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Cost of a Website

What Should a Website Cost?

     -     Dec 6th, 2017   -     Web Design   -     0 Comments


I recently received a call regarding a website proposal I had submitted. The prospect wanted to know why our bid was a bit higher than some of the others received when they all appeared to be the same. To explain from the prospects perspective, it appeared that our price was 30% higher for a WordPress website. Unfortunately, what they didn’t understand was the type of functionality, back end user experience (UX) enhancements and finally what kind of support they would receive from the various vendors. In fact, they simply assumed they would be receiving the same level from each proposal participant, which was simply not the case. This situation has occurred more than a few times in my career and I would like to share some insights about how to determine what a website should cost. As part of this explanation, we will explore the differences between how websites are developed and what you are really getting when your new website is launched.

Key Cost Drivers

  • Custom v Template Design – As I have covered in previous blog posts there is a significant cost difference between using custom design and purchasing a template from an online vendor and modifying it to fit your firm’s needs. For a custom site you are paying a designer to create a look and feel that is unique to your firm. They may leverage examples and ideas from other websites, but they are taking it and making it your own. In a template site, the vendor is simply modifying an existing template to make it match the look and feel of your firm brand and provide some additional design embellishments. Note that the while the template can be made to mimic your firm’s brand, it’s almost certain it will not be one of a kind.
  • Custom v Template Coding – If you decide to use a purchased template site, consider that the amount of coding work will be limited and as a result your costs are reduced quite a bit. On the other hand, using a firm to code a custom design increases costs significantly because of the amount of time needed to take the design and make it live on the web in addition to programming specific requested functionalities. Now, one may ask why then would any firm ever do a custom site? The answer is simple that you have 100% control over how the back-end functions. When working with a coder you can request functionality to work in a specific way that makes the most sense for your marketing department. When we work with clients often I am the one who makes the requests and asks specific questions about functionality simply because I have experience in the area. A template forces the firm to accept how the site was set up. In other words, if there is something that is difficult to manage or doesn’t work the way you want it to, there is little which can be done other than to hire a coder to make the changes which adds cost.
  • Creative – Many accounting marketers don’t realize there is a large creative element that goes into building a website that is beyond the design and overall look and feel of the site. Selecting images, icons and other photos for the website is an arduous task. Additionally, almost all our clients elect to have new partner and manager head shots taken in the process. Beyond this all the new website’s pages need to have some creative treatment added to help tell the firm’s story. This can be achieved in the header image and/or supplementary image applications. This is especially true when considering the design of the firm’s homepage and career sections. It is essential to guide the users eye to calls to action and other critical information. The amount of additional creative needed is entirely up to the firm (and if they elect to use a template or custom design). In either case, there is an additional cost for this work which is often overlooked.
  • Content Development – The best time to rework your website’s content is when you re-do the website. This can often be a stumbling block for many because it takes time to write the content and then have it approved internally by key stakeholders. In terms of cost, the bigger issue is who will write the content? Since FlashPoint works with CPA firms we are often asked to help with content as part of the website project. Although it’s not part of the actual redesign it is a cost driver that can increase the bottom line number on the price tag of your project.

Contact Us

Most people would agree that there is a difference between purchasing a Ford and a Ferrari. This same analogy applies to the website purchasing process. You will pay for the features and functionality needed plus any additional items. If you are considering redesigning your firm’s website, we can help. Not only can our team develop a website from start to finish, we can also provide insight into the key issues that need to be considered as well as help you evaluate potential vendors.

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