The most common question we get is "how much will it cost for you to built us a web site?". I've been answering that question for 16 years now. Hopefully I can help you.
You are trying to get a quote for a new website for your business so you google a few terms you think will hit the mark. Then you start making the phone calls. Now if you are in the early days of planning your website and you don’t have some sort of brief to give to the web design business on the other end of the phone you are going to get a lot of variation in costs quoted for your new site.
What you get quoted is dependent on the approach each web designer takes when building a website. The amount of time and attention to detail that goes into a website is strongly influenced by how much time and energy you (the client) is prepared to put into the project as well as your budget.
The list below shows some of the components that make up the web design process. Designers will put more or less time into the various components and consequently this sets up some significant price variation.
If you don’t have much time you can skip to some prices below based on an average of $100 per hour for professional services.
Components of a web design project
More complicated websites require planning of layouts and navigation. Often sitemaps and wireframes are created to confirm we are on the right track. Options for different areas of functionality are discussed and the best options to meet needs and budget are decided.
The more pages the higher the cost. There is always grunt work required to convert client text and image content into usable formats. This is a big area where money can be saved by applying clear structure to how content is supplied.
It’s a fact that well written copy increases the conversion rate (% of visitors that complete a desired goal) of a website. Good copy makes it clear why a visitor should buy your products or use your services.
The text is part of the design and professional skills are required to not only write compelling text but do it in a way that is also search engine friendly.
The design or ‘look and feel’ of the website as well as components that make up the site are designed in a graphics program first and mockups are provided for your approval.
Smaller sites are often designed directly in the browser with a similar progress approval process.
Color choices, font choices and styling can be glossed over or agonised over depending on the complexity of the design and size of budget.
Web design includes converting a graphic design or mock-up to web pages. This provides the structure for the pages and layouts for different parts of the site. The number of different templates the web designer has to build to lay out the content effectively affects the time to build.
Extra work is required to provide functionality such as ecommerce or membership sites.
Even after the website has been built and signed off, there is still a lot to do. This includes setting the site up on the live server, speed optimisations, basic SEO (search engine optimisation), setting up google analytics and tools to monitor and often final tweaks to the site.
Comparison of hours on task for typical small business websites
Time spent in planning improves website usability and gets users to the end goal in the least amount of time. You can see there is almost no planning for a basic website.
This is an area where it pays to be organised with your content. Leaving your web designer to work it all out adds time to your project. Make sure you know what formats are required for your content and that it is organised in a way that can be understood by others.
Professional copy writing improves conversion rates and this is why a large amount of time is dedicated with the conversion focused website..
The look and feel of your website is a reflection of your business and more time here adds trust to your brand.
A conversion focused website requires more time on layouts designed to make sales. Also more forms, pop-ups and calls to action need to be designed.
This is an area where skimping on details such as basic SEO and speed optimisation could hinder your search results. Security is also not an area you should miss out on.
In the cheapest scenario a stock template is used and you are paying for the time to add content only. If you are on a limited budget this approach can work well, but your content must fit the template design. The standard of stock templates is quite good but still best chosen by your designer to match your content and business. If the designer has to modify the template too much to fit your content you might end up exceeding your budget on variations and spend more that a custom design.
Expect to be quoted from $900 – $1500
Standard Small Business Website
You will notice in the diagram that this scenario lacks a planning phase by the designer or planning is minimal. Sometimes it happens this way because the client is organised with their content and have a strong idea on what they want the site to look like using other websites as examples. Sometimes the lack of a planning phase occurs because the client has not had time to gather or write sufficient content becase they are busy with the day to day running of their business. It is difficult for the web designer to collate and organise content into a website with a few paragraphs of text in a word document.
Getting a custom design as opposed to using a template is going to get a website that better fits your business and the content you want to display.
Expect to be quoted from $2500 – $3000
Conversion Focused Small Business Website
When the designer puts time and energy into helping you plan your website and lay out your content in a way that will increase sales or enquiry conversions it takes time in the planning, design and development phases. The extra thought into designing ‘mini ads’ and ‘calls to action’ that help draw the viewer to the most important pages on the site can make a big difference to the success of the site.
Some designers also put time into making your website search engine friendly which means researching keywords for your business and applying best practices while building the site. This process does not guarantee you magically land as the first result in google but is a neccesary first step towards decent placement in search engines.
Expect to be quoted from $4000 – $7000
You can see that quotes might vary from $900 – $7000 or more but the amount of work and attention to detail varies dramatically.
How much should you spend on your website?
This will depend on your budget and the goals of your website. If your site is simply putting a business card online then something simple might do. If you want your website to portray your business and products/services in the best manner then a professionally designed and organised website is the way to go. The time to build reflects upon the quality of the final product.
Estimating costs for websites is difficult even for experienced web design agencies. Often the initial brief is open and specifications are scarce. Often as a client you don’t know what you want or need for your business website until you talk to a web designer. We would can help you with that. Book yourself a time for a chat with Darryn (owner at Redfox) for a discussion on your project.