The Website Design Industry & Pricing
When it comes to your website design and development often far too much of the focus is put on price and less on quality and service. We are always hearing stories of clients who focused on price and didn’t get what they asked for. As you can imagine the most common question, we hear from business owners is how much does a website cost.
It is not uncommon for business owners to wonder what a website costs but, to be honest, there is no hard and fast answer. The value of a site depends on so many factors that it is impossible to give an accurate ballpark figure let alone an exact number. I say impossible, however, if you are a savvy business owner and let’s face it your reading this article because you want to succeed and that alone makes you savvy; then you will know how to get an accurate price by providing a quality website brief.
When looking at pricing, there are a few key things that come into play with your price. Firstly, is the work being completed or overseen locally by industry professionals? Secondly, is an overseas development team part of your development. Thirdly the do it yourself option and the real costs of going down that path.
Utilising Local Industry Professionals
When getting a price for a website, it’s important to make sure that you look for a business that is local and has people on the ground who can help you. Utilising local professionals will typically cost more upfront, but you will save on the backend with fewer issues and maintenance costs.
Typically, if you can afford to work locally, my experience shows that you will get a better start for your website. Keep in mind those local professionals may outsource work to overseas teams to do the actual development, but they can oversee the final quality of the product.
Local access also helps with communication and clarity for your project. Typically, you could expect to pay upwards of $1000 for quality work on a small website.
Using an Overseas Developer
When outsourcing your work to overseas developers, there are massive variations in the work quality and price on offer. You can outsource to countries like the USA, Russia, India, The Philippines and many more. In some countries, the skill level is higher, and therefore the cost may be higher other countries the price may be much lower; however, they could be outsourcing the work even further down the chain.
Often the most significant issue we find with overseas development is the support on the backend when something goes wrong, and eventually, it will. Usually, you pay much less upfront and a lot more to fix things when they break. If your budget necessitates using an overseas developer, I can only suggest that you make sure to perform as many checks as possible on their service first. Typically, websites from these sources could start as low as $99 for a small site.
The Real Cost of DIY Websites
I hear the argument a lot where a business owner states they can’t afford to pay for a website designer or developer; they are going to build their website with <insert highly publicised drag and drop website builder here>. Often my response in the past was that’s great and when you realise it’s not as easy as the television ads make it out come back and see me. What many do not understand is that there is a cost to a free website or DIY website and often many hidden costs as well.
The simplest formula for calculating that cost is as follows:
(Time Taken to Build x Your Hourly Rate) + Platform Costs + Hidden Extras = Real Cost Of DIY
So, let’s break that down a little and use it in a real-world example. Let’s say Frank is a massage therapist and he charges $80 per hour. Now frank decides to build his website on an online platform. Frank gets started on his new site and by the time he creates the typical small business website of 5 pages, creating the content and placing media files, building contact forms and adjusting the layout more than 60 hours have gone past. Total so far time taken x hourly rate is $4800. (keep in mind that this is an estimate based on researching the time our clients have spent building websites themselves in the past.
The next step is the platform costs, and while many of these platforms have a free tier, these often come with unprofessional banners and advertising for the platform used. So, to have a professional presence, you are looking at an approximate amount of money ranging from about $20 a month if you pay for a year upfront more if you want e-commerce and other extras. So, assume frank pays for a year upfront, and it costs him approximately $240. Our overall total to $5200 and we still don’t have a domain name or SSL certificate. Add another approximate $50 for a domain name and $50 for an SSL certificate, and the total is around $5300.
Often with many of these online platforms, you get a certain level of an item included in your paid plan but adding things like e-commerce, mailing lists, premium themes and integrations and you could easily add thousands more per year onto the cost of your DIY website.
Now in most cases, you could pay for a website designer to build the same website for half the cost. I highly recommend before you go down the DIY path do the maths and ask yourself the following three questions.
- What is the actual cost of building my site? (use our handy formula to calculate this)
- Will me creating my website take time away from growing my business?
- Do I know enough about online design and marketing to be successful?
The biggest thing to remember is that the website design industry is not regulated so be careful when deciding which option suits your needs. Be smart and be safe by getting multiple quotes and prices before signing anything this will stop you from becoming a victim of the WWW, The wild west of website pricing.