Why are business websites so expensive? Well, it’s simple. Web designers have to make a living. Since they charge on an hourly basis, and there’s a limit to the number of hours they can work, they are compelled to charge a relatively high hourly rate.
Business owners have bought into the idea of paying a high up-front charge for their web site to be designed. The more they are prepared to pay, the more ‘unique’ their site can be. At the high end of the scale, they could be paying for a site that is so unique that nobody can figure out how to use it!
You’re more likely to end up with a decent website if your budget is not big enough to allow the designer to ‘reinvent the wheel’.
With a smaller budget, the web designer will be taking a standard template and changing some of the design elements so that it looks different. With this approach, you will probably have a framework that works properly to start off with – in other words, it should be easy to navigate.
Most web sites are based on the same underlying principles. There’s a header, a main block of content, one or more sidebars and a footer. The designer decides on the colours, typefaces and images that will be used, and puts them together in an attractive way.
Since most small business owners can’t do this themselves, aren’t interested in learning how to do it, or simply don’t have the time, they are happy paying a high price for a designer to do it for them.
With over a billion pages on the web, there are few good reasons to insist on a “unique” website. In fact, you probably don’t want the website to call attention to itself at all. The emphasis should not even be on your company, your products and your services – rather, it should be on what your business can do for your customers.
You should be working with a web designer who understands this. The other major factor in the cost of a website is the ongoing maintenance involved. If you want to change a line of text, or add a photo of your new product, do you have to phone the web designer, or can you do it yourself?
If the website is based on a content publishing platform like WordPress, it’s simple to make changes. WordPress is designed so that non-technical people can add and edit content easily. You can learn how to do it yourself, or get a teenager to do it for you.
WordPress uses standard templates, called ‘themes’, to control the look and feel of the website. There are thousands of themes available, most of which are free. You can get your web designer to add your company logo, change the colours to match your company colour scheme, add a few pictures, and make something that’s as unique to you as it needs to be.