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August 22, 2018

How Much Website Will I Get For My Money?

When it comes to building a new website or revamping an old one, there’s a lot to consider—not the least of which is your budget. If you don’t have in-house development capabilities, chances are you’re going to be working with a third-party contractor, digital agency, or a web development agency to get the job done.

However, if you’re not familiar with the website design-and-development process, it’s good to go in with some sort of price points to reference. This will help you determine exactly what you should expect from your new site based on budget allocations. You’ll also be able to temper expectations and understand exactly how high or low your company’s budget can—or should—go to provide the fully optimized digital experience that today’s consumers expect.

The bottom line is, if your company provides scalable services or products, then you need a modern, user-friendly website. Every price point is very often a direct indicator of quality. Sure, this might not always be true, but for the most part, it’s a good guideline to follow (after all, you wouldn’t buy a new car for $3,000 without first asking what’s wrong with it). The same rule applies when it comes to building a website: almost always, the price you’ll pay will be proportional to the quality and control of the final product you’ll receive.

This is because more money equals more time to strategize, design, and implement practical solutions specifically tailored to your unique business needs. Your end product will be a direct reflection of your chosen organizations time and experience.  As a result, optimizing your website and providing an intuitive eCommerce experience should be top priorities. Here are some price points to help you assess how much bang you can get for your buck.

$10,000 | The Studio Website

If your budget is somewhat limited, $10,000 is generally a good starting point for establishing a viable online presence for your brand. If you look at it like a house, this site is your studio apartment—it gets you out on your own and into the outside world, even if you don’t have a lot of room to move around. Either way, at least you’re making moves.

A website around this price point will help you better market your brand by becoming a lead-generating system. However, a studio website will not come with any original content creation, metadata, alt-tags, or image tagging—if the functionality is even available, your own team will be responsible for inputting that data.

However, you can expect the studio site to answer customer questions regarding your location, pricing, and buying options. Its format is similar to a brochure in that it gives users quick-and-easy access to basic information they need to make an informed purchasing decision, without any fancy bells and whistles.

In addition, the studio website may or may not allow you to:

  • Conduct transactions online.
  • Update pages with new content.
  • Add additional imagery.
  • Link to social media profiles.

Since design hours come at a premium, your studio website will most likely be templated. This format comes with its own set of pros and cons. While there are generally a number of template options available, each of which is fully optimized for use on multiple devices, your customization options will be lacking. Meanwhile, visual assets likely won’t be included at this price point either. That means unique photography and other imagery is out of the budget, as is customized iconography. All of this would require way more design hours, and outside photography is especially tricky since it requires collaboration with art direction in order to be on par with your brand direction.  

The Breakdown

If you’re a small business owner or just ballin’ on a budget, you can still get a professional, well-functioning, and customizable website. However, it’s still probable, that your website will mirror many other sites on the internet. In other words, you’ll be caught up with your competitors, but you won’t necessarily stand out from them. Either way, it’s better than being behind them, right? The studio choice is far from a bad starting point for getting your foot in the door.

$50,000 | The Two-Bedroom Website

At the $50k price-point, you’ve graduated from a studio apartment to a two-bedroom…not bad! Now, in addition to laying a great foundation for your online initiatives, you’ve also been granted access to much greater flexibility and control. That’s because you now have access to data obtained analytics and site audits, and this data will help you identify your best-performing pages other key parts of your website. In turn, this will make it easier for you to have the conversation about what each page of your site does best, whether in regards to CTAs, goals, or any number of other factors.

Meanwhile, your expanded budget will give you the insights and guidance needed to turn your on-site content into a lead-gaining, conversion-optimizing, and brand-consistent voice that fully engages your customers. And, to help you answer the decades-old question of “What exactly do I want this page to do or accomplish for my business and my user?”, you can now rely on metadata, alt-tags, image tagging, and other search engine essentials. If you need help extrapolating meaning from all this, the work can be done just as easily by an agency as by your own team, either in the form of monthly retainer work or one-off training sessions.

A larger budget also gives your design team more hours to work with, and these additional research and development hours will lead to more expansive customization opportunities that allow designers to get to the heart of your brands’ user-experience, then tell your story from the ground-up using custom photography, iconography, animation, transitions, and many other experience-driven options.

Do keep in mind that, while some parts of your two-bedroom website may be templated, it’s far from being the digital “brochure” offered by the studio option. The two-bedroom template is scalable, just like your business, and can be intricately managed—especially if your added capabilities include eCommerce. This is also the stage where your web development agency will begin to train your team to use the product they’re developing to prep you for full autonomy after launch.

The Breakdown

Working with a web development agency at the $50,000 level is a lot more iterative than at a base level. You now have much greater content control and bandwidth, as well as greater access to unique, original, and brand-consistent materials that will separate your brand from your generic competitors. You’ve definitely come up, to say the least.

$100,000 | The Dream House Website

The dream house website is all about mining highly specific customer data, focusing in on your most idealistic business goals, and expanding your user focus to its fullest potential to hone in on what can make your experience truly exceptional. This fully comprehensive focus empowers your web development agency to analyze your brand objectives from the bottom up to implement highly customized market capabilities, such as a full-fledged eCommerce experience for desktop and mobile.

With the dream house, you obviously still get all the fun stuff like flexibility and control, but the it’s all been kicked up a notch. Your brand image can be wholly realized through beautiful custom imagery, iconography, videos, and more. Meanwhile, carefully curated brand guidelines will allow the members of your team to understand how audiences interact with and interpret your brand so you can gain keen insights into their thought processes.  These brand guidelines will also lay out a process on how you can scale your brand assets (fonts, images, icon, language) to keep moving forward as strategically and efficiently as possible.

As far as content is concerned, it’s hard to pick where to start. Numerous site audits will help your agency develop the most practical sitemap possible, which will help to create your overriding content architecture. Then, experienced content teams will have much more capacity to review and overhaul your existing content, or rewrite it altogether. A custom CMS (content management system) is now a reality as well, allowing you to optimize your every aspect of your content for optimal SEO visibility. The dream house also allows you to expand on screen-size capabilities. At this level mobile isn’t just a capability—it’s its own unique experience.

The Breakdown

If you’re serious about creating truly memorable brand experiences and have the budget to back it up, the sky’s the limit. With expanded resources, you have the ability to create a long-term partnership with a development team that will continuously support and supplement your varying needs and capabilities, or you can educate and empower your own in-house team to take the reigns once the time comes. Your company and your users get the most bang for the buck possible, all while satisfying your team’s desire to innovate and excite consumers with bold designs, sleek functionality, and gripping content. Hey, we don’t call it a dream house for nothing.

Are you ready?

Keep in mind that the three price points outlined above are just for reference. Over the past decade-plus, we‘ve learned that every single client is unique based on location, competition, industry, and countless other factors. As a result, we’ve crafted innovative website functionalities and experiences at every price point imaginable, from 10k to 500k. So, If you’re ready to take your brand to the next level, give us a shout! Or, if you’re not ready just yet, no rush! Take some time to look at a few before-and-afters of some of our favorite projects.