How much should a website design cost? Many small businesses face this question when they are looking into redesigning their site or creating a new online-based business. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly complicated question.
The actual cost of web site design depends on different factors, which will make the cost, obstacles, and opportunities unique to your specific case. Here are some of them:
Factors that Affect Website Design Pricing
Type of website
The type of website that you need is a key factor.
Static websites are difficult to change and aren’t usually hugely interactive from the user-end. They also require some knowledge of coding, so most businesses that go with this route make changes to the website as seldom as possible to minimize costs. Because of their relative simplicity, these websites are the cheapest but they also give you the most limited opportunity.
Websites with Content Management Systems (or CMS for short), are more expensive up-front because more back-end development is involved. The good news is that once they are up and running they require no coding knowledge so you or someone at your business can make changes to the website without relying on coders to do everything for you.
eCommerce websites allow clients and customers to pay for goods and services from your webpage. Websites like these open up a lot of opportunities for your business to expand or simply exist in the online space. However, payment systems, security concerns, &c. make these websites pretty expensive to develop and host.
Custom websites with databases (i.e. web applications) are the most expensive kind of website. However, they also offer you the most computing power and the opportunities for the most two-way interaction with customers.
Design and UI
The level of design and user-interaction features that you incorporate into your website impact the cost. Having a basic design and low user-interaction keep your costs down but they also make your website more generic and less useful to customers and clients. Custom designs add to the cost but they make your website stand out from the competition and increase the functionality.
- Payment Processing
Payment processing can impact your website in one or two ways. The first has to do with how you pay your designers and the second has to do with how clients and customers pay you through your website.
There are a number of platforms designed for connecting businesses with outsourced web developers. While you may be able to find cheaper developers, they usually aren’t vetted as well as they could be and the platform usually takes a cut, which drives up costs. If you go directly through a developer or a company you can usually trust the developers a little more and you know that the full price is going to the developers rather than to a middle man.
The second way that payment processing can impact your website is only important to businesses that feature online payments. Online payments need to be serviced by a bank or payment agency who can charge you different rates or fees. Shopping around for different services can help you to minimize these costs. Just be sure to look at the features that you are paying for, not just going with the cheapest option.
- Scheduling or Booking Services
If your website offers scheduling or booking services, these services usually increase the cost of the website. These are dynamic features that require fairly powerful computing as well as regular upkeep.
- Integration with Other Applications
If you want your website to work with applications that your customers use, like GPS, calendars, &c., this requires software called an Applications Programming Interface or API. Working with APIs is tricky and so it isn’t cheap. It can drastically impact the usability of your website, however, so it might be something to think about.
A potential downside or potential opportunity of integration with other applications is that it is most beneficial if your website also has an addon mobile app, which we’ll talk about next. Doing both of these things at once can cost more than just doing a website but it also adds a whole lot of opportunities.
- Addon Mobile App
Websites are viewable on phones that are connected to the internet, so you don’t need a mobile app in order to be accessible to mobile devices. However, developing a mobile app or at least a mobile-friendly version of your website does have significant advantages. These include increased visibility and easier integration.
Having an app also requires a lot of the same content as having a website so developing an addon mobile app alongside your website can be kind of like killing two birds with one stone. You’ll need a more expensive stone, unfortunately. If you are considering a standalone mobile app, you can try the app estimator
- Social Integrations and Sharing
Word of mouth has always been the best kind of advertising and that’s still the case. However, that word of mouth is now often on social media.
Once again, you don’t need social integration for your website to be shared on social media sites. As long as it has a link it can be shared. However, allowing social integration will make it easier for users to share your content and it will make that content look more appealing on the sites that it is shared on.
As is the case with integrating with other apps and tools, social media integration is another added cost that you could get by without but that has a serious bang for its buck if you can find the money in your budget.
- Reviews and Feedback
Allowing visitors to share reviews and feedback is important for two main reasons. The first reason is that it is another kind of free advertising. It allows other visitors to your site to see how much previous visitors like your products or services.
The other benefit is that it allows you to see what things your clients and customers like and don’t like about your goods and services. Having reviews and feedback section also makes visitors feel more like you care about them rather than just being out to sell them things.
Allowing reviews and features is another thing that makes your website more “dynamic,” which makes it more expensive and can add to the upkeep.
- User Submission of Images and Videos
Allowing users to submit their own images and videos builds on the idea of reviews and feedback. It gives future visitors an opportunity to see a preview of your business before they decide to pay for it themselves. It also gives users the feeling that they are participating in a community rather than just buying things and moving along.
Any time that you allow users to interact with your website you are increasing the website’s complexity and so increasing its cost to you. Having things like videos on your site can also make the site run slower, especially on mobile devices if you don’t have an add-on app.
In this way, the costs of including these features have a way of adding up and it is up to you to decide whether your business would benefit enough to justify the cost. For example, service-related businesses can benefit hugely from users posting videos of them using your services. If you are more of a retailer selling goods, you might benefit a lot less from these features.
How much should a Website Cost Today?
The end cost of a website has to do with which and how many of these features you decide you want to have on your website.
How many of these features you would benefit from depends on what kinds of goods or services you provide and how active you intend on being with regards to your website.
For example, a hardware store probably doesn’t need scheduling or booking services but something like a restaurant could benefit immensely from paying the extra coin for that service.
Further, if you don’t have – or want – a huge online presence, you probably don’t need social media integration as the websites that benefit the most from this are those that regularly update their online content with features like blogs.
Other of these features, however, could benefit everybody. For example, no matter what good or service you sell, having reviews and feedback section is probably a good idea.
The best way to maximize your benefit while minimizing your cost is to look at all of these features not as expenses but as investments. If you see these features making your business money than it is probably worth spending more money on.
If you read the descriptions of any of the features in this article and don’t think that it would help to draw in or keep customers and clients, then it’s probably just a complicated cash-hole that you don’t need to deal with.
It’s also important to keep the cost of upkeep in mind. Some of these tools require regular maintenance from a dedicated team, while others could be provided by a service that comes in, does the job, and leaves without protracted payments. Website design is all about trade-offs and determining what you will get from what you can pay.
We have created an interactive web site cost calculator that can give you an estimate based on different factors and past customer estimates. This would be a good guide before you talk to web developers.
A well written piece on pricing sites. Setting up the customer expectations up front is key to quoting a new web project.