Affordable Website Design

The true measure of a website’s affordability is its value, not its cost. You can get an affordable website design for a thousand dollars, and if it includes powerful programming, custom graphic design, even some e-commerce and SEO, it is quite a value indeed. On the other hand, its title immediately changes to expensive if you only receive a few web pages, a stylesheet, and a site map. So how do you know how affordable a website really is? How do you decide what you should get to ensure that you are getting what you paid for? Ever notice how a lot of web designers sell their services in packages? Take a look at the packages they offer. Are they looking suspiciously similar? Are you noticing that the main difference in the package is number of pages or improved hosting services?

The very fact that you are interested in an affordable website design indicates that the price is a key consideration. Qualitative value vs. quantitative cost semantics aside, you have a budget. We explained in the previous three articles in this set what it takes to get a good value from your website – a design based on actual functions and benefits rather than systematic price increases, a full-service dedicated web host, and an understanding of exactly what you want your website to do. With those advantages, you can be sure that you will only be paying for things that actually improve your website, rather than arbitrary markups designed to exact the greatest cost for the least amount of effort.

Naturally, this means that you are paying for the actual power of the coding, the extent of the design work, and of course, the overall time spent and difficulty encountered in getting your website on-line. Unlike strict pricing packages, these things are going to vary based on the individual site and the individual designer. It is for this reason that it is so critical to have an idea of what you plan to do with your website. If you can discuss everything with your designer on day one, you can be sure that the initial estimate will not be far off from the final price – unless you go and change your mind mid-way through the project, of course.

What is this website supposed to do?

You have the creative freedom of an affordable website design created by an experienced team of skilled professionals. This lends you incredible power, providing the ability to do exactly what you want with your website. However, knowing what it is that you want to do is an important first step. Your website designer is probably willing to make basic changes, updates, and additions, and revise work that doesn’t fit your grand design. It may well even mock up a few options to give you some ideas. In the end, though, the best use for a website of this type is to bring your own creative power to bear in creating the site, while your designers handle the technical work. In other words, don’t expect your web builders to inspire you; it’s your job to inspire them!

But that means knowing what you want your site to accomplish, and where are you supposed to learn the extent of the options you have available? You’ve never created a website, never read a page on xhtml, css, JavaScript, php, MySQL, or AJAX. If you’re like most business owners, you wouldn’t know a doctype if you bumped into one in a crowded div. You come into the world of web design and your old foe i is running the show telling a bunch of for loops what to do, and suddenly Mr. Imaginary can let you cycle through an entire array with only a few lines of code. And you’ve still never met an array! So how exactly are you supposed to figure out what your website is going to be able to do? It’s like you need a highly trained professional just to learn where all your limits are, and where is someone supposed to find one of those?