How much does it cost to build a website?
This is the most common question we are asked by individuals, start-up Companies, large corporates, schools and institutions in Nairobi, Kenya and East Africa.
Our immediate answer is always geared at explaining that we do not have a standard rate card because as similar as websites may seem, they are different – subtle, overt – they may be visual, they may be functional but no website is exactly a clone of another.
In order to establish a client’s needs, our first step is always to obtain a brief. This is a clear indication of the client’s needs in order to establish the key function and purpose of the website. Briefs tend to morph after the initial briefing meeting because we ask our clients questions that give direction and meaning to the process, more often than not, questions they had not thought relevant to the project.
The following are the 4 key questions you need to answer in your brief before you set out in search of a web developer:
- What are the objectives of our communications strategy?
A communications strategy details the brand language and the brand behavior in a way that dictates copy and visuals that the brand is to associate itself with.
Further, it provides the reasons why a brand needs to communicate to its target clientele in the manner indicated. This way, if visuals need to be kept soft and the language persuasive, there is a sounding board that speaks to the designer and developer as to why and this enables the team to stay in line.
Questions that help: Who are our clients? What need do they want us to fulfill? How can we establish confidence in them that we are the right people to work with? What frustrates our clients most when sourcing for our or similar products/services? How can we tailor our communication to reduce/ get rid of this frustration?
- What is the purpose of the website?
As with everything marketing, a purpose must be established for each collateral item. The Company website tops this list. The common assumption is that every Company must have a website – we tell our clients that this is not true. While having an online presence is imperative to any organization that exists for profit purposes, some organizations would actually benefit more from establishing their presence in the social circles of facebook and instagram. Here, they are better placed to communicate and receive feedback in a manner that is beneficial to them and their clientele rather than have static information that drives their dynamic audience nuts!
Questions that help: How do our clients get to know about us? What is our most effective sale conversion method? Why do our clients choose us vs our competition? What information are our clients most interested in about our industry? What is the easiest way for our clients to reach us?
- What is our Content?
Contrary to popular habit, a website (like a vehicle) requires maintenance, cleaning, updating and constant management. Because the common approach is not to have a purpose fact sheet, most organizations develop websites and then walk out and close the door firmly behind them – task complete – many even throw away the key (completely forget how to log into their CMS/ don’t bother to store that information).
A website requires careful planning and organization prior to construction with these two being top on the priority list: i. High quality photos ii. Properly written copy (not just copy and paste from the profile) geared for web reading/scanning.
Beyond the construction, hosting must be paid for on time, a proper SEO set up established, fresh updated properly prepared and uploaded in a timely manner within the agreed upn frequency timeframes and the back end regularly monitored for updates or plug in requirements.
Questions that help: Do we have the funds prior to commencing the web design and development project? Do we have the material ready?
- What are our expectations?
Set reasonable expectations that are attainable by your team, your budget and the designer within a reasonable timeframe.
If your budget is small, expect that the website will probably be an off the shelf template with your brand details only as the customized element.
If your budget is large and your requirements just as large – expect that you cannot reasonably work on ‘we needed this by yesterday’ timeframes.
Using your goal and purpose for the website, prepare a checklist of expectations that you can analyze once the project is complete. This analysis will provide an actual verses expected snapshot that will guide your future collateral projects down a more realistic path.
Questions that help: Based on our purposes for the site, how much do we expect it to make in sales conversions? (the answer to this should be your budget guide)/What are our key requirements? (this should guide your timelines)
At AKSENT, we understand the value of great design, structure and planning in the creative marketing process and so do our clients.
Our expertise in branding, marketing, design, information architecture, and strategy allows AKSENT to create websites that achieve clients’ goals and surpass their expectations.