December 23, 2006 in Design Process, Misc

First Rule of Web Design

You dont talk about prices. Second rule of web design is? You don’t talk about prices. If you are looking into buying a website for your company and are wondering how much a website will cost you, then in most cases you may as well give in looking as most UK and worldwide companies hide their prices until they know who you are by the means of an annoying quote form or worse. There are two sides to this argument the first arguing that it’s because you cannot possibly estimate a “real” project cost, and the other camp voices that you should be honest about your prices from the get go.

Most companies are very scared of their competitors finding out about their prices, and for this reason they hide theirs even though they probably have competitive prices and a great service. This is a shame as I imagine a lot of customers arrive at their sites look around the services or products for a while and then search for the prices. Instead of a simple price list they may arrive at a quote form or worse a few linked forms with steps basically gathering as much data they can on you to help their marketing.

Quick read web

The first thing you learn in web design school (not literally) when it comes to content is to create small chunks of information for readers. The nature of the web is for its users to quick read, that is they browse for what they want and because there are so many competing websites offering similiar services or products they quick read and then move on. If your prices are hidden and your competitors prices are clearly identified who do you think the user will trust more.

Web design firms

I know web design pricing for projects is very difficult and that because we never know the exact tasks, deliverables and objectives until we have had quite a few meetings and iterations of the design process we cannot completely price fairly and need to estimate our pricing.

But we could still hint at what the prices are, maybe just hint at a few average price points for example SME, Brochure site and E-commerce site. These are just sample prices for a typical scenario. Based on these scenarios the prospective customer can tell whether you are within their budget which will waste little of their time and yours.

For each scenario you could add up the tasks involved versus the time span and calculate the sum, then show this as a price range. Then you can add factors such as for every extra page add fifty pounds etc. This would be more beneficial to a prospective client than no pricing at all.

Usability issue

Is it ludicrous to claim that not showing your prices is a usability issue? Well yes probably, but my perspective is that we should think about our users and what they are looking for and if they are looking for prices for a service then we should should supply. One point I want to make though is that if you do add prices to your services then make sure they are accurate and up-to-date, also ensure they clearly identify additional charges.


Designbit is my blog and place of expression and development, for myself and my small readership, I never intended this site to win clients. That is why I am currently in the middle of creating a web design studio and this is what spearheaded this article, I was comparing companies prices from a prospective clients point of view and the results where quite interesting. I quickly dismissed web design companies that didn’t show prices or at least didn’t hint at their price range.

So I guess I was spying on other companies, comparing prices and deciding what I liked and disliked about their services and yes I was looking at their prices from a competitive perspective as well. So I may have contradicted myself, because one of the reasons some companies dont show their prices is so people like me cannot undertake that kind of research / marketing and give them competition.

But I do think a large percentage of prospective customers will agree with me that a clear pricing structure aids their shopping. So I have decided that on my web design studio I will indeed show prices as I described above, or I will at least have some detailed scenarios.

About Anthony

Anthony Brewitt is Design Bit, has been for years - he's an experienced WordPress Designer, and Muggle-born Marketing Philosopher. Let’s talk about your website; your marketing, blog design, and that cool new mobile web thingy. Contact Anthony

5 Responses to First Rule of Web Design

  1. A price tag attached and published on the website is an added advantage in gaining clients. With the detailed description that we provide most clients might get a wrong hint of our price to be fairly high.

  2. I think it’s fair to set up a basic price list to show clients or display directly on the website itself. But as we all know sites are rarely the same as business are all different. So custom build sites should be quoted individually.

  3. We actually put our pricing for general types of projects on our website with details of what we will do for them. Obviously this will need to be refined as every project is different. However for the most part it will give a good indication. I think this is much better than being all cloak and dagger.

  4. I’m not sure this is always true, if you have a fairly narrowly defined list of what the client will get in advance, displaying your pricing upfront can pay off.

  5. Nick Baldwin

    Good Post. Price ballparks and standards. When the client comes to you wanting more – price more.

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