While cheap website design may look like a bargain, it's not always such good value.
Your company image is at risk and your sales could suffer as a result.
Read on to find out what separates the amateurs from the professionals and whether extra costs will get you any extra benefits.
The cost of a website varies from company to company.
Think about these factors:
Experience - How long have they been in business? Do you think that you can build a long term relationship with this company?
Graphic Design - Does their style suit your image? Review their portfolio for evidence of their expertise and experience.
Search Engine Successes - Ask about their SEO philosophy and successes.
Is there a Content Management System? Do you have personal and instant control over what is written in your website? Are you able to expand/adapt your website as your business changes?
Consumer Understanding and Branding Experience - Are they likely to understand your customer motivators?
Support Systems - Is there a manual and personal tuition in how you can make changes to your website? Is telephone support available?
Unbiased Business Advice - Can you trust them to tell you if your idea is any good or not?
Staff - Do they have appropriate qualifications and experience? Are they trustworthy? Is there sufficient cover for emergencies during holiday periods?
Disaster Recovery Plan - is there one?
Data Backup Process - is there one?
Credibility - Are they an ethical company? You don't want to find yourself associated with a company that makes porn sites.
Confidentiality - Can you be sure that will they maintain your confidential information?
Some pitfalls of which you should be aware:
Size of the design company
Even before any quality factors are taken into account, smaller companies generally have lower overheads and therefore lower prices. The danger is that they may not have the broad experience that larger companies have. Also, with limited staff numbers, will there be someone available when you need some telephone support?
You need to be sure that the company will still be running in six months time when you need them to do more work for you.
On the other hand, larger web design companies often have higher overheads. Offices in high priced suburbs, running seminars or newspaper advertising all costs a fortune, which will be passed on to you with increased prices. Consider a company with more modest premises.
You may be best to find a middle ground here, where experience and skills have been developed but overheads are kept under control.
The experience and talent of the web and graphic designers
One man band designers who are starting out and lack any business experience can charge less for their work, because they are still perfecting their skills. But their graphics may not demonstrate a good grasp of layout, colour theory and well-resolved design. A professional design will be appealing and balanced. Amateur design work may be cheap, but will it convince your customers to do business with you? In fact it might have the opposite effect!
Website programming is full of variables that most business people know nothing about. Poorly programmed websites can result in slow loading and inconsistencies between web-browsers and computer operating systems. You need someone you can trust.
Content Management System
You also need a website with a Content Management System - this allows you to take control of your own website so that your website can grow and adapt as your business does.
These are just some of the variables that affect the price of web design work. You will want to make sure you are getting good value from your design company. Value is not always about the price of the work, but includes the professionalism and long-term viability of the work carried out.
Your website is your first point of contact with the public. First impressions last, so be sure that yours is a good one. Get hold of a professional web design company and be prepared to invest in your image. Savings in price quickly disappear when you have amateurs work on your company image.
The benefits of good design are that your company image will be professional and the ongoing costs will be lower. These benefits are well worth the investment of working with professionals.