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How Much Should a Web Design Cost?

July 9 2012

As an industry veteran with over 16 years in the web design industry, I have seen prices fluctuate wildly when it comes to determining how much a website design should cost. There has been an explosion of web companies offering cheap web design packages, whilst there still remains those mid to top tier web firms that offer quality website design as well as premium customer service. As a business owner you must try to work out for yourself which type of web design company you are going to want to give your business to. Many clients that I meet are utterly confused about web prices and associated costs because there is such a variation in quotes and it is my job when we meet to try to explain all the reasons and variables behind these costs.

So, how much should and how much does a website design cost?

This is an important question and I do get this asked all the time by potential clients who come to meet with me in our design studio and the answer I give to them is the same each and every time. What type of web design are you after and what do you want your website design to achieve?

In real terms, if you are a business owner and want a functional and effective online presence you really do not have to spend huge sums on money to get a great looking web site design that is also search engine friendly.

Working with a web design studio like Hopping Mad Designs means that you are getting real value for your marketing dollar when you embark on the journey of choosing your next web designer in Sydney. Sure, there are heaps of designers out there offering websites for next to nothing, but going down this path can and will only lead to major issues further down the track.

Over the years in business I cannot begin to tell you about the number of calls/emails I get from small businesses through to larger companies who have gone to a cheap web designer only to be left out of pocket, without a working website.

Think of this in terms of buying a car. If you want a basic run around car, that will get you from A to B with a minimum of fuss, but without all the added extra’s such as leather seats and air conditioning, you are going to be paying a base price. However, if you are looking at making a statement and want a little bit more of that ‘ wow factor’ you are going to have to pay a bit more for say a European brand or a top model in the Japanese series. These will be fitted out with all the extra trimmings, bells and whistles and will get second looks for other motorists and people in the street.

This is exactly the same for web design. You can pay as little as you like ( this comes with a huge warning which I will talk about later on) or you can pay that bit extra and get a web page design that users online will notice. For a business looking to get an online presence the choices are limitless. There are an enormous amount of web package design studios offering sites for little over $100. Most of these sites will be a template style website and your business website will end up looking like every other site online. But, if you want to compete for the attention of internet users ( who are all becoming that much more web savvy) you have to go for the more expensive option, and use the services of a a professional web design studio that is able to design and deliver a better than average website.

Another perspective is you get what you pay for. I have again heard this numerous times with potential clients. They will do the ring around and speak to the same web companies that are on the first page of Google, like us, and say that they are able to get a website designed for $450.

And I always have the same response; you get what you pay for.

If you are comfortable with a very basic online website and are happy to have a site that looks exactly the same as most other template websites on the market, then that is ok. You should possibly explore and go with that option.

But, if you are wanting to get noticed and have people look at your website then this is clearly not the best option for your business. I am literally amazed with the number of phone calls I get on a weekly basis from business people who have gone down the cheap n cheerful path only to end up with big problems.

Following are a few issues you many encounter when going with the cheaper web design.

These web companies will quote low just to get you into the front door, virtually buying your business, but you will be slugged for each and every design change you make that is not included in the original quote.

And believe me, this will be charged at an hourly rate and there will be no room for negotiation. The reason why you will want so many design amends and changes is because of the poor quality design that was given to you in the first place. This is due in part to lack of design experience and the in ability to get a proper brief from you in the first place.

Having a cheap website means that you are going to look like the guy next door. You may even have a site thats got a similar look and feel to your competitor. This is just not on as being unique and having a point of difference is important when it comes to marketing your business online.

There is the temptation, I know, to save money if you are setting up a business and are looking to trim start up costs, but penny pinching on your web design and development is a bad mistake.

Perhaps look at cutting costs elsewhere and invest a bit more into your digital strategy.

Most of the work is off shored to a third world country where labour and wage rates are so much cheaper. There are just so many issues and problems associated with this that I would occupy this whole blog talking about it. But let me put this in plain terms, every one I speak to about this, has had a very bad experience. I cannot recall in my  years here as director of Hopping Mad Designs one good or positive comment about their dealings with these cheaper web development options.

Each individual story has its own nasty ending and each person swears blindly that they will never do this again. The problem here is that there are so many new businesses starting up, who are totally naive about the pitfalls ahead of them that they go blindly into this, believing that they are just getting a good deal.

The purpose of this blog article is to hopefully educate those people reading this so they wont make the same bad judgement call. All it takes is one phone call or email to a design studio like Hopping Mad Designs and this can be avoided.

Their level of customer service is poor. Remember what I said above; you get what you pay for. Well, this is what will happen. Phone calls will not get returned, deadlines will be missed, artwork will be wrong, design will be totally off brief ( if there has been any design), the list goes on and on. Paying next to nothing means exactly that. Nothing. at the end of the day –  you will be lucky to get anything and lucky if you get a functioning website.

I am not just writing this because of the competitive nature of the web industry. We don’t want to compete at this level and we certainly cant. I am here writing this, to help those poor individuals ( out there trying to make a decent living), understand about the options available to them.

They might think that they are smart and prudent business people because they have struck up a cheap deal, but hopefully they are reading this and hopefully will heed this advice. So do not expect phone calls or emails to be replied to promptly and never expect that your website will look anything special. these are the cold plain truths and you should really ask yourself this question; is it worth all the angst and aggravation?

If you want to compete online, you need a website design studio that will be able to rank your site. website ranking on Google is the combination of both on page ( what they see on the actual site) and off page ( what you dont see). Getting your ‘on page’ programming absolutely search engine compliant will ensure your website has the best chance of ranking. If you are getting a website that has been churned out in a production like manner then the chances of your ‘ on page’ SEO frame work being completed correctly are very minimal. What this means for you and your business is that your website will not get as much traffic as it could possibly be getting and you will be missing out on those important new business phone calls. Basically, you have started off on the wrong foot and this will have consequences for your business later on. In most cases all the so called work that has been completed will have to be re-done again, this time, properly.

What are the advantages of paying just that bit more for your website design?

The advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages. Here are just a few:

This is your business and if your website is your shopfront to the world then you need something that’s not only going to be attention grabbing but a site that is going to be a reflection of your business and its culture and style. Only a web design studio thats trained in the art of website development will be able to facilitate this properly.

By taking a proper brief from the outset, and implementing design accordingly, your website should last you years and act as a very powerful marketing and sales tool.

Nothing comes close to having a great looking website ranking well on Google and for this privilege you have to pay accordingly. This just does not magically happen. A lot of time, effort and years of knowledge are combined to make this happen.

You get superior customer service. Calls are returned promptly and emails are answered. No one goes missing in action and your web designers are held accountable for the entire project. You get to meet with them face to face and things are not entirely done in the virtual world. Basically, if you are prepared to pay the price then you will get a premium design combined with great customer service. It will make a huge difference.

You will have a better chance of your web site ranking if the whole process is handled by web developers who know how to program CORRECTLY. Give it to a bunch of amateurs and you will not rank, let search engine optimisation experts work on your site and your website will work much better for you now, and in the future.

Paying the right amount now and getting your site designed and coded correctly will see your web traffic increase with sales leads as well.