As happens on a daily basis, someone recently called our office inquiring about the cost for developing a new website. I took the call and spent a few minutes chatting with this person about their basic project goals and needs. Within seconds the individual proceeded to tell me how they cannot find any good web designers, how they have hired three different companies that did not complete the job, and how these other companies, once hired, seem to disappear off the face of the earth.
I cannot begin to tell you how many calls we have received over the years of a similar nature.
Although there is a combination of factors that lead to this type of scenario, I will share what I feel is the most important reason for this person's current state of disarray: their project budget.
As I asked more questions to the caller, I realized that this person was not willing to set a realistic budget to make professional companies consider their project or take them seriously. I think part of the problem is that many people simply do not understand what is involved with building a successful web presence. (which is another post altogether.) Some people will pay thousands of dollars on cars, vacations, food, televisions, clothes, and more. But when it comes to paying for the single most important piece of their business marketing plan, the representation of their business that runs 24/7 and can reach anyone, anywhere, they suddenly close the wallet and begin looking for that fast food solution.
Some people will pay thousands of dollars on cars, vacations, food, televisions, clothes, and more. But when it comes to paying for the single most important piece of their business marketing plan, the representation of their business that runs 24/7 and can reach anyone, anywhere, they suddenly close the wallet and begin looking for that fast food solution.
Because web design has no licensing requirements or governing body, anyone, and I mean anyone, can call themselves a web designer. And they do. I have met people that have absolutely no knowledge of design or web development that is actually in business to design web sites. Many of these companies farm their work out to foreign countries to create the web sites. Others use tools and pre-designed templates that create cookie-cutter sites that look exactly like thousands of other web sites out there. And usually these companies charge very little for their web site development. This is scary.
I think of these types of designers as the equivalent of fast food restaurants. The food is quick and cheap, and satisfies for the moment, but in one hour you feel empty and are hungry for more. (forget the added fat, calories, and other pleasantries that occur thereafter.) Fast-food designers tend to offer extremely low prices to get the job. They will do anything to underbid because frankly, they do not do much work. Because people often choose price over quality, many consumers hiring people like this. And the rest is downhill from there.
Professional web site design requires experience and knowledge. A good web design team will gather information, conduct research, create a solid plan, and then build a solution to fit each clients needs. They write clean code and customize the sites to play nice with search engines. Creating a good web site takes time and energy, as well as experience and know how. Good customer service, solid communications skills, and project management makes the experience flow both smoothly and successfully.
To build a professional web site design requires both time and a realistic budget. Understand that some companies pricing structure is higher than others. What I suggest is that you gather quotes from 3-4 companies and find one priced in the middle, and then throw out the extreme lowest. Check references and ask questions. Professional web sites usually begin at $2500 and, depending on the amount of complexity and functionality, go up from there. Project time frames can range from 30 days to 6-12 months based on size and complexity.
People always seem to have the extra money to fix the problem that could have been avoided in the first place had they been willing to understand initially the cost of good web design services. In this business, you really do get what you pay for. If you want cheap, that is fine. Just do not expect a great finished product with excellent service, nor a professional company to be able to help you in the future when you need them most.
Please understand that I have nothing against fast-food restaurants. But would you really want that freckle-faced kid shucking the fries building your company's web site?