It doesn’t come cheap

I am always surprised by those who ask if I can design a website for them and then can’t understand why it costs so much. A web presence can cost a little or a lot. It all depends on what you need and want. Period.

Let me put it into perspective for you…there is more to web design than you [the client] just typing up a bunch of text and me [the designer] copying and pasting that text onto the web. It just doesn’t work that way.

First you have your visual representation. Someone has to design that. Since I am the designer being hired for the service, that would be me doing the designing of this representation. Even if you come to me with all these ideas, someone has got to make these ideas become reality. That would be me, the designer. Since often times this is a matter of jumping through a process of “mind reading” followed by “signal interpretation and translation,” time becomes a precious commodity. Once we’ve gotten the idea verbalized and the initial representation in a visual format, there are hours of fine tuning. Fine tuning can be as complicated as the client makes it. If you’re picky, you use more time. If you’re easy, go happy, you get off lucky.

Once we’ve got the visual representation in a “graphical” format, it is time to make it WORK on the web. Since we have a variety of computer platforms to work on (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X Leopard, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, etc) and an even larger variety of web browsers to work with (Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc) on just as many monitor sizes and resolutions…your head will spin if I tell you can’t make it identical for each and every user without sacrificing other key things like usability and speed. Similar is GOOD ENOUGH in the web industry. If it works on Internet Explorer, then we cannot always call it good. If it works in all of the browsers and looks equally well then we can call it good. Notice I said, “equally well” not “identical?” There is a process of tweaking and fine tuning it.

Now that we’ve got it work nicely in all the various web browsers on a variety of monitor sizes and resolutions and on the various computing platforms…it is time to actually put the data in. Did you know that if you send me something in Word, I CAN copy and paste it into your website? Great! Problem solved, right? NOT! If you use special characters, I have to find them all and enter in the code for each one so that it will display correctly on all of the previously mentioned situations. Someone actually has to tell the content how it is SUPPOSED to look. I don’t just look at the screen, push CTRL+V and tell it to be a certain way. It doesn’t work like that. I have to make it look that way. Remember that plain text works best because it requires the least amount of editing out of various things (curly quotes, special characters, formatting, etc). Just because you typed it into Word that way does it mean that it will show up on the screen that way just because you sent me the document. Someone has to make it look that way and that takes time!

Then we have all the testing, tweaking, changing, and fixing “your” typos because I’ve copy and pasted everything directly from the very Word document you sent me.

There is the editing of images that you provide. Someone has to make them the right size, cropping, straightening, color correcting, and even compressing them to make them appropriate for the website design and the web itself. If all of the pictures on your website are only 300 pixels wide and you’ve sent me pictures that are 1200 pixels wide, someone has to make sure they they EFFICIENTLY work on your website. Yes, that means that I might have to process those pictures myself and that takes time.

So when you go to get a professional website created for you, check your ego at the door. Your limited budget might not be enough for the services you require/request. If this is the case, then either settle for less and expand or go and save up more funds in your budget and try again.

Web design is not free. It is not cheap. Web design is a skill that should not be shrugged off as cheap simply because many of us enjoy what we’re doing. If it takes someone else’s time, it costs money.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.