Website costs: why you need to invest in knowing what you want

There aren’t many companies with unending pockets. If you’re one of them, congratulations! Let me know how you did it! But for the rest of us, as small to medium-sized businesses we have to be very careful where we spend our hard-earned cash.

So when it comes to rebranding or having a website developed, it can be tempting to cut corners. Some business owners may be thinking:

  • Can’t I just have my website built?
  • Is it really worth running workshops to assess our needs?
  • Can’t you just tell us what we need?

On one level these are perfectly valid questions to ask. So let me address them.

Can’t I just have my website built?

The first issue you have here is knowing exactly what you want –and just as importantly, what you need. Imagine going to a builder and asking them to build you a house without telling them exactly what you’re after. Doesn’t make sense does it?

Whilst it may sound advantageous if you are trying to save on costs, what happens is that you miss out on building on solid foundations.

You see, it takes time to assess what you need; what’s right for you –and specifically you. It’s easy to provide a cookie cutter approach, an off-the-shelf product. But that’s not you. It doesn’t bring your unique values and vision out into the light. It makes you just the same as everyone else. Why would a potential customer choose you over someone else if you both look exactly the same?

However, on the other hand, if you are already clear on your vision, values, brand personality and target audience, if you’ve carried out your own website assessment with a third party or your internal team -if you have one, and you know exactly what your goals and objectives are, then perhaps you are ready to go straight to having your website built. If that’s the case then once we have carried out our own small review of where you are, we can then focus on building the website.

In my experience, many people who think they are ready just aren’t. I’ve spoken to business owners who feel they have a clear view of their target audience (for example), only to speak to their team who deal with customers day in day out to find they have very different ideas. That’s why I developed the Clarity Assessment in the first place. To help you know for sure where you are and what you need to get ready to have your website built.

To ‘just have your website built’ will cause you problems down the line, as it will not be the most effective way to produce a marketing and sales channel that helps to grow your business.

Is it really worth running workshops to assess our needs?

Workshops cost money. We try to get a good representation of the company to attend the workshops. This could be anywhere from 3–15 people or more, depending on the size of your company.

Some business owners will immediately look at this as a negative cost to the business, as those staff members are taken away from carrying out their main jobs. And this is in addition to the cost of the workshop itself.

However, if you look at the potential it can save by having a website developed that actually meets real needs rather than assumptions, this cost doesn't feel quite so bad.

It doesn’t always have to be a workshop either. This is often the best way to gather the key information any web agency would need, but it can also be carried out by several smaller meetings with key staff members.

Can’t you just tell us what we need?

It would be very tempting to say ‘yes’ to this question. After working with businesses for over 15 years we can offer many well-educated suggestions of what you need. Even more so if you work within a business sector we have many years experience in, such as healthcare or the creative industries.

However, we don’t know everything. We simply cannot know the ins-and-outs of your business without asking some pretty detailed questions.

There’s no way we would know whether your vision statement on your existing website is current or whether you’re about to change it. We wouldn’t know how committed you are to your branding and whether you’re using the website redesign as a catalyst for a rethink.

There’s no real way we would understand your users, their needs, what problems you are trying to solve for them. We could certainly have a good guess, but why guess when we can spend the time working with you and your customers to find out the actual requirements so we have the hard data to back it up? Never assume when you can have the facts.

It’s your turn to get clarity

It does cost money to find out the needs of your customers, but it’s an investment worth spending. If you don’t have the budget for an assessment AND your website, get the assessment first and wait until you can budget for the website. Don’t make the mistake of having a cookie cutter website that is not geared to meeting your goals and helping your business grow. 

If you need to get clarity, take the first step and book a Clarity Assessment to begin the process.