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Posted by on January 1, 2011


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A number of clients have asked “what’s the cost of a website?” There’s a loaded question. Design on the Web is as important as packaging design, product design and corporate identity. This is becoming increasingly so. The value of good website design is in some ways subjective. Website design implies more than just the “graphic” element of a website. It must also include User Interface (UI), the “tools” that may deployed on a site to invite participation and sales conversion, the type of business model and the backend of the site. The “technology” that makes everything work. Here are some guidelines in determining what value you want to put on site design when seeking quotes.

The first step in determining the “value” you will place in the creation of a budget is what you want your website to do and what the business model is. These are key questions that once answered will determine the value to assign to site design. If you’re just creating a Web 1.0 style of site (digital brochure) then the most expensive part of the site will be the actual graphic design. Prices vary by experience of designer or agency and how much Web design work they’ve done. In Canada, America and Europe, if you’re paying under $5,000 (euros and GBP relative) then you’re getting junior work. Truth is, today, you can have a somewhat functional website for your company done for around $10,000 (Euro’s and GBP considered.)

Good designers are usually formally trained, but not all, and design is a creative skill that does not require formal training. They will have many questions and likely ask you to complete a “Creative Brief”, which helps the designer to find ideas and source images for a site. You’ll pay more for an agency to design a site than an individual, but this is made up for in the benefit of many good brains working together. An agency will often have relationships with technical companies as well for any application development, or may do it themselves. Yes, you are also paying for their overhead. But they have to give all those brains a place to work.

Often, we expect that with technology today, a designer can just whip off a site, but that’s not really the case and so we’ll cover that in another entry. The value of good web design depends on what you feel your website is worth. If you hire a relative working in a basement, or use a template design from a low-cost service, you’re not likely to get stunning design with good information architecture and back-end capability. Today, the corporate or organizational website is critical beyond just marketing.

Remember that you have 2.5 seconds to get a new visitor to stay on your site. Design is critical, so the value of good design extends over time in payback many times over.

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