“I just want to replace the carpet…”
So it begins. The old carpet comes up which uncovers… rotting flooring? Neglected hardwood floors? Asbestos tiles?
You never know what you’ll find when you start to remodel. Your carpet layer doesn’t have x-ray vision to see what might be underneath. It’s nobody’s fault that removing the carpet unveiled structural problems. But it has to be dealt with before moving on.
Redesigning websites can be the same way. Until the developer gets in there and gets their hands dirty with the code, they’re operating blind. If they’ve provided an estimate based on “the price of the carpet” don’t be shocked when there’s now talk of “fixing the floorboards.” There are times when an estimate is just that… an estimate. If the assumptions that estimate was based on prove to be inadequate, things will change.
straightTALK: Estimates are always based on assumptions. When the situation changes, so will the estimate.
While there are many homes on the market, there’s nothing quite like building your own custom home. You get to make the decisions – ALL the decisions. From what material to use for the foundation, to the height of the ceilings, or whether the bathroom faucet will have one handle or two, your opinion counts.
Are you ready for that? Do you know enough to make those decisions? Do you care enough to bother with them? Do you have the time to devote to researching and making those choices? Are you ready to accept responsibility and consequences of those decisions?
Whether you go for a custom build, a move-in ready existing home, a fixer-upper, or a DIY adventure depends on your expertise, skill, interest, time, and budget. There’s no one “right” solution.
The same applies to websites. A custom build will take time and money, but it will be built to match your wants and needs and be built to last. Or you can work with existing themes and plugins to get something that will suit just fine in much quicker time frame. You can go the DIY route too, if you’ve got the time, interest, and skills and want that experience.
straightTALK: Custom, move-in, fixer-upper, or DIY. Whether a home or a website, each choice comes with expertise, skill, time and money trade-offs.
When building a house it’s fun to look at the catalogs of all the shiny accessories that can be added. There’s a seemingly infinite variety of cabinets, bathroom fixtures, and tiles to choose from. And a seemingly infinite variety of price points.
Since you have to work within your budget, you may be tempted to go with some of the lower priced / lower quality options to get more bling for the buck. While that’s one approach, it’s likely to cost more in the end.
While it would be nice to have an unlimited budget where you could get everything exactly as you want it, that’s rarely the case. Knowing your budget up front, and communicating it to your contractor, can help keep you from cutting corners in the wrong places.
Your contractor, whether for a house or a website, will know where to save and where not to compromise. Quality materials always last longer. And sometimes it’s the ones you can’t see that make the biggest difference. It’s relatively easy and cheap to swap out carpet, not so much for floor joists and foundations.
The same is true for websites. Often it’s the hosting and the theme and plugin code quality that make the biggest difference in the long run. You may have to pay more for quality and customization, but it’s money well spent.
straightTALK: Cutting corners always costs in the long run.
The first rule of real estate is “Location! Location! Location!” Where you build can have an impact on your budget, your security, even your future.
For a website, the “location” is the hosting company and service package you choose to go with. As in most things in life, you get what you pay for. While cheap hosting can get you by for a while, and it might even be okay for a “storage shed” of a website, but when your “home” is important to you, you’ll want to have it in a location where it will be safe from the bad guys (as much as possible) and “insured” against the worst. Translated, that means security and backups.
You can choose to manage security and backups yourself, but be prepared to invest time for learning, keeping up, and doing the actual tasks, plus probably a little bit of money as well. Or you can pay someone to take this responsibility off your shoulders.
Which direction you go can depend on how important your site is to you, how much time you have available to deal with it, or how much money you have in the budget. But like homeowner’s insurance, this isn’t an area to skimp on and should be the first thing added to and the last thing cut from the budget.
straightTALK: When it comes to website hosting, you get what you pay for. Set your expectations accordingly.
One of the scariest parts when looking at hiring professionals to help you with your website is the question of how much it will cost. Everyone involved needs to know, and usually everyone is afraid to talk about it.
In an effort to help you understand the market I would like to share this great article on what to expect regarding market rates. As it states, it makes many assumptions and the answer is always “it depends,” but it does provide some great background into what to expect.
How Much Should a Custom WordPress Website Cost, by Brian Krosgard on Post Status
Two things to add, though. First, if you have a set budget, letting the professional know what it is up front can help them get you the most bang for your buck and avoid a lot of frustration. Two, if you really have no idea what something costs, but are willing to find the resources to make it happen, well I hope the information in the article provides some guidance for you. If this is the case, then having a chat with a professional to have them help you define what your likely budget might be can be very helpful. Once again, let them know that you’re just looking for information rather than a full-on proposal and that you might not be ready to move forward just yet — because “straightforward” works both ways.