Budgeting for your new website
When you are creating a new website there are many things you should consider, not just the design or a new functionality you would like to introduce. Here are some topics which you should think about before you make the step to change your site.Time scale
You need to bear in mind first and foremost that this process will most likely not run smoothly. For one, we are human and we are likely to change our mind on something be it the design or the way a section is pieced together. Then you must consider the technological time required, if you are looking at changing the tech set-up of your site you need to factor in time for testing (both you and the developer) and time to fix potential bugs. As a guideline for a traditional e-commerce site you would expect this to take around 10-12 weeks, and therefore the cost would depend on the level of time and standard of development you are initiating.Design
The first difference that users will notice when you develop a new site is the new design and layout. These need to be the perfect blend between the design you want to achieve, the level of user accessibility that is needed for conversion and meet SEO content requirements to help your ranking. Initial designs from external companies can usually be completed in a 14-day time period, but you need to also factor in time for any revisions to be made before the development starts.SEO
If you’re spending all of this time and money developing a new site, you want people to be able to find it easily on search engines and you want to rank as highly as possible for your keywords. The recent Google Panda update has punished sites with poor or thin content, so you need to bear this in mind and allow space for content spots such as headers and footers where possible. You will also require a fresh batch of fully optimised page titles and meta descriptions for example creating for each of your pages, along with things such as canonicals and your site map putting in order before you go live.
You can hire an SEO expert to take the lead with this and ensure that everything is put in place before your new site goes live, along with helping to maintain and/or improve rankings when the site is up. The costs for this differ depending on the size of your site and the market in but it is something that is definitely worth bearing in mind when budgeting for your new site.Social marketing
Having a good social presence is very important in the social-media crazed world we live in, and although you may consider yourself a Facebook expert, maintaining a brand’s social media is surprisingly time consuming. Gone are the days when it was just about interacting with your customers and having another platform to promote yourself on, now you need to work out what time of day gains you the best interaction and post on a regular basis to see an improvement. For these reasons it can be beneficial to outsource this too, though you would need to also factor in any costs that would be involved both on the platforms themselves and with the agency you decide to use.On-going maintenance
Once your site goes live, the work doesn’t stop but continue. Search engine crawlers are constantly changing their algorithms and you need to be ahead of the game where possible to avoid facing any potential penalties. You will also need to consider server maintenance to make sure your site is ready to handle your new customers, and keep up-to-date with your security levels – something that is especially important for e-commerce sites that are taking personal details of their customers on a daily basis. What’s more, you might find that users are struggling with a section of the site and need to make some design changes to give yourself the best chance of conversion.Multi-channel integration's & future planning
Potentially thinking further afield, you might want to bear in mind the cost of moving your site onto international marketplaces, or what you could do to sell internationally if you were to use another platform e.g. Amazon or eBay marketplaces for this. You also need to consider whether your product level is likely to change dramatically in the near future and therefore a large amount of product pages and content would need creating. If you are considering retailing on an international basis you also need to consider how much work you would require translating the pages, and altering the schema/coding to cope with this.