The Wrong Question
is “What will this website cost me?”
“How much will my website cost?” is a bad question. A much, much better question is “How much value do you want to create with your website?” Freelance web design varies a lot on cost (even in a local market like STL), and even more on the value they will deliver. I’ve decided that whatever the project is, I’m going to focus on value for the business.
In fact, that’s where I’ll start a conversation with you about website cost. Because while there is a point of diminishing returns, there’s a pretty consistent relationship between investment and return. And, as we know, the returns do not have to be all that big to make a big difference in your company’s or organization’s bottom line.
So the first question is, How much value do you want to create? The next set of questions will be about the constraints. See, I could just tell you a fixed price here. I’d look at my family monthly budget, use the total, add a healthy bit of margin to it, and quote you a price. But the problem there is that price is only about me. It’s not about you and it’s a bit of a lie. Oh, sure I could justify it post hoc but I think that’s not what I want to be about.
I want to create value for you, which means, well, I need to get to know you. I’ll do my homework and come up with a few options for you, each of which will be suited to what your project goals are. I try to provide three options no matter what. I want to blow your mind!
The Tiny Problem
That said, I do have some informal benchmarks I use to help me figure out what is possible. You simply can’t get a Michelin meal on a McDonald’s budget. And if your cousin will do it for only X amount, let them! I won’t. There are options, and I’m happy to tell you what they are.
What if you have a small budget? First, let me say thank you for making a budget. That means you have your head on straight. Second, a small budget isn’t a bad thing, it just means different options and compromises.
I’ve worked on big, complex projects and have absolutely added value there, but the truth of the matter is that Web Design is a team sport at that stage. There’s just too much to do. Ideally you’d want a team of 2-8 to work on projects over a certain dollar amount. This is exactly why I work at an agency – I’ve got a team of people who are experts at what they do and together, we can deliver a lot more. It’s just not smart to try to take on something too big for me. I will let you know if something is too big for me to handle. And, honestly, if you’re reading this, you probably don’t have this particular problem.
Getting the right answer to the question “What does a website cost” is an exercise in self examination. You need to know how much you can afford, what your goals are and what you prioritize before you’ll get the best price for you. The more self aware you come in to the project – or at least willing to let me get to know you – the better it will go.