Pricing a Website is a lot like pricing a car, it's important to know your budget before looking at vehicles. And while two vehicles might be of similar size and shape, their prices might be significantly different. This difference is often in the form of quality, refinement and experience offered.
Take a basic requirement of a four door sedan, six cylinder engine and a standard set of options. This might be like a business saying they want a basic Website, a home page, about us, services page(s), contact us page with a form and map, maybe a blog. These are basic features of most small business Websites, but it doesn't tell us anything about price or budget.
If you go shopping for a car with those kinds of requirements, you may be shocked to find that you can purchase a perfectly usable Ford that starts around $20,000, but a Mercedes Benz costs $55,000. So why would two cars that perform the same function cost so differently? Why would anybody buy a car that costs more than twice the cheapest one on the market?
- Better quality materials?
- Better engineering?
- Quieter interior?
- More powerful engine?
When people see the Mercedes, or even take a quick test drive, they immediately can tell the difference.
The same is true for a Website design. When your visitors use your Website, they can immediately tell the level of quality and time invested in the engineering. And in business, impressions matter. Studies show that a well designed Website will generate more revenue for a business.
Things that affect people's impression of your Website:
- Color choice,
- Font faces,
- Images and photography,Navigation,
- Mobile experience,
- Layout and white space.
It takes time, experience, love and care to create a great Website design. And that's for a set of functional requirements; one Website can cost more than double what another Website costs while performing the same basic tasks.
And this is why we prefer to know the client's budget prior to talking about design. It would be like going to a car dealership not knowing how much you can afford to spend on a car.
Here are two examples of competent designs for the client to consider.
The first, lower cost site is basic, but not terrible. There is good use of white-space, it's not overly cluttered, but a bit on the busy side. The continuous sliders are annoying, but the images in them are decent. Overall it is easy to use and navigate, clear with decent font choices. If a visitor needed this company's services, the design would probably not cost them a sale.
The second site is a great example of modern design. It is very clean, but not sterile. The colors are used very effectively but in a reserved manner. The fonts are fresh and large for readability. There is great use of white-space to draw the user's eyes toward the key points. There is just enough text and images to get the point across. The bulk of the important content appears on one page, with a nice fixed menu to ease navigation and the clear call-to-action triggers a hidden form that is revealed with a smooth animation.
When comparing the two sites, it is easy to see which spent more on the design and execution. More money, more time, and more thought. If we were to pretend these two companies provided the same service, one of them would be a clear winner as far as generating revenue.
A visitor would likely not even notice the design, and that's the point. The design does not get in the way. It appeals to a broad audience, creating a level of comfort and confidence in the company. They would find the relevant information, just enough, in order to make that purchase decision.
Often a business's Website is the only interaction a visitor has with the business before deciding to make a purchase. The look and feel are the first, and many times the only impression. So, what is a new customer worth?
So this is the case for maximizing the budget for designing a quality Website. It shouldn't be seen as a necessary evil or expense to be minimized. It should be seen as an investment in the best sales and marketing tool available.