What a Mortgage Web Site Really Costs

Article excerpt

HOW MUCH FOR A WEB SITE?" ASKS the mortgage owner. It seems a simple enough question. It's a reasonable question that any potential Web site owner would ask-except that it's the wrong question.

This question, "How much for a Web site?" is also one of the biggest mistakes any Web site owner can make; it is significantly worse if this question is asked by someone who is in the mortgage industry. And any Web designer that actually answers that question (addressing only cost) is probably not a Web designer you want.

A mortgage company is on the Internet to conduct business and generate revenue; it is not there to incur expense or simply to "be on the 'Net." A prospective mortgage site should not focus on short-term cost analysis. While Web site expense is an important consideration, two major factors should control your decision to invest: the revenue a Web site can generate and the market share and brand-name awareness a site can create. Here is a typical scenario from a year or two ago:

Potential Client: "Do you design Web sites?"

Web Designer: "Yes."

Potential Client: "How much will it cost?"

Web Designer: "How many pages will the site have?"

Potential Client: "Oh, 10 to 20 pages, I guess-info on our company, a list of our loan products and a page on how to contact us."

Web Designer: "OK, that will be $X.

Potential Client answers-select one or more of the following:

1. "Well, our in-house MIS guy said he could design a Web site in his sleep."

2. "My neighbor's kid just took a Web design class, let me get a quote from him ...."

3. "But we have seen complete Web site pricing elsewhere for less than $995."

4. Potential Client thinks, I could do it myself for less money," but says, "I'll get back to you."

A Web site is worthless

Here is how a conversation with your Web Manager should progress:

Potential Client: "Do you design Web sites?"

Web Manager: "Well, yes-while the actual design aspect is very important, that is just one component of the overall success for your mortgage Web site. But a Web site is worthless-"

Potential Client: (politely interrupting) "-Worthless? What do you mean?"

Web Manager: "Let me show you.... This is how most Web page designers design a Web site: You tell them what you want, show them your logo, tell them your favorite color and the designer brings back a few nifty graphic layouts. Your spouse gets involved, so does your secretary, your mother-in-law and your MIS professional, and you finally pick an award-winning design. Then you build your Web site. The result: a nice-looking site."

Web sites need eyeballs

But that is like creating a wonderful television commercial. The TV ad is worthless, unless potential customers see it. It is the same with Web sites. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars designing a Web site, but if no one sees it, your site is actually worthless. …

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