As we pick up the phone or read emails sent through our contact form we often see the question “So how much will this website cost?”. In reply we normally would ask back “Well what is your budget?” Now, many of you may feel uncomfortable providing a budget range. For most who have not been through a project like this before simply don’t know what they cost, while rest of you feel that if you share your budget range, we are going to try get as many of those dollars in your budget as we can! While we can appreciate your concern, this is far from the truth because:
We do have set prices for standard websites so we always give the same number regardless of budget. However, when you go beyond a basic website, there are many ways to accomplish the same thing and each with a varying level of sophistication and hence varying price points. Not to mention, we may be spending considerable amount of time (therefore money paid to the employees) calculating the time it may take for your project just to find out your budget is only a fraction of the cost we estimated. If your budget is completely unreasonable, we can offer you alternative solution you could seek to fit your budget. For example, we could put together an e-commerce website anywhere from $500 up to $250,000 and maybe even higher. There are differences in the features available at the different price ranges, but at least there are options for different price levels.
Most web design and development companies aren’t trying to max out a client’s budget, but keeping their budget in mind while putting together a quote that the client can afford. Again, if we know what your budget is, we can find the best solution that does what a client needs at a price level they can afford. Your budget can dictate if we should use ASP.NET for your project or PHP, if we should do custom coding or customize from an existing solution etc.
So now, let’s see how you could go about creating an appropriate budget.
It is very important to consider your target audience. If your target is selling luxury goods or other name-brand products, then you need to consider that more design time will be required to align the look of the website with the target audience you are serving. Your customers will not feel comfortable spending thousands of dollars on a single purchase if your website design does not establish credibility with him. Ensuring that the look and feel of the website is aligned with your target market is critical.
Consider Your Return On Investment
Consider your expected return on investment. If you are selling a $2 greeting card, you would need to sell a lot of cards to make up for the investment. In this case adding a lot of functionality to a website and driving up the cost may not be a wise decision, unless you are expecting large volumes of traffic. However, if you are selling a $5,000 service or product visitors would expect an enhanced and quality based experience dictating the need for a larger budget, and also an expected return on investment.
Adding features and functionalities can have a big impact on the projects overall cost. When you are starting up a business, it’s not uncommon to look at what the leaders in that market are doing online and wanting to imitate them. Often, the market leader’s websites contain features or functionality that would not make sense to include in the start-ups initial build. Starting small and scaling up as revenue grows makes it more affordable and leaves more cash flow for marketing purposes.
Quality of Work Done On Your Website
This is something many people overlook but this is something that can have the largest impact on whether a website project is successful. Today when we, at DTW build a website, we build it to the W3C standard and undertake quality assurance testing to ensure there aren’t any issues from a coding or usability perspective. Coding issues may impact a website’s ability to be viewed properly on all browsers, the level of flexibility and scalability for future changes, and issues with the search engines being able to properly index the website. Other issues with optimization for loading speed and code efficiency are all factors of higher website development quality.
Very Low Budget Could Result In Lost Revenues
So while the low cost price point by amateur web developers can at first be very tempting, it could soon only cost you more money in lost business opportunities, by having a professional company redo your website or by your web developer’s leaving you high and dry in the middle of nowhere after taking an initial deposit from you. Also, companies that tend to have much lower prices are more than likely cutting corners in the development process or providing templated solutions, lying to you about using custom solution while using free open source softwares to help reduce the time required to complete the project and hence reducing the cost.
By doing some research on your target audience, what your competitors are doing and what the minimum you think you could get by with, talking to a web design and development company openly about your budget should not be hard. Always consider what aspects are most important to you, as well as crucial to the success of your business and website. Share these ideas with us so we can work on getting the best solution for your needs and budget.