In the balance: between dicey and pricey web design

Quality web design is provided by humans, not templates
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We’re a small business and we work with small and medium businesses with a range of budgets.

We often find when talking to our existing clients and potential ones that there is not a clear understanding of what kind of web design we do and how much it should cost. Large businesses may be used to companies charging tens of thousands of dollar for a website (FutureLab’s philosophy is different), while small businesses, used to seeking out the most affordable options, may feel that web design is an expensive investment.

 Web design options can be confusing

The problem with web design is that the range of services and quality on offer is enormous. Web design ranges from absolutely free templates from the likes of Wix, to custom platforms built by large agencies that could range into the ten or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. For the inexperienced small business owner, it can be hard to discern the cheap, from the good value, from the overpriced.

Here at FutureLab we believe we’ve struck a middle ground between dicey web design and pricey custom work. We offer customised websites that create a high-value finished product, by using popular content management systems that keep the cost of custom web design affordable.

Quality web design is provided by humans, not templates

As with all industries, web design takes time – someone has to program the website, upload your content, make any design changes you specify. A senior web designer can achieve these things faster than a junior web designer. On the other hand, a senior web designer will likely be able to do more complex jobs for you and the finished product may be more polished.

We find that customers used to the ‘do-it-yourself’ web design don’t understand what we are really doing when we create their website. That is, we spend hours and hours – across several team members – designing, building, writing and uploading for their website. There are features to make the work easier – notably when using an open-source content management system like WordPress, which we prefer. However, in good web design there are no short-cuts – and at FutureLab we pride ourselves on quality web design and a high-end finished product.

We are not the most affordable web designers in the market. As we mentioned earlier, there are free templates which are totally DIY. Perfect for those who really have no budget whatsoever, but these templates cannot be customised to your individual brand beyond a few colour or design changes. In other words, you can’t get any special or customised features for free.

There are also web designers available through the Internet that can probably knock you up a website for a hundred bucks – in fact, a quick search on Fiverr revealed web designers offering to make you a web page for a mere $5. The majority of these cheap services will be coming from overseas. Again, these designers offer a basic template that will not be individualised to your brand or company. That might be fine for you now, but what if you want to add a booking form, or some animated slides, or a nice-looking portfolio section? You may well have to start from scratch anyway.

Proprietary systems could be overcharging you

On the other end of the spectrum, web companies who force you to use their own custom built content management systems will often cost you more in the long run. Put simply, those companies can charge you whatever they like, knowing that you cannot walk away from their services without losing your website (see more on owning your own website).

The key is being able to see beyond a cheap price or fancy office suites to check what’s really on offer – and to think carefully about what you need your website to do, now and in the future.

If the price sounds too good to be true – it probably is. If your web developer is more interested in looking the part than being the part – you’ll know you’re not really getting value for your money. And do your homework – check out the difference between open-source and proprietary software before you sign up for web design!

Lastly, remember that your website is supposed to be a solid investment, bringing you returns for years to come. It’s worth getting it right the first time to avoid expensive mistakes in the long run.