VP of Marketing, 10+ Years of Sales & Marketing Experience, 12+ Years of Development Experience, 14+ Years of Project Management Expertise
January 9th, 2017
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 $20,000, whereas bigger and more complicated websites will cost between $20,000 to $40,000.
Your website is the most important 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.
Now that most businesses understand the value of inbound marketing, business websites overall are getting better. They're faster, sleeker, mobile-friendly, and more useful -- which is great for the consumer, but makes the job of a marketer that much harder.
Building or redesigning a website yourself is the cheapest option. It can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $3,000 or more.
The real cost of doing a website redesign yourself 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 still won't be exactly how you want it because custom work requires the ability to code.
New startups with limited budgets will 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. Be sure to look for a theme that'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 the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. The Genesis Framework is essentially the back-end of your website that you install on WordPress, allowing you to create content and edit the visual features of your theme with ease. Once you've installed the framework, you'll install a theme, which is basically the aesthetic design of your website.
Their framework is a huge step up from the average, lower-priced theme on the market. Their themes look great, they're 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. The framework + theme ranges from $100 to $130.
However, if you're willing to spend a little bit more, and you want to use HubSpot's marketing software, there's an even better option.
We recommend using HubSpot's Website Platform, 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.
Their Website Platform has everything you need built-in, from SEO to content management. Then you can also hire a developer later to add more custom features or to tweak the design however you want.
Our website runs on the HubSpot's Website Platform and we absolutely love it!
The Cost of Hiring a Freelancer for a Website Redesign
The next level up is hiring a freelance designer to do your website redesign. A good designer is going to charge anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 for a simple website and upwards of $10,000 to $15,000 for a bigger website with more custom design features.
These are just general numbers, and they will vary depending on the experience of your designer and your project details.
When working with a freelancer, you can expect a design that looks amazing 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, and they might not offer much insight outside of design knowledge.
The Cost of Hiring an Agency for a Website Redesign
A simpler website redesign can run anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000, whereas bigger and more complicated websites will cost between $20,000 and $40,000.
As a result, you get the kind of website that competes with the biggest brands in the world.
Working with a design agency goes much further than design. They'll customize your website however you want and make it look flawless.
The aesthetics are only a small part of web design. Agencies spend equal time on the content, user-experience, conversion rate optimization, and everything else that makes your website a valuable asset to your company.
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. Plus, agencies have more resources at their disposal -- from experts in all areas of design, content creation, and marketing to advanced tools that help with the entire process.
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.
Content is the most important part of your website redesign. It's also one of the more time-consuming aspects.
The ideal approach is a content-first design, where you build around your content, instead of designing your website and filling in the content afterwards.
At the most basic level, your website exists to connect with your buyer personas 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.
Plus, your content delivers the real value. If your prospects are only there to research your company or read your blog, the content is doing nearly all the work.
That's why you want your design adapted to your content -- great design helps deliver your message more effectively and enhances the user experience while your prospects and customers consume your content.
Discuss Content First
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 accomodates your content strategy best.
When working with a freelancer, be sure to ask about their process for content creation. Some freelance web designers will do the content themselves, but that's generally not a good idea. The reason why is that web design and website copywriting are both separate technical skills, and it's rare for someone to excel at both.
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.
The advantage of hiring an agency is that content is usually considered part of the redesign, so their experience content marketers will help guide the copy and messaging. This is another example of how you get what you pay for.
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 as high of a price for a website.
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. After all, there are more web designers readily available than ever before. Another factor is the process behind website design.
Websites Are 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. On the other hand, building a first-class website requires more work because websites are more advanced and there's so much more to take into consideration during the design process.
The digital landscape is rapidly evolving -- even more than in the first decade of the internet. Good web designers make considerations for things that haven't even happened yet.
For example, it wasn't until 2015 that Google announced that their search algorithms would show preference to mobile-friendly websites, meaning that having a mobile-friendly website is mandatory if you want succeed with inbound marketing. However, good web designers were preaching the importance of mobile-friendly design in 2009-2010 because the iPhone had been out for several years and mobile traffic was exploding.
They knew that not only did businesses need to deliver a better user experience, but eventually Google would raise the standards for everyone like they always do. 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.
The more advanced website become, and the more significant role they play in our businesses, the more their value will increase. This is just another reason why it's better to invest in the best design you can afford as early as possible.
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 $30,000 and they'll continue to work hard for you for as long as you let them.
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.