So, roughly how much does a website cost? This is the most frequently asked question we get when we’re first discussing a new website design project with a prospective client. And for good reason: any investment stings if you don’t see a return on it, so to assess whether we’re the right fit for your company, you’ll need to take into account what the hit will be to your budget.
As you can imagine, the costs associated with building a website vary widely, but we’d love to share some concrete numbers with you. So let’s take a look at what it took to build our website, the one you’re looking at right now.
The Web Design & Development Process
Before starting any marketing campaign (and yes, designing a website is a marketing campaign), you have to plan your website. The initial planning process of a website design project begins with us doing our research in order to answer the following questions:
- What is the purpose/goal of the website? Define a successful conversion. Every decision we make when designing a website will always be centered around conversion – the moment your website visitor takes the particular action that you want them to take. So first we need to define the action you want your website visitors to take so that we can create a user interface that guides them smoothly toward taking that action.
- Who is your target audience? Define your buyer persona. If we want to create a site that converts, we need to know exactly who it is we’re trying to convert. We need a crystal clear picture of an ideal customer. The more we know about your target market, the more clearly we can speak to their interests, wants, needs, and desires through the design of your website. The more clearly we can get to them, the more likely we are to persuade them that you are the answer to their problems.
The answers to these questions set the foundation for the rest of the planning process (and indeed the entire project) from selecting the right experts for the team to determining the website’s basic structure.
Layout and Wireframes
Once we have defined your goals clearly and painted a vivid picture of your ideal customer, we are ready to plan the layout of each page of your website. This process is called wireframing and the purpose of it is to brainstorm which elements should be on each particular page, what the purpose of those elements are, and where on the page each element should be placed to give your website the highest possible conversion rate.
Because our focus is conversion, when our team discusses each element, we ask ourselves how we can best convey one of the six principles of persuasion:
- Commitment and consistency
- Social proof
This is why the websites we create often contain elements like calls to action, features and benefits, testimonials, social media profile links, and reputable company logos. We want to persuade your visitors to convert and we don’t have much time, so we have to make every element count.
With all the elements defined, we can now focus on the most important part of your website – the copy. Design is critical for obvious reasons, but in the absence of content, design is nothing more than decoration. So content always comes first.
Although we highly recommend letting an expert marketing copywriter help you with your text content, some of our clients choose to do it on their own, which is fine, as long as you do your research and get a solid handle on the following questions:
- What tone does your company use? Is it corporate and formal? Is it casual and personable?
- How does your company talk to your customers on social media?
- What are some keywords or phrases your company and customers often use?
- What kinds of questions do your prospective customers have and how do you respond to them?
The answers to these questions give our copywriters a clear picture of how you speak with your customers and helps us to build a word bank that we use throughout your copy to keep a consistent tone and get a clear message across. This results in natural-sounding copy that your website visitors will connect with, which will help us accomplish our conversion goals.
Design and Development
Once we have your wireframes and copy prepared, the design process is extremely smooth. Our designers don’t have to worry about organization or structure and can instead focus on what they do best: adding the wow factor to the look and feel of your website.
At this stage, the whole team is involved. User experience designers are making sure that the design of each element contributes to the movement of your website visitors through paths ending in conversion. Marketing experts are keeping the principles of persuasion at the forefront of every design decision. And our developers are ensuring that all elements are programmed to function smoothly and seamlessly so that your website visitors have the optimal experience when visiting your site.
Throughout the development of your website, our team works together to customize a plan that will ensure your website continues to convert after we launch it. This plan includes:
- Regular website maintenance and monitoring to prevent website downtime, obsolete software, and security breaches and hacks
- Conversion optimization including A/B tests to continuously increase conversion rates and decrease bounce rates
- Search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure your website keeps attracting large volumes of your target market
- Online marketing and brand development because your competitors never sleep and neither should you
Now that you have an idea of the process of creating and building a website, let’s take a look at the costs of building this website. For all intents and purposes, you’re looking at a simple website. It’s a powerhouse of a website and it has incredibly high conversion rates, but it only consists of the following pages:
- Work (Portfolio)
- A landing page template
We’re looking at roughly eight distinct page designs with custom graphics and some typically priced stock photography, none of which are out of the ordinary. Now our team consists of experts with a range of different hourly rates so for simplicity’s sake, we’ll say that the average hourly rate of each member of our team is $100/hour.
The process of designing and building this website looked like this:
• The planning stage lasted one week full time and involved four people: a copywriter, a web/graphic designer, a UX/UI designer, and me (project manager, creative director, branding expert, coffee brewer/pourer/top-offer): $16,000
• Copywriting took our copywriter two weeks full time: $8,000
• Design of the website took two weeks full time: $8,000
• Development of the website took three weeks full time: $12,000
Add it all up, carry the 2, and we’re looking at a grand total of $44,000.
That’s a lot of zeros.
In reality, a typical website (non-eCommerce) with Tall Cube runs anywhere from about $3,200 to $32,000 depending on the breadth of its needs and the complexity of its programming. That’s a big range, but in some cases, our clients have their content ready and do not need our help with copywriting, for example, while others require a lengthy planning stage to flesh out the details, polished marketing video production, and the logistics of programming a complex web app.
When planning your investment, don’t forget to take into account the other costs associated with any website which can include the following:
- Domain name – $10-15/year
- Hosting – $10-50/month for basic hosting; $50-250/month for faster, more secure business hosting
- Software licenses – $5-500 flat or $10-1,000/year (To save you money, most developers will use some of the thousands of excellent software extensions, plugins, widgets, modules, and applications out there to add common features to your website rather than coding them from scratch)
- Continued website maintenance, upgrades, and security – $100/month+ depending on the level of support needed
- Stock art – $5-100/license for royalty-free stock photos and graphics
- Website marketing – $1200+/month to proactively market your website and business using techniques like search engine optimization, paid search advertising and landing page optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing
Add that all up and we’re now looking at thousands monthly on top of that. More zeros!
But when we look at our conversion rates, we know that our website is more than worth the investment. Because not only did we make back our initial investment within the first 48 hours of our launching this website redesign, but we have consistently seen extremely high conversion rates that we are continually optimizing and increasing every single day. And that is covering the monthly costs associated with our ongoing marketing campaigns.
But here’s the real reason this was all worth the investment: our clients are the heart and soul of everything that we do. And we have succeeded in over-delivering with every single one of them. That means our website is designed to attract people who are a perfect fit for our team, people who are aligned with our marketing philosophies and strategies.
When we designed this site, it wasn’t quantity we’re worried about when it came to web traffic and conversion.
It was quality.
We don’t care how many people stop by our site, we care whether or not the right people stop by our site. And what their experience is when they interact with it.
Does it feel like a website or does it feel like they entered into a conversation with real people? Do they connect with us? Do they feel we understand their problem? Do they trust that we can solve that problem? And are they more than confident that we can provide a high return on their investment with us?
The answer is yes.
All of the planning we did before we even started designing this website, all the discussions and debates we had around interface and user experience, all the hours our copywriter spent channeling inspiration and churning out brilliance, and the thousands of magical elements our designers created that make up what you’re looking at right now…
It all resulted in this little spot in the world wide web that feels like home to our ideal clients. It magnetizes them, it moves them, and it ultimately leads them to select us to join them on their marketing journey.
If you’ve read this far, it’s quite possible that you are our heart and soul, our next awesome client.
I’m Valerie. And I’d love to meet you.