20 September 2017
Hi, Ferdaus here, from Neu Entity.
People often ask why getting a website done can cost you anywhere between 500 to 500 thousand dollars. To illustrate my point, let me describe two very contrasting examples, from two ends of the spectrum.
First one is how you can get a website done for well, actually lesser than 500 and the second one would be an example of how it’ll be like when you hire a full blown agency.
One thing to note is that I’ll be talking from an experience point of view. Meaning as the person who wish to get the website done, what is the experience going through the process.
OK first one.
So, you have a company and you need a website. Here are couple of very simple steps you can take:
– Get on squarespace.com
– Sign up for an account
– Pick a template you like
– Fill in the blanks with your content and upload your images
– Launch it
Oh and link it to your domain so you look legit and you’re good! Done.
You probably spent like 50 bucks for the domain and the first month’s payment on the platform. By the way, the only reason I mentioned squarespace is because I love their branding. I think they’ve done a good job with it but any DIY website builders work the same way.
That’s it. Pretty straightforward, huh?
Okay, how does it look like on the opposite side of the spectrum?
What I’m about to describe is a real process that I had a chance to go through when I was working with a rather big M&C in my previous job.
First of all, you gotta figure out how to put an RFP together. Put out a bad RFP and no agency is gonna reply you. An RFP is a Request for Proposal. Alternatively it may be called ITQ (invitation to quote).
Whatever it is, you gotta do some work first.
Then, you need to call up shortlisted agencies and invite them to bid. And these agencies will probably send their account manager or sales person to come and pitch. You gotta observe their capabilities, team, work examples and so on. You probably want to ask them for their diagnosis, as in, how will they approach and solve this problem, or what you have envisioned your website to accomplish.
And very often, they’ll charge for this. So you gotta pay them for their upfront discovery session.
Once you have selected your agency of choice, get your legal team involved to go through contracts, NDAs and other paperwork. Then you are officially engaged with an agency to get your website done.
All that probably takes 1 to 2 months. Now, the fun starts.
There will be a kick off meeting. A formal one in their office downtown, and an informal one — where they’ll probably take you to a nice dinner at Marina Bay Sands or something to introduce the team and get to know everyone involved. Actually, very few people are involved.
From here on in, assuming you are the project liaison on your company’s side, you get to work with a project manager on timelines and deliverables. Gantt charts and all come in to play.
On to building the site itself, the agency will go through an elaborate process to build the site — from strategy to information architecture, UX stories, design, functionalities, content, photography and so on. Depending on what you’re paying for until the site gets built up over time.
Next is the review phase or what they would call the USER ACCEPTANCE TEST (UAT) — and if you are not the project sponsor ie. the decision maker, be prepared to get sandwiched between your boss and the agency, there might be really irritating squabbles when it comes to expectations and deliverables. And be prepared to go through negotiations on extending the deadline, paying more money and so on.
Assuming all those go well, you’ll go live with a site that most of the stakeholders are OK with.
There must be a sweet spot somewhere between the first example and this one right? I mean, if you go for DIY website builder or maybe a junior freelancer who may still be learning the ropes, you may not get the full potential of what your website can provide for your business.
On the other hand. Big agency level projects might just too far fetched for you, right?
Ok so here’s our version. It’s basically a lean, and concise version of the agency approach.
Alright, there’s merit to a large part of the agency model, but there’s a huge inflated price, coz obviously, they’ve gotta pay for lots of heads, those nice dinners. That nice office space in town and so on.
It’s just 8 simple steps…
1. We will do a free consultation. no obligations. This is to discuss your objectives, your business, and how a website can be a key component in your sales funnel, and the business as a whole. It’s basically to understand how it all works together.
2. Then if all goes well and you’re interested to engage with us. There’ll be a bit of admin, proposals. Then, contracts and downpayment. Then, we kick off the project.
3. We start with a discovery session that’ll only last a couple of hours, with clear goals outlined at the start, which will be met at the end of the session.
4. next, user experience and information architecture. Basically, it’s your site map and wireframes or in other words — how will we arrange your information and content so your website is optimised and is fully aligned with your audience.
5. Then we’ll do the design phase – if you have brand guidelines, we’ll work with those. If not, we’ll create a visual language for you that you can actually apply throughout your brand touchpoints, not just website
6. Next — development: This is where the magic happens. The transformation of the design. Everything you’ve seen so far will come to life on an actual website. Built on good efficient code base. And this is important coz it will contribute to a more delightful user experience.
Oh, and we’ll do your on site SEO in this phase as well. So that google will pick you up when people search for your key words.
7. Then it’s UAT – usually about 1 to 2 weeks to do any kinds of tweaking and fine tuning so you really have a site you’re super proud of before we launch it.
8. Next it’s on to go live and support — the team will run through the go live protocol — which involves backups, emergency response, testing and so on. By now you can happily announce your site in sync with press releases or social media blasts or email blasts and whatnot.
That’s it. No fluff, no unnecessary steps… every step is required to produce a high quality, effective and professionally built web experience for your visitors, which should drive you a lot more awareness on your brand and eventually revenue for your business.
So we’ve talked about how things look like on those two extreme sides — the super cheap and fast version. And the extremely expensive, complex, politically complicated process of the big agency model.
And I’ve shared very briefly what I think is a pretty decent process to get your website built properly.
Thanks for watching, let me know if you have any questions. Please like, comment and share if this helps you in any way. See you next time.