Do you know how much a website is supposed to cost?
I guess if you’re reading this you are like so many people who just are not sure. At Masterpiece Web Designs we meet people every day who are worn out, jaded and feeling frazzled over this question. No one wants to spend too much on anything and in this ever changing world of technology and design standards, who is keeping up with the values, cost of labor, and out and out cost of deliverables? Deliverables? How do you get your mind around that, too? Some of this stuff is intangible. There are supposed methods and technologies for generating SEO, backups, WordPress updates etc… which ones are extras, which are necessities?
We hope you’re contemplating all of this. We want our clients to be educated and understand the value of what we’re providing. Those of us who aren’t rich or famous have a finite amount of money, and we always want to feel like that money is being used in the smartest way possible. We are especially cautious when it comes to paying for something intangible like a website – you can’t hold it in your hand. You’ve been promised a ‘bill of goods’ – ‘return on your investment’ – as we say ‘It’ll pay for itself!’
So this is the scary thing: You could ask for quotes from 10 different designers and receive 10 completely different dollar amounts, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. How do you decide what amount you’re willing to pay? We have some tips for you on how to narrow down the bidders, and know that you’re working with the right designer(s) to have your project done at the right COST.
So before we tell you how much your site should cost, we insist that you read these tips that will help you understand WHY your website is totally worth every penny.
TIP 1 KNOW WHAT YOU NEED AND HOW MUCH THAT STUFF COSTS
Understand which components and features you need. Never assume that your needs are “simple” or should be cheaper than a designer’s standard rate. Some things look easy but are very complicated, while others seem like a big deal but are very easy to implement. Your site may only consist of a single page, yet that doesn’t mean it’s automatically cheaper than one with 5 or even 100 pages. Do you need testimonials, forms, a blog feed, charts/graphs? Do you have your own photos and images? Do you need a gallery or portfolio of images? Do you need an e-commerce site?
Keep in mind that we (designers) don’t always price by the amount of time something takes. Your doctor can stitch a cut in 10 minutes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require knowledge, skill, and precision. Do the doctors that perform a procedure quickly and more efficiently charge less and by-the-hour? Likewise, we have spent considerable time learning to do what we do. No we’re not out to save lives, but what we do requires lots of thought, research, practice, and know-how. The more experienced we are the faster so charging by the hour is not really fair. Bottom line is: adding things like forums, ecommerce, opt-ins, memberships, and other custom functionality is simply going to cost more money and requires a designer that has experience with these forms of media.
TIP 2 UNDERSTAND YOUR DESIGNER’S SKILL LEVEL
Yes, you can get a website for $150. No, it won’t be the same quality as a website that costs $1500. It’s like the difference between a bicycle and a Lexus. Both will get you where you need to go, but one is decidedly better than the other. Designers who charge more are providing you with expertise you won’t find at a bargain rate – and in most cases, the benefits will definitely outweigh the added costs. If you automatically choose the cheapest option, you risk hiring an inferior designer.
TIP 3 WHAT’S THE ROI?
For example, do you know the answer to these questions?
1) How important is blogging? Will I really see results if I hire someone to blog for me?
Answer: Blogging is a surefire way to get noticed and get a higher rank on search engines! You’re adding information and content to your site. Make it interesting, and you’ll attract readers to your site, which also boosts SEO.
2) What will I gain from a professional design?
Answer: Whether you want to attract better advertisers or get featured on big name websites, a professionally designed website or blog will always outperform a generic one. If you knew that spending $2000 now would earn you 5-6 times that in the next year alone, wouldn’t it make sense to spend the money?
3) Should I outsource the website/blogging or tackle it myself?
Answer: Many, many companies come to us for a quote, then tell us they’re going to design their own sites or get their kid to do it to save money. Here are some scenarios we see regularly:
They waste hours and hours trying to figure out what to do, then the end result still looks awful.
They waste hours and hours trying to figure out what to do, then get frustrated and hire someone anyway.
They immediately go hire a cheaper designer, then end up hiring us to fix a mess.
They pay for another design within a year of the DIY or super-cheap job because it wasn’t what they wanted.
In those situations, we see wasted time, money, and/or effort.
If you’re a blogger, focus on blogging, especially if that’s how you earn your living. There’s no shame in outsourcing the things that aren’t a good use of your time.
TIP 4 REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT HAVING A WEBSITE IS TO YOUR BUSINESS
Know that nowadays over 60% of internet users research products and services online before they make a purchase. If your company doesn’t have a website, regardless of what you do or how many employees you have, you are totally missing out. That said, having an ugly, outdated website isn’t going to help you much in the reputation department. It’s easy to tell yourself that any web presence is better than none, but you can certainly lose potential clients or customers if they perceive your brand as “cheap” or low tech / behind-the-times.
How will you use your company website? Do people use your website to learn about what you offer? Make appointments? Purchase products? Find your phone number? Two important points about this: (1) If your website doesn’t lead to more business, that’s a problem. And it’s not because the web doesn’t work – it’s because your site doesn’t. (2) If your website does lead to more business, it’s time to ask yourself what could help improve conversion rates or make things easier for clients and customers.
Are you sure about what your online marketing needs are? Sometimes we meet business owners who are obsessed with things that simply don’t matter, or things that are even totally out of date and irrelevant. They absolutely must have a menu that pops out a certain way, or they want to push content lower on the page just to make the logo bigger. And while they’re worrying about all those nitpicky details, they’re missing the fact that half their visitors never click beyond the homepage. If you aren’t sure what your business site needs, it’s time to consult with someone who does- get an outside opinion, and a professional one at that. Immediately.
TIP 5 THINK ABOUT WHO YOU WANT TO HIRE AND WHETHER THEY CARE ENOUGH
Is your web designer local, and do they care? Do they seem trustworthy and do they know what they’re talking about? When they seem like they don’t completely know, are they honest about it? Are they part of a network of folks who rely on them and can they get all the answers if they do not have them? Are they too eager or not enough eager to take on your challenge? If their reputation locally is on the line, they’ll more than likely do their best to get you a fair price and do a great job!
OKAY SO HOW MUCH WILL THE WEBSITE COST?
Okay okay now you get it… we’ve made you realize there are all these factors determining the cost of a website and what it boils down to is you knowing what you want and understanding the value associated with it. Website designs for businesses are more difficult to price because there are so many factors involved. I would say you should always expect at least several thousand dollars, if not much more than that. Don’t like that answer? Try thinking of your website as an employee – an awesome sales employee – and I think you’ll see why you’re getting a bargain as long as you have confidence that the designer you hire is a true partner and understands your needs fully. (It helps for YOU to understand your own needs too – read back over that list of tips real fast).
At Masterpiece Web Designs, we offer websites starting at $800 for a minimalist with a short short list of expectations and initiatives when it comes to being highly visible online. The great thing is, if you decide you were aiming too low on the ROI with the lower priced site, we can take a little $800 site and add to it with blogs and SEO services to get you a nice rank. That will cost you on the monthly fee end of things. The more pages, bells and whistles you need, the more your price goes up. $2000 is a typical starting point for a small company to get a nicely branded site with some useful features, geared for SEO. Let us help you strategize and understand your needs.