What is Professional Web Design Really Worth to a Business?
If you’re considering building a website for your company, your first question will likely be, “how much will it cost?” Though you might be looking for definitive answers, they’re hard to find. Realistically, the cost of a new website may range from several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. Pricing typically depends on multiple factors, including:
The site’s complexity and size
The required level of customization
Whether you’re building it yourself or hiring a professional
Here, you’ll learn more about the true cost of a new website, and you’ll also find out why it’s easier (and more cost-effective) to hire a web designer than to use a template or a site builder.
Sites Under $2000
While it’s certainly possible to spend such a small amount on a website, it probably won’t be enough for a business. Most websites at this price point are built for individuals or small companies with static needs. At this level, you can get by with a DIY site builder; there are many free options available. However, site builders and templates don’t tell the entire story.
Though these tools are “free” at the basic level, they’ll want something in return; most will run ads on your website. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a unique domain name, more design flexibility, and additional storage, you’ll pay more for those add-ons. Before using a site builder or a template, think of your future needs. If you’re planning to promote your site with a long-term SEO effort, consider working with a web designer instead.
If you think you’ll need a larger and more complicated site on a sophisticated platform, working with a designer is the way to go. By partnering with a design pro, you’ll easily be able to migrate from one platform to another. Consider these factors:
Can you build a site without help, including creating the design and all the necessary content?
Do you really have time to sift through thousands of templates and choose the right functionality and features?
Can you live with functionality and design that’s not exactly what you envisioned?
Will a prefabricated website portray your company in the right way?
Can you accept the fact that your site won’t match your company’s brand, and it may look like hundreds of others?
If your company doesn’t have a professionally built website, you may lose opportunities in terms of brand recognition, leads, traffic, and sales.
Sites Costing $2000 to $7500
If you’re looking for better quality than you’d get from a free site builder, you’ll need to hire someone to help you with web development and design. There are many factors to consider when hiring a web designer. Ask about their skill set, experience, availability, and preferred platforms, as well as their fee structure. Will you be charged by the project, the task, or the hour? When discussing fees, ask what will happen if there’s a budget or time overrun.
A freelance web designer may be able to create stunning designs, but their coding knowledge may only allow them to deliver basic functionality. By comparison, a freelance programmer would probably use templates to build a site rather than create designs from scratch. And, odds are, neither freelancer would be able to create or edit site content, including writing compelling headlines and engaging calls-to-action. When choosing a web designer and developer, have your priorities in order and ensure that the person you select can deliver. Consider the answers to these questions:
How comfortable are you with the idea of hiring an outsider?
Who owns the finished site, including the design, the content, and the domain?
Will my project be the developer’s top priority, or will it depend on their workload?
Will I have full access to the finished site, or will I need to go back to the designer for changes and upgrades?
Once the site is live, can I handle the SEO, content marketing, and advertising duties, or will I need help?
If your budget is under $7500 and you need professional design services, a freelancer can probably help. However, you’ll need to be sure of your needs and the freelancer’s capabilities.
Sites From $7500 to $20,000
If you’re searching for a more complex, robust site and need access to the widest possible pool of development and design talent, consider working with a marketing and web design agency. When you’re working with an agency, you’ll partner with experienced developers and designers, and you’ll receive additional guidance on design strategy, web technologies, and best practices.
Most web design and marketing agencies have other experts on staff, including copywriters, social media pros, digital marketers, branding strategists and many others who may offer valuable insights during every stage of a project. Working with a web design agency will give you a greater level of accountability and professionalism. These agencies depend on referrals and they have systems in place to ensure that things run smoothly.
Many of today’s web design agencies work with several development platforms, which means they can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each, including whether to use an in-house or open-source CMS (content management system).
A site in this price range will likely be custom-designed, but the agency may use standard modules for events calendars, FAQs, blogs, news, and photo galleries. They may be able to do some customization based on your preferences and requirements. An agency will do so much more than build a site; they’ll be a marketing partner. The best agencies learn about their clients’ industries and companies, get to know clients’ goals and challenges, and find ways to build sites that achieve those goals. Rather than simply following orders, a web design agency will walk you through the site design process, seeking your input at every step. Answer these questions when building a site in this price range:
Do I need more control and flexibility as far as functionality and design are concerned?
Does my site need to strongly reflect the company’s image and brand?
Do I feel more at ease with an agency than with a freelancer?
Should I work with a team of marketing and design experts at every stage in the project?
If you need a professionally-done site built by an expert team, a design agency should be able to deliver a great-looking, useful site for under $20,000.
Sites Costing $20,000+
If you’re working with a professional web designer and have a budget of over $20,000, you should come away with a site that’s built to your specifications. Custom-built sites include different home page and landing page designs, and you’ll have increased flexibility as far as functionality and features are concerned. You’ll also be able to incorporate a large amount of data (such as a product database), a more complex menu system and site structure, and high-end visual cues such as animations and photos.
The bigger your budget, the more functions you’ll be able to offer, including an e-commerce store, submission of online forms, password protection, and modules that work with an internal CRM. When you partner with a web design agency, your project manager will coordinate the team’s efforts, serve as a liaison, and provide as-needed access to a team of experts focused on delivering a site that meets your goals and exceeds your expectations. Think of these questions when building a high-budget site:
Do I have specific ideas as to how my site should work, and are those ideas unique to my industry?
Do some of my site’s pages need a custom design?
Does the site have to interact with internal systems, such as an intranet, database, CRM, or accounting program?
Will the site be large and complex to navigate?
Will I need digital marketing services after the site is built?
With a $20,000+ budget, you’ll get a fully customized site with an attractive design and the flexibility needed to drive your company’s growth.
Today’s shoppers go online to educate themselves and make purchases. Even if you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer, the importance of a strong web presence shouldn’t be understated. Websites come in a range of quality levels and price points, and your needs will determine how much you spend. One thing is for certain: it’s always better to hire a professional web designer than it is to use a free site builder or a template. Where builders and templates are limited in their scope and customizability, professional design services have no such limits. Increase your chances of online success by hiring a designer to build your company’s website.