Your website design budget starts by establishing a realistic marketing budget.
Your marketing budget will vary depending on your industry—but experts agree it should be between 2% and 12% of gross sales.
Step 1. Your Brand
For a brand-building project which just focuses on the key components of branding, most companies will spend between $20,000 and $75,000, the web design is a portion of this. The key components are the essential branding elements that most companies need:
Messaging / Copywriting
Presentations / Videos
Lead Generation Tools
Social Media Optimization
Exhibit Design (as needed)
This cost logically adjusts to how many (and which) of the above brand assets are budgeted for the initial branding or rebranding efforts. You will need to add an ongoing monthly budget for advertising and on-going marketing, also consistent with your budget.
Step 2: Determine web design pricing for your industry.
Your website is not a stand-alone marketing tool. It is, in many cases, a prospect’s first impression of your brand. It is also the place your prospects go to either form or validate an opinion about your company…before they decide whether to take the next step. It’s the most important element of your brand image, and it sets the pace for your conversion process. So you need to budget for the full scope of the branding you need—not “just” for “a website”.
To do this, you’ll first have to assess your industry and look at what your top competitors are doing. Just getting to the “design phase” requires going through an in-depth marketing discovery process, and then formulating a web marketing plan. Trying to build a site without this initial investigation & planning is like trying to build a house without surveying the land or creating any blueprints. It's going to fall apart.
Step 3: Understand the full scope of your true needs.
To be successful, your website will need to include most of the following components and media. To build a site without them is like going big game hunting with a pocket knife…
A Discovery Process and production of a well articulated creative brief—the essence of your marketing and sales strategies.
A sitemap—an outline of your website which shows all the navigation and pages. This should be completely centered around your customer’s needs.
Visual direction and messaging aligned with your marketing objectives.
A design and layout for your homepage, based on an agreed-upon visual direction and messaging.
A design and layout for an interactive subpage / interior page template which will inform your visitors, and guide them through your site while maintaining your own brand identity.
Professional copywriting or content optimization (yes, you do need it!) which will allow prospects to scan, while offering information to pique their interest and drive them toward your calls to action.
Animations/Scenes to stimulate interest and communicate key points without crowding the page.
A custom-designed blog. This is critical: it's today's free PR machine and a SEO staple.
E-mail templates which match your new online brand. Email marketing is the best ROI in marketing—a must-have!
A downloadable PDF brochure or content piece with easily-digestible information—so your prospects can share it, print it, and/or archive it. (Viral media)
Online conversion forms. Why make it difficult for someone to contact you? Interactive forms make inquiries a breeze, and data capture automatic.
Search Engine Optimization. Your site should be designed in a way that’s search-engine friendly. By thinking ahead, you’ll be well-positioned to appear high on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Call to Actions / Landing Pages - Destination pages that lead to specific conversion goals established in your creative brief.
This list could easily go on, but you get the idea. Now, most of these items cost between a few hundred to a few THOUSAND dollars each—so you can quickly see that building a successful online brand via your custom website is going to take a serious investment. Of course, a site which is built correctly will grow revenues and awareness of your brand more than you can imagine! It is not so much what you spend, it is about how your expenditure affects revenue growth.
You can Google as many articles about web design cost and pricing as you like. You can even experiment with do-it-yourself templates, or hire an inexpensive firm to build your website—the most important and influential piece of communication you have. But I’ve supervised the creation of over 1,000 online branding components (web sites, blogs, presentations, PDF brochures, landing pages, etc)…so I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to build an effective web “experience”.
The bottom line is, if you want a professional online brand that will recoup its value, $10–$30k is a good range to start for the initial build of your "brand assets" (including your web site) -- AND you should also plan for monthly enhancements, promotions, lead nurturing, advertising, search marketing, social marketing and more by setting a monthly budget consistent with your annual revenues as per the above budgeting guidelines.
The power of your new online brand
By now, you probably realize what it takes—and so what it costs—to build an effective and conversion-oriented online brand. The rewards will be tremendous. Here is what you can expect from a website done right:
Your employees, prospects, and clients will have confidence in your brand.
The number of prospects who visit your site will substantially increase.
Your visitors will be seriously impressed.
Visitors to your site will be more likely to want to learn about your products and services, and thus more likely to convert.
Measurable results will be obtained that can be used for further improving your online brand, and customer conversions.
With an actual system to convert customers, you'll be able to "nurture" the 90%+ of prospects that have a "buy later" mentality.
You will get more referrals.
More repeat visitors, thus even more conversions.
Your investment will be paid back in spades—and then some—resulting in substantial revenue growth.