This is the reason I don’t show web design prices on my website…
by Sam Davis
If you’re looking for a new website, you may have discovered that a number of companies may show you a “one size fits all” prices from the outset. For instance, if you search for “Bournemouth Website Design” on Gumtree, you’ll find people advertising inexplicably low fees for 5 page websites in the region of £100 – without any real detail of what you will get for the price. Whilst some could argue that this is an honest approach, it is often a stunt to get their foot in the door – which is subsequently followed up with a number of further charges for essential services which were not included in the original price.
It seems to be overlooked that different people will be starting their online venture from any number of positions – ie: perhaps they have a website already and have their content & media ready to go, but on the flip-side they may be completely inexperienced and not even know the name of their potential business yet! Some might already have their hosting sorted, but others may be in the position whereby they do not know what a server even is! So, how can each different scenarios be priced the same? The answer is – they can’t. A number of designers will purposely set a fixed fee for their projects in the hope of getting your business, and will end up turfing out a site as quickly as possible to retain some kind of profit. Similarly, you must also expect a fair bit of up-selling as the process evolves! If a developer has taken on a complicated and time-rich project for what is a relatively low fee, it often leads to corners being cut and the attention to detail being slim.
I wanted to clearly detail all the variables and factors that I keep in mind when it comes to thinking about how to price a website.
Therefore, with this in mind, I wanted to clearly detail all the variables and factors that I keep in mind when it comes to thinking about how to price a website. Whilst I can provide an initial “price from” valuation, it can obviously vary considerably depending on the circumstances of the client – therefore I utilise a modular pricing structure, which ensures a client is getting real value for money.
The factors which will determine the cost of your site
I need to check whether a client possesses a domain name. If they don’t, I need to ascertain if they know which domain name they want. Occasionally, I may need to provide input into helping them consider which address they can buy. Often, I may need to liaise with existing IT teams to get access to the domain, in order to change the DNS or the name-servers, whilst also keeping a consideration on whether email is being uses already for their company – in which can careful DNS manipulation is vital!
I must find out whether the client has hosting in place for their website? If they do, I need to get access to the credentials and set up a sub-domain for the development space for the new site. If this is not possible, I then need to create some space on my own server, which the client has access to throughout the design process. If they do not have hosting set up, I will create a client account and hosting environment on my own server, getting emails, setting up the installation of the CMS, and ensuring scheduled backups are in place.
Doesn’t matter what type of site it is, but all websites need SSL’s (or a padlock in the address bar). Google favours these sites, therefore I always ensure an SSL is provided with every site that is created. This process validates the domain and the company/individual who runs the website, therefore it is important that the right information is submitted to the relevant SSL authority in order to get this certified quickly.
If the client does not have email, I need to get to know how they wish to run their emails. Will it be from one computer, multiple devices, or will they need more than one user account etc. There may be the situation that the email is controlled by an external company – so I have work closely with them to ensure continuity, and to keep it working successfully once the new site goes live. I also need to create email signatures should they wish to have one.
Graphic Design / Signature
This is always an interesting one, because sometimes companies have a logo, but don’t have it in a digital format, therefore it needs to be recreated, or possibly they DO have a logo but it’s in an awful JPG format with a white background. Often however, there is no logo, therefore my graphical design services are required to create the perfect brand for the company – a logo which needs to look great on print and on screen. Depending on the complexity of the logo, it can take time, therefore is another consideration when it comes to pricing.
Moving Content Across
If the client has an existing website, their content will need to be moved across and reformatted. Maybe they’re using WordPress, or perhaps they are using a system like Wix or GoDaddy’s website builder. Also, if it is an E-Commerce store, I may need to transfer the product data from OpenCart, Shopify, or whatever service they are using! This obviously takes time, therefore I feel it is important of offer the client the option of being able to upload their own products to the site (with full instructions provided), thus offering them flexibility in the final price.
All websites need to be compliant and have clear details on the terms of using the website, the way the client’s data is being used, and the cookies that will be planted on the visitors computer. Most of my clients will not have these in place, therefore it is essential that these are not only included, but are also legally appropriate for the niche of the business. It is another integral part of a website which takes time to put in place, but is one that many may overlook.
Theme and Template Costs
It’s not often that a web development company start will with a blank canvas when creating a website. It is time consuming, not practical, and quote old school! For this reason, a “best fit” theme is deployed which is as close to the final solution as possible. Subsequently it is re-coloured and re-positioned to match the brand. These templates cost money, and the installation and setup can be quite time-consuming. This is a cost I have to budget in to the final quote.
When I make a website, there are number of essential WordPress plugins which cannot be ignored – however there will also be a number of extra addons that will be required to help with the specific functionality that the site requires. These plugins can be free, however often cost money. Whilst WordPress has a plethora of installable modules which do not cost a thing, some of the more bespoke demands may need a premium plugin.
Analytics and Webmaster Tools
In order to track traffic and analyse the health of a website, Google’s tools need to be installed – but whilst they are free of charge, implementing them takes time, especially when you sometimes have to chase for account access and verification codes. Often, a client may not even have a Google account and request that I create one for them – I am obviously happy to oblige, but it should be kept in mind that the time to create these accounts may affect the final quote.
SEO Keyword Research
I need to find out which keywords/search terms the website is looking to rank for in Google. Occasionally a client already has it in their mind as to which phrase they want to get found for, but then there are circumstances whereby they may not necessarily know which searches that they’d like to get caught up for – so there may be times where I need to research using a number of tools (some free, some paid for), which will successfully determine which would be the ideal keywords to use. For instance – if I were to make a website for “wendy houses” – which term gets more searches: “children’s wendy houses” or “kids wendy houses”?
When any new website is created, the (Search Engine Optimisation) SEO is at its very core, and my previous research needs to be put into action! The site structure needs to be logical, the pages need to be named and titled correctly, and they need to be full of the “keywords” that the client wants it to get found for. Similarly there are extra additions that need to be actioned from page to page by the way of page tags, SEO tags, and rich snippets. Confused? Well don’t worry, it is all covered by me – however it is a time-consuming yet essential process! Unfortunately, website visitors won’t just come along all by themselves, so this is a key part!
Setting Up Google Maps
Want a map on your website? You’d think it’d be child’s play, however not so much any more. Google have their own billing system to enable Google Maps, and whilst the majority of websites that I create do not enter the kind of traffic levels whereby they need to pay a monthly fee for the service, unfortunately, the set up is now relatively lengthy – card details need to be entered in the users’ own Google account, an API key needs to be copied, and then finally it needs to then be added on to the website.
Occasionally individuals or companies will come up to me with their Social media accounts all ready, which is amazing! Others however, will not have them setup, therefore it is vital I advise on the recommended social media channels for the specific company (some platforms are only appropriate for specific niches), and then get the channels integrated on the website via site-wide icons, Facebook like boxes, Instagram and Twitter feeds – but also, with the option of synchronising blog posts to the user’s various accounts too.
Want to be able to chat in real time to your visitors? Want to be able to see what they are typing even before they hit “enter” so you can prepare a rocket-fast reply? Well, whilst signing up to a live chat service has little cost (or in some cases, free) – setting it all up however does take time, so this is yet another consideration.
Google Business page
Ever Googled a company and seen that their website link not only comes up in the search listings, but also a panel on the right hand also appears with a logo, a map, and the essential contact details? Well this is a MUST for your business, and if you don’t have it, it’s one I usually need to spend time over getting it right – entering the correct business information, validating domains, phone numbers, and company addresses. All good fun.
Payment Gateway Implementation
If the website I am designing sells products, then money will need to be taken. Whilst it can be fairly easy to add Paypal to a website, it should not be the only solution that is provided, as many people like to add their debit and credit card details. This involves signing up to a payment gateway like Square or Stripe, entering essential company information, before linking up the website with the gateway – and doing test transactions. VAT and Delivery prices need to be finalised, as well as the testing of the email sequences that the customer is due to receive.
Mailing List integration
Finally, many people like to build a mailing list in order to send out information to, whether it’s a new product or service that the business is offering, a sale or discount code, or just some general tips and advice. Either way, the mailing list (like Mailchimp or Mailerlite), needs to not only be signed up for, but integrated with the website. This can be done by static HTML forms dotted throughout the site, or flashy tool such as an Exit Popup. Either way, this again is an element which is very important, and as a result, takes time.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider…
…and it’s for this exact reason that anyone who wants a website should be treated as an individual and be given a tailored quote which accurately reflects the work that goes into making their brand new website the best it can be – without compromising on quality.
It is vital that I am transparent in telling you know exactly what services you will get from me, and what considerations I need to take when making a site.
This article has not been written to scare off my potential clients. You may be assuming I charge lots. The fact is – I don’t. I have previously created sites from as little as £150, stretching right up to the large-scale budget websites. However it is vital that I am transparent in telling you know exactly what services you will get from me, and what considerations I need to take when making a site. I’m also conveying the fact you you should be ultra wary of web companies or individuals offering a one-size fits all solution for your business. I have picked up a number of clients from disgruntled people who have used a provider from somewhere like Gumtree, complaining that they were totally dissatisfied with the service they received.
So, where-ever you are based, I can give you a free consultation, learn about your business, and check out your existing site (if you have one). I can then give you an exact analysis of what is needed, what I can do to improve it, the themes that would look great, and a bespoke quote – which provides value for money, confidence, and will give you the peace of mind that you’re going to get a premium quality website from a developer with a proven track record of quality website design.