How much should you pay for your web design? Now there is a loaded question. I am certain the opinions on this topic run the board, from free to tens of thousands of dollars. Realistically though, how much should a good quality web design cost?
Before you try to answer the question, ask yourself a few other, relevant, questions first:
- What is the purpose of the web site?
If your site is a personal site, you may actually be able to get by without spending any money on web design. There are thousands of nice looking theme templates available for WordPress, Joomla and other CMS (Content Management Systems) software. If your site is not a business, this can save you a lot of money. If your site is for your business, you would be well advised to allow a professional to design your site. A web design pro will know how to use color, image compression, media elements and page layout to maximize your message. A business’s web site should be an extension of the company brand, not just a thrown together second thought.
- Who is the intended audience?
Your audience is critical when designing your site. The more sophisticated your audience the more compelling your design may need to be, to attract and hold their attention. If your site cannot hold the attention of your audience, there is no reason to have it in the first place.
The complexity of the site’s architecture may push your investment up, considerably. As a developer/designer I am amused by statements such as, “I don’t want to spend a lot, I just want a simple site, like Facebook.” Really, a SIMPLE site like FaceBook?! The reason FB looks so simple, to the user, is because of all the pain staking coding and development that took place in order to make the site so “simple”; not to mention the $12.7 million that was invested to make it what it has become. What I am saying is simply this, divide your investment into two parts, your design budget and your development budget. Here’s why I say that. If you ask me to build you a FaceBook, I will inform you it will takes hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to develop. However, if you tell me to create you a site that LOOKS like FaceBook, I can do that very inexpensively. FB has an extraordinarily simple layout. The real cost of FB comes in when each of the design elements starts to function.
So, how much should you pay? While I can not answer that directly I will give you this advice. When choosing a designer, get references. Look at the designer’s portfolio and compare his or her work to others you are interviewing. The less developed the portfolio and the lower the quality of the designers’ previous work, the lower your offer should be. Just like any other art based service, you will have to pay more for high quality. If your site has little to no artistic flair, don’t pay too much for your design. Just remember the previous paragraph though, design and development are two different things and should be budgeted and priced accordingly.