That’s the million dollar question. Don’t worry the answer isn’t a million dollars.
But asking how much a website costs is a lot like asking how much does a car cost. There’s no right answer because it depends on what you want in a car. Some cars have advanced features that’ll help you park your car and others have features that’ll help prevent accidents.
Let’s start with what you want or rather need.
What Do You Want In A Website?
Let’s assume that you want a 5-page business website.
Business websites are the most common types of websites that you’ll see online. These are the type of websites that are used by local businesses from Doctors to Roofing Companies.
These websites will have web pages such as the main home page, about us, a page about services or products, pricing, frequently asked questions, request a quote, testimonials and contact us. These are just the most popular types of pages because ultimately it’s up to the business owner to decide which of these they need.
They’re not limited to just 5 web pages, it’s just that the average is around 5.
Next we need to figure out if you want advanced features.
Remember that car that I mentioned that’s able to detect and stop in time so that you don’t get into accidents. That’s an advanced feature but over time most cars will support them. Just as most cars now support power steering and power windows.
Which Website Features Do You Want? (or Need)
The most popular feature is known as CMS, known as Content Management System. Over the past few years CMS systems have become very common, so more then likely most website design quotes will include it. Just in case they don’t, just make sure to ask the web design firm about including a CMS option.
A CMS, such as WordPress, gives you a whole host of abilities such as:
If you need to change information on the website after the website is complete then a CMS system will allow you to do this — easily. That’s the operative word. You just log into the CMS administration area, find the page, blog or product that you want to update and then make the changes. Easy peezy. No need to wake up your webmaster in the middle of the night.
Another great feature about CMS is the ability to add new Plugins. Plugins allow you to add more functionality to your website within seconds. Functionality can include features such as ability to SEO optimize your website, setup a shopping cart, ability to capture email addresses, social media sharing options, easily creating forms, increase security, setup website backup, set up an image gallery, setup a members area and so much more.
Plugins can also allow your website to connect to other websites using API. So if you need to access your Quickbooks then you can do that with the Quickbooks WordPress Plugin.
There are 1000’s of plugins that are available for almost any type of feature that you can think of.
Don’t Forget You’ll Need a .com name and Hosting
If you’ve already purchased a .com name and also a hosting then that’s fine. If you haven’t then you need to make sure to include this in your cost. Luckily website names are not pricey. You can get one for around $15-$20 a yearly.
For hosting there are tons of options. My experience with hosting is that it really comes down how you prefer to communicate. Some people don’t mind using the online chat support, while others prefer talking to a real person. I prefer both depending on what type of website issue it is.
Luckily most of the hosting companies now have phone support that’ll be able to help you with any issues you have about your website.
My personal preference is a host that was voted the best hosting in 2018 because not only do they have great pricing and support, but they also have tons of self-help for WordPress CMS.
Let’s Talk Price
Now that you know what you want then it’s a question of shopping for quotes. The more details you can provide to a web design firm the more likely they’ll be able to give you a more exact figure.
The best way to get the right price is to ask them to itemize everything so that you know exactly what costs how much.
Tip: Make sure to ask the web design company whether you’ll receive the full rights to the website after completion
As for pricing you’ll see prices ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Keep in mind just because a website is $10,000 does NOT necessarily mean its a lot better then the $1,000.
How Do You Decide Who To Go With?
First start by going through their Portfolio and visit some of those web sites.
If you visit a website in their web design portfolio then did that website do a good job of convincing to perform an action. An action can be something like calling them, filling out the contact form, signing up for newsletter, etc. If a website they’ve designed for someone else can’t convince you then how will the website they build for you be any different?
Next don’t make a decision based on price. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider your budget. Of course you’ll want to stay within your budget but at the same time you have to be willing to get the maximum value for it.
If you have a deadline for when the website needs to be launched then make sure to talk with the website firm BEFORE the quote. That way you’re not surprised with extra fees for expedited websites.
Surprise — Not The Good Kind!
Speaking of surprises, make sure to let the webmaster know that if there are any additional fees then they need to run it by you for approval. You don’t want an unexpected price surprise once the website is finished.
If you’re still not sure then speak with some of the past web design clients and see what they have to say.
Find out about their maintenance options. What if you need some changes but you’re not comfortable making them then what type of fees would you be looking at?
If you don’t need too much maintenance then a pay-as-you-go hourly option might work. Keep in mind it might limit how fast the work will be done.
On the other hand if you setup a maintenance plan then there will be a dedicated amount of time setup for you so that your updates can be done fairly quickly.
The last step is to find out what are their payment, cancellation and return policy. I’ve always offered my clients a step by step process. So an initial payment, then design, then the next payment, website launch then the final payment. Sometimes this differs a little bit depending on the size and scope of the project but overall it’s a process that’s worked well for me and my clients.
I would strongly advice AGAINST paying full amount up-front.
For cancellation it really depends on the why. If you don’t like the design they’ve created or if it’s taking too much time then a refund or pro-rated refund will work.
A return policy is very difficult, almost impossible, after a website is complete. The goal then is to never be in a position where you’ll need a refund. Instead if you’re not comfortable with anything then make sure to let the website firm know.
Remember though that website design is a service, not an item.
Guarantees & Warranty
For guarantees, you’ll get anywhere from 30-day to 60-day or more to fix if something breaks on the website.
Overtime though software will get old, servers update, browsers change and new features are introduced. So if anything happens after a certain amount of time then you’ll have to talk with your webmaster and find out how much it will cost to fix it and if possible prevent it from happening.
Don’t Loose Your Website
Make sure to have the website firm give you a copy of the website after the website is complete so that you have some type of backup. In addition it would be a good idea to ask them to include the installation of a plugin that’ll backup your website and database.
Do you need an itemized quote for your business website design? I can help. Contact me at Simple Web Design about a business website quote.