The cost of a website can vary enormously, from nothing to several hundred thousand pounds (and sometimes even more). How does a business decide on how much to pay?
A recent news report in the United States claimed that presidential candidate Donald Trump paid a web design and marketing company $8.4 million for their services. The Trump campaign said that a major part of this payment was to increase online fund raising.
The phrase ‘fool and his money’ springs to mind. Fortunately for British businesses, most web developers will not quote $8.4 million for their services.
But this does not answer the question of what you should pay.
Obviously, the cost of a website is influenced by its features. Firstly, there is the size of the website. A simple four-page website will, most likely, be cheaper than a 100-page one.
Features such as forums, web forms, ecommerce and coded sections will all add to the amount of time a website takes to design and build, and the cost of the website.
The skills of the web developer
An expert web designer has developed their skills over many years of work. You may be able to find a novice website builder to create a site for just a few pounds (or even for free for the experience), but an expert designer who charges upwards of £1,000 will probably create a much better one. It is usually false economy to go for the cheapest quote for your website.
It’s like anything in life – you’re paying for the experience and the knowledge. It’s this experience that stops your website from failing at its purpose, and ensures it avoids any of the mistakes and pitfalls a novice web developer may not be aware of.
What expertise are you paying for?
You may find a web designer that creates a good looking website for you, but you subsequently realise that your website is not ranked highly in the search engines.
Ideally, you need a web developer who is also an expert in search engine optimisation (SEO). There are many design factors that affect SEO. These include usability, responsiveness, loading speed and many other factors. Designers who have come from a print and graphic design background may not be aware of any of these considerations because they’re used to designing for a totally different medium.
A web developer also needs to be able to know your audience profile. The age, sex and interests of your target audience will influence the web design.
You either need a web developer with this expertise, or to use a web design company that employs experts in all these areas: design, SEO and audience profiling.
So, how much should you pay for your website?
Given the considerations outlined here, it is impossible to answer the question “how much should you pay for your website?” with one simple answer – yet some web design companies do have flat fees for websites. If this is the case, the website is more than likely a templated site rather than one designed for your needs. Be wary of this.
A website is a major way to raise the profile of your brand and increase sales. Consider it an investment. If you want a car to get you from A to B then an old banger will take you there, but wouldn’t you prefer the luxury and prestige of a Lamborghini? In a similar way, a cheap website will create an online presence, but one designed by experts will perform better.
In the long run, the money you invest in a top website design will pay off in terms of company reputation, brand awareness and increased sales.