Our clients often ask us why we offer this service, but not that one. Why our price is so low and how can we publish a website, provide a theme, maintenance and support at that price. And then, some ask why we charge so much? So, how do you know what is fair and what is not. What’s the right price?

Well, it depends on the level of service you need. If you go to a high-level service when all you need is a simple website, then you’re going to pay a higher price for that simple website simply because the supplier is in a higher level of service with a price to match. If you take your car to a dealer for service likely the rate per hour will be higher than your neighborhood car repair shop and that shop may not have the latest updated resources as the dealer. The local shop may have good knowledgeable mechanics, but not certified. It’s a no brainier the dealer has higher cost and must charge more.

On the other hand, if you require a complicated multi-functional website and look for the cheapest price you won’t get the desired results. Simply, because the cheaper service will not have the higher-level of resources. The cheapest studio may have designers with awesome talent, but the higher-end agency has Silicon Valley experience with M.I.T degrees. Thus, you get a complicated multi-functional website that is slow, crashes a lot and looks cheap.

So, what do you need in regards to a website and what should you pay for it?

Do It Yourself

Getting a website up and running requires a domain, hosting and a theme. The theme design ranges from simple one page to complicated multi page websites with custom functionality. The talent, resources and cost ranges respectfully. Then there is the level of support and maintenance, again they range accordingly.

For a DIY, a typical breakdown of expenses required to get up and running might look something like this:

  • Domain: $10/year privacy$12/year
  • Hosting: $10/month – $30/month
  • Premium Theme: $50-$200
  • Premium Plugins: $15-$200 (each; some are one-time purchases, others are monthly/annual licenses.)
  • Rough Totals: $200-$1,000+

This is of course assuming no one already owns the domain you want (which could set you back hundreds or even thousands depending on the situation), that you can keep premium theme and plugins to a minimum, and that you personally have the time, knowledge, resources, software programs and experience to set everything up by yourself.

Turnkey Website, Setup & Maintenance

As websites evolves and advances it has somehow become both harder and easier to use. Easier in the sense that the basics are becoming simpler and more accessible to casual users. Harder in the sense that as it grows in power and flexibility a wider range of tools and services have emerged to turn websites into just about anything.

Ironically, the combination of a maturing platform and its growing complexity has extended the website design and publishing learning curve beyond what many people are comfortable or interested in navigating.

This complexity has made website developer a valuable service provider. Think of them as similar to Photoshop experts. They may not be able to build the software they use, but they can do some impressive things with it.

That’s where the turnkey website setup and maintenance providers come in. They’re not offering custom design or development but rather a high level of expertise with a set number of website design tools that fit a niche.

Turnkey Website, Setup & Maintenance providers have become an expert in setting up blogs, portfolios, small business pages, etc. They have learned the ins-and-outs of a major theme framework and the necessary plugins to have someone up and running in a matter of days as opposed to the DIY taking weeks or months.

Turnkey Website, Setup & Maintenance providers could also be a domain and hosting service. They could also offer related services such as site maintenance, marketing strategy, content strategy, website training and more.

  • Pricing models range from:
  • Hourly: $50-$100 per hour
  • Flat Rate: $500-$1000+
  • Monthly: $30-$50/month (in addition to the initial hourly or flat rate fees)
  • A-la-cart Extras: $100, $200, etc. per strategy document, training course, and so on.
  • Rough Totals: $500-$2,500+ (plus possible monthly or a-la-cart services)

Will this cost more than DIY? Absolutely! But not as much as getting everything done custom, and let’s face it, that’s not what everyone needs. For the right person, this sort of service package will provide a lot of convenience
e, peace of mind, and a smoother navigation of the website learning curve. Not to mention meet all their practical online needs.

This approach works best when the service provider has developed a very specific niche, has tight constraints (on time, number of edits, tools, add-on services, etc.), and can basically do one thing really well and very quickly; taking their client from an idea to a fully functioning website in a short amount of time.

Custom Website Design/Development

Custom Website projects are where things get really interesting. This is unequivocally the domain of expert Website Developers and Designers. Where the desirability and effectiveness of turnkey solutions hits a wall and something made-to-order is required.

These service providers will be proficient in PHP, CSS, Javascript, and MySQL. They will most likely have contributed to core and have at least 3 years of Website experience. They may be a Website thought leader, contributing talks at seminars or articles online.

They will be capable of creating custom themes and plugins as well as resolving compatibility issues with other needed tools. They’ll deliver code that is light, clean, and easy for others to work with in a design that is uniquely yours. It’s a real dream service and if you need it and can afford it, it is well worth the cost.

  • Many custom Website design and development work falls within the following price ranges:
  • Custom Website Theme: $3,000-$6,000 (for design and development)
  • Custom Website: $6,000-$15,000 (for design and development, with custom plugin functionality.)
  • Custom Website eCommerce Site: $6,000-$20,000
  • Custom Website Web App: $15,000-$60,000+

This approach works best when expertise, vision, and budget all line up. Clients, you will want to make sure that this is the solution you actually need before dropping this kind of money–and check references! Service providers will want to do everything they can to illustrate and communicate the value their custom work and experience is bringing to the relationship.

Tip for Potential Clients: Understand Your Primary Objective (And Don’t Be Afraid of the Right Solution)

My final word to anyone looking to hire Website help is to understand what you need your website to do and don’t be afraid of taking the necessary actions.

If you need a custom solution, don’t try to cut corners. Most likely you will waste time and money and then in the end still need to shell out for something custom. Or worse, take a loss and have nothing to show for any of it. Custom work by a top professional is a thing of beauty. If you need it and its within your budget it is the ideal way to go.

If the primary objective of your website can be met with a slightly customized existing theme and plugins, don’t go custom to suite your ego or because someone tells you to. Find a reputable service provider and put them to work. You’ll get up and running quickly, cheaply (relatively speaking of course), and get just the website you need.

So, where does U.S. Website Studio fit in?

One of the biggest mistakes a Website service provider can do is take every client that comes along. We are not a Custom Website Design/Development provider.  Our ideal client is the customer who needs a Turnkey Website, Setup & Maintenance provider.  Over-reaching, over-promising, and under-delivering are all quick ways to lose our reputation. Instead, we work within our strengths and develop a killer “x factor” that makes a perfect fit for our prospective clients.

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