What is the Budget for your site?
So far in this series of website planning articles we have looked at purpose of website, it’s target audience, decided which website technologies are required and looked at the webspace hosting packages available.
Now comes the website budget stage of website planning where it has to be considered how all these will fit within the website budget. There’s a few more things to consider while developing your website budget.
- How are the webpages going to be built?
- Who will take care of website content management?
- What website graphics are required?
- What type of advertising will be used?
- The costs associated with using third party features.
Ask yourself, “What is my website budget?”
Website Budget Considerations
When creating a website budget at the website planning stage seriously consider your time investment. Instead of doing all or any of the following yourself, would your time be better spent marketing or producing the product.
In a website planning budget an allowance has to be made for the web pages to be built. This would cover the cost of hiring a professional or cost of your time invested to make your own web pages.
- What part of the website building process can you do yourself?
- Is this efficient use of time to save some money?
- Would it be more cost effective in the long run to hire someone to do all or part of the work?
If you are going to build the web pages yourself do you have the knowledge, time and technologies in place to make your own web pages or will you have to invest time and money to aquire the proper skills, software and technologies?
Next in the website planning budget consider website content creation and management.
Website content is the actual words the visitor and search engines see. The website content has to be actual information, not just a bunch of links to other sites or images.
- Who will create the initial website content?
If you have done any website marketing research, you will know that lots of quality website content is important to the success of your website. Website content must be continually updated with new fresh content to give visitors a reason to return and for the search engines to keep visiting the site.
- Who will handle website content management?
- Who will create the website content now and in the future? Yourself or someone else?
- Would some kind of content management system make things easier or even be appropriate for your business?
A website planning budget needs to include for quality website graphics required. Don’t go over board on this. Remember website content is important. A site that uses a lot of website graphics will not do well in the search engines.
- Do you have graphics suitable for the web already?
- Are you going to have to build, convert, purchase or hire someone to build any website graphics required?
Consider the size of the website graphics. These can take up webspace and add to bandwidth costs. Recycle as many as possible throughout the site.
Every business needs an advertising budget. A website planning budget is no different. Now that you have a website, all letterhead, business cards and any promotional items need to have the website address and email on them. Be sure to include in your website planning budget for new stationary and brochures.
How are you planning to advertise the website?
If you are going to submit to search engines has the site been optimized properly to maximize results? Search engine optimization is another item to include in the website planning budget.
Third Party Features
A website that uses third party features needs to incorporate the costs of these features in the website budget. Even if it is decided to use free services someone still has to manage the features.
- What are the costs to use third party services?
The actual costs to use these features and your time to manage these features, be it checking that they are working properly, charging you correctly or sending you your commission if you are using an affiliate program as a source of income.
What will be the cost of processing online and off-line payments if selling something?
Other Website Budget Costs to Consider
There are a few more website budget items to consider:
- Do you have to collect sales tax? Who is going to keep track of this and remit it on time?
- Who will do the bookkeeping and taxes?
- Have you selected a webspace that can grow with your website?
- What future expansion of the website are you considering?
- Are there some features your target audience really expect?
- Are you going to fulfil the purpose of the website with this budget?
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of the items that should be included in your website planning budget. Each situation is different. All I can say is, do your research! Not carefully planning your website budget can result in disappointing returns on investment.