How often do you land on a well crafted website and guess just how much it probably cost the owner?
Are you able to estimate the pricing of every CTA, logo design, and exit pop-up? Is it a custom design or a template? Did they save money by building it in-house or did they outsource?
If you can create an itemized receipt for a website in one visit and you're not a developer or designer, we applaud you.
Typically, though, the average person isn't aware of all the different variables that contribute to the cost of a site. And when you're preparing to design and develop your own, you'll definitely want to know how to get the most bang for your buck.
We'll cover what's essential to your website and answer some frequently asked questions about website design service costs to get you on your feet. But first we'll tackle the first real question: why does web design even matter?
Why Website Design Is So Important
Today, if your business isn't present online, then it basically doesn't exist to the public. And it's not enough to have a bare bones website put together with a few text boxes and some generic stock images.
The bar has been raised pretty high in our digital society, especially when it comes to buyers researching businesses they're interested in purchasing from.
Make a Good First Impression.
Your website is often the first place your audience looks to in order to get a feel of your business and brand. They'll make most of their judgements based on the look, ease of use, and responsiveness of your webpages.
Within the first few clicks, they'll decide whether they're interested in your business or if they're moving on to a competitor (probably with a better site).
Implementing a design that reflects your brand, value, and (most importantly) your target audience's expectations is the best way to make a good first impression and capture the interest of your visitors.
Earn Your Audience's Trust.
This is a bit of a secondhand effect of making a good impression, but winning your audience's trust is just as important as the other benefits listed.
People don't trust poorly designed websites.
Pretend you're in the market for a new car. You're offered a vehicle that's 30 years old. The paint is rusting, the headlights are cloudy, the tires are worn, and it takes three turns of the ignition to turn on. A few rows down, though, you see a new car with a customized dash, fresh tires, and Amazon's Alexa built in.
Which are you going to trust to keep you safe on the road?
Now, the older car could very well be reliable transportation, but appearances do make a difference.
Your customers tend to judge their purchases the same way. If your website is uniquely designed and feels current and up to date, then they'll trust that your organization is on top of their game and capable of providing some real value.
Boost Your SEO.
Most web design best practices actually allow search engines an easier time crawling your website. This in turn contributes to your search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
The design of your website dictates your on-page SEO, and if you're doing it right, that's going to help you earn those top five ranking spots on SERPs. Believe it or not, code can be SEO-friendly. And if you're looking to generate organic traffic, then you'll want to have a design that can answer the call.
Establish Your Brand.
If you make a point to build a style guide and practice brand consistency, you'll be able to establish yourself in your market and industry.
Brand awareness and recognition are the extent to which a potential customer can recognize or identify the qualities or image of your company.
A unique design can help your brand stand out from your competitors. If you're able to create a custom website that clearly communicates your business' mission, values, and potential, then your brand will easily be recognized by consumers.
Aspects to Consider When Designing Your Site
Not everyone is aware of all the parts that make a website happen, which adds to the confusion around a realistic design budget.
Depending on the different elements you choose to piece your design together, the price of the website can become very individual and specific.
Here are the key aspects to factor in when designing your site:
Your web domain is like the address to your website's home. Web domains have to be purchased for you to own. You can either find and purchase it through a service like GoDaddy or acquire them through a comprehensive website service.
Type of Website
There are quite a few different types of websites that vary in size, scope, and purpose. Naturally, that means that they also vary in price. Finding the right kind for you is essential to understanding how much a website design will cost you. Here are the different types:
- Basic: A very simple, low-functionality website. Think of a microsite or online brochure.
- Template: These are great for small to medium businesses that are ok with the limitations of a templated or drag-and-drop service.
- Custom: This type provides you with a lot more control over the size, style, and feel of the site.
- Ecommerce: Best suited for companies that sell products online, ecommerce sites can vary in price depending on what you're selling and to what scale.
- Web Application: This type of website is actually software that's accessed through the web. For example, think of Mint or Trello.
Even if your website was designed by Leonardo da Vinci, it wouldn't matter if it suffers from slow page speeds or a clumsy interface.
Your audience wants to access information quickly and they have no problem bouncing off of a site if it's taking too long. The functionality of your site makes the world of a difference, but the talent needed to guarantee it doesn't always come cheap.
From purchasing images to hiring copywriters, the content of your website composes a fairly large percentage of your design budget.
You'll want well written copy on each of your pages, as well as relevant images, custom logos, and branded banners, and perhaps even a video to provide value to your site visitors.
Gathering all of the necessary components that make a site run (e.g., HTML coding, plugins, apps) is only part of the process.
Assembling all of those pieces together costs something, whether it be time or money. If you'd prefer to do it yourself, it'll be the former. Hiring someone else to do it costs the latter.
After it's all said and done and the website is live, it will still require regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Ongoing care of your website can range from content maintenance and blog writing to PPC marketing and performance analytics.
Common Website Design FAQs
Designing (or redesigning) a website is a huge project, so having at least one or two questions is to be expected. We'll go through the more frequently asked questions that we've heard about pricing out a web design service.
1. What Kind of Website Do I Need?
This question is answered by identifying the purpose behind the website.
Are you hosting a blog? Then you might only need a basic or templated design. Are you looking to sell a particular product? An ecommerce site is more your speed, but that might require more development, which means a larger budget.
You'll need to consider what industry you're in, if there are any specific industry requirements you'll have to meet, what kind of website your competition is using, and what you're hoping to get out of the website.
Researching which website type is going to serve you best based off of your goals will help you with your decision.
2. Build It In House or Hire a Website Design and Development Agency?
This depends on the size of the project and the capabilities of your business. If you're planning on designing a basic or templated website and have a designer or web developer on staff, it may be more cost effective to build it in house.
It's a different story if you're considering a custom design, though. The greatest differentiator? Time.
Web design can require a great deal of time that your team may not have to spare. That's why we'd recommend outsourcing to an agency.
Not only will you have a team dedicated to creating a spectacular website for you, you'll also be able to leverage new, creative talent that will bring in outside perspectives and ideas.
3. How Much Does It Cost to Hire Someone to Build a Website?
Again, this depends on the size of your website, but it's also affected by who you hire.
When outsourcing, a freelancer will average between $1,000 and $3,000. Compared to an agency though, which can range from $10,000 to $50,000, a freelancer has a limited scope of what they can provide in terms of the size and scale of the project. You'll also be paying a freelancer hourly, rather than coming to a deal with an agency.
It's important to note that every freelancer and agency has their own estimates and prices, so it never hurts to shop around a bit when looking for someone to design your website.
4. What Do Website Design Service Costs Cover?
At its most basic level, you'll get all of the essentials covered on a few pages:
- Domain and hosting
- Design and imagery
As you start looking into premium themes, plugins, and similar add-ons, you should expect for the price to raise.
Depending on the size of your budget, you can get anything from a basic, skeleton site to a modern, high-functioning website with regular maintenance and care.
5. What Should I Ask Before Hiring an Agency?
Your website is going to be the digital welcome mat and front desk of your business. It's important that you put the development and care of it in the right hands.
Not only should you look for a reasonably priced agency, but you'll want to find one that you'll have a positive relationship with. You'll need them to understand your goals and be able to align their work with them.
Here are a handful of questions that you should feel confident in asking before hiring an agency:
- Do you specialize in a particular industry?
- Are your web designs mobile friendly?
- What do you need from my team before launch?
- What SEO best practices do you follow when building a site?
- Will my team be able to review and approve the work over the course of the project?
- What kind of testing do you perform prior to launch?
- Do you offer services apart from web design?
Furthermore, always ask to see a portfolio before signing on with an agency or freelancer. You'll want to review their past projects to make sure that their style aligns with what you're envisioning for your website.
Like in every other specialize industry, when it comes to web design, you get what you pay for. Pricing varies largely depending on the type of website, what premium additions you want added, and how many pages you want.
Unfortunately, there's no set ticket price, like choosing between curtains at Target.
On the bright side, that flexibility in budget and price means that you have a lot more say in what your website is going to turn out to be in the end. And at the end of the day, we all want that end product to be kickass.