Social media is not enough for the growing marketing needs of your business and you need a tangible solution to sustain your future so you are interested in creating a website for your business. But like every other business person your main concern is the costs associated with website development. How do you know how much it costs to make a website? What determines the website? What makes one website different from the other and most importantly how to you recoup your investments after the fact? In this post, we will discuss this and other questions that you might have if you are thinking of getting a website for your business.

Why should you have a website to begin with?

Let us start with the most fundamental question of all; why should you have a website to begin with? The benefits of a having a website are numerous. Key among them are the fact that a website opens you to endless opportunities to prospect for clients on the internet. With over 4 billion people directly or indirectly using the internet, having a website puts you in prime position to tap into this market.

Like a physical office does to show physical evidence of your business, a website is the virtual evidence of your business existence online. It goes without saying that once this presence is established then your clients and prospects tend to see you in a more professional light. Confidence and trust in your offerings is also increased with a website for your business.

A website if employed well can serve to drastically reduce the cost of doing business. Not only are the costs of maintaining a website relatively affordable with its annual commitment but a website can be a good launching pad for a company looking to embrace e-commerce platforms in its operations. With e-commerce costs associated with holding inventory, delivery and ordering costs can be highly mitigated.

Steps in creating a website:

Now we know the benefits of having a website and the next step is understanding the process of getting a website. Though not set in stone, website development basically follows a certain structure with the components at times interchanging.

Register a domain name:

A domain name is the word that is followed by a .com or a .co.ke. They are the addresses used to find websites on the internet and they will allow your website to be identified by users on the internet as it is your online identification plaque.  A domain name needs to have your business name in order to maintain the consistency with your offline branding (signs, posters etc.)

Get web hosting:

This is the platform where all your website information, configurations, files and storage capacity is held. The hosting plan should complement your website size and expected facilities. Check out the web hosting packages that we have for small and mid sized businesses starting at KSh 3,364.

Content preparation:

This is the most important part of the website development process. Creating engaging content that will be really useful to your clients will be extremely important in getting them to make a purchase decision whether online or offline. Thinking about what type of content your clients would be looking for when they come to your website will allow you to create content that is both engaging and useful to everyone that will read it.

Build your website:

Also an  important step in getting a good website, this involves the actual build up of the site. There are many platforms to create free websites on your own or you can contract professional web developers.

The choice to create your own website yourself or involving a designer will be hinged on your skill level with basic design and whether you have the time to learn how to create a website yourself.

I would advise that you get someone to build the website for you since they will be adding their years of experience to your website. At deepAfrica, we have been designing website for our clients for a while and here is our extensive portfolio. We will guide you on the steps you need to take to create good content for your website then design your website with up-to-date tools and techniques to ensure that your website is speaks to your audience

Promote your website:

now that the website is up you need to attract traffic to it. One of the faster and easier ways of accomplishing this is leveraging on your social media community and other aspects like Search Engine Optimization.

Website maintenance:

Every car needs a garage check-up, every website needs constant maintenance for peak performance. Routine security checks, information back up, software and content updates are some of the ways to ensure your website is functional and in tip-top condition at all times.

What determines the cost of a website?

Once you understand these steps you can actually start grasping the various aspects which might influence the costs of a website. But just to be clear let us break down the components of a website that drive the cost.

Type of website:

We can use a simple analogy to explain this. Two people want a car, one buys a saloon car the other gets a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) they both have cars but you agree the features and needs of these cars greatly differ. The same can be said of a website. A three page website has different needs from a 6 page site, a simple blog is more demanding than an online shop.
Know the purpose of your website before committing on a type to avoid incurring unnecessary costs for features you might not need.

Type of domain name and hosting:

There are different levels of domain names key among them being top level domain names which has the .com suffix and second level domain names which are added to the top level domain names such as .co.ke the ‘co’ is the second level domain name.
Hosting as defined earlier is the platform essentially housing your website. Key categories in hosting are; shared hosting which involves using your platform with other users, adaptive hosting solutions which combine the features of shared and dedicated hosting with cloud technology, and the final hosting option is dedicated hosting where there is only one hosting platform for one website as the name suggests, dedicated to you.
Hosting and domain names like most features of a website are determined by the purpose to be accomplished by the website.

Type of software/basic technology:

Websites are run by a variety of software in the background. These software include pure HTML or PHP files, a content management system such as word press or any other choice of software available.
Again depending on the software agreed upon the costs associated with the website development will be influenced.

Components and plug-ins:

Some websites need to be able to perform some special specific tasks. For example a movie awards website will need the capacity to handle voting activities for the event. In such instances extra component called plug ins need to be incorporated to allow performance of such tasks.  These extra features co relate to extra costs.

Content creation:

As highlighted earlier content is one of the key pillars in developing a website. Depending on the type of content, this is one component you can decide to either handle yourself or outsource to professional content creators. Of course doing it yourself will save costs but there are professionals for a reason. *wink *wink.

Maintenance:

A mostly recurrent aspect of costs in running a website, maintenance cannot be overlooked. In order to achieve performance security, software and content updates need to be done periodically and frequently. This is one of those components you cannot easily handle by yourself hence it cannot be avoided.

How to reduce the costs of website development:

Now that you know what determines the cost of a website I am sure the next question becomes who do I reduce them?

Do it yourself:

Well the sure fire way of reducing the costs is by determining which component of website development you can do on your own.  Factors such as content creation and building of the website can be done by individuals through software and online platforms. Other technical aspects however like domain name registration, hosting services and maintenance need to be handled exclusively by professionals.

Website functions:

Another way of reducing the cost is by having a clear understanding about the functions you want your website to carry out. This will ensure that your website is not only created as per your specifications but also to avoid incorporation of features which you may not use but will increase overall costs.

Get bundle services:

Costs can also be reduced by negotiating bundle prices with service providers. For example the hostpoa platform offers hosting, domain name registration and website development as a package. Outsourcing these services separately may be costly.

What makes a good website?

Despite the endeavour to save on costs you should ensure that you get a minimum good website. So what are some of the few things that make a good website?
Ensure your site has been incorporated with google analytics. This will enable you to monitor and track your website activities, understand trends and take corrective measures where required. With the analytics platforms you will be operating on guess work and literally shooting in the dark.

Integration of your website to your social media handles is also a key consideration when designing any type of website. This enables you to take advantage of your already established social media communities to for the primary source of traffic for your website.

Website should also be easy to navigate. Ensure your tabs are clearly labelled and visible to guide your visitors. Use appropriate images and texts which offer information to your users as they move through the site.

It is important to also ensure that your colour scheme and font types or sizes are also uniform and clearly legible by the site users. Nothing turns off visitors like having to put extra effort in understanding your site. The colour scheme will make the site attractive to the eye hence captivating.

Measuring website Return on Investment:

You have incurred the cost of making a website and like every business person you need to justify your return on investment.

One of the aspects of R.O.I on websites is the total traffic generated within a period. Like any other marketing or advertising venture which a website can be said to fall under, the major point to look at is the number of people reached. The same can be applied for website where the traffic attracted to it can be used as a measure of return.

Knowing the sources and channels through which people find your website can also give a glimpse in to the amount of return the website is generating. The main categories of sources are either organic sources or referral. A 40% total for organic traffic is commendable and 20%-30% for referral traffic is ideal.

Landing page conversion rate refers to the number of people who take a desired action such as purchasing once they access the site. This is a good unit of measure since it directly depicts the effectiveness of the website.

When a visitor opens your page and leaves without taking any action or clicking on any other part of the website this is called a ‘bounce’.  Monitoring the bounce rate can provide a look into the return on the website investment

The deepAfrica promise:

Well there are a host of affordable web development solutions ideal for you. At deepAfrica however we boast of having the best and most affordable web development options. From as little as 995 we have solutions applicable to beginner website up to fully developed e-commerce platforms. Call deepAfrica today and let us help you find an online solution that works for your unique needs.