Telling us your budget during the early stages of first-talking to us allows us to offer you a service which suits your budget, because it gives us an idea of how much time we can give you.
When approached to carry out some work for a client, once we’ve talked to them and found out a bit about their business and how we can help, an important next question is “What’s the budget?” This isn’t so we can fleece the them for as much as they are willing to part with! It’s so we can calculate how much of our time we can invest before we start suggesting ways we can help.
Our aim as a business is to provide a service which works well and provides good return on investment. Part of doing that is providing a solution which fits the budget. But most people are cautious to tell a web designer their budget for fear the designer will inflate their prices. It’s a tricky one, but here’s why we think it’s best to disclose your budget:
If it’s on the low side, we can focus on giving you something which works for your business and is scalable in the future.
If it’s high, we can plan for a wider marketing strategy from the outset or advise something smaller to begin with but which is added to over time, or even save you some money!
How can we provide you with a solution which fits your budget if we don’t know your budget?
You’re being open and we’re being open, which is important if we’re going to be working together. If you don’t trust us enough to divulge your budget, are you sure you want to work with us?
It’s wasting everybody’s time if we have to go away and rethink a proposal because we were wide of the mark.
The purpose of a company’s website is to provide information about their business. Essentially, a brochure.
The purpose of a blog is to talk to people, so it’s more akin to a journal, and they are often personal, even when individuals blog on behalf of the company they work for.
So, how do they differ?
Blogs serve two purposes. They’re brilliant for search engine ranking. The dynamic, changing content of a blog counts, but the biggest thing is building an audience. Google doesn’t care much about what you say about your business, but it cares hugely about what other people say about it. A lively, interesting blog containing articles which other people link to is the biggest thing you can do to improve your Google-ranking.
The other reason is relationships. Write well and you’ll be demonstrating your expertise, further strengthening your visitors’ trust in you. It’s the difference between the local butchers and the deli in the supermarket.
But, if the blog is about building relationships and doing well in search engines, it’s only a supporting role. The business end of a company’s web presence is the main site. Its aim is usually more direct, examples include, among others: providing information, visitors subscribing to a newsletter, purchasing a product, getting in contact and brand awareness.
A blog is used to write informal posts on anything the blogger wishes, while a website is for publishing formal and official information. So, you wouldn’t normally go to a company’s website looking for personal opinion, but you might look for delivery details. And, you wouldn’t visit a company’s blog if you wanted more information about one of their products, but you might if you were after their thoughts on how a change in the law might affect their business.
It doesn’t matter what the business, the same distinctions apply: keep the main website for formal and official information, and the blog for informal opinion. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with discretely displaying the latest blog post on the main site, but it shouldn’t be a main feature.
The informal nature of blogs usually means a more informal design, flexible enough to adapt to changing content, while still retaining the visual identity of the business. Most visitors also expect standard features such as categories, archives, RSS feeds and so on, simply because that’s what they’re familiar with.
The company website, on the other hand, needs more careful design to enable the business to communicate most effectively with its visitors. The structuring of the information, content strategy and user experience require careful planning, with much more emphasis on directly achieving the aims of the business.
You wouldn’t normally allow commenting on the main website, but it’s positively encouraged on a blog. This two-way flow of information is vital to the blog achieving its aim of building relationships.
So, the difference between blogs and standard sites: blogs should contain impersonal accounts and opinion whereas the main site is for formal and official information targeted to achieve a specific goal. Why have a blog? Because they are the best investment you can make for search engine ranking and for building relationships with your visitors. Where? Company blogs work best when attached to the main company website, just like ours!
Another definition of a blog is: “an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on [the web],” from here.