Owning a website has many potential costs that some website developers may not lay out for you initially. They simply hook you on the site itself, then surprise you with new costs you discover you need over the original package. The following are 10 such hidden costs:
1) Low Price Tag:
While it may seem an affordable solution at first, you get what you pay for. The low price tag of any particular web hosting plan might be due to its poor quality services, limitation in resources and features or poor performance due to aging server and hardware.
2) Cheap Web Hosting:
One of the worst nightmares of cheap web hosting is excessive downtime, resulting in operational downtime for your business. This can be due to the lack of high technology hardware and tools, over-stressing of server capacity and shortage of website infrastructure to support your business operation. During downtime, there are zero trading activities at your website; the impact is zero sales and zero revenue which would miserably impact your business if this is happening frequently.
3) Newbie Development:
Highly skilled and experienced web professionals are very hard to come by. However, there are a lot of fresh newbies and one man bands with some basic programming knowledge who promise the world. The skill levels of these individuals vary a lot and delays in development can mean you lose 6 months or a year of lost sales as someone learns how to build the site you want. In the end, any inexperience can cost you lost profits and sales and your business can suffer.
4) Resource Estimate:
Many businesses enter into website development without fully understanding the resources required to complete the project successfully. Some web developers sign you up on what seems like a cheap deal or some exciting design or some cool software and fail to provide the tools and guidance needed before and after the contract is signed.
5) Wireframes and Prototypes:
Like film producers, web developers need to use a storyboard philosophy to determine the main navigation elements and site features before the site is built. A detailed scoping meeting should start this phase and be developed into an interactive prototype. Without this process the project is open to scope creep and cost over runs.
6) Content Population:
People invariably underestimate how much content is required to create a web site and how long this process will take. Hand-in-hand with content creation is content population, taking your content and placing it in a content management system which can be quite time consuming unless you are experienced with editing software. Your cheap quote may exclude content
population, so beware!
There are 6 web browsers that need to be considered during website development including Firefox (46.4%), IE7 (25.4%), IE6 17.4%, Google Chrome (4%), Safari (3%) and Opera (2.2%). If you have a mobile website, this will need to be tested on multiple devices. Making sure that your website displays and functions properly in each of these environments can be very time consuming.
8) Search Engine Ranking:
If you are investing in a new website for sales lead generation purposes it is crucial that it be developed to rank in search engines such as Google. Some web developers either ignore Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or gloss over it, but without traffic all you have is an expensive brochure. SEO requires an ongoing and high level focus. Google changes frequently and most developers do not spend time updating their skills set, but often farm it out to a 3rd part to optimise the site after they have built it, adding to your costs.
Websites require words and text and this takes time. Optimised copy is different from everyday brochure copy – Google has certain requirements that need to be followed in order for the site to be fully optimised. If you build a website without input from a skilled SEO copywriter you could be missing the vital ingredients that would otherwise enable your website to rank higher than your competitors’s.
Many developers assume that once your website is built, you will be equipped with the tools to operate it. Although you should have discussed the elements of the site during development, you may not be aware or remember how it works. Website training is often not included and additional costs may be added onto your project.