How Much Does a Website Cost? How Much Does a Web Designer Charge?

jordanfowler@moonandowl.comWeb Designer

The answer to this question is actually quite complex. Each website designer bids projects differently. This article will help you ask the right questions to get an apples-to-apples comparison on how much a website costs and how much the website designer will really be charging you.

How much does a website cost?

When ascertaining the cost of webite design make sure you are comparing the bids as apples-to-apples.

When you get a web designer’s bid, you must first see what is, and what isn’t included in the scope. You especially want to check this on the low price bids. There can be a lot of hidden costs not included in their bid. This article wll help you determine what questions to ask to determine what is and isn’t being quoted in each web design proposal you receive.

Yes, you can probably find someone to grab a template, plop generic content in and launch it for a price of $500. Then it will sit there doing nothing beneficial for your business or organization.

Remember this web design mantra.

Cheap ≠ Affordable
If you get a cheap $500 website that gets you no leads, remember this is MORE expensive than a $4,000 site properly designed that gains you $6000 in leads.

how much does a website cost

Here are questions to consider to better understand the Web Designer’s charges for your website and the cost of of website.

Is keyword research included in website design cost?

Make sure keyword research is included in your website design costs:

Many web designers will completely skip the keyword research for your website. You’ll get the standard non-SEO optimized service pages, about us page and contact us page.

Unfortunately, you just built a website without any foundation.

Keyword research IS the strong foundation of your website. Nothing should be built without this being done and done correctly. You can’t build a site that truly targets potential clients, customers, and patients without it.

Once you know your keywords (and how much search volume and competition exists on each), only then can you truly create a sitemap (outline) of the pages of your site, knowing exactly what each page should be titled.

For example, should a page be called Dallas Breast Cancer Surgeon or Breast Cancer Surgeon Dallas? Each of these terms searches as entirely different keywords. One gets much more search volume with lower competition than the other.

Moon & Owl knows how to determine what each page should be called to generate the most traffic.

What platform will the site be built on?

You need to know whether the cost of your site design will cover a hard-coded, a limited-DIY platform, or a robust CMS.

If a web designer says he is going to hard code your site, run. Every time you want to change one little word or comma on the site, you will have to call him or her to make the change in the actual code.

You want your web designer to use a content management system (CMS). A CMS allows you to log in to change simple page texts, add pictures to galleries, and more.

If your designer is simply using a drag-and-drop content management system like Squarespace, Wix or Weebly, you are going to have some limitations as to what can be customized in your design.

These drag-and-drop platforms also limit your ability to do search engine optimization successfully. They are more designed for DIYers who don’t have the time or inclination to optimize a site for search and conversion. They look very pretty but lack the necessary features under the hood to make a site truly zing as an online conversion machine.

WordPress and Drupal are more robust content management systems that allow for full customization of design and have unlimited optimization horsepower under the hood. We tend to build in WordPress unless there is a reason another advanced CMS is needed for particular reasons.

A hard-coded site or site coded on a more DIY-oriented CMS will have more future costs than one built on a solid CMS platform. You are, in many senses, painting yourself into a corner when you chose to skimp in this area.

Does the price include testing different Call To Actions?

Testing is vital to the conversion rate of your website. Ongoing testing of CTAs should be included in the price.

Your call to action buttons and statements are the mechanism that moves potential customers towards enlisting your services or purchasing your products.

A lot of discount web-designers don’t have the call to action experience coupled with having tested 100’s of sites on how to best word and designer your call to actions. What should the copy be? What color should it be? How does it entice a click?

Once your site is built, it should be a “living organism” with constant testing and optimizing which starts with your call to actions.

If they simply add a “Learn More” button to every call to action, look elsewhere. (Note: Some of our buttons on this site are Learn More and others have a specific call to action statement. Each is tested. They are also super visible.)

Do they have A/B testing capability once the site is launched? If so, what does this ongoing testing cost and how is it priced–by month, by test or other means?

Is the price I am paying to make an online brochure?

There is a big difference between an online brochure and a website that converts visitors to customers, clients and patients.

Most cheap, low budget web designers approach your website as if it’s an online brochure. This is NOT the design principle you want working on your site.

A well designed (and typically more expensive site) has elements that build discovery, likeability, trust, and even foster referrals from current and previous clients. Each of these phases of the sales funnel can be tapped into with great site design. Intentional web design always moves people through the funnel.

A funnel moving site is more intentional in its design. Be prepared to pay more for it than an online brochure type site.

How many previous sites has the web designer built and does that affect cost?

If your web designer has completed less than 10 sites, beware, even if they offer you a steep discount.

If you’re a newbie site designers number 1-10 website to have built, be prepared for some big hiccups in exchange for a cheap cost.

There are simply some things that are learned best by doing. We have worked on hundreds of sites over the course of our careers. We’ve hit a few potholes along the way, repaired them, and know how to avoid them now. That’s good news for you.

Of course, the online and web environment is ever changing. New obstacles WILL present themselves to every designer. Knowing how to approach the problem will help generate the best future solution. We have the expertise and experience to approach even the most challenging technical problems.

We’ve built a custom e-commerce platform interface for a client who used an obscure, niche specific accounting program. We’ve rescued a site that was built by an inexperienced developer entirely in javascript to where Google couldn’t crawl a single page of the 3000+ page site…YIKES!

You will pay more an experienced designer, but it’s worth it! You’ll avoid a ton of headaches and problems with your project.

How does a web designer price his or her web design services?

Be wary if they say they charge by the hour.

Many web designers charge by the hour, with a recent report revealing on the low-end designer hourly rates hover around $40, while the high end is about though many designers charge $100 or more an hour.

But, should you be paying by the hour?
Paying by the hour for web design punishes you if the web designer isn’t efficient. If he or she is highly efficient, it punishes them. Either way and an ideal relationship soon can easily go sour.

You don’t buy an office or a home by the hours it takes to build, so why would you purchase a website, your virtual storefront, by the hour.

A website’s price should be built on its value to your business as it correlates to its value to your customers.

If a website makes enlisting your services or buying your products easier and faster for your customer it has more value to you than a site that doesn’t. Base price on the site’s value to your business or organization.

Are you buying or leasing the website from the web designer?

Sometimes a cheap website is cheap because it really isn’t yours. Make sure to read the contract before signing it.

Sometimes a cheap website is cheap because it really isn’t yours. You are simply leasing it from a design agency while you remain under some form of a maintenance agreement. If you quit that agreement, the site you depend on to deliver revenue goes away. Just like leasing a car, it’s cheaper but you have no site equity. A leased site is not really yours, and you are beholden to the designer for any changes or updates, even if they struggle to deliver on-time.

How many rounds of revisions are included in the web design costs?

Make sure you know how website revisions are made during the design portion of the website to avoid escalating costs.

“Sometimes a cheap designer will charge you by the hour for each and every revision. Others will not even consider the cost of additional revisions and make it up as they go. The worst-case scenario is you get a surprisingly large invoice you weren’t expecting.

You should know exactly how many rounds of revision are included in each phase. And because you provide us approvals at each phase, there are no bad surprises.

Can other costs enter into the website design price?

Be aware of what is and isn’t covered in the formal scope of work.

Note what you pay for in the scope of work. Determine if custom photography, stock pictures, graphic design of infographics, writing the site, blog functionality, and other elements are addressed in the scope of work. If not get pricing clarity on these items.

Cheap or inexperienced designers often don’t realize what it will take to accomplish what your site needs to do. Then they find themselves stuck needing to use an API or plug-in or custom development that costs a great deal of money.

Because of our experience, we know the tools, API’s and plug-ins needed to accomplish your goals. All of the costs and potential costs are clearly stated in your initial scope of work.

How are the website design payments structured?

Ensure you have a clear understanding when each payment is due and the amount of each payment.

Many designers require a deposit of some type. This is actually a wise practice. It ensures you have skin in the game. This means your mind’s attention will be given to those elements on which the designer needs your input.

We have clients pay an initial deposit. Another payment is due when the sitemap, copywriting/content, and mockup is complete. Your final payment occurs when the site goes live. We’ve found this is the best way to keep the ball rolling with our clients. It also clearly demarks each phase of the design process for clarity in the site’s state of development.

Other Questions to Ask Regarding Web Pricing

• Is rollover to hosting included and what is the cost of hosting?
• What type of training is included?
• How sufficient will I be to make changes and in what areas after training is complete?
• How much does it cost if I need you, the designer, to make an update?
• What updates exist that I won’t be able to make as a site owner due to their complexity?
• Do you have a retainer minimum per month for ongoing maintenance? How is maintenance priced?
• What are the warranty terms and limits on the site once it is launched?

Moon & Owl Website Costs

We don’t have a standard price package because no site is one size fits all.

We’ll sit down with you in a free consultation, hear your story and help you determine what your site needs to accomplish. Then we’ll put together a tailored website package for you. No pre-fab templates or packages allowed! You’ll know how much you’ll pay and when along with a clear timeline for site development.

As a Starting Price Point

As a general point of reference, a Moon & Owl site that is a typical sized and about 10 pages, non-e-commerce starts at around $4,650. E-commerce sites start at approximately $5,600 and scale upwards depending on complexity and the number of products for sale at launch.

Of course, if you need a single page funnel or splash page, we’ll price it accordingly.

Highly Complex Site Design and Development Capability

A lot of discount web designer don’t have the team or expertise to build complex application based sites. There is a great deal going on under the hood on an application website.

We’ve created very complex, database oriented sites with deep applications and developments that cost $30,000+ but delivered capabilities the client was excited to have available for their brand.

We’re Here to Serve Your Unique Needs With A Fair Range of Web Design Rates

Whether you need a small, single-product one-page site or a large, complex data-querying site, we can serve your specific needs. You’ll have a site that is affordable, truly one-of-a-kind and provides true value to your business, practice, or organization.