Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth on listing prices for WordPress websites.

A few months ago, I made up some base web-design packages, and thought that I had everything perfected. I even purchased a webdesign cost estimation plugin, and set it up.

However, when nobody in a certain field lists prices, there is usually a reason.

Webdesigns that I build tend to fall into three rough price and scope categories:

  1. Truly simple WordPress template set-ups with content and some basic color and layout customizations
  2. Clients who need a little more customization on the template side but otherwise basic plugins and content added and set up
  3. Complex websites that might include ecommerce or other advanced features

What makes each webdesign project vary in price is the level of communication needed beyond the original scope. Some people need a little more “hand holding” and more frequent communication, or aren’t very good with email so need to have phone calls, webinars, and in-person meetings. A 10 minute phone call with one client might take 20 minutes with someone who is less to the point or less clear.

I have learned that, as part of a complete scope analysis, communication styles and existing knowledge need to be considered. It’s not just a matter of checking the boxes, describing your business, drawing up some layouts and choosing colors… building a website, the representation of YOUR business that should be making YOU money, is so much more! Unfortunately, I based my old prices and rates structure exclusively on technical expertise that I was providing, not my awesome customer service, training, and support.

When your budget for a new website design is less than $1000-$1500, your triangle is similar to the infamous customer service triangle where you can only pick two…

quality speed and cost triangle

 

The website design triangle looks like this:

website design cost triangle

If you just want “low price”, and don’t care about anything else, the cheapest way to go is always to buy a template and customize the site yourself. By doing that, you’re compromising technical work and any customer service beyond the basic that might be included in your theme purchase (or if you use a free theme, be surprised if you get any customer service).

The reason why webdesigners ask your budget and ask so many questions before giving you any kind of exact price quote on a website, is not to screw you out of as much money as possible, but to make sure that there are no unpleasant surprises as far as technical work, customer service work, and price. Especially when working with WordPress, there are almost always alternatives. For example, if you insist on eCommerce but don’t mind having a minimally customized theme and will offer free domestic shipping (setting up shipping can quickly become complicated), your costs will be considerably lower than if you need ecommerce set up with taxes, shipping, and a fully customized and unique looking theme.

Building a business always requires value based decisions. I love helping small businesses start off and grow. I totally understand small budgets and trying to get the most possible for your precious investment dollars. If your needs exceed your budget, there are usually ways that I can offer you different alternatives to achieve your goals. This human component of weighing values and priorities is where the “project estimator” script and other formulas for estimating website design costs fall short, and is why I’ve quit listing my prices for unique website build outs.

 

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