Getting a website as a small business owner can intimidating and expensive. Not only do they need to shop around to find a trusted web design agency or freelancer, they also have to learn about things like website hosting, domains, search engine optimization, maintenance and more. Even that is a simplified list. If I wasn’t scared of putting you to sleep I would go into even more detail; like the difference between shared hosting and dedicated hosting or how search engine optimization works but put simply… Getting a website can be challenging where as getting a website package can be easy. Today we are going to cover everything you need to know about web design packages, and why they are the best option for small businesses.
What Are Web Design Packages?
For a website to be built, run correctly, and show up in search results it needs a lot of stuff. This “stuff” includes content, hosting, a domain, search engine optimization, maintenance and more. Traditional web design agencies usually charge small business owners to build a website, however they don’t provide anything needed for the website to be built in the first place or for it to stay online and succeed afterwards. This means small business owners will not only need to hire a web design agency but will also have to hire a content creator / copywriter, graphic designer, a hosting company, someone to take care of the maintenance, another agency to handle the search engine optimization and so much more. This obviously gets quite time consuming and expensive.
Website packages on the other hand take all of those elements and put them into one package. The website packages provided by each web design agency obviously differ. There are no one-size-fits-all packages that each and every agency offers however, if they are a good agency and provide packages that actually help small businesses, their packages should include everything a business needs for their website to succeed online; and they’ll do so for one easy-to-understand, affordable monthly fee.
For example, here at Worldwide Web Designs we offer a website package that has no upfront cost but rather is $99 per month, and includes a custom website design, content creation, copywriting, on-page SEO, hosting, maintenance, a domain and free updates. We also offer a 30 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee, although none of our clients have ever taken us up on it! I know it may seem we have a bias, which I guess we do, but later in the article we will compare our services our competitors in the most straight forward, honest way possible and you could decide for yourself.
What Should Be Included in a Web Design Package?
Not all web design packages are made equal. In this section we are going to go over what should be included in every web design package and why each element mentioned is important to a website and the small business owner as a whole.
#1) Content Creation and Copywriting
Website content refers to the text, images, videos that are displayed on a website. Content is incredibly important to a website, both for SEO and user experience. I have seen companies try and make content themselves and have it come out horrible. It doesn’t matter how well a website is built, if it uses out-of-focus, low resolution images then it’s not going to look good. Same goes with written content. It doesn’t matter if you’re an English major if you don’t know that Google prefers content written in an active voice rather then a passive one. Or how to place keywords throughout your website so search engines know what your website is about without you getting penalized for keyword stuffing. I have also seen companies hire a content creation / copywriting company and ended up spending more on that then the website itself. Don’t get me wrong, professional level content creation specialist and copywriters are good at what they do but spending $5,000 on it isn’t necessary for a local small business. Recently, I have seen companies use AI to create content and that is the worst of all. While it can generate content easily, it doesn’t demonstrate expertise, and there’s a chance it could provide inaccurate information, something an authoritative author wouldn’t do.
#2) The Website Itself
Any package should obviously include the website itself, that should kind of go without being said, but you’d be surprised! Part of my job is researching other web design agencies that offer pay monthly website packages and more then 50% of the time they charge a “build” or “startup” fee. All website packages should come with the website design and development, for no additional charge!
When getting a website, a big surprise for clients are hosting costs. Other then the annual cost of a domain, hosting is the main reason that a website can never be a “one time only” payment. Imagine your website as a sign, hosting is the billboard that your sign goes on. Without hosting, your website cannot go online and therefore, can not be seen. Not all hosting is made equal either. If you’d like, you can learn more about hosting in our guide to website cost but at the end of the day, it is one of the most important things your website package should include, second to the website itself.
#4) Website Maintenance
For a website to run well it needs regular maintenance. Many small business owners underestimate its importance, but it’s a critical component that should always be included in a comprehensive web design package. A well-maintained website not only runs better but is also better equipped to defend against attacks. God forbid, if your website is attacked, a good website maintenance package will include regular backups of your website, making it easier to recover in case the worst case scenario does happen. To be honest, I could probably do a whole separate article on the importance of website maintenance. I’m not going to even broach the subject of evolving browsers and SEO algorithms because I think you get the point, make sure your website package includes maintenance as well as regular backups!
#5) Website Updates
You might be thinking we just covered this in the last section but website updates are difference then website maintenance. Website updates include changing the current website content; like a picture or some text; while website maintenance means keeping the current content up to date and running smoothly. Free updates are included in every Worldwide Web Designs package but that is not the case for most of our competitors. Most business owners think once they are happy with their website they won’t need it updated but it’s good to have the option included in your web design package for a couple different reasons. First of all, a stagnant website could hurt SEO. What keywords you should be trying to rank for consistently change and you should always be trying to improve your content. Secondly, if you ever do want an update, if they are not included in your web design package you risk having to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to pay for it to be done.
Like I mentioned, Worldwide Web Designs includes free updates in all of our web design packages but that is not the case for our competitors. Most of them don’t include free updates and the ones that do usually limit them by a certain amount of time each month or year. If you don’t see updates in the package you are looking to purchase, just be sure to ask the agency what it would cost if you did ever need content updated, so you can at least be prepared and know what you’re getting into for when the time comes.
#6) Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization also known as “SEO” is a complex topic but put simply, it means optimizing a website so it shows up high in the search results. Within SEO there are many sub categories though and that is where it can get even more confusing. The main one you should be looking for in your web design package is called “on-page optimization”. This means that your website gets built with SEO in mind. There are obviously agency to agency variations in how in-depth the optimization is, but for Worldwide Web Designs this means researching competitors, keywords, search terms and niche specific content before the website is built; then building it and it’s content with those specifics in mind. On-page optimization also includes making sure the content is structured correctly, that it is fast on all devices, and that it is secured for it’s users.
This is the type of SEO you should look for in your web design package. Since it can take new websites a minimum of 6 months to 1 year to start ranking in Googles top 10, it’s good to give your website the best chance possible right from the start. With that being said, for websites to successfully rank it will take more then on-page SEO alone. We recently released a guide on how small business owners could do their own SEO for free, which you could see by clicking here.
What Should You Avoid in a Web Design Package?
Web design packages can be a great option for small business owners but there are definitely some things that should be avoided. Below I list 3 of the main things you should avoid when getting a web design package but really they are true when working with any type of web design agency.
Some web design agencies use proprietary software that makes it so only they can access and edit your website. Whenever you are getting a website built, be sure to ask the agency or freelancer what they are using to build it and if they are using their own proprietary software, run away as fast as you can. If not, you might be stuck with them forever paying licensing fees or having to hire another developer to rebuild your website if they ever go out of business.
Like most people, I hate hidden costs. There are a lot of hidden or even just unknown costs in web design but when it comes to web design packages, make sure there are no “build” or “startup” costs, minimum time you have to be with the agency, or any cancelation fees.
Badly Built Websites
If the agency you are thinking of getting a website with has a poorly built website themselves, you should stay away. I know that seems obvious but I am constantly surprised how many agencies have a horrible website. It will be slow, badly designed, or even have bugs. If that is the case, then chances are the website they build you won’t be so great either. Whenever you arrive on an agency website, navigate around. Visit all of the pages. Click all of the buttons, read the content, check for spelling errors, and look at it on a few different devices to make sure it is fully responsive.
Why Are Web Design Packages the Best Option for Small Businesses?
Getting a website can be a confusing, overwhelming and expensive experience. Web design packages allow getting a website to be laid out simply and for one predictable price. They are great for new businesses and the right package makes scalability simple so your website can grow alongside your business. Most of the time they are more affordable as well, our packages for example start at only $99 per month and we have a 30 day money back guarantee. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to comment below or reach out and of course if you are interested in a website package from Worldwide Web Designs, you can see all of our available options by clicking here.