Learn how to determine the features you need—and the price you should pay for them.
Designing a basic, no-frills website can be done for the minimal cost of hosting it, but small businesses’ websites are becoming increasingly sophisticated to meet the needs of their customers. And the cost goes up once you figure in variables like the number of pages, amount of content and technical complexity.
So, first figure out what you need.
“What features do you wish your website to have?” asks Jodi Craft, product marketing director of Jacksonville, Fla.-based design service Web.com, which offers both design products and Web design support to businesses (and special deals for NFIB members). “Defining a clear goal for your business website will help you outline what you need out of the company you wish to hire.”
What’s in Your Budget?
If you want your site custom-designed, the cost could range from $500 for a logo and some graphics, to several thousand dollars to have a site built from scratch. Even if you supply the images and content, they’ll need to be integrated into the new design, which will also come with a cost.
“The more customized your website is, you may need to pay someone each time you need it updated,” says Craft. To avoid extra costs, another option is to pay someone to do the initial design using a site like Joomla or Wordpress, and then handle ongoing management of it yourself.
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Break Down the Charge
Ask designers what exactly factors into their fees. Steph Calvert, owner of Hearts and Laserbeams in Long Beach, Calif., charges clients $75 an hour for design projects. Calvert tells clients a more complex website, including shopping cart functionality, logos and background images, can take five to seven hours to design and 30 to 35 to build.
Remember, the initial quote could change. “If your project only takes 30 minutes to complete, and I quoted ?you five hours, 30 minutes is all you pay for, ” Calvert says. But a project may also take a designer longer than expected.
Figure in Features
Don’t forget to figure in the cost of additional features. Blogs are typically not that difficult to add to a website, but building a blog within the site structure may require some minimal design costs, says Craft. And e-commerce features like online shopping carts might require monthly management fees on top of the initial cost of integrating it into your site.
Before entering into a contract, get a variety of quotes and take your time making a decision. “You can easily find some cost-effective solutions that are off the shelf that will allow you to test your website concept inexpensively,” Craft says. “Customize later if you need additional features.”