Web development can be very confusing to a lot of people. On one hand, we have sites that you have heard that cost thousands and thousand of dollars. On the other hand, there are literally hundreds of options that are absolutely free or at minimal costs. So what’s the difference between a $50,000 online store and a $5,000 one?
See that colour line? Or the unique menu? Anything that is custom takes doing and re-doing many times. This adds to hours spent and cost. I once built a site where the logo position took 3 days to design on. The colour scheme took a whole month! But the results were worth it. Completely one of a kind where the design was unique.
This is not unlike fashion where a Vera Wang dress could cost $25,000 while an off the rack could cost $2,000. For brands that are one of a kind and attention to detail is important, this is where a lot of the cost is.
Imagine going to your local drugstore and asking for cold medicine. Now compare that to going to a specialist doctor. The doctor is going to ask you more questions, maybe recommend a few tests. The drugstore might last less than 5 minutes.
Expert consultants try to understand more in detail before recommending solutions. It is not always take two Panadols and go to sleep. Experts consider more factors and are more aware of possible problems down the road.
If the risks are not too great, it is fine to go to your local drug store. But for online stores with large item bases, huge marketing budgets and complex integration, a well consulted job can avoid very expensive problems down the line. I once had a client who had a very complex setup. Making a few visual changers required a completely new back end which would have cost a 100 man hours of coding by specialist programmers. It might have been better had he got the correct consultant.
Advertising and Marketing is expensive! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Setup a great site and you’ll have a great site with no traffic. Google adwords are now going for $45 a pop. That is a single click!
Imagine a block buster movie. Sometimes the marketing budget can be as much as the cost of developing the movie itself. That applies to online stores as well.
To give you an idea. Amazon.com spent $2.8 billion dollars in advertising in 2014 while it made a profit of $360m. That meant it spent 8 times its profit in advertising. Everyone already knows who Amazon is!
This is an area often overlooked in web development until things get really big. As things get complex, you need the smartest people to figure out scale problems. I’ll give you an example.
Once upon a time there was Friendster. Friendster was the first ever social network and it worked nicely with a small group. As more people joined Friendster started to get slower and slow until it took 2 minutes to load a page! Naturally people switched to Facebook that cache all your relationships and was lightning fast.
People switched to Google because it was fast. That speed takes a lot of very smart people working together.
Brilliant coding could include lots of clever features, nice user experience and lightning quick code.