Website Design: Development Options and How to Avoid Being Scammed.

Website Design: Development Options and How to Avoid Being Scammed. 

Online presence is critical and key to your business marketing success, any business serious about growing their brand will need a website, the advantages of having a website far outweighs the cost in fact it’s said that websites offer a far better return on investment than any other form of advertising. This increase in demand for website designs of course results in an increase in scams, probably because the barrier to entry is so low and any Joe Soap with a laptop can become a “web designer” in minutes. 
Whether you need a brand new website developed or your current website refreshed you want to partner with a professional that demonstrates the skills you require. To help you make an informed decision below are some of the various options available in the market and some integrity checks you can do before signing up: 

Option 1: Monthly Rental  

We recently encountered a client who opted for this solution in their infant stages of their business, the monthly rental usually covers the website development and hosting for an average fee of R300. This by far is my least favourite option as the long term costs are unjustifiable and the service levels are usually poor, be sure to pay attention to the terms and conditions of such a service. The agreement will most likely be very one sided, late payment by even a day means they will shut your website down and demand interest, if ever you wanted to move over your website you would be required to pay a ridiculous amount as was the case with our client who was requested to pay over R4000 for a standard template website which is worth less than half of the requested amount, when challenged on this the previous hosting and development company cited this as costs for  intellectual property.

Option 2: Budget and Template Websites 

If your intention is just to have a website for credibility or accessibility purposes, then I see no problem with this solution especially if you are faced with budget restrictions.  A fit for purpose solution is not an issue the concern however is how many clients are unable to identify what a template is and end up paying exorbitant rates for what they believe is a “custom” website. A template website should cost you no more than R2000, here are some ways to identify if you’re being sold a template website: 

  • Ask for a portfolio and visit some of the previous client’s sites, take it a step further and contact one or two of them and find out how the collaborative experience went. 
  • View the site source code: 
In Google Chrome: Open the website and the hit CTRL+U
In Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari: Right click on the website and choose “view source” 

Toward the top of the page look for the Content Management System names in the code i.e. WordPress, Joomla, DotNetNuke (or DNN), ExpressionEngine and Drupal are some of the common ones. Once you know which system was used to build the site, determine whether the site is built using a theme, or if it has been custom-built. Look for the word that follows /templates/, /themes/ or /skins/ – if that word is the name of the company or its initials, you’re probably looking at a custom site, if not then the site is probably built using a template. *Tip: Use CTRL+ F to help you find some of the key words you are looking for in the code.  

Option 3: Custom Websites

Custom built websites definitely have a lot more advantages in terms of graphics, functionality and overall brand positioning, they however come at a premium. Here are some tips to help you get the best value for money with a custom website: 

  1. Come prepared for your first briefing session, know exactly what you want and why you want it. Perhaps have examples ready but be open to changes that might optimise your website. 
  2. The more complicated your website the more it will cost, i.e. if you require more pages than the standard - Home, About Us, Contact, Services etc.  Interactive functionality such as online shopping, book and appointment, calculators, clickable maps etc. will definitely drive up the cost. So think about the why and if it will deliver value to your customer experience and aid in driving sales, then consider it an investment.
  3. Request the developer to provide you with a Content Management System (CMS), this will allow you to update and make minor changes such as contact detail updates, staff changes etc. without this you will most likely end up paying for these changes in the future and waiting a while for them to be made. 

I hope this article helps you make a more informed decision and limit your vulnerability in getting scammed. Contact Pison today for a solution that suits your business.