This is one of the topics that often comes up when a web designer is dealing with a small business owner that is ready to build their first website or upgrade one a friend did for them. If you go to your favorite search engine and look for website pricing you’ll get a wide variety of results. The economy being what it is today, most peoples’ eyes are drawn to the results with very low prices. Now don’t get me wrong…I look for a bargain as hard as the next guy. We’ve all hopefully been taught not to pay more for something when you can get the exact same thing down the street for less. The problem is you have to make sure you truly are getting the same thing down the street.
Here’s a great hypothetical to elaborate what I mean. A small business owner wants to negotiate with the web designer to provide a website for their business. The designer is asked to drive to the customer’s location, an hour and 15 minutes away, to meet with this business owner to discuss a site she knows is going to fall between $750 – $900. They meet for a little over an hour and when all was said and done agree the site needed to be around 7 pages and that the designer would provide them with a new, dynamic logo. The owner also stated that they wanted nothing to do with any upkeep or updating of the website going forward, and wanted regular information added regarding the latest techniques in their industry. The designer tells them it will run around $750 and that she’ll provide them with the logo design for free since they came from a trusted referral source. The designer is told they had no problem with the price, but wondered if she would take barter instead…she was offered $1,000 worth of their products and services. In addition they wanted to delay their first payment until some of the work was done and approved (which is usually a strict no) because they had worked with a web designer a couple years ago that took a big up-front payment and vanished. The project manager explains that she needs to be able to pay her team, but would think about it and come up with a compromise. A couple days later she proposed $430 in cash and $420 in barter and offered to provide them with a mockup before requiring the initial payment. Upon proposing this compromise she was told that the owner’s fiancé had seen web design advertized at 5 pages for $199. When you do the search I mentioned above you’ll see plenty of results that come back with that info. If you click on any of them you’ll see it’s either a template based service, or that you will be the one designing your own site with their fantastic software. Oh and did I mention that you’ll also be doing all of your own maintenance for your own site as well.
When the customer came back with the $199 price, and why should they move forward with the design company she figured they were trying to get her to reduce the price, but hadn’t taken the time to look at what they were offering as a comparison before doing so. You can get a hamburger at a fast food restaurant and at a steak house…but you would never got to the steak house with your fast food burger and ask them to match the price.
A quality web design company has someone who works directly with the client to get their vision and then communicates that to a design team that specializes in doing one thing…building websites. This project manager meets with the clients as many times as needed for them to feel comfortable that they are getting their money’s worth. You aren’t going to get that level of attention by going to a website and using their software to pick some colors and pictures and drop them into a template.
For those of you who are still leaning toward going the DIY route for your website I want you to consider one final thought. How much is your time worth? $100 an hour…$200 an hour…more? Now take that number and multiply it by anywhere from 10 – 20 hours. What you’ll find is that if you do your website yourself it will cost you $1,000 and up in your time to get that site built. That doesn’t include extra time to develop the content, work out the kinks, get your site listed on search engines, etc. If you’ve learned anything researching how to go about getting a site built it’s that there’s more to it than throwing some words and pretty pictures out there. They won’t come just because you build something. It has to be built properly, uniquely, and professionally. When you’re at a tradeshow or networking event you can tell who did their brochures themselves and who worked with a professional to get them done. And you may not want to admit it, but you instantly form an opinion of the level of service each company is going to provide you. Don’t let that happen when it comes to your website. Work with a professional to give your site visitors a professional experience, and leave the DIY mentality for the household projects you haven’t finished yet.
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