It’s a reality that when you run a business you need to be conscious of pricing within your industry. Pricing in the web design world is a bit different from a lot of industries. You have people that make websites for $1000 and $500,000 and everywhere in between. As professionals we understand that prices will vary depending on the skillset, overhead, amount of time invested, functionality, website size and many other factors. None of this is very concerning as we base our pricing off of the time we invest in a project and don’t worry too much about what others are charging.
We also don’t have any desire to be the lowest cost provider out there. Our prices are fair while ensuring our clients that we will be profitable enough to stay in business.
However, when you stumble upon a company who claims to provide custom website design for less than $500 or $20 a month it’s normal to take a second and ask some questions. How are they able to sustain a business with those prices? Is it really that easy to design a website?
It actually pains me to write this as I feel so strongly that most of my peers in the web industry have good intentions. You will never find me cutting down or criticizing any competitor to get more business. However, I feel as though that we need to have an honest conversation about what goes on behind the scenes.
I can tell you that the only legitimate reason for someone charging less than $500 for a full website (more than 3 pages) is that they are still learning how to design websites. This is how nearly everyone has started out. Our journey began when Kevin was in college and made his first website for $50. The website was truly awful but everyone starts somewhere.
There are some other reasons why businesses are able to charge very low prices and they are unfortunately way too prevalent.
The website design company retains ownership of your website.
You sign up for a set fee each month or year. The company builds you a website and hosts it for you. What happens if you decide to work with another website design company or the company goes under? Since they retained ownership rights you will have to start from scratch when you want to redesign or work with another company.
The design and development is outsourced to low-paid workers overseas.
Not so reputable companies will send your project over to the Philippines or India or even worse, find someone on Fiverr to create the website for them. Not all outsourcing is bad, but simply marking up a poorly developed website made in India is something we can’t get behind.
Every website is built upon the same template.
Take a look at the portfolio of the company you are interested in working with. Do the websites all have the same layout? If they do, it’s only a matter of swapping out photos and text. This may not seem like a big deal if you are just starting out in business. However, when using one template for your all your clients, no thought goes into the website strategy. Would you market a restaurant the same way as you market a construction company?
Of course, there are always exceptions but this is what I’ve seen from first-hand experience. I write this post only to educate and hope that you will the right questions when hiring someone to create a website for you.