WHERE DOES THE COST OF A WEBSITE COME FROM?
You may have seen those TV adverts where they make it look so easy to build your own website for under a £10 a month (those costs really do build up after a while). But the fact is that it is not a website – it’s is a web presence. Something you can put on your business cards and point clients at but it won’t do a good job of actually acquiring new clients,.
These are just some thoughts for those of you that are after a website that properly markets your business. A website that will not only look the part, but will also perform well in the search engines and help generate customers for you. A website that reflects your business, it’s goals and your brand. One that works in every type of web browser and operating system and perhaps most importantly on every type of device, whether that's a mobile phone or tablet.
Coming back to the why the cost and how it's worked out by a professional web design agency.
Firstly, keywords or more importantly; keyphrases, are researched and chosen so that you can rank as high as possible in Google (other search engines are available) and attract those all important visitors. This means finding out which keyphrase is actually searched for, there's no point in being number one for a keyphrase which no one actually searches for. On top of this research is back linking, content checking and optimisation to present the right content to get that all important attention from visitors.
Structure and Conversion
A UX (that's User Experience) specialist has to think about pages, navigation and of course usability, and the best way to get users from here to there. Once visitors get to your website the content needs to be styled and placed in such a way that it persuades them to take action on your website – buy that product, fill in that form and make contact.
It doesn’t matter if you write the copy yourself or hire a specialist copywriter (we also offer that service btw) the text still needs to be collated, spell-checked, proof read and most important of all it needs to be optimised for search engines before it can be used.
Regardless of whether you have your own photos, need them taken, or simply want to use stock images they still have to be resized, retouched, and organised. They then have to be optimised for viewing on various browsers, we create two versions of each image you supply to us, one for viewing on standard displays such as laptops and another higher resolution one for retina displays found on modern smartphones and tablets. These then have to be made to be able to be read by search engines, which can't 'see' the photo and appreciate that wonderful sunrise, instead the search engine sees text which is added to it's code to describe what it is a photo of, so a photo of Ilkley Moor would have an alternative text of 'beautiful sunrise over Ilkley moor'.
There needs to be some thought (actually many hours of staring at a blank screen and discussion and thinking, then a little more staring at a blank screen) put into choosing colours, fonts and graphics so they work with your brand and match your other marketing collateral. The design also needs to take into consideration the target market and the suitability of the design for it.
The location of headers, footers, sidebars, opt-in boxes, and social media icons need to be decided to provide the best possible chance of converting visitors into clients. A wireframe is always created to make sure all the elements work together and provide a great user experience.
Your website will need good quality code that works quickly and doesn’t crash causing errors, or breaking your website completely. This coding also needs to work over umpteen different browsers on many operating systems and different displays, all at breakneck speed. We always use the latest guidelines to ensure your website is future proof.
There are dozens of different web browsers that run on Macs and PC’s that all need to display the website without a glitch, there's testing on Google Chrome, Internet Explorer (and it's many versions) Firefox, Opera and Safari, their mobile versions as well as the many native browsers built into smartphones. This means coding, testing and fixing all of the issues to provide the best experience for visitors – regardless of what they use, and it's all done before the site is launched.
Visitors to your website using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones will soon make up the bulk of the people looking at your website. This means someone has to ensure your website looks good on different sized screens while still being able to be read and used properly without compromising on the speed of browsing. All websites are tested on all the appropriate hardware as a final check, which means having the latest iphone or ipad as well as windows smartphones and tablets and Android smarthphones and tablets available in the studio; a very large capital investment but something we feel is necessary.
Ready to go live
Someone has to install your site on a hosting server; making sure that all the files (and there can be hundreds or thousands) are where they should be, set up the DNS, get your analytics, webmaster tools and sitemaps as well as robots files ready and make sure everything is working 100%.
Once the site has been uploaded we carry out various tests in the background to make sure that the site is working as it should be, this again is a task which sets a professional design agency apart from an amateur attempt.
It's a long list but it's just the start, any added services such as advanced SEO or Social Media integration will more than double this list. The list is simply to give you a better understanding of the tasks that a web designer has to carry out in order to determine the cost of building your website, not to justify the prices charged by a professional design studio. Just bear in mind all this work when comparing a web presence to a professionally coded website.
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