The average cost of a website design for a small business
What is the average cost of a website design for a small business? It’s a question we are often asked, and it’s a tricky one because the answer is: It depends. It all boils down to how much work is involved for that particular site. But in this article we hope to give you some pointers to help you decide on your budget.
Consider everything you need
It’s important that you consider all elements of your website, especially if you are on a tight budget.
- Everybody knows that the design is important; it’s what your visitors see first first and first impressions count.
- Good copy writing is equally important if you want to rank well on search engines and engage your visitors to lead them through to your chosen call to action.
- How will search engines see your site? This is perhaps a less obvious point, but vital if your website is going to be found. Keep some of your budget for SEO work.
- Testing is critical: does your site work on all devices and browsers?
- Good project management will keep your project on track, saving you time and money.
- You also need to consider website hosting, management and marketing costs for your completed website.
There are essentially two options here: custom design or a pre-built site (sometimes called premium templates). A custom design will be tailored to your precise needs and will take more time to perfect. A pre-built site can look equally professional, but may be time consuming if you want to change the look. Pre-built site designs typically require design budgets in the hundreds of dollars, whilst custom designs will need a budget well over a thousand dollars. (This is for a basic site; costs will go up for larger sites with more than a few pages.)
Many people consider writing the content for their website themselves or cutting and pasting from existing brochures. Think carefully before you make this decision. Do you have the skills and time to write high quality, engaging copy that will rank well with search engines? Just like poor design, poor copy can look unprofessional and create doubt. This is also the area where most people struggle and can cause significant delays getting your website live. A professional copy writer can help keep your project on track by providing high quality and engaging copy that is set up correctly to rank well on search engines. Allow $150 – $300 per page for a professional copy writer.
Even a million dollar website is useless if nobody can find it, so setting up the many small things that help search engines understand your website is time and money well spent. A good website company will often complete the technical aspects correctly as part of their design, but beware of low cost options that might be cutting corners here to keep the cost down. Consider and research the most important keywords for your business and make sure your copy is optimised for these keywords appropriately. If you decide to write your own copy, allow $100 – $200 per page to optimise it for search engines. If you’ve chosen a good designer and copy writer as above, the cost for SEO may already be included.
Quality control and testing
A good company will include the time required to thoroughly test your website prior to going live to ensure it works properly on all common devices and browsers. We generally allow at least half a day in our budget for this task alone, and more for larger sites.
A lot of different skills are required to build a good website. Some of the important people involved will be graphic designers, copy writers, web developers, content loaders, SEO experts and most importantly you, the website owner. A project manager will save you time and money coordinating all of these tasks efficiently because they thoroughly understand the process and the pitfalls. Good companies will include project management as part of their quote.
Website management and marketing
You’ll need to consider the cost of hosting and management of your website. Poorly maintained, slow websites rank less well on Google. Site building software (like WordPress) must be kept up to date to avoid being hacked (which could mean being banned from Google). Good quality hosting with basic management starts at about $50 per month. Also consider how you are going to market your website; you might want a budget for online advertising and to invest in ongoing SEO work.
The cost of your website depends very much on the size of the site and which of the components above are included. For a small business, budgets can be tight, so don’t fall into the trap of investing all your budget in design alone. You can do some or all of the elements above yourself, particularly if you have time to learn – take a look at our ultimate guide to building a small business website for more information on the steps required. If you don’t have the time to learn all these new skills or you just want help with some aspects please take a look at our website design packages and consider getting in touch for a free consultation.