The following information is designed to provide a useful background on the various options you have when obtaining a website. Given the vastness of the web industry, it can be frustrating finding exactly what you want or more importantly what you need. The good news is that all in all there are only a few directions one can consider, the hard part is sifting through the details of each option. Below is a breakdown designed to assist you in making an educated decision on your specific needs.
|Option 1||Do It Yourself|
|Option 2||Hire a Web Designer or Programmer|
|Option 3||Hire a Web Development Company|
|Option 4||Hire DynaDesign!!|
- Option 1
- Option 2
- Option 3
- Option 4
Do It Yourself
- Time Consuming: This is a very time consuming process. Not only to learn how to use a design program but then actually doing the design itself. And of course then there is keeping the website up to date by continually having to upload the files to a server rather than using a CMS which is easy, instant and you don't need to know any code!
- Unprofessional: Lay people who have created their own websites unfortunately aren't fooling anyone. These websites are easy to spot.
- Impossible to Scale: Any complex functionality required will have to be outsourced to a professional and once they get a hold of your website you will probably want it redone anyway. If you see growth in the near future for your business and/or website this is not a recommended route.
Why do it yourself?
Some people consider this option if they don’t have a budget for a website or they are "Do-It-Yourselfers" by nature. This option has its benefits but also has a considerable amount of pitfalls. Depending on your situation, you might find the benefits do not out weigh the cons.
Buy design program. This enables you to create the interface as well as the html code. Note: This will create a static website not a dynamic one. This means each page is separate and when updated, these pages will have to be uploaded via an FTP server accessed through their hosting company.
Pros vs ConsThis is great if you have time to kill, if you have an artistic eye and are pretty good at learning technical things. It is good because you don't need to know html, it does it for you. BUT these programs are restricted to what they can do, such as the overall look and formatting of the interface. You also must make sure each page has the proper link to every other page. One of the biggest problems is when you want to make a change down the track, such as a new menu item, you must make the menu change(s) on each and every page. This can be frustrating and very time consuming.
Design Programs: Microsoft Front Page $200 (discontinued 2006), Microsoft Office Share Point Designer $400, Microsoft Expression $300, DreamWeaver $400 (Approximate Pricing as of 2008)
Hosting: At this point you need to find a company to host your website, your domain name, and your emails. Some companies can host all three but many do not, so you might have to use multiple hosting companies. They may charge anywhere between US$10-50/month. Just note, the less expensive companies host so many websites that you only get a fraction of the bandwidth hence a fraction of the speed. This can effect your clients who are trying to access and/or navigate through your website.
After your website is sufficiently completed, you can upload the files (each web page is a file) and folders (all the images/graphics are separate folders) to your hosting company. This is done via the file transfer protocol (FTP). At this point, your website is online and can be viewed via the World Wide Web.
How to put it nicely... This option can be great BUT let's just say it is really easy to spot these websites.
If you need a professional look and easy navigation, then this ISN'T the route for you. Especially if you plan on updating information regularly or if you don't have a lot of time.
Hire a Web Designer or Programmer
- Contacting Them: Your designer or programmer is hard to contact or disappears completely so when you want to make an update you can't get in touch! (#1 Reason we do Integration Packages)
- Cost of Updates: For every future update, they will charge you on average $80-150/hour for each update and they generally don't pro-rate their time.
- Lack of Scalability: Wanting to add a proper Members Area with unique user names and passwords, forums, shopping carts, newsletters, affiliate programs etc are all very difficult or not possible at all with this option.
Why hire a Web Designer or Programmer?
Maybe you know someone that does websites on the side and maybe they seem to be pretty sharp and maybe they are only going to charge you a couple thousand for the website... Hiring a person with a programming background or a “designer” can be a case of "the good, the bad, and the ugly"... The level of knowledge, care and professionalism varies extremely. Keep reading...
Pros vs Cons
You might find someone that uses the same programs that you can use yourself as explained in the Do-It-Yourself section with the same pitfalls except they will charge by the hour or charge a large upfront fee sometimes never to finish the job to your satisfaction. The other scenario is they are artistic as well as knowledgeable about design therefore they use more in depth design programs like PhotoShop or Illustrator to design your website and they code the website in HTML themselves. In either case, the website is still STATIC meaning anytime you need to update something on the website (text, products, images, etc.), you will have to contact them. But again, they have to go through the same procedure as you saw in Option 1 - Update each page and upload the pages via the FTP accessed through your hosting company. No wonder they seem to go missing in action after your website is done... who wants to update websites like this?!
Pricing varies by level of experience and knowledge. On average, a freelance IT person charges anywhere from US$80-150/per hour and $2000-$10,000 upfront for a website depending on the complexity and/or their experience.
At this point you need to find a company to host your website, your domain name, and your emails. Some companies can host all three but many do not, so you might have to use multiple hosting companies. They may charge anywhere between US$10-50/month. Just note, the less expensive companies host so many websites that you only get a fraction of the bandwidth hence a fraction of the speed. This can effect your clients who are trying to access and/or navigate through your website.
CommentsIt is imperative that you make sure you are clear about what you want with your website, understand all terms and conditions, sign a contract outlaying exactly what you are requesting and check that it provides the payment structure. This option can be effective if you are lucky enough to get an artistic, competent, trusting, reliable person. Again, the downfall is that you don't have the control to update your information on the net and every update costs you money.
Hire a Web Development Company
- Company 1: High Cost of Custom Design with no CMS:
It really sucks paying good money for a website these days without getting a CMS to update it yourself.
- Company 2: Templates are Limited:
If you go with a template layout (design) and/or a template based CMS you get what you pay for. Formatting and flexibility are given up with this option.
- Company 3: Why pay for a CMS outright?
A custom CMS is great but who wants to outlay tons of money to get one? And then once you buy it, you now need a part/full time programmer that knows how to maintain it when it needs adjusting, fixing, or actual structural changes that you request. This is a very pricey option...
Finding the Right One
As you might already know, there are thousands of web development and web design companies which makes the assignment of finding one - that is right for you - a daunting task. When searching for these companies online, you will notice most of them do not provide pricing. This can be frustrating and time consuming when you are simply trying to do price comparisons with multiple companies. After hours of trying to read up on the companies that you are actually interested in, you then have to email all of them just to get a quote. It is worse when they require you to fill out a long form with 800 questions which you don't know how to answer because you might not be sure what you need at this point.
There are Three Types of Companies:Here is what each can offer...
- Company One: Custom designed static website (no CMS)
They will custom design a static website charging between $3,000-$20,000+ upfront for the design only. In addition, if they offer hosting services, there would be a monthly hosting fee as well as an annual maintenance fee. Of course every update will cost you too; between $80-120/hour.
- Company Two: Template based dynamic website (template CMS)
You choose a template interface for your website layout (no custom design work) and they lease you the use of a plug in template based CMS. This means you can update your website but the CMS is generally not user friendly nor will you be able to manipulate where your content goes... many times the layout looks unprofessional as well.
Company Three: Custom designed dynamic website (CMS purchase)
They custom design your website for a flat upfront fee of $3000-$10,000+ and you also purchase their Content Management System for US$2,000-US$50,000+ which they will integrate for you. They might provide hosting services for an additional fee or suggest another company for you. Oh and don't forget the IT guy you need to hire to know how to manipulate the CMS if and when needed. If you have an eCommerce site they will also take a percentage for any transactions, approx. 1%-3% as do most companies (Not DynaDesign!).
Given that there are so many companies out there with many different features and options, choosing the right company for you can be a difficult task. Just know that with DynaDesign, we are always clear and upfront about our cost and our offerings making not only the decision making process easier but it starts our business relationship off on the right foot.
So you made it to the end... Now that you know all your options, this will be easy!
Let's breakdown our services...
DynaDesign's All Inclusive Packages:
- We custom design ALL our websites
- We provide a custom designed CMS for each website
- We provide all hosting - website, domain name & email accounts
- We have one fixed low monthly payment
- We DO NOT charge:
- any set-up fees
- any maintenance fees
- any separate hosting fees
- any design fees
Content Management System (CMS)
It is important to understand the value of a Content Management System. It makes having a website easy, user friendly, up to date, and flexible. Knowing you have control of your information on the internet, day or night, can put your mind at ease and is essential to any company.
Here at DynaDesign our mission is to make our great services available for all small and medium sized businesses looking to get online professionally and affordably. We hope that you have found this information helpful and you will be better able to make an informed choice in your web development decision.
If you have questions or would like to get started please visit our Contact Page. Thank you.