Guide – What Should a Professional Website Cost?

“I’ve just started working on getting a website for my business, but prices and time are so different, I’m not sure which way to go…”

Well, you’re not alone. With over 1,204,497,424 websites on the web as we speak, it’s absolutely possible to build a website for your business that fits your brand vision, and budget. You just need to create a plan, like any important project, and find out how to make it work for you.

When building my first website back in 1996, things were a bit different. There was a lot less competition for visibility, and less requirements for a website to be successful.

In today’s world, we not only have to account for a great website design that people find friendly and easy to use, but also a myriad of other factors that control and distinguish visibility in search engines. From SEO to XML Sitemaps, it’s almost too much at times!

As a professional website designer, I’ve been through thousands of proposals, consultations and questions on the web from business owners looking for the right information on how to get started building their website, so I’ve taken the time to combine all of the information I’ve gathered over the past years to prepare this useful guide for business owners and what they should expect to pay for a website in 2017.

Let’s get started:

This guide is broken up into 4 different parts that will give you a deep understanding of what you should prepare for when creating a website alone, or with a professional. Take some time to identify the right areas for you to start with, and save the other parts for the future.

Part 1: Website Design Cost

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In my experience, this is the one area business owners spend too much time on, and keep themselves from finding a viable solution in a conservative time frame.

You see, the main goal of your website is to sell products or services. Sure, a great design with lots of features can go a long way, but how can you be sure they are necessary for your visitors?

More often than not, many business owners end up wasting days and weeks worrying about these types of questions:

  • Do I really NEED to pay a designer?
  • How will I be able to keep this cost-effective?
  • Do I need a designer, developer, seo expert and consultant? Or all of them?
  • When they quote their price, is it really that much?
  • How can they understand my “vision” without ever seeing my business?
  • How do I keep from losing money and getting screwed?!

These are all truly reasonable questions that any good website designer should be able to answer in depth.

Which is where we’ll start first.

Do I really NEED to pay a designer?

It’s no secret that people in today’s world can easily create a website. There are plenty of free services out there that allow anyone without any technical coding experience to be able to put something together that they feel represents them correctly. These website builders allow you to drag and drop exiting pieces of content and designs to build a “good enough” website.

Unfortunately, what these website builders don’t provide are the strategies, best practices and techniques that make a good website successful. That means in addition to spending the time building the website using their tools, you’ll also need to dedicate a good amount of time for research.

So like any project, from birdhouses to websites, you need to find ways to keep yourself from reinventing the wheel while ensuring you’re getting a quality end result.

That’s time consuming. In my experience working with business owners who are coming from their existing website builder, we end up finding many essential small needs that will always keep them from reaching their goals.

If you’re absolutely certain you’ve got the time to spend building your own website, here at Douglife Marketing we recommend two platforms to choose from:

Squarespace – This company provides design-oriented templates along with a free 14 day trial to start out. The coding and hosting are acceptable and give you a good start on the web.

Shopify – This company is more designed for eCommerce websites, providing their own Stripe payment gateways and designs built to show off products.

How will I be able to keep this cost-effective?

Building your own website is a good way to keep costs at a minimum, but there’s a good chance you’re going to have to plan for updates and fixes once you get the ball rolling. We recommend doing as much research as possible before deciding to dedicate your time to building a website from scratch.

Now, as we get into more cost-effective solutions for building a website, all in one service combinations cannot be ignored.

As with any professional, the more experienced they are in the technical areas of their industry, the more valuable they are to your business. This method takes a bit more effort, but it pays off in the future as you find yourself a partner you can trust to help you through the twists and turns of online marketing and website design.

So be sure to try and find a designer who is more than a designer. Sure, their rates may be higher than a singular professional, but when you account for the fact that they provide design, development, seo and copywriting all together, you’ll find that won’t have to spend extra time filling these additional spots.

Do I need a designer, developer, seo expert and consultant? Or all of them?

Which then rolls into this question. Finding a professional that is experienced in all facets of online marketing will give your business the added bonus of not only getting a good looking website, but one that obtains higher visibility, converts visitors, and provides a positive impression of your brand.

Take the time to find an expert who not only understand what a good website looks like, but how it should function in all types of devices, web speeds and locations. You’ll find that by partnering with an expert like this will provide you invaluable insight into what you need to start preparing for in the future.

When they quote their price, is it really that much?

That really depends. Often times web designers will provide their hourly or per-website rate on their website, which can give you an idea of the costs initially. If your budget is limited, it’s best to start small, and find your MVP (Minimally Viable Product) that you can get ready in a short period, then build up.

Almost all website designers will provide you a free quote and consultation, because it gives them the ability to pick apart your website, to find any loose holes or integrity issues that may arise. This can be helpful when starting with a small budget, giving you an added benefit of maybe delegating some of the tasks presented.

The average website designer / developer hourly rate is $34.69 in the United States. On average a 5-10 page website with quality code and basic SEO takes about 10-15 hours, making a very basic website cost anywhere from $300-1000 depending on pages, features and needs.

To be sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck, make sure to compare different potential designers so that you can outline and identify what you’re getting for what price.

Many times in my career, I have taken on a client because they paid a designer a cheap price, and ended with lackluster results, so it’s best to shoot for a median price that fits your budget.

Part 2: Website Setup & Must Have’s

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Once you’ve decided whether or not you’ll be using a professional website designer or DIY, it’s time to start thinking needs and setup. A website consists primarily of a Domain, and a Hosting account. Both of these can be paid together, or you can choose to use different providers.

The first part of a website is obtaining the right domain for your business. If you don’t already have one, you can purchase one on GoDaddy.

You’ll want to get a domain that reflects your business, and possibly the main service you provide.

For instance, if you’re a plumber in Detroit Michigan, you’ll want to try to obtain a domain like one of these:

  • JamesRplumbing.com
  • plumberdetroit.com
  • detroitplumbing.com

What this will do is provide the visitor an instant impression of where you are, and what you do. it will also allow search engines to categorize your business and website correctly for your local area or product.

Next you’ll want to start thinking about where you’ll be hosting your website. Here at Douglife Marketing, we are partnered with PureVoltage Enterprises who provides our hosting solutions for our clients. When shopping around for hosting solutions and options, you need to be sure that you’re not paying too much for things you don’t need. Hosting companies like PureVoltage allow you to purchase your domain with them, or elsewhere, and then just point it to them.

Here are some key tips for finding a good hosting company:

  • Do they have good support?
  • What are their reviews?
  • How much is extra help
  • Where are they located?

And of course how much it will cost. Most basic websites that get average amounts of traffic really only need to be spending 5-15$ a month. If you’re using a service like WordPress or Magento, then you’ll definitely want to see whether or not the hosting company you choose offers WordPress optimized hosting and security.

Once you have your domain and hosting ready to go, be sure to start a list of “needs” for your website. Do you have a logo? Contact information? Phone number? All of this information needs to be present and readily available to your visitors. We wrote a great Business Owners New Website Checklist that you can use to help find out what you’ll need to have ready when your project begins.

Part 3: Advanced Website Needs

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After you’ve got your domain and hosting, you need to start thinking about email accounts and contact information. I wrote a really great post about SEO and how it works, which will give you a good idea of what’s next while you wait for your website to be designed.

As you’ve probably heard by now, Social Media and SEO are crucial parts of any marketing strategy in today’s world, and you need to make sure you’re at least at a baseline with your competitors. Take some time to build out all of the social media and business profile websites we have listed in our article 68 Website Your Website Should Be On.

If you’ve done your homework, and used the advice above, then your new potential website designer should be able to help you complete this task as well, netting you plenty of new avenues of traffic, and some respectable backlinks to help you increase in rankings.

Website copy is another important part of a good website, and can be quite advanced for some business owners. Understanding bolding, italics, keyword density and other on-page factors can become a tedious task, which is why again we recommend to use a website designer who also provides copywriting services, so you’re not stuck up late at night trying to explain your business and entice customers.

Part 4: Website Maintenance & Updates

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Finally, now that you’ve got a website up that you can be proud of, it’s time to start thinking about the future. With many Google search engine updates relying on “fresh content”, you need to plan ahead for ways to bring people to your website on a consistent basis.

Starting a small blog within your website is a great way to establish credibility and authority in your industry, all while driving more traffic to your website. Remember those Social Media pages we recommend setting up? This is where your blog posts go. Connect with your potential customers on their terms by providing valuable information when they need it.

Along with content, you’ll need to make sure your website is going to weather any sort of update or major change in the industry. Whether it be based in security, or design, having a website designer who is capable of providing you a long-term commitment to your website and the ability to stay up to date with those changes.

Final Thoughts

How much is your time worth? 10$? 50$? 100$ an hour? That’s the real reason to hire a professional website designer. Not because you “could” do it yourself, but because you have more important things to do, and a skillset that website designers don’t have.

Figuring out how much you can afford and should spend on a website shouldn’t take much of your time. Using the resources available to us online today, and this advice, you should be able to find the right solution for your business’ website needs.

Working with a professional website designer can provide you peace of mind to begin thinking about the future, growth, and what’s in store for your employees. Taking the time to build a great website that represents you, your business and your employees in the best possible light, can allow you to predict growth and complete the goal you’ve set out to do, build a great website.

If you’ve found this guide helpful, please take a moment to share it with a friend. Awesome folks like you are how we are able to provide such great website design and search engine marketing solutions.

Interested in seeing how Douglife Marketing can assist you in everything listed and more? Schedule a free consultation with us today.

Doug Montgomery
Owner / CEO at Douglife Marketing
Hi I'm Doug! I'm the author of Douglife's Guide to Dominating Local Search, and a freelance website design, search engine and online marketing consultant based in NY and FL. I depend on my 16 years of experience along with tried and true marketing best practices to craft successful websites and marketing campaigns for companies around the globe.
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