There’s a lot of confusion about what the price of a professional website should be.
Generally speaking, the price of a well-designed website is more than the price of a poorly designed website.
While it’s true you can find someone to build your website, no matter what your budget is, remember this—
It’s not the website you’re after. It’s the results that accompany it.
Simply put, the ability to systematically produce websites that deliver consistent results is what makes one design company worth more than another.
Despite what an infamous person said recently, a website that helps build your business cannot be purchased for 3 dollars.
You see, the website is not what you are purchasing.
You’re purchasing a vehicle for achieving business goals. You’re purchasing a way to professionally market your business.
You’re also investing in a working relationship with the people behind your website. When you invest in a professional web design company, you’re investing in specialized expertise, insight, and knowledge.
You’re investing in that designer’s process for discovering your business objectives, and making sure your web project helps you achieve those objectives.
Since your website is your top marketing asset and the hub of your brand, minimizing project risk is also a consideration. Look for design companies with a proven track record of finishing projects successfully and supporting their clients post-launch.
These are just some of the reasons you should avoid shopping for website design at the bargain bin.
When it comes to web design, you get what you pay for.
I talk with business owners every month that tell me that they had a web developer who built their website, but they disappeared after a year or two.
In the meantime, if anything goes wrong with their website, or if they need changes, they are out of luck.
A web design company that doesn’t charge enough to stay in business won’t be around for the long haul. This means the business owner takes on more risk by purchasing a cheap website.
Professional web developers know that there is value in staying afloat, so they can help their clients for years to come.
The larger the business, the more they expect to invest in a quality website. In fact, large companies usually see inexpensive websites as more fraught with risk.
The answer: they understand they’re paying for a professional service — one that will sweat the details that they don’t even know exist. They sleep easier at night knowing a competent service is building or maintaining their main marketing asset. They know they will get better results from their website by investing in long-term quality, both in craftsmanship and in the team behind it.
For large companies, hiring a design team is a good way to mitigate risk. Businesses with larger budgets will usually gravitate towards hiring a team, because there are more people to be accountable. Many companies are also open to hiring specialized consultants. This approach is a good way for medium-sized businesses to avoid risk.
Low expertise service providers usually cost far less than professionals with high expertise. Their marketing is focused on affordability and price, because they cannot compete on results or dependability.
Generally speaking, the higher the investment, the lower the risk.
Remember, your website is there to help you build your business.
Investing In Expertise
98% of the work that I do falls into one of two profiles: businesses that want high-quality work, but can’t afford large web agency rates, or contract work for large agencies that don’t have a WordPress specialist on staff.
This means people trust me to get stuff done, on time, on budget, and built to deliver results for their businesses.
This same expertise is something you should receive when you invest in a website, no matter who you go with.
Who Is Actually Hurt By Misconceptions
The misconception a few people have — that all websites should cost very little — used to frustrate me, but it doesn’t anymore.
People who seek the lowest cost provider, almost always end up with a website that doesn’t build their business. These are often poorly designed, slow loading sites, that customers leave quickly. These “affordable” sites are often easily hacked, or built with buggy code that breaks later. This ends up costing the business much more in the long run.
I don’t want these things to happen to anyone. Even if you choose another design provider besides Lockedown Design, please make sure you do adequate research to find a studio who knows what they are doing when it comes to WordPress.
Web designers who race to the bottom on prices are not able to sustain their business properly. They often have to shutter their doors, or if they remain in business, cannot advance their knowledge.
The web designers that consistently help their clients reach their goals continually reinvest in learning.
Web technology moves at a rapid pace. Continual learning is what makes a web design studio valuable over the long haul.
Ten years experience doesn’t mean repeating the same year ten times in a row.
Websites are never truly done. They’re constantly evolving as your business evolves. That means your web design provider — the folks responsible for your site — have to be constantly evolving too.
It’s important to have a web design partner that grows as your own business grows.
One other thing I want to address.
Open Source Deosn’t Mean Free
Open source software powers the majority of the web. Whether it’s a programming language or a framework like WordPress or Drupal, there are usually hundreds of web developers pitching in their time and effort to further these code bases.
The foundational software is free. But the complementary tools that help build a website quickly and efficiently are usually premium, meaning you must pay for them.
Can you find free WordPress themes and plug-ins on the web?
Sure. But only a small subset of free plug-ins are actively maintained.
Free plug-ins that continue to be updated over time sometimes have a premium version that helps pay for the continuing development.
WordPress plug-ins that are not maintained, on a long enough timeline, end up having integration issues with other themes and plug-ins, or worse, security vulnerabilities.
These are not things you want.
There is a great temptation by business owners (and even many agencies!) like to use little-known WordPress themes along with some free plug-ins to build a website.
But you can’always get the functionality you want from free plugins that are duct-taped together.
There are premium plugins that are essential to many sites. (Gravity Forms, Akismet, and WooCommerce extensions is ones that spring to mind).
Selecting WordPress themes also require some insight, as most of the themes on ThemeForest are bloated, slow loading, and even popular themes there have been known to have gaping security vulnerabilities.
I prefer to use either premium themes from well-trusted independent WordPress theme shops as a base, with a child theme — or custom developed themes that focus on custom functionality or improved performance.
These options are not always the least expensive, but they pay dividends in increased conversions, improved customer retention, better security, and faster page speed.
Transferring To An Internal Team
Many businesses call upon an outside developer to build and launch their site, and then help them make the transition to having an internal staff who updates and maintains their site.
This is a good idea, as the businesses hire a specialist for their part, and a marketing staff to carry on.
There are also business owners that look to pinch pennies on building a site, and hire internal developers for rock-bottom prices. What’s unfortunate about this is they end up spending many times over what it would cost to hire a professional designer, as it takes much longer to build and launch.
One multi-million dollar business I talked to paid a full-time employee for over a year and still had nothing to show.
When these websites are actually built by a novice, they usually yield a fraction of the results of a professionally designed site.
If money flows through your website at all, you owe it to your business to make it look professional. Good design builds trust, which means people choose your service over your competitors.
Sure, some business owners have a niece or cousin that built a hobby website — once.
But your livelihood is serious business. Your cash flow is serious business.
There’s a night and day difference between a website built by a marketing intern who learned web design last month and a professional company that eats, sleeps and breathes web design and development.
You can get a website built for little to nothing. But if it’s being built with your business goals in mind, it’s not going to do its job — which is make you more money.
Often times it’s going to hurt you more than it helps you.
Professional web design is the same as any other service. You’re hiring an expert to do something they specialize in, because you realize they are better suited to do it than you are.
In return, they help you improve your business. They become a long-term ally. They allow you to sleep at night, because they take that particular stress off your mind. They look for ways to reduce risk to your organization.
Most of all, the professional web designer gets you closer to your business goals than you would on your own.