One of the first things a prospective web design client asks us when they get on the phone with an account manager is, “How much does a website cost?” This is a completely logical and understandable question because, of course, you should want to know how much of your budget you should allocate to the project.
Unfortunately, though, it’s impossible to provide an actual dollar amount for a website project. Websites aren’t one-size-fits-all; they are each unique and customized to meet the company’s’ needs and requirements. In other words, when you’re working with a full-service web design and digital marketing agency to create a custom website, there are far more variables to consider than if you were simply redesigning your website with a templated theme.
Factors that affect the cost of your website project
Although we can’t give you an exact amount for your website redesign without talking about your specific requirements (here are just a few to consider), it is still an area of concern for many prospective clients. Since we’re asked that tricky question, “How much does a website cost?” so often, it’s time we address it here.
The answer? — It depends.
But to give you an idea of why it depends, let us expand on the factors that influence the price of your website redesign.
Creative design and UX
Design and user experience is another element of a redesign project that can lead to varying costs. Without knowing the full scope of the project, we can’t possibly attribute a dollar amount or accurate timing. It can take a couple of weeks to a couple of months. The time and effort that goes into building the full site architecture and wireframes differs from project to project. This is the foundation your website will be built upon and rushing it to “save” isn’t worth it.
On top of that, nailing down the perfect design (i.e. color palette, font, creative treatments, etc.) can vary because of its subjectivity. When it comes to design especially, everyone has an opinion. Our creative and UX teams back up decisions with data from eye tracking studies and heat maps, but getting the final green light from key stakeholders is going to take time on top of our team sitting down to complete the work.
Your own review and approval process
If you know that reserving time on key stakeholders’ calendars is going to be difficult, start early. Waiting until the last minute – until they quite possibly can’t fit you in right away – is only going to hold up your project schedule. Time is money. Lock down your internal processes for getting final approval and moving forward.
Aside from internal review and approval from key stakeholders, allocating time for regulatory reviews and revisions is a whole other beast that takes time. If you’re not looking to throw away money (and I’m guessing you’re not), be sure to allocate adequate time to regulatory reviews in your project schedule.
Copywriting can be one of the most time consuming components of a website – but it’s also one of the most critical aspects of your web presence. While some might have the necessary time and internal resources to write their own website content, many don’t. Instead, you might choose to hire a carefully selected copywriter with the specific skillset of writing for the web in your industry.
Copywriting is just one component of your website’s content. Content, as a whole, is comprised of several other elements, including the number of pages your website has, photos and video included on the site, etc. If you have a large product or service portfolio, the volume of content will be larger, and therefore, increases the overall cost. Tip: Start creating content as early as possible. Many people underestimate how time-consuming of a task this is, and it ends up causing major delays. Don’t wait until the last minute to toss together fluffy text just to fill your page with “content.”
Brand positioning and messaging
If you have your positioning and website messaging finalized, kudos to you! Most people don’t. Or they think they do, but it doesn’t convey any true differentiators. Don’t risk saying the same thing competitors are saying, just in a different way. If you still need to develop powerful messaging that tells your brand story and differentiates you from your competitors, this will increase the cost of your project.
Searching for the perfect imagery to coordinate with your messaging, content, and objectives is a skillset you want on your side, as this requires solid creative direction and an “eye for the prize.” Working with a web design agency that has a defined process for finding the right imagery for your website is going to cost more than working with someone who haphazardly plucks stock photos that can be found on 10 other websites in your industry. You may also choose to use custom imagery and/or video. In this case, the planning and preparation for photo and video shoots will also add to the cost.
Functionality and integrations
A custom website designed specifically for you, your company, and your target audience is going to cost more than the templated alternative with standard functionality. Even the custom route can range from “fairly common” functionality to “complex” functionality. Inclusions like a password protected portal, registration system, and pricing tools are going to increase the cost, as will integrations with ERP systems, Marketing Automation, Customer Relationship Management, Product databases for E-commerce, or any other 3rd party system.
Search Engine Optimization
Some web design agencies are just that: web design and development. While there might be some optimization of content, it’s minimal. Those agencies will even admit that SEO isn’t their core competency. Conversely, when you’re working with a full-service web design and digital marketing agency, your website is undergoing a thorough optimization process to increase visibility in search engines for your target audience. This includes comprehensive research into keyword rankings, competitive analysis, and a well-thought-out keyword strategy that will get your new website in front of the right eyes. Of course this will increase the overall price of the project, but it’s a no-brainer! Why spend all of that time and money if you’re not attracting the right leads?
The people you’re working with
Yes, this last factor is an intangible one, but it’s also an invaluable one. You are paying for the expertise and experience of the entire team of strategists, UX designers, creative designers, web developers, SEO specialists, and project managers. A team with less experience won’t be in a position to anticipate potential roadblocks, create a web journey that guides users to conversions, or develop a keyword strategy with terms that your target audience is actively searching.
As HubSpot suggests, “It would also be advantageous to find a team that specializes in the vertical or niche your business operates in. Finding a specialty agency can also sometimes come with a bit of a price, but it’s an investment well worth the cost.”
A custom website means a custom price.
We wish it was possible to instantly tell you with zero hesitation the price for a website project. But a standard price gives you a standard website – and we don’t do standard.
With so many factors to consider – and without zeroing in on your specific requirements – it would be irresponsible to start throwing numbers around. We’d only be misinforming you and setting both sides up for a very frustrating conversion and failed partnership.
From our experience and knowledge, what we can say is – a custom website project can cost anywhere from $45,000 to well into six figures.
On the lower end of that range is a reasonably sized website with standard functionality (i.e. lead generation forms, a careers solution, and resource library), optimized for search engines (as all of our websites are), minimal integrations, and an average project schedule of approximately 4-5 months.
On the higher end is a larger website with a wealth of content, product database, complex functionality and integrations, all resulting in a longer project schedule of about 6-9 months. In addition to the site itself, these projects tend to have longer decision cycles, larger committees, more meetings and more detailed documentation for functionality.
Again, there are so many variables and we couldn’t possibly give a single price without hearing your specific requirements and circumstances.