The easy answer: it’s complicated.
The cost of your website is determined by a combination of factors, and normally starts with us asking a series of questions aimed at developing an understanding of your objectives, including:
- What do you want your website to do?
- What do you need your website to do?
- What expectations do you have for your new site?
- Do you want to be able to edit the content on your own — add pages, photos, and text?
- Does your site need e-commerce?
You get the idea.
Based on all the information we discover, we then initiate the process of creating your new site. We begin by performing a series of steps that allow your site to be built with the necessary “bones” for good SEO practices. Then we set about organizing your content and editing/rewriting it as needed. This is done initially in order to create the sitemap so that we can all agree on the best way the site should be laid out. Think of this as choosing your floor plan. Before we design your site, we need to know how each aspect relates to one another.
Speaking of design, we create a few different options to choose from (we never use templates!), but before we arrive at these options, we research your competitors, choose typefaces, colors, textures, design elements, user interface features, and more – all with an eye toward the key brand elements we’ve previously defined. The process to arrive at well-thought-out concepts does not come easy and oftentimes does not resemble what we started with.
After a concept is chosen, the execution of the site-wide concept begins. We build page layouts, design each page in two, three, four (or more!) sizes in order to respond to the type of device it’s being viewed on (responsive site design), and create the framework necessary for each page. Because website elements frequently move and change based on a visitor’s actions, we take into account interactivity for things like navigation, images, and design elements. Think of this work like street signage — if it’s clean and organized, you know where you need to go; conversely if it’s cluttered and confusing, visitors to your site become lost and frustrated.
We’ve just covered front-end design, now we need to address the back-end. Front-end is everything you see when you visit a site, but the back-end is the software behind the scenes that makes features like e-commerce work. The back-end is what connects your database to your website. Your site is comprised of thousands of lines of code that must be meticulously written: an errant dash or a misplaced period can cause major problems with your site’s display.
Once the site is ready to go live, we need to test it. And we don’t simply test it on our preferred browser and move on —we need to check it on every device and in every browser a potential visitor could be viewing it on. This means that our team views the site on multiple versions of Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, on desktops, laptops, iPads, iPhones, Androids, tablets, etc. As the options for viewing the Internet expand, so does our testing regimen.
There’s a lot that goes into building a custom website that’s designed to introduce a business to its market and act as a first impression. We work to create a site that functions as well as it looks, impresses the visitor immediately, and ultimately acts as a valuable tool for your company’s growth. The goal of your site should be to make the experience as easy and enjoyable as possible for the visitor. In doing so, you communicate that you care about your customer; you gain trust, ensure repeat visits, and bolster your SEO.
Knowing all of this, I hope it’s easier to see why the cost of a website can be perceived as expensive. With each of our clients we aim to develop a site that not only looks beautiful and has exceptional function, but also falls in line with their budget.