You don’t need me to build you a website. You can do it for free at Wix or Weebly or Squarespace. Or you can get your mate’s cousin to do it for you for beer money. Or you could even download a copy of WordPress yourself (the software I use to build all of my websites). It’s free. You can get a copy here. Pah! I’m wasting my time, and your money.
Or am I?
I’ve had it said to me a couple of times in the past. “I don’t know why I’m paying you £XXXX; it doesn’t look like £XXXX worth to me.” Yeah, it hurts my feelings. Yeah, there’s no need. And yeah, I should probably just hang up and leave them to it. But actually, do they have a point?
I’m going to say no. And here’s why.
We’ve all read the story about the guy who charges £10,000 to replace a £1 screw. The moral being: it’s not the part that you’re paying for, it’s the knowledge to know which part needs fixing. So let’s break it down into what you’re paying a web developer for, and why that often represents better value for money than the DIY/mate’s cousin route.
Time is money…
Your time is precious. Let’s say your hourly rate is £100 (it may be considerably more). And let’s say that you just happen to have a knack for figuring out new things and you could manage to put together a website in 10 hours. So it’s cost you £1000 of your time. Now let’s say it gets hacked after a couple of months, or you need to add something to it that’s not in the cookie-cutter template you purchased. What do you do? Now do you find a web developer? One that would rather not have anything to do with a home-built website they know nothing about, using an interface they would rather avoid?
But you’re not paying for my time
What’s your average order value? If you’re an accountancy practice aimed at corporate clients, for example, a new enquiry could lead to £1,000s of pounds’ worth of work. With the right advice from the outset, an attractive, modern website in place, an ongoing content plan laid out before you and a helpful website guy waiting in the wings to offer advice and keep the site humming, one new enquiry per month from the website could pay for the thing several times over inside a couple of months.
In this instance, your website is not a cost – not in the same way, say, a company vehicle might be – it is an investment. And not just any investment; it’s an investment into which you have input and over which you have complete control.
I’ve done my research
I’ve made mistakes, believe me. I’ve done things in ways that make me blush when I look back. But like all good students I’ve learned from these mistakes. In the six years since I founded Clean Page Design I’ve tested all manner of platforms, used dozens of themes, written thousands of lines of code and tried out handfuls of plugins to find the right solutions for my clients.
Do I have all of the answers? Of course not. New products, systems and styles come to light every single week. But I would say I am in a much stronger position now, with the benefit of six years experience, to evaluate the trends as they appear and present to you the best solutions for your problems.
That’s why I use WordPress (so the site can be edited easily). That’s why I use the themes that I do (because they make the site run fast and mean I can make the sites look good and behave nicely). That’s why I use the plugins that I do, many of which I pay for rather than use any free ones that take my fancy (because they are well supported and less likely to add vulnerabilities to your website).
It’s also why I choose the hosting platforms that I do, and why I have a solid backup and restore system in place, and a management system that allows me to update your site on a regular basis should you need me to.
When it comes to setting a budget for a website, or asking in a vague way “What does a website cost?” you need to factor in so many things. The competition can be fierce. Do you have the time, knowledge and energy to keep your focus on running your business, as well as trying to sort out hassles caused by paying bargain-basement rates for a substandard website?
Wouldn’t it be better to sit with a competent individual, just like if you were considering building a new office or getting a new IT system installed, to go through every aspect of what you are trying to achieve with your new website. Imagine what’s out there that you may not have considered. Imagine picking the brains of someone who has years of experience at putting together quality websites, dealing with issues, fixing problems, soothing pain points and working to develop a cohesive strategy for how we can make your website work for you.
Just imagine the possibilities.