Website cost - How to determine price
Your Website Cost Is An Investment, Not An Expense.
When people get a price from a web designer the reaction is always the same… sticker shock. When they get a price they usually think that the price is too high without even knowing how much a good website should really cost. If you don’t know the going price or value of something then you don’t have anything to compare the quoted price with, so you really don’t know how much it should cost or what is a good price. You wouldn't just go out and buy a new car without doing some research and price shopping, so why would you buy a website without doing the same?
Here is a quick answer for anyone not willing to read this article in its entirety. Ask yourself “what kind of a website do I want?”. If you want a website just to say that you have one, then a high school kid and a couple of bucks can give you that. If you want a great website that will perform like you want and need, then you must be willing to pay a price. If this doesn't satisfy your curiosity or answer your question, then read on...
Shopping for a website is much like shopping for a new car; you want pretty much the same things. You want a website that looks great, catches people’s attention, navigates with ease, durable, requires little maintenance, isn't over priced and most importantly… one that performs. Most people don’t even think about the performance end of a website, this is their biggest mistake when they hire someone to build them one. Remember; you only get what you pay for, so sometimes the word “cheap” means just that.
If you are like most people, then all you think about wanting is a website that looks good and low priced. If you are a business owner, then you know that you want your website to get lots of visitors, bring you customers and increase your income (this is where website performance comes in). The problem is that if you don’t know what elements makes a website perform then you don’t know when you are being sold a good website or a bad one. This is where you can get deceived by shady or inexperienced web designers and lose money. Research is what distinguishes a wise investment choice from a bad one.
There are many so called “Web Designers” out there ranging from school kids with a retail store bought website building program to college graduates with a degree in web design. They all have two things in common; 1- they say that they can build you a great website, 2- they don’t know how to build a great website. Very few people understand what website promotion is and how to do it properly. Building a website itself is not a highly complicated task, but building a great website that performs can be. When building a website from scratch or even from a template, you need to build it with search engines in mind more than looks alone. You can always make the looks better as you go, or later on, but it’s better to build it right the first time and not have to correct mistakes afterwards. It doesn't matter how fancy a website looks, or how many pretty animations that is has on it, if a website isn't built with the proper elements for search engines then it won’t do anything good for you.
All web designers out there will gladly build you a website and take your money, but most will not give you anything more than what you can see with your eyes. Most of them want to do as little as possible for the money; this is where they can take advantage of your lack of website performance knowledge. If you don’t know anything about what makes a website perform then you will easily get fooled into paying for a website that looks great but does nothing for you. Not only web designers but some website promotion companies could cheat you by building you a website with improper, or lack of promotional elements. Doing the promotional end takes time, knowledge, skill, and work which most web designers don’t know how to do, or just don’t want to take the time to do. Many web designers will build you a website and honestly have no idea of website promotion, but they will promise you the same positive Google results. That brings you to your next question...
What is a great website?
A great website is one that is attractive, user friendly, easy to navigate through, keeps visitor attention, has correct informational content, but most importantly one that performs. By performing I mean having all the necessary promotional elements added that make it visible to the search engines so it can be found in organic keyword and key phrase search results. These promotional elements are what give your website higher rankings in the search engines and help people to find your website… and find you. Without these elements a website will float out in cyberspace unnoticed and never reach its targeted audience. What good is a website if you have to tell people where it is? A website is supposed to help people find you!
So, how much should a website cost?
Pricing usually depends on what type of website that you want, how many pages it will have, and the amount of time involved in creating it. Other factors that determine the cost are if proper website promotion will be performed, if search engine optimization and search engine submissions are included, web hosting cost, and any added extras such as Pay Pal or a SSL certificate for accepting credit card payments via your website... and so on. It also depends mainly on the hourly based dollar amount that a web designer wants to charge. There are many hours involved in building and promoting a great website, but a cheap website doesn't’t take near as long.
No matter who you choose to build your website, you need to educate yourself as to what you should be getting before you hire a designer to start work. You need to know what really makes a great website with the performance that you need, and not just settle for something that looks good to the eye. You should also ask questions and get exact details in writing of what services the web designer is going to provide for the amount they are charging you. You also need all these things if you hire a website promotion company to do work on your existing website. Yes, a website that is already in existence and performing badly can still be repaired and promoted, but the amount of work will depend on several factors that will have to be determined in an SEO inspection.
One final thing that you should always think about is that you only get what you pay for, and nothing is free. If a web designer only charges you a couple hundred dollars then chances are that you are only going to get a pretty good looking website and nothing more. If you are quoted a couple thousand dollars then ask for details of what is included in the cost. Either way, you absolutely need your website to be fully optimized, correctly set up and well promoted, but most importantly… you need a fully dedicated web designer that is honest, knowledgeable and willing to do everything possible to make your website perform.
A website that is not built properly and only built for looks and appearance is just like having a brand new, shiny Corvette without any engine. It looks great sitting in the driveway... but it gets you nowhere.
I hope that this article has given you some more insight into the world of website's, the problems that can happen, and what to do to avoid them. Be sure to read my article titled “Who owns my domain, and my website?”
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I wish you the best of luck with your website endeavors.