Welcome to part 2 of our series “Top 5 Tips About Web Design for Small Businesses.” Last week we covered tip #1: Choose the right website platform. If you didn’t get a chance to read it I highly recommend going back and checking it out. In today’s topic we are going to dive in and answer the question, “What does a website cost?” Let’s get started with our next web design tip for small businesses.
Tip #2: Set a realistic budget
If you call a good web designer he will most likely ask you the question, “What is your budget?” If you are like many small business owners you will answer, “I don’t know.” The problem with that answer is not knowing what your budget is makes it difficult if not impossible for us to help you.
The fact is that you really do have a budget if you stop and think about it. There is a certain amount you are able or willing to invest to get a desired business outcome. Most people who don’t already have a good answer to the question simply haven’t considered that it should come out of their existing marketing budget.
It could be that you don’t want to say it out loud for fear that the web design company will take advantage of you. What you need to know is that if the web designer is honest, they are asking the question for a good reason. They don’t want to offer you something you can’t afford. The flip side of that coin is that they shouldn’t recommend a solution that won’t deliver the outcome you expect for your investment.
When you go to a car lot the salesman needs to know if he should show you the $1,000 cars or the $50,000 cars. Web design is exactly the same way. If you want $20,000 worth of features but only have $3,000 to spend your web design company needs to know that right away. Armed with this information they can help you find a realistic solution that fits within your budget or reset your expectations.
In Web Design, You Get What You Pay For
Web design is one industry where you really do get what you pay for. Go cheap and it will show. Your website is the first impression most of your potential customers will have of your business. If it looks like an amateur designed your site those potential customers will go elsewhere. The same applies if functionality is broken or difficult to use. Skimping on the website by going cheap will cost you a ton of money in lost revenue when your potential customers go to your competitors who have professionally designed websites.
Do-it-yourself web design vs. hiring a professional
This also applies to do-it-yourself websites. They may be free or low-cost upfront, but they will cost you much more in the long run over the life of your business. If your website does not follow best web design practices your customers will notice. Lost sales are costly. A professional website will have a great return on investment because it will instill consumer confidence and increase sales. Professional web designers take into consideration design trends, usability, website performance, sales conversion, security and more.
Time is Money
You also need to consider that time is money. A great website for a small business or startup can take us as many as 60-80 hours to build, and we do it day in and day out. How long do you think it will take you to build your website when you have no specialized training or experience? As a business owner your time is valuable. Multiply your hourly billable rate by the number of hours you will need to spend building your website and factor in the affect it will have on your productivity… It doesn’t take long to see that that a “free” website isn’t really free.
You are most valuable to your business when you are doing what you do best: Running it! Hire a great web designer to build your website and save yourself many hours of time which equals money.
What does a website cost
“What does a website cost?” is one of those questions we are asked constantly. The ultimate answer is “it depends.” It is like asking, “What does a new car cost?” Just like there are many makes and models of cars – all with different styles and functionality – there are also a wide range of websites. Unlike cars no two websites are exactly alike and therefore prices will vary on each project. To find the answer to the price question usually requires an in-depth interview. A competent web designer should spend a fair amount of time talking with you so they have a thorough understanding of your needs before giving you an estimate.
You also should be aware that many web designers charge by the hour and the price they quote you is ultimately just a “guess.” Once the project is finished you will be charged for the actual hours they spent even if it is double what you were told up front. Unfortunately quoting low and charging high is a pretty common practice in our industry. To prevent surprise bills make sure you hire a web design company that charges flat rates, gives you cap on the hours in writing, or gets your pre-authorization before doing any billable work. If they won’t do this, know that you are essentially writing them a blank check, and you won’t have any idea what your website will really cost until the work is done.
Boise Idaho Web Design Prices
So what does a website cost in Boise, Idaho? Here in Boise Idaho we usually see small business and startup websites starting at $5,000 for basic functionality and a few pages of content. They typically go up to about $12,000 for the more complex sites. If the price quoted is less than $5,000 you are often dealing with one of the following situations:
- The person giving you the quote is a hobbyist who is doing web design part time on the side.
In this case the customer service and finished product will probably reflect that. It is highly unlikely that you will ever get the kind of website you want or expect, and the entire experience will probably be pretty frustrating. Most of the time when facing this scenario you will end up firing the first person you hire and work with someone else, essentially starting over from scratch.
- The company or person you are talking to during the sales phase is merely a broker who is outsourcing all of the work and has little or no hands-on experience.
This practice is quite common in our industry, largely because there are so many people in other countries willing to work for very low wages compared to our cost of living in the USA. Because it is impossible to have any direct contact with the person(s) doing the production work you end up playing a game of “telephone.” Most of your input gets lost in translation, ending in frustration for everyone involved.
- The bait-and-switch pricing situation is in play and when you get the final price tag it will actually be in the true range above.
Most Boise web design companies charge $65-$85 an hour, not minimum wage. With the amount of hours and work that goes into good web design, professional web designers could not pay the bills and stay in business selling $1,000 websites.
So what is the bottom line? If they quote less than $4,000 for a business website I would steer clear.
Comparing web design bids
You need to realize that bids from competing vendors are not always equal. It is imperative that when you get more than one bid, both bids are comparing apples to apples not apples to oranges. It is easy to assume that both vendors are quoting on the same scope of work, when often they are not. Make sure that every bit of functionality and content you need is specifically itemized on all the bids so each vendor is agreeing to do the exact same work. Assumptions are often made about which things are included and these seemingly “small differences” can add hundreds or thousands of dollars in cost to the project. Cheaper is rarely better, and almost always means you are not getting what you think you will. Make sure you communicate well with your web designer before starting, and that you are both on the same page about what will be included in the finished product for their price.
Oasis Interactive web design pricing
At Oasis Interactive, we price our websites based on pages and features instead of hours. We charge a base set up charge which includes installing and configuring WordPress as well as all the layout/design work, production, and project management. We then charge à la carte for each page of content you want as well as any functionality you need. The majority of our average small business web design projects currently run in the $4,000 – $6,000 range with e-commerce sites being higher.
Custom web design that fits your budget
We custom design each project based on the clients unique needs and budget. If you want a $10,000 website but only have $5,000 we will work with you to create a game plan.
We will help you prioritize your wants and needs to get an amazing website that fits within your budget. Then we can help you with a plan to add features one at a time down the road as money allows. The great thing about our websites is that since everything is à la carte we can help you add additional content and features at any time. It is always best to get started with something that is within your budget, and then upgrade over time as your website brings you new sales and customers.
Detailed website quotes
We always do our best to communicate clearly before the sale in order to make sure we understand our client’s project. Our quotes are detailed and show exactly what you are getting as well as the price you will pay. For hourly work we get pre-authorization because we wouldn’t want a surprise bill and we don’t think our customers would either. If you are looking for a Boise web design company we would love to talk to you about how we can help. Give us a call today at 208-939-0493 or fill out our web design quote request form.
Tune in next week when we discuss Tip #3: Choose the right web designer.