How much does a website cost? This is usually the first thing you hear when you tell somebody that you are a web designer, It is also one of the most dreaded questions to be asked.
Why, you ask?
The question over simplifies a complex process and makes the assumption that all websites are basically the same.
It is like walking onto a car lot that has one hundred cars on display and asking the salesman, “how much does a car cost?” Obviously, not all cars cost the same amount. It would, of course, depend on what make of car, the size of car, if it is a gas or electric hybrid and what options you want, to name just a few factors.
Websites are very similar in nature. Until you determine the size and features that are required, it is very difficult to put a price on it. Some can be fairly non-complex and contain only 5 or 6 pages.
Others may require dozens of pages and have complex features and programming to enable such things as shopping carts, photo slideshows, video, and interactive blogging.
Another big factor determining price will depend on who supplies the content? If you get the web development company to write your material and supply photography and or video, expect the cost to be much higher.
The other thing to remember is that in order for people to find your website, it will require search engine optimization done to it. Some web companies do not offer this as a service or part of the web development package.
In my opinion, you are only wasting your money getting a website if you are not planning to promote it.
When I am asked the dreaded question, I usually respond with, “what will be the purpose of your website?” This gets the conversation started. It also tells you if the client has thought of a marketing strategy at all for the website.
If people are clear about the purpose and objectives, I can easily determine what features will be required. Sometimes, I name a few that the client has not even considered.
If you are given a quote that you think is high, there are several things that may not be obvious and should be taken into account and considered. When it comes to a service like web development – time is money.
Time is spent on meetings, e-mail and phone conversations, design, programming, browser testing, the setting up of hosting accounts, search engine optimization and training for you and your staff.
On average, I usually spend anywhere from 3-6 hours in meetings with a client to determine what they require, showing them preliminary designs and having general discussions about the scope of the project at hand.
Time is spent on coming up with a custom design whether it is from scratch or customizing an existing theme to meet the client’s needs. Then there is the time to construct the website once you have all the content from the client.
Once the website is created, it must be tested on several browsers to make sure it displays properly. Testing is more important than ever, now that it must be a responsive web design. Setting up the hosting and creating new e-mail accounts is usually required.
Some clients will require training if they want the ability to update it by themselves. As mentioned previously, search engine optimization should be done. Setting up a security system has become increasingly important. Hackers do not seem to care if it is a small or large business website.
It requires keyword research that indicates what people are typing into Google to find websites like yours. It is often referred to as on page SEO. Google Analytics definitely should be installed.
It provides extremely valuable marketing information tracking visitors to your website. Finally, there is always client requested changes.
There are basically three methods that web agencies charge for website design. A per hour rate, a page rate, or one flat fee to do the entire project. For instance, they may say, $12,000.00 for the website.
You need to be careful about the hourly rate. A low rate may sound enticing, but don’t be fooled by it. If a company tells you that they charge $50 dollars an hour, which sounds great, you must always ask them how many hours it will take them to do it approximately?
Even a small six-page website can easily take between 30 – 40 hours when you factor in everything.
Most websites fall into two marketing categories. Their purpose is to promote and sell services or products, or they simply provide valuable information to visitors that will generate leads and in turn free up employees to do other tasks.
When you receive a quote, make sure to ask this question – “what’s included in the price?”
You need to know if the price includes hosting, SEO or installing Google Analytics. No one likes surprises or misunderstandings when it comes to paying a bill.
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