It can feel like the most important question of all when it comes to web design: how much will it cost? Price, of course, is critical to all business decisions. The truth, though, is that websites are not so much expenses as they are investments – and how much a website should cost very much depends on what return you’re seeking to derive from it.
Consider your conversion rate as a key metric: what is your current site doing for you? Could a new design help you improve? If your conversion rate is pretty low – two or three per cent maybe? – then the answer to that second question is almost certainly, “Yes.”
What separates one site from another, though? Why does one design secure a conversion rate of two per cent but another manages twelve per cent? The trick is in good design, and here’s the first thing that can make a difference to how much a website design should cost: who’s doing the designing.
Consider Constituent Web Design Costs
You could build a site yourself, of course, or find a friend who knows their way around WordPress. Or you could buy a site from one of those out-sourced designers online that seems attractively cheap. The problem is that, while this might limit your expense, it’s also going to limit your return on investment.
Good design pays dividends, and of course good designers are a bit more expensive. At Squibble, we think we’re pretty competitive given how awesome we are – drop us a line to discuss our rates. But we’ll still cost more than putting together something on Squarespace, or hiring a nameless designer at an offshore site farm whom you’ll never meet.
The important thing is to find the right team: a developer for the code and a designer for the interface; a project manager helps, too. That means an agency, of course. When their time and expertise plus hosting and other costs are incorporated, the price for a brand new website isn’t going to be “cheap” – but it is going to be cost-effective.
Web Design as an Investment
The best way to approach the cost of a website is by considering how many sales it will take to recoup the expenditure. If a new design increases a site’s conversion rate by five to ten per cent, and each sale is worth on average X to a business, it is likely that the “cost” of a site can be very rapidly met by the benefits accrued from it.
Investing properly in website design will mean it leads customers through a sales funnel more effectively; that it differentiates a brand from its competitors more clearly; and that it is easier to optimise for search engines. All of this will increase the value of the site to a business – and therefore improve its ROI.
The key questions to ask any new developer, then, is about their experience of improving these metrics for their clients: what improvement in conversion rates, or in user experience, or search engine placement has their previous work achieved for their clients? With this information, it will be possible to understand how good an investment engaging a particular designer will be – if they can’t offer reassurances, then move on.
Be Realistic About Web Design Costs
There really is no such thing as a free lunch. The internet is awash with sites which simply do not perform for the business that owns them. Having a site is all well and good, but if it is not delivering on its goals – if it is not converting users to customers, not finding placement on Google, or can’t be updated … well, then it’s just not worth having.
To build a site worth having, though, isn’t easy. If a deal seems too good to be true – whether a knock-down rental deal on a long fixed term or a cheap one-off payment to a design that disappears over night – then it probably is. There’s little replacement for finding an expert and working closely with them to achieve your aims; there’s no short cut to a website that will pay back your investment.
That message above all others is what we reckon you need to take home from this blog: good web design is a good investment, while bad web design is just costly. Before a business starts thinking price, then, it needs to think about what its a site needs to do – and what benefits getting that done right will offer. Only then can any business properly understand how much a website design should cost.