Why should I pay you to create my website?

paying for a serviceStop me if you’ve heard this before – “You want to charge me how much to perform that _______ (fill in the blank service or product)?” We’ve all got so used to getting stuff for nothing (gmail, Spotify, etc) or next to nothing (Netflix, cloud storage) that we’re shocked that there are still people out there who want to charge for their services. But I like eating and living in my house and they don’t come for free!

I’m in the website design business and I tell people all the time that my competition isn’t from another web design company it’s from “Free” and “I can do that myself!”

Prospects play the “free” card because they are bombarded with offers of free websites from very recognizable names (Intuit and Verizon are two examples) and surely those guys wouldn’t lie. My comeback is two-fold; first I try to explain that “free” isn’t free – you just end up paying somewhere else and second, you get what you pay for – so if you’ve paid nothing, you can’t expect anything!

Over time I’ve realized that “I can do that myself” is actually code for “I could do that myself, but I don’t have time so I’m actually not going to do it, but at least I didn’t spend any money doing it!” When faced with this I’ve even offered to send people towards some great YouTube videos that explain how to make your own website in 90 minutes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lP8WtOGicv0#! ), but I haven’t had any takers.

In the good old days of manufacturing nobody had a problem with paying for something tangible that took time to build. In this electronic age we balk at paying for something as intangible as a website. I tell my clients that even though you can’t feel or smell a website it still takes time to build and that it therefore still has a value. The alternative (no website) means that you might as well be invisible to the searching public – that alone has a value that you almost can’t put into monetary terms.

So – how much should you be paying for a website? Here’s a great article addressing that question “How Much Should A Website Cost?” by Carol Lynn Rivera. Quite honestly I couldn’t have written it better myself. I especially like the authors comment on “What a website should NOT cost”

$500. If that’s what your site cost, I bet you’ll find at least one fuzzy pixelated photo, at least one mis-programmed form validation, at least one missed optimization opportunity.  Maybe you can get your blog set up for $500, but you cannot build a professional web presence for that little. Even an unskilled developer charging $50 an hour can’t put together an optimized, functional, professionally branded site in 10 hours. Please do not tell me how you know someone who did it because I promise you won’t want me to look at that site and pick it apart.

Next time you are considering having your roof repaired you might moan about the cost but you won’t begrudge the fact that someone is actually doing work on your behalf. The same is true with building your website – only this time it’s keeping my roof in decent shape!

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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