What affects the cost of a website
Good web designers know their value and charge accordingly. Let's see what affects the costs of website design. There are several things to consider when budgeting for a website and the cost is determined by the functionality you need, the amount and type of content, website design, website accessibility, SEO and other marketing tactics.
Web strategy and functionality
What do expect this website to do for us and what functionality it must have to achieve it?
Every website has a business goal – to generate leads, increase revenues, promote a cause or a place. These goals determine the whole web strategy and functionality. It is very selcom that companies come to a web designer with clear plan and information architecture. They usually look for advice and guidance. Web design companies have specialists on their team and provide Web Consulting services to help their clients determine the information architecture, content, website functionality and online marketing strategy. Only then can the project move to the design and development stage.
Outstanding design and great usability
While it's easy to understand how functionality affects the price (obviously an e-commerce website is more expensive than a simple site with a few pages of text) it is harder to put a finger on website design. In design, it's the little things that matter - simplicity of the layout, choice of colors and fonts, quality and choice of photos, typography and content presentation. If you ever look at a website and feel something's not right take a closer look at the content presentation. Are fonts, colors and headings consistent? Are all images the same size? Is spacing between the paragraphs the same?
A good web designer is also a good graphic designer with proper understanding of typography. But, he must also understand how people use websites and ensure good website usability. This means that website should be logical, intuitive and allow people to get to information without a having to think about it. One of the best books written on website usability is Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think". It explains, in a fun and straightforward manner, the major culprits of bad usability.
On-page Optimization (SEO)
Every single website must be built up to the principles of Search Engine Optimization to have a chance to succeed online. Good designers understand how to develop a website that follows these principles. Many of these principles overlap the principles of website usability and accessibility (read more on web accessibility) making the website easy to find on the Internet and usable for all people. The end result is a website that helps your business grow and one you can be proud of.
So how much you should budget for a website?
A fair price. You really get what you pay for. Think of it as hiring a lawyer. If you had a lot to gain or to loose, would you hire a lawyer that charges $100/hour? Probably not. Good designers and reputable companies bring value, knowledge and experience know their worth.
Website design is really a start of a new relationship. It is never a one-time project, or at least it shouldn’t be. As your business needs change so does your website and you want to have a trusted partner who can recommend how your website can help you reach your goals. Think about this when you budget for your website design project because you are really budgeting for ongoing costs.