When we talk website design with potential clients, one thing we hear pretty regularly is, “I have no idea what this kind of thing costs.” It’s not just about shopping around between different providers, either–there are a lot of factors that can affect your total investment.
If you want to get a better sense of what you can expect to spend, here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
Good, Fast, Cheap: what are your real priorities?
There’s a saying in the creative world that Good, Fast, and Cheap doesn’t exist: you can only pick two.
What does that mean? Well, if you need your new website “ASAP,” and you want it to be both beautiful and effective, then it’s not going to come Cheap.
Conversely, if you’re looking to save money, you’ll end up “paying” for the project in other ways–you’ll either be waiting a long time to finally get your new Good website, or you’ll get a website that was created Fast, but is low-quality.
If you want to pursue a new website, make sure you know your priorities. I suspect you won’t want to sacrifice Good on your web project, so be prepared to either pay more, or wait longer for its completion.
What resources do you have?
Once you know what your priorities are, it’s time to look at where you’re starting from. There are a lot of moving parts to a website. A good website professional will be there to take on the design, coding, and strategy for you, but there are other important pieces to building a website that works well:
- Your brand voice. Do you know who your business is? Do you know who you’re trying to reach? Your website team needs to know those things to create a website strategy that works for you.
- Written content. Do you have descriptions of your services or products? Do you know what to put on your homepage? Your website pro can guide you, but someone needs to create the words that help your website sell.
- Photography. Do you have professional-quality photos that represent what you do? Do you have a clear photo of yourself for your About page? Good design can get you part of the way there, but photos are what will put a face on your brand, and help tell your brand story.
These are just a few major project pieces that your web design professional will need to make your website work well for your business. If you’re missing any of these pieces, you’ll need to either need to create them yourself, or pay someone else to do it for you.
How much time do you have available?
Now that you’ve figured out what pieces you have, and what pieces you’re missing, take a look at your work week How much time do you have available? Realistically?
It’s easy to get excited about the idea of a new website, and say “yes, of course I can get you that content,” but creating good content takes time. Even if you have the best intentions, if you’re already too busy to answer your emails or post on your Instagram, then you probably won’t have time to create a customer persona or craft a brand statement.
If you do have some time to spare, there may be ways you can use your own knowledge and skills to help the process along. Just remember: nobody gets good at something new overnight, and it could take you hours upon hours of work to get it right. And, even if you *can* handle content yourself, there may just be better ways for you to use your precious time to keep your business running!
A professional creative has years of expertise that helps them get the job done faster and better than the average person. If your time is valuable to you, then keep it for yourself, and pay for a professional assist.
What are you willing to do? What do you NOT want to do?
You’ve gotten this far. You know what you need, you have the time to make it happen. Now it’s time to be honest with yourself: what are you actually willing to do to keep that website working well?
If you love blogging and want to regularly update a blog on your website, then hey, that’s great! If you used to work as a copywriter and want to craft your own website copy, then that could be helpful.
But, if the idea of writing your own bio makes you break out in hives, then maybe you should ask your website team for a copywriting quote. If HTML terrifies you, then ask your website professional about a maintenance package, so you don’t have to update the site yourself.
Whatever you choose, be honest with yourself about what you can do, what you should do, and what is better left to the experts.