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A tortured transport metaphor for web design cost

13 Sep 2015

Website as transport analogyHow big and complicated (and expensive) does my website need to be? (tortured transport analogy)

Getting a website is a bit like choosing a form of transport. You have to decide where it is you want to get, how quickly you want to get there and how much you want to spend. Below is a very broad outline of the sorts of options available with roughly translatable modes of transport for price guides as a useful (but not to be too heavily relied on) analogy...

Website as barefoot - free and dirty (£0)

You can get a website for free. You can either dabble in html yourself, or find a niece or brother-in-law who will do it for free. The problem with dabbling is that at best it will take a lot of your time, at worst it will be a complete disaster that does more harm than good.

It’s like any other profession – you wouldn’t get an unqualified person to be your lawyer or electrician, to paint your van or fix your roof. So why do it with a website – the most public face of your business?

Getting your relative or mate’s mate to design the website for free may seem a good idea, but in the majority of cases the good intention turns into a chore – with you feeling guilty for asking for anything and them resenting the time it’s taking, and putting it off for weeks, even months.

And unless they’re a professional, you’ve still got the problem of having an amateur job.

So, you may decide to bite the bullet and pay a web designer…

Website as Bike - cheap and light (£200 - £500)

At minimum, for about the price of a half decent bike, the website can be an online brochure for your business. It can contain images of your products, services and work you've done and testimonials from previous clients. It shows that you're serious about what you do and solid enough to have invested in a professional website.

However, for under £500 you're probably looking at a template and you're not paying enough for decent support, so it's likely that the low cost could result in headaches and a site that you're never 100% happy with.

So you could go a bit further…

Website as Car - affordable and versatile (£1,000 - £5,000)

If you’re willing to invest a bit more, your website can really start working hard for you.

You'll have enough to pay a skilled, experienced professional for enough of their time to create something beautiful and functional and to take the time to understand what you need and deliver it.

It’ll be large enough to build trust with clients and Google, contain enough information to show off your services, include features to give it that ‘wow’ factor, and there’ll still be enough in the pot to give it a great SEO push – ensuring it gets seen by lots of the right people.

Increasingly people are using the Internet as their first screening for new services, and if you don't have a site there, you never leave the starting blocks. With a good site, easily found, you race past the rest.

Website as Yacht - expensive but impressive (£5,000 - £25,000)

The metaphor starts to break down a bit here, but go with it.

Go a bit further and you could give your customers a really interactive experience, allowing them to actually use your services online, including: ecommerce, online quotes, members only areas, surveys, technical calculators. The website could become a central part of the business itself, adding value, and adding to your bottom line. in other ways than just bringing you new customers.

Website as Concorde (£25,000 - millions)

If you have an established brand and a strong online focus, the sky’s the limit with what your website can do. An ecommerce store for a department store could have thousands of pages, multiple relational search facilities and serve millions of users per day, or an online banking facility could run into the millions and will require a full time permanent team of people to maintain the content and code.


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