How Much Does a Website Cost? Here’s How We Answer That
I get this question all the time. Prospects call and ask for a price right off the bat, so here’s how I answer that all-important question. Last. I back way up and start from the beginning.
There are 4 factors that determine how much a website costs:
- Content creation
- Content population / SEO
Let’s break each one down.
Designing a website is not just colors and fonts. Your home page is the first impression of your brand and has to spark interest the second people see it. If not—CLICK!
We aim to stimulate interest and energy to take action by using color, language and design.
How often do you visit a site and don’t even know what they do? Does it look and sound like everyone else’s? Does your website design help you achieve your business goals?
With every website design, we explore a range of ideas that match the identity of the company. If you are in technology, you don’t want to look like Pepperidge Farm.
Our design presentations take many days to create and produce. They include:
- Several design options, each one with a deliberate focus and purpose
- Sample ideas for images and graphics
- Research on competitors to see how we can position the client differently
- Sample headline ideas to begin to tell your story
The development part of a website can have the biggest effect on website design pricing. Every function from contact forms, newsletter signups, shopping carts, registration forms, event calendars, donation acceptance—all of that can affect the time and cost it takes to build a website.
Before we quote a price, we ask the client to outline how they see their site in action.
It may be a simple brochure site with a contact us form, or it can be a complex site with a shopping section. But no one except programmers can write in this language.
We build all of our sites to be mobile responsive. Often, things like applications and forms are a challenge to work well on mobile. Navigation menus with many pages or levels have to be thought out to work easily on a small screen. We test every element and adjust responsiveness where needed.
There is so much that falls under development it would take a week to list it here. It even includes launching the website, which is not just pushing a button. We ask our clients to think out all functionality with us so that we can give them an accurate estimate up front.
3. Content creation
In order to create an experience that motivates a visitor to take action, we need content that focus their attention. Generic, boring copy doesn’t work.
We want visitors to decide that our client is the clear choice to buy from. That takes a deliberate use of words that are written to create a result. Saying “We have over 150 years of combined experience” isn’t going to work. Nobody cares about that. They do care about how you solve their problem. Great copy can do that.
We sometimes agonize over a single word, that’s how important each and every one is. And that takes time and talent.
If the client chooses to provide it, we remove that cost from the estimate.
4. Content population / SEO
Now that we have a website designed, the structure built and the content written, we have to put it all into the website.
Today’s website are no longer built with long blocks of dense text. No one tolerates that anymore.
Content is split into smaller bites, mixed in with images, graphics and video to stimulate and maintain interest. That means we can’t just stick a picture on top and dump a block of text below.
We work the content into logical sections page by page with clear headings and in a hierarchy of importance.
Calls to action are added to every page to increase conversion. Sidebars may be needed in blog sections or a form added to the page. Each page is built individually.
Last, but certainly not least, we optimize every page for the search engines. SEO involves keyword research and the skill to know how to structure a page. We write the meta descriptions and optimize every image. Edits may be made to the content to include keywords.
This sets up a website properly so when the client is ready for a campaign, the SEO folks have an easier job.
What we need to know from our clients to answer the question: “How much does a website cost?”
- How many pages are estimated?
- What features or functions do you want?
- How will content be provided and who will write it?
- How far along are you in gathering content?
- What is your deadline?
Remember you will have several people with different skills working on your website. Our programmer’s skill set is very different from our designer’s, but often we collaborate on usability, so at times you have 2 people on the job.
In the time=money world, as a rule of thumb, budget at least $1,000 per website page.
At a low $150 an hour for an upper level professional firm, that gives them about 6.5 hours per page. That includes design, programming, creating content, doing the SEO work and populating the website. That’s working very fast and efficiently with few revisions.
Making an investment in a website that generates sales is crucial in today’s ruthlessly competitive market. You want to make every page, every image and every word matter.
Knowing the cost of a website up front and understanding how we get there helps prospects appreciate everything that goes into a redesign and how we determine a fair price.