Just like we don’t know the cost to replace a roof or open a restaurant, we don’t expect everyone to know what it costs to build a website. So with that in mind, we wrote a short primer to offer guidance and answer popular questions we often hear from our clients.
First some caveats…
We build 100% custom websites for our clients. Each site is carefully designed and purposefully built around their unique brand story, their customers, and their goals. We do not work with popular theme builders such as Elementor and Divi – and that’s not to say that theme builders aren’t good options. In our experience, custom sites better align with the needs of our clients. There are also many great DIY site options for small businesses, such as Squarespace, GoDaddy, and Wix, that if you have the time (or a creative relative), are fast and easy solutions.
There are clear benefits to each approach, but that’s an article for another day, this one is about how much you should expect to spend for your new website. To which we have stock consultant answer cued up “it depends.”
It really does. It depends on your goals (…are you educating visitors or expecting leads?), your solution (…are you selling SaaS software or car parts?), your audience (are you targeting multiple decision makers in an organization or a single persona?), your team size (do you have the staff to support building custom graphics or writing original content?), and the “depends” list goes on.
To understand what it costs to build your website, it’s best to start with the stage of your business and the role it will play. To break it down, we’ve grouped the websites we most often build into three types: The Teaser Site, The Credibility Site, and The MoneyMaker Site.
Which site is right for your business?
The Teaser Site
The objective of this site is to establish your web presence in the market. It is often a temporary site with a special purpose. You might be looking for early stage investors or employees, soliciting developers to participate in your sandbox, or just be ready to start promoting your company on social media. For these basic goals, having a small, but professional website destination is essential.
- 10+ Page Website
- Sample Primary Pages: Homepage, Services, Company, News & Press, Contact
- Key Features & Functionality: Custom Design, Hard Coded or Content Management System, Basic Form Submissions
- Time to Build: 2 – 3 Months
- Cost: $10,000 – $25,000
The Credibility Site
Larger, more established businesses that are looking to expand their reach, share original content, generate leads, or improve search performance are better suited for a Credibility Site. These sites are powerful web platforms built on scalable content management platforms, with plenty of features for data capture and engagement. Designs are more robust and aim to be both flexible and easy to use for internal teams.
- 50+ Page Website
- Sample Primary Pages (Teaser Site plus): Product/Services, Case Studies, Blog, Careers, Leadership, Partners, Landing Pages
- Key Features & Functionality: Content Management System, Level I CRM Integration (Basic Pardot, Marketo, Hubspot), Resource Center, GDPR, Basic API integration
- Time to Build: 4 – 6 Months
- Cost: $50,000 – $75,000
The MoneyMaker Site
Websites in this category are essential part of an organization’s business operations. These websites may be fully-integrated into the marketing and sales functions, or provide login to customer accounts. MoneyMaker Sites are often rich in content and have feature-rich resource destinations for finding and engaging with thought leadership. Sites of this size will cater to multiple audience types, as well as internal teams. The MoneyMaker site is a critical asset for large, financially-stable organizations.
- 100+ Page Website
- Sample Primary Pages (Teaser Site, Credibility Site plus): International Sites, Support Centers, Campaign Landing Pages, Community, HR Portal, Product Directory, News & Press, Investor Information
- Time to Build: 6+ Months
- Cost: $85,000+
Anything else to consider? Yes.
Ok, you now know what you want and have an idea of your budget… do you get everything in the end? Well sometimes, maybe. It’s not always clear, and that’s why you need to know what to ask up front. Here are a few areas of a new website project that you may consider, and should definitely ask when speaking with a potential agency partner:
Who is going to write the copy to fill all these beautiful pages? Do you have in-house capabilities? If not, ask your agency if they do, or if they can find you a writer.
Would you believe some agencies will deliver you a website with no content loaded? It happens. Ask in advance who is responsible for content loading.
How will you get your legacy resource content (blogs, events, webinars, videos, etc.) into the new website? Some systems offer import/export capabilities, others require custom scripts.
Photography & Video
Need new headshots? Hate stock photos? Think about where you’ll acquire your visual assets and the timing required to create them.
This is a big one. If you’re in SaaS, you LOVE custom illustrations and animation. Here’s the rub – these are expensive and time consuming. Most likely, it’s not included in your website project.
ADA compliance is a major requirement of government websites and many corporations are following suit. Depending on your level of compliance, your agency can design to specifications or you may choose to use a tool like AccessiBE to meet all your needs.
How’s your current site performing in search? If it’s good, you need a migration plan. If it’s bad, you need the new site to be built with core SEO fundamentals and at a minimum, titles and meta descriptions.
Where will this new website live and who will manage and maintain it? Simple sites need simple hosting solutions. Complex sites need a lot more. It’s a discussion you’ll want to have very early in your project kickoff.
Cookies! Privacy! GDPR! Guess what? Your web design agency is not a legal team, so don’t rely on them to give you the most complete answer. It’s always best to consult your attorney.
Ready to get started on your new site? We’d love to join you on the journey!