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Why Does Web Design Cost So Much?

web design costsIf you are thinking about building a new website, or re-designing the site you already have, and have stumbled across this blog post…you may be struggling to figure how much a new website may cost. In today’s economy, you should expect to find new web design quotes all over the map, from a few hundred dollars to 5-digits quotes and everything between. But…why do some cost so much?

For the purpose of this post, let’s assume you are looking for an informational website (not a sophisticated web application, or eCommerce site, or a social networking site, etc). If you are shopping for a website designer, there are really only two questions you need to ask yourself:

1. Will this website be an ‘expense’ – like a digital brochure for your business?

2. Will this website be an ‘investment’ – one that I expect to bring new customers and help grow my business?

If the answer is “yes” to the first question, then you are in a great position to price shop for a custom web design. Since Google rankings may not be important to your business, then virtually any web designer will be able to provide you with a great design. All you need to do is find good designers that have a portfolio that closely matches your design requirements. You will have many, many to choose from in Kansas City.

Web Design Is a Commodity: Why is this more affordable? Website design is a truly a commodity. There is an over-supply of creative web designers in today’s market. Many have the ability to take their designs and convert them into website code as well. If all you need is a digital brochure, you WILL be able to find a designer that can design and code your site. That is it: one person to design and code. You do not need to worry about best-practices coding, search engine-friendly coding or content optimization. You will likely get a great looking website at a much lower cost than fully optimized website.

If you answer “yes” to the second question, you will likely need a company with more coding and search engine optimization skills. Getting a website to rank well is not easy. You need to find a proven team that can get the job done.

Disciplined Coders are harder to find: Web Design and Web Coding require two totally different sets of skills, and often, opposite sides of the brain. If you are considering a high performance website, you will likely need to consider a full service agency that has both a design staff and a web development staff. The designers will create the custom artwork and the developers will convert the digital artwork into a clickable website with all the latest features.

Proven Search Engine Optimizers are truly rare. While SEO is very popular, marketed everywhere, and offered by virtually every web design firm, true search engine optimization skill are relatively uncommon. In Kansas City, for example, while there are hundreds of web design firms, there are only a handful of SEO companies that have been able to deliver ranking results year after year.

So why does web design cost so much? Well, if you do it right, it will take three highly specialized professionals (a designer, a developer and an SEO) to build a great website inside and out. If you factor in a 4-6 week delivery time, it’s easy to understand how proven web design firms change thousands and up for a web design package. But SEO-friendly websites, when paired with a proven SEO partner, can turn your website into a digital revenue-generating machine.

One the other hand, a starving designer can hack together a decent looking site for much less. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a freelancer. If you do not need SEO results, we strongly consider interviewing local freelancers (be sure to hire local, so they are accountable for their work).

Look out for the code words and web-speak. If someone is pitching an “affordable” website, it most likely is one that will not be able to rank well. That would be like a NASCAR team looking to buy an affordable race car. Do you really think you can get a website for $895 (or whatever price) that will get you to the top of mount Google? On the other hand, if you only need a nice web presence and a landing site for pay-per-click, an affordable web design may be the best option.

Don’t get burned: be sure to read our post about the 10 biggest web design scams of 2012.