Buying a website
Published: February 2011
Changing your website, whether refreshing an existing one or commissioning a completely new site has the potential to become an expensive, time consuming and frustrating experience.
With solid planning and thought, you can expect the process to be simple, enjoyable and a valuable investment of your time and money.
It’s worth remembering that a website should improve, not hinder your business and be something which plays a vital role in the business, not just to have for the sake of it.
It needs to work hard for you and be an intrinsic part of your business and it’s overall marketing strategy.
The Wrong Way to buy a Website
- Ring an agency without thinking about what you want
- Ask for a quote without meeting up
- Keeping the budget a big secret
- Pick the cheapest
- Provide little or no content
- Not get involved in the overall process
- Expect miracles
This approach represents how many people buy a website.
Unfortunately, it will serve no other purpose than to confuse, delay and create a site that achieves very little. Imagine asking a house builder to give you a quote for a new home, not giving them any details as to what you want or offering a budget. Then expecting them to design examples and provide a quotation that exactly matches your perfect home. It’s pretty much impossible.
Another popular way businesses tender their work is to draft a multiple page specification and request agencies to pitch designs and costs against this with no variance or face-to-face consultation allowed.
This approach whilst far better than the previous method will not achieve the best outcome. You’re missing out on the valuable consultation the agency can offer you during the specification draft stages.
The whole idea of creating any sort of website should involve a two way interaction to discuss the issues the site needs to address and allow the agency to contribute to the brief with ideas and concepts which you may not have previously thought of, or indeed a better way to achieve your goals. You know your business and agencies know the web inside out, don’t miss out on an opportunity to benefit from this knowledge and experience.
The Right Way to buy a Website
Engage with the agencies at an early stage. This approach means that fewer suppliers will be involved, but those that are will be involved to a deeper level. The agency must thoroughly understand your business and develop an idea and concept around a great user experience. Work with the agency to plan how buying a website can solve business problems and make it more efficient.
At one level it may be to provide a simple and obvious way of contacting your company and another providing functionality that saves administration time e.g. handling payments online or automating processes online.
Regardless of the type and size of website, it will still have a key purpose and an interactive approach with a design agency will help to develop the site to it’s full potential.
More time spent at the outset working closely with the agency on the brief will result in a more accurate cost and a greater understanding of what is required. More importantly, it will give you an insight into how the agency operates and don’t forget that you’ve got to work with them, so it’s important to enjoy your time spent with their team and have complete trust in their abilities.
Be sure that before the project starts, you feel the selected agency understands your business, is clear what is required and that they will add real value.