Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Website Design Do It Yourself Options

This is a different direction for me because normally I want to provide you with reasons that would encourage you to use professionally outsourced website design and development services. But (this is a big but) I've come to the realization that there are those of you who might just be better off doing this yourself. Afterall as so many people have told me, there are many resources now available online that will allow you to build a fully functioning and visitor friendly website. In this intallment I'd like to offer a plan for you if this is the route you want to go.

Step 1- Make a plan. You know what your website is about so all you need to do is make a plan that should include: site design plan, content development ideas, idea market research, competitor analysis, website marketing plan and optimization strategy and tactics, conversions desired, content management system requirements, email management and marketing requirements, client relationship development requirements, process automation needs, background database application development. This will provide you with a sound platform to move forward with.

Step 2- Define and allocate adequate resources to the project development. Again, you know what your website is about so all you have to do is decide who within your organization is going to take on the responsibility for each of the above mentioned plan elements. Depending on the competency and experience of the person who is undertaking one or more of the elements outlined in Step 1, I would allocate anywhere from 1-5 planning hours for each item for a total range of between 12 and 60 hours planning time.

Step 3- Build the website. Again, depending on the level of expertise (at a minimum you should have someone who is reasonably competent with a design program like Dreamweaver, much better to have someone competent in a variety of web programming languages) available within your organization, you should probably count on a minimum of 2 weeks to as much as several weeks to ensure that the page SEO tasks are properly done, the content is credible, coherent and well laid out for easy navigation etc. This will vary depending on the level of sophistication you've decided on. For example, if you are implementing database program applications such as email or client relationship management tools, you'll need to allow significantly more time, particularly as this will be your first design build project of this kind.

Step 4- Review the website and correct as needed. Programs like Dreamweaver or Front Page are notorious for creating websites that have W3C compliance issues so that your website visitors may have significant problems viewing your webpages properly, or the applications you've developed won't run properly. Again, depending on the expertise available and the complexity allow 3 days to several weeks for this process.

Great! You're done until you want to do some updates and you've only had to take...whoa. Hang on a second, I really didn't realize this, you've just created a project outside of your core competency area that will probably take 3 to 8 weeks person time to complete and the outcome is not guaranteed to be what you wanted!

OK, I did realize what was happening in my blog entry here. My point? How much time, energy and effort does your business save your clients? What value do you offer them? Could they do it themselves? Maybe they could, but does their investment in time and capital resources justify the outcome?

How much is a do it yourself website really going to cost you?

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

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