We all know the process of building a web platform can be daunting. You have a limited budget, but big ideas, and you have to plan for both the present and the future. Here, we’ll be talking cost and value in the various ways you can build out your web platform, and where it makes sense to either scrimp or spend. So, clearly you need to make some hard decisions here. While there are certainly issues you can address and examine yourself, you might want to consider consulting a business analyst who can expertly assess the various risks and advantages before you begin development. Having a firm grasp on what stages of development are worth investing in is solid business practice. Let’s take a look at the process and what you can do to save now and in the long run.
It takes consumers only 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about your brand when they first view your site. To stand out and compete in today’s world, you need a great website, and to truly succeed, you need the best. Whether you’re a small entrepreneur with a big idea or a global brand with multiple services, a comprehensive user-friendly website is absolutely essential to running your business.
While visit to lead conversion can be 400% higher with a “superior user experience,” creating the perfect website to represent your brand can’t be taken lightly.
Technically gifted founders may likely be able to create a serviceable web platform, know that it takes a talented and experienced team to build and maintain the type of website you need to stay ahead of the competition. Let’s look at the process of designing and building a custom website that builds brand value and meets (or exceeds) all of your business needs.
Are you ready to start planning your website platform? Here are a few ideas to think through to start the website development process.
Type of site: So, let’s begin with what sort of site you want to have. Most of your planning will need to start here, so think it through. Examples include a retail/Ecommerce site, news/informational site, or, a home site for a business or service. There are a lot of other factors to consider, but we’ll get to those.
Hosting:Next, you should seek out a web host. All those pages, images, and features need to be located and displayed from a powerful server in order for the rest of the world to see it. And you don’t want to be stingy with your web hosting service; free hosts sound good, but there can be constrictive limits on storage space, services offered, and the bandwidth you’ll need if your traffic gets high.
Domain: After you are done researching web hosting, you should also get going on a domain name, as many services offer both hosting and domains as a package. Make your domain name short and easy to remember/search for, and know going into all this that a lot of those catchy names are either in use or for sale at a premium.
Doing all this yourself can be overwhelming, so considering a web developer that has experience and knowledge in this realm is a wise investment.
Design, Development, and Code. Lots of Code…
At this stage, you’re probably going to need some help. For your part, you should have already researched and found examples of websites you like that are in the same vein of what you’re hoping to build. Make a list, along with the features and images you both want and don’t like, and any other design aspects you want. This will help guide you and your designer and developer towards starting a basic foundation of what your finished product will be.
Also, you should have a few pieces of quality content ready to put on your site; if you aren’t able to produce it yourself, either find some examples that resonate with you or consider hiring a writer to get it done.
Now, it gets very technical. Any developer you employ should, at the very least, be fluent in HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Now, there are different ways you can use these on your own, including some user-friendly software, but be sure to set aside some money and a lot of time to navigate this enormous learning curve. If you have this time (and the resiliency to bounce back from lots of mistakes), then you might want to give it a shot. Just make sure to put a value on your time when you’re considering your total budget on building this web platform, as well as estimating the time you will need to rewrite code and fix bugs in the future.
While in the midst of this cascade of code, you need to be aware of basic navigation concepts. How you move around a website is extremely important; if it’s clunky, awkward, or runs into dead ends, your user will likely hit that “back” button within seconds. Navigation is equal parts technical code, art design, and psychology. You need your user experience to be both effortless and engaging, and this is no easy task. A talented web developer partner has all these experts on hand to chip in for this difficult process, so take that into consideration.
Just a reminder…the process we’re discussing here is fairly basic, and isn’t necessarily including multiple features that are becoming essential to certain types of web platforms. These are called technology stacks, and they vary in function and expense based on what is needed (i.e. specialized servers, storage units, security, hosting). Consider these carefully, especially if you are planning on scaling up in the near future.
Editing and Publishing
The good news at this point is that the bulk of the work is behind you. You should still be considering all the features that you’ll need, as new technology emerges daily that could optimize your platform. Once you think you have everything in place, it’s time for the editing and testing process. As we mentioned before, nothing scares potential users off your website quicker than a poor UI/UX, so this process has to be exhaustive. Make sure to count all these hours while you’re budgeting time…this will take a long time.
When you are finally certain it’s ready to go live, you need to start the publishing process. Basically, you’ll gather all the pages and content and go back to the web hosting service you located at the beginning (you might need an upgrade at this point). You’ll either use their publishing software or you can use a variety of file transfer protocol software packages to get this done.
Wrapping It All Up
As this rather simplified post just scratches the surface, we can’t emphasize enough how complex and time-consuming building a web platform can be. That said, it’s absolutely necessary to check all the boxes and produce a top-quality website. Costs vary wildly for this whole process; if you are a dedicated DIY’er with a technical flair and plenty of time, there are certainly ways to get it all done on your own for under $2,000.
Chances are, though, you’re somewhere in the middle: you don’t want cheap inferior work, and you don’t have a giant corporate budget to blow through. Finding the right development partner can be tricky, as your needs are unique, but doing the research and gathering your ideas will help a lot when connecting with the right team. Working with a quality agency partner can cost $20,000 to $60,000 if your site has a lot of features. Once the platform is live, plan on more costs to keep it running and free of bugs. And remember, maximizing the value of your future web platform should be considered during the development phase; if you wait until it goes live it might be too late.
Are you interested in working with Koombea for your website platform? Contact us today to see how we can help!