Fast, Cheap or Good – Choose Two for your Web Development

We’ve all heard the phrase fast, cheap or good. It’s often discussed when touting the options for levels of service. It makes sense in general, but resonates closer to my thoughts when thinking about web development.

For those who don’t know my background, I’ve been involved in some aspect of web development for a long time. Back in the days when Career Mosaic was a job site, High Speed Internet was only available at the office – well you get the picture. It’s been quite some time. More often than not, I have been involved in the web strategy and project management portion. As of late I can dabble in basic code and I can get a WordPress site up (with new banner design and content) in about 5 days flat – might not sound like much, but it is.

Generally it’s always been the case that you have to choose two of the options of fast, good and cheap. Although honestly (embarrassingly?) I’ve been at agencies where you’d be lucky to get one of those items regardless of the cost.

We used to do a significant amount of web design, but as Witmer Group has honed its focus on online marketing, SEO and social strategy we don’t promote and sell these services as much. We primarily offer these services for existing customers and referrals – clients who have the partner mentality and know that the best result comes from a process that they are engaged with.

So the idea of “fast, cheap or good – choose two” does ring true in this instance. This is my estimate of what you can expect within web development. And I truly believe there isn’t any one best approach. I have seen many a time where a web site is a disposable commodity, only intended for short term and very specific use – why spend the dollars here?

Web Development Breakdowns for an average 5-10 page, modern, responsive site with basic social integration, contact forms, blog feeds, CMS, etc.:

  1. Typical Situations for Fast and Cheap:
  • Someone dropped the ball or selected the wrong developer
  • Something changed the course of the project (new creative direction or functional requirements) and now the project is behind schedule

Expected budget and timeframe: $4000 and 12 days

  1. Typical Situations for Cheap and Good:
  • Startup Company
  • Business situations have left the marketing budget on the empty side

Expected budget and timeframe: $6000 and 21 days

  1. Typical Situations for Fast and Good :
  • A new business venture has created the need to look established and professional – yesterday. Need something ‘catchy and professional” ASAP
  • You realize the need for a sales tool (web site) and every day you are losing dollars due to its lack

Expected budget and timeframe: $12,000 and 5 days

It’s all about what needs your company has at this moment, how long until you plan to do another site update and what your priorities are. In some capacities I think web sites are becoming more and more of a disposable commodity. If you can’t update your site constantly to have the appearance of continued evolution – you are on the wrong platform. And when you invest $50,000 into a site, it’s likely to be outdated by the time you are finished development. There are always exceptions, but not as many as there used to be.