Website Design Cost for a Small to Medium Sized Business
It can be exciting starting a new business, and in a lot of ways, the Internet has made it somewhat easier to create a new business website. Here is a common scenario that some small business owners look at for a web design cost (all prices are estimates):
- The ideal domain name for your business providing it is available! ($20)
- Sign up for a hosting package to house your website. ($200 for one year of hosting, pre-paid)
- WordPress for content management (free)
- and this theme is perfect. ($90)
At first glance this looks great, $310 to create a website! Unfortunately, website development is a lot more complex than you could imagine when it comes to web design cost. You’re going to need a killer design to stand out from your competitors, web development work to accomplish your business goals online, a web content strategy, an SEO strategy, and…I think you get the idea. All this is going to cost you some money.
A Website is an Investment in Your Business
The first thing you need to know when trying to budget for web development is what you’re going to need out of your website. There are a number of things that can end up costing you money, including:
- Is this a new site or a redesign?
- Do you need content management functionality?
- Do you need a blog setup?
- Do you have graphics already created for the site? Or, do you need custom images created?
- Do you need custom photography shots? Or, are you using stock photos?
- How are you planning on servicing mobile customers?
- Do you need multimedia (Flash, video, etc.) on the site?
- How much content do you have and how much do you need created?
- Do you need other special features like social media, SEO, ecommerce, or something else?
- And who is going to maintain the site?
Below I will go into details about some of the things that will run up the cost for your website.
New Sites May Cost More Than A Simple Redesign
When you’re creating from scratch, you have nothing to work from. We can’t look at your site and get an idea of what you already love or hate. The advantage of starting from scratch is that you can work more closely with the designer to get the exact site you want (for your budget). But you should assume that you will pay more with a new site than if you were redesigning an existing website.
Content Management Tools
If you’re already running a WordPress site then you have the advantage of already having some type of content management on your site. Creating a site using these tools takes more time than building a site from scratch using HTML and CSS because you have to integrate the designs into the CMS system.
And don’t assume that if you already have a WordPress theme it should be cheaper. Many themes are sold as-is and designers are not licensed to change them. Often, the cost of purchasing a theme that can be modified is as expensive as just building a new theme from scratch.
Graphics and Images
Graphics can be tricky because they can be difficult to create and hiring a professional photographer can be expensive. Stock photography with royalty-free licenses can be a less expensive alternative.
If you supply all of the images, you will still need to budget some funds to get those images integrated into the new design. And don’t assume that if you’ve already got a website template you want to use that you won’t need any images re-done. Customizing templates can take time, and you want to be sure that the designer has the rights to customize the images in the template.
But that’s not all there is regarding images. You will probably also need icons and buttons created to go with your design. Essentially, the more images that you need, the more money you should budget.
Mobile devices and tablets are more and more common and your design should adapt to customers using those devices. The best designs are responsive to the device viewing the page, but creating that type of design is difficult and will cost more than a simple site for a desktop web browser. The best sites are designed to handle at least three different device sizes: smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers while supporting mutiple web browsers – Chrome, Safari, Mozilla, Android, iOS, etc.
Multimedia like Flash and video can also be difficult to integrate with a website. And, if you’re having us create the multimedia there will be additional charges.
The cheapest way to go is to create all the content yourself and provide it to us. However, if you are not famililar with web content strategy using keywords, then you may be doing your website a disservice. We typically have you provide the content with us curating it to work with your website’s SEO strategy. If you are unable to create the content, we have a team of content writers who are the best at what they do.
Special Features Always Cost Extra
With the above elements, you will have a website that most people would agree is sufficient, but there are a lot of extra features you might need that will up the web design cost, but can also improve your website to meet your online business goals and objectives:
- Site membership and registration
- Forums or chat rooms
- News feeds of both your content (outgoing) and adding content to the site (incoming)
- Contact forms and surveys
- Advertising integration
- Photo gallery
- Ecommerce: shopping carts, catalogs, payment processing
- Metrics: custom reports, Google analytics, etc.
- SEO: page optimization, submission to search engines, etc.
- Social media: Twitter, FaceBook, etc.
And Don’t Forget On-going Maintenance Costs
Websites don’t just build themselves, and the best are changing all the time. Maintenance is something that most businesses forget to budget. Or if they remember, they think that they’ll just do it themselves. But the first time you delete your entire home page by mistake and lose 8 hours of sales trying to get it back up and running, you’ll wish you’d spent the extra money on a care plan.
Your website should not be a “set it and forget it” part of your business. WordPress is an Open Source project and makes up nearly 28% of websites on the Internet. There are hundreds of developers all over the world working every day to make it more secure, faster and more visible to search engines.
As technology evolves, website software is constantly being updated. Just like Microsoft Office and your smartphone software needs to be updated, so does your website.