It happens all too often. I get a call from a small business looking to have a website developed. And, 9 times out of 10, they are wanting it on the WordPress platform. So, after having them fill out our new client questionnaire, so I can get an idea of what they are looking for in their new site, and make sure we are on the same page, I spend hours preparing a proposal and outline for the new site for them.

The proposal includes the estimated price, based on their expectations, as well as an estimated time frame. I quote a fair price for the job, only to have them come back to me and say Joe Schmoe from Craigslist quoted $400 for the job. SMH. (For those that don’t know, that is me “shaking my head.”). If you haven’t already read my article about the pitfalls of cheap website design, you can view it here.

I guarantee Joe Schmoe hasn’t taken the time to think through a real proposal, because he is working from a pre-defined price sheet that he uses to sell websites. He is a commodity trader. He sells a product, not a service. He is not an online marketing partner to the client, but rather a “store” with a few templates that get recycled from customer to customer.

On top of that, most of the time Joe Schmoe is not a professional designer and has no idea how to create sites that are SEO friendly and will actually work for their “customers.” He is likely just churning out one templated site after another, as quickly as possible, with no attention to detail for his customers.

How is a commodity different from a service?

Joe Schmoe’s goal is to push out as many cheap websites as possible, in as short a time frame as possible, to make a quick buck. So, he doesn’t have time for little things like paying attention to details.

He is selling a product, not a service. This is dangerous to the business purchasing the website because they have no long term support to make sure their site is working for their business and their business means nothing to this Craigslist website commodity trader.

My potential client is nothing but another customer to Joe. A customer is a person receiving a commodity (an item for a price), while a client is a person receiving a service. I don’t sell commodities. I work with clients and bring to the table my knowledge and experience, which is most definitely an important service, not a commodity product.

What goes into building a good WordPress site (not a cheap commodity)?

I recently ran across a nifty infographic that shows the amount of work that goes into creating a WordPress site by a developer or designer (if they are doing it right). It caught my eye because it is almost exactly the same process I take when developing a site.

For the entire scope of what goes into properly developing a WordPress website, please have a look below. If you really think someone is doing all of this (as they should be) for $400, $500 or even $800, you are sadly mistaken. Doing so would have them working well under minimum wage. Slave wages, in fact, and it wouldn’t be sustainable in the long run.

wordpress checklist infographic

Whew! That’s a lot of work there!

So before you purchase your website, think long and hard about whether you want a commodity broker creating it for you, who most certainly isn’t spending the amount of time needed to properly create your site, or a service provider and online marketing partner working in your corner?

Here’s hoping it’s the latter! 🙂


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Nora Kramer

Designer + Brand Strategist at Nora Kramer Designs
Nora Kramer is a graphic designer, website developer, and online marketing consultant, based in the Tampa Bay, Florida area, with over two decades of experience in graphic design, website development and company branding. She also has a passion for photography and writing. Nora received the Charlie Award (1st Place) in 2002 for "Best Magazine Feature Article of the Year" from the Florida Magazine Association for a cover feature article she wrote for "Create," a graphic design magazine. You can follow all of her social media channels at
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