So, you’ve finally decided to go into business for yourself. Whether you’re a one-man show offering plumbing services to the community or a motley crew of grassroots do-gooders angling for that 501(c)3 non-profit status, one thing is certain – you’re going to need an online presence. Having an attractive, user-friendly website is as commonplace as a business card and part of any company’s bare necessities.
How much does website design cost? Unfortunately the answer is however much, or little, you want to spend. It is possible to find a “designer” on Craigslist for a few hundred dollars that could do a hack job or create a real masterpiece. Sometimes it’s a gamble.
Keep a few things in mind when searching for a web designer, and you (and the startup) can come out on top.
The Sure Thing
Finding a professional company that can design and develop a fantastic site is easy – especially when money is no object. There are very few startups that fall into that category though. Uber-professional design companies can easily charge over $5,000 for a custom site that is guaranteed to be attractive, but do you really need all of those bells and whistles?
Whether or not a startup will really benefit from these high-end sites depends on your business and target audience. An interior decorating company depends on style, elegance and design as key selling points. It may be worth the investment of a top-notch site to draw in customers. However, for the average Joe who is a freelance writer or opening a coffee shop all of that glitz and glamour isn’t as important.
The (Virtual) Road Less Traveled
Scoring a deal can be a lot easier than you think. Many people go to online community sites to find affordable services, but how can you beat the odds of discovering a diamond over a dud? Get examples of designer’s previous sites. Talk to them on the phone because a lot can be missed with only e-mail correspondence. If a person doesn’t seem professional, is too pushy or is evasive, it’s time to move on.
Back in the day, bartering was a way of life, and it’s seeing a revival. You’re opening a business, right? That means you have a skill that another person – like a web designer – might want.
Check out one of the many online bartering sites to find a local designer in your area. This is a “free” way to get a customized website that requires only a little of your time. Make sure to follow the same rules as Craigslist when negotiating a trade.
Keep in mind that when going a more affordable route, there might be some unavoidable bumps in the road. Professional companies that demand professional wages are held to providing a certain level of excellence in a specific time frame. There’s always a chance your more affordable designer, or bartering partner, might not hold up their end of the bargain to your liking, and there is little that can be done about it.
The Bottom Line
When it comes down to it, a reasonable website design cost ranges from $500 to $7,500. That’s a lot of wiggle room. A startup likely only needs a simple site, with no flash animation, and about five pages of content. Choose your designer wisely, set a reasonable budget and time frame, and remember websites are not like tattoos and can always be changed.
Guest Author Byline: Now that you know the reasonable range of website design cost you’re ready to take the next step. Find out website “must-haves” for every business. Guest post by Shane.