I’ve been in the PR media marketing industry for over 20 years. The one thing I hear my clients ask me is how do I choose the right web developer for my brand? My advice begins “Your website is your Online Business Face. Built right and it can increase your competitive edge and in turn boost your revenue stream 10 fold. Built wrong and you could be writing off the small investment you made to begin with and starting over.”
Always assess when given a quote for services if you are receiving value for your investment. All too many people make the mistake of investing in a website that does not provide a return for the investment made. By following this small guide you will be able to determine if you are receiving value for your investment or if you are going to have to write it off and start over again.
If your site is built correctly:
- Your website should increase your revenue stream two-fold within 6-12 weeks of going online.
- Within the first 6-8mths your website should be bringing you 60-70% of your leads and sales.
- A well-functioning website should boost your revenue stream by a minimum of 5x that which you received without one.
- You should appear on the first page of Google for your website’s name within 2 weeks of going live.
- Your website should rank on the first page of Google for competitive search terms within 12 weeks of going Live. (i.e. ‘Buy Clothing NY’)
- Your website should not cost more than $600 for a simple, basic, static design of 10-15 pages as this type is uncomplicated and fairly easily created within a few hours.
- Your website will rank competitively on search engines if it is Dynamic (i.e. includes a blog with quality content or regular product additions to your online store or listings).
Here are a few things to check when planning to go live on the web with your new business, whether local or online.
Check that you are getting value for your dollar, with quality SEO included in the price and that you are registered for Local Search directories with the leading search engines…
DO NOT be led to believe that website development is complicated or takes many hours, it does not. A typical website of around 8-10 pages should take someone of intermediate ability to construct in as little as an hour per page. This includes adding image sliders and the like to improve appealing and visual attractiveness.
The only time a website should cost you more, or take more time, is when customizations and scripting is involved. This can include modifying scripted functionality, reconstructing the base theme and CSS, creating specialized custom scripts and elements or the implementing of an ecommerce platform with over a 100 products to be added.
To improve ranking and online visibility you may want to invest in having the appropriate business pages setup on the leading social networks as they are proven lead generators – if you do this ensure that links to these are visible on your website so that people can follow your business all over the web and establish your credibility/reputation as a valued company.
- A site without SEO is like having a single sock in a pair, useless.
- SEO is ‘search engine optimization’.
- SEO is what ranks your website competitively on search engine pages when a search phrase or term is entered. i.e. Person enters ‘Buy clothing NY’ – if your NY clothing company website does not rank on page one for this phrase then SEO is not correctly setup on your website.
- FACT: 99% of people do not proceed beyond the first page of search results, and will first change their search term before ever proceeding to page 2. If you are not on page one then you will not be noticed.
- SEO is critical to business success and being found online.
- Quality SEO can cost upwards of $500 per month if utilizing a qualified SEO agent
- Quality SEO will cost upwards of $300 to implement on a website correctly the first time with appropriate competitive analysis being conducted beforehand.
The leading search engines, led by Google and closely followed by Bing, recently updated their algorithms several times in the past 2 years. This means that sites that are frequently updating with fresh content and copy weekly will outrank a Static website 10:1. This update was implemented a year ago and most Static sites were upset by a drop in their site PageRank due to the new algorithms, as this meant they stopped featuring on page one of top search results for competitive search terms, and were required to update in order to again compete.
PageRank competition is very dynamic and requires frequent assessing and re-addressing of SEO meta-data that is meant to be built into every site design.
A few really important factors to weigh up before you move forward with choosing a website type…
There are 2 types of common websites: Static & Dynamic. Here is how to tell which one is which and what you get for each type.
- Almost always fully built using standard HTML (can be built on leading platforms as well, yet rarely are as this is an older method of web development).
- Most are designed on a software program like Adobe Dreamweaver which is one of the more expensive, however cheaper options including Free software are also available for building websites on. These use what web designers call WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) which is similar to good old Microsoft Word. It can be as simple as typing text into boxes, adding images, and drag and drop functionality. Rarely is any real manual coding or scripting is ever required. It is then saved in the same manner as a word doc, only to its own folder with each page having its own file and images going into their own folder. This folder package is then uploaded via FTP connection to your server and it is live.
- They are infrequently updated and content rarely changes.
- They rank lower on search engines than Dynamic sites because Dynamic sites fit the new algorithms used by Search Engines to rank and show on top search pages like Google, Bing (MSN) and Yahoo.
- Static sites should cost less – you can expect to be quoted around $600 for a Static site of approximately 10-15 pages
- On average they will cost approximately $50-80 per hour to update them.
- Static sites are usually cheaper to manage because they rarely ever change. This is also a detriment to its rank and performance.
- SEO must be manually implemented into the header of each page, thus cost you out of pocket every few months to conduct new analytics and revise search terms for which you are attempting to rank.
- Are frequently changing their content and updating with fresh, new, information every week.
- Usually have blogs that add fresh content or are used to feature specific items for the week or offer coupons.
- If website is for a store, shop or local business it may include a shopping cart where the product is updated more than a few times a month and local orders can be taken and paid for directly on the site.
- Search engines ( Google, Bing and Yahoo) LOVE Dynamic sites as they fit the new algorithms for SEO ranking on top search pages.
- Dynamic sites are flexibly built using leading platforms (like WordPress, Magento, and Prestashop) and are written in HTML5 (the next level up from HTML).
- Dynamic sites can cost upwards of $600 for a basic design and setup.
- SEO can be implemented to be self-updating thus eliminating the need for an SEO agent or paying every few months for it to be updated for ranking.
These are the leading factors by which you should be determining value for money. Address each one with your site designer and work out if you are receiving value for money, or just a cheap website that will not perform for you as it should be.
Remember your website is your Online Business Face. Built right and it can increase your competitive edge and in turn boost your revenue stream 10 fold. Built wrong and you could be writing off the small investment you made to begin with.
Be wise, be safe, choose what’s best for you based on what you wish to achieve.