This is a question many small business owners have.
The goal of this post is to shed some additional light on the cost of small business websites, the options available in 2019 and hopefully help you make the best decision for your business. Let’s get started!
The website for your small business is likely the first place potential customers will land when they type your business name in search engines. So I’m guessing you want it to be nice on the eyes as well as functional, because user experience matters.
The big question is, how much should a small business website cost?
Technology has put us in a funny place of having an ABUNDANCE of choices for everything. This includes web design services. Do you try your hand with one of the many drag and drop website builders, or do you hire a professional web designer?
The cost can vary a great deal depending on which of these choices you decide to go with.
Let’s break down the two options just to get a better idea of the overall cost of things.
We’ll start with the web designer option.
A Web designer is a professional that is supposed to handle all of the design aspects of your business website. This includes everything from picking the right framework or language to work in, to making sure the colors and fonts are aesthetically pleasing. They will make your website responsive for mobile devices and hopefully take the time out to do some basic on-page search engine optimization before they ride off into the sunset (after the project is completed).
The confusing thing about not only web designers, but really any professional, is the variations in price. Fact of the matter is, some folks charge MUCH more than others. The justification for price could be anything from a person’s years of experience, client pipeline, credentials, etc. I know web designers that charge less than $100 for a website, all the way up past the $5000 mark.
But the question really boils down to…what price works best for you as a business owner? Fact of the matter is, I’ve seen hundred dollar websites that look as good as the thousand dollar ones. I’ve also seen the reverse. It’s never a good idea to pick a web designer based solely on the price of their product. As a business owner, your thoughts should not only be on price, but their timeline, communication skills and if possible, post design support.
As a web designer, I’ve done website for clients for as little as $250 because I knew I’d be able to upsell different services (like graphic design and yes, website maintenance). Never be afraid to make a deal with a web designer to get the website for less upfront, in exchange for more business down the line for them. This was always a better situation for me personally as a designer, because I think about the long game more than short-term wins, but be mindful that not every web designer thinks this way. Some want to get in and get out, and honestly that is perfectly fine too.
I’d say the biggest benefit of hiring a web designer to build your website is the fact that you can communicate with someone who knows what they are doing. Throughout the process, you can reach out and ask questions, request changes and if you’re lucky, maybe learn a thing or two about web design! In my days as an IT consultant, I would always go about educating my clients after resolving their hardware & software problems, so they could help themselves down the line. I’m sure they are some web designers out there that would provide some training during or after the process for you if you asked nicely.
This leads me to my next and final point regarding hiring a web designer. Make sure it’s someone who you can ACTUALLY work with! There is nothing worse than hiring someone who lacks communication skills, disregards your timeline and is off doing their own thing on your dime. Your best bet is to interview a few different designers and come to a determination after, regardless of what their reviews are. Because you have to actually be able to work with this person, even if only for a short time.
Now, let’s talk for a bit about the website builder option.
As far as cost goes, there is no comparison between choosing to go the DIY route with a website builder and hiring a professional web designer. It’s literally like night and day at this point, and chances are, these services will only get cheaper as competition grows.
What I like the most about going with a website building service is that typically they come with templates and designs you can use immediately. Just find a design that fits your business needs, add your content and hit the publish button. Website done.
But it’s only that easy if you actually know what you’re doing!
One mistake many small business owners make is thinking that it will be easy-peasy building their own website using a service like this. Then they end up with something that is hacked together, looks unprofessional and doesn’t attract new customers. Next thing you know they’re hiring a web designer to fix all of the issues! Talk about a costly situation to be in!
The good news is that these services ARE getting a lot easier to use. Drag and drop today in 2019 is way different from the drag and drop platforms that were available in 2014. I’m super impressed by some of the websites that I see when I find out they were created in a few weeks or even days using WIX, Squarespace or Shopify. Websites are looking better than ever, which is good news for the DIY business owner.
Another good thing is that many of these services offer free trials or even allow you to completely build your website before having to pay anything. This will give you some time to learn the platform and map your ideas out in real time if you want to and more importantly, if you have the time to.
If you are going to use one of these services, make sure that you have full ownership of your website. Some of the website building platforms won’t actually allow you to migrate your website elsewhere if you want say, more bandwidth or are unhappy with their design/plugin/service offerings. This is important to think about because your business might need to scale up at some point down the line. You’ll want the freedom to move your website around as you see fit for this reason alone!
So which option is the better option for a small business owner? Honestly, I truly believe the answer lies with you, the business owner. Everything from your budget, to your timeline, to your ability to build a DIY website will be a factor in how you make this decision. I know there are many blog posts out there that like to throw price estimations around, but I think these can be misleading in a way. Mainly because website prices have such a huge range. Go on sites like Craigslist, Upwork or Fiverr and you’ll see for yourself how many web designers are competing with each other for work.
Before you make a decision, It might be a good idea to make a pros and cons list. Write down all the positives of going with a web designer over a DIY option. Figure out what your business actually needs website-wise, and go from there. Speak to web designers and request a few quotes. Read up on some of the website building platforms and maybe test a few out using a free trial. Trust me, it’s better to take the time now to do research, than to rush a website online, only to have to redesign it later.
Owner and Lead Web Developer at Webmaster On Site.