One of the most common questions asked by business owners considering a new website is, “How much is it going to cost?” As the primary decision maker for their company, they are right to be concerned with the price tag. In many ways, it is understandable: the more money they save, the greater their revenue. The difficulty occurs when you want to compare design quotes between companies and find that pricing can vary. When it comes to website design, it seems impossible to determine a standard for pricing. How can the average business owner make an informed decision based on cost, without knowing the average price of a website?
The average website today will typically cost between $2,000 and $30,000. For most business owners, that range can be intimidating. What are the factors that determine how much a site will cost?
Website size is based on number of pages. This is an important component in your website, because it affects the visitor experience on your site. The page layout can affect the amount of time spent on a page, the information that the visitor finds and the actions that they take. As a guest moves between pages, it is important to have the site layout intuitively established to give the user an enjoyable experience.
Most web designers use base pricing for websites as a starting point for determining the price. Each page is built separately, and requires its own structure and content. The more pages, the more time and work that your site will need. Before you meet with a web designer, consider what information your website will contain, and how you would like it laid out. You may be surprised by the number of pages your site will require to give your site’s visitors the information you desire.
Small: 1 to 5 pages
Medium: 6 – 15 pages
Large: 15 or more pages
Every website is different, based on the needs of the business. What will your website do for your business? Will visitors learn about your services? Make an appointment? Purchase goods or services? Find contact information? All of these features add a different level of complexity to your site and can add to the overall cost of your website. What seems like a ‘simple’ page, may actually require high level complex coding based on the specific options you require.
One mistake many business owners make is focusing on the ‘bells and whistles’ of their site, instead of the functionality. A clean, easy to use interface that guides the user through the buyer journey is more cost effective than a site that has sliding menus and fancy ‘tricks’. Determine exactly what you want the user to experience during their visit to your site, and what the result of their visit should be. Develop a ‘must have’ list, as well as a ‘would like to have’ list. Your web designer can give you insight into what will work, and give you an idea of how various features will impact the cost.
Another important component in the pricing of your website is the content, or meat of your site. Once the structure has been built, your site will need both information and graphics to fill the pages. Where will this information come from? Will you provide the web designer with the copy (words) to include on each page, or will they generate the content themselves?
There is no right or wrong answer, but the decision can affect the price. In addition, not all web designers make good copywriters. Before selecting a designer, find out what experience your web designer has writing content (ask for work samples) and ensure that their writing style matches your corporate brand.
Web pages also include graphics: pictures, videos, infographics, charts, etc. These images should be high quality and formatted for use on web pages to allow for easy streaming and downloading. Where will these graphics come from?
Experienced web designers have resources for high quality stock images, but they will add additional cost. (Typically, each image is priced individually.) If you wish to have custom images, you will need to provide these images to the web designer in the correct size and format. You may wish to hire a professional photographer/videographer who is experienced shooting images for web, which will add indirect costs to your website project.
Once your site is finished, what happens when you want to make changes? Will you need to contact your web designer for every change? Do you want to manage minor changes (such as page content, inventory pricing or news updates) on your own?
Discuss with your web designer the content management system they use. Is it user friendly so you can make additions and revisions as necessary? Do they offer training or manuals? Consider the long-term usage of the site and what will work best for you and your business.
As technology changes, updates and routine maintenance are imperative. How will these duties be handled? Some web designers offer a monthly upkeep service for a nominal fee, while others charge on an ‘as-needed’ basis. Find out what maintenance the web designer offers to determine the effect that will have on pricing.
While each website is as unique as the business it represents, today’s websites have a few standard features that should be included in the design. The ‘best practices’ for today’s websites include social media buttons and links, search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, efficient coding and easy contact integration. Regardless of how simple or complex your site is, these features should be built-in to the price of your website.
With a ride range of pricing possibilities, it may seem daunting to determine which web designer to use for your company’s website. To make your decision, look beyond price and evaluate the experience and benefits of using one designer over another. Look for a company that can combine the best practices of today with the aesthetics and functionality you desire. The price may be higher than you anticipate, but the cost savings in time and aggravation from re-doing your site or hiring another designer to ‘fix’ your site will be worth the extra expense.
Interested in finding out what we offer in website design? Portside Marketing has been building websites since 1997, and has extensive experience with business sites of all sizes. We pride ourselves on offering top-level customer service to all of our clients, and would love the opportunity to show you how we can help you!