I’ve hired web designers all my business life.
Until I started working with small businesses with small budgets for wine internet marketing
Then the bills that a corporate would sign off without hesitation looked like an extraordinary usage of a limited sales and marketing budget.
So I started to work out how to make it cheaper. I had to with a small business. The web (including Google and email) gave the best ROI on marketing spend compared to TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and brochures.
The short story is that I learned html and Dreamweaver to create websites. This was hard work and whenever you pay someone for to do this they deserve every penny.
Then in 2008 a new Open Source Content Management System (CMS) called Joomla 1.5 came onto the scene. Instead of doing lots of work on the ‘framework’ of a website I could install this software on a third party web server – and focus on the content and store. What’s more…
I could purchase a design (known as a “template”) for $50 to $500 and with one click change the complete design of the website!
Man I was pretty excited about this at the time – in fact I remember my eyes popping out of my head at the implications for me. It wasn’t till later that I saw the implications for web design community.
In short I just no longer needed them. I felt guilty about this as they are generally hard working souls who are just trying to run their small business.
There is a still a place for them too. They can either focus on completely custom made and unique designs for larger businesses or they can create a template and sell it on one of the myriad of websites that do this (another post that one). I fear they will never make much income if they stay with the traditional website developer model.
Anyhow the benefit is that the cost to me and my clients of a professional website plummeted from $2000-$20,000 to a few hundred.
Note the web developers aren’t ripping us off – it’s just their business model is different. They have to pay salaries of perhaps $200,000 (3-4 people) another $40,000 in expenses gives an overhead of $240,000. Let’s say they get 2 websites a month. Then they have to charge $10,000 just to break even ($240,000 / 24 months). Sometimes that can do it for less or more depending on the number of hours of work required.
Compare this to the costs of doing it yourself
The software is free (e.g. Joomla or now I use WordPress and magento ecommerce). The server lease per annum is about $300 to $1000 depending on your requirements (e.g. SSL security the “s” in https).
I’ll admit the first website can be a bit slow and so may take a couple of weeks to set up for some and a day for others. But you can get it down to hours with practice. Including your time it may cost $500-$2000.
I’ll also admit that there are some people who should stay away from computers
I use to sit on my couch and use to tell my laptop that I loved her. My (ex)wife didn’t find it very funny … but the point is that I do enjoy this technology and spending all day getting some software to work can be fun. To some.
But maybe not to yourself. You may find technology frustrating or just don’t have the time to get something to work.
You may also think that you should focus on the things that really matter to your business – such as face to face customer sales and service or the product ranging.
Fair enough – then hire someone to do it, see my other posts (e.g. the Ranking) on your options.