“How much do you charge for a website?”
Most website designers hear this question often, and as much as we would like to throw out a number, it’s really not possible to give a clear-cut answer, without knowing what needs to be done.
Here’s how I like to explain it. Building a website is a LOT like building a house, and we ask many of the same questions architects do. Let’s look at some of these to get an idea of what I mean.
Just as everyone has a preferred idea of the home that will best serve their lifestyle, they also have different website needs.
How many rooms do you need?
How many static pages would you need to me to set up?
Do you need design and concept from me, or just construction?
Do you need basic structure, which could mean building upon a template, or an original design concept unique to your needs? Do you need a palette and logo and other design elements?
Do you want us to not only paint and lay floors but advise on decorating and palette?
This might correspond to front-end “extras” like copy editing, writing, embellishments, etc.
Do you want us to install the media components in your new media room?
Similar to the above “extras.” Do you want a photo gallery? The ability to easily embed video? Special widgets? Social media feed? Plugins for anything from social sharing to email sign-up to a gazillion other helpful tweaks?
Do you own the plot and have all the permits in place or do you need help to get them?
Do you have a domain registered, and web host on which to build your site already, or do you need me to set that up for you?)
While I pose the above questions with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, it’s not to avoid the question, but because really, a website is a home for your business and there are home-building parallels.
Just as everyone has a preferred idea of the home that will best serve their lifestyle, they also have different website needs, so flat rate quotes may very well end up being not in the best interests of either client or designer. When considering a website designer, expect some questions like these for clarity and a realistic estimate, so that you can be assured that they will advise as to both best practices and the the most economical way to achieve your “dream home,” and draw up a proposal that is fair to *both* parties.