Ask most web design agencies that question and they probably won’t give you a straight answer.
The question may even irritate them. They’ll tell you they can’t give you an answer (“how long is a piece of string?”) and they’ll almost certainly ask what your budget is first. The problem is, you have no idea how much a website costs, and why would you?
To be fair, they do have a bit of a point. You can throw a website together in a few hours for £50, or you can build a website for £100,000 (for example something like spectator.co.uk). Some websites – facebook.com for example - even cost millions of pounds to make.
If you’re still reading, your business likely doesn’t have a fortune to spend. You want a website that looks modern, is fast, works on iPads and mobiles, and gives your customers information about your product. I’m here to tell you that you can have a simple, modern, professional business website at a reasonable price.
Contact some agencies and the first thing they’ll ask is what your budget is. If they ask this before they even ask what you want on your site, alarm bells should ring. Budget £4k you’ll get a £4k site; budget £5k and you’ll get a £5k site. But – and this is the crucial point - there is sometimes no difference between a 4k site and a 5k site. At all. If you say £5k you’ll end up with exactly the same site as you would have done had you said £4k, but you may find that you’re mysteriously billed for more ‘developer hours’.
Don’t pay for the number of hours spent making your site. This may work in theory, and it certainly helps the agency work out their margins, but it relies on a lot of trust. Why on earth would you want to reward someone for taking longer to make your site? We all know what it’s like working in an office – do a bit of work, check email, check the news, make a coffee, and all the time you’re being billed for it. Think they stop the clock every time they have a chat about last night’s Bake Off? Think again.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use an agency – a lot of them are very good, and if you want a site with advanced features or highly customised functions then you probably should go with them. But if your business isn’t the next facebook.com, don’t be tricked into paying over the odds.
I don’t charge by the hour and you’ll always know exactly what you’re paying - letting you budget accordingly and get back to running your business. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum your website falls, contact me for a chat. If you need a site that would take a team of developers months to make, I’ll happily direct you to some great design agencies, but you’d be surprised at what can be done for a reasonable price and just how good it can look.