Websites and cars: a comparison


Website and Car Graphic

Have you ever gone car shopping? I did one time. Here’s what I know:

  • There are a lot of options when it comes to cars.
  • If you want luxury, you will pay more.
  • If you want customizations, you will pay more.
  • If you don’t care about legroom, you can pay significantly less.

Anyway, my point is that there isn’t an average cost for a car. It really depends on what you want. Plus car technology is always changing, so what costs more today may not cost as much next year.

This, of course, brings us to websites – hooray! How much a website costs is typically the first question a client has when asking an agency about the work. It’s an investment to plan for and cost can certainly sway decisions one way to another.

Before you purchase a car, I bet you do some research on brands and safety features and sound systems. Approximately 81% of consumers research online before they make a big purchase. What you’re doing here is figuring out what you want, as well as looking into how much certain things add on to the overall cost.

For websites, it’s pretty comparable. This research you’re doing is considered a major part of the discovery phase. It’s nearly impossible to set a price to a web project before understanding the product requirements and overall goals. Likewise, that car you’re hoping to purchase may have a range in price based on it’s array of features. It’s all about deciding how many of those features you desire.

I like to spend as much quality time in discovery as I can with clients. With an open floor type atmosphere, the objective is to flesh out as many questions and answers as possible. There’s typically a questionnaire that serves as a good icebreaker. But what follows that exercise is digging deeper into what the target audience is looking for, identifying the customer’s top tasks, and laying out solutions in a statement of work (SOW).

Getting to this point takes time. And we haven’t even showed you any designs yet!

The cost needs to be the last item you discuss. Through my experience I’ve learned that cost shouldn’t be mentioned up front. An agency should take the time to get to know your business and what you need to succeed. I think this paves the way for a good partnership and a sense of trust in the relationship going forward.

If I start by saying, “Based on your current site, I predict the cost will be $50,000,” you’re going to remember that number forever. It’s not a hard thing to remember; it’s $50,000! And now it’s engrained in your skull. With every adjustment I make, you’re going to think about that number. But what I want you to focus on is what you need and what will bring value to your business.

So as you prepare to meet with an agency about your company’s website, take time to identify what you want. It makes sense to compare this kind of purchase with that of an automobile – both in initial price and pricing ongoing. They’re both things you’ll buy and maintain for years to come.


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