I get a lot of people ask why custom designed websites have a high cost. Why not just buy a template? Etc etc. It all comes down to what is going to create the most success for your business. I took the time to craft a pretty substantial reply recently....
I did my best to provide some perspective to a nice small business owner lady who called me yesterday. The cost of a website isn't just a big number because we want it to be, rather, we're running a business here too.
Thanks for chatting with me yesterday.
I can definitely see some great opportunities for your website. Your photography is surprisingly great.
I think the biggest issue is, to be candid, that you need a better design and interface to really sell your brand.
Right now you interface/layout has a very 'wholesaler' feeling, as compared to a small business feeling.
Regarding my recommendations:
As you mentioned on the phone, you have a limited budget right now as a new small business owner - which I can understand as we have very similar struggles ourselves. Inventory, staff, sales, customer service, everything seems to have a cost.
In our industry of building websites & online marketing, I wanted to give you some exposure to why things cost what they do.
Firstly, there are lots of companies out there who do this stuff. As you have learned already - there are trustworthy ones, and many who are less than trustworthy. The measure of a company should not be in what they say they can do for you, or how good they are at selling, or how cheap they are. Rather, your measure of finding a good partner who is going to help you grow your business online should weigh heavily on 1) the track record of the company, 2) liking the 'design style' of that web company.
In our industry there are a lot of smoke and mirrors, so having someone you can trust is paramount. For example, I don't say yes to everything my clients ask of me - but I look out for their best interests and push them towards what their ultimate goals are.
So when you are looking at pricing out the cost of a website, I wanted to give you some exposure to what is involved and not just toss out scary numbers. As you learned over the holidays, you can put a LOT of hours into making and managing a site.
When a company like us builds a site, our primary concern on the business side is not working for free. So we have to map out the scope of a project - this defines how much and what features our arrangement with you includes.
Here is how things are split up:
Planning & Research - Understanding you, your company, and planning out all the moving parts of your site.
Sitemapping - This defines all the pages, sections, areas of the site. From product listings, to product pages, to shopping carts, checkouts, and confirmation pages.
Wireframing - Before we embark on creating the full design, we sketch out that interface and try to polish up our ideas first (timesaver).
Design - This step takes the previous 3 steps into account as we create the actual design for your site.
Programming - Next, once the design is approved, we start the technical process of making the site work in the web browser. This is very time intensive and has many of its own steps, including integrating with an ecommerce system.
Finishing - This step includes all the incidentals in loading the site with content, training the client (you), and helping sort out any pre/post launch bugs.
Marketing - How are people going to find your site, will the search engines list you in Calgary if they are looking for tea? Is the farmers market linking to you? How can we intelligently increase exposure to your company?
Analytics - How much traffic does your site have? What pages are they visiting? Are they getting stuck somewhere causing you to lose sales?
Ongoing Support - Inevitably if we did our job, you'll be asking us for assistance or more new and exciting things.
So that is a map of the primary moving parts, but each of those steps potentially has hundreds of sub-steps depending on the size of the site.
It is also important to note that we are a company that designs our own sites. We do not buy templates or use things pre-made - as that often does not bring the best results.
So looking at that list, lets think about the time that goes into it. I'll base things on a 'small ecommerce website'.
Steps 1-3 = 14 hours (1-2 days for 2 people)
Step 4 = 25 hours (3-4 days for 1 person)
Step 5 = 40 hours (1 week for 1 person)
Step 6 = 20 hours (1/2 week for 1 person working with you)
Step 7-9 = Could be anything, depends on your needs
So just that project is 99 (lets say 100 hours).
So now there is my cost of running my company. What is my overhead? What are the payroll requirements I have for my small team (3 of us)? Equipment, software... etc. A small amount of profit.
Lets say my hourly rate is $75. That brings this project value to $7500
So hopefully this gives you a bit of exposure to why things cost what they do.
Now lets talk about options, there are some great sites out there that help us to skip several of the steps mentioned above.
One that I would recommend checking out is Shopify.
Shopify offers some pretty amazing website themes, they look incredible, and their system also covers making it easy for you to fulfill orders, etc.
I recommend it to a lot of clients.
Doing something like this allows for step 1-5 to be greatly reduced and puts most of the focus on step 6: finishing.
.... there was a bit more personal stuff after this....... #webdesign #thiswebbusiness #businesstips #smallbusinessmarketing