“Hi, we’re a small business based in Miami and we’re looking to build a website but have no clue where to start”.
With so many options out there, this can be a daunting task.
So, here's a list covering the most common questions/concerns we get from the smaller company enquiring about a new website design project and give some straight non-techno babble answers...
Let’s start with the most common question we get:
Q: We're a start-up here in South Florida - budgets are small - how much does a website cost?
A: Unfortunately that’s like asking ‘how long is a piece of string’, there are so many factors to take into consideration that a flat fee for each project is simply impossible. But here’s what I consider some of the ‘heavy hitters’ especially when it comes to budget;
- What is the meaning of the website? I.e what problem does it need to solve or what service will it advertise or provide, perhaps it’s purely a branding exercise.. what the website does or the complexity of the application will affect costs dramatically.
- Do you have content ready or do you need help creating it (branding, images, copy)?
- Does the website require a Content Management System (so you can edit the website yourself)?
- What’s the size of the website - a 1000 page website involves a lot more time and work than say a 20-page site, of course.
- Search Engine Optimization? What research has been done here, if any.
There is more to consider, but in my experience, this is where most of the budget would be put.
Worth noting here too - normally there are no monthly fees for running a small to medium-sized website. You will need to pay about $150 per year to keep your domain and hosting (domain and hosting? See next question). Of course, like most things - there are a lot of variables - if, for example, a website gets heavy traffic (a lot of visits) then yearly fees can rise.
Q: Where will my website go?
A: You have probably seen or heard of adverts for GoDaddy, HostGator, 1and1 and so on. These are internet domain registrars and or web hosting companies - these have access to huge banks of public hard-drives (servers), where your website will be uploaded too - they may well also offer a domain registrar service, this is where you can purchase domains (www.easthalldesign.com for example), they also offer many, many other services too; more bandwidth (for heavy traffic websites), speed (load a website faster than normal), website security, auto backups, VPNs, email services and much more. We can guide you here if required.
Q: I have sourced prices for a website design job in Miami before, there was big price differences from service provider to service provider - why is this?
A: Like most industries - the biggest influence will be the overheads, the location (Homestead or Brickell!), the brand perception, company size, skillsets and levels of, and so on. If you go to a massive, multi-award-winning design agency then, of course, the fees will be higher. Freelancers will always be cheaper but can they handle the bigger, more complex projects? The best advise I can give here is to look at your budget - know what you need, then review the portfolios, see what they have done before, I know this is an obvious one, but talk to them - ask for a breakdown of costs, this should give you a good indication of why their fees are so different. ED is not a multi-media design agency. But we do have the experience to match (I have worked for many design agencies over the years), yet being small we can keep our fees down so win, win.
Q: I see adverts that offer free websites for small businesses, how come?
A: We all know “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. Free web builders really just want your money and will set you up with a free website with basic features as a way to entice you to move to paid services. Also, unless you know what you are doing skills like Search Engine Search Engine Optimization (Just having a pretty website with keywords is no longer enough to get you to the top of Google Search results), you are going to be in for a very steep learning curve just to get the website found. There are lots of other reasons why you should avoid (though to be fair, there are some use-case scenarios that could make sense to use them). Ultimately let the professionals do it. To use another cheesy quote "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur" read all about that here!
Q: Will I be able to edit the website myself? I know nothing about computers/programming…
A: To edit a website yourself you do not need to know a thing about HTML, CSS or any other web language (though it can help). However, there are degrees of application to think about, from just being able to change out the content on a page to be able to re-design them. A good question to ask yourself is; ‘Do we need to be able to edit content on the website, if so, what and how often? A CMS (Content Management System) can range from, for example - running a blog/news feed, to enable a user to change out content on pages to total control of your website including visual design, page and content creation, SEO and so on… A good rule of thumb is the more control of a website required by you, the more complex the learning curve. We offer training for our popular TotalCMS to WordPress. Of course, plenty of clients leave all the editing to us.
Q: Will we own the website once it's done?
A: Good question - and the best advice here is always read the small print. I know some website design companies have specific contracts restricting what the client can and cannot do once the site is live, especially the code ie who owns it, the right to reproduce it, the right to create "derivative works" from it and so on. This is not how ED works, we hand over everything to the client, you will have complete ownership and control over everything; that's the design, code, images, copy, domain, and hosting.
Q: What happens once my website is published?
A: Depending on the type of website built there may be a need to run updates (especially content management systems like WordPress), sometimes you can do them yourself, but for the more complex websites running a maintenance program and regular updates could be a necessity. But for the smaller brochure type sites (EasthallDesign.com is a typical brochure site) - they can be quite happy working for you for years upon years without any updating whatsoever. Rarely, there may be a bug or a server issue to fix, at ED we’re always contactable and responsive.
So, there you have it! I hope this helps explain some of the most common concerns businesses have. And in-turn helps you, the business owner, make a better and educated decision when looking for a new website design company to work with.
Do feel free to contact ED we’re happy to guide you through any concerns re your next website design project.