So you’ve bitten the bullet and signed off on a new website or website refresh project with us or the next company. Fantastic! Question is – did you check all the inclusions on the quote or proposal when signing off?
Do you know exactly what is included and what is not and therefore what you can expect from the company you will be working with as part of the project and what you will have to pull together yourself? It’s important you do.
I’ve seen quite a few social media posts over the years from people asking on groups about what is typically included and not included in a website build. In some cases they are reviewing quotes (so good they are asking) and in other cases they have already signed off, and are even at completion stage and potentially disgruntled if things they thought would be getting they are actually not.
Similarly we have had incidences of clients signing off on a quote or proposal (which we have always taken great pride in making quite detailed listing all inclusions as thoroughly as we can) and then expecting things to be included which were never discussed, and certainly not included in the quote at later stages of the project.
Obviously nobody likes conflict, so let’s talk about what is typically included in a website build and what is typically not, though we do need to acknowledge that the range of inclusions per website build and per agency can vary quite a lot.
But in short, we strongly encourage you to read not only the inclusions of the quote or proposal you sign off on, but the terms and conditions on the contract you will likely also be agreeing to when giving the go ahead.
Like any form of service engagement, these will form the foundations of your agreement / the basis of your engagement, whichever company or person you choose to work with.
WHAT TYPICALLY IS INCLUDED IN A WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT
1/ Setting your website up on the chosen platform
Different companies use different platforms, but it’s important you are aware of which platform your website is intended to be built on before you sign off, and that you check it’s suitability for your needs. We tend to build websites on WordPress, Shopify and occasionally Wix.com.
2/ Web Design
Subject to the type of website you sign off on with us, we will either help you select a relevant theme if you are going for a simple look and feel for your website at the budget end of the scale, or, if you have more of a budget and would like to achieve a custom look and feel in line with your brand style and this is discussed in the briefing stage, we will typically factor in design mock ups and potentially even a wire frame (a wireframe is a layout of a web page that demonstrates what interface elements will exist on key pages), have you approve it, and then integrate that look and feel with the website system.
If your quote does not mention a design mock up or wireframes, suffice to say it does not likely include them and your web designer will most likely be using a theme and then modifying it to a degree to suit your brand colours and fonts, but not a whole lot more.
3/ Upload of content & images
A big determining factor of your website is generally how many pages it is and therefore how much content and how many images will need to be uploaded to flesh it out. The more pages and images that need to be created and populated, the more expensive your site will be.
At our company we will always specify how many pages of content your website development includes on our quotes, and this will generally be scoped out at the briefing stage meaning we will help you decide on what pages you will need, what pages you could consolidate if you have an existing site and what pages you could potentially even cut. The exact words we specify in our quotes are:
“Upload up to x pages of supplied content or from existing site once (no amends, basic content only)”
On some rare occasions, we will set up a set number of core pages for clients, and allow clients who want to save on budget to continue to populate the website with further pages or products.
But our preference is always to give a full and complete website to a client where possible. As even with the best of intentions, clients often don’t realistically have the time nor skills to complete a website, and the sooner they are live, the sooner they can reap the benefits of having a new, well put together website.
4/ Core SEO elements
We know a big determining factor of whether your website will bring you any business or not is in the SEO performed on it.
As such we won’t let any website go out the door of our company without installing core SEO aspects such as:
– Installing an industry standard SEO plugin
– Set up/transfer Google Webmaster Tools, verify site, submit site map – to help Google provide feedback on the health of your site and get to know your site and to allow Google to know when you add new content/amend content
– Set up/transfer Google Analytics – to measure the performance of your website
In some cases we will also perform some on page optimisation to kick start the website appearing on Google, but this is generally at an additional fee. This would include:
– Keyword research of words we could look to optimise for which have high searches but low competition or which are highly relevant
– Perform on page SEO (search engine optimisation) on up to a set number of key web pages. Includes identifying relevant keyword/s per page, optimising of page title, description and adding keywords into core text based on keyword research performed earlier.
Thereafter we will generally recommend our clients move into a monthly SEO program as it can take 4-6 months to really get your website ranking on Google subject to how competitive your industry is, and what point you’re starting from. We offer that service post your website build as it is a piece of work requiring separate skills to a web development team, and requiring us to use professional software which we pay over $1000USD /month for, to conduct extensive keyword research and effectively develop you a SEO strategy, and then set about optimising your website. See below for more.
Our advice to you when it comes to SEO? Check the quote or fine print of a quote from other companies however. In our experience they may or may not know about this and therefore may or may not do it or include it. If in doubt, ask, and get their assurance in writing. Note however that unless specified our quotes do not generally include on page optimisation.
5/ Training & Handover
This aspect may or may not be included with other companies so again, check the fine print. We’re all about empowering our clients with the skills they need to self manage their websites once they go live, so we include a 1-2 hour training and handover session subject to the size of their website and their technical ability. We’d rather invest the time in them at this point to ensure they are confident then have them calling us on a regular basis with small questions and queries of how to do things.
6/ Taking the site live
Well of course we will take the website live! This could mean one of a few things – placing it live on your choice of hosting or ours. If you’re going live on a hosted CMS (like Squarespace, Shopify or Wix) this would mean taking it live on that platform (which force you to use their hosting).
7/ Site warranty
Again this aspect may or may not be included with other companies, and our guess is in most cases it isn’t. But being an ethical company, we provide a 30 day warranty on our websites. The exact words we specify in our quotes are:
“30 day warranty on the site – this covers any bugs or system glitches that arise that are not caused by human error. Thereafter we have support packages as follows: www.thecreativecollective.com.au/support-maintenance”
WHAT’S TYPICALLY NOT INCLUDED IN A WEBSITE
1/ Brand / logo development or refresh
If you bought a car or had your car serviced, you wouldn’t dare expect them to also create you some signage and stick it on now would you? Similarly, if you require a brand or logo, we’d consider this kind of work graphic design work and as such, whilst we have strong capabilities to prepare a brand or logo, or refresh your current one, unless this item is mentioned on your website quote, it won’t typically be included. So don’t expect it. If you do need a logo/brand, ask for it, and we’d be happy to quote it. Similarly if you decide to get a website with another company, don’t expect a brand in the package, unless it is explicitly discussed and included in the quote.
Interestingly this is probably one of the most common items people expect us to include in a website build, but it’s industry standard for it not to be included unless requested and quoted for. Why? Copywriting is a different skillset to creating a website. Web developers are technicians. Copywriters and writers. And they need to be paid for their time accordingly. If you’re not a writer, that’s understandable. We’re all good at different things. But to prepare the copy for your website, we would need to go through a separate process to preparing the website structure and design. In order to do your copywriting justice, we’d need to understand how many pages you require copy for, select the right copywriter for the project based on the industry you are in, the style of copy you are seeking and the time frames you require it in (i.e. who is available) then arrange an interview to obtain the content we need, and prepare drafts. We generally charge at one hour at our hourly rate per page of copy required. So copywriting can add up subject to the number of pages you need, but it can absolutely be worth the investment too.
Find out about our copywriting services here.
3/ Sourcing & editing images and videos
Similar to copywriting, some clients also expect us to source and edit their images inclusive of a website build quote, but it’s also industry standard for it not to be included unless requested and quoted for. Why?
The best images and videos are authentic images and videos i.e. shot on site at your premises/of your products/of your team/of your clients etc. So either you need to arrange a photo shoot or video shoot and send us these towards your website, or you need to book us to shoot these for you. Yes this is an additional expense, but it could also lift the output of not only your website in a big way, but your overall marketing.
If you really can’t stretch the budget to a photo or video shoot, yes you can source or edit royalty free stock imagery or video, but again, as this is time consuming, either you can do this, or pay us additional fees to conduct this research for you and provide you with a short list to check through to make sure they reflect the style and image you want to get across to the world and that it is a true and accurate reflection of your business/industry.
4/ SSL certificate
In case you hadn’t heard, if you don’t have a SSL certificate, your website may bomb out on search engines and with customers. Why? Have you ever noticed how sometimes websites start with “http://” and then sometimes they start with “https://” and have a green padlock nearby? If you have, you’ve seen the end result of an SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Essentially, SSL establishes an encrypted link between your web server and your website visitor’s browser which ensures that all data that passes during their visit on your website remains private and secure. Your users expect and deserve that when completing forms or transactions on your website, so you need to give it to them with an SSL certificate. If you choose to host with us, we will include an SSL certificate. If you choose to host elsewhere, you’ll need to ensure you get one.
For someone to access your website they need to type in your domain name or website address. Your domain acts as an easy to remember way for your visitors to access your website. You need to a/ purchase a domain in order for us to connect your website to it (and we sell them here) and you also need to renew ownership of your domain every year or two years to ensure people continue to access your website (and sometimes your emails too) via this domain name address.
Your website i.e. the words, images and all the features programmed into it needs to be stored on a server somewhere to be seen. Paying for hosting is much like renting out space for your business, except instead of being in the physical world it is your business in the virtual or online world. It’s not generally included in a website development quote. With us you can choose to host with us, or arrange it independently.
How you set up your emails will depend on how you purchased your domain and hosting option you select. If you host with us, we won’t arrange emails for you. But we will introduce you to our email partners – IT Genius who can help set you up at jut $5 per inbox on G Suite which we highly recommend. We consider emails to be more in the realm of IT services, which is why we don’t offer this service. We’re a creative agency and build websites among other things. We don’t configure or help with email issues.
8/ Unlimited rounds of changes
When reviewing your website it’s a good idea to be as thorough as possible in the very first round. As you’ll note in our inclusions of what IS INCLUDED IN A WEBSITE above, our terms clearly state “Upload up to x pages of supplied content or from existing site once (no amends, basic content only)”. The moment you need more rounds of changes, either we can provide you training and handover to administer this yourself, or we will potentially need to charge you for extra time subject to the level of changes and reason for changes as our quotes are based on the upload of content once.
9/ Anything else that wasn’t mentioned in the quote in the first place!
If there is anything else you’re not sure is included in your website build or any other creative project for that matter (video or photo shoots, graphic design etc.) if it doesn’t say it is included on your quote or contract, you can presume it’s not. So read your quote carefully, and query it before you engage to save on any confusion later in the piece!
MORE THINGS TO CHECK FOR IN YOUR QUOTE FROM US OR THE NEXT PERSON
- Check if the quote summarises total hours for the project as this will help you compare apples to apples.
- Check if you are getting a theme option, or custom design. Custom design is generally more expensive but will be 100% unique to your business
- If you are getting a custom designed website, how many ‘rounds’ of amends of design work are allocated to finalise the design? If there are no rounds for amends, then you may find yourself incurring extra costs. As standard, The Creative Collective includes x2 rounds of amends to polish the design.
- Do you have a requirement for any integrations of custom functionality? If so, check if any paid plugins are required and if this is a cost included in your quote or separate. For Shopify sites, a lot of functionality comes with an add-on subscription cost each month so be sure to ask these questions
We hope you’ve found this blog post helpful. Feel free to share it if you know someone who is looking to contract a company for a website build – whether it’s us or the next person.
We wish you all the best with your project and again, if we can help, please don’t hesitate the reach out.