Purchasing a website is like building and maintaining a house.
Could you close your eyes and envision your perfect home? As you very well know, going from dreaming about this house and actually living there will involve a costly process.
This is more or less the same process that takes place with website design. At Pathfind Media, we consider all the steps involved when we determine our web design prices. Follow us with the building-a-house metaphor to see what we mean:
1. When you plan to build a house, you first need the right address
Your domain is your website’s address on the internet (e.g. pathfindmedia.com). This is where web visitors can find you.
Cost of a domain: The price of having an address on the web depends on your domain extension (.co.za, .com, .net, .org etc.). Each domain is unique and needs to be registered annually with the registrar of domains.
2. Having an address means that you have bought a plot of a specific size where you may build your dwelling.
In web terms, your websites and email addresses also need “plots”: they are hosted on special computers, called servers.
When Internet users type your domain into their browsers, their computers connect to the server where your website files are stored. Similarly, the email server stores the emails sent to your email address and then delivers them to your email client (e.g. Outlook).
Cost of hosting: The monthly price varies based on the disk space you occupy on the server to keep your website online 24/7 and to have your emails delivered.
3. Next, you should decide on all the specifications you desire in your home – those special features that will make it more practical or pleasant.
There are many specifications you’ll desire in your home to make it more functional or more attractive.
In website design, we use software components (called plug-ins) to add specific features or expand the functionality of your website. This software needs to be regularly updated to ensure that it remains secure (unhackable) and optimally functioning. To use and update plug-ins on websites, we need to purchase a license for it from the software developers.
Cost of software licenses: The monthly price varies based on what the software developers charge.
4. Your dream house will now be carefully designed and then skilfully built.
It may be big or have only a few rooms; it could boast intricate or more basic architecture. And there are endless purposes you may envision for it to fulfil!
Your dream website will also need to be designed and built according to your needs, whether a portfolio, eCommerce or brochure-style website. At Pathfind Media, you can choose from over 140 pre-designed layouts which we customise to your needs (almost like building a spec house), or we can design yours from scratch and expand it as you grow.
Cost of website design: We offer once-off or subscription-based packages (monthly). The price of design varies based on the size of the website (number of pages), the complexity of each page, and the different page types: static web pages (e.g. your About Us page), blog pages (to upload articles), project pages (for portfolio items), product pages (to showcase products or services), knowledge-base pages (for documentation), etc.
5. When construction is done, it’s time to furnish and decorate (yay, say the ladies!)
The decoration is done to suit your style and to make your home an appealing location for guests. This will likely be an ongoing process.
Website content is like the interior of your home. It sets the tone of your business and determines how comfortable visitors will feel on your site. Poorly written website content leaves a negative impression on users and affects future sales. The purpose of copyediting/-writing is to make sure that your message and language are clear, concise, consistent and correct. We also ensure that the information flow and navigation system within your website are logical and effectively telling your brand story.
6. Homes (at least South African ones!) need to be secured to keep the bad guys off your property.
Somewhere in the building process, you will need to think about this and security will be an ongoing concern as you start living in your house.
Websites are also in danger… Hackers are becoming more sophisticated by the day. With that in mind, our hosting provider, Hetzner, partnered with Cloudbric (a cloud-based application firewall or WAF) that will shield your website against hackers and malicious traffic.
7. Finally, you live in your beautiful home!
Unfortunately, this privilege does not come without regular house and yard maintenance as things deteriorate and get messy over time.
Likewise, websites need backend maintenance: constant and careful monitoring, support and upgrades to ensure their continued success and relevance. We perform the following tasks on a monthly basis: updating all software, making fresh backups on a different server, monitoring security, managing Google Analytics, manually checking the different pages of your website, and then sending you a report.
Cost of backend maintenance: The price is a fixed monthly fee.
8. As you live in your home, you’ll find that even a dream house needs regular renovations or expansions.
This is done to continue to meet your evolving needs.
Websites also need to evolve continually. We are on call for an agreed-upon number of monthly retainer hours to support you with website additions, content updates, on-page SEO, troubleshooting, branding or graphic design.
Cost of our retainer service: We charge a fixed hourly fee for your desired number of service hours per month. Extra hours can be added as needed.
9. But what does all this building and maintaining mean if nobody ever came over?
Your home’s guest appeal will inevitably affect how many visitors pop in for drinks at your place.
SEO (search engine optimisation) lures guests to your website. It determines how Google or other search engines view your website and where they will rank you when users search for certain keywords related to your business.
Let’s get started building your dream website!