Originally I first posted a blog entry on how much should you invest in a website in 2016, then updated it in 2017. It was generalized for 1 blog entry. Now am just going to start from scratch, as so much has changed, and break it down into 4 sections over 4 weeks:
Part 1, Web Design Companies:
I say so much has changed, but from a customer’s perspective they just want to give a brief description of what they want over the phone, and ask what you will charge them. If you don’t meet their budget, they move on.
So why am I bothering with this again? People’s money matters. How much a customer has to spend vs what they want are often not aligned. How much a web designer will be able to give the client, for the money they have to spend, is all based on the reality of the job presented.
“I want a webstore with 100 products for $500.” To a customer, this is more than enough information, and more than enough money. The problem with this kind of approach is when the web designer chimes in asking for more details, then suggestions sound like they are just trying to pile on to get more money from the client. Most often it isn’t.
There are many web designers that will sell you things you don’t need, at a mark-up that is unbelievable. I know this from listening to what designers have done to potential clients coming to me for assistance. That is why for each of the next 4 weeks, I will describe what to look for, figuring out what your needs really are, and how we can come to a budget conscious solution.
In some cases, the budget just isn’t going to match the solution because they are looking in the wrong place. A prospective client has choices.
Do you choose an Ad, Google Map or Organic search result link to click on when searching for something? Most ignore the ads, most will go with Maps and Organic. Not all top web design companies will meet your budget (as in overkill). Budget alone is not the criteria to go by.
You have 4 kinds of Web Designer categories.
- Web Design Agency: Several employees, can come up with some incredible designs, have overhead so your price is already up $$$ that you MAY not need to spend. If you need a team for high end work, then this is likely the route to go. Does your budget make this possible for everyone?
- Small Web Design Companies: These are small in nature, overhead is low, and can quite often be the best solution. This is where BWD fits into. I turn higher-end database projects away (Mass General had one for me to bid on last week) because it is a waste of everyone’s time and energy if I know the fit isn’t right. For a store to be built, BWD is definitely going after that project. If your needs aren’t with higher end databases and designs, why would you make your budget fit that extra cost? If your needs require a more complex set-up, then it is clear that you must go to the larger companies for their database/solutions knowledge. To do that for a store, a business or blog, it may be needless money you will spend.
- Part-time Web Design: They either have full time jobs, or are in school. Either way you aren’t getting their full attention. If you know this up front (and not find out halfway into the project), and you go this route, then you know what to expect, and your blood pressure should stay lower. 🙂
- Shysters: They will promise the world and deliver little or nothing in return. If someone tells you they can make you number 1 in Google, they are a shyster.
Which is going to be right for your needs? Let’s look a little closer at those choices.
For large scale projects, a Web Design Agency is your best choice. Large companies, high end database projects, all require a larger scale company to meet your needs. Projects range from $5000 up to $100,000+.
For most businesses and customers looking to launch an online presence, Small Web Design Companies are your best choice. Websites, stores, blogs, SEO, Social Media, all of the things that you need on an every day basis, they can handle for you. Look for a price range of $1000-$5,000 for your projects. The more that is needed, then of course the higher the costs.
If you are on a really tight budget, and don’t need anything quickly, then maybe a part time web designer will work out for you. The thing you need to keep in mind is the more projects they take on, the longer it will take to get yours done as they are doing this part time, and part of that time is also for a social life, family, and sleep.
I think we can all agree that the shyster gets nothing. 🙂
Finding the right Web Design Company fit
First, put your web term into google and get a page of results.
Second, look at every site on that front page (maps/organic) to get your web companies list in order. You can omit the, “Top anything” links, as they are just another list (we’re on several, but so what) and you already have a Google list you’re looking at. Remember, your site is going to be looked at by others using Google, not some top 10 list company, but by how well they showed up in the search engines results against all of the other competition in your field.
Third, spend time looking at their portfolios and clientele. Are they the same size as you, do they have the same kinds of needs? This is a great indicator on whether they will fit your budget or if you will be overspending. If a company does a website for ESPN, that’s quite impressive! Are they likely to start your budget where it is needed? The answer will sometimes be yes and sometimes no, depending on the scale of the project.
If you want the absolute most bang for your buck, a client MUST do more than click on a link and go with it. A little homework (1-2 hours) and you will have the web hosting choices to call, made.
That takes care of Step 1. Step two is figuring out what you desire, but also what is needed by the search engines, those who are going to view your site (desktop/mobile), in order to get your structure set up to do well, and not fail.
Client Expectations vs The Realities, will be posted on September 25th.