As we all know, times have changed. Websites have become an absolutely fundamental component to nearly any business. But, while most companies set aside money for website development, they often overlook several key components. As a result, they either far exceed their initial budget or are unhappy with their Website's result.
Many web firms purposely leave these crucial portions of budgeting process out, so they can 'hook you' in beginning, and then get more money as process continues. Obviously, this makes creating a budget all more difficult.
The good news is that there are some guidelines to help you ensure that your web project is a complete success. The following three components of website development are most overlooked in early development and budgeting phases. Considering these three aspects of website development will help you ensure your website exceeds your expectations, but not your budget.
1. Extended Photography and Artwork.
When budgeting for web projects, companies usually forget to budget for purchase of professional photography. Your graphic design department at your company or web firm will provide you with an overall website design called look-n-feel. Typically, their job doesn't include designing each page of content.
The look-n-feel templates usually have a content area where implementation team will incorporate content. You will need to include artwork at top of page to provide a nice visual to coincide with content.
Another example of where you would use photography or artwork is where you have a page of content that talks about a unique process your company uses. Spelling out process in text format is good. A nice visual to represent that process in conjunction with text is even better. This visual was likely not part of design team's original goals when designing look-n-feel for your site.
Budgeting for extended artwork and photography:
a) When developing your project's site map, be sure to look at each top level page as its own homepage for a given section. Your website's homepage has a strategic layout that incorporates a nice balance between design and copy, and so should each top level page. (Top level pages are initial pages in your site's main navigation areas.)
b) Once you designate what pages are top level homepages, define overall goals of that page/section. What do you want your visitors to learn about? What's strategy for that section? What overall branding and feeling should be conveyed? Document this information and make sure your web or eMarketing firm knows about this additional design work at outset if they haven't already talked to you about it.
c) A resource for cost-effective stock photography that we like to use is iStockPhoto.com. iStockPhoto.com has a wide range of royalty-free photography to choose from at very reasonable prices. The only drawback is that you may use a photo that is in-use by another company; therefore, it?s not unique to your company. This is an option you must weigh. Unique photography will cost quite a bit more, but if you are a larger company expense may be justified. Smaller companies should definitely consider iStockPhoto.com.
2. Copy / Content
There's nothing more disheartening then getting to end of your web project and realizing you don't have enough copy to fill your website. I have personally seen web projects have everything complete other than copy only to watch companies delay completed projects for months while they try to write their own content. Consequently, project is not only delayed, but copy is usually short and weak.
Well written copy is essential for any website, because it grabs reader's attention and provides cohesiveness throughout site. It is also essential for search engine optimization and marketing. If you don't have a copy writer on staff at your company, make sure your web firm understands importance of good copy and helps you budget for it.
Budgeting for copy writing:
a) When you create your site map, in addition to designating which pages are top level homepages, designate which pages you already have sufficient copy for and which pages you don't have sufficient copy for.
b) Meet with a professional copy writer if you don't have one in-house. At meeting discuss each area of copy that you have, where it will go and what you are missing. Make sure you give them copy you already have so they can polish it as part of final deliverable and ensure that all copy is in same 'voice.' Ideally your web or eMarketing firm will have a copy writer on staff to coordinate this within project and provide strategy recommendations.