If there was one question....
...one question that pretty much looms over every initial interaction between a web designer and a potential client...
How much does a website cost?
And, on the surface, it seems like a very straightforward question that deserves a straightforward answer.
However, in most cases, the typical answer is anything but straightforward (unless you're dealing with template websites or DIY website services)
Ask 5 different web designers, or web developers, how much they charge for a basic website and you'll end up with 5 different answers ranging from $500 to $10,000+.
What's the deal? (first of all, if you think I'm making this up, I encourage you to call around and get some prices)
Now, how could it be that the prices would range that much?
How does that work?
There's no simple answer, really...
Just like there's no simple answer to the question, "How much is a house?"
There usually aren't any fixed prices on houses, unless you're dealing with a cookie-cutter, or template home.
And it isn't even true to say that a small house is cheaper than a big house. Or that you get more if you spend more money.
You have to consider certain things like:
Who designed and built the home?
What amenities does it have? Where is it located?
For example, look at what kind of home ~$400k will get you:
This 336-square-foot cabin sits on the side of a lake in West Point, Texas.
Or this 2,462-square-foot home in Denver, Colorado
They're completely different homes for around the same price.
Why the difference?
Well, the people in the market for these homes are not buying on price alone. They're buying based on their needs, their wants, their goals, the location, amenities...and a million more intangibles.
But at the same time, it's true that you can get a home for $500 (although it might be a tent).
The same can be said of websites.
There are factors that you must consider, your budget being one of them, that will help you determine where you want to be on the pricing spectrum and what sort of website is best for your local business at the moment.
Freelancer or Agency?
The size of the team developing your website will have a bearing on the price.
A freelancer has lower overhead so will be able to offer a lower price.
An agency typically has much higher overhead and salaries they need to pay and will typically come in a lot higher in price than a freelancer.
There's no clear answer who you should hire.
A bigger team does not mean a better website. There are rockstar freelancers that can run circles around agencies.
It's best to look at their respective work and portfolios, talk to them, meet with them and see if you get along and can work together.
Is your web designer a student, maybe a cousin or friend that has dabbled with websites in the past? Or are they experienced in creating websites for clients, generating leads, and setting up marketing systems? Do they have a portfolio of work?
...the websites on the lower end of the price spectrum are provided typically by beginners that are learning their trade and starting to build their portfolios.
Very often, to keep prices extremely low, one buys a pre-made theme from a template marketplace for $50-$60. Then plugs in the client's logo, images, and content to fit that theme.
More often than not, customizing the theme is not an option because the freelancer is not that familiar with the coding of the theme.
Typically, the template is selected because it looks 'cool' or 'modern'. Little, if any, thought is given to the user experience of the website or lead generating best practices.
...while those on the higher end of the spectrum have an established history, an established portfolio, and a lot more experience working with clients to get results.
This means that your website is tailored made for you, for your goals, for your specific needs. Customization is typically not problem. Possibilities are virtually endless.
And experienced web designers will also provide a measure of consulting and education so that you can make the most of your website as a marketing tool.
The features you need for your website will also have a bearing on the price.
Will your website be more like an online brochure where people can just find your location? Or is there more?
As with most things, "the extras" usually cost more.
Does your website need photo galleries? Slideshows? Custom Photography? Videography? Custom content?
Do you need an ecommerce platform to handle products, payment gateways, shipping, inventory, and reporting?
Do you require an email newsletter? Appointment setting functionality? Social Media integration? Membership portals? etc...etc...
A website can get quite complicated as it begins to take on many more roles, and provide more automation for your business.
There is no simple answer to the question, "How much does a website cost?"
There are factors that one must consider like...
...whether your web designer is a freelancer or agency...
...how much and what type of experience they have...
...and your project requirements and website features.
Weighing these factors along with your budget will help you to decide what type of web designer you should to hire.