As a Cape Town marketing agency for small businesses and start ups, part of me was delighted about the Free State website scandal and the educational media about website development costs that followed it. The same day I received phone call after phone call from eager new clients for urgent website designs.
The question many business owners ask themselves is how much should a professional website development project cost and what does one get for the price.
Let’s have a look at the cost associated with professional website design. First of all, let’s define what I mean with professional websites. Of course, a simple front page and a contact page can be done in a day, using a user-friendly content management system like WordPress.
A word of warning: Cruising around sea side villages and looking at other people’s holiday houses is part of the fun of a long weekend away. Despite the fact that most holiday houses have great charm and often creative colour schemes, you can easily see which houses were designed by a professional architect and which ones by Uncle Korbus. The same applies to websites.
So the first question we should ask ourselves should be: What makes a website professional?
Different industries have different requirements. A website for a dental practice, for instance, has different requirements to that of an online retail store. Designing websites for dentists, a web designer would make sure, the contact details are in the header section and easily accessible. The contact page should feature a Google map. An easy and user-friendly appointment booking form should feature on the front page and encourage people to book an appointment without having to phone the dentist’s reception. Being in the medical field, legal requirements play a big role too. Dentists, for instance, are obliged to display their profession, qualification and registration number on their website.
A qualified web designer wraps his mind around features that are important in your specific industry, discuss them with you and implement them on your website. A web designer should ideally be a big-picture thinker and keep your business objectives in mind during the entire web design process.
Being a marketing consultant and web designer myself, I have seen quite a few web designs gone wrong. Often websites are designed in obsolete or custom made content management systems. Changes are difficult to implement and new functionalities can only be added at great cost, contracting the web design company, which designed the website in the first place.
I recommend the use of common content management systems like WordPress or Joomla. WordPress especially has been around for ages and has at this stage over 62 million users worldwide. Consequently, there are a great variety of plugins available offering different functionalities (like newsletter subscription forms, social widgets, payment facilities, multilingual functionalities etc.)
Websites done in HTML or customised content management systems are often difficult to maintain. Let’s say you have just discovered the benefits of social media and need to add some functionality like a social media widget, displaying latest tweets and a Twitter icon somewhere on top of your website. Though, you will have to contact your web developer each and every time, paying an hourly rate.
Let’s say you need to communicate information to your clients on a monthly basis, or you would like to send out special offers via email, you will need to contact your web developer again to integrate a subscription form on your website. Mental note: HTML websites or customised content management websites often imply that you have to work with the same web designer who designed your website. If you weren’t too happy with his job in the first place, the idea of contacting him again and throwing more money at him might not give you goose bumps. A website is always work in progress. So I recommend making sure he is building a platform that can be easily maintained.
If you hear someone talking about responsive websites, they are talking industry jargon and mean mobile friendly. In the mobile era accessibility of information has become even more important, seeing that mobile users are searching to find information quickly and without the hassle of too much clicking around. According to the Google mobile ads blog, more than 1 Billion people worldwide have used mobile devices as their primary Internet access point in 2012.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation and covers everything that needs to be done to have your website show up next to your competitor’s websites on Google search results for your most relevant keywords. Having a website domain on your business cards and letterheads is nice and looks professional, generating new business from outside town is even better.
Having a website designed, you want to give it the best possible chance to get a spot in the top two pages of Google search. It is therefore important that your web designer has a background in search engine optimisation and does a full keyword analysis before starting with the web design. Optimising each and every page on your website based on a thorough keyword analysis will set you up for success.
Offering marketing support for small and medium sized companies, One Click Media offers a small website (less than 5 pages) for 5000 Rand. A medium sized website development will set you back between 10 000 and 15 000 Rand and large website with complex functionalities can be anything from 25 000 upwards.
Please use our convenient WordPress website calculator to get an estimate or contact us should you have any questions.