Blog Post

A Good Price for Custom Web Design


if you're a web developer, how do you come with a fair yet profitable pricing structure and if you're in the market for a website, how do you know if you're getting a fair price? Chad and Adam discuss some of the key factors in pricing for web design that include: is your website there to give you a presence or do you need a custom website design that your internet marketing campaigns can piggyback off? Do you have everything you need for the website or will you be expecting your website design service to create logos, images, videos, widgets, content and any other custom items for you? There are a lot of things that go into what makes a website design price fair. Watch the video on how to price web design for Chad and Adam's professional opinion.

TRANSCRIPTION: Hello, and welcome to our video on web design prices. I'm Chad Hill, and I have Adam Stetzer with me. Adam, how are you doing today?

I'm good. Good afternoon, Chad. Yeah, we're talking about how to price and know if you're getting a fair price for your web development project. So this is a juicy topic. What's the framework people can use if they're really not familiar with building websites and the whole process, to know if they're getting a fair price when they look at their web design cost?

Yeah, I've been involved with projects that range, seriously, web design costs anywhere from $100 or $200 on the super low end, and I've actually also been involved in web development and design projects that have cost $250,000. And I'm sure there's ones that go beyond that. But there's a couple things that-- I think there's some pretty standard price points in terms of what you're getting on the sort of entry-level side of things. And I want to walk through three of those today.

Web design pricing for your basic one-page presence website. And this is essentially a glorified profile page that has the name of your business, a picture, a couple basic links, maybe to Twitter or Facebook. And those types of one-page presence products or websites typically are going to be priced anywhere from up to $300 to build it. And then you're talking about $10 or maybe $20 at the most a month to host it. But that $20 would be on the high side.

And a few things you'll get in that, like I said, that assumes that you're bringing most of the content with you and most of the images with you. And that's really just a basic fee to organize that information and publish that page. And that's going to give you a basic website presence.

So web design prices can range from anywhere from under $100 up to $250,000, you said. You're talking about, now, a very baby, bite-sized website. What would be a good use of that website? Because I would imagine it's got to be fairly restrictive in what it can look like and how attractive it can be.

Yeah, I think this is typically going to be your small retail operation, one-man store that really is looking to publish for people looking for their hours of operation, maybe a phone number, a few other items. It's a really basic presence page. But more than likely, you're not deriving a lot of business from that page. It's really meant to sort of get people to your store where you're doing business. That's really what you're looking at there.

Right. So for any business where your online presence is important in your marketing strategy, that bumps you right out of the $100 or $200 website and probably takes you to your second tier. So talk to us about what's the next tier up, if I'm ready to spend a little more in web page designers prices.

Yeah, so once you're past that kind of $300 price point, I'd say the next jump up is to somewhere around $700 or maybe a little bit more, all the way up to $3,000. And what that's going to get you is that's going to get you a very solid, template-based website. And what I mean by template is that there's a number of companies out there that specialize in building nicely designed websites that they can go out and say, here's a template. And 10 or 20 or 30 or 100 people might buy that and then customize it for their individual use. But that's a template-based website.

I think template-based websites are fantastic, particularly if you're price conscious, and you're out shopping around, I mean, there are so many templates now available on these CMS platforms that you can get a very attractive-looking website. So what I hear you saying is this second tier, which is probably where most small businesses need to be, in terms of their web design pricing, is what, $500 to you said it tops out about $2,500, maybe?

Yeah, somewhere around there. And then the main difference between what makes a $500 or $700 website up to the $2,500 or $3,000 website really has to do with what you're trying to accomplish. So first of all, it's number of pages. But the main factor, typically the incremental effort to go into the CMS and say I want four pages instead of eight pages, or I want to double that number of pages, that's not the hard part. What's actually hard, and what most companies need to charge you for, is the time that goes into the images and the content involved in each of those pages.

So if you're bringing all of the content and all of the images-- and when I say the images, formatted the right way and the right sizes, all that type of stuff. Because bringing some photos in doesn't necessarily mean that you've done the work. There could be touch-up work that needs to happen after that. But that's really going to define what the difference is between the $500 range all the way up to the $2,500 range.

And then I should mention the other big component is other functionality. So as far as a website design pricing guide, think about are you trying to put in integration with a CRM tool, web-to-lead forms, email newsletter lists, social media integration. So there's a whole bunch of other little features that get defined. But that's what's going to decide, are you on the low end? You're doing a lot of the work yourself, bringing the content, images with you without any complicated requirements. Or are you on the high end, up to the $3,000 range, where the company you're working with is doing more of the work?

So you're saying the price of your web design project is really contingent on how well thought out all that content is, or whether you've had it done previously, or you have another consultant involved, which is really just shifting the costs. So if you're a small business looking to shop for a website, and you're looking at that $500 to $2,500 range saying, yeah, I could really afford $700, but I can't afford $2,200, your advice to them is, what, you've really got to do some of this work yourself?

Exactly. You need to take on more of the requirements definition. And what I mean by that is, you need to write the copy, edit it, make sure that it actually is going to-- that it's going to fit on a web page. The web, typically, you're writing in a more concise way. Handing someone a seven- or eight-page document isn't necessarily great for the web. So edit it down-- concise. Give them the images. With custom website design prices, that's going to shave off a lot of the cost with getting that website up.

And you need to be prepared to not be able to get on the phone and say, what do you think? Right? So the person looking to bring those costs down needs to be ready to realize any moment they get to a point in the design process where they're like, I need an opinion, you have to pay for that. That's like asking someone to come in and help you design your living room versus going to the showroom and picking that couch and that lamp to go with this carpet. There's consulting involved, and of course, that's money.

Absolutely.

And what are your comments on who should be looking at that $2,500 or $3,000 and up custom tier, which of course, as you said, sky's the limit. Could go up to a quarter million dollars. What's that really for?

Yeah, I mean, those are for people that have a very, very specific set of requirements around the way their website works. And maybe they're trying to match very, very precisely some of their branding that they're doing in another place. And so they have to have a very specific design idea in mind or that they're a very specific functionality, that they're trying to build some sort of login area where you're getting the data and anything that requires advanced functionality. And that really, from there, takes you from $3,000, like I said, well up into the hundreds of thousands depending on how complex those requirements and that functionality is.

Cool. Well, website design pricing is certainly not an easy topic. But I think these three tiers of the couple hundred dollars or the $700 to the $2,500-- which is really, I think, what we'd recommend most small business websites be-- and then the super mega custom, is a good rule of thumb to start your shopping process and to orient yourself to what your budget needs to be.

Comments (7)

  • Bill F Reply

    Great introduction to the business side of web design!

    01/11/13 at 09:17 AM
  • Jesse Reply

    Cost is incredibly important. Paying too much could hamper a company with other things it may want to do, since it may not have the money it needs. Paying too little on the other hand will probably leave one with a service that they would not want to show off.

    Not everyone could afford a quarter of a million dollars, but most businesses could probably afford the recommended $700-$2,500 range.

    01/11/13 at 11:32 AM
  • Eric R Reply

    At first I was kind of surprised with how expensive web design can be. That got me thinking about some of the sites I've seen and I guess you really get what you pay for. If you cheap out and get a crappy looking/functioning site built then your conversions will plummet. If you spend the bucks and get a clean, functioning site, that will be a good foundation for your business in the online world. I've gone the cheap route on things in the past and it never works well long term. You got to set yourself up for a long term strategy to really get the most out of it.

    01/11/13 at 12:30 PM
  • Nick Reply

    Not long ago I was pricing web design in order to build a portfolio page for myself, and an acquaintance offered to do it for me at a "discounted" rate that floored me. I really wanted something very basic and was willing to do a lot of the legwork myself (as well as the maintenance afterwards, since I am pretty conversant with WP and other CMSes -- just didn't want to do the initial set up). So this is helpful and interesting to me on a personal level, and I imagine a really good guide for small-to-medium sized businesses too. Thanks guys.

    01/11/13 at 03:47 PM
  • Chris Reply

    The terminology "Template-based" can be a little deceiving. It might sound like an easy and inexpensive alternative to "custom", but in reality all modern content management system based sites use a template or theme. The site can not exist without one. That being said, the given template (or theme) can have an infinite level of customization, accommodating a wide range of function and design.

    In terms of pricing and quality, don't equate "template" with "cheap".

    01/12/13 at 03:34 AM
  • Terrance Reply

    This is amazing stuff guys. I am soo thankful for this blog. I will send my Resellers here with their curiosity.

    01/14/13 at 12:05 AM
  • Matt Reply

    AS important as pricing is time. This is a big time saver. Time is money. This makes a lot of headaches go away.

    01/14/13 at 06:11 PM

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