April 06, 2015 - Zbigniew Jasek
If you have ever been in the market for a web site and did any serious research into pricing, you will probably agree that this is an elusive and confusing sector of the industry. Prices can range from $99 to $30k+, but what the hell? Why? How can one agency offer a $99 website in the same way that Payless offers a trending pair of shoes, and the other charge you in the thousands? Well, I think the answer is not as black and white as much as it is a few shades of gray. Let me explain.
A website can be of varying value to different businesses, and their attitudes reflect that.
Take a local mom & pop restaurant, for example. They have a local clientele, are listed in local directories and have a steady stream of business. Things are good. They'd LIKE a website (for the right price), but also feel that a website would not net a high ROI and therefore don't see much value in it. Understandably so. I think I'd feel the same way in that situation.
On the other side of the equation, let's take a look at a local antiques reseller. This is the type of business which needs a world wide reach and would benefit tremendously from a website. They (hopefully) see the value of this and decide to invest into a web presence which will help them distribute internationally.
So here we have two different attitudes: one that doesn't see value in a website and sees it more as a commodity, and the other which does see the value, sees a potentially high ROI and (again, hopefully) realizes that special attention to their unique requirements will be worth the price.
On the flip side of demand, we have the suppliers. These range from cheap, build-it-yourself, hosted solutions all the way to boutique agencies which specialize heavily in a particular sector.
In recent years, many services have cropped up offering $99 websites - even FREE !!! Now, how can that be possible? It takes a specialized skill and significant amount of effort to do web work. The answer: very rigid templated solutions with no options, and commitment to a monthly plan. What happens at the end of three years, is that you end up paying $3600 for a mediocre, limited website which more than likely did not produce any results. One of the side effects of not paying much for something, is also not caring about it. But it's a nice number up front, who can argue with $99 or free?
These are the guys who will build to suit - it's that dream home which you and your architect worked so hard on and want to bring it to life. As with anything else, these are professionals who will know what you need more than you do. Sure, you know your business, but they know theirs and they know how the web works better than you. At the end of three years, I can't say that everything will be great and your business will have boomed - because maintaining a website will take effort on your part too. But what I CAN say, is that your odds of significant results will be greater and your agency will be there to help you expand and/or contract your site as needed. The 'other guys' probably won't. The reason prices can fluctuate with these guys, is dependent on your needs, their capacity, their physical location, number of employees, etc. There are trade-offs for everything, so you'll need to weigh you options. Do I want to pay more for a 30 person agency who will be there tomorrow or should I take a risk on the smaller guy who can get hit by a bus tomorrow? I'm not one to tell an answer to that, but there's merit to both.
OK, so here is what I'm saying: these are all viable options, but ultimately, the choice is yours. Most of the people I come across fall somewhere in between, and these are the folks that we, at Elegrit, want to cater to. Those with a limited budget, wanting something nice that they can build on - as needed, when needed, and wanting to deal with a company that will listen to their needs and concerns.