Every week we receive emails from prospective clients about web design and development. The number one question from 90% of clients is, "How much will a website cost?"
The answer is what you'd expect: "It depends." Ultimately the price for website design and development is dependant upon the amount of time spent on the project. One must realize, design is a premium service. A luxury good. Businesses who value good design have an advantage over those who don't.
Any credible design agency will follow a process for estimating web design work. We respond to inquires with a request for proposal document (RFP). This document is filled with important questions pertaining to your business, your online business goals, key business indicators, website functionality and look and feel.
For example, do you need a content management system? A blog? An online forum? Are you going to sell products on your website... and so on. All of these questions help your design agency determine how much time they need to spend on your project. Once that is determined, an estimate can be accurately submitted.
One of the questions we ask is, "Have you worked with a design agency before?" This is an important question because the answer will tell us how much we have to educate the client on process, prices and expectations. Most clients have not worked with an interactive agency before, and therefore we spend a lot of time educating them on what to expect.
Often times, when we present our estimate for custom website design, clients experience "sticker shock." Scary thing is, our prices are reasonable by comparison, and actually lower than comparable design agencies. Some prospects even say, "I can get (insert cheap company here) to design a site for $10 a month." Yup, you absolutely can. But, in 6 months, you'll come back to us for the solution you needed in the first place.
Our competitive advantage is our completeness, creative vision, client service and commitment to your ongoing success. Our clients are partners for life. We want you to succeed, it makes us look good. And, we get and keep more and more clients through word-of-mouth.
It's been said, making the complex look simple is one of the greatest skills. That is absolutely true with web design and development. Website design is a process. There is a lot of work and time put in behind the scenes. Work and time the client never sees.
Here's a quick study on what to expect from a reputable design agency. This is what you're paying for:
Client, Industry, and Competitive research;
Graphic Compositions in Photoshop;
Client Reviews and Revisions;
Taking the Approved Comps and Mapping them to a CSS / XHTML Grid;
CSS / XHTML Production and Testing;
Content Management Database Design;
eCommerce Functionality and Testing;
Search Engine Optimization;
These steps require professionalism and expertise to produce a robust solution. Most first-time clients have no idea what it takes to produce this work. Website design and development is very complicated. Making the complicated look easy is what your web design firm should do, and do well.