Posts Tagged Computers and Internet

How much does a web design cost? Real Web Design Costs

It’s over a year since I wrote a similar article to this one on what it costs to design a website. Surprisingly, since that last post and with all the turmoil that is happening with the global and Irish economy, little has changed in terms of pricing. What has changed however, is the number of small web design companies popping up all over the place offering cheap web design solutions. I personally take no issue with these companies, unless of course they start comparing their work to the work a professional web design agency.

The problem with web design is that generally speaking, most people don’t actually understand what it takes to design and develop a website. I know from even my circle of friends, they would expect the building of a website to be something that can be done in a few clicks of a button. Of course this is a possibility and one of the reasons there are so many cheap and nasty web design companies in the market today.

We regularly get people telling us that we are “much more” expensive than other quotes they have received. In this case we always ask them to provide us with the proposal from the other company to see where the difference in price lies. In most cases, they are comparing apples with oranges. The service we offer is far superior to the cheaper alternatives. There are of course the exceptions when I can’t even contemplate why a company is going in so cheaply.

Like with every professional service, I think it’s best to look at things in context when discussing pricing around a service you require. Hopefully this article will open most peoples eyes into how a professional website is cost-ed and why.

Web Design Pricing
When we get a call from someone looking for a website designed, the first thing we ask for is an idea of other sites that the client is trying to emulate for their own business. This isn’t to plagiarise their ideas, but for us to get an idea of what the clients expectations are. Our next question would be related to the websites functionality, e.g. do you need to sell anything online, what level of interactivity do you want with the client etc.

Generally speaking, the answers provided will lead us two ways, one needing more questions answered or two, in a position to put together a proposal for the costs involved in the project. With the information received from the client, we can the plan the time we feel is required to deliver a finished website based on the clients brief. If it’s a complex project, it can take quite sometime to put together time-frames expected.

Time Required to Build a Website
Let’s take a simple brochure type website, with a Content Management System as an example of the time  required to deliver such a website.

  1. Design
    Design is a strange procedure that can’t be timed to an exact time-frame. There’s a massive level of creativity required and therefore, you can’t rush it. A typical design can take anywhere from 2-3 days to meet the initial design brief and at that stage, you will probably have one or two ideas developed.

    In all our projects, we work with our client to get a design that they are 100% happy with. If they don’t like what we have delivered, we will keep working until we get exactly what the client wants. Luckily enough, in most cases we don’t have a problem with it going beyond the 2-3 days allocated.

    Total Days: 2-3

  2. Design preparation for CMS integration
    Once the design has been fully signed off, we move onto preparing the agreed design for the CMS integration. This means developing the necessary HTML, CSS and JS code etc. This can take up to 1 day to complete.

    Total Days: 1

  3. CMS Installation & Design Integration
    As soon as the design has been cut up and is ready to be integrated, we start the process of installing the CMS. Depending on the CMS chosen and the complexity of the design, this can take anywhere from 2-3 days to fully integrate. At this stage, we also look after any functionality issues, such as forms, login systems etc etc.

    Total Days: 3-4

  4. Content Insertion
    The final build stage is the insert the content provided by the client. Typically we do a maximum of 15-20 pages of content for a client and then train them up on how to use the CMS to insert their own content if they require more.

    Total Days: 1-2

So there you have it, that’s a typical example of the time required to build a very basic website with a CMS. I haven’t included the time required for meetings, design briefing or testing. The basic nuts and bolts of building the website will take at least 7-10 days, yet it generally takes 4-6 weeks before the whole process is completed.

Web Design Costs
We charge per project basis. It’s not easy for me to give a set figure for the cost of the design and development of a website because requirements differ so much from client to client. Typically speaking, we would be charging anywhere from €2,500 – €3,500 +VAT for a typical brochure site with CMS.

To some that sounds quite expensive, but let’s break that down further to see where the costs come in.

a) Web Designer / Web Developer

A good web designer/developer’s annual salary will be anywhere from €30-40k per annum depending on experience. Since we need two people working on your website design, let’s take a mean salary of €35k per annum.

It costs the employer just over €790 per week (accounting for holidays) to have someone working on the project. The total cost for a 2 week project is therefore €1580

b) Project Management / Meetings
With any project, there is a certain level of project management required. Project management means meetings. As much as we can, we try to have meetings on-site, but most of the time it makes more sense to meet with the client in their offices. This obviously takes someone’s time and costs money for travel etc.

c) Rent, Calls & Other Misc.
A necessary evil of running a business, but we need to put a roof over our heads and buy PCs, phones broadband connection etc etc. Without all this, we wouldn’t be a web design company.

You can throw your own figures at b and c – but even with the lowest level, you can see there is very little margin in the costs charged for designing a simple website.

Cheap Web Design

So now that you’ve seen what the costs involved in developing a typical website, let’s look at how a cheap web design business operates. I say business as opposed to “company” because a lot of these businesses are one man operations run by self employed individuals working from home with little overheads etc. Other cheap web design companies will outsource their work to cheap labour countries such as India, Pakistan or China.

  1. Design
    Generally speaking, most of these companies do one of three things when it comes to the design aspect of a website.

    a) Download  and use freely available templates from the Internet. They then do some basic customisation of the design such as include your logo and other graphical material.

    b) Purchase already created designs from Templatemonster.com or similar websites. Again, there is a certain level of customisation required in this case.

    c) Outsource off-shore – absolutely nothing wrong with this, but the quality tends to be pretty poor.

  2. CMS Integration
    The majority of the cheap web design companies use one of the many freely available CMS solutions such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Apart from being really easy and quick to install, there are thousands of online resources where they can download free templates to use for their website theme.

Typically speaking, someone could put together one of these cheap websites, that will potentially look like thousands of other websites across the Internet in less than 2 days. If it takes them longer than this, either you are a nightmare client that is expecting too much or they don’t know what they are doing!

The bottom line is that if you want your website design from a professional design agency, expect to spend anywhere from €1,500 to €4,000 for a brochure type website. If you want to go the cheap route, don’t spend more than €500 – otherwise you are being ripped off.

I hope all the information above gives you a good idea of the complete disconnect between cheap web design and professional web design. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to use a cheap web design company, but before you start comparing apples and oranges make sure you completely understand what you are getting from your web designer.

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WiMax pricing finally released

Image of imagine WiMax from Twitter
Image of imagine WiMax

It’s only 3 weeks late, but Imagine have finally released their much anticipated WiMax Broadband pricing. And after all the hype, it wasn’t something worth waiting for.

Although most press releases this morning mention that Imagine’s WiMax is 50% cheaper than Eircoms equivalent, anyone who has been on the lookout for Broadband recently, knows that Eircom is one of the more expensive offerings. When you compare Imagine’s WiMax with one of their competitors such as UPC / NTL, the mid range offer from Imagine is actually €8 more expensive. The only benefit of choosing Imagine’s WiMax package is the fact that it has an unlimited download cap. Imagine’s fastest offering, the 7MB option is €3 cheaper than UPC’s 10MB offering. On the positive side, Imagine’s Mobile Broadband offering is quite impressive. For a 7MB mobile broadband connection, it costs only €15 a month.

After all the hype generated from the Imagine publicity team, I feel very let down. At the moment, with the current pricing structure, there is absolutely no reason for me to change my current provider at home. I’m sure a lot of people will feel the same.

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Eircoms new deal will put innocent surfers at risk

eircom Group plc.
Image via Wikipedia

There’s been great debate going on over at Boards.ie about the agreement made between Eircom and IRMA to tackle illegal music and movie piracy on their broadband network. Read more here

A few great points have been made and one that has risen it’s head most of the time is the one about Eircoms extremely poor security hole.

There is a reference to a blog post I made sometime ago, when I mentioned that it seems Eircom don’t seem to care about their little security hole that allows their wireless routers to be hacked in seconds. I suggested that Eircom have done little to sort out this security flaw other than release a nice press release telling their clients that they should update their router settings. It was suggested in this post that they did more than this and also sent a letter to each subscriber. Well all I can say to that is that they must have missed my whole family and friends, because of all the people I know, not one of them received this letter. Anyway, that’s another days work.

Let’s look at the situation and the agreement in place between Eircom and IRMA at the moment. Eircom have agreed to disconnect any user who had been found to be downloading illegally through their networks. The users will not be outed by Eircom and their will be no detection or filtering software provided by Eircom. It will be up to IRMA to supply the information on those pirates to Eircom. Warnings will be issued by Eircom to the offending pirates if they are found to be downloading illegal music.

Now, that’s all well and good if Eircom can categorically say that their wireless routers can not be breached, but the sad thing is, they can easily be. I’d suggest that you all take a minute to do a test here – but I’d probably get done for inciting people to break the law. But if you want to try at your own peril, go off and download Damo’s WEP Tool - when installed, go looking for an Eircom connection. I guarantee you that it won’t be long before you find an Eircom connection that is easily hacked and then you will have free Internet access (illegally I might add) to do what you like.

So let’s turn that scenario around to that poor sole who knows little about the Internet, someone who constantly refers to the Internet as “on the website”. These are the people I feel really sorry for. They would never in their lifetime cop on that they have been compromised or that someone is sitting outside in their car downloading the latest series of Lost from their broadband connection. Yet, potentially, these are the poor sods who could have their broadband disconnected for illegally downloading music/movies.

Maybe Eircom know bizarre the whole situation is and were happy to make that agreement with IRMA who clearly don’t seem to understand the Internet and how it works.

That brings up another point though, I’ve always said it and will say it again. The music industry needs to take a serious look at their business model. The current one obviously isn’t working anymore, so they need to be a bit more creative now rather than just sitting on their bums like they did in the past. Targeting little kids or innocent broadband users is not the way to get their business back together.

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Wow… now that’s an offer!

Blacknight have SLASHED the price of registering a .ie domain name in a one day bonanza.

Go here to place your order and use the code iefridayjan09.

Or go here for more information http://www.mneylon.com/blog/archives/2009/01/09/ie-domains-for-10-euro/

Enjoy!

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