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So...How Much?

How much does a website cost?

This is the most frequent question I get when I tell people I'm a web designer. You can find someone on Craigslist who promises $100 websites, or agencies that charge five figures for one. The problem is that pricing a site involves quite a lot of variables, and there isn't always a straightforward answer. For the small business owner, this can be very confusing. To clear things up, here are a few tips to help you find a reputable designer at a fair price.

First off, it is important to know the purpose of the website. What do you want out of it? Like it or not, most people go directly to Google when searching for products or services. Your website is your calling card, and the first impression most people will have with your business. An unprofessional web presence means fewer customers, which means less revenue.

A professional designer knows the importance of first impressions, and will work with you to find the best solution. It is a collaborative process, and you will need to be involved for optimal results. Web design usually involves graphic design, photo editing, coding, SEO (search engine optimization), CMS integration and testing. It takes a lot of expertise to do well, and designers comes in a wide variety of skill levels. Web design has become an umbrella term for many digital disciplines these days, from "generalists" to UX/UI designers (user experience/user interface). Choose someone who has a variety of skills, and a portfolio of work that speaks to your needs.

To help you evaluate a designer's skillset, look at their online portfolio. Look for quality, not necessarily quantity. A good designer will display their best work online, often with a live link. Designers who include case studies in their portfolios show their problem-solving skills. That's what good design essentially does - it solves a problem.

Search for designers who have a blog that they write for regularly. Read their posts. Do they seem to be writing with you in mind? Do you like how they write? It should feel like you are having a conversation. A well-written blog is a good indication that the designer will be a good communicator throughout the design process.

Once you have found a designer you like, contact them directly. They will want to know about your business, and will ask if you have any existing content. Once all details are explained and understood, they will send you a proposal (or quote) for the work.

So...how much is it?

Assuming you are looking for a mobile-friendly, responsive website with less than 10 pages of content, built on a CMS (so you can edit and add content on your own), you are looking at paying anywhere between $2500 to $6000. That price varies based on location, where the site is hosted, and the level of technical support or online training that is included. Registering a domain name and email accounts are usually not included with this pricing.

Keep in mind that investing a little bit now in your online presence pays off for most businesses. Small businesses do well if they set a budget for a good designer. A reputable web designer usually does not work for peanuts - they want to make a living, after all.

A well-designed website is well worth the upfront cost, and your customers will thank you!

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