There are many choices when it comes to website design although what you’ll pay depends a lot on the quality of the site you desire. Some websites are well designed. Some websites are well developed. A quality website is BOTH well designed AND well developed.
Design means pleasing aesthetics, stimulating graphics, and an overall “good feeling” about the site. In other words, a quality site.
Development means well-laid-out pages with good page structure, intelligent search engine optimization, and using meta data the right way. The layperson does not recognize whether a site is well developed.
You need BOTH quality design and quality development for ANY website. See my web design portfolio for examples.
CAUTION: Many industries don’t charge a design and development fee up front but rather charge the client over the long haul. For example, you’ll have a low upfront fee between $300 and $1000 to get the site going. After going live you will pay between $50 and $100 per month for the life of the website. The financial services industry is famous for this.
VERY COSTLY – This is not an intelligent way of obtaining a website because over 3-4 years this can amount to between $3000 and $5000.00 – a very bad investment. The worst part is that these sites have NO SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) and a large amount of DUPLICATE CONTENT. This means your site will mostly sit there collecting dust and will never bring you any clients. Not only that, the duplicate content (detested by the search engines) will most likely keep you from being returned in the organic search results at all.
Making sense of web design costs
The best way to figure out how much you should pay for a quality site is to educate yourself regarding the options.
1. The first question you should ask is: “What kind of site do I want?” There are two types of websites: online brochures that do nothing to add revenue to your business and a website that attracts clients while you sleep.
Online Brochure: If you only need a site to act like an online brochure and you don’t need to attract clients from the Internet, then a simple five-page site will suffice. This type of site is good for those who have a built in client base and just need a site for credibility.
Obtain Clients: If you want your website to be a work-horse behind the scenes bringing Internet traffic and prospective clients to your business, then this type of site will cost you more because the skill involved is much greater. Very few developers know how to both design and develop to attract Internet traffic.
NOTE: Please keep in mind that this assumes you already have a professionally designed brand for your business – a logo and color palate. If not, there will be an additional charge to design these essential elements.
2. The second question you should ask is: “What do you want your website to do?”
Functionality drives price. If you want your website to do something specific that requires special software, coding, or functionality, this will drive up cost. Some examples of functionality are:
- Contact form – this is really a must-have feature, yet you’d be surprised at how quirky this option can be to get right.
- Gallery – Photographers, home designers, jewelry designers, and the like may have a need to showcase images using a slider feature.
- Product build function – if your product is customizable and you need your site to show options, this will increase the price. For example, a site used to sell custom cars will have user-selected options that change as customers progress through the sales cycle.
- E-Commerce sites – if you want to sell products on your site, this requires special coding and expertise.
- Integration of social media – if you have a social media presence, you’ll want links to your profile integrated into your website design.
- Private area/Membership area – if you would like your clients to create a username and password to access private content then this functionality requires special programming and expertise.
- Adding a Blog – if you want to add a blog to an existing website, this takes expertise that goes beyond the skills of most webmasters.
- Forum capabilities – if you’d like visitors to be able to start discussions based on their own topics, special programming is needed.
- Digital product download – if you sell information products and want clients to be able to download them from after making the sale, this requires special coding.
- Responsive Design – if you want your website to be rendered appropriately according to the device it is viewed on then you want this option. In years past developers used “mobile” design and often you would see a site with a .mobi version. The most current developing method for mobile devices such as iPads, kindles, smart phones, and tablets is to use responsive design (most developers will tell you they know how to do this advanced method, but in my experience they usually do not know how).
- API interface – let’s say your site must offer functionality for a specific need, for example an application process for new hires, this requires an interface with special programing.
- Video – if you offer how to videos or educational videos, this requires special knowledge.
- Vertical sliding menus – drop down menus, sideways menus, and other non-standard menu options can add to the complexity and cost.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many other features and possibilities available in the realm of quality website design.
Investing in a good website can help you grow your business for many years and is therefore an investment in your growth. Before you make this investment, make sure you are well educated about not only what you WANT, but what you NEED to grow your business effortlessly.
This post is part of my Branding Questions Series designed to answer all your questions about quality branding and design.