How Much Does A Responsive Website Cost? (Updated 2021)

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Launching a new website for your business in 2021 can be an intimidating task for a small local business focused on brick and mortar sales. It very well may be something entirely new for the current team at a midsized business or even an enterprise level, fortune 500 business. For most businesses, the first thought that comes to mind is - how much does a new website cost?

Setting a budget for your new website should be thought of as a business investment. The more you invest in a quality, responsive, SEO-focused website, the higher the return.

Before searching Orlando web design companies for a quote, you will want to be able to answer a few basic questions about the end goal of your website and ultimately what do you want the site to do for your business?

  • What will the site experience be for new visitors/customers - how do you want them to view/use the site?
  • How do you want returning users or customers familiar with your brand to view/use the site?
  • Will your employees use the website (think login portals, scheduling, accessing of information)?
  • Will you be selling any services or products directly on your website?

At the time we are writing this article (August 2021), websites built by a professional web design company range in the $2,500 - $15,000.

In this article, we will cover:

  • Determining the scope of your website
  • Provide you with a business website price range guide
  • Business website comparison table
  • Strategy and planning costs
  • Cost to Maintain your website
  • Website cost calculator
  • Summary

Determining The Scope Of Your Website

The largest pricing factor of your responsive website will be the expected hourly commitment from the team. Most projects, start with a fixed bid, in this case a budget set aside for the website project and will require an estimation from the web developers on the amount of hours the project will require. Some companies will change or adjust the times as they see fit - at Dark Matter Digital - we do not change our bids or adjustments for under estimation on our part. The price we give and agree, is the price.

In general, an experienced agency will charge more per hour for website design and development, considering however a less-experienced agency or freelancer may require more hours to complete the project but to a satisfactory level.

A common misconception among small clients, such as a small business or startup is that the cost of their website project will be determined by two straightforward processes: design (front end) and developing / programming (back end). While these processes are the two main components of building and launching a website, other factors come into play that have an impact on the cost of a responsive website:

1. Complexity

The amount of features and requirements that need to be integrated into the website. More complex web projects will require more design and development hours.

Variables to consider:

  • Complexity of a website's navigation
  • Marketing requirements like user personas, company branding and product branding
  • Custom visual designs like illustrations, graphics, videos
  • Complex user interfaces or page layouts with a large amount of content (ex: eCommerce websites)
  • Integration with third party programs / plugins.

2. Functionality

The number of unique tasks your website will need to perform. Ecommerce and customer accounts are always the most time intensive items.

Variables to consider:

  • Number of products
  • Variety of products and their respective categories
  • Number of product details
  • Customer / member accounts and portals
  • Booking or scheduling
  • Content types - blogs, teams, case studies etc

3. Size

The amount of effort needed to create pages and content for the website. This will be determined largely by how much time needs to be spent on original content and design, and how much will be / can be replicated across the website.

Variables to consider:

  • Overall number of website pages
  • Number of page templates needed (ex: resource page, gallery page, product page)
  • Amount of original content and copywriting needed
  • Amount of original media needed
  • Amount of automation allowed (ex: page content generated from product data, dynamic built-in logic)

Responsive Website Price Range Guide for 2021

Who will be building the website?

The company or agency you select to build out your website will largely be determined by your budget. Most agencies will start projects at a minimum of $2,500 - $10,000 dollars. If your budget is less than this, than you may have to choose a freelancer or inexperienced agency. It is possible to find a good bargain at a lower budget level and still receive a great responsive website, however you may run into long-term issues with sustainability, efficiency or timelines during development.

One way we always tell clients to think of a website design project, is comparable to a home renovation. Cheaper contractors might be available on the market but there probably is a reason they are way cheaper than others. At Dark Matter Digital - we pride ourselves on being highly experienced, but practical on our pricing. Our founder and current CEO Brandon, started off Dark Matter Digital as a freelancer web designer and developer before we flourished into the digital marketing agency that we are today.

Project Budget Range: Under $1000

Typical hourly rate: $50-100

Typical Project Team: Individual Freelancer

What you'll get for the money

Most often a one person shop. An individual freelancer, possibly from another country, who is jack of all trades but an expert in none. Your website will be pushed along very quickly, will be generic or a one-size-fits-all solution.

  • May use a basic template, or less comprehensive website platform like Wix, Godaddy or Squarespace
  • Usually will not include a strategy for marketing, design or content
  • Typically will involve very basic SEO - or - black hat seo methods for quick but temporary rankings
  • May require additional communication as you have to instruct them on how to build the site

Expected deliverables at this price range:

  • Fixed price bidding
  • One to four page site using basic template
  • Basic design customization (colors, layout, sliders)
  • Stock images from a free or low cost site

Project Budget Range: $1000 - $2500

Typical hourly rate: $75 - $100

Typical Project Team: Freelancer or 1-2 person agency

What you'll get for the money

Most often this is also a one person shop - either a more experience freelancer or agency that outsources for other specialties. At this price point that second person is likely to be outsourced.

Since you’re hiring a very small team of 1-2 people they aren’t going to be great at everything. However, compared to the sub $5k budget range the final product may be of higher quality with multiple experts.

  • More likely to include some elements of website strategy (marketing, social media, content, branding, etc.)
  • Likely to have basic SEO offering, and inclusion of researched keywords in metadata and page content.
  • May offer a basic selection of options for template design
  • Will likely have an established process for design and development

Expected deliverables at this price range

  • Fixed bid pricing
  • Basic sitemap
  • Basic website strategy
  • Some level of SEO experience/ support
  • 3-6 page templates
  • Page builder template or build with advanced custom fields
  • Blog functionality
  • Projects, Case Studies, Gallery or other basic brand trust pages

Project Budget Range: $2500 - $10,000

Typical hourly rate: $100 - $150

Typical Project Team: Reputable agency with 2-3+ people

Should have: Reputable Reviews on websites such as Clutch & Google

What you'll get for the money

At this budget you should be able to find an agency with an optimized process. The will have methodology in place and a workflow that breaks down projects into multiple phases to include strategy, design, development and training. The agency will be able to recommend a variety of website solutions - such as different CMS (Wordpress, Webflow etc) specific to your challenges and goals as opposed to a "package".

Most of the time these are fixed big projects, if an agency at this level is experienced and understands there is no possible accurate estimate for a flat rate, they will let you know. A discovery session would work wonders to explore all of your needs and give you the best price. You could also hire them hourly to complete the task.

  • Should have a comprehensive strategy for your new website
  • Optimized user experience design for conversions
  • Higher level of SEO offering. Could include strategy for building website authority, optimizing site for key search terms, and content strategy.
  • Customized, unique and enhanced design options
  • Optimized for user experience on mobile devices

Expected deliverables at this price range

Strategy

  • Kickoff Meeting
  • Website Strategy
  • Informational Architecture
  • Wireframe
  • SEO Keyword Analysis (sometimes)
  • SEO Copywriting (sometimes)

Design

  • 1-3 Homepage Concepts
  • 4-8 Page Designs (ex: Home, About, Services, Blog, Case Studies, Contact Us)

Development

  • Theme Development or template (usually WordPress)
  • Quality Control Testing
  • Cross browser
  • Cross device
  • Website Training
  • Launch

Conclusion

Whether building a new website internally, with a freelancer, or though a web design agency, many professionals and companies underestimate the true amount of work that goes into a website project. Beyond the inital discovery phase, building out pages, etc there is a good deal of hours that go into the less attractive, "not fun" part of the website. Choosing an agency that has a solid plan in place and expertise to handle the many hurdles that might come into play can - and should - make or break your decision to hire them.

When it comes to budgeting there are a few rules that apply wholesale to any agency partnership.

  1. More website customization equals more budget
  2. More website content equals more budget
  3. Fixed pricing generally is a better value, and lower risk, than agreeing to an hourly rate

And, finally, if you do have to firmly limit your budget it is highly advisable to focus on having your website doing fewer things at a high level, rather than doing more things at a mediocre level. This means focusing on achieving the most important goals of your website, and leaving out the ‘nice-to-haves’ until you have more demand and/or available budget.

Your website should be a visual and interactive window into your company that serves customers and clients. To that end focus on their needs, and limit vanity add-ons or high end features you may find on the sites of your larger competitors.

A new website can make or break a business. Work within your budget and resource limitations, understand fully the design and development process, and partner with a trusted agency for a final product you can be proud to show off!

Ready to start a project with us? Fill out this brief form and a member of our team will contact you shortly!

Feel free to email questions to us at anytime! info@darkmatterdigital.co


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