What it takes to design a website and what costs are being charged is a mystery to many clients considering hiring a designer for their new website. The mystery should be revealed as an educated consumer has expectations that are more realistic and experiences far less frustration with the design process.
Web Design Prices are Variable.
If a client asks a web designer or developer how much it would cost to design their site and gives them no further details, and then if the designer answers with a price the answer should be suspect. In other words, how much it costs depends upon what is required for the site. How much your car costs depends upon how large a car you need. What luxury items you require and how much "bling" you need or want added to that car. Web design pricing is a lot like the car or the house it varies with what is necessary and what is wanted.
Before a Price can be Arrived at Planning, the Site Must Occur
That does seem somewhat backwards but the fact is that most clients do not really know exactly what they need. Most designers do not know what the client needs and they can only go on what they are told. This gap in communication leads to projects that run late and over budget and do not meet the expectations of the client.
Before a website design can be priced, it must be planned and the planning starts with the client. They must be able to outline what they want the website to do. Usually, sites require something more than a front page and a product list. Many websites require search engines they are targeted toward specific audiences and should achieve a goal with those audiences. In order to properly design a website then its function must be defined. The client does not need to know how software works or how scripts function but they must be able to verbalize what they expect the site to be able to do.
Prioritizing Goals is Essential
The first job of a client is to define their audience for the developer. They should also be able to state what goal they hope to achieve with this audience. An audience can consist of multiple types of people and each must have a priority and a goal. Using this priority system, you can outline what is essential and what can be set aside in order to bring the website online.
Once you have prioritized your targeted audience you can proceed to outline the goals and prioritize that according to the most important to the least.
Establish goal time lines as well. In other words, some goals will be urgent and should be completed within 3 - 6 months while others can be allotted more time. Use timeframes that are realistic as working with a designer is a long-term project and can extend in the range of up to a year for a massive website.
One Step Closer to Website Design Pricing
Once your initial list of goals completed and prioritized and your audience outlined you can work with your designer and developer to translate your desires for your website into software applications and modules that will be necessary to implement the goals.
A designer should be able to provide pricing for each software package that needs to be created. They can also tell you about how much of your server's resources these software modules will use.
Once you have determined the scope of your project and the goals have been defined, you can begin to look at website design pricing.
Pricing Design Factors
- The website design is the overall look and feel of your website. The aesthetics portion and the layout are part of the Design pricing.
- Website functions are another factor in design pricing. What your website will do and that can include shopping carts, email lists, newsletters, or search engines. The functions may be more economically taken care of by integrating existing software packages into the site. Having an application designed from scratch can be very expensive.
- Website content can cover many aspects but may include the text on the home page, the about page and even product images or files. How much content is necessary for a website determines how expensive it can be.
Selecting the Correct Designer or Developer
A website designer is the person who actually designs the layout of the website they may also take over some content management. The website developer is the person who is responsible for integrating the software modules and creating the functionality required by a website.
Some companies will offer the services of both web designers and developers.
However, the right company or individual will be one that can provide a written time line, understands, and communicates concerning your outlined goals.
They should have a fixed pricing schedule because increases in costs and late projects are unacceptable in any kind of business. Unexpected expenses should not be part of the contract and hourly charges are not usually a good idea when choosing a website company.
Reputable web designers and developers will also have a clearly stated policy about what charges will be applied if the client should change the scope of the project. Additional work for them is not usually free.
They should also have good references the client should check them.