Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bag of Groceries

bag of groceriesEvery once in a while, the stars align and I mysteriously don't have any networking events or one-to-one meetings for the day. Oh, I still made a phone call or two this morning and Lisa and I went out to lunch with some friends. Other than that, though, today was a work day.

My focus today was to convert all of the content for the new Community Housing Network site and get it published on the test server. I think I went through about ten or fifteen files, checking for errors, making slight tweaks, and, in general, preparing the data for public viewing. When I had finally completed the last file, I updated the search index on the test site and looked for all of the incomplete pages.

There are still 25 of them left to go.

It's funny, but I don't think a lot of people have a good understanding of how much work goes into creating even a moderately large site like this one. Between designing and implementing the look of the site, structuring the data to make it easy for visitors to find what they need, and creating the content that they will be using, weeks or even months can go by before everyone is satisfied.

And that isn't even going into more complex sites which might require backend databases, or those that require a significant effort for search engine optimization.

I'm sure other professionals run into problems like this, too, but I almost have to laugh when someone asks me how much a website costs. One of my friends came up with a snappy answer (though I think I would be gentler with my prospects):

How much does a bag of groceries cost?

So, how do you deal with the "How much does it cost?" question?


Jacki Hollywood Brown said...

How much does it cost????
How much work are YOU willing to put into it?

Andrew said...

As an Search Engine Optimization consultant, I wish I could always charge a fee that is proportional to the value to the client. They more they have to gain, the more they should be willing to invest in SEO.

The reality is, most people can easily understand an hourly rate or flat fee based on an agreed-upon scope. That is how I price most of my engagements.

I have heard of some SEO consultants that have been able to charge a commission based on demonstrable incremental web traffic and/or sales. The challenge is in being able to identify the incremental sales and attribute it to SEO. Of course, if you have that level of insight into your web analytics you're on the right track. If not, keep working at it!