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This question is a perennial favorite in our world and we probably hear it at least twice a week. So, how much does a website cost? I'll tell you the answer, but you have to promise to keep it a secret. Ready...?
No, not really. But now, anything I say will seem so much more affordable. That's a sales technique I learned, feel free to use it.
The truth is, answering that question is not so simple. I wish I could just give you a one-size-fits-all number and call it a day.
Think of it like asking the question: "How much does a house cost?"
There are so many factors to consider—location, size, furnishings, and quality of the house—before you can even begin to talk about your mortgage payment.
We have to get in the right head space when talking about the cost of website design and development.
The Importance of Your Website
Your organization's website should be viewed as an important part of your sales team. It never sleeps, it is available 24/7/365, and it contains a wealth of information that can help prospects become customers.
With this in mind, it's a good idea to make sure your website stays up to date and serves as a marketing hub for your company.
Many organizations redesign their websites on a regular basis because they know that keeping up with design trends is important, their marketing needs have changed, or they have updated goals.
This begins the process of partnering with a good digital agency and inevitably asking the question, "How much does a website cost?"
Why We Do a Blueprint, Not a Proposal
If your company is thinking about sending us an RFP (Request for Proposal), here's a little tip: Just don't. Why? When it comes to marketing services like a website solution, RFPs encourage unnecessary games between parties. It forces both sides into a box, when what we're trying to do is solve complex problems together as partners. While it can sometimes lead to a positive outcome, it is not the most ideal path to a website solution.
Instead, we spend a lot of time upfront in planning.
At Mojo, we call this the Blueprint. Other agencies may call it something else (like "discovery" or "analysis") but the point of it is to correctly plan out the project. It might include business goal setting, site maps, wire frames, keyword research, personas, social media analysis, or other components that support business goals.
It's work that needs to be done anyway and it's better to break it out into its own project than to pretend that it can all be done correctly during the sales process. When you're building your house, you need the planning work done first before you can get an accurate cost, let alone start digging holes and putting up walls.
This is why you pay the architect to draw up a blueprint.
Ready to evaluate your website to see if you need a redesign? Get our Free Website Self-Audit Kit here.
A Simple Guideline
Find an agency you trust and just tell the truth. Tell them your annual revenue and they can make recommendations as to how much would be a good spend for reaching your business goals. It really shouldn’t be a game. It should be a collaborative budgeting effort. This is the opposite of an RFP process.
Best practice recommendations are generally based on spending a percentage of your annual revenue in marketing, in a range of five to ten percent. A website is certainly going to be one of the key components of this budget.
But let's get to the nitty gritty. I know you're thinking "Let's talk numbers."
The Cost of a DIY Website
Keeping with the homeowner imagery here, for those who prefer a DIY approach and just need something to keep you out of the rain, you can look at services like WordPress or Squarespace. Do you simply need something to let people know your business exists and that serves as a brochure on the web? This might be enough.
You can pay a low monthly fee for a very simple website that you build yourself using templates. Your options are limited, but if you don't have complex business needs it's a good start.
This option is fine for freelance artists, writers, and start ups that don't have the budget for a custom designed website.
Budget: With one of these platforms, your website budget for the year could be in the range of $0 - $1,000.
The Making of a B2B Website
Much of the costs associated with websites used to be the technical aspects: coding, development, design, how many pages you need, etc.
Now, the costs are related to business value, increasing your capacity to attract new business, and a focus on strategic planning and content. The questions you should be asking (and that your digital agency will ask) are:
- What are your business and marketing goals?
- How are you leading your users down the conversion path to become customers?
- What stories are you telling with your brand?
- How are you engaging users with content?
- Do you need headshots and bios for your staff?
- Do you want to have video tours of your facilities?
- Is your messaging targeted to the right buyer personas?
Over the years we have refined our process and continually strive to improve it. When you partner with a digital agency, there are many steps along the path of launching a new website. Just to give you a quick overview of what it takes to build a corporate website, here is a birds-eye view our process:
Strategy & Structure- The planning phase includes creative briefs, detailed client interviews, sitemapping, site architecture (wireframes), content organization, and planning the features of your website. We try to spend a large portion of the project in the planning phase, so don't be surprised if this takes awhile.
Design & Content - After the creative brief is finished, we create a visual representation of your website. The creative team reviews and revises the design until it is spot on to accomplish your goals and meets best standards and practices, including mobile optimization and responsive design.
Website Development (Build) - Next, we build the site and test in all major browsers.
Content migration, testing, QA - Depending on your needs and budget, we may write new content or simply migrate content from your old website. Then we test and train your employees on how to use the CMS.
Launch & Optimize - Final step is to launch your site and provide 24/7 support.
Inbound and/or Account-Based Marketing implementation - Ideally, we continue working together on integrated inbound marketing campaigns, which brings you new customers and clients year round.
This may seem like a simple 5 step process, but our Website Project Manager would assure you it's not. She has an 80+ point checklist to complete for each project, and that's on the easy side.
We’ve gone as low as $5,000 for a very simple startup website up to six figures for a major project for a larger corporation–that includes strategic content and marketing services, custom development, and of course, ongoing retainers when marketing is involved. See examples our Work.
Base Level: If you’re a startup or a small company, $5,000 to $15,000 will get you something basic. A Theme website is a great place to start and you can contact us to get started at this level.
Middle Level: If you’re a mid-sized company, expect a $15,000 to $35,000 range.
Executive Level: If you’re a larger corporation with complex B2B needs and a desire to invest in bigger opportunities, you should expect $50,000 to $75,000 to really get what you want, with content strategy and content organization at a high level. That’s really critical when you have many people managing different aspects of the site, compliance issues involved, and multiple departments needing access to tools. This does not necessarily include complex integrations or custom development.
Learn more about all of our Website Design & Development Services here.
Remember: Your website is the centerpiece of your brand. If you’re going to skimp anywhere, don’t let it be your website. If you need help with your website, schedule a call today!
Steph leads our client delivery team and is obsessed with delivering quality work, creating an efficiency machine, and mastering the tools and disciplines to achieve success for our heroes. At home, she loves listening to true crime podcasts, playing with her daughters and two pugs, and singing in a local rock band with her husband.
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