A quality website that draws and converts online traffic is one of the most important marketing assets a business can have.  However, the web design industry changes so rapidly that it can be hard to know the fair value of a website.  So how much does a website cost?  Let’s take a look at the process that web design agencies, like Signal Interactive and our peers here in Columbus, go through to create and price a custom website for small to medium sized businesses.

How Do Web Design Companies Charge?

The price of any product is usually based on the time and resources spent to create it, with a mark-up for the manufacturer to make a profit. Pretty basic, right?  Digital agencies are no different.  With something like a website, we factor in the man hours that our professional designers and developers will spend writing, designing, and coding the full web-ready site and multiply it by our going agency hourly rate.

In order to cover the cost of staff and overhead, agencies often charge an hourly rate of $90 to $150 per hour, and fixed cost projects like a website are quoted based on this rate.  We have the advantage of working in a smaller market here in Columbus where we have access to some really top quality talent, but in a more moderate economic landscape where salaries are a bit more affordable.  This gives us the advantage of maintaining a competitive $75 per hour agency rate.

So, if a standard website takes roughly 75 hours to build, that translates to a billable cost of about $5,625.  Freelancers, brokers, and agencies that use offshore contractors can beat our rate, but they often struggle to maintain clear communication and don’t always meet competitive quality standards.

Still other web design companies promote “package price” websites, offering Package A for $999, Package B for $1999, etc.  This is an effective way to sell websites, and it surely fits the budget range of very small businesses with limited funds.  However, this often limits both the web design team and the client in what can be achieved, as the scope of work is often pre-determined to fit within the price point. You get the bare bones basics in a cookie-cutter, one size fits all approach.

Personally, we like to consult with our clients to determine what exactly is needed to be successful, calculate our time based on the agreed upon scope, and then present a unique quote for each project.  We find this ensures the most flexibility and customization, ensuring happy clients and high-performing websites.

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The Cost of a Business Website Depends on its Size

While each and every website is unique, with different content, design, and functionality, there are some common types of websites that we encounter most often.  This range can give you a solid idea of what a quality business website generally costs.

Note that all of our websites are optimized for mobile devices with responsive technology and include strategy, design, programming, and browser testing for a bug-free launch.  Each site is search engine friendly and includes Google Analytics to measure web traffic. Most of our websites also include a CMS (content management system) for adding or changing content.

Simple Informational Website

The most basic website is one that serves as a digital brochure for your business. It has no ecommerce functionality included and is instead focused on marketing your business and communicating the value of your products or services to potential customers.  The client provides their logo and business information, as well as a few pictures, and we do the rest.

Features Include:

  • 5-10 Web Pages
  • Blog & Social Media links/feeds
  • Contact form and Email Subscription capture
  • Other options as needed:  Calendar, Gallery, Menus, etc

Cost:  $3,000 to $5,000

Advanced Informational Website

As we scale up on informational brochure websites for small to medium sized businesses, we’re working with a larger number of individual pages and possibly some additional functionality.  Companies with many different services or offerings which require detailed explanations and a variety of choices will need more pages, which takes more time to build.  These come with everything included in a simple website, but with 10-25 individual Web Pages.

Cost:  $5,000 to $10,000

E-commerce Websites

Websites that sell products online require a slightly different approach, usually with the payment gateway and product catalog as the main priority and focus.  These sites are usually integrated with third party ecommerce software like Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce and can come with any number of payment gateways from Merchant Services to PayPal.

Typically the meat of the site is similar to an informational site, yet we’re adding the content and optimization of several product listings.  The number of products is the biggest factor in determining the scope and cost of an e-commerce website.

Site with 50-150 Products :  $6,000 to $11,000
Site with 150-500 Products:  $10,000 to $25,000

Additional Features that can Increase the Cost of a Website

“Scope creep” is a constant challenge when building a business website and part of our job is to help our clients keep the project within the scope and budget that fits our strategy for success.  There are, of course, additional features and functions required by some businesses that require additional programming time and can raise the cost of your otherwise basic website, but what makes a good website is often more about the relevance of the content to your typical site visitor.

Some of these are;

  • Integration with back-office software or third party systems
  • Customer login and account dashboards or membership portals
  • Custom product configurators
  • Multi-language features
  • Data migration and database configuration
  • Additional social media integration
  • Integrated lead generation and marketing services
  • Custom e-commerce configuration

How to Get Your Business Website Started

If you’ve made it this far through this article, it’s a good bet that you’re looking to have a website created for your small to medium sized business.  Our team here at Signal Interactive prides itself on being transparent and straightforward.  We know what kind of nightmares are lurking out there in our industry and we don’t want you to be confused or taken advantage of.  For free advice and consulting on what kind of website best suits your needs as a business, give us a call.  No pressure, just a friendly chat with one of our highly qualified, highly caffeinated Web Consultants.



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