— August 16, 2019
Kelsey needed a new website. At least, that’s what she thought after reading an article on websites, revenue, design, and the modern customer. After sifting through SEO, UX, CX, CRO, URLs, and so many other acronyms her head was spinning, Kelsey decided it was time to get a new site designed for her business.
As CEO, Kelsey knew that she should talk to her marketing director, so they met and went over how long their current website looked like it did – about 4 years. They talked about user experience and conversions. And they explored the most-visited pages for a 5-second test.
Kelsey and Miguel decided to enlist an expert, so they found a website design agency and looked for a quote. Within minutes they found a figure: $ 3,000. They knew they’d get wireframes done, then design, and templates for a homepage, a service page and a blog. ‘This seems legit,’ the two agreed.
Fast forward 3 months, and the delivery is less than stellar. Sure, the agency gave Kelsey and Miguel a website. But now they want to charge for content. The designer says, “Go ahead and put your content here.”
The site has no copy, no branded images, and there’s no customer journey mapped out. The agency can’t tell Kelsey why there’s a CTA in the hero image of the homepage and how they predict it will perform.
Technically that’s a website design. But it’s not a website. All-in-all, this CEO is pretty frustrated.
But it doesn’t have to be this way for Kelsey and Miguel. And it doesn’t have to be this way for you.
Why Website Design Pricing isn’t Always Simple
A wise, experienced, results-driven marketing agency most likely won’t have pricing listed on their website like a restaurant prices their daily specials and a la carte offerings.
The best website design company will work with you to understand what you need, what you want, and what you expect. They’ll ask questions. They’ll listen. They’ll have a checklist. They may even offer it in a service offering like a marketing audit or a website discovery. And that will likely cost something, as it’s not just a “free quote.”
How Do You Want to Build This?
Designing and building a website – or redesigning it – is like building a house. You can simply buy ready-made plans. This one-size-fits-all strategy works for some people. Or you can put the work into customizing it for your lifestyle, and customization can take on many different facets: Very little, moderate, completely custom.
Do you want something that fits into a standard box and looks like your neighbor? Or do you want the right fit for you that does exactly what you need?
Some businesses use templated website builders, or drag-and-drop solutions, like Wix or Squarespace. Others use marketing/sales/service solutions like HubSpot. Sometimes a brand will use one of the two WordPress solutions (self-hosted or WordPress.com). It all depends on your needs, your budget, your willingness to work with an agency on some level, and other factors. And not all solutions are created equally.
Research from FreshChalk sheds some light on how small businesses build their websites, and how those sites perform for things like search engine rankings. Here’s a look at some interesting key findings:
- Wix is the most popular website builder for small businesses with 21.6% market share. Unfortunately, Wix sites are super slow and tend to rank poorly in Google web search.
- Squarespace doesn’t have quite as many users as Wix, but the median Squarespace site outranks Wix by 13% in Google web search.
- Google My Business “websites” (the Business listing many small businesses should have) are blazingly fast, 61% faster than those pokey Wix sites.
- WP Engine sites significantly outrank all other website builders in Google web search, correlating with a 23% boost in rankings compared to the average small business website. A strong choice if you want to use WordPress.
So Many Choices…
Here’s a look at the most common website builders:
- DIY Drag and Drop Builders – Drag and drop builders are powerful tools that anyone can use to create a website. It’s the DIY solution for a lot of businesses. Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and GoDaddy Website Builder are the most common. You could also count more specialized platforms like Google My Business, ClickFunnels or Shopify. The goal of these solutions is to empower small businesses, small teams, and basically “anyone” to have a website.
- Popular WordPress Hosts – Companies like WP Engine and WordPress.com make it relatively easy to create a sophisticated WordPress-powered website. They’re often built on templates you can buy or find for free in the WordPress ecosystem. It’s pretty common for a business to hire a digital agency to create a WordPress site hosted on GoDaddy.
- Digital Agencies – Speaking of agencies, this is where solutions like Impulse Creative fits into the picture. We’re an agency that can work with most of the above solutions, as well as create a revenue-generating website in other tools like HubSpot. Whether it’s redesigning a site, designing a new one, or optimizing conversions, working with an agency should mean deep work on your site for the best results.
More Than Pretty – Why Strategy is Critical
Looks aren’t everything. Regardless of the solution, your ultimate goal of generating customers and revenue from your website should steer the conversation. When you’re looking for website design solutions, start with strategy.
If you’re just trying to “make a pretty/cool/modern website,” you’re missing the boat. Start with questions like:
- Who do we want to reach with our website? (Buyer Persona)
- What’s the goal of the website? (Conversion Optimization)
- Will we be creating content regularly? (Content Marketing)
- How will we measure results? (Sales, SEO)
What’s in a Price?
If you’re going to look for a website design company to help you, make sure they’re pricing the project accurately. Impulse Creative co-founder and CEO Remington Begg has seen this many times over the years. A prospect will come to us with a lower price but no plan behind it, we’ll price the work accurately, and they’ll go with the “cheaper” option.
Then six months later, the prospect is coming back to us to fix the lackluster work some fly-by-night web designer did, after they tried to upsell the business owner with all the services we priced out ahead of time.
Instead, accurate pricing will start with strategy, include a plan, cover services like SEO planning, content creation, graphics, sitemap design, and possibly as deep as audits.
“A website designer can win the deal with the lowest price,” Remington says. “But then they’ll upsell the crap out of you when you have no other choice but to add on services. Or they can be up-front about the pricing and what you’ll get for it. It’s up to you.”
What Does Your Website Redesign Checklist Look Like?
When you’re looking to partner with an agency to help you plan and strategize for your website redesign, you’ll want to ask some questions. A lot of questions. Here’s a look at a few to get you started.
- Are they writing content?
- How long will the content be?
- Will they connect my analytics?
- Will they create 301 redirects for pages that change or go away?
- Do they perform speed checks?
- Will they work with me on a sitemap?
- Do they include images beyond placeholder imagery?
- Do the quality check (QC) the site before presenting it?
- How many rounds of edits do we get?
- Will we map out the buyer’s journey and set goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)?
- Will they update technical needs if our hosting changes?
- Will they check for broken links?
- Will they help with landing pages and forms?
- Do they create page titles, meta descriptions and other SEO needs?
Depending on the complexity of your website, and the size & scope of your business, you have options when it comes to redesigning your site. Pricing will vary, depending on your needs. But if you’re looking to hire a professional, make sure you’re asking questions and getting a full scope of work ahead of time. Quality work costs capital. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be a surprise.