Along with how much does it cost, the most frequent question I get in my seminar is “How long will it take?”. The truth is that for a smaller site, not that long. Something in the range of 15-25 hours to design/revise/approve and another 25-40 hours to code the site is probably close. So every small business can have a site in 2 weeks, right?
The question I always come back with when someone asks me this question is “How long will it take you? Do you have your content ready?”If I send you a mock-up for design approval, how long will it take you to get back to me? Are you ready to move the process along with comments, approval and the next payment?
The reality is (and one of the main reasons I teach the seminar) is that while all small business owners want and need a website, most are unprepared for all the work that needs to go into it. Unfortunately, I’m not a fairy godmother. I cannot just create a site for you with my magic wand out of thin air. My job is to create a design that works for your business and makes it easy to use and compelling for your customers. Your job is to sell your products and services. I can help you with structure,design and functionality, but only you can tell me about your business.
I had no idea how much work you were going to make me do!
I once had a client exclaim – “Becky, I had no idea how much work you were going to make me do!” This of course also goes back to the first question, “how much will it cost”? How much are you willing to do yourself? I can take a passable product picture and edit it, but if you multiply that by 100+, that gets time consuming and therefore expensive. I can polish up written copy, or find a professional writer for you. But ultimately, what no designer can do is make it up from scratch if they are not part of your business. I will never know your lingo, your clients or your business like you do.
The other reality is that while my priority is getting your site designed and coded, it’s not yours. You’re still running your business. Getting back to me in a timely fashion with comments and feedback may not happen and that stops me in my tracks. I used to design a layout and then ask for content. One time that process took over 6 months. I’ve come to the conclusion at this point that I really need content first, before even thinking about design. Having the content first does several things.
- It forces me to design a layout that actually works with the existing content, instead of finding out later that there really isn’t room for that form here.
- It forces you to really think about the whole project and all of the details ahead of time.
- It allows both of us to plan for as many contingencies as possible while still in the design stage.
This creates a win/win situation for both of us and hopefully keeps the project on track so it really doesn’t take too long at all.