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How Much Should a Website Design Cost? Why Bargains Aren’t What They Seem

As a business owner or marketer, you know that it is absolutely imperative for your brand to have an online presence. This being said, the basis for your online marketing strategy should start with your website.

With the world becoming a much more digital place, your website will often be the first encounter that prospective customers have with your brand, think about it like an online showroom. This means that you can’t afford to skimp on website design, just like you wouldn’t skimp on the design of your front lobby. But this brings us to the next question that is frequently asked–how much should a website design cost?

The answer is dependent on what you want to accomplish with your new website. Businesses today have a number of options to choose from when it comes to website design, and the prices are all over the board, ranging from as low as $10 a month to $30,000. To help you determine what an appropriate budget should be for the design of your website, let’s walk through what some of these potential options are:

DIY website: $10/month
You’ve likely been tempted by the free or otherwise low cost associated with DIY website design via website providers such as GoDaddy, SquareSpace, or Wix. While this option allows you to launch your brand online for a next to nothing, it can take a tremendous amount of time to build and just because you can build it, doesn’t mean that you should. Also, when you use one of these website builders, you may lose your website, and hard work, if you terminate the relationship with the vendor.

In a nutshell, you should really only consider DIY website design if that is an area that you have expertise in, you have extra time to dedicate to building the website, and you know what you’re talking about when it comes to effective and search friendly design.

Hire a local freelancer or hosting company: $300 to $750
This is certainly a step above building a website on your own, and ideally the relationship that you have with the freelancer or hosting company will be local, which is also a plus for those who tend to be more “hands on”.

On the downside, with this arrangement, you are essentially at the beck and call of the freelancer to get the job done. Most freelancers are working multiple jobs at once, meaning that the projected completion timeline is often vague and extensive. Also, freelancers and hosting companies typically don’t have much user interface design experience, which can lead to a website design that appears generic. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a website that isn’t mobile friendly, optimized for search, or effective at converting visitors into leads.

If you do choose to pursue this option, be sure that you do not become locked into costly hosting, which is often the catch for free or low cost website design offered by hosting companies. It would negate some of the cost savings that your business would get from choosing a local freelancer or hosting company to design your website.

Contract a website design boutique: $2,500 to $7,500
Businesses that choose this option are primarily doing so for two reasons: the wealth of design experience that this type of firm can offer and the team’s extensive knowledge in effective user interface design. In an effort to deliver top notch customer service, a website design boutique provides a consultative approach to website design, which means that preplanning and goal setting are used to create and maintain the customer’s ideal website. This high-touch strategy makes the design team very easy to reach and do business with.

With these advantages, however, comes a higher investment. Also, while your business will benefit from working with a knowledgable and experienced small team with this option, web design projects are typically scheduled in advance and according to queue. Depending on the workload already booked, the team many not be able to take on another project.

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Pay an agency: $10,000 to $30,000
This option is a substantial investment and is really only necessary if the business’s website needs to be extremely custom tailored and include features and capabilities that a basic website can not. In order to accomplish this, an agency will offer very detailed, high-touch service to deliver a specialized website design the meets the customer’s specific needs.

The investment for working with an agency can vary greatly and is significantly higher than the other options available. This is because agencies often come with a larger staff with bloated salaries and big overhead, and these costs have to be passed along somewhere.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to all of these options. Most importantly, keep in mind that bargains aren’t always what they seem. Hopefully, this list of options for website design can help you to decipher which works best for your business.

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1 Average median salary in Florida for ‘Marketing Director’, based on research by Glassdoor. 2 Retirement calculated at 3% contribution, based on research by 3 Health premium average calculated by ranges provided from a 2016 Health Benefits survey. 4 Total employee average calculated at first year and includes the following considerations: $4k onboarding and training, $1k software and subscriptions, and $3.75k outsourcing help. Total agency average based on Florida-located, full-service agency.