Opinion holder entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
Every modern business needs a website. Without it, it is virtually impossible to centralize your marketing efforts, reach new people, and scale your business effectively. Top priority.
But how much should you spend on this all-important asset?
Depending on your goals, you can get a website up and running for less than $100, whereas the average company spends between $12,000 and $150,000 on a completed project. This does not include ongoing costs of maintaining the website.
As far as I know, most people spend a lot of money on website design and development.
But why is this the case? And what can be done to avoid it?
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Free and cheap option
These days, you can build a website cheaply or for free with a free website builder. In my experience, the liberal aspect of this title is a bit misleading. By the end of the experience, you’ll be paying for domains, themes, other extras, and other costs not initially disclosed.
Still, if you go this route, you can put together a professional-looking website in a matter of days for a few hundred dollars or less. Compared to the $150,000 you might spend on a website development company, this is quite a bargain.
One caveat I have to add here is that using a free website builder is not always the best option. Free website builders are usually limited in terms of functionality and appearance. They are so commonly used that they struggle to make your website stand out and you don’t get much ongoing support unless you pay for them.
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What I recommend instead of using a free website builder is working with a professional website design agency.
- Scams: Most professional website designers and developers are not trying to fool you, but web development scams are possible. Some of his website designers and developers are interested in taking advantage of uneducated people. They can charge exorbitant amounts for relatively simple services. Or they may take your money without developing your website at all. Don’t take it for granted that a website design agency works with your best interests in mind.
- Lack of itemization: Many web design/development agencies break down costs into a series of items, but this is not always the case. If an agency offers her a flat rate of $20,000, you have to be skeptical. Where is this guy’s $20,000 allotted? Why are websites so expensive?
- Imprecise Description: Agencies may present a set of items that describe where the money is going. This is one way to justify the costs, but it may still be unclear how the funds are being used. For example, if you have a $3,500 item in Quality Assurance, what does that mean? There are legitimate line items and illegal line items, and it’s your job to tell the difference.
- High Hourly/Profit Margins: Also be aware that some designers and developers intentionally charge high hourly or high profit margin fees. They do this for the simple reason that people pay without thinking. By asking a few simple questions, you can tell the difference between companies overcharging you and those charging a fair price.
Lack of buyer expertise
Complicating all of these issues is the fact that most people looking to design and develop websites don’t have much experience in web design and development. This lack of expertise makes them gullible and easy to manipulate. If you’re new to the world of web development, you should at least be able to recognize this as a personal weakness.
Luckily, there are some strategies you can use to protect yourself and avoid becoming a victim of web design and development scams.
- Assume ignorance: First, assume you are ignorant on the subject. Do not nod and pretend to understand and agree with the so-called expert assessment. If you don’t understand something, let’s positively admit it and find out.
- Get lots of quotes (and options): Always get multiple quotes and consider multiple options for web development. If two different agencies are trying to charge you $150,000 or $10,000 respectively for the same website with the same specs, you know one of them is trying to take advantage of you.
- Do Due Diligence: Always do due diligence. Before you sign a contract agreeing to work with someone, take a look at their past work. Often times, if there are red flags for this individual or organization, it’s easy to spot with a little digging.
- Ask lots of questions: Ask lots of questions before, during, and after the web development arrangement. If there is any ambiguity, ask for clarification. If something doesn’t make sense, please push an issue. If a web development partner is unwilling or unable to answer your question succinctly or satisfactorily, consider it a red flag. Next, find someone who can and will answer your questions.
The sad truth is that most people continue to spend a lot of money on new website launches. But you don’t have to fall for this crowd. You can protect yourself by simply recognizing the problem and doing some additional research.
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