Why Do Web Design Quotes Vary So Much?

Limited Budget? How To Find The Right Website Designer

When it comes to web design and development, the complexity, customization, and ownership of the software all play key roles in determining the price of a project. Before comparing web design prices among providers you should know the types of services providers offer. With this information you’ll be able to make a better judgment on which provider is the best fit for you and your project, so you won’t waste time or money.

The first type of provider I’ll discuss is the medium-to-large software development company. These companies specialize in custom programming of frameworks and their clients generally own exclusive rights to them. These projects can cost $100,000 or more. Sometimes when the project is ongoing and expensive, large companies will hire an internal team of programmers to do the work instead of sourcing it out. Some large companies also choose a hybrid solution, utilizing both internal and external resources for their programming project. Because of the high cost, I only recommend this type of provider for organizations who are big enough to afford the large price tag.

The second type of provider is a CMS web design company that utilizes open-source frameworks to custom build websites for small businesses and organizations. CMS stands for Content Management Systems. These systems are designed to be simple enough for owners of websites to update and change the websites themselves, which is a huge benefit and cost savings.

These companies can often do this type of web development at a fraction of the large ($100K) price tag mentioned above. These open-source frameworks are the CMS platforms built and supported by teams of programmers around the world and offered in a basic version (or community version) to everyone for FREE. These CMS platforms allow new programmers to learn the coding quickly, and build on top of existing platforms without having to create new frameworks from scratch. This saves clients a lot of money on website development.

Some examples of CMS platforms that you may have recognize: Drupal, Magento (eCommerce), WordPress, etc. These CMS platforms are affordable and easy to use for small businesses and organizations that need a professional website.

Also, with custom CMS website design, you (the customer) own an exclusive right to the “design” of your website, which means your provider shall not duplicate the unique graphical look of your website and resell it to other customers. You can take your website to host with any hosting company you wish, by asking your programmer for the source codes for your website “design.”

Just remember, you don’t own the free open-source framework that was used to build your website; i.e. you don’t own the open-source framework of WordPress, you just own the design of your specific website and additional features your programmer custom built for you on top of the existing framework.

Due to the user friendliness of CMS websites and their built-in features that enable you to take control of your website with no programming skills, I recommend this option to any individual, business, or organization who wants to establish a professional web presence, but has a limited budget.

The last type of provider I’ll mention are known as IT providers. They typically build a framework in-house, as well as a number of website designs and themes. Then they sell a website package to each customer inexpensively because they just duplicate their existing designs and themes and add a shared-web-hosting service plan to the package.

Together, this “website leasing service” is often priced cheaply, between $7 and $15 per month. Customers who buy these websites should expect to find other websites on the Internet that look very similar their website. I do not recommend going this route. When it comes to online marketing, one of the key contributors to success is to establish a professional website that helps you stand out among others, especially your competitors. By choosing to go with a duplicated website, you’re shooting yourself in the foot before the race.

Also, extremely inexpensive web hosting in the form of a “website leasing service” often comes with a lower service quality. This mean your website may not load fast enough during high traffic hours, the exact times when you need your website to load quickly. Consumers expect websites to load fast and if your site loads slowly, they will exit your site, and they might not come back.

I do not recommend these cheap, cut-rate services to individuals, businesses or organizations who take their website, brand, and customer service seriously. If you want to promote your business or organization successfully through a website, you should go with the second provider type mentioned above: The CMS website designers. This will save you time, money, and headaches.

These are three common types of providers you will find online. I hope this helps to clarify why there is a wide range of web design prices offered among providers. I also hope this article helps you choose an ideal provider for your project. If you find this helpful, please share it with others. Thank you for reading!

Phong Nguyen

BA from St. Olaf College
MBA from University of St. Thomas
SEO from "the School of Hard Knocks."

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