How much should you budget for your 2017 website design project?

Looking for a website design agency can feel like looking for a car mechanic. Most of us don’t know much about our cars so we are at the mercy of the mechanic when they tell us the car needs new transmission fluid or brakes. Finding a mechanic you trust is like finding gold. It takes the worry out of the picture because you know the mechanic will do what needs to be done at a fair price and help you consider future needs at the same time.

TBH Creative is that sort of Indianapolis website design agency. We aren’t the oil change shop on the corner, building cookie cutter websites as fast as we can churn them out—quality negotiable. And, we aren’t the crooked mechanic trying to get as much money out of our clients as possible. We view our clients as our partners. We want to help them accomplish their sales and marketing goals with a new website. We take the time required to develop a strategic plan together. Our clients know they can trust us to be good stewards with their investment. The question is, what should you expect that investment to be?

Don't compare apples to oranges

Each website is different and requires different functionality. You can get a website for $10,000 or $200,000+ depending on the functionality, custom design work, and size of your site. Most agencies will be calculating your project costs based on the hours of work it will require. The cost per hour will vary depending on the experience of the agency, specialized skills, and physical location (meaning an hourly rate here in Indianapolis is most likely going to be lower than one in Manhattan). 

Knowing that the estimate is made up of hours allows you evaluate it based on the work that is going into your website. For example because our designs are custom tailored to your brand and business needs, we spend a minimum of 40 hours on initial design compositions and for larger sites with various types of pages the hours and work involved will be more. Responsive coding with style and design adjustments for each viewport requires more time and raises the cost.

Each website project tends to have unique elements. When we are building an estimate we take the time to learn about your needs so that we can determine the amount of time it will take to cover those needs. We always start with a list of factors that will set up the framework for the project. The answers to these will help us explore additional needs and build an accurate estimate.

Factors that influence your website investment

  • Size of the website. The number of pages impacts both the production work as well as editing/writing support. 
  • Number of design templates. The number of unique types of pages that need to be designed impacts design composition time and high fidelity design work. 
  • Numbers of customizations between the pages, particularly for responsive design.
  • Level of detail in design such as custom illustration, iconography or photography.
  • Functions and features such as interactive maps, parallax design elements, customer portals—especially customized features or maintenance tools.
  • Level of detail in responsive coding/viewports and resizing.
  • Definition of target audience. Research and interviews to define audience persona definition guide content and design. 

Let’s talk dollars

Now that you know the factors that influence the website design budget, let’s review how that impacts your marketing budget. 

A well-designed website is focused on turning visitors into leads and leads into sales. Design quality, content relevancy, usability, and clear calls to action help you realize a positive bottom line impact for your website investment.
Laptop ready for budget review
A poorly designed website can literally turn customers away. An unclear focus, dated design, difficult navigation, and complex content make it hard for prospects to take desired action. A bad website can also make your organization appear undesirable. 
A website design and development project is the perfect example of the adage:
You get what you pay for. 
We recommend that you spend at least 50% of your marketing budget each year on your online marketing strategy. For the sake of quick math, let’s say your annual marketing budget is $200,000—that leaves $100,000 for website and digital marketing. Maybe you spend a large chunk the first year to get a new website in place. Then, the following year use the dollars for analytic reporting, social media strategy, and inbound marketing.

Consider the big picture

aka don't build it and assume they will come

A website design shouldn’t be seen as a one-time project. Your website is a living representation of your company and should be updated frequently and put to work. One of the best things about your website is that you can easily test out new things, measure results, adjust, tweak, and do it all over again to find what works best. By keeping money in your budget for online strategy year round, you will be ready for new ideas or technology to maintain a competitive advantage.

Wondering how often should you undertake a complete redesign? Current standards are every three years. Interim updates can help you get more time out of your site but beyond three years, your site will start to look very dated. We think a better way to tackle the redesign question isn’t necessarily based on time but based on need. Check out this article from our digital marketing partner, Hubspot with Eight Excellent Reasons to Redesign Your Website.

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Let’s start planning your website strategy.

We love learning about your business goals and objectives and then putting our skills and expertise to work developing a digital marketing plan to achieve them. From new designs to redesigns, from basic contact forms to custom functionality, TBH Creative has you covered.

Let’s get started.
Tatum

About the author | Tatum Hindman

Tatum is the president of TBH Creative and is responsible for building long-term client relationships. She enjoys the strategy behind web design and sitting down with clients to define online marketing goals. She likes to blog about questions or topics that clients ask about as well as sharing new tricks.

View more posts by Tatum

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