Your business is looking for a website, you’ve received some quotes and it’s going to cost £1,000 / £5,000 / £10,000 (delete as appropriate).
After you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, you ask yourself, “How can web designers justify these crazy charges?”
As with many industries, there’s often more to it than meets the eye. People often take quality for granted and only realise the difference when they take delivery of something that’s of poor build.
Building your own website isn’t easy
There are various packages available that allow you to build your own website, but the results will be questionable. There are now a multitude of different features that your website is expected to have, and these cannot all be catered for with a “design your own website” package. Such features include:
Attractive – your website should look attractive and professional.
Usability – in addition to the above, your website should be easy to use, which requires a whole different skill-set to simply making something look attractive.
Responsive design – your website should scale and adapt to fit different devices including PC’s, tablets and smartphones.
Semantic HTML – your website should be coded carefully so that its structure makes “sense” to both humans and non-humans (i.e. search engines, screen readers, etc).
Speed – your website should load and render quickly.
Search engine friendly – obviously you want your website to be fully optimised for search engines so that visitors can find you.
I often use the analogy of building my own house. I know where to buy bricks and I’m semi-familiar with how to mix mortar. I’m sure if push came to shove I could do it, however it would take longer than usual, the walls would no doubt be wonky and the roof would leak. Building your own website is the same – anyone can do it, but not everyone can do it well.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a good website
A small website would take us at least a week to build once we’ve gathered the client’s requirements and made a start. A bigger website could take several weeks.
The minimum wage in the UK is currently £6.31 per hour. At 10 hours a day for 5 days that comes to around £315. When someone quotes £200 / £400 / £600 for a website, ask yourself how long they’re likely to spend on your project, especially given the fact they’re probably charging more than minimum wage. A cheap price will often mean various compromises, some of which you might not be aware of until it’s too late.
Websites now consist of multiple technologies and as such require a diverse range of skills to produce. Whether your site is built by a single person or a team, remember that you’re not just paying for time, you’re also paying for experience. It’s this experience which costs money and (hopefully) equates to success.
The web is changing as technology constantly develops. Clients prior to you have contributed to research and development, just as a small portion of your budget might do the same for clients in the future.
Web designers have overheads too
Your chosen developer will most likely arrive to meetings in a vehicle; you’ll be able to call them on a mobile or landline. Perhaps you found them via a Google advert. All of these overheads need to be covered in the cost of producing your website.
On saying that, I’m good friends with a web designer who, at his very first client meeting in the late 90’s, strategically hid his bicycle in a bush around the corner. That’s a story for another time.
You do want long term support, right?
Paying rock bottom prices is unlikely to come coupled with top-notch, on-going support. Since website upgrades and additions generally cost less than the initial build, a cheap developer will be more concerned with constantly sourcing new clients than servicing existing ones.
Doing it right doesn’t mean doing it expensively
Whilst we do insist on things being done properly from the start, personally I’m an advocate of starting simple. Do you have a product you want to sell online but you’re not sure if it’ll work? I’d advise you don’t spend £10,000 finding out. Likewise, budgeting a mere £300 means it’ll probably be doomed to fail from the start.
Off-shore outsourcing usually isn’t the answer
Language barriers, time differences and general quality control can make off-shore outsourcing a nightmare. We wouldn’t recommend this unless you have outsourced other projects in the past and are familiar with how to handle it.
Surely you have a vested interest in telling us web design isn’t cheap?
Yes and no. As a web design company we want to receive a fair price for our services. Market forces help to determine these prices and in the market of web design there are a lot of forces, but there are also a lot of poor providers.
Whilst we don’t offer “cheap” web design, what we do offer in spades is value for money. Ask any of our existing clients. Alternatively if you’re ready to get started, or want to find out more, contact us today.