For too long small businesses have been ripped off by web developers. How often have you heard of people being charged thousands of pounds for a poorly built site? But how can you figure out what's fair and reasonable, after all the web industry isn't exactly keen to tell you what goes on behind the smoke screen... until now.
The simple truth is that most small business websites are quite simple to put together. However, I don't recommend that you go and learn HTML, CSS, Java, and do it yourself! That's a false economy, honest! Using common platforms like Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal along with a respectable web development company should be able to put together a site for you in a matter of days, not months. Pretty much all the hard work has already been done for them, all there is to do is to design and code it up.
Does that sound like £5000 job to you? No, I didn't think so. The industry is working off an outdated system. They are charging for development of a core system that they are not developing anymore!
With that said, just exactly how much is too much? Well that all depends on what you're looking for. If you're a small business looking for a basic website to show who you are, then £250-500 is more than acceptable. Any more than that is daylight robbery! But once you add in more complex systems such as eCommerce and booking systems, then the price will go up. But before you dive in and pay for a website, think about what will be involved in the development of your website.
Now how do you find a great quality web designer at an affordable price?
1. Ask to see reviews
All web developers and designers will have reviews available. Check out their references and call a few of them to check that the review is accurate.
2. Look at previous work
Have a look at their portfolio! Each web developer has their their own style and if their portfolio isn't quite up to what you expected, then move onto someone else. If the portfolio ticks your boxes, make sure you check that you are getting a website of similar quality for the price you are paying.
3. Ask for the prices upfront
How much will your developer charge upfront, on completion, and ongoing. How much is hosting and other ongoing maintenance fees. Can you make updates yourself, or will they charge you for updates? We hear far too many stories of people being locked into expensive update contracts. Ask early and avoid being ripped off!
4. Check timescales
Ask your developer to see when they will get started on your website and how long it will take them to finish it. Developers being able to start straight away may seem like a good thing but it can also indicate they are not busy which, could be due to some underlying issues. With that said, a small lead time is normal and acceptable. Generally, a small business website can be built within 2-6 weeks if all the content is ready for them.
5. Be realistic
If you want a website like Amazon, then you're not going to get it for a few hundred. Every week we see requests from people who want an 'ebay clone' or an site 'just like...'. These sites usually cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and developed over the years. These corporations will be spending a decent sum every day to keep the website running smoothly. So cut out the ambitious ideas and narrow it down to what you really need. Focus on a few ideas and really work on those, making your requirements for the developer easier to work with. It also makes your relationship with your web developer much better!
Hallam Digital provides fully manageable websites and custom build sites to businesses of all sizes, whether just starting up or been running for years. Tel: +44 (0)115 888 3017