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How much should a website cost?

Online payment

How much should a website cost?

Over the 20 or so years I have been in the industry, one of the most contentious issues regarding web design has been the cost. How much does a website cost? How much is too much? How much is too little?

Web design is a service and, like all services, the costs are often based on time. Rather than paying for the raw materials, you’re paying for the time for someone to do the work – and the expertise of that person.

For example, if your tap is leaking in your house, you could fix it with a washer. The washer itself is not exactly expensive – you could probably buy a pack of washers for less than £1.

Is it therefore natural to assume a plumber would visit your house, supply and fit the washer for £1? No – you’re paying for the plumber’s time. He has travelled from somewhere to get to you, and will undoubtedly travel back when he has finished. He has to know how to fit the washer, how to stop the water before he begins and how to ensure it works and doesn’t flood your house.

He has paid for his training, his equipment and his insurance. He therefore needs to be paid in return.

In all, you could be looking at £100 or more for the call out, especially if it was an emergency out of hours (after 5pm or on a weekend) call out.

This is the same with any industry. You’re paying for the expertise, the training, the skill involved and the time.

I had a discussion with someone recently who thought £99+VAT per month for a website was too expensive. If you compare it with the free website you can get from Wix, then yes, it does seem expensive. There are always cheaper ways to do something. You can visit the barber shop, or cut your own hair. You can visit the dentist, or use a piece of string and a door. You can visit a tattoo parlour, or buy a self-tattooing kit. Please don’t do that last one. In fact, don’t do any of them.

There are always cheaper ways to do something, and often free ways to do something. Does that make them better?

A fee of £99+VAT per month for a website is expensive if your website is never going to do anything. If you’re never planning on having any business from it, and just want a website that sits there so you can tell people you have a website, then it’s really expensive. You’d be much better off with a free website from Wix.

Seriously, go and get one of them. They’re free.

If, however, you want a website that generates business for you, a website that actively works for you, a website that forms part of your business’ marketing strategy, then £99+VAT per month isn’t really expensive at all. In fact, it’s something of a steal. Especially when you consider that the website includes unlimited updates each month (there’s that ‘time’ thing again) where someone will upload your latest testimonials, photos or add new pages for you each month. All you need to do is email them across to us.

When someone is doing that for you every month, then £99+VAT per month doesn’t seem too bad at all.

What if you want it even cheaper?

Then of course there are the Facebook groups where web designers tout their services for free, or for nominal fees such as £10. I have actually seen people offering to build websites for £10. Well, it was $10, but you get the idea. This was even in a web designers’ group.

Perhaps this was the problem. A Facebook group designed to help web designers gain advice from each other sees almost every post offering web design services for nominal fees, or even free of charge. Who are they aiming these posts at? The other web designers in the group? How good must they be to value their time at nothing, or at $10 for however many hours it takes them to produce a website?

The answer to how much should a website cost really depends on you, and what you want from it. If you want nothing from it, then nothing is an acceptable cost. If you want it to become a vital part of your business and to bring you leads or sales on a regular basis, then perhaps it’s worth spending at least a small sum of money on it.

Darren Jamieson

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