Over the last couple of months (or maybe already since the beginning of 2008) more on more upcoming design studios are having a “pricing” page of sorts on their website explaining their pricing structure, what they charge for, sometimes already with a PayPal button.
I can but wonder what went through the mind of a design studio at that time…maybe it was like this:
Designer A: “Hey you know what, let’s make loads of money by adding the prices right there on the site! They will come in flocks!”
Designer B: “You sure?”
Designer A: “Of course I am, everyone does it these days!”
As a matter of fact I am trying to find anyone in the top 100 or top 200 web design studios in Europe which showed a price for their work. And here is why you shouldn’t…
A lesson in history
Let’s go back a bit more in time, when the first pricing tables appeared on web design / development based websites – the hosting companies. Here a pricing table is what sets you apart from the competition, if you can offer a decent hosting service with extras to a competitive price then users will come to you. Here it makes sense, because users tend to shop around before they commit to a hosting provider. But web design studios?
Pricing pages reduce conversion
I really do not know why design studios do this. Real life example: In my role as a consultant to a company in East Anglia I was trying to find an upcoming design studio that might be interested in doing some work for an established UK brand. I was looking for a studio with an interesting portfolio, interesting creative ideas and direction, and most of all being able to be flexible and – if required – bend over backwards or be strong with the client.
Sadly, whenever I went and looked around for designers and studios in the area with a somewhat decent portfolio I noticed a pricing page, or a “Special deal, 50% off our logo design prices!” type button. My next step was simple. Close the tab, look at someone else. Why?
(In)Flexibility and greed
It is simple psychology and marketing advice: having a pricing page indicates that the designer or design studio tend not to be flexible or tend to be after money rather than providing a decent service. In a day and age where the competition is literally a click away this can mean that this potential high-profile contract just slipped by your nose.
I was contracted to improve conversions with the help of SEO and redesign. Looking at their analytics stats I noticed that 65% of their visitors went to the pricing page and left. My first question was: “Did you think about reducing the prices?” They did. Four times in fact. Still no conversions. So I suggested removing the pricing page and bumping up their contact call to actions. No SEO, no redesign other than fixing the nav. Within 6 weeks their online conversion tripled.
Please, for the sake of a web design generation: you are a designer / design studio, get rid of the pricing page!