A FINE Site: The Value Of Doing It Our Way
Posted in Insights — Sep 16, 2016
We get this question a lot – “why are FINE sites more expensive than…that other company’s?”
The range of costs to give your brand some sort of Internet presence is anywhere between $9.99 and $10 Million+. There’s robust demand at all these prices.
That’s why every business should first ask a more important question: “What is the value of a website to your brand?”
The way FINE approaches planning, design, and build of each digital destination assumes your answer to that question is “A LOT.” We’re not thinking about knocking out a site; we’re thinking about expressing everything your company is and does in a way that differentiates you to customers, staff, and the industry. No biggie.
So there are many things FINE does to to create a brand’s digital destination that make it the more budget-intensive exercise of elevating your site’s value as a significant brand asset. Here are 7 examples:
1. Brand-level Sensibility
What comes as a byproduct of web design is a lot of thinking about brand. Whether we’ve helped to craft the brand or it comes partially baked, telling the story on the website will be a new level of challenge because the site is often the first and only place the story is told. Our digital product is not buckets for you to be left alone filling with content; we collaborate closely with you to craft a meaningful approach using content and design in harmony.
2. Hands-On Service; Senior Involvement
At the higher levels, this is not work that is handed off to less experienced employees, and certainly not outsourced. We stay small so that top experts in design, strategy, technology, content remain involved in all the projects. The result permeates concept, but also trickles down to small details of the deliverable, page designs that hold up, foreseeing roadblocks, avoiding shortcuts, clean integrations, etc.
3. Actionable Discovery + Requirements
Where we start depends on how far your brand’s come before we meet you. Some take the “step back” approach and delve into the essence of a brand and how their site plays a role in its success. Others are ready to get right into a phase of informing the project with IA/sitemap/content requirements, baseline SEO, and creative brief. But upfront thinking drives both cost and value. Too much upfront thinking can be expensive slide-making; too little and you’ll iterate in design and code or, worse, end up with an inferior end result. The far more common latter scenario saves near-term cost but results in long-term expense and opportunity cost.
4. “From Scratch” Design
If the intent is to differentiate, then templates and formulas do not apply. We come in fresh, beginning with ideation to design something distinct that expresses your brand in a truly ownable, compelling way driven by highly skilled designers, content, project people. In some cases, our design team may outnumber an entire project team from another agency.
5. Multiple Design Options
To provide a range to select from, we generally ideate 3 distinct designs (now you begin to understand ‘why the robust design team’). These are not sketches; these are not “skins”. They’ll look at first glance like finished sites. It is an exhaustive approach, but it acknowledges that documentation alone can’t determine look and feel without seeing it.
6. Thoughtful CMS Design & Workflow
There are many proprietary platforms upon which to configure a website. Our open-source approach constructs a custom platform that efficiently maps to the IA and design. Data that appears in multiple places may be updated from one. Data-entry and processes are simple and designed so that novice staff can learn to make the bulk of simple updates without need of expensive outsourced fees. Separating important design nuance from the CMS workflow keeps your site looking pixel perfect even with rapidly changing data. The result of our leading CMS approach is that your site is more useful out of the gates, and that useful life is considerably extended over time. Longer shelf-life means your investment is holding up over time.
7. Hands-On Hosting & Maintenance
In the push to launch a new web presence, what often gets overlooked is how the site is maintained for years to come. Erosion of appearance, functionality, or content can result. Our open-source technology means you have lots of support options, and no license fees, but we also host and support for those who need it. We believe in long-term partnership to ensure site performance, optimization and relevance, which leads to increased return on your valuable investment.
Do you need the level of project strategy, delivery, expense and attention described above? That brings us full circle to the question of what the value is to your company, at your stage, with your budget. Your website may be the only place where the full story of your brand is told and product is sold. So deciding how much it’s worth to you is often the difference between spending too much, or wasting a significant opportunity.