Tips for Building Your Dream Website Home
The Sprocket Report
Folks often call us for a ballpark quote. Figuring out the cost of a website can be tricky with all these apples and oranges complicating the issue. It’s much like trying to price the building of a new house.
In our networking groups we meet a lot home building and remodeling contractors. Strangely enough, we have a lot in common with them. Although what they build is physical and what we build is digital, the way we work is amazingly similar. Since people understand the contractor model, it makes a great illustration for the website world, which is helpful when trying to price your website project.
When you want to build a house, you list the requirements that must be met. For instance, you might need wheelchair access or your site has a severe slope. Some of your requirements might add to the cost, but many don’t – they are simply choices that need to be made.
You wouldn’t expect your contractor to divine what you need and you can’t expect your website designer will either. Listing your needs and wants (and separating them that way as well!) means you both will be on the same page from the very beginning.
Drawing up the plan
With that requirement list in mind, you can get a blueprint drawn for how your house will look and how you will live in it. By making the design a physical thing that both you and your contractor can refer to, there are no misunderstandings and unfortunate surprises. Your web professional will also provide a plan so that both of you agree how the site will look and work.
Contracting out the work
You will have to buy the lumber and other materials when house-building, but someone also needs to assemble those materials. Certainly people can and do build their own houses. The total expense for these homes comes in much lower because they only have to buy the materials, not hire the labor. More often, folks contract out the work, which adds to the total cost, but means the job is completed sooner and by skilled experts.
Websites are the same way. You can find many do-it-yourself options where all the materials and tools needed are available and you only have to build it. The total expense can be much less, but depending on your skill level and time commitment, you may run into limitations on how the final product looks and works. Hiring an expert to assemble your website will cost more, but then it’s done, done right and your time can be spent somewhere else.
“Builder grade” in a new house means that while you will certainly get serviceable cabinets or carpeting, they won’t be top-of-the-line quality. If it’s important to you and you can afford it, you may choose to upgrade from the basic option provided. If the cost is currently unmanageable, you may choose to just make do. And maybe plan on an update in the future.
When planning your new website, you will have similar decisions to make. Really cool functions may be available, but can come with a premium price. When the budget is really stressed, you may choose to stick to the basics for now and plan on upgrading later. Get the quote for your dream functionality and weigh the pros and cons before deciding.
Changing the plan
Once the walls are up is a really expensive time to decide you would rather have a bigger family room. Sure, it can be done, but expect that it will cost you dearly to tear out the completed work and rebuild because that effort was not included in the original contract.
While a website may not be as difficult to delete and rebuild as a physical house, there is more work involved than you may suspect. So much code is dependent on if-then conditions that tracking down and altering the connections takes some time, time for which you pay extra. Instead of operating on an idea and having to make real changes later, plan carefully at the beginning of the project to save both you and your web developer from wasted effort.
So many choices have to be weighed when building a new house, choices that can drastically change the final cost. Building a new website isn’t much different. Ballpark estimates will vary depending on your choices, so take the time to think through your needs and wants and your budget. Then talk it over with your web developer. Together, you can come up with a website plan that will serve you now and into your future success. Are you ready to discuss a new site? Just give us a call. We’re happy to help!