WordPress, that’s the tool that people use to create their own website, right? You can download it for free and you’ll be able to purchase a standard theme for 20-60 dollars. A website can’t be all that expensive then. So a budget of a thousand dollars or so should be able to get you a Booking.com style website. Right?
Yes, we get questions like these on a regular basis. And it’s true. Theoretically, that is. You’ll be able to purchase a standard WordPress theme and install it on a server. After you have customized the theme to your liking, you can fill the site with content, and present it to the world. Sounds perfect. And in some cases, this is a decent, fast and affordable solution. However, if you’re looking to turn a great idea into a successful platform, we believe that this is not the sort of solution you should be looking for. It doesn’t align with how we approach web development either.
The difference between mass production and bespoke web development is huge
To us, web design is a craft and the internet is the prettiest place on earth. And as enamored we currently are with WordPress, it is just a tool. Our preferred tool, absolutely. WordPress provides our clients with a user friendly CMS. It offers them access to a fully fine-tuned website without knowing how to code. We turn the identity and specific needs of our clients into a tailormade, sustainable platform. This way, we ensure a safeguarded environment. One that’s optimized to render well on all devices, to be welcoming to search engines and to offer the best possible experience for both users and visitors. And that can optionally be connected with external systems. The websites we create, are custom-fitted to our clients intended audience, and focus on accomplishing goals. That’s how we see bespoke web development. And that’s what we’ll take a stand for. Every single time.
So, what does it cost?
Creating bespoke websites is in no way comparable to using standard WordPress themes. Neither when it comes to the content, nor the flexibility and, as a result, neither when it comes to pricing. This is exactly where the confusion happens. So, what exactly is the difference, what value does it add, and what do we mean when we refer to bespoke websites? And, lastly, why does bespoke web development at times cost 10-20 times as much?
To give you an idea of the expenses that come with custom development, let me elaborate a bit more on what we do. And about what sort of activities are involved in creating the sorts of WordPress websites our clients need.
What goals does your website need to accomplish? What are the online ambitions of your business? What will persuade your target audience? And what sort of website, look & feel and content will make sure of that? These fundamental questions are at the basis of your website. Even before WordPress is touched or a line of code has been written.
After all homework is completed, your vision has been determined, and the content has been gathered, the time has come to map out the site structure and design wireframes. This is where we lay the foundation for usability. In this phase, we’ll also decide for each responsive state what item needs priority, and what order of items will provide an optimal user experience. It’s our responsibility to anticipate the needs of visitors and to determine what will persuade them to take the next step.
Design & Development
Once we have mapped out the site structure and we have prepared the content, we’ll merge the various elements into a visual design. In close collaboration with the developers, our designers will design all templates, elements, and interactions. The visual design will reflect the colors, shapes, and fonts we have decided upon. These visual elements all need to serve the website’s objectives. The visual design merges content and functionality. And only a multidisciplinary team with experts of all needed fields of expertise will ensure an optimal result.
Based on the visual design, our developers will create a bespoke theme. The time this requires depends on the size and complexity of the project. And on the optional need for custom connections to other systems or online services. Oftentimes, a website also serves as a portal to a variety of other systems. These systems typically communicate by means of an API. We’ll migrate content, optimize for search engines, and “harden” your platforms to keep them safeguarded.
A simple calculation
Alright then, let’s do the math. We’ll use an ‘average’ project to add up all above mentioned activities. Needless to say, bespoke development means that the number of hours needed per website vary, and therefore the pricing varies as well.
In case of an extensive strategic phase, we’ll involve team members from each field of expertise. Strategy, design, accessibility, development and project management. For this stage, I’ll estimate an approximate of 120 hours (4 team members on a part-time basis, over the course of 2 weeks). To create a visual design, we typically need 1 designer for a two-week period. That’s about 80 hours. Turning the design into a fully functional theme will take a front-end developer and a back-end developer about two full weeks each. If you’re in need of additional custom development, this could easily extend into a 4 week period.
A streamlined, fully responsive site with a unique design, will easily gobble op 200-400 hours. That’s a substantial investment. However, when it leads to a substantial increase in conversion, or automates certain tasks that help you increase productivity of your staff, you may recover that investment in a matter of months. All these activities are carried out by seasoned professionals who continuously keep their expertise up to date.
What’s your budget?
We prefer to flip the question around. Instead of having a conversation about what a WordPress website costs, we’d like to inquire after your budget. And your needs. We’d like you to envision what a successful website looks like for you. And what results you’re looking for. For every challenge, we can come up with numerous solutions. All of our clients are looking to get the best bang for their buck. That’s why we won’t hesitate to inquire after your budget early on. It allows us to step into your shoes, consult, and suggest alternative solutions to accomplish your objectives.
Long story short: our services are tailormade. We design and develop high-end websites. We’ll take ample time to get to know you, your business and your stakeholders. And we price accordingly. We’re not afraid to state that you’ll likely recover your expenses in a variety of ways, though.
If you consider us a good candidate to partner up with for your next assignment, give us a call or send us a message. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to reach out either. We gladly take some time and help you clarify your goals. And if either of us is not convinced we’re the right choice, we gladly connect you with trusted agencies or freelancers that will likely be a better fit.
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