When engaging with a website designer, business owners need to be very clear about what the objectives are for their website before agreeing on the service and pricing from the agency or freelancer. I meet with many business owners and they are varied in their knowledge of what is involved in the development and maintenance of a website. They also vary in their views as to the value they place on having a website.
What I have found is that the question of “value” or “how much I am prepared to pay for the return” is centered mainly around the clients own initial view of what they want from a website. Potential clients tend to fall into the following three categories;
1) They want their website modernising (or a new website), but do not want to spend too much time on the project either during or afterwards. They see a website as just another necessary thing they should have, but do not see it as something tangible that can help them gain more clients. They want the basics and they are not worried about getting on page 1 of Google, nor are they interested in social networks or any form of digital marketing.
Now as long as this is made clear at the beginning then the project will be fast, easy and low cost. The designer has no need to worry about Search Engine Optimisation Research, setting up the clients social networks such as Facebook or Google+, or ensuring that the content and URLs are optimised for key search terms etc..
2) The client feels strongly that their website could make a large contribution to the growth and success of their business. They want to be found on Google with their key search terms and they want extensive social network places they can link to and market their products or services. They see the importance of getting to page 1 of Google for their search terms and they want to provide the users of their website with a great experience.
They also understand the importance of continuing to update and refresh their sites with new material, promotions or new feeds. They are prepared to put a lot of thought and work into the development and maintenance phases of the project. They work in partnership with the designer and quite rightly demand the right results from the search engine rankings.
In terms of time and cost these projects are far more intensive and expensive, but the client understands that the returns will be worth it AND they have placed their website center ground in their marketing strategy.
3) The client wants a simple website, does not want to pay much , but wants to be found for every key search term and be on the top of Google Page 1 for these terms. These people have completely unrealistic expectations and any ethical designer would point that out to them and move onto the next client if they cannot be persuaded otherwise.
With category 1) type clients, there is nothing really wrong with their objectives. They do not see the website as a tangible investment they can leverage and so as long as the brief is clear , then they should not expect to pay anywhere as much as the clients in 2).
It is all about your objectives, strategy and the management of expectations. I hope this article has helped you in formulating your own views on how you wish to engage with website designers.
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