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Director of Web Services, 10+ Years of Sales & Marketing Experience, 12+ Years of Development Experience, 14+ Years of Project Management Expertise
December 15th, 2020
Website Design Cost
Designing a website yourself is the cheapest option. The cost can range anywhere from a $100 to $3,000 or more. A simple custom website design from an agency can range from $15,000 to $30,000, whereas bigger and more complicated websites will cost between $40,000 to $75,000+.
Your website is the most important sales and marketing tool you have.
It's the hub of your inbound marketing strategy and it's the number one thing your prospects want to explore before making a purchase, or even talking to a human.
Now that most businesses understand the value of inbound marketing, business websites overall are getting better. They're faster, sleeker, mobile-friendly, and expected to be more useful. This is great for the consumer but makes the job of a marketer that much harder.
In this environment, we're all forced to step our game up if we want to stand out from our competitors, which leads us to the inevitable project all modern businesses will face at one point or another — a website redesign.
Since businesses often have no idea how much they should pay for a website redesign and what to expect for their money, we've decided to answer that question once and for all.
Why web design costs have increased
Like everything else, the price of a website redesign largely comes down to supply and demand. When the internet was still relatively new, businesses didn't understand how valuable a website really was, so they weren't willing to pay a high price.
Today, a website is one of the first considerations a business makes when planning their launch. In fact, many entrepreneurs narrow down their potential business names based on which domains are available and how the URL will look.
Of course, increased demand isn't the only factor, however.
Websites must be more advanced now
As time has passed, web designers have improved their techniques and they have access to much better tools. On one hand, pumping out a decent-looking website is easier than ever with builders like Squarespace and WIX. On the other hand, building a truly first-class, strategic website requires more work.
The digital landscape is rapidly evolving — even more than in the first decade of the internet. For example, it wasn't until 2015 that Google announced that their search algorithms would show preference to mobile-friendly websites, even though web designers were preaching its importance since around 2009;
They knew that not only did businesses need to deliver a better user experience, but eventually Google would raise the standards looking at the growth of mobile buyer behavior. At the time, mobile design was more difficult than it is today, and it was much easier for designers (and cheaper for their clients) to avoid it.
In today’s world, if your website doesn’t include mobile optimization Google is going to penalize you for it.
Now websites also contain live chat so users can instantly get in contact with your company, self-selection tools to show them the right services and products to solve their problems, and even calculators to show them how much they can save/grow/transform (insert your word here) when working with your team.
Not only has functionality changed, but the requirements to have an optimized website have become more rigorous. Focusing on page speed, accessibility, and user experience are more important than ever.
All of these factors can affect the cost of your website redesign, but another major is the process or method behind its execution.
In this article, we’ll look at three of the most popular methods: building your website yourself with an online tool, hiring a freelancer, or hiring an agency.
The cost of doing your own website redesign
Building or redesigning a website yourself with a template is usually the cheapest option. It can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $3,000 or more, but the real “cost” here is the time and hassle required.
Generally speaking, the less money you spend, the more time and hassle you can expect to deal with to get the site how you want it — and it likely won't be exactly how you want it to be without the ability to code.
New startups with limited budgets and no web developer often have to start small. ThemeForest offers tons of affordable website themes (especially for WordPress) to choose from that usually cost around $30 to $100.
Functionality, performance, and ease-of-use from those themes vary widely including the level of customization you can achieve, how easily it is to update the theme, and out of the box templates that are included. Once you find a theme that meets your needs, you’ll also have to make sure that it's received a lot of positive reviews, has a strong track record, and allows you to make edits without any technical skill.
Another popular option is a website builder such as Elementor, which is essentially an updated back-end editor for your website that you install on WordPress. This allows you to create content and edit the visual features of your theme with ease by giving you a variety of modules and widgets to level, each with its own unique formatting and styling options.
Once you've installed the framework, you'll be able to select a theme to match the aesthetic you're looking to achieve.
Their framework is a huge step up from the average, lower-priced themes on the market. They look great, are mobile-friendly, optimized for search engines, and easy to use. Take a look at their themes here — a lot of them will look familiar because tons of websites use them.
You can start using Elementor for free, but the Pro level of $49 per year for one site gives you more robust widgets, templates, support, and more.
However, if you want more marketing capabilities and integration, there's an even better option.
We recommend using HubSpot's CMS Hub, which costs $300 per month. They have many customizable themes to choose from or you can build one from scratch using their drag-and-drop builder. CMS Hub also has everything you need built-in, from SEO to content management so there is little need for add-ons.
Our own website runs on CMS Hub and we've loved it.
The cost of hiring a freelancer for a website redesign
The next level up from building your own website is hiring a freelance website designer. Freelancers have various levels of talent and will charge accordingly.
Depending on what your goals are, you’ll be able to find a freelancer that will charge anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 for a simple website and upwards of $10,000 to $20,000+ for a bigger website with a variety of template designs, custom features, and a more professional aesthetic than you may be able to create on your own.
They will vary further depending on the experience of your freelancer and your project details.
For example, if your freelancer is extremely talented and can build you a custom self-selection tool such as a product configurator, or you opt to go through a branding exercise with them your costs may go even higher than that.
When working with a freelancer, you can likely expect a design that looks good and functions well without any glaring flaws. They will likely take your ideas, come up with a few mock-ups for you to consider, and then they'll build off of the one you like best.
In most cases, the freelance designer is primarily focused on delivering the aesthetic appeal you describe to them while suggesting certain features to improve user experience.
However, the downsides are that freelancers tend to be more hit-or-miss. The project might take longer if they are doing everything by themselves or are juggling multiple projects, and they might not offer much insight outside of design and development knowledge.
At the end of the day, if you’re not in the DIY type of mood, you’ll likely be able to find a freelancer to fit your budget, just keep in mind that it will go up or down based on how big and complex your project is.
The cost of hiring an agency for a website redesign
The other option is hiring an agency to handle your website redesign, which gives you access to a team of seasoned experts who likely have experience with goals like yours and designing a website around them. s. However, as you would expect, a website redesign from an agency costs the most.
A simpler website redesign can run anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 depending on the size of the site, whereas websites with a large page count, custom functionality, and more unique needs can cost between $40,000 and $75,000+.
This may seem absurd compared to the other options, but working with an agency goes much further than superficial design. Agencies spend equal time on content, user experience, conversion rate optimization, and everything else that makes your website a valuable asset to your company and to actually achieve your goals.
What sets an agency apart from most freelance web designers is the amount of strategy that goes into building a powerful and effective lead-generating machine for your business.
A typical agency will work with you to map your sitemap architecture so you can understand the structure of your website and how the users will navigate through it to their goals. They’ll also look at your historical data to make recommendations on what will work best for your specific users — all with the goal of removing friction in the user’s journey.
You’re gaining access to a range of experts who can pull from their combined years of experience across design, development, strategy, content, testing, and more, not just a single, finite resource.
If you have the budget to hire an agency, it's well worth your time to talk with some to see what options you have available.
Continuous improvement through growth-driven design
Your website design or redesign launching, while a cause for celebration, doesn't mean you should move on to new projects until you redesign again in three years.
That’s another reason to consider an agency, and the team of experts you get access to — Growth-driven design. Growth-driven design is a website redesign process that helps you build a stronger website month over month using user data to help improve the user journey.
Just like a plant needs water, light, care and attention to grow strong and thrive, so does your website. It needs to be monitored, regularly updated, and re-calibrated both to reflect the changes in your business and to meet the evolving needs of your buyer.
You can expect anywhere from $5,000 per month to $10,000 per month on growth-driven design with an agency depending on how aggressive your goals are and how much focus you’re willing to put into research and updates.
Each quarter you’ll work with the agency team to identify the biggest areas for improvement on your site based on user data, plan tests and experiments to drive better results, and execute on them through design, copy, and UX changes among other things.
It’s a collaborative process that enables your team to add to the roadmap of items to be worked on and prioritize it based on what will yield the most improvement to the user and metrics.
How does content affect the cost of your website redesign?
Content is one the most important parts of your website redesign.
It’s what gets your site to rank in the search engines, drives your user to take action, and sets your company up as a thought leader and expert that buyers should trust.
At the most basic level, your website exists to connect with your prospects and persuade them to buy what you offer. Unless you're selling some type of design service, no one is going to be persuaded to buy based on your design alone — it's the content that delivers your value proposition.
It's also one of the more time-consuming aspects of a redesign.
To tackle it, we ideally recommend taking a content-first approach, where you build your website around your content, instead of designing your website and filling in the content afterwards.
However, in a world where most companies want their website redesigned yesterday, a more realistic approach is to focus on the 20% of your website that drives 80% of the value for your user — then continue to update the rest after your relaunch.
A great design is important as it helps deliver your message effectively and enhances the user experience — but without the content, the design won’t matter.
Content when building your website yourself
If you're doing a website redesign yourself, start by mapping out all of the pages you want your website to include and then write the actual content for each of those pages. That way, when you're comparing website themes, you can pick out one that accommodates your content strategy best.
Content when working with freelancers and agencies
A lot of freelance web designers will either have a copywriter they collaborate with or they'll be happy to work with a copywriter that you hire yourself. Either way, you want to ensure that both individuals are on the same page because the process requires some back-and-forth communication.
Agencies will vary in how they support your content creation. Ranging from having an in-house content writer to create content for you to leveraging an outsourced network of writers.
Writing copy for a large website is no small undertaking — it’s basically writing the book about your business and should be treated with the same importance.
That’s why focusing on the most important pages for your redesign, then improving the rest over time versus doing all content at once can prove beneficial.
Content costs will widely range depending on the size of your site, the amount of content, and the level of expertise needed (and if you’re doing it yourself or having someone else do it). You can expect to pay anything from a few hundred to thousands of dollars for the right content for your website.
Putting the price of your website into perspective
Imagine you just hired a new salesperson who works around the clock, day and night, promoting your business to prospects with perfect consistency. Given the right tools, this salesperson continually improves with minimal supervision and intervention on your part.
Whenever a prospect wants information about your business at midnight, and you're sleeping, your star employee is there with a big smile and all the information your prospect desires.
Now imagine this new sales rep doesn't want to work on commission, doesn't want a salary, and could care less about any of the benefits your company offers. All they want is an upfront fee of $40,000 and a few thousand each month to keep their skills sharpened.
Would that be worth it to you?
Of course, it would. Your company website is this dream sales rep — well, a great company website.
No human alive can do what a great website can for your business, yet, so many businesses look at it as one of the first areas to cut corners.
Humans will always play invaluable roles in business, and remarkable employees deserve the high salaries they command, but where else can you get the incredible ROI that a powerful, well-designed website offers?
Your website is the smartest and cheapest salesperson you'll ever hire. Treat it right.
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