Websites can have a HUGE range in cost, features, and functionality. To get a ballpark figure for what your company should spend on a website, let’s take a look at the three tiers we use, and what you can expect to pay for each depending on your project requirements.
Web Design PricingInvesting in a website is a lot like buying a house
3 Pricing Tiers
Basics vs. Small Team vs. Agency
1. We need the basics
If you just need the basics and don’t really care about design, you can probably get away with just jumping right onto your typical website building platforms like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace. Make your pages and posts and do everything you need to your heart’s content without ever hiring a designer or developer! Unfortunately, these website building platforms lock you into their ecosystem, and aren’t able to fine tune, and customize your site outside of what the platform allows. We frequently have clients come to us when their requirements exceed the capabilities of these types of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) platforms.
2. We need a small team
With a CMS like WIX, Weebly, or Squarespace, you’re not going to be able to bolt on your own features like you can on a CMS like WordPress. If your site needs a specific feature like a store locator or needs a new look, you’re probably going to start out in the second tier with a content management system that you can customize with the help of a company or developer.
3. We need an agency
Our third and final tier is reserved for clients who need the support of an entire agency to complete an overhaul of their website. These types of projects require more than just a developer to make a site work. They require a team to help not only with web design/development, but also to help with copywriting, organization of content, development of user personas, content migration, and the overall role your website will play with your digital marketing strategy.
$300 – $5,000 or What’s a budget?
1. We need the basics
A client who only needs the basics is probably just getting their business or idea started so there isn’t a fully fleshed customer base or brand. The most important part at this phase of the project is getting the “who what where when why” down on a page that probably won’t win any design awards, but should be easy to use and working on all browsers and devices.
- 0 – 5,000 monthly visitors
- Client will input their content
- Website is NOT essential to client
$5,000 – $15,000 Budget
2. We need a small team
These types of clients may have a small team of people capable of helping with some of the website design project. Clients who fall under this tier usually have had a site done before in the past, but it likely requires a facelift, or some sort of custom functionality that helps the client with some of its essential business functions like selling products or taking online applications.
- 5,000 – 30,000 monthly visitors
- Client helps organize content
- Website is SOMEWHAT essential
$15,000 and higher budgets
3. We Need An Agency
Clients in this tier are probably on the 3rd or 4th iteration of their site. These clients need a larger team of developers, designers, analysts, copywriters, or digital strategists to help craft a website that speaks to each of their customer segments. This tier of client also requires working with legacy content and design to craft a new look and website experience for visitors.
- 30,000+ monthly visitors
- Client + agency work on content
- Website is ESSENTIAL
You’re not ready to invest in a website platform if you haven’t set an underlying, specific goal for it. The days of a 5-page brochure site are gone if you want to stay competitive in the industries we work in.
There has to be an underlying reason or goal for the website before you even begin to design it. With the advent of Google’s PageRank, social media, and dwindling effectiveness of advertising, your website is essential to your ongoing marketing initiatives and overall visibility to the general public.
IS there an existing brand guide?
If you’re in the first tier and just need a basic site, you might not have an established brand identity or style guide. In fact, you may only have a logo and a tagline and not much else.
This will leave a lot of work either on your part, or on our part to develop a cohesive style guide, brand voice, and guidelines for how your brand speaks to the public through copywriting, and what the brand looks/feels like.
User experience + User interaction Design
Articles, text, logos, photos, videos, etc. Compiling and organizing content on your website so a variety of people, of varying levels of experience, with different needs can find what they’re seeking quickly is a major challenge with web design.
Organizing the content, and designing the experience your users will have will play a major role in the overall cost and long term success of the website.
Have you managed content before?
Websites are about as complex of a problem as you can have in technology–unlike apps on your phone, websites have to display on an infinite combination of screen sizes, and it has to be kept up to date by someone who isn’t a designer or developer who knows how to code.
That’s why the experience of the person managing the site content, design, and maintenance to make sure your users visiting the website will have a good customer experience, will also factor into the cost of a site.
WHAT’S A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A WEBSITE GOAL?
- We want to reduce our application paperwork
- We want to generate more revenue
- We want to sell more tickets
- We want to attract more customers
- We want to collect marketing data so we can stop wasteful ad spend
- We just want people to find us on Google
- We want launch a new product or service
- We’d like to inform our customers of important information
- We’d like to know more about our customers
- We need help recruiting new talent
- Minimalist branding available
- Very little copy or content (1-5 pages)
- Wants basic contact information front and center
- No transactions or interaction
- No custom coding
What’s wrong with the basics?Nothing at all.
This is where everyone starts, including me back in 1998 with our first website. The first websites we all built had some semblance of ‘the basics’ even for this dinosaur who built his first website on Angelfire with page frames, spinning 3d cross bone skulls, and <blink> tags. (Which is preserved it appears to this day.)
While these kinds of sites get the job done for awhile, they tend to deteriorate once you want to start customizing them, moving content elements around, or doing marketing campaigns. If all you need is a few pages about your services/locations/products then you likely don’t depend on your website for anything, and it probably doesn’t earn you any money either. This is a problem for companies in highly competitive industries.
The problem with using a site building tools, like the ones on GoDaddy, or even a pretty Squarespace site, is that as soon as that new business, event, project, or hobby makes it past the first year, then you’re going to want to grow. This means trying to make more money, increase your audience of followers with content marketing, adding more interactive features to your site like a store locator, or streamlining your business cause you’re bogged down in manual payment processing and paperwork. Website builders are great for beginners who don’t know if their idea is going to take off, but once your idea takes off, the sooner your website is working for you vs. against you the more likely you are to be able to continue working on those hopes and dreams.
This means that if your company is going to survive, then you’re going to end up doing some form of digital marketing, which means you’ll need a website that can handle content marketing, landing pages for paid ad spends, e-commerce, application processing, invoice/payment processing, hosting a community of fans, or housing your own social network. You can only do a few of these things with a website builder tool, if you’re lucky.
- Has some branding + a style guide, but needs some design
- Rough idea of content or existing site content
- Likely has to migrate old website content
- Might have forms that take payments
- Minimal custom coding
The Start of Something GreatA foundation you can build on, that grows with you
This is where we usually start getting involved on projects with smaller companies. They almost always come from a website building tool or other content management system that isn’t easy enough to use, or has some underlying problems. (See above about website builders)
The problem with hiring a web design company is that, most companies don’t stay in the web design industry (2001 and counting for us) as long as we have, or leave it because it’s too hard to turn a profit. This is why you have marketplaces full of $50 websites that tend to break when a non-experienced content manager takes over, or it’s only designed and coded to really work for one specific purpose for a year or two before it gets hacked or falls apart entirely. We see it happen all the time.
Our websites are built to last, and they’re built to be re-skinned when you re-brand, or be added on to later. (We want to sell our own tickets and not rely on PayPal or we want to process event registration applications with credit cards.) Starting with a good foundation of a site that you can manage on your own 95% of the time, that you can add to as you grow is the ideal solution for a website that pays for itself and helps you grow. If you’re like us, then you see your website as one of your most valuable marketing assets. This includes your precious social network that requires extorted ad dollars for you to reach your audience.
- Established brand identity, but needs web design expertise
- Needs help mapping out site content or fixing old site content
- Has high level of interaction from traffic and customers
- Needs custom coding and training for the internal team
- Requires payment processing and increased security
Why so Serious Business?things can get a little complicated, but this is where we thrive
Integrating with legacy systems, tracking ad spend, revenue tracking, and API integrations with popular social networks, and essential business tools like Salesforce, OpenTable, and ticketing processors are all things we talk about at this stage in a website project. Your website should be streamlining everything you do as a company, generating revenue through sales, or at the very least generating valuable marketing data about your customers and how they feel about you, your product, and your company.
The companies we work with tend to already have established brand guidelines, internal designers, and sometimes they already have their own developers as well. Our team is used to working with a variety of different sized companies, in a wide range of sectors across the US from your favorite music festival, to your payment processor or bank. We’ve even fixed a few major SEO problems for other ad agencies because we’re good at digital marketing and web design/development.
We LOVE working with companies of all kinds who have products/services they care about, that need help solving difficult problems. (Like can the CEO’s wife fill out her application on her old Android phone in poor cell service?)