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What's the best way to ask for a quote from a Web Designer? #1: Does number of pages matter?

Esther Nelson
Web pages

We admit it. Sometimes, when we are asked for a quote, we sigh. Not because we don't want to quote for a website - it's our foundation, it's what we love to do: building a marketing tool that will bring in more enquiries and more sales gives us a great buzz. No, we sigh because sometimes, the way we're asked for a quote, we know there's a lot of educating to do. 

Take these examples:

"I'd just like a simple website with 5 pages. What will that cost?"

"I want to sell products so need to be able to take payments"

"I want an ecommerce site that has a page of demonstration videos, a booking system and one or two more pages. How much will that cost?"

"My idea is just like Facebook, only better. My budget is £500. Can you do something like that?"

I like to put a positive spin on things when I can, so lets turn the mood of this article around and now say Great! People are enterprising and they want to take their idea online. So now we have to pull the enquiries apart a little bit. Let's take the first one for this first post. 

Number of pages

Ah, it takes us back to the heady days of the new phenomenon of websites that are accessible to everyone. "Even the little guy can have a website now, through the magic of HTML..."

In truth, we haven't really been quoting for number of pages on a website for the last 10 years or so - since the Content Management System was born. The essence of a Content Management System is that you the user can add as many pages as you want, when you want to. Its up to you! That's a basic principle of the Content Management System. And even if you do want a tiny website that only has a little bit of content, we wouldn't recommend a static site - what happens when you move and need to change your address or phone number? What happens when you expand your services or products and want to add more content? Its so much easier if you have a Content Management System from the start. Because of this, what we look at instead is the different functions you need on your website. That tells us a lot more about your plans and will help us to quote more accurately for you.

What is a web page?

I might be getting a bit technical here, but it is important to realise that people have different understandings of the word 'page'. With the advent of the Content Management System, the word has become somewhat blurred and indistinct. At The Webmaster Centre we prefer to talk about pieces of content, or sections, rather than pages, because to us, a page is a piece of content that is static, doesn't change much and is generally one long piece of text with images interspersed to keep a reader's interest. A good example would be 'About Us'. However, there are other, different pieces of content, like a blog post, testimonial or gallery. Each of these are displayed on what might be called a page, but they are in essence little pieces of content in their own right, and not actually, strictly speaking, pages. So if you're looking for a website that incorporates a blog, a list of testimonials or anything where you're likely to add one piece of content at a time and it magically drops to the top of the list in that section, then describe it so we understand what you're thinking of. Then we'll be able to produce a much more accurate quote for you, sooner. 

On Friday I'll be looking at the next common request we get: taking payments. See you then!