How Much Does A Website Cost?

Adventures In Digital Marketing Episode 20

Why do some website quotes cost so much? What should you do when you see someone offering a low-ball price on a custom project? When it comes to getting quotes for a custom website design project you can get all kinds of different numbers. But what are the main factors that drive those prices? Today I’m going to cover the two biggest factors that drive the cost of custom website design and why they’re important.

So, how much does web design really cost?


Welcome back everyone to The Adventures in Digital Marketing Podcast. This is episode number 20. My name is Rob. I am your host.

Today, we’re going to talk about how much a website cost. This is a question obviously, this is what I do and what I do every day. Pricing and writing quotes and doing consultations and stuff like that is something that is always going on with me.

I figured today I’d answer a couple of the big issues that come up when it comes to creating your website and hiring a designer and developer and what are the costs involved? That’s what we’re going to be covering in today’s episode.

Think about it this way, you got a website that you need to redesign or you’ve got new business, and it’s time to step out and launch your website. That’s great. It’s exciting.

It can be a lot of fun. It can be something that can do a lot of great things for your business. There are a lot of things that you can do with a website now that weren’t as common in years past that can help drive business from your website. It’s important to make sure that you get everything right there.

This is the stuff that I do every day. When we’re working on these things, the big questions that come up are, how much does this cost? It’s like every time, I don’t want to say every time but in many instances one of the first questions that clients have when they come to sit down and do their website is, how much is this thing going to cost me?

There have been a few occasions where it just didn’t even actually make any sense to hire web designer so we’ve turned that business down and tried to put the client on the right path to doing what they need to do. Then there are things that you need to know when you are trying to get started with a website, things to do and things not to do.

We’ll probably cover that in another episode, but today we’re talking about how much it costs. The big thing that is kind of like the overarching challenge when it comes to how much a website costs comes down to two main things: features and functionality and the design requirements.

The way we do web design in most instances is not from a content perspective, but from a page template perspective. What I mean is this, we just rolled out a new website recently where we created— I want to say about 12 different page templates.

We’ve got a homepage and then we’ve got a blog page and we’ve got a services page and all these kinds of things and 12 different page templates in all at least if not more. What we do is we build from the idea that all of these templates are going to be repurposable.

You need to be able to create multiple different pages on your website maybe using one template. That’s what we do. We designed pages that are page templates that can be repurposed to cover several different kinds of content.

A common thing that we do that you’ll see is we’ll design maybe one like for general content we’ll create one a single column full width look that maybe has a header and a sidebar. Then we have that same page template that doesn’t include the sidebar, but maybe includes a lead magnet opt-in form or something like that.

It really depends on the kind of site that we’re building. The one that I’m thinking about now as I’m talking about this is a site that has three main business divisions in it. The business divisions are similar enough to where we could create page templates that can be repurposed for various different things in the site, but they were different enough to where each business division would need to have its own branding.

It would need to have content that would be unique to that, obviously. Colors, logos, those kinds of things would be unique to that section of the site. So from a design perspective, when we sit down to talk about what website is going to cost.

That’s one of your biggest costs right there is, what kind of content are you trying to present? How many different pages are you going to need to do that? In this particular instance we had around 12 different page templates that we would need to create. Then we loaded up the content.

There may be 20 instances of one page template and maybe four of another and 10 of another so on so forth. You can reuse these and then then you have like the pages that are standard to every website like your contact page, your About Us page, your services page, and those kinds of things.

Those pages are page templates of themselves also. That’s what it looks like from the design perspective. One of the things that makes a big difference is if you don’t have a need for that many different page templates then that’s going to be something that’s going to help keep your costs down.

When you’re thinking about doing design work, what kind of pages do you need? That’s why we always site map first for big projects. We’ll create a site map and figure out all of the different pages that we need, how those pages linked together, where they sit in the overall website architecture. Then what the needs are for those pages will dictate what kind of page template we need to use for that particular page.

I hope that makes sense. We want to make sure that we do the best job of presenting information to our visitors when they get there. We create the page template with them in mind because I know I’ve talked about it in a video a few days ago.

I think I’ve talked about it before on the podcast that the first question that every visitor asks when they land on your website is, what’s in it for me? That means, how can you help me answer my question?

There may be a variety of ways that they get to your website. This project that I’m talking about. One of the things that we found out would be that they’re going to be multiple ways that visitors are going to be coming into the website.

They may be coming through searching for a keyword topic for which we’ve created some content for. We had some SEO content that we had created. They may be coming through a search engine to a blog page. People may be coming in that way.

We wanted to make sure that when they landed on that page that the way the page was designed would be in a way that it would answer their questions and then lead them hopefully to taking the next step into engaging with the company.

That goes for all of the different kinds of things that are kinds of different pages. Homepage got some very specific things that you’re trying to communicate to get engagement and so that dictates the design part of that. Another aspect of design that I think is a really important deal is that when you are designing a page, you have to be thinking about, what do you want your visitor to do when they land on that page?

That’s a really big challenge. Sometimes one of the biggest things that I’ve seen businesses and website owners do is they get so locked in and so focused on how they want the page to look or how they want the website to look to the exclusion of the client. That’s really the wrong way to approach things.

Yes, it’s your site. Yes, you want your site to look right. You want it to look well and represent your brand well, but your website really is an information piece for your visitors. Then then the other part of this is we kind of talked through this multifaceted aspect of how to design a page is when somebody lands on that page, what action do you want them to take?

That could be something like, do you want them to click on a lead magnet and download some sort of resource? Maybe it’s a checklist or maybe it’s a blueprint guide or maybe it is a white paper or something like that, that is going to be something that is interesting to them that’s going to drive them to take that action. Other pages, it may be to subscribe to your blog, to get updates from your blog into their inbox on a weekly basis or a daily basis.

Other pages it may be to click through to another page to continue to increase engagement. So when you’re presenting these pages to your visitors you want to have a thought process about what you want to do on each of those pages and how that’s going to work. I hope that makes sense. Because sometimes people look at the budgets that are proposed for websites and they get blown away and thinking about man, “I can’t afford a $15,000 website.”

That I think, really doesn’t take into account when all you see is a sticker price or all you see as a bottom line number. You’re not taking into account all of the time and research and work that’s going into creating those pages and those page templates and those kinds of things that designers and developers will do to maximize what you’re able to accomplish with your website online.

That covers kind of the broad overview of what it looks like from a design perspective. So when you got a bigger project, obviously, you’re going to need a bigger budget, page templates, design approach, those kinds of things, your calls to action, and the features associated with that are the things that ultimately our big drivers as far as the price is concerned.

Now, since I mentioned features just a second ago, the other side of this that drives what makes your website expensive or what drives up the cost of a website is the features and the functionality that you need to have when it comes to your website.

So what I mean by that is, what kind of different things do you need to do to provide features and functionality to your audience? That could be something like, is it a membership site? Is it something where you’re going to have privileged content?

What I mean by that is somebody has to log in to be able to access various different things. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that it’s a member site. It could be something like it’s a company and you want your customers to be able to log into your website and download their statements or something like that.

Those are features that are part of driving up the cost of a website. Then there can be things like online applications. You’ve got online applications and then you’ve got your content management frameworks that build out directories.

There’s a six-figure site that I built a while back – it’s a huge site. They have these enormous directories on this site. We had to build out the content management framework to make it reasonably straightforward and easy for content managers to be able to go in and work with that particular kind of content and populate that content.

Publish, unpublish, revise those kinds of things and then display it in different ways. That’s another big feature. If you’ve got directories or things like that, that can be something that could be a big driver as far as the cost is concerned. Then, I think ecommerce is probably the biggest one.

That comes with its own set of unique requirements and that is also a big driver as far as the cost of a website is concerned. You have this feature set. There’s another site that I’ve built where we design custom drumsticks on the website. You can upload your image. You can add your text.

There is a text editor in there where you can put custom text on your image on your stick and then we take that image and we get it formatted correctly and then we send it to the printer. The printer handles it and then we had specs that we had to build out for the vendor, for the printer to be able to access the file correctly.

Those kinds of things are big features and functionality so when somebody quotes you a low number you should always be scratching your head especially if you know that your feature set is going to be a little bit bigger. That’s kind of the thought process behind this. Building a custom website is a challenge because there’s a lot that goes into it.

I’m hoping to help business owners and entrepreneurs and creators avoid the sticker shock that comes with some of the quotes that you’re going to get. Because there’s a lot of work that goes into creating these kinds of more complicated websites.

Then there are instances where you don’t need to do all this. I’ve also been on the other side of this where people are requesting and wanting to start a brand new website that has no marketing plan with these complex features and functionality.

It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to do that. It’s not really a good use of money. We’ll talk more about that on another episode. That’s what I wanted to cover for today to give you an idea of the factors that drive the cost of doing custom web design. I hope that helps.

This podcast is available in all of the places where you can sign up for podcasts. We are on iTunes. We’re on Spotify. We’re in all of those various different places. I would really appreciate it if you would subscribe and give us a review. Let me know how I’m doing. And until then, until the next time. We’ll see you then.

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