Forgive me for my pop culture references with this article. You see, Art imitates life, and as much as there are lessons in life there are endless opportunities for lessons in Art. While watching Downton Abbey the other night there was that reference for keeping up with the times. These people are living in the 20’s, the post war era, and they mentioned how in just 10 years how the acceptable moral standards had changed and also how their lives as aristocrats had changed. And if they did not accept and embrace these changes they would be left behind.
With a whole range of web design options available today, it might be hard to wade through the mine field of what to choose and how much it will cost you.
Here is your simple guide to the options on price scale and what you will generally get and achieve from your budget. It’s not a hard and fast rule of what businesses will charge you, but certainly will get you to think about what you want to achieve for your business online.
Free Web sites
It’s no secret, there are many options to get you a web site for free. But what does this mean for your business.
- Ads on your web site: Many free site providers will put their branding on your web site.
- They offer limited choices in customising the web site and you can’t employ others to do it for you, as there isn’t access
- You don’t have control over your hosting, where your server is located or the speed of your hosting
- There are often hidden fees for commerce solutions or using your own domain name. Check these details before committing.
- Can be good for someone starting out who just needs something quick on the web, but beware of the fact that some visitors to your website may consider your site unprofessional which affects their impression of you.
Low cost web sites – $300-$1000
Friends or web designers starting out can be well meaning, and offer you a site at a low cost.
- What you need to balance up is their experience and whether they can achieve the result you want. Is it worth trying an amateur web designer at the risk that it might not work? It may well be worth it, but it is a gamble.
- Will they know enough to set you up for successful search marketing?
- Will they know the right technologies to use to achieve your desired outcomes?
- Will they be setting it up so you can edit the site?
- Always check out your designers portfolio.
Mid range pricing $1500 – $5000
Okay, so these are your professionally created bottom of the range (pricing wise) web sites. At the $1500 mark you will get a basic web site but should look professional. Again, check your prospective designers portfolio so you’ll have a good idea of what you will get.
- At this price range you will likely get an out of the box content management system like WordPress or Joomla.
- At the bottom end of this pricing you will get an existing theme and basic customisation. e.g. colours changed and logo added
- The price range here generally depends on what theme you like, how much you want it customised and what bells and whistles you want added on.
- You should get a web designer who has more than a basic knowledge of web languages.
- Your web site will be tested and integrated with search marketing, social media marketing, and it should be properly secured.
Generally at over $5000 you would expect to get a custom designed website. Many designers use Photoshop to create a one off design and will likely incorporate some kind of content management system. We have done this ourselves with our own content management system – SimpleCMS.
- You’ll have something that has been specifically designed for your businesses needs.
- The code will be as clean as it possibly can be which can only help with your search results.
- While WordPress themes are ultimately customisable, a custom design means you won’t have to settle with good enough or close enough for the features and look of your site
- Also, WordPress themes can occasionally have their code quirks. No biggie, usually but if you don’t want to have to go back tot he designer and get some table padding sorted out, you might want to choose a custom design.
Of course if you require a custom developed shopping cart system, member management, secure communication system, or some innovative idea you have dreamed up then this will add on to your price.
Special Note: Check with your web designer what they mean by ‘Custom Designed’. Some designers consider a customised WordPress theme, to be custom design. That is fine, but it’s important to compare apples with apples.
Something we look at fairly regularly are things like character or word length and what is optimal for Search Engine Optimisation. That is, what is best for getting google and other search engines to notice your content.
But what is also important is Engagement. Particularly when it comes to your Social Media presence and marketing. so here is a helpful chart to guide you in how many characters or words will get you noticed. This could be by way of comments, likes, shares or weblogs, but also clicks back through to your web site from sociamedia.
Want to know the optimal video length is for say You Tube, thats also here.
Image courtesy of the Buffer blog.
What is the deal with themes?
Themes provide the layout and look for your WordPress web site. They are created/designed by a third party and sold through websites such as Themeforest and woo themes. Themes are a good place to get inspiration for the look of your site and a good one is worth its weight in gold. If web sites had a weight. In our 10 years in business we have implemented hundreds of these designs. Some are easier to use than others and some have their quirks. It’s important to remember that Themes are not plug and play. Complex themes with featured sliders, custom features and galleries will require more time to implement. Because themes are designed by many different people across the world, their code is unique, the placement of functions are unique. Not a problem but it does mean that we need to learn each themes ins and outs to implement its features. We can do this, no worries.
Below is an example of a theme that has been simply set up and customised. The client didn’t need all the bells and whistles that the theme offered, just a simple navigation and info. On the left you have the theme preview. And on the right is the customised version for Kurringai Cottage.[one_half] [/one_half]
Below is another example of the difference between a theme and how it was implemented for the customer. click on images for better quality.