Web Design Buyer FAQ

Buying a complex custom piece of software can be difficult and confusing, especially if you don't have a lot of knowledge about the underlying technology. Here are some answers to FAQs that might help.

How much should a quality website cost? 

The short answer is around $3000 for a small business. In unusual cases it can be somewhat less, but if you are looking for the website to fulfill business requirements rather than be a modern business brochure, you can expect to pay that much. They key word in the question is "quality." That means good search engine performance that generates leads, outstanding visual appearance, fast loading, and the features that your business needs. Sure, you can hire someone from Craigslist to whip out a Wix site for you for next to nothing, but can your business withstand having a bad website for the period it takes you learn for yourself WHY that is a horrible idea? Good websites have positive ROI, and should be seen as business investments that more than pay for themselves in the long run.

How long should the process take?

Theoretically a typical web design project could be completed in 8 - 12 weeks, in a perfect world. Unfortunately the world is not perfect. The things that will most often slow the process are:

  • not having the content created in a timely manner,
  • not giving timely feedback or approvals during the process,
  • rescinding approvals, and
  • changing the requirements or adding additional requirements for the project after it has begun

Given these delays, most projects can take 12 - 16 weeks or more.

How can I know if the web design firm I hire will deliver high quality?

Referrals from trusted associates can be a good way to find a trustworthy and accomplished website vendor. Good ratings on review sites can also help, but be aware that web companies can be very good at creating and promoting false reviews, so read carefully.

Straight price, or a flashy portfolio are both bad ways. Why?  Because you don't know whether the portfolio items you are viewing were created at the price you were quoted.  In addition, professionally designed templates can also be adjusted as part of a web designer's portfolio. The problem is, when your project deviates from the parameters the template can handle, your visual design quality goes out the window.  

Will the amount quoted be the only charges I incur for the website?

That will depend on how detailed your RFQ is. If you demand a fixed bid quote, but give little in the way of detailed requirements, chances are the quote will be inadequate to cover the actual effort required in the project. The best way to ensure that the quote you receive is accurate is to spend the time to create a detailed specification. A good web design estimator will be able to translate your detailed business requirements to an accurate fixed-bid quote. If you forget to include something though, you can be sure that it will take time to deal with that omission, which will be a billable expense.

TP Designs creates websites for businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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