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My brother knows a guy who knows a guy who does websites for $500.

At BolderImage, we get calls every day from people who thought they could have a professional website “built by someone my brother knows” for $500. The stories are all the same – the site doesn’t have a professional web design, it doesn’t work, it never got finished, search engines can’t find it, or the infrastructure is so bad it can’t be maintained. The bottom line is – a bad or broken website has serious impacts on your business.

Web Design is more than slapping a coat of paint on a content management system. It is a process by which a company or organization represents itself to the public. Often times, your website is someone’s first impression of your company or organization. Are you going to leave that up to someone who isn’t a professional?

At first glance, getting a website for $500 might seem like a deal. In this economy, who isn’t looking to save money? However, the results of a very low budget web design effort will be disappointment in the missed opportunity costs . . . the bad first impressions on visitors to your site . . . the hours you spend trying to patch up a broken website . . . all of these things add up.

Before a web design company colors one pixel or writes one line of code, they should go through a methodical Discovery Phase where they identify what your message is and who your target audience is and then determine what your goals are. From there, they should spend quality time researching keywords for search engine optimization, defining what the web design direction is and determining the scope of the customizations. They should then develop initial designs and go through a design refinement process with you while the initial content management system or eStore backstage is being configured. Once the final design is approved, they should start a production phase where the design is implemented and custom code is written.

When the website development reaches a certain point, they should spend time training you as a client on how to use the system so that you can maximize your effectiveness with the tools that have been provided to you.

Professional website design takes time. It requires a team of people . . . and yes, it costs more than $500.

- Dave Gruen
Senior Vice-President, Consulting Division

Tags: strategy 

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