The High Cost Of Cheap Development

The latest ABS statistics (2012 Annual Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australia Businesses) found that despite the high level of internet access, less than half of Australian businesses had an online presence. As an increased number of businesses start their venture online, the common question that arises is around how much they should pay for a website. Cheap websites may cost you (less), not only in lost inquiries, lost clients and lost sales (which can be somewhat reclaimed), but cost you in lost reputation and negative first impressions (which can never be reclaimed). 

Let’s first explore some of the benefits of going online:
  • If you don’t have a digital presence that can be found, to many people your business doesn’t exist. Think of your website as a shopfront, which should be inviting to encourage users to explore your business. What’s more, you should be easily found from a users search as many consumers search for a business online before anything else.
  • Having an online presence means your business’s doors are open 24/7, whether that is as a source of information or to purchase your product.
  • Your social media presence enables customers to become fans of the brand and show their support in a public forum, whilst enabling you to respond to feedback very efficiently.
  • Effectively utilising digital media can reduce business costs, both in digital marketing compared to traditional, as well as the ability to streamline business processes.
  • Most of your digital marketing can be targeted and their results measured. From this you’re able to respond to these results in a much more efficient manner than other types of marketing.
  • Your digital presence enables you to reach a greater audience, even a global market, opening opportunities for increased revenue.

For all these reasons, you can understand that your online presence is an important asset to your company. Increasingly, people use a web search as the first step to finding a business or organisation. This makes your web presence an important first point of contact with your customers, supporters and donors. A Stanford  University study (“Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility”) have shown that a visitor will decide if they like the site and your business within 1-2 seconds, it also went on further to say that 40% of visitors will base your business on the presentation of your website. This study indicates the importance of producing a well thought out and developed digital strategy. Who should you turn to in order to produce and implement this strategy?
Consider the following about your web developer:
  • Do they listen to your suggestions? You’re an expert in your industry, so your web developer needs to strategise based on your insights and make suggestions to enhance what you have to say.
  • Will your developer provide access to the source files of the website? Avoid getting locked into a particular firm, which can cause all sorts of issues if for some reason you need to get digital work done elsewhere. You have paid for the work, why not get full access?
  • Does your developer have experience in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? They can produce a great product, however without implementing the best practices in SEO, your website won’t be found organically in search engines.
  • Is your developer working with modern technology? The web industry changes almost daily. For example, do they develop responsive websites where the website scales from desktop to tablet to mobile, enabling a user of any device to view the same content with ease?
  • Perhaps you have existing technology that needs to integrate into your digital campaign. Does the developer have the technical expertise to work within your selected framework? 
  • If you are going to require ongoing support & maintenance look for a well-established agency rather than a freelancer.

Website development can vary enormously in cost from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Quality freelance developers can cost around $2500, while agencies can start from $4000. Cost usually varies with services offered, quality and complexity so make sure that you get a number of quotes to ensure that you are paying an appropriate price for the solution you are seeking. A website should be looked at as an investment and you get what you pay for so the quality of a website under $2000 would have to be questioned. With the right site, it can give you a quality online presence for over 4 years.

By Adam Pasfield
Adam is the co-founder and Executive Director of leading digital agency, New Business Media (NBM); the youngest ever winner of the Gold Coast Business Excellence Award. Adam’s qualifications and experience in International Finance and Information Technology have led NBM to a client base of over 500 successful Australian organisations including national brands to SME’s.

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