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How Much Should a Website Cost?

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Philly Feastival Website Screenshot

(This post is written from the standpoint of my efforts marketing our firm’s services… It’s intended to offer straight-ahead advice to clients considering hiring a website designer to either design a new site or redesign an existing one…)

A few months back, I wrote a post here called Why Your Website Might Cost $5000 or $50,00 and Other Details You Probably Don’t Want to Think Too Much About… I wrote that piece because, at the time, I was encountering a lot of misunderstanding from prospective clients that were trying to compare a design proposal with one firm vs. that of another. In the absence of a lot of specific knowledge about our craft, I sensed that folks were making decisions based on a lack of misinformation and, basically, the proposal that had the lowest figure associated with it, won that client’s business.

Consider this post Part Two of that original article.

It’s amazing that I know so little about the way websites are priced. Silly me, we’ve always priced ours pretty straightforwardly. Basically, we give you a proposal outlining a scope, you sign it, pay us a deposit and — when it’s launched —  you pay us the balance. (These days, we’ve been a little more flexible about payment and sometimes amortize the payments over a period of months.)

Little did I know, though, that that’s not what other folks are doing out there. In my travels through Proposalland, I’ve come across a couple of practices I think our clients and sales prospects should be wary of. Two, in particular, stand out:

  1. Do you own your website or are you merely renting it?One recent sales prospect I spoke with was considering having us redesign their site and breathlessly explained that they were “in a hurry” because their agreement with their current designer was ending soon and, once it ended, their website was going away. I wondered why that might be and, after a brief discussion, I realized that these folks had entered into a contract with their last design firm which stipulated that the actual content rights were retained by the designer! Unbelievably enough, this is not the first time I’ve run into this. We would never do this to our clients. Frankly, once we’ve designed a website for a client; it is theirs. If they ever want to pack up and take it to another web host or hire someone else to alter it (which they never do) that’s their business. You’re paying for your website. You should own it.
  2. Are your “hosting charges” costing you more than a few bucks a month? They shouldn’t. Hosting these days is cheap. REAL cheap. I ran into another sales prospect recently who initially balked at the ballpark figure I gave him for design charges. When comparing us to his existing firm, he noted how much “less expensive” they were and, in the same sentence, indicated that he paid for “everything” through them, including hosting. My curiosity aroused, I asked how much those hosting charges were. They were close to fifty dollars a month for a simple brochure site. They should be about $10 a month. When I pointed this out and noted that they had been paying this vendor $50 a month for five years running, suddenly my pricing seemed more competitive.

There’s something about pricing schemes that make things seem a lot less expensive than they really are which really appeals to folks. In the end, though, these schemes are like everything else which seem too good to be true.

They are.

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