of this is using a slider because it’s the cool thing and your friends will be impressed by this without understanding that this prime real estate on the website is the first thing a website visitor will see and should be used to convince potential clients on why they should stick around.
3. A Simple To Use Management System
The next important thing to have in place is a simple to use content management system, this is what enables you without much training to be able to update your website easily, and keep your website content fresh and up to date.
An automatically updating system is also a plus since this will keep your website software up to date and secure.
4. Compelling Content
Most people are quick to say that they have all the content about their organization ready or that it is easy to come up with it. However as many realize latter this is one of those things during a website project that can hold up the progress as the designer waits for promised content which takes too long to put together since you are busy as well. One of the things you can commission the designer to do as well is help you with crafting the content as well.
In addition to this the content should be re-purposed in a way that it compels your prospects to choose you. What we are saying is that the content has to come in two forms one is the normal content development describing your organization etc and two the copy that’s meant to sell you. However the 2 forms are also fused together compiling the content.
5. Good Photography
If you have ever gone to a website that made you go “wow”, chances are that that website had amazing photography and old photos were well cleaned. Good photography is often the difference between the good and the great websites out there.
The most captivating type of photos are often of people, done as close-ups with some cleaning & editing applied to the photos. If you do take your own photos or have product photos make sure you also provide them to your designer in the highest resolution possible and in their raw form. Compromising on this is simply compromising on your own website.
6. Easily Accessible Contact Information
There are two locations to place your contact information for highest visibility. One is right on the header area of the website and the next spot in the contact us age. The former is the most valuable as this will be seen on every page and no matter what page the visitor in on when they decide they want to contact you they will be able to get to your contact without having to hunt your contacts down.
With these six areas taken care of you should have a pretty good standard website design in your hands to get you going with your online promotion. I will soon publish what else you can get in more advanced websites. Please send me your feedback and other questions you may have.
How to drive more people from facebook to your website in less than a minute
Lately I’ve been receiving this question from several clients about how they can quickly drive more people on facebook (Fb) to their site other than of course adding their website link in the facebook page profile.
If you are thinking about this you might be just curious or you may be serious about engaging your Fb users and getting more of them interested in what you offer. So how do you do this in a quick way several times in a day?
First off your site would have to have a blog, news or resources page available in order for this to work. Next ensure that each post or article on the site also has a cool featured image attached. The 3 things this article or post should have are:
- A compelling headline that is of great interest to your audience e.g. if you are a medical practioner it could be ‘how to know if that lump is cancer’. The headline is the most important part of your story; this is what will cause them to stop and read your story.
- A first paragraph that ends with a hook. Going with the obvious example this could be ‘Have you or a family member had any unexplained lumps on your skin that may get be hard or soft, painful or painless? Find out the signs that could indicate that this is cancer’. The goal of this first paragraph is to create interest and secondly, the first few lines or words are the ones that Fb will capture and display in other people’s timelines.
- A captivating photo that will capture the readers. This goes hand in hand with the ‘catchy’ headline in making sure it stops readers right on their tracks.
Once your article is done it is now time to publish it in Fb and to do this simply go to the article page on your site and copy the URL or link to this particular story then go to Fb and where you post your new messages paste this link and publish.
What happens next is that Fb will automatically pull your headline, photo and a portion of your first paragraph into Facebook and this will appear on the timelines of people who have also liked your page.
Now the next time readers see your compelling title and click to read more they will be directed to your website where they can finally read the article and also learn more about your practice.
Once you have several of these articles then posting and relating them on Fb should be as easy as copy, paste and publish and in less than a minute you’ll be in on your way to faster growth.
Now while there’s obviously more to this, this is probably the simplest way to get started and get going in driving more people to your site.
Top Valentines Day Banner Designs & Offers
Having enjoyed writing about the swap of the website I pulled from my 2015 swap files last time and with Valentines Day around the corner I’ve decided to pull out a few swaps with this particular theme.
First off lets view a 2016 valentine’s offer banner that I swiped from ‘Transformers Chapel’. Now I haven’t really checked if they have done any banners for this year but this looked really nice that I swapped it at the time.
Most of the online banners that i’ll often swap with are those that really stop you on your tracks and pull you in, which is really what you want anyway before you can then communicate your message.
The next one below is from Ythera.co.ke which is an online store for romantic gifts. While there isn’t much to write home about in terms of their website, the Facebook banners they have been doing have been really cool. Just check out the banner below
Of course the show-stopper is the lady … then the unique pose they use … then the message which is in sync with their brand and that just says it all. Nice to see how they avoided red for the font and used pink to rhyme with her dress, Perhaps the only thing i’d change slightly is the blurred font. They have also done several other banners like the one above.
The beauty of the ad is the optimistic idea for potential customers particularly gentlemen who may feel like they have discovered where to get that perfect Valentine’s gift without making a big blunder.
So … are you working on your valentine’s offer for your clients or prospects? Perhaps we can ‘swap’ an idea or two from other industries too.
How to Drive More People Online Using Shorter Links On Your Adverts & Offline Promo Pieces
Have you ever had a new flyer or an advert done that you didn’t want to link to your website’s homepage but to a special landing page or article on your website? For instance if you are promoting an event, then you may want people to go to a particular page where they can see more information about the event including what would motivate them further to register for the event.
Generally the link to your specific event post on your website will be longer so this could end up looking like www.myeventscompany.com/upcoming-mixer-in-westlands. What you will probably notice here is that the link is already so long and most people won’t be motivated to visit the events page online.
The 2 quick methods you can use here to give people quick access are by:
1. shortening the url
Anyone can quickly do this using any of the many url shortening services available online like bit.ly so that you end up with a much shorter link like 3bit.ly/2kbM703
Additionally you can also get a customized short url for your own domain for instance myeventscompany.com could become myvnts.ly which would enable you to maintain your branding consistency accross multiple plattforms.
2. use a Qr code on the print flyer or advert
This is also another viable option, of course the people accessing this will need to have their own qr code reader already installed on their phones, then their only job would be to quickly scan your ad and access more information online instantly. You can easily create your own Qr code using any of the many free services like qr-code-generator.com
Part of the motivation to use any of the 2 afore mentioned services is that:
- You gain more insight into how many people are actively engaging with your promotional piece which would help you determine which promotional pieces work best, so that you can run those pieces more frequently.
- You could use this to try to get them to sign up for a free offer so that you an remarket them using more affordable channels instead of having to keep spending a lot on expesnive marketing channels.
Whatever your reasons maybe, shortening the links on offline media pieces and adverts that cant be quickly clicked to access a long link to an article, landing page or sales page will definately help improve your ‘access rate’ online.
How To Come up With Some Amazing Concepts For Your Next Website
Part of my creative process has always been spurred by what I see on the web on a day to day basis. Whenever I find a site whose design, copy, call to actions, structure or strategy I like, I simply do a screen capture of the site and save it for latter.
Great Artists Steal, Swipe & Deploy
Then on the occasion when am working on a new project and my mind goes blank I dig into this bank of designs & concepts that I’d captured before to ‘borrow’ an idea or two – add my own flavor and voila we have a new design that you can’t usually tell looking at the original since I’ll often usually just borrow a small aspect – like maybe I liked the way they did their footer or the way they worded a particular call to action.
That said here is one site that made into my swipe file in 2015 see below each image for a more detailed description why swapped this site.
So this was their previous site – which I’d swapped sometime in 2015. When I first opened their website I instantly undestood their product – notice how they used very few words to put this message across
I just swapped this in 2017 – interesting how they found a way to make the site even more clear in communicating the 3 step process to using their service. Also that top area where they ask for your number now covers your viewport / computer screen top to bottom when you first open the website to drive more people to take this one action first.
So while to people who only love design these might not really look that cool, if you visit this actual site here you will see how their main focus is in communicating their message quickly and getting you to take the next action and not much else – which is their core objective.
Going through lots of sites like these and saving those that have an ‘interesting’ idea gives me lots of ideas to use everytime am working on a project and also helps the clients because they are introduced to new creative concepts and ideas and better ways to make their websites work for them. Hopefully in the future I’ll feature more samples from my files.
Your Website: The Ultimate Lead Conversion Tool in your Marketing Arsenal
Your website is increasingly becoming the go to place where people can quickly find out more information about you and your organization. This is especially exacerbated with the proliferation of smart phones and tablets that enable people to quickly access you when they hear about you or see your ADs without the need to get behind a computer or step into a cyber. So how do you ensure that when they visit your site they will be convinced that you are the best option in the market?
So how do you ensure that when they visit your site they will be convinced that you are the best option in the market?
First off, you’ll have to understand your target market and also your ideal customer profile. It goes without saying that your site should speak to your audience; it will be easy to determine this if you have been in business for a while. However if you are just getting started then your market research and positioning strategy should be your guide.
In addition to understanding your target market you can also sketch out what your ideal customer profile or persona looks like. For instance it might be a new mother in her 40’s who has just bought a new car thats the ideal customer for your organization.
Once you have figured out your ideal market and customer profile its time to look at your website’s content. Here your understanding of your customer comes into play and you list down reasons why they should choose you over every other option available to them. This exercise should also help you determine your unique selling points.
Finaly discover your customer’s buying process and what stages they might actually be in. If you are offering a relatively new or unique solution then an explanation type approach may be best. That includes seeking to first introduce a problem the audience probably have, an overview of how you are solving that problem and then the introduction of the solution. A followup with testimonials will serve to dispense any doubts.
By now you should have in place all the materials you need to develop an amazing website – to convert any new leads into clients and customers.