There are an almost limitless number of features available for modern websites — but few websites have an unlimited budget. Putting your budget to best use should be your guide as we develop a plan for your site.
Early in our process, we’ll work together using a worksheet like this one to help you decide what features you’ll need to incorporate into your website. As a planning tool, this can help you to imagine how your visitors will be using your site, and give you a more accurate picture of what kind of site you’ll need as well as the costs of building and maintaining it.
Understanding the value of various features, as well as their sometimes-hidden costs, will help your site take shape.
Our worksheet is packed full of information. Please view this page on a larger device for access to this tool.
|Every feature of a website has costs and benefits. Working together we’ll plan which features you’ll need. The list below contains some of the most common features of modern websites; many more are available.||
What’s this / Don’t know / Let’s talk
|Editable content / CMS (Content Management System)|
|A must for many sites, an advantage for others, but an unnecessary expense for some; a CMS allows integration of many other features, but can have disadvantages as well. (Webmaster services can sometimes substitute for this feature.) ALWAYS talk to your designer about this.|
|Mobile friendly/mobile first (design works well on phones and tablets)|
|A must for most new sites today; many old sites are now getting re-designs to integrate this feature. (The mobile web has increased the cost of many website projects.) The buzzword here is “responsive” web design: don’t ham-string computer users’ experiences by limiting options to only those that work on a phone.|
|Portfolio / image gallery|
|Choosing the right type and making it user-friendly is critical. A bad one is a turn-off.|
|Blog / articles|
|Content is king on the web, and some sort of blog or article system makes it manageable — great if you’ll keep it updated. Requires a CMS.|
|Integrated video or audio. Will your site contain many video or audio components? Will you need an index page to show all of your videos?|
|Calendar / Events|
|Many options are available.|
|Store / shopping feature / ecommerce|
|Often indispensible for an online business, this can be a sizeable expense. You’ll need enough sales to cover the expense. We’ll help you explore all of the options and weigh costs vs. benefits.|
|A great way to keep in touch with your visitors. Many options available.|
|Homepage animation / slideshow|
|The fashion of the day – can be a great way to draw people into your site.|
|Search Engine Optimization (extensive)|
|Very important and often — but not always — critical, you’ll want to discuss this with your web developer in detail, including link building campaigns.|
|Fast page loading|
|An important option to consider for high-volume websites. You’ll need to consider caching options and a CDN, and when these are cost effective.|
|Analytics / web stats|
|Tools for understanding visitor usage of your site.|
|Social Media Integration|
|How will you use social media? Always couple this with a discussion about privacy.|
|How important is it to protect your visitors’ online privacy in a world of data mining? You play a role in protecting your visitors’ personal information from data miners. It is cheapest and easiest to ignore the question when developing a website — as most web designers will. Please take the time to discuss this!|