You’ve decided that you can’t go it alone. Now it is time to start your search for a web designer. But before you make that call, send that email or text that message, here are a few things you’ll need to have in place or at least think about before you approach a pro.
Here are a few fees you’ll need to factor into your budget.
- Domain Name Registration – depending on the registrar, registration can run from $10 & up and must be renewed annually as long as you have the site. The renewal rate is the same as the initial registration fee. We’ll talk choosing a domain name a little bit later.
- Hosting Service – Unless your business has its own server you will have to pay a hosting fee. There are TONS of hosting companies available. Either you will need to search online (just Google “web hosting”) for the best deal, or have your web designer make a suggestion. Some designers provide hosting services, too. Prices vary widely. It is very much like purchasing a computer – the more storage, RAM and bandwidth, the higher the cost. Fees can be paid monthly or annually depending on which better meets your budgeting needs. You can start with a very simple site for less than $10 a month or for a larger and more technical site the price can increase exponentially. For instance, if you choose a VPS plan (virtual private server) or a dedicated server, hosting can cost upwards of $1000 a year.
- Web Site Design Fee – you can search online for the average cost of a website and you’ll find wildly differing opinions. Why is this? Because no two businesses are alike and so no two websites will be alike. Not to mention, not all designers charge the same rates. An e-commerce site is likely to be in a higher price range than a blog site. A small business site will have a smaller budget than a corporation, a church website will cost vastly less than a university website, and so on. If your site relies on a database for inventory or membership and/or if you plan to sell products or register for events, you will not only need a designer but a developer to integrate your data. What’s the difference between a designer and developer you ask… a designer creates the visual presence and the developer creates the platform – basically what is under the hood, so to speak – the code that runs the site. Before searching for a designer/developer, think about the functionality of your site – what do you want it to do. Look at what your competition is doing. If you come across a website you find visually appealing or if you find a function that you want to implement on your website – make a note and share it with your prospective designer.How large of a site will you need – how many pages will it have? Do you have graphics, logo and photos or will you need the designer to create them or use stock photos? Will you provide your website content in different languages? All of these factors will affect your bottom line.
I suggest that you set a budget before meeting and see if the designer/developer can work within it. We’ll discuss what to look for in a design team a little later.
- Website maintenance fee – just because your website is up and running doesn’t mean it is “finished.” You don’t visit your Facebook page everyday to read the same posts over and over, do you? Of course not! You want to see fresh posts, new pictures and trending videos. The same goes for your website. You’ll be posting press releases, job openings, introducing new products, welcoming new members, and so on. You’ll need to keep your website content up to date. Most design teams will maintain your website for a retainer fee or on a needs only based fee. A maintenance contract should be agreed upon beforehand. Again, depending on the amount of updates your site will need, the maintenance fee will vary. To avoid a maintenance fee, you’ll need to update your site yourself. In this case, be sure that you factor in a Content Management System (CMS) in your design/development budget. Don’t know what that is – don’t worry we’ll cover it later.
Coming up next…Good Help is Hard to Find