One of the first questions we, as a web design agency always get asked is, how much does a website cost? The truthful answer and the least long-winded that you will sometimes hear is the old adage “how long is a piece of string”, so if I have answered your question you can move on. On the other hand that was not very helpful so I have decided to give you an idea of how we as a business plan cost and decide what we should charge a client for their specific project.
The first thing you need to know about the price of anything we provide is that there are so many variables to consider that it would be impossible to detail how much your website, graphics or branding project would cost without detailed information as to what your business goals are, without those we cannot even begin to give you a quote, the best we can do when someone calls and asks for an immediate ‘idea’ on how much their website might cost is that we can give them the baseline cost, the one that says “typically we do not build websites that cost less than ‘x’ amount”, and if it is a price too high then we could recommend someone else who could do it for the price you want, but like anything, if you sacrifice cost, you sacrifice quality and therefore the potential that your investment has of being recovered through sales as a result of your new website/brand/graphic.
So many things to consider, obviously the starting point has to be the cost of how much it is to simply run your business day-to-day, there is no point, for example, charging a client £10 an hour if we have a developer working on your project for £15 per hour. The second step is the assets, how many do you already have and how many new ones do we have to create, as well as content, images, icons, fonts and many other brand elements, this by itself can take up hundreds of hours of time, sourcing ideas, creating the asset, getting the assets approved, fixing any issues or changing aspects a client does not like are all parts of this process that need to be accounted for, for any quote we give a client.
Quality of Workmanship
Of course, there are other options, there is the option, for example, to get a pre-made template and just have a developer place it on your server with adjustments to the layout, images, colours etc, this is a much cheaper way to go, but you lose so much by doing that. You lose the benefit of a coherent brand message, you are far less likely to keep your website content up-to-date, you lose the unique points that could stand you out from your competition, the difference between that choice and a bespoke design is the same as the difference between buying a cheap car that gets you from place to place but you will not be noticed by anyone, on the other hand, buy a rare or more expensive car and people are far more likely to take notice of you. Of course, design is far more than just getting people to take notice if you, with a design it is also about the message you are sending your clients, if the site looks like every other and it does not match what they expect from you, they will go find what they expect somewhere else.
Avoiding the cost
So, at this point you are probably thinking you could design your own assets, pass them over to us and have us turn your assets into a website, unfortunately, for us this is a nightmare scenario and the reason is not because we want to charge more, it is because graphic design, despite the rhetoric all over the internet by those who happen to have learned how to use photoshop, is a skill, it requires knowledge of many disciplines, like psychology, neurophychology, history and even politics to get it right, that is aside from the general ‘rules’ that some have heard of, like ‘the rule of thirds’ and the ‘golden ratio’, then there is structural hierarchy and side skills like concept mapping and persona research, lastly understanding of the emotion certain things create, like colour, red for passion or green for nature, get any of those wrong and it can completely throw off a design and a message that will alienate your customers.
How do I know if it’s too much
In order for your investment in any use to you, you need to work out whether what you are paying out will give you a return for your money, as I stated before if you have a website built and it is cheap, you will not get much of a return on your investment £500, for example, is maybe enough for a pre-made template that has had some images you supplied inserted and the content changed, but the recovery of that £500 through the website is highly unlikely because you would be missing some of the most important aspects of convincing your customers to buy, namely that the site will not be built to attract them, it would be build simply as a place to go if they want to find basic information, like the times you open, this would be a rarely visited site and you will feel disheartened that your investment is not paying you back by doing simple things like increasing your visibility to increase client numbers. A website that if bespoke will cost more, you are paying for the expertise because they know how to do audience research and how to convince your customers to buy, you will see a return on your larger investment because more can go into it to make sure that is the case.