They say you get what you pay for in life, and it's certainly true when talking about your website. But what a lot of people struggle to get their heads around is what difference you'll get by spending a bit more. In this post, we look at five key differences you should expect to get by paying that little bit more for your website.
Time is money
Most of these differences require time to be poured into the project, and being a service industry, this will usually directly affect the cost; most agencies will calculate the cost of a project as Hours Required x Hourly Rate = Cost.
1. Careful planning and valuable input
When it comes to a website project, the value of thorough planning can't be overstated.
Firstly, good planning will save costs in the long run because projects won't overrun or go over budget. The project should be booked into the studio schedule, allowing plenty of time for each stage to be completed and approved before moving on to the next.
All the requirements of the project should be agreed upon before the start, even if this requires several meetings so that there are no hidden surprises for either side later on.
Good planning saves costs and makes your website last longer
In addition, good planning of the various features and functionality that are needed will future-proof the website, meaning unnecessary changes won't need to be made in three or six months. By taking the time to understand both the aims of the business and how this project makes that happen, your web team will also be able to draw on their own valuable experience to provide their own input - meaning you get a better end result.
2. Balanced design
Steve Jobs famously said “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." The best website design achieves a balance of commercial needs - how the site is going to help an organisation achieve its goals - with the aesthetic, i.e. what it looks like. Truly great website design combines original creativity with the practicalities of how the site will be managed and other technical considerations. Designers and developers should work as a team, understanding the needs of the client and how best to meet them.
“Design isn't just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”— Steve Jobs
Furthermore, cheaper websites often have a great-looking home page, but when you delve deeper into the site, other pages look somewhat “thrown together”. Pay a little more and you'll get bespoke design applied to all the pages throughout the site, ensuring the highest level of quality and real attention to detail.
3. A site you can control yourself
This third point has a very obvious and direct benefit. If you can manage your site yourself on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, you won't have to pay your web designer each time something needs updating. Most websites these days will come with a Content Management System (CMS), but by paying more you'll get a system that:
- Is easy to learn and use - the easier it is to use, the more you'll use it and the better and more up-to-date your site will be
- Is flexible so you can change anything and everything you need to - often we hear tales of how limited (and frustrating) a system might be
- Enables you to add new pages or content without breaking the design, so you can grow the site (making it last longer) without compromising the quality of the design
4. Crafted content
Here's a big difference that may not be immediately obvious when comparing quotes. Whilst it's usual for the creation of content (copywriting, sourcing and taking images etc) to be charged for separately, what you will get by paying more for the website is for that content to be put into the site for you and “polished” so that it looks its best.
Cheaper websites might either be delivered empty - leaving you to add all the content yourself - or have the content just copied and pasted in. This is where many websites fall down; when attention hasn't been paid to how the copy and images within the pages look. After all, this is what your customers/users are going to be looking at in most detail and can make the difference between a sale being made or lost.
Pay that little bit more to ensure quality images are sourced and prepared properly for the site. Have your copy optimised and structured correctly to help with your search engine performance. It's also worth considering investing in some professional copywriting; a well-written copy can significantly increase the number of visitors that convert to an enquiry or sale.
5. Thorough testing process
No matter how much you pay for your website, you should expect it to be tested before it goes live, but if you pay more you can expect a more thorough and well-planned testing process that will mitigate any embarrassing oversights. A good process will allow for testing both when the site is first built and before it going live, meaning technical issues will be picked up and rectified earlier which takes the burden off you when it comes to launching day.
An experienced web agency will usually work off a go-live checklist to make sure nothing gets forgotten and will allow the time for multiple testing by a number of different skilled individuals, to achieve the necessary distance from the site to give an objective and “user-centric” take.
We realise that everyone needs to work to a budget of some sort. For some, a less expensive website might do a perfectly good job. But if you need a serious website that presents your organisation in the right light and works hard to achieve your business goals, you need to spend a bit more. It will be worth it.