Justifying website price in todays economic climate
In today’s economic climate most business owners see the value of a good website and coordinated online marketing campaign. However, not everyone can see how the website price can be justified when compared to other business costs. A good website that has been designed by a skilled web designer incorporates a number of elements including aesthetic appeal, functionality, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and usability.
As a specialist, a good web designer understands these elements and the amount of work that is required to ensure that your website maximises its web presence. As with any product, a website can be broken down into a number of components that each have there own price placed upon them. A website price can incorporate the following costs:
- System components
- Hosting & Support
- Company overhead.
These are the raw materials of a website that must be purchased or created and can include:
Content Management System – the computer program that allows publishing, editing and modifying content as well as maintenance from a central interface.
Like a document template, these define the style and configuration of the pages within a website.
Any system that uses software can attract licencing costs. These can either be up front, periodically or both.
Plugins are a great way of adding extra functionality to a website. These are programmes that are designed to work in conjunction with a website’s underlying system.
Web design agencies can use a variety of methods and tools for formulating a price, but the underlying principle used is how long does a piece of work take to complete. It is then down to the agency to determine how they apportion cost, whether that be via an hourly rate, price banding or some other method. I believe the fairest way is to formulate a price based upon an hourly rate – the customer then only pays for the work undertaken.
Hosting & Support
Different types of system and complexity of website will attract different hosting and support costs. Again, there are many different ways of skinning this particular cat. When it comes to support, evaluate the risk associated with your website in terms of complexity, possible down-time, security and reputation. This will then enable you to negotiate a package that offers you the service you require at the same time offering you value for money.
Different business organisations will attract different overheads. A sole trader will have a lower overhead than a large city based agency. When choosing a company to do business with, it depends on how comfortable you feel with their capability and the level of service they provide. Rest assured, as with every business that overhead will be passed on to you as the customer in some way. This may take the form of standard charges based upon a fixed sum, percentage of the overall cost, or more simply be built into an hourly rate.
There may be other commercial decisions that come in to play when formulating a price. Without insulting anyone’s intelligence, these could take many forms and be at the discretion of the design company. As with any other product, it’s worth noting that the concept of value added pricing applies with websites. Customers are willing to pay what they think a product or service is worth to them – how else do big brands justify their prices when compared to the cost of provision.
Choosing a designer
Whenever you choose a designer, always consider the nature of the website you are asking them to provide. The more complex a website is in terms of design and functionality, the longer it will take to produce, the more expensive the software upon which it is based will be, and it will require more upkeep and support. Any reputable designer will provide you with a breakdown of costs and help you understand exactly what it is you’re purchasing. At Button Web Design we believe that by working closely with a client we can provide websites that exceed expectations and at the same time provide a website price that offers real value for money.