Tag Archives: web development

Should I learn to build my website or outsource it?

This is a common question with cash strapped small businesses. They understand that in this day and age, every business needs to have a website. They don’t have the skills in-house to build a website. They hear these Ads suggesting they build their own and save money. Sounds convincing. Why spend money when you can do it yourself. Money is scarce isn’t it.

Before we go further, we would like to explain that just like every business is different, every website is different and costs vary accordingly. A blog will not cost as much as a photography portfolio website. An informational website will generally not cost as much as an ecommerce website. What we are trying to achieve with this article is NOT to provide you with a price chart for your website, but rather to give you an idea of everything that goes into building a website.

There is a lot that goes into building a website. First and foremost is time – whether its your own time or the time of a developer, time is an important variable in this equation. How much time do you have or how soon do you need your website? Next is your interest in gaining coding knowledge, followed by design skills and money. How much are you willing to spend on learning web development vs how much are you prepared to pay others to build it for you. The variables differ from business to business. You may lack one, two, or even three of these resources. What then? Don’t feel stuck as there is a way around everything. One resource can compensate for another. So, if you lack design skills but have time, do not fret, just start looking for a good course on web design.

Contrary to popular belief, money is actually the most flexible resource. You have time or you do not, you can code or not, you can design or not and not be willing to learn how to do it. Money on the other hand can buy you what you don’t have. If you feel something is valuable to you, you will have no qualms about paying for it. If your website has value for you, you will find a way to pay for it.

Building your own website

Let’s say you have time and want to build the website yourself. Here are some of the steps involved:

Do it yourself - web design
Do it yourself – web desig
  1. Setup

  2. Website builder

  3. Design

  4. Content creation

  5. Maintenance

Each of these will largely depend on the variables of time, technical knowledge and design skills. You can opt for professional help for parts of it if necessary.

There are two options. You do all the website building yourself, from scratch. Or, use a Drag & Drop Website builder tool like Wix or Weebly. As a drag and drop builder, Wix & Weebly require minimal technical knowledge. The only drawback is that some of the available tools may be very limited. These builders do not let you do everything you want. What’s in their existing menu is what you can use and not much else. But that may be good enough for you.

If you are a DIY type, you can create the content and graphics yourself. Since you are saving money by building the site yourself, there is a good chance that you have some spare pennies for content. You may even splurge a little on promoting the website.

Outsourcing web development to professionals

A professional developer will likely build your website using WordPress if it is a catalog or informational type of website or may switch to a different platform if complex ecommerce is involved. WordPress powers over 26% of all websites. Think of all the websites you visit. Chances are that they are WordPress sites.

Your web developer will ask you to buy a domain name (your web address) and hosting (where your website will reside). There are different types of hosting but you can start small and ramp up as the number of visitors to your site (traffic) grows. Here are sample hosting expenses:

  • Shared hosting costs $5 to $30 / month
  • VPS hosting costs $50 to $100 / month
  • Dedicated hosting $150 and up / month

If you are very particular about design, then you may go for custom design. That could cost between $750 to $2,000 and up. If you want to be on the economical side, you may buy a ready made theme that will cost around $100 and still look decent. It may look a little cookie cutter but can save you a lot of money and your developer will then adjust it to your needs.

Once the design part is done, your web developer will code the functions that you need and also integrate the design into the backend. This could run from about $500 to several thousand dollars depending on the complexity of your needs.

Don’t forget content. Once you have the web site designed and developed, you need some content. Are you going to create it yourself or hire professionals. A good copy writer may cost $500 to $1,000 and you may spend an additional $500 to $600 on a graphic designer.

The last thing is traffic, that is, visitors to your website. A website does you no good if it has no traffic. But that is a separate subject in it’s own right and we can discuss it in a separate article.

Whether you decide to build your website yourself or outsource it to professionals, you must have a website. I hope this article helped.

Good luck!

How much should a website cost you
InterloperInc.com – A web development Company

Why you should outsource web development

Web design and development is a broad term referring in general to activities that your business would like to conduct over the internet. Large companies have huge I.T. Departments taking care of their web related activities. Mid range companies also have their own I.T. Departments but outsource some of their work to make up for personnel or skill shortage. What’s a small business to do? They don’t have an I.T. Department, they at best have one guy who knows how to reboot their systems or do minor trouble shooting on their PC network. How are they supposed to establish their web presence and then grow beyond to implement CRM systems and market their services on multiple marketplaces and beyond.

Depending on what you are trying to achieve with your website, to sell a product or attract customers and get word out about your business, developing your website may be a long and expensive process. Not to mention the fact that a well-rounded website requires a team consisting of a designer, developer, content writer, SEO expert and Social Media Managers. Bringing such a team in-house is expensive – too expensive for a small business. What to do? You can either give up on competing over the internet or outsource.

When you outsource, the outsourcing company marshals it’s resources to work on your project. They get their designers and developers working on your website till its up and ready and functioning smoothly. Then they withdraw their staff and assign them to a new client while giving you only periodic attention as needed. You didn’t have to advertise for employees. You did not have to interview them. You did not have to create office space, desks etc. for them. You did not have to arrange for their benefits and vacations. And most importantly, once the project is completed, they don’t have to be on your payroll for doing nothing. You save, save and save.

Another benefit of outsourcing is that you can get the full deal of design, development, maintenance and promotion from one company. If web development is not a core competency of your business, outsourcing it will free up your time to focus on what you do best.

Even if you want to do it in-house, the challenge is finding a good designer and a developer and a CRM specialist and so on. Chances are talented web developers in your area are already working elsewhere. This leaves a certain talent gap which outsourcing companies are perfectly capable of filling. Focus instead on finding the right team.

Time zones can be an issue especially if you outsource to an off-shore company but with good planning they can be overcome. Many good outsourcing companies like InterloperInc.com have their project management office in USA and their worker bees are overseas. They assign you a US based project manager who is your day-to-day contact in your time zone. This makes communication easier and good communication is critical to outsourcing success.

At Interloper Inc, we design, develop, test and implement your website and web based applications in the areas of Content Management Systems, Social Media, E-commerce, Custom PHP, Shopping Portals, Auto Responders etc. You can find samples of our work on our home page http://interloperinc.com

In conclusion, chose an outsourcing company wisely. Then work with them and help them understand your business. If you establish a solid relationship with a good outsourcing company, they almost become your I.T. Department at a fraction of the cost.

Good Luck!


Why you should outsource web development
Your outsourcing partner

How much should I pay for a Website?

How much should I pay for a Website?

I wish there was an easy answer. Too many factors to consider including your pocketbook so let’s dig into it.

  1. The nature of the website? Is the aim of the website to present you and what you can do, or an ecommerce site where you will sell your products? Trust us, they are quite different. A presentation website is fairly simple whereas ecommerce sites require various plugins and the integration of a shopping cart and a payment gateway. Drop shipping may be involved, use of API’s to send order information to suppliers, download tracking information and provide customers timely details on the status of their order. Even a simple ecommerce site will cost you over $1,000 and the more complex ones cost well over $10,000. The more complicated the site, the more it is going to cost.

  2. Do you need the services of a web developer, web designer or both? Is a custom design absolutely necessary? In some cases, existing templates can be bought for a small fixed cost and tweaked by a web developer till they meet your needs. A custom layout is a different story. It takes more time to design and setup everything hence the cost will be higher on custom sites. But a custom design well set you apart from the cookie cutter websites and if that is what your objective is then you must go for a custom design.

  3. Domain and hosting costs. Domain names are usually bought for an entire year and then renewed annually whereas hosting is a monthly cost. If traffic to your website grows, which is a good thing, your hosting cost will also increase.

  4. Plugins: This may or may not be another substantial cost for your website depending on whether you use the free or premium versions. The more complex your website, the more plugins you may need.

  5. SEO. What is the use of a website if it does not show in search engine results? Interested parties will not be able to find out about what you do simply because few bother to look past the first few pages of search results. So, investing in SEO will definitely prove to be a smart decision.

  6. PPC: Pay Per Click. If you have the funds to invest, you can draw traffic to your website through Pay Per Click advertising. The more traffic you want, the more you spend.

  7. Content. Again, this will largely depend on what your website is for. You may or may not require the services of a content writer. Whether you hire content writers or not, you must plan to add content. You need to keep your website fresh looking with new content.

  8. Time. How much time do you have. If you must have your website up and running in a couple of weeks, you cannot have a custom website. You have to go the template route and later on when time allows, develop a new custom website.

  9. Demographics: Who are you catering to? Seniors or young families, millennials or veterans, athletes or nerds. Then design accordingly. If you don’t, your demographics may find the website unattractive and click away.

  10. Upscale, mid range or economy: If you are targeting a well heeled clientele but your website looks like Walmart, you will turn off your customers. Likewise, if your target market is penny pinchers but your website looks like a million dollars, you will scare customers away.

  11. Regional, National or Global: Yes it matters especially if you are selling globally. A simple thing like inches or centimeters helps customers relax and be at ease with your website. You may need to list prices in multiple currencies and even have multi-lingual versions of your website.

Based on the above points, do your homework and then discuss your budget with your web developer and see what is possible and what is not. If you really have only $500, ask your developer if he can make you a very simple informational website. If on the other hand if you have money to spend, make sure you emphasize your requirements and not the cost. Let the web development company focus on design and development and come up with a realistic estimate.

Now you don’t have to do it all at once. You can do it in stages. For example, in Phase I, you can create a simple but high quality informational website. In Phase II, you can integrate a CRM. In Phase III, you can add ecommerce. In Phase IV, you can integrate drop shipment. This way you can grow your website just as your business grows and as revenues start flowing in you divert part of the incoming funds to improve your website.

I hope you found the article helpful. If you think we can help you, call us or fill out the contact form. Let’s us help you with your website.

Top 4 Reasons you need Interloper Inc.

Any business that aims at being competitive today should have a professional website. If your business does not have a professionally designed website, you risk losing many potential clients. People don’t take you seriously. Customers evaluate products and companies long before they make their buying decision and if your website does not measure up in form or function, your prospects will click away to your competitor’s. Why lose customers?

Most projects require multiple skills and being a company enables us to put the right person on the right job and make sure your project gets done in the best possible manner and on time.

Four Key areas we can help you with:

1. Form:

The way we approach your project is to first assign you one of our creative designers who will work with you to put together a design that reflects your vision for your website, looks elegant and professional and most importantly meets the expectations of the type of customers you are trying to attract. During this process we may go back and forth several times to get the design just right. Good design should establish brand identity, credibility, be in line with current trends and technologies, drive your call to action and give you a competitive advantage.

2. Function:

Once design is finalized, we hand it over to our developers to integrate the design into the backend and incorporate all the necessary functionalities. Our focus is making the customer experience easy and fruitful. They should be able to find the information they need easily and then make them flow through the website to the desired action.

3. Traffic Generation:

We have a very methodical, slow and steady approach to generating organic traffic. We start with Social Media Marketing and then move over to traditional SEO as a secondary activity. Our focus is always on generating real traffic to your page or site. Traditional SEO focuses on moving you up in search engine results. Social Media Marketing focuses on generating organic traffic straight to your page or website, by that I mean real people visiting your site. Since search engines now highly value social traffic, quite often all this social activity results in better search engine rankings too.

4. CRM – Customer Relationship Management:

It’s very hard to get a customer. Once you do and serve him well, shouldn’t you follow up regularly and build on that relationship? Unfortunately most companies don’t. It boggles the mind but that’s how it is. We help you implement a CRM system to strengthen your relationship with your customers and make him a lifetime customer.

Depending on the industry you are in and which study you believe, acquiring a new customer is five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. It makes sense. You don’t have to spend time and resources going out and finding a new client — you just have to keep the one you have happy.

Convinced? Call us or fill out the contact form and let’s explore how we can help you grow your business.

Web Development

Web Development

For
Retailers, Manufacturers, Distributors

  • Small brochure style website:
    Great for small retailers & service companies

    example of a salon website

    • Helps you establish a web presence
    • You can mention it on your marketing material
    • Gives you a chance to show up on local searches
    • Allows you to talk about your products and services, the owners and
      their background.
    • Allows you a forum to post testimonials from satisfied customers
    • Allows you to mention the major brands and product lines you cover
    • Allows customers to fill in a contact form and send in inquiries
      even when you are closed
    • Allows you to post promotional discounts / coupons on your website
      to encourage customers to visit you
    • If you don’t have web hosting account, we can even help you sign up for a hosting account, get a domain name and install the
      necessary software for your website
    • Your investment:
      • ~ $1,500
      • Optional: $50 / month retainer to take care of software updates
        and minor adjustments to website – not to exceed 5 hours / month
      • Optional: For an additional $1000, we can add a small scale
        ecommerce component to your site so customers can place orders
        online, you
        can charge their credit cards and ship or get the order for Will
        Call pickup.
  • Midsize eCommerce website:
    Great for mid size retailers
    – helps them strengthen their web presence and increase online sales

    example of a furniture website

    • Establishes you as a strong ecommerce merchant
    • You focus on promoting your website and the site is ready to handle the
      flow of traffic and orders
    • You can list thousands of products with all kinds of details
    • You can list primary products and then secondary products or derivates
      under them.
    • You can list variations by size, color, length etc
    • Strong search and filter functions
    • Data mining to present similar products
    • Maximizing purchasing by presenting impulse and related items in the
      shopping cart
    • You can integrate customer communications, promotionals, specials
    • Your investment:
      • $~ 4,500
      • Optional: $150 / month retainer to take care of software updates and
        minor adjustments to website – not to exceed 15 hours / month

     

  • Large eCommerce website:
    Great for larger retailers –
    helps them strengthen their web presence and increase online sales

    example of a large ecommerce website, equipment distributor,

    • All of what the Midsize eCommerce website does plus the following:
    • Ability to support multiple domains from one backend
    • Upload large product data feeds from manufacturers and distributors
      to your ecommerce platform
    • Check price and availability daily with suppliers in an automated
      way
    • Send drop ship orders straight to distributors, manufacturers and
      specialty drop shippers / fulfillment houses
    • Import shipping data and update order status
    • Inform customers about their order status
      • Open Orders
      • Shipped Orders
      • On-Hold Orders
    • Forms for credit applications, claim forms etc.
    • Handle returns in a semi automated manner
    • Your investment:
      • $15,000
      • Optional: $500 / month retainer to take care of software updates
        and minor adjustments to website – not to exceed 50 hours / month

       

  • Catalog Site:
    For manufacturers: No ecommerce. Pure informational:

    example of an online catalog website

    • Allows you to provide your retailers and even end users greater
      product details, images, sketches, PDFs, engineering drawings etc.
    • Helps reduce your cost of supporting your retailers.
    • Helps you support your own sales team. They don’t have to make
      specific requests to engineering for additional information. They just
      have to point their customers to your website and all the details are
      provided there.
    • Training videos
    • Product usage videos
    • Updated price sheets download
    • New product announcements and displays
    • Product discontinuation announcements
    • Your investment:
      • $4,500
      • Optional: $150 / month retainer to take care of software updates
        and minor adjustments to website – not to exceed 15 hours / month

 

  • Manufacturer or Distributor website:
    All the benefits of a catalog site + the following:


example of a manufacturer's website

  • Create customer accounts, retail or wholesale or both
  • Accept credit card payment, Net Terms, PO’s
  • Inventory Management
  • Shipping integration
  • Customer communication modules
  • Specials and limited time sales management
  • Your investment:
    • ~ $7,500
    • Optional: $250 / month retainer to take care of software updates and
      minor adjustments to website – not to exceed 25 hours / month
  • Large Manufacturer or Distributor website:
    All the benefits of a
    manufacturer’s website + the following:
    • Ability to create API’s that you allow your retailers and
      etailers to integrate in their online or offline order processing
      systems. Using these API’s, your retailers can:

      • Automatically check price and availability
      • Be informed of new products

        example of a large manufacturer or distributor website
      • Download product details
      • Send you orders
      • Import tracking information
    • Ability to handle multiple type of retailers, and large
      institutional clients

Your investment:

  • ~$15,000
  • Optional: $500 / month retainer to take care of software updates
    and minor adjustments to website – not to exceed 50 hours / month
  • Additional a la carte services:
    If you need help with very specific issues, we can help you with:

    • Mobile Apps for Android, IOS and Windows mobile
    • Convert existing site to mobile responsive
    • Programming – specific application / task oriented
    • Design – website, logo, banners
    • Image editing & illustrations – for catalogs and ecommerce sites
    • Website content
    • Article and blog content writing
    • Research
    • Competitive analysis
    • SEO, SEM, Social Media Management
    • PPC and PPV
    • Email marketing – campaign management

     

Summary of Services:


summary of web development services

How can we help you?

Our contact information is at the bottom right.
Call or email us. You’ll be glad you did.