What Does Web Design Cost and why?

Web Development
web design cost
1 April 2015

Asking how much a website costs is like asking how long a piece of string is. How expensive a car is. Or how much a delicious pizza will set you back.


The simplest analogy is that it depends on time spent, experience level of the designers and developers and final output quality. You can drive a Yaris or you can drive a Mercedes-Benz. You can order Domino’s or you can eat fresh at a nice restaurant.


This is exactly the same with websites. You can get a cheap $500 offshore website that looks horrible and will hurt your brand, or get an top tier agency to develop a stunning high performing $10k+ website that will bring in high sales/leads/conversions.


Business owners are smart enough to go to multiple agencies and get quotes. What surprises them the most though is how wildly different the prices are between each of the agencies.


One might quote $500 dollars, another $5,000, and the last might go up to $20k. So you’re left pondering which one to go with, and how can one agency (seemingly) be offering the same thing for a 20th of the price?


If you can get a thousand-dollar Prada bag for $100 bucks on Ebay, then you’re getting a bargain right!? Wrong. You get what you pay for, and you will soon see why.


So why the difference?

Here are the top 3 reasons why the prices vary so much.


1. Everyone has different interpretations.

As humans, we’re all brought up differently. How we’re brought up shapes our world view and beliefs. For example: do you remember a time when you’ve watched a movie with a friend, and you’ve both had completely different views on it?

Let’s use Robin Hood as an example: one friend will commend him for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor (because rich people are greedy and don’t deserve all that money, right?). The other friend will be outraged, (because poor people are lazy and don’t contribute, right?).

They’re two very different interpretations from the same movie. The same is true for websites. When a business owner comes up with an idea for their website, it can be seen very differently depending on who it’s shown to.

If it’s shown to a freelancing yes-man from India, they might look at it and say it will be $500 dollars. This could be because they’ve looked at your idea and decided they’ll just use a template they have for it (which means pretty much no effort on their part).

On the other side of the spectrum, you might get an agency that says it will cost around $20k. It’s so high because they have budgeted for everything from planning out a strategy, to developing custom features, to a full blown marketing-campaign to kickstart the growth of your website.

Takeaway: Get a very clear, itemised breakdown of the features included (as well as the cost for each item). This will help you compare different quotes and understand where the costs are coming from, and determine if you really need certain features or not.

2. Some companies cut corners.

As a business owner, it can be really difficult to tell what the difference is between the $500 quote and the $20,000 quote. Without a technical understanding, it can all seem like gibberish.

What you have to know, is that there are plenty of corners to cut when it comes to creating a website. There are template websites that look shoddy and never help your business, and there are websites that are literally a salesforce for your business, making your investment back 100 times over.

That’s the difference. One won’t make your money back, and one will make it back many times over. Websites are investments. They’re the forefront of your business, online.

Takeaway: You have to spend money to make money. If you just want to ‘get online’, the cheaper option will be fine, but don’t expect it to be successful. If you want your website to grow your business, go for the higher end where there’s a well planned design that gets results.

3. Location:

A very common thought-process for a lot of people is the following: “It’s a no-brainer if I just get it done in India where it’s a fraction of the cost”.

In most cases, the opposite is true. You have to consider that there are many costs, not just financial ones. There’s the cost of quality you’re trading off, the cost of poor communication because of timezones and language barriers, and ultimately, the opportunity cost (what you’re missing out on not having a killer website).

Remember that things which make sense in theory or sound too good to be true are just that. They don’t work practically. There is a massive difference between physically meeting the agency in person, and discussing ideas in your native language. Compared to staying up until 2am, half asleep talking to a developer who only knows tech-jargon, and doesn’t speak your native-language very well.

Takeaway: Don’t be fooled by thinking cheaper is better, and remember that there are more than just monetary costs.



At the end of the day, when it comes to deciding who to go with when you have a bunch of quotes sitting on your desk, simply choose the company who has a great track record. A track record for not only making other websites successful, but other websites in your industry successful (this essentially guarantees you’re going to get results if you work with them, because they’ve done the same thing before).


The bottom line is that you want a website that consistently generates revenue for your company. Whether it be indirectly by generating enquiries, or directly by selling goods, you want to make your money back many times over.


That’s what the difference in pricing comes down to at the end of the day. Mediocrity or excessive-success. The choice is yours.


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