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My website will cost WHAT???

So you finally realized you need a digital brick and mortar platform to promote your business – an expanded online business card, as it were. At this stage of your business growth you realized the social media platforms you had been using are probably not enough and do not exude the professionalism you desire or create the Call To Action you need. They also do not capture a certain percentage of potential customers because these customers just don’t use social media. So this is where the rubber meets the road.

So here’s the deal. You contact a professional website designer/developer within your local area or country and they give you a quote that literally blows the socks off your feet and leaves you with eyes bulging and hair standing on your head. You scour the internet for companies to see what their prices are and you don’t seem to get anything that you are willing to pay for.

But you need a website. You look at your alleged budgetary constraints and decide that you don’t want to spend all that money to build a website now. So you investigate cheaper options that include DIY and finding low cost designers overseas. However, you did not anticipate the headache that could come with DIY if you really aren’t familiar with the platform, nor did you foresee the stress with making the decision to go with a cheap designer on Fivrr.

But what if someone asked you why do you find it so easy to release your hard-earned cash to purchase your favorite luxury brand of sneakers (Nike), handbags (Gucci), etc? I’m sure you’ll say because it feels good, give you status or you trust the authenticity of the product. But is the quality really always ever better than that of a lesser well-known brand?

Whatever your reason and preference for investing in a luxury brand, you should adopt the same mindset for you website. Your website defines you and your business and it will play an extremely important part in how prospective clients are able to find you once designed the right way and with the right tools in paceyou’re your digital business card, your website will outlive any social media platform you are currently advertising your business on and it does it in a succinct, orderly and powerful way.

So why does it cost so much to build?

Well, firstly it depends on what you want. If you want to have a cookie cutter or an uninspiring, poorly branded website you can do it yourself or get it done cheaply. A website should not be viewed as another ‘thing’ for your business. This is an investment just as important as investing time creating a business plan, investing money into the tools required to operate your business, investing in hiring staff and investing in the renting or leasing of a space necessary to run your physical business. These are things you would never scrimp on because you understand the value of these investments. Similarly, there is a lot of value to be gained from having a professionally designed website. An that’s why it’s an investment and not an expense.

Website design is not merely using a template with web-build tools like Weebly, WIX and SquareSpace or the more popular CMS WordPress and producing a pretty design. There is a lot of functionality that goes into the back-end that the average joe is not aware of and it is these activities that require the time and skill of designers and developers to create something that not only looks great on the front end, but helps drive functionality and help your business perform well on search engines like Google. Building a website is a very technical affair and if you know about things technical, they can fail or give trouble, causing lots of time to be spent troubleshooting and seeking support.

So let’s identify some of the factors that cause the website cost to be more than what you erroneously think they should be.

1. Skillset

You need to take into consideration the skill of the designer/developer. The higher the skill level, the higher the fee per hour. Advanced developers would be able to put all those bells and whistles you want on your site that will no doubt create intrigue. Fees for a simple 5 page website can start running from $10k upwards. Let the professionals handle it and save you time.

2. Consultation.

To ensure you get what you want and to help streamline what you need, the website designer will consult with you. Every detail must be captured as accurately as possible in order to plan the design and the necessary components or features that must be included in the website. From layout, to colour scheme and to typography, these are some factors into creating an attractive website

3. Interfacing with your Web Host.

Assuming you have a domain name with another provider, and you don’t know how to set up the platform for a website with your webhost, this is something the developer will need to do on your behalf. This can take some time as accounts need to be created and communication between the domain provider’s server and webhost need to be verified and established. If worst comes to worst and your developer runs into issues, they will have to sort that out with support, which adds to the billing time.

4. Configuring Plugins.

If you are building on the WordPress platform, you may use plugins that have to be configured. Many of them have loads of features that need to be individually configured. Whether it is for security, database backups, forms, SEO etc, each needs to be configured.

5. Have a contact form?

Well, you won’t be getting messages or notifications to your preferred mailbox if these are not configured properly. Sometimes you will need integrations will mail clients and you will expect the developer to set these up for you. It’s a technical procedure that is not for the faint-hearted or technically naïve.

6. Featuristic.

There are loads of features that a designer/developer would integrate onto your website that you may not know about or perhaps even care to do if you did it yourself and which may not be included if going the ‘cheap’ route. How do you even check? These features help optimize your site and help with SEO.

7. Migration.

If it works well, then great! But this is one aspect of building a website that can go horribly wrong and end up taking hours to troubleshoot for the errors.

8. Responsiveness.

If you haven’t optimized your website for mobile you can actually decrease your search engine rankings. Designing for responsiveness for both mobile and tablet are also time-consuming activities because each piece of content must be adjusted so that it shows well on the platform it is being viewed on.

9. Checks and balances.

Copyrighting. Proof reading. Testing Functionality.

The bottom line is that a lot is involved on both the frontend and backend of designing and developing a website. If, however, you’re using a website builder, you will still want a designer to help you navigate those areas that you are not familiar with to produce a design that’s not just a cookie cutter, but customized to give you something that will make your brand stand out from the crowd. While most of the heavy lifting is taken care of by these platforms, you still need to perform SEO, responsiveness, integration and other critical tasks to ensure your website not only looks beautifully unique, but also functions optimally.

Would you rather get it done cheaply and not how your design and functionality are negatively impacting your viewiership or would you rather make an lifetime investment to provide value while elevating your brand as you target your preferred market? The ball is n your court. The web of price vs value is now untangled.

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