The True Cost of Websites

Typing on a keyboard to showcase editing a website in a blog from SkyCastle Production Atlanta Web Design studio

One of the questions we get most is “what are the costs of building a website”, and this is a very valid question. For many small businesses owners keeping costs down is essential. In the early days of SkyCastle we were often concerned with how we’d keep the lights on and customers coming in the proverbial doors. One thing we learned very quickly is that if something isn’t done right it will cost more money to fix it down the road. This is especially true with websites. 

Cost #1: DIY or Hiring “A Guy” 

You can’t turn on the TV today without seeing a commercial for an “easy” website builder. When our lead Web Designer was just starting out in the industry she’d never have dreamed that web design would be so accessible. “Accessibility is a good thing,” She said. “It makes being an entrepreneur a real and attainable goal for many people. The key is to know when to use an ‘easy’ platform and when to hire a professional.” 

The easiest way to know if you should hire a professional or if you should go with a cheap DIY option is to ask yourself; Do I need my clients to find me via Google search? Or will my clients mainly be viewing my website on their mobile phones? 
If the answer is yes to either of those questions you should be reaching out to a professional to help you build your website. Many DIY builders change the way page titles, and URLs are read by search engines. So while this is helpful to you in using a drag and drop editor like WIX it hurts your rankings in google and ultimately can get your website penalized or de-indexed. Likewise, some DIY editors do not have a true responsive or mobile-friendly platform for your clients to view your site if they end up frustrated and unable to navigate your website they won’t likely purchase your goods or services. 

Cost #2: Experience

If you’re cutting out experience to save money you’re going to end up spending more than your initial savings in the long run. 

If you were going into surgery and you found out your surgeon had only ever performed this operation once or twice before you probably wouldn’t be very confident in their skills in the event something went wrong. This should also be your outlook when hiring a website designer. The web is a big place and ever-changing place, and you need someone who is going to know exactly what to do when you get a 503 error, you’ve exceeded your bandwidth, or your clients are requesting you make ADA compliant updates. 

These are all things that come with having worked on websites for many years, and someone who keeps up with current standards of how websites should operate. 

Cost #3: Template Theme vs Custom Themes

There is nothing wrong with using a template to build your website. However, be very clear on what you’re purchasing before you sign contracts. If someone is promising you a custom-built theme for your website and then delivers a canned theme you’ve probably wasted money, and depending on the theme they chose making edits and updates down the road may cost you more money from another designer. 

Whether you’re purchasing a website that is using a templated theme edited to match your colors and logo, or using a custom-built theme make sure you get extensive training on how to use that theme or consider talking to your designer about the costs of a retainer to make any edits or updates you might need in the future. 

Cost #4 Fixing a broken website vs building a new website

If you have a website on a DIY platform or something a friend-of-a-friend created and it’s not performing the way you’d like hiring a designer to fix it isn’t going to be cheap. 

Think of it this way, if you’ve done repairs to your car then suddenly your car isn’t working and you’ve applied more duct tape, and some parts that you think should fix it only to find they don’t your mechanic is going to have to undo everything you’ve currently done before they can fix the original problem. This is going to wrack up your labor costs. 

Design is much the same way. If we’re auditing a website and see that the coding is broken on the theme, or the mobile version of your DIY platform is buggy it’s going to take us more time to unravel the problem before we can fix it your usual performance issues. 

If your designer is telling you it’s time to leave your old platform in favor of an upgraded one it’s not because they’re trying to gouge you it may be that your previous site is just going to take too much time, effort and money to fix before they can even begin to help you attract more customers. 

There are so many more factors that go into the price of your website, and we could honestly talk for hours about why we price our products the way we do. We’re sort of nerds about it. However, the best advice we can give you when hiring a web designer is to do your research, and remember you get what you pay for.

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