No two websites are exactly alike— each come with their own specific goals and requirements.
Maybe your goal is to drive traffic to your site to get more leads from local shoppers.
Or, maybe it’s to educate the public on a topic or matter that's important to you.
You might even have a product(s) that you’re ready to start selling online.
Each one of these scenarios have different requirements your website will need in order to be successful.
Before you start looking at portfolios, or making calls to every web developer in town, it’s important you start thinking about (and I suggest writing down) the goals and requirements you have for your new website.
Once you have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve, looking at web design portfolios and filling out contact forms becomes a lot easier— because you already have an idea of what you're looking for.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few things you might want to consider.
- How many pages (approximately) will my website need? Ie. Homepage, about, services, contact, etc.
- How important is it to be found in search results? Having a website and having a website that is optimized for search engines isn’t always the same thing. Think about how crucial it is for people to find you on Google.
- Do you need to publish content regularly? Having a system (like a blog) will give you the ability to regularly publish new & fresh content to your website. This is great for educating the public on what you do and a fantastic way to improve your search engine rankings.
- Do you need to sell products online? eCommerce stores are generally more complex and more expensive— but are a great way to provide return on investment. Do you have something to sell online?
- Do you need to list events, or properties, or have some sort of directory? These systems can make your website powerful and help keep your visitors informed about events or things that update frequently.
- Do you plan on doing any email marketing? Email remains to be one of the most effective forms of marketing. Incorporating your email marketing efforts into your website is a great way to register new subscribers.
- Do you need to offer booking or scheduling online? Maybe you don’t sell products, but you do have a service you could sell. Offering online booking is a great way to allow clients to book your time without having to constantly be on the phone or answering emails.
- Do you need a “members” area or a place for people to login? You might want to restrict access of pages, documents, or other information to specific users. Creating a login and membership system will help you manage those accounts.
There are hundreds of possibilities. Your first goal should be to think about all the things you’d like people to do on your website, things that would make your customers happy and/or make your life easier.
One of the biggest fears businesses have when hiring a web dseigner is getting taken advantage of or not being delivered the value they were promised.
That’s understandable, and the web industry has put that burden on itself. Because anyone with an internet connection can call themselves a “web designer” and there have been many bad actors who have made the industry hard to trust as a whole.
Unfortunately there isn’t much standardization in the web industry from a pricing perspective. If you get multiple quotes (and you should!), you’re likely going to find that those prices range drastically from one designer to the next.
You might not have the slightest clue on what things should cost. While websites can range from free (do-it-yourself options) to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here are some of the average prices for different kinds of websites in the US:
- Brochure Website (including 1-3 pages): $1000-$3000
- Informational or Small Business Website (including 3-16 pages): $3,000 – $9,000
- Corporate Website (25-75 pages): $10,000 – $35,000
- eCommerce Website (100-1,000 products): $5,000 – $55,000
As you can see, even those price ranges vary widely.
Your individual needs and the experience and skills of the designer you choose (more on that in a minute) will be the biggest factors in determining your website’s cost.
Small businesses who are just starting out, wanting to at least have a website to list on their business card, won’t need much functionality. These types of projects are usually less expensive.
Projects that require eCommerce, have a critical need to be found in search engines, or require members areas can become more expensive quickly.
While no one can answer the budget question but you— think about the problems you have and what it would be worth to you to solve those problems. A website that accomplishes its goals can be very valuable to your business.
Keep in mind that websites aren’t just an expense— they are an investment. If you have clear goals in mind (ones that can result in bringing your business more profit) it’s not uncommon for a website to pay for itself quickly (and hundreds of times over).
Many designers will help you effectively use the budget you have and give you reasonable expectations of what they can deliver for you within your range.