How To Avoid The Three Most Common Budgeting Mistakes People Make When Planning a Web InitiativeWritten by Frank Cowell, CeM
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.
Who is watching You?Written by By Val .K.
Which is your preferred reality TV show: Survivor, Real World, American Idol, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Big Brother, Dog Days, Starting Over, or Temptation Island? Or is it Paradise Hotel, Playing it Straight, Mad Mad House, Love Cruise, Last Comic Standing or Next Action Star? Would you prefer Road Rules, My Big Fat FiancÚ, Forever Eden, Fame, Both Camp, or longer name Beg, Borrow and Deal? How about The Apprentice, Top Model, Rebel Billionaire, Extreme Makeover, I Want a Famous Face, and Fear Factor. Consider a more bizarre list: Queer Eye for Straight Guy and Queer Eye for Straight Girl, Can You Be a Porn Star?, Wife Swap, and Murder in Small Town X. Because list is long, I had to abridge it. What an abridgement! So, forgive me if I excluded your favorite.
It appears, nowadays, that everyone has a new concept for reality TV. (Next season watch out for these new shows coming your way: The Cut, Rock Star, Fire me . . . Please.) But not all new concepts make it to TV land. Some, like dream conquests of Hannibal and Napoleon, are writ on water. For other day while browsing Web, I came across these "new" ideas for reality TV shows, which might never see daylight: Ultimate Reality, World's Scariest Prostitute Chases, World's Most Uneventful Videos, Middle School Blind Date, Rent-a-Cops, When Hobos Attack, Joe Heterosexual, Accountants, The Saddams, Meet my Internet Stalkers, I'm an Online Gamer. Since everyone is coming up with their own concepts for reality TV, I shan't be undone. So here are mine: Tax Evaders and My neighbors, Terrorists.
The proliferation of reality TV shows only highlights their popularity—they are over a hundred of them running on cable alone. And their ratings are enough to make TV producers dream up more. For a decade running, out of 20 most viewed television programs 11 are reality shows. Like smash hit among reality buffs, Big Brother. But little do many fans of these shows realize its allusion to Orwell's classic novel, 1984, where machinery of a totalitarian state, personified by an anonymous "Big Brother," oversees lives of its citizens. In book spy cameras were every where—in bathrooms, in bedrooms, and at places of work!
In days of yore spying was sole reserve of Intelligence agencies. Like American CIA, British MI6, Israeli Mossad, and defunct Soviet Union's KGB. Now, anyone who has right tools and a little time could play "Big Brother." Like in, Thailand, Asia, where peeping-Toms run amok and famous actresses and ministers are filmed having sex in their own boudoir, and beamed live to viewers all over country. (The Clinton / Lewinsky fiasco was sissy stuff.)
And not too long ago in Spain, a man was caught by Spanish police for spying, and stealing people's data through their webcams. Scary? I have heard worse. Because you can also be spied upon through your computer monitor.
Paranoia appears to be necessary in today's brave new world. Because privacy is nix. Hear this from Andrew Shen, a privacy analyst at Electronics Privacy information Center (EPIC): "Most people haven't fully grasped how everything that you see or do on Internet is recorded and stored somewhere." Or this more harrowing remark from Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems: "You already have zero privacy—get used to it."