When checking out web design pricing, it is important to consider the subsequent cost of getting the site on page 1 of Google and similar search engines; this is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Whilst many website designers consider they are fully aware of SEO, the real experts in this field must be the ethical SEO Companies. Occasionally an ethical SEO company will also do excellent ‘state of the art’ web design; their expertise is extremely high because an ethical SEO company has to rely entirely on website optimisation and genuine links from blogs, forums and the like.
Web design pricing models:–
The Static HTML Website
To the average person, this is how they expect a website to look; it is how the majority of websites used to look. They are essentially pages of information and are the cheapest site to host. They do not need a complicated database and because of their simplicity and are amongst they fastest websites to load (more complex sites can be made fast using acceleration technologies). There are a variety of free ready-made templates and a very large selection of excellent ready-made templates for around £50.
Advantages: Quick and easy to install and maintenance free
Disadvantages – will become dated, not easy to expand or allow customer interaction.
The Static Flash Website
These are amongst the most visually effective websites on the internet and there are large numbers of ready-made templates available for £50 to £300. Updating these templates and adding your own content is not easy unless you are an expert at flash. If you pay to have content updated it will cost between £100.00 to £200.00 per day. If you require your own custom design to be built ‘from scratch’ then it will cost from £1000.00
Advantages: The sites are the amongst the most visually appealing on the internet.
Disadvantages: They are expensive to maintain and are not easy to update. They are not particularly accessible by search engines.
Content Management Systems
These are the choice of professionals as they are extremely versatile and have a proper administrative system. They are also modular and features can be added with ease, as and when required. They will usually have a number of standard modules and others are added as and when required, typically site search, blogs, photo galleries, user generated content areas, forums, shopping carts and more.
There are two types:-
Commercial content management systems, these cost many thousands of pounds and are used when a high degree of complex customisation is required (for example a large company, bank, airline or similar).
Open Source Content Management Systems.
These cost considerably less are sometimes used as standard by an experienced high-tech (SEO based) web design company, due to their SEO capabilities and significantly better content management. Companies using these need to continually stay at the forefront of developments because an advantage of open source is that it evolves and adapts faster. Open source CMS are now used by big corporations and governments and examples are Sony, MTV and The Whitehouse.
There are at least 17 popular shopping carts and include ZenCart, OSCommerce, CRELoaded and Drupal (a CMS) with the e-commerce module (Ubercart)
Custom Coded / Database Driven
If you have a novel idea and require a site that is not ‘off the shelf’, e.g. similar to Facebook, then a lot of the design will need to be custom coded. This is the most expensive way of designing a website, but the rewards can be high, as for the right business, the website is the key to success.
If considering this option then it is important that you consult a number of experts in the field and ‘listen and learn’; you will have an important decision to make, should your site be built using Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails or.NET. Each has its own supporters, some of whom are quite passionate; many would also argue that currently the best development environment in the world is Microsoft Visual Studio. Cost of development, which normally has to be ongoing is likely to be several £1000’s per month and upwards.
If you need a good flexible web design with lots of functionality, look at a free open source CMS such as Drupal, and spend money saved on good quality hosting. If you need a heavy duty custom web application. Consider.Net, which has a very strong and well structured development environment.
For the best advice together with a website that has inherent intuitive SEO, commission a company that has expertise in both SEO and web design. SEOCompany4 are experts in open source CMS; Drupal, Joomla, Wordpress Dotnenuke Umbraco, their open source CMS of choice is Drupal and their shopping cart of choice is Ubercart.