We hear the question all the time from callers, “What does a website cost?” It’s a simple question, but one that isn’t so simple to answer.
Have you ever been to a bad website? A truly bad website? You know, the kind with navigation so confusing you wouldn’t be able to find the contact page if it hit you on the nose. Or, the kind with icons, images, and layouts so pixelated, out of date, and poorly designed it makes you wonder whether you’ve somehow gone back in time to the early days of the internet. You’ve been to those sites; almost everyone has.
So, What Does A Website Cost?
So how do you make sure that you aren’t paying for one of those sites? The question is not really “what does a website cost?” but “what does a good website cost?” Well, it takes time, planning, and sound execution. Just like a good carpenter, a good digital agency works from the motto “Measure Twice, Cut Once.” A well thought out site leads to a more strategic design, dynamic user experience, and ultimately increased conversions. Conversions are defined by the client and the agency together–whatever it is you want customers to do on your website, whether that means placing a call, filling out a form, or ordering a product.
The Website Creation Process
The next question then, is how do you plan for all of that? Thankfully, a professional agency should have a process for this:
- Discovery: The first step in creating a website is understanding your marketing goals and the role your new website plays in achieving those goals.
- Content Creation: A website with beautiful imagery is always nice. However, if the content is uninteresting to the reader, then it will ultimately fail to accomplish its marketing goals. So, what is the strategy for content creation? Who is going to fill out the website with useful content and align the content with the aforementioned goals.
- Wireframes: Wireframes are the skeleton or architecture of your site. Think of this like a floor plan for a house. This barebones layout is all about making sure the organization and layout of your site makes sense from a user perspective and that all the pieces are there.
- Design: Now the fun stuff happens! The creative team will transform the wireframes by layering color, textures, and images. The site really starts to come to life and reflect your brand during the design phase.
- Development: Once the website is fully designed, it’s time to take all the flat images and turn them into code. The more elegant the code, the easier it is for you to use and the less likely the site is to break.
- Content Management System: A content management system is what allows you, the client, to update the website long after the agency or designer is out of the picture. So, you want a content management system that is user-friendly and simple to understand, but also useful and empowered to make meaningful changes. We strongly endorse WordPress and only build websites which use the WordPress CMS. It is a highly customizable content management system that allows for diverse design and development approaches.
- Testing: With the website fully created, it’s important to make sure that it functions on all browsers and across all devices. You want to make sure that if your customer is viewing your site on a mobile phone, they can use your website with as much ease (and without any bugs) as if they were on a desktop computer.
- Search Engine Optimization: What good is a website if people can’t find it? By optimizing your site, you can make sure that all the major search engines can easily crawl and index your website when a customer is searching for your product or service. This process will allow your website to move up closer and closer to the top of the search engine results pages, allowing your website to be more easily found.
Why Hire A Website Design Agency?
So, now that you have all the answers for how to create a well designed website, the question that lingers is: why hire anyone to do this? Yes, you now have the steps and you may even have some tools to create your own website. But what you are missing are probably the two most valuable things in any business and to any business owner: expertise and time.
A high level overview of the best way to create a website is incredibly helpful, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, nothing can beat experience and expertise. What type of payment system should you use? What’s the best way to integrate it into your site so that it’s easy for customers to use on the front-end and you to use on the back-end? Have you heard about the newest updates Google has made to its SEO algorithms? Do you know how to re-optimize your site to be compatible with them? When you work with experts, these are the things you don’t have to worry about.
Did you know that even a small website typically takes over 100 hours to build from start to finish? This is where the biggest advantage of working with an agency comes in. They have the resources to invest their time into building your website right the first time. Trying to do a rush job in order to save money will only hurt you and your website in the long run as issues from any shortcuts taken begin to appear. Eventually, you’ll just have to recreate your website or spend lots of time troubleshooting issues.
The End Result
All of this might sound like a lot, but here’s the thing: you get what you pay for. If you pay little, you’ll get little back when it comes to website functionality, design, and search engine optimization.
Working with a digital marketing or website design agency can bring so much ease to the website creation process with the added bonus that your website won’t be buggy, breaking constantly, or unusable after a month. So, what does a website cost? The question is…how good do you want your website to be? Like many other products and services, you get what you pay for.
The only thing left to consider is who to hire. The important thing to remember is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Low barriers to entry in our industry have made it quite easy for website designers to flood the market, regardless of whether they are experts in the field or hobbyist trying to make a quick buck. When deciding who to work with, always do your due diligence and remember that you get what you pay for. If you want to know a good website costs, Gatorworks is happy to explore the issue with you. Fill out a form or call us at 225-924-6109.