The Cost of Web Design

The Cost of Web Design
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Why does web design cost so much?

Probably the number one question that a web design company gets from their potential clients is: Why don’t you post the prices of your services on your website? The answer is simple: the cost of any website is always relative to the needs of the individual or company. In fact, no two websites are the same. The same is true with their cost: no two websites cost the same.

Costs do vary from firm to firm; however, it is safe to say that many hover around the same general costs for services. Most people are shocked to learn that a basic five page website can cost upwards around $1,200 and that is before any add-ons. By throwing extra stuff in there, your site costs can quickly reach $3,000 before you know it.

The cost of web development baffles many, since they are oftentimes bombarded with advertising promising that you can “Build your website for free with our online editor!” For some this is the only alternative they have because web development cost so much; however, it’s pervasively the case that individuals and small businesses seeking web development services want the same sort of discounts. It’s not hard to see why since it’s a far jump from free to $3,000.00 for the what many view as the same thing.

But is it the same thing? The answer is a resounding, NO! Remember just because two things look similar does not mean that in essence they are the same. In fact, websites built with online editors have very little functionality and oftentimes use proprietary code (code specific to only their editor). Not only are there literally hundreds of things below the hood that are incorrect, but the appearance almost always needs complete auto body restoration.

Some Things you may not know

When you pay for a web designer you are oftentimes paying for an army of individuals who make up the web development team. All of those individuals have unique specialties each need to be paid for their work. This high overhead is the first reason for the apparent high cost of web development. The reason it takes so many individuals to construct a proper website is because oftentimes the nature of the programming language or skill-set takes many years (and sometimes a lifetime) to master. For one or two people to be able to do everything is not only unlikely, but also not practical.

However, the biggest reason for the apparent high cost of web development is due to marketing. Let me use an example to illustrate this idea:

Say you hire someone to make a brochure for your small business. You send them all of your branding information, content and layout specs. After they have completed your new brochure you go to pick it up and absolutely love it. You know just by looking at the great design, layout, and message that you have a brochure that will increase your bottom line. You are very pleased and go to pay the company for their great work. They tell you: “that will be $1,400.00 for your tri-fold brochure.” As your heart stops and starts again, the company adds a caveat: “what you don’t know is that this brochure is special. It will last you a lifetime.”

In our little story the small business owner has two options: first, he can go to another company to have another brochure made and pay the $100.00 he was expecting to pay, and come back four or five times a year (every time he has a new promotion to advertise); or second, he can pay the one-time fee and have the brochure for life. I think most of us would pay the one-time fee knowing we could update the brochure whenever we wanted.

Here is the point: the cost of a well developed website is merely change compared to its overall value it brings for an individual or business. What is the value, you may be wondering? First, it’s a lifetime of marketing for you business. Unless you need a webmaster you only pay the developer a one-time fee, then the website is yours (baring any additions, or changes that need to be made). Second, it reaches a market your business could not otherwise reach with traditional advertising methods. Your customer base just went from being your local and surrounding communities to the entire state, the nation, the World. Third, your business can now be open 24 hours a day on the Web. No more nine-to-fives. Instead your company could be making money all night long- either by selling products or advertising services. The overall exposure is unparalleled.

When understanding the cost of web development in light of what it actually produces, you can see the price, although seemingly high, is actually quite reasonable.

Industry Averages

Here is a brief list of industry averages to give you a better understanding of what to expect:

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  • Domain Name: $10/yr
  • Hosting: $20-$50/mo
  • 5 Page Website (at 30 hours): $1,500
  • Website Maintenance: $500-$1,500/yr (depending on the amount of maintenance needed)
  • Small Business Website (5 pages):$1,900 – $5,000 This assumes a 30-day completion date, and is dependent upon how much functionality the business requires.
  • Corporation (5 pages and over 100 employees): $10,000 – $25,000 This assumes a 60-90 day completion date, and is dependent upon how much functionality the corporation requires.
  • Search Engine Optimization: SEO is a little tricky since the cost really is determined by the competence of the developer and the amount of optimization performed on the site. Needless to say, prices are all over the board. All figures below are based on SEO services being performed on one page (usually the home page).
  • Site Review and Consulting: $500 – $5,000 (Usually only needed for large corporations dealing with very large development firms.)
  • Basic Optimization: $2,000 – $25,000 (Usually one page optimized code, meta-data, and search engine submission, keyword development)
  • Standard Optimization: $4,000 – $35,000 (Usually 3 pages optimized code, meta-data, search engine submission, link building, keyword development, keyword integration, and graphic optimization)
  • Specialized Optimization: $7,000 – $50,000 (Usually 5 pages optimized code, meta-data, search engine submission, link building, graphic optimization, website scale down, CSS optimization, keyword development/integration, Java Script consolidation, and special marketing features such as: Google Add Words, Pay Per Click, etc.)