What's the site purpose, required content (text/images/video), the audience and specific features you need? Factor in your constraints of budget and time, then add on site maintenance and hosting costs.
A simple checklist for starting out on building your new website. Not an exhaustive list, but gives you some idea of what goes in to building even a small website: - What's the point? - Who's it for? - What functionality do we need? - What constraints do we have?
- What is your main message or function?
- What's the point - is there a value to your audience and will you get any return on this?
- Is your content useful and understandable?
- Who is this site aimed at? Do you understand your main audience groups?
- What are the main goals that each audience group will want to achieve?
- Have you identified search keywords that are best suited to your business needs? Search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc) are a very important audience for you; not only can they help your audience find you, but they also offer a valuable channel for advertising.
- Do you want to track visitors to your site? You can view statistics for visitor volume, find out their geographic location and even estimate your audience's demographics. If you want to track visitors using a 3rd party system (such as Google Analytics) then you'll need to obtain all site visitors' permission (one of those annoying pop-up banners).
Do you want a simple, single page site (least cost)? Or do you need a managed system (CMS), with all the additional features it can offer: - Do you blog or frequently release news articles? - Would you need a calendar of events? - Are you selling products? Do you intend online retail to be your main revenue stream? - Do you need to present lots of data - indexed/searchable lists, graphs, maps, tables etc? - Do you need social media integration and/or host discussion forums? - Do you need to establish a publishing workflow?
- Is there a target demographic, with a specific 'type' of look needed?
- What other websites do you like and would be keen to compete with?
- Do you have corporate branding materials (colours, logo, typeface) or a style guide already.
- How big is your site going to be? Each site needs to have a host server - essentially a bit of disk space on a computer (server) permanently connected to the internet. You usually rent by the month - paying more for a higher spec server, more disk/memory space and more visitors to your site.
- What are you going to call yourself? Each site needs a domain name - ours is cognimatic.com - and you register/purchase the domain name in blocks of 12 months.
A website is for life, not just for Christmas... You need to factor in costs to keep your site alive: hosting, domain registration etc, and develop a strategy on how to update, refresh and add new content to keep your audiences engaged.
And some of you reading this page are thinking "how much will this cost me?" well - if you can confidently answer each of the above questions, then you could purchase an out of the box solution at low-cost. You could have a lot of fun on the way (we do), but it will probably take a lot of your time. And you might get some of the basics a bit wrong to start with.
There's a short blog article on estimated costs: it's not a fixed model for our own pricing structure, but it should give you an idea of what to expect. Contact us for a quote. Or just contact us. We can probably help.