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Why Web Design is like the Real Estate Market

By definition a cottage and mansion are both houses, but they are valued differently.

If you design websites, the question you most often hear is:
“How much is a website?”

This is not an easy question to answer, and the easiest way we have found to explain why is to ask “Well, how much is a house?” This instantly resets your frame of mind. We, as people who are familiar with living in homes, understand that houses come in all shapes and sizes. They offer different amenities and features and levels of quality. We all know that those factors affect the price.

Here are some examples to help you value your options for a website.

Pre-Owned & Furnished Condos

These are those do-it-yourself website builders. The cost to gain entry is generally pretty low which makes them seem very attractive. But they were essentially designed for someone else (a generic someone else). You don’t have a lot of control over the set-up and general aesthetic. Pretty much you just move in your furniture (i.e. some copy and images), and make it work. Although this is fine for some people, many find it restrictive to live within the rules that someone else set up.

Pleasant Valley Modular home finished and read...

Image via Wikipedia

Modular Homes

This style of website generally involves purchasing a template and having it customized. You get to pick a base design, and then you can upgrade with add-on features. You will work with a designer to decorate everything to your taste. Here, you have more options to get the features that are right for you, and generally this is still a pretty affordable option. However, if you decide that you want a modification that isn’t part of the standard options list, it can get very costly and cause more than a few headaches.

Custom-Built Houses

Here you get it your way. Every part of the layout, every finish, each and every tiny detail was created just for you. You work with a team to architect exactly what you need and then they get work to build it to your exact specification. These types of website generally have a higher initial cost, but can provide greater value because they are exactly what you want/need and generally you are more satisfied with them in the long term. Just as you can custom build a 2-room cottage and a 23-room fully automated mansion, there is still a wide range within this category.

So, what does this mean…

Well, it means you should follow a similar process for purchasing a website as you do your home.

  1. Make a list of all your must have features.
  2. Make a list of your nice to have features.
  3. Decide how much sweat equity you are willing to invest. (this would be upfront copywriting and design as well as on-going maintenance)
  4. Look at your budget and come up with what you can realistically afford.
  5. Realize that you may have to adjust your expectations.
  6. Select the best value for you knowing it may be more or less than someone else.

If you would ever like to discuss your options for creating a website for your business, we’d love to grab a coffee and chat. Drop us a line via our contact page.