“Good, Fast or Cheap: Chose One”.
You may have heard this quote (or seen one of the associated memes) around the internet. What does it mean when it comes to web design or blog design? Are you getting the best value if you go the cheapest route? Why should you pay more for your blog design?
Let’s talk VALUE
What is Value? Value is defined as “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” Take the example of clothing. You could go and buy cheap clothes, however, those cheap clothes tend to wear out quickly and be made from cheap materials with cheap techniques (we won’t even get into the human rights issues that also surround these cheap clothes). Alternately, you can invest in high-quality, designer name, clothing, which tends to be made from better materials, and features a high standard of workmanship. These clothes usually will last a long time, if properly cared for, and are frequently timeless in style so you can wear them for many years to come without looking dated.
Value in web design and blog design is the same. Web design and development is an always changing field. There is literally something new you can learn every, single day! There are always new techniques and issues that need to be used or addressed to deliver the highest quality product. A good website will give you great amounts of value. This value comes a variety of places. It could be valuable to you that your blog is incredibly easy for you to keep updated, and make minor changes to. It could be that its well-coded, and loads quickly. This helps keep your server load low, and improves your SEO and helps keep visitors on your blog. It could be having a blog theme that perfectly embraces your branding and shows it off to the rest of the internet and makes you stand out in a sea of bloggers. Value is all of these things and more. It’s all the little details that go into creating a blog that works for you: design, SEO, and user experience (UX).
What about Fast?
Getting a new blog design is exciting! And you want it NOW!
But getting it fast will cost you more.
Simple, your blog designer probably works with several clients at one time. That’s because there are often delays in the blog design schedule. It’s not just a matter of putting in your order like you are at your local sandwich shop, it’s a matter of the designer getting to know you and your blog. A good designer will work with you to learn what your blog is really all about and what it really needs. This requires input from you, and multiple drafts of designs in order to make sure everyone is on the same page and you get what you need. A good designer will work with you and involve you in the process. You’ll be able to see it grow from a sketch to a fully functional blog, all while giving the designer your own input. If you need your blog redesigned quickly, the blog designer may have to substantially alter their schedule in order to fit you in and rely on you responding to them in a timely manner so they can collaborate with you and give you the product you need. That means moving their existing schedules around and possibly losing new clients or their own personal time (yes, designers are real people too, and like their free time, and have their own personal and family obligations!). To cover this cost, designers will generally charge an extra fee. Of course, creating a design takes time, and some time frames just are not doable. In general two weeks is about what it should take for a blog theme to be created. This means that everyone involved is active and on top of things, and there’s no heavy revisions or technical issues that spring up. A month is a better estimate, especially if your design is very involved.
Your Blog Isn’t Cheap
Here’s the thing about those cheap design sites: many of the designs are not original. Some are flat-out copies. There’s a reason they get done so quickly and so cheaply. Maybe it’s because they just copy the same design over and over, with minor edits, or maybe it’s because they are not very experienced and they just don’t have the skills a more seasoned professional has. Going back to the clothes analogy, there’s a reason cheap clothes are cheap. The same is true of websites, blogs, logos, and graphics (and to be honest, pretty much anything else you buy in life). Yes, you can sometimes get a good deal, but all too often it means you get something you aren’t happy with, then spend hours of your own time trying to fix it, or spending even more money on hiring a designer to fix it for you. Skip that hassle! You deserve better! Your blog is worth so much more than the cheapest option! Do you post content on your blog that is “cheap”? I don’t think so! I’m sure you post only your best content. Don’t do that to your blog’s looks. Invest in it as you would in the content you write.
Good Blog Design
What is good blog design anyway? A good blog design needs to have the following:
- Clean source code (This will help make your site fast.)
- Code that meets modern code standards (No outdated code!)
- Good UI Design (So it looks good.)
- Good UX (So it’s easy and intuitive for your visitors & readers to use and navigate)
- Responsive and mobile friendly (Works on ANY device)
- Good SEO structure (Ex. Proper use of H tags, meta tags)
- Is easy for the blogger to use & maintain.
- Future-proof. (It’s not made from or using technologies that will be obsolete anytime soon, like Flash.)
- It will not require a major update or complete redesign to meet future technology needs in the near future. (See also future-proof.)
- It’s branded & meets your specific needs (Because no two blogs are exactly the same.)
What’s a good price anyway?
If you aren’t familiar with web design and you’ve never worked with a designer before, it may be difficult for you to understand what a decent price is for a blog design is. For all intensive purposes we will assume we are talking about WordPress blog design and development. Blogger and Squarespace prices may vary. Blogger in particular tends to have much cheaper prices for blog designs.
- An average blog design will run you around $500. It will be customized to meet your needs, and usually will be based on the Genesis Framework. Your designer will usually give you several options in terms of layout, colors, fonts, images, and all other visual assets associated with your new blog theme.
- Custom web design for a simple site or blog design that is completely custom with no limitations on your options will be between $1,000-4,000 (sometimes more) depending on your needs. This will be a more flexible option and may also includes options like e-commerce abilities.
- The hourly rates for a US based freelance web designers & developers will run between $30-70 or more per hour. This will vary based on the designers or developer’s experience, location, and areas of expertise (skilled programmers who know a many different coding languages will charge more for their knowledge as will skilled designers with high quality portfolios).
Obviously these prices are a far cry from the $5 designs you might find on those cheap sites. You are paying for the value you get from these design professionals. That includes the acquired knowledge they have gotten over the years from both schooling and professional experiences. A well seasoned designer will know what works best when it comes to a blog design and will be able to design a blog that will entice your visitors to stick around and interact while allowing you, the blogger, to share the information you want them to get and successfully sell items, encourage email sign-ups and more.