How Much Does it Cost to Design a New Website?

For some businesses having a ‘same as’ style for their online presence is fine and they are happy to live with this. Others, who may be in a more competitive industry and need to be competitive online may require a more complex design process, hence the cost.

Dangers of Using Cheap Web Template Design Agencies.

There are many web companies that you can find online that are happy to charge you next to nothing for their services are actually not being 100% truthful and open with you. Following are some hidden dangers when using a cheap web template.

1) Firstly, your website is going to look like every other website online. There is no individuality and no personality within the designs. In fact, it will be very hard to tell your website from the millions of other templates out there. Really, is this what you want for your business? If you are happy to be a clone then go for it….otherwise get an agency like Hopping Mad Designs to come up with a website that is going to make you look special.

2) Is your website going to be used as a platform to drive new business? If so, then it needs to be ranking on Google and for this to happen you MUST have some planning and thought put into your web site design process. Going down the template path IS NOT going to be the best option when it comes to your SEO Google rankings. This is so very IMPORTANT and critical for your business. So if you think you can go ahead and pay next to nothing for a website; that is less than a couple of hundred dollars, you can forget about ranking on Google.

3) Most of these templates have been built by companies using their own content management system platforms. This means that once the site goes live, you have to use their hosting for the life of the website. PLUS, you may be restricted with the amount of changes you can make. Be really careful with this as many web agencies will quote SUPER LOW prices to get you through the door, but all the future adds they slug you with is where they make their money. It’s a common trap and I see so many companies get ripped off in tis fashion.  Make sure that if you get any type of website developed that you go with an open source CMS platform like WordPress or Joomla. For more complex sites give Magento a try.

There is nothing worse than being stuck with a web agency cause you have to use their software, CMS, hosting etc. You do need flexibility in business and being trapped by a web agency is not a good move.

4) Is your website conversion focused? That is, does is entice potential browsers to become paying clients. Time poor users will not give your site a second look if there is the slightest confusion or road blocks in the buying process. This is especially true for those eCommerce websites. People want clear direction and simple user interfaces. Cheap templates will not provide this and sure you might save a few dollars in the beginning, but as soon as you realise that your site is not functioning properly, the costs will all add up when you have to re do everything again!

So What is a Fair Price to Pay for a New Website?

Ideally basic brochure websites can cost any where between $1500 and the $3000 mark. If you think about your business as a brochure and converting it to a web format, then this is what you would be getting. There would be about 10- pages and the design should be customised based on your design requirements.

If you want a website with a bit more complexity that has a gallery, some animating banners on the home page with some forms to capture clients information, you should be paying around $3500 – $5000 for a website like this.

All the above sites are mobile friendly.

That basically covers off most of the business to business market website costs. Anything beyond this and anything with more site complexities need to be fully scoped out at web briefing stage and this needs to be fully costed. I speak to many people who at this stage think that they can outsource these complex style websites to India where development costs are a lot cheaper – all I can say is good luck to them.

I have to be really honest here. At one point in time many years ago we did outsource 1 (internal HMD) web project out to India and it was an absolute nightmare. Remember we do this stuff all the time and we know what pitfalls to look out for and ways to avoid them. And even for us it was a hellish experience.

I know technologies have improved and the way that business is conducted has got a lot more streamlined and that offshore web agencies will swear that they have fixed all the bugs in their systems. BUT, whilst this may be the case, how come I still get calls and emails from people who to this very day have used offshore cheap web companies and feel completely frustrated. When I ask them what happened it goes something like this:

  • designs were absolute garbage
  • communication was poor
  • excuses were made daily as to why things were not getting done and when they were eventually done they were wrong.
  • The website when it went live was riddled with faults and bugs
  • ….the list goes on and on……..

So in summation all I can say is that if you have the patience of a saint and are prepared to offshore your web design, be prepared for the long hard road ahead. Nothing that is done cheaply and this goes for the online world can have a positive outcome. There will be many website design mistakes. Sure, they may throw millions of testimonials at you but I can promise you 1 thing, you will end up paying for this dearly in the short to medium term. If you want a website that will work for you and act as a great sales and marketing mouth piece then you need to be speaking with us here at Hopping Mad Designs.

Hopping Mad Design Reviews 2014 Trends

Let Hopping Mad Designs Review what has shifted in the SEO Landscape.

As a reviewer of the shifting sands of the Google and the world known as SEO, Hopping Mad Designs has seen businesses gain a clearer and more thorough understanding of what it takes to rank a website on Google. Businesses have now over the past couple of years come to terms with the fact that they do need Search engine optimisation if they are going to drive new business. They have unfortunately been burnt so badly over the past say 5 years that this year has been a real wake up call. Most companies now, (and this is the really important trend that I need to review), know that SEO is not a game and they must align themselves with a credible SEO and web agency like Hopping Mad Designs.

I really feel that the game playing when it comes to SEO costs, and all the to and fro between us and the business is slowly coming to an end. And I have see this happen more and more this year in 2014. Why? Cause they know that they have to pay for SEO. It’s like someone has magically lifted the blind folds off the public and they now are acutely aware and have an inherent value placed on the services that a great SEO campaign can produce for their business.

The amount of phone calls that I get from people who tell me that their previous SEO company charged them X dollars so they want to see if I can match that, is definitely dwindling. In fact, most people now have a very realistic set aside budget for their internet marketing.

Now Have Hopping Mad Designs Review the Web Design Industry in 2014.

This industry I feel has become much more homogenised. OK, so what do I mean by this? Well put simply, pre packaged themes from WordPress; like Theme Forest as well as free websites like Wix have made access for businesses to get online much easier and simpler. If they have the know how and if they have the ability and skill they can easily get a website for their business and be online quickly.

This has had a mixed reaction to the team to the team at Hopping Mad Designs. Why? Because, people have jumped on the bandwagon thinking that this is a great idea and can facilitate their product to market so much easier, but there are real issues with this and we are always the ones who have to pick up the pieces. These sites may be great and very cheap but unfortunately you will look like everyone else out there online. Plus there is no SEO or planning behind this. You will get a basic template and that’s about it.

As a review of websites in 2014 by hopping Mad Designs, this part of the web industry has absolutely skyrocketed. It has gone ballistic and I can only sit by and watch this trend like most others, slowly burn out and crash. It is inevitable as businesses realise that to have any chance of succeeding online and to be competitive you have to have a website that is tailor made for your business, not some off the rack, take it or leave it product. This might be OK for some fly by night start ups who are only online to test the market space. But, for legitimate businesses looking to gain a strong foothold and establish themselves as a real player these free websites are just a fad. This is a real prediction by this industry veteran reviewer at Hopping Mad Designs. It just can’t last and in my opinion is totally unsustainable.

Hopping Mad Designs Reviews the Social Media Landscape in 2014.

If you could overkill any platform with content and fluff it would have to be the social media landscape. Let me give you an example. I posted an article on LinkedIn at 10 am and by midday it was so far deep within all the articles posted that it was lost. Social Media has become the real buzz word of 2014 and every business I know wants a piece of the action. As long as they seem to be doing something active in this space they are happy. Unfortunately, the popularity of Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn means that only really active publishers and well known brands are having any impact. SME’s with little or no time for publishing streams of content are finding that they are not gaining the kind of traction they had hoped for on these platforms. Yes they might post a tweet here and there and they also might put something on their Facebook page, but unless there is a concerted effort with a real strategy in place, most of their efforts are falling flat. So what does this mean for social media moving forward. If Hopping Mad Designs were to review the future of social media I would say that businesses need to become a hell of a lot more serious in their approach to this. Maybe even working with an agency that can actively manage these platforms. Ad hoc posts just won’t cut it anymore in this very cluttered and noisy environment.

Online Review Websites in 2014 Have Hurt Businesses in the opinion of the Hopping Mad Designs Director.

Disgruntled employees, business rivals, angry staff, tarnished family members, I don’t care who it is or where they are from, but the online review market has exploded and businesses are getting smashed. There are so many malicious fake web comments and reviews out there online that I feel that people are starting to wake up and ignore most of them. Anyone can publish something nasty within 5 minutes and the effects can be lasting. This has given rise to a new industry called online reputation management and Hopping Mad Designs reviews this as a real growth area in 2014. The trend for companies Australia wide to protect their online image and reputation is more important than ever with the rise of dodgy review sites. Stay tuned in 2015 as this is going to really heat up!

Content Marketing in 2014, WOW, it’s the real buzzwords

Google has made content publication key to getting your website ranked and SEO. Google will place much more value on websites now that have spent the time and effort to publish fresh, new, authoritative copy. The trend in 2014 was for businesses to really get their heads around this and begin to publish content designed for their customer base and not random snippets of information designed strictly for SEO and manipulating their SEO ranking. You have read it over the years that content is king and my review of 2014 going forward, is that this is going to become much more important.

HoppingMad Designs Review of 2014 Summary.

There is a close correlation now between all facets of the online space. Like a jigsaw puzzle all pieces need to fit together nicely if your are going to get the full picture. Miss out on even 1 small piece of the puzzle and the whole frame will be spoilt. Just like the internet space, if you miss one critical piece of your marketing this will have a real negative impact on your business. The internet space is evolving so quickly that keeping pace with it is almost a full time job. For businesses and companies Australia wide the ramifications are enormous. Finding the right web, seo, content marketing and social media company should now be very high on their priority list.

6 SEO Questions I’m Always Asked

Do you know all there is to know about SEO?

Wow, what a great question and this is the one I get asked all the time.

In short, I have been in the SEO game for well over 12 years and the web businesses for 18 years, so that makes me a kind of expert in this field, even if I do say so myself, but do I know everything about SEO? No way!

Anyone who says that they have a complete understanding and know all there is to know about SEO is having a lend of you. Cause Google are always changing their algorithm, one could say that we are forever learning and always keeping up to speed with the whole SEO industry. It’s a constant learning process, so all I can say is that while I know more than most people about SEO ( you can check out some of my great rankings I have been able to get for my clients) – there is always something new to learn.


When did you start doing SEO?

Well, I have been doing SEO since 2003. Can you believe that! Time has gone so fast and the SEO landscape has changed enormously. In fact it doesn’t even closely resemble what it used to look like. Gone are the heady days of over optimisation and keyword stuffing. Today it’s all about quality content combined with domain name authority.

Because I have seen so much happen with Google over the years I would say that our company is probably the best SEO company in Sydney to handle all your SEO needs. I have not just started this company a few years ago with a limited knowledge of SEO. I was here at the infancy of search engine optimisation and have seen the industry mature. This is a hell of a good reason why you should be considering us as your SEO partner.


Why is Your Company Better Than the other SEO Company?

I could go on about this point for ages and bore you to death, but following are some of the answers I give:

  • we are SEO veterans and have helped so many businesses become successful using our proven SEO methods that we stand well above most of the other SEO agencies out there online.
  • Many SEO companies will talk the talk, over promise and not perform. They are simply looking for a fast buck and are out for the kill – this is not how we operate and this is why we have one of the best SEO reputations in Sydney.
  • We are also a web design agency and this means we are able to look at your SEO in conjunction with design – this means that we are able to make sure that all your web pages are fully conversion focused. That is, when someone finds your website, they are going to be more inclined to buy or make an inquiry cause they love what they see. This is critical when it comes marketing your business online. No point after all in getting the best rankings in the world if your site looks terrible.
  • We are Sydney based – we have an actual office and are not some over the phone, hidden, web and SEO agency. This means that you can come in as often as you like to go over any aspect of your web marketing campaign. I have seem far too many businesses get absolutely smashed and ripped off online by using people with no physical office address – and be warned about serviced office locations as these are often a front for offshoring your web and SEO work, which is the WORST MISTAKE YOU COULD POSSIBLY MAKE.
  • We have hundreds of years of combined web and SEO expertise so you benefit from our experience.
  • We never design from templates and look at your internet marketing from the ground up – which is really the only way you are ever going to succeed online. Any other approach will JUST NOT WORK. You have to trust me on this. Everything that we do with your website has a SEO and conversion rate focus. Call us on 02 9360 8514 and you will see what I mean.


What is the most important factor of SEO?

Ask 5 different SEO people this question and you will most likely get 5 different answers. Like building a house, all the bricks and cement combined go in to making up the solid foundations of your walls, floors and roof. So goes the same with SEO. There are too many contributing factors to just single out one of them. But if I were pushed hard enough on this point I would have to say that content is a major player when it comes to determining your SEO ranking.

Obviously on it’s own it won’t achieve much but combine this with some really powerful back linking and you are on a winner.

Remember this point and I want to hammer the message home here so it really makes a point. NOT EVERYONE can do back linking. Sure they may say that they might be able to do this and sure they will swear to the heavens above that they are experts in this field with really powerful Aussie links. BUT in many cases this is far from the truth.

Just have a look at the Google ranking for Hopping Mad Designs. Google the words:’ web design’, graphic design’ or even ‘website design’. These are all insanely competitive, extremely hard to rank keywords and look what we have been able to achieve….PAGE 1 for each keyword.

This is a compelling reason why you should trust us that we do know what we are doing when it comes to establishing your SEO ranking and maintaining it over the long term!


Why Don’t You Offer SEO Guarantees like Everyone Else Does?

This would have to be one of the most common questions I get. People call me up and tell me that the last bloke they spoke to was willing to back up his SEO with a written guarantee.

All I can say is:

  • good luck cashing in on this guarantee – these SEO guarantees are absolutely worthless and are a poor attempt to get you to sign up with them. Why? I have blogged about this so much BUT for those people reading this let me be very clear: SEO GUARANTEES are a LOAD OF RUBBISH. Google has over 400 algorithmic changes per year so how on earth can you guarantee anything when you are not in control – what a SCAM!
  • these guys offering a guarantee will never honour it, especially if it comes with a money back guarantee  – just try collecting on this – you will never be able to cause the small print that you over looked when signing the SEO contract is going to be the undoing of your claim.

I do not offer SEO guarantees because I am one of only a handful of legitimate SEO players out there


Are you able to work Australia wide?

We are a Sydney company but we have clients all over the country: Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and even Darwin. Distance is not an issue as you can imagine with modern technology.

Online Reviews Can Be a Killer

What Are Review Sites?

There are so many review websites popping up all over the place that it’s hard to keep track of them. But some of the familiar ones include:

Trip Advisor – a travel related website where you can rate hotels, airlines etc

Doctralia – where you can rate your experience withy your local GP or doctor

Product Review – allows you to discuss and rate products on the market

Choice – where you can compare products.

Essentially, the list is endless but you can see where I am coming from here.  There are just so many websites out there that give you the opportunity to rate and review a product or service that it can become overwhelming. I mean, who do you trust and who should you believe? What comments are real and what are fake?

If for example I want to write a review about Hopping Mad Designs I can easliy go to any reviews website and either post something fantastic or on the other hand if I feel disgruntled I can write something defamatory. It’s as easy as that and businesses good names are getting trashed all over the place cause of 1 or 2 negative comments.


I can only hope that consumers are finally waking up to the realities of these review sites and cherry pick the reviews that are legitimate. Alternatively, I personally would ignore many of these review trashy websites and focus on my own personal experience. Think about it, you just might miss out on staying at a good hotel or not using the services of a great doctor because of 1 bad, fake review that was written by some disgruntled lunatic!

Who are the Type of People That Write these Reviews?

The range and type is endless but the following should give you an idea:

  • an employee who got fired may like to write reviews that are untrue about their employer
  • a hotel guest who might be in a bad mood and decides to take it out on the hotel they have just stayed at.
  • An ex girl/ boyfriend who may want to trash the reputation of her ex partner
  • A patient who went to see a doctor and was kept waiting in reception.
  • A passenger on a plane who feels like posting something cruel about the airline service

Basically anything you can think of can be written about on any of these review sites.

My advice is to ignore 99% of what is written and go with your gut instinct. There are in fact review websites out there that rely on people to post negative reviews and then charge the business to have them taken down. This is a complete scam but it is happening right now. These are predominantly in the US but one can still post a comment on these US sites, which will get indexed by Google and will end up showing up next to your business name.

There is not much you can do about this type of activity and you can't stop people writing online BUT I urge anyone reading this blog to really take any negative comments they see online  that it was wriiten with a dose on insincerity!