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What should a website cost?

Nancy Roblewsky

What should a website cost?

Every time a new lead comes in I start by asking questions and one of the first is “What is your budget for a new website?”  75% of the time they have a price range or at least have a price limitation and the other 25% of the time the answer is “I have no idea what it should cost.”  Let’s take a closer look at website cost and how to determine a budget for it.

Is your price realistic?

I ask this question every time because I need to know what size investment they are willing to commit to their new website.  I actually like it when they say they have no idea as that is really the right answer.  Many business owners come back with a number that is unrealistic, meaning it’s too small for the type of website they want.  They are not web developers and therefore, should not have a predetermined amount decided as to what they want to spend.

After hearing their number, I then ask what they based that on and most of them say “That’s what I want to spend” or “That’s all I can afford.”  Now, I would love to buy a new car for $5,000 but if I walked into a dealership and gave them that answer, I would probably get laughed at and I certainly would not be walking out with a new car.

It’s smart to keep your budget flexible

The “I have no idea what it should cost” is the best answer for many reasons.  These business owners aren’t limiting themselves by forming any preconceived notions and are leaving their minds open.  It’s not fair to pick a number out of the air and stick to it.

Your website is the center of all your marketing and will affect the performance of all your advertising so you should be willing to invest a sizable amount in a new website.  Since you’re not a website professional, it’s hard to determine how much the ‘perfect’ website should cost.

What features will you need?

Another reason is that business owners usually aren’t even sure of what they want in the beginning.  During our free consultation, I ask many questions with the purpose of ‘getting the wheels turning’ and getting them to start thinking about what their new website should and could look like.

They often aren’t even sure of the purpose of the website and until we dig deeper, they have only a small notion of the features needed.  Yes, it’s our job to ask the right questions so they can start determining what they want in a new website and start thinking about what information the user expects to find.

Comparing proposals-easier said than done

Most business owners looking to make a purchase get at least 2 quotes to compare and that’s a good practice.  Talking to more than 1 professional will force you to do more thinking as they will each have their own unique approach and ask different questions.  These consultations is where you will start to get a sense of their professionalism, depth of knowledge and their process.

Written proposals should contain details of project

Of course, comparing 2 proposals is often like comparing apples and oranges as there are many elements that are different and the quality of the work may not be the same.  One indication is the proposal itself.

Does it contain specifics about the project, such as the number of hours spent on the project, a description of the work to be done and a timeline in which it will be completed?  Is a design meeting included in the price so the project can get started on the right foot with all parties given a chance to discuss their ideas and receive feedback?

Website price depends on many things

Websites are complex creatures and the prices can vary widely depending on many factors, such as who’s writing the content.  Copy writing is time consuming and since every website needs lots of content, someone has to be responsible for generating all that content. Will the business have to supply the content or is copy writing part of the cost?

Writing copy has always been a part of our website packages as we know from experience that if we waited for the business owners to do it, we’d never finish a website.  The proposal should address all these issues as well as outline the entire process so you’ll know who will be responsible for what.

Functionality has to be a priority

With so many smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktop monitors out there, you’ll also want to know if your new website will be tested to ensure that it works correctly on all those different screen sizes as well as in all the major browsers.

After all, if your new website isn’t going to work on all the phones and various devices out there, what’s the point of getting a new website?  People will leave if it doesn’t work so you better make sure it will work for everyone.

People judge businesses by their website

Of course, there is the question of quality and that can be answered by looking at the web developers own website as well as other websites they have created.  I feel it’s most telling to look at their own website as if they are asking you to trust them with  your website, shouldn’t their own site be wonderful?

Shouldn’t it contains the best information while being visually attractive at the same time?  As a web designer, they should know people will judge them by their website and if that website says unprofessional, then how do they expect to get business?

Website cost is complex issue

In conclusion, the question “What should a website cost?” is a complex issue and one that can’t be answered with a single number as there’s many elements and features that affect the price.  It’s best to go into the new website process with an open mind.

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Published: December 22, 2017 • Last Updated: March 12, 2020