How Much Should a Website cost?

web designThe first thing Marketers and Web designers are almost always asked is how much does a website or marketing plan cost. This is a loaded question that people in our industry are often asked. Many times it is asked before we even know anything about the business. This is the equivalent of going into a mattress store and asking how much does a bed cost without telling the salesperson anything else. The store’s salesperson will be able to eventually answer the question but not until they establish the things you are looking for in a mattress. The same goes for establishing how much should a website cost.

There are many factors that can contribute to how much a new website should cost. Our company and many other responsible marketing companies do not present any web design proposals until having an in person meeting or in-depth phone consultation. Why do we do this? This is done for a number of reasons but the primary reason is every client is unique.

Different requirements can add to web design costs. Some of these elements include:

  • What platform is the website being built on?
  • Do you own an effective domain name?
  • Who is writing copy for the website? (Client supplied versus professional copywriting)
  • Where is the web designer located?
  • Are aspects of your webdesign being outsourced? (Additional programming)
  • How much customization is actually being done?
  • Are there any e-commerce elements on site?
  • Will you be supplying professional photos or does the web designer need to purchase stock images for the site?
  • Will the website be Mobile Responsive or designed for mobile?
  • Who is responsible for maintaining the site?
  • Does your website plan include professional video?
  • Is it a membership site?
  • Do you require custom landing pages?
  • What industry do you service? (What are the expectations of your average visitor?)
  • How quickly do you need the site completed?
  • What is the scope of the project? (A 2 page website will most likely cost less then a 20 page website)

These are just a few of the factors that contribute to the price of a website. In the land of web design you don’t always get what you pay for. Be careful who you hire to design your site. Some marketing companies will work with the same free template for all of their websites. Web design is not a low cost service and that is a lot of money to spend on an ineffective website that looks the same as all the other sites that they have “designed”.  A good website is a careful balance of design, search engine optimization and user experience.

So How Much Should a website cost?

Are we avoiding a direct answer to the question of how much a website should cost? Absolutely!  The answer to that question depends on a number of factors, some on the client side and others on the developer side. While some companies will offer flat rate pricing this is not something the majority of web designers offer. Estimates are typically based on design time, add-on services, and many of the other factors listed above.

Looking for another perspective? Our friend Carol Lynn Rivera has also written an excellent and comprehensive article looking at some of the factors that go into how much a website should cost.

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Jonathan Scheine is president of Long Island Marketing Company, a web design and strategic marketing company located in Hauppauge, NY.
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  1. says

    yes… but how much does it cost… 😉

    Only joking, nice article and I completely agree that every website’s requirements are different and it is impossible to put a blanket cost on it. Certain clients will also need more ‘handholding’ than others, which adds to the costs – after all time is money.

    • says

      Thanks David. You’re 100% correct that hand holding is another factor that needs consideration. Certain personality types are easier to work with and estimated design time is something that should be factored into every proposal.

  2. says

    Thx for the very good article !
    Problem is that you never know _before_ how reactive the client will be and if he really knows what he wants or which modifications he’ll suggest during the development…

    • says

      Raf thanks for commenting. That is one of the reasons to avoid flat rates. It is important to specify in your proposal and within your contract what exactly is being covered and what is not. There are always going to be things that you can’t predict. It is up to you to educate clients on which elements are easy to change and which are not.

  3. says

    This is indeed a great article and it will save tens of thousands of web-designers the boring and repetitive task of explaining it every time to each new prospect.

    Thanks for sharing this one!

    Arthur :)


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