With the increase in popularity of sitebuilders such as Wix or GoDaddy the question is often asked “what am I paying for” when it comes to a bespoke build website like the ones we produce.
So WordPress is free right? So why does this cost me?
One of the first questions clients ask me is “how much will this cost?” The answer is of course “How long is a piece of string?”. The cost of setting up and running a website depends on numerous things, and that can change considerably over time as a site evolves. It depends on the functionality of the website, what you want it to achieve and the design and the size of the site. It depends if you want the SEO to be done or if you require content to be written for you, maybe you need imagery, photography or a new brand identity?
What can I get for free?
The cost of the WordPress core itself is nothing, it’s free, you can get decent hosting for under £20 a month and a domain will cost you less than £10 a year. You can download free themes and get going yourself at the click of a few buttons. So where do the costs come into this?
Chances are that if you are starting a business or revamping an existing website you have a brand identity in mind. Or at least you would like to develop a website which best reflects your business and it’s unique selling points. In terms of design you’ll probably want a web designer to come up with at least a basic bespoke design for you even if that is just colours, fonts, logo and layout. But in reality you’ll probably want your brand identity woven into the design, some bespoke icons to reflect your services or products? Perhaps a new set of photographs to make your site really stand out? This is your first cost getting someone to design the website to suit your business.
Website Development (making it work)
The next thing you need to do is make your website work, make it functional, maybe this is adding in a contact form, maybe it’s more complex and you want e-commerce to sell online. Either way what you are paying for here is knowledge. A good developer has spent years working with WordPress, they will know the best plugins to provide the functionality you need. The understand the backend of the website and can make changes quickly and efficiently. The can create a great bespoke website in a fraction of the time you can do it yourself. Why do you pay a plumber to fix the boiler? Because whilst you could conceivably go out and learn how to be a plumber, study and gain qualifications it is a better use of your time and money to employ someone with these skills. The same is true of building a website. Of course, with enough time and patience anyone could learn how to code and develop a website, it really isn’t rocket science (sorry all you fellow developers out there but it isn’t) but we have years of experience dealing with the intricacies of the WordPress framework and can deliver solutions and fix issues quickly. You are paying for expertise.
SEO and Optimisation
SEO is a dark art and a constantly moving target. Again with patience you can do your own SEO, install the tools and manage the onPage and offPage optimisation. Again is this where your time and therefore money, because we all know time is money, is best spent?
Perhaps the most valuable thing your are buying when you commission a bespoke website through an agency such as PepperStreet is the support and backup you receive. We are here to offer advice on functionality you may not even know exists, to guide you in terms of design and usability and just to answer all the small questions you have. We can’t promise to deliver everything you ask for but we can offer solutions and guidance.
Without a doubt there are tools available to you to create your own website, Wix, SiteBuilder and Weebly to name a few. You can even learn the more complex intricacies of WordPress and research plugins for functionality. You can troubleshoot most problems with the aid of forums (hell it’s what I do when faced with a new and challenging issue) but the cost of a new website reflects the expertise and knowledge you are buying into. Just like any other service you use in daily life, the years of knowledge and experience that a website agency or freelancer provides has a cost. That is the cost of a professional website which deliver to the world the image and brand your want your business to reflect. As the world continues it’s inexorable march towards the digital, it’s important that your business is bright and shiny in that new world and not left looking like a neglected old department store, with broken mannequins and polyester trousers in it’s windows.