Frequently asked questions.

About websites.



What is a responsive website?

What the heck is a retina display?

Basic Website Components and Costs

How much does a website cost?

So what's involved?

Three "types" of websites...

How much should I spend on a basic website?

How do I know what I'm paying for?


What is a responsive website?


Have you asked yourself, “What is responsive Web design?” Responsive Web design is an approach whereby a designer creates a Web page that “responds to” or resizes itself depending on the type of device it is being seen through. That could be an oversized desktop computer monitor, a laptop, a 10-inch tablet, a 7-inch tablet, or a 4-inch smartphone screen.
Responsive Web design has become one of the hottest trends in website design. This is due in part to the growth of smartphones and other mobile devices. More people are using smaller-screen devices to view Web pages.


The purpose of responsive design is to have one site, but with different elements that respond differently when viewed on devices of different sizes.


Let’s take a traditional “fixed” website. When viewed on a desktop computer, for instance, the website might show three columns. But when you view that same layout on a smaller tablet, it might force you to scroll horizontally, something users don’t like. Or elements might be hidden from view or look distorted. The impact is also complicated by the fact that many tablets can be viewed either in portrait orientation, or turned sideways for landscape view.

On a tiny smartphone screen, websites can be even more challenging to see. Large images may “break” the layout. Sites can be slow to load on smartphones if they are graphics heavy.

However, if a site uses responsive design, the tablet version might automatically adjust to display just two columns. That way, the content is readable and easy to navigate. On a smartphone, the content might appear as a single column, perhaps stacked vertically. Or possibly the user would have the ability to swipe over to view other columns. Images will resize instead of distorting the layout or getting cut off.

The point is: with responsive design, the website automatically adjusts based on the device the viewer sees it in.


Responsive sites use fluid grids. All page elements are sized by proportion, rather than pixels. So if you have three columns, you wouldn’t say exactly how wide each should be, but rather how wide they should be in relation to the other columns. Column 1 should take up half the page, column 2 should take up 30%, and column 3 should take up 20%, for instance.

Media such as images is also resized relatively. That way an image can stay within its column or relative design element.



What the heck is a retina display?

Part of a Retina Display on an iPhone 4. The pixels are not visible at viewing distance, creating an impression of sharp print-like text.

Part of a non-Retina Display on an iPhone 3GS. The pixels are visible at viewing distance.


Retina Display is a marketing term developed by Apple to refer to devices and monitors that have a resolution and pixel density so high – roughly 300 or more pixels per inch – that a person is unable to discern the individual pixels at a normal viewing distance. The goal of Retina Displays is to make the display of text and images extremely crisp, so pixels are not visible to the naked eye. This allows displays to rival the smooth curves and sharpness of printed text and immediacy of photographic prints.


These better quality displays have been gradually released over a number of years, and the term is now used for nearly all of Apple products containing a screen, including the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Macbook, MacBook Pro, and iMac. Apple uses slightly different versions of the term for these models, including Retina HD Display (iPhone 6 models), and Retina 5K Display, Retina HD Display or Retina 4K/5K Display (iMac).

Apple's Retina Displays are not an absolute standard but vary depending on the size of the display on the device, and how close the user would typically be viewing the screen. Where the user views the screen closer to them, as on smaller devices with smaller displays, they have higher PPI, while on larger devices with larger displays where the user views the screen further away, have a lower PPI.


Later device versions have had additional improvement, either counted by an increase in the screen size (the iPhone 6 Plus) and/or by PPI (the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and iMac with Retina 4K/5K Display), thus Apple using the name "Retina HD Display" or "Retina 4K/5K Display".


How much does a website cost?


A business owner asked three website development companies to submit a proposal to design her company website. She supplied the developers with the same “requirements document” that listed the website’s goals and functions. A week later each of the three web developers came back to the client with their estimates.


The first one had priced the project at $3,000, the second had priced it at $12,000 and the final web developer estimated the project at $32,000... Can you believe it? $32,000!!

If you’re waiting for the "magic pill"... well, there isn’t one. That’s because the joke is on the client who now needs to figure out why these estimates are so wildly different and which one represents the most realistic and reasonable budget for their needs.

Believe it or not, I often hear stories like this. One business owner actually sent us four proposals she had received and asked us to explain the differences in pricing. Unfortunately, most business owners have no way of knowing which bids are unrealistically low, which are outrageously inflated and which are in the right ballpark.


Please note: When we say “small business website” we are talking about an informational website consisting of approximately 5 to 20 pages with some basic content management and social media widgets.


Basic Website Components and Costs


On average, the following figures can be applied to estimating the cost of a small business website.

If you’d like a custom estimate for your website, please contact me.


Domain Name

Around $10/year

Web Hosting

$10 to $100 a year (depending on traffic and hosting services)

Planning, Design

and Development Time

60 hours and up

Continued Website Maintenance

$500 a year and up (depending on number/type of updates required)

Marketing Your Website Online

$500 a month and up



So what's involved?

The most common question I get is "how much will it cost for you to built us a web site?".

I've been answering that question for 14 years now. Hopefully I can help you.

You are trying to get a quote for a new website for your business so you Google a few terms you think will hit the mark. Then you start making the phone calls. Now if you are in the early days of planning your website and you don't have some sort of brief to give to the web design business on the other end of the phone you are going to get a lot of variation in costs quoted for your new site.

What you get quoted is dependent on the approach each web designer takes when building a website. The amount of time and attention to detail that goes into a website is strongly influenced by how much time and energy you (the client) is prepared to put into the project as well as your budget.


The list below shows some of the steps web designers go through when designing a site. Designers will put more or less time into the various steps and consequently this sets up some significant price variation.


Three "types" of websites...


Cheapest - $500 - $1,000
In the cheapest scenario a stock template is used and you are paying for the time to add content only. If you are on a limited budget this approach can work well, but your content must fit the template design. The standard of stock templates is quite good but still best chosen by your designer to match your content and business. If the designer has to modify the template too much to fit your content you might end up exceeding your budget on variations and spend more that a custom design.

Most Common - $1,000 - $2,000
Sometimes the client is organised with their content and have a strong idea on what they want the site to look like using other websites as examples. Sometimes the lack of a planning phase occurs because the client has not had time to gather or write sufficient content because they are busy with the day to day running of their business. It is difficult for the web designer to collate and organise content into a website with a few paragraphs of text in a word document.

Getting a custom design as opposed to using a template is going to get a website that better fits your business and the content you want to display. Another advantage is that updates to your site will take less time when the designer has coded the site rather than used a template.

More Expensive - $2,000 - $5,000
When the designer puts time and energy into helping you plan your website and lay out your content in a way that will increase sales or enquiry conversions it takes time in the planning, design and development phases. The extra thought into designing 'mini ads' and 'calls to action' that help draw the viewer to the most important pages on the site can make a big difference to the success of the site.

Some designers also put time into making your website search engine friendly which means researching keywords for your business and applying best practices while building the site. This process does not guarantee you magically land as the first result in Google but is a valuable first step towards decent placement in search engines.


How much should I spend on a basic website?

This will depend on your budget and the goals of your website. If your site is simply putting a business card online then something simple might do. If you want your website to portray your business and products/services in the best manner then a professionally designed and organised website is the way to go. The time to build usually reflects upon the quality of the final product.


How do I know what I'm paying for?


The best way is to double check with the designer.

  • Do you use a template or is it a custom design?

  • Do you help me plan and organise my content?

  • Can you show me examples of what I might be getting?



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