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How do web designers decide how much a website should cost? Is it an arbitrary number based on what they think you can afford or just based on the size of their ego?

We’ve all been dumbfounded at one time or another after hearing the cost of some professionals’ fee.

Last year I asked an old colleague out to lunch for some advice. His response was that his fee was $3,000 for an afternoon. Is that absurd or a completely normal rate for a marketing specialist’s advice these days?

Why are some wedding photographers $250 and others $10,000? Why is a Prada dress $5,000 and a Walmart dress only $20?

Walmart Versus Prada

Actually, it was fashion that drove me to explore this question further. I’m a jeans and tee shirt kind of girl, but last year I attended a conference with mostly female entrepreneurs that made a significant income, and I didn’t want to look like a young, homeless person who wandered in from the street.

So my friends encouraged me to redo my wardrobe and invest heavily in semi-formal clothing for business occasions such as this in the future. When they caught wind of my intention to complete this mission by means of Ross, Walmart, and Marshalls, their jaws dropped, eyes rolled, and said I needed to go to “a real store” to redo my wardrobe the right way.

I replied, “If I’m wearing black pants and a dress shirt from Walmart, what millionaire is going to notice?”

Her response changed my perception of quality products and services forever. She said, “A high-quality brand wouldn’t hire a clothing designer working for Walmart.”

See, a high-quality clothing designer knows exactly how certain fabrics wear, wash, and keep over time. They’ve spent decades seeking to understand the human figure and how clothes fit their customers. They know the art of the best stitching, the best lines, and the best hems for a perfect fit. They realize that the piece of clothing has to fit just right to show the best parts of the person wearing it.

In other words, an experienced clothing designer makes people look better in what they wear.

This doesn’t happen right out of their first fashion night-school class, or their third fabrics class, or their fifth sewing class. This extensive knowledge and real-world experience over decades in the industry has set them apart from someone who designs clothing for the Dollar General (yes, there are clothes there).

And so, a Dollar General clothing designer’s salary will be quite different from a Prada, Channel, or Dior clothing designer’s salary, wouldn’t you say?

Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

Websites, or any other service we offer, are no different.

When someone has dedicated the majority of their life to learning a skill, you’re paying to get it done right because they’ve gotten to where they are for a reason.

We’ve all decided on the cheaper option before, and we’ve all regretted it. (Ask my cousin who hired a family member to photograph their wedding instead of a real photographer).

Granted, sometimes the cheaper option makes sense and sometimes the cheaper option works out just fine (hello, gas station hot dog?).

But when it comes to investing in your business, frugality isn’t always wise. Choosing the cheapest option can oftentimes mean not only a lack of progress but can even lead to 1 step forward and 3 steps back.

For example, you get three quotes for your business website redesign: one for $1,500, another for $5,000, and another for $15,000. Your monthly marketing budget is $2,000 so you choose the $1,500 designer and use the other $500 for that month for additional Facebook marketing.

Woohoo, right?

Unfortunately, that one decision to be frugal may have just damaged your revenue streams for the next year.

The designer didn’t understand your nuanced company goals and adjust the call to action properly so your visitors didn’t click the right button, causing hundreds of missed sales.

They ran out of time to stay under budget and forgot to install the correct analytics code, causing months of data to not be recorded.

There wasn’t enough budget to make time to dig deep into your strategy and create custom imagery and copy, causing thousands of visitors to see your website and feel unmotivated to take action, which caused a massive decrease in sales.

Six months after you’ve created the new site, you realize you have to get it redesigned with an experienced designer anyway which takes another 3 months and $15,000.

By choosing the best option over the cheapest option, your company could have reached your revenue goals in record time and moved the needle forward for years to come.

Investments = Costs With a Return

Don’t forget that websites are an investment. Investments aren’t simply costs down the drain–they’re costs with an expectation of a return. Your website should be making your company money, whether directly or indirectly. An experienced designer knows how to leverage your website to move your company forward.

Websites are also in constant motion and never stop changing. It’s a living, breathing marketing tool that should be continually optimized for the greatest return.

A beginner web designer charging $1,500 may not understand these nuances because they don’t have the experience to really understand how to tell your story and call visitors to action.

Designers that have spent a lifetime understanding the art of web design are worth their weight in gold, and if you care truly care about the growth and prosperity of your company, choose the right designer, not the cheapest one.

What am I Even Paying For?

At the end of the day, you’re paying for experience.

You’re paying for all the nights they stayed up till 3 am learning how to code.

You’re paying for all the dozens of books they’ve read about improving the experience of a visitor and how to compel action through the interface.

You’re paying for their years of education, certifications, jobs, and experience in learning and making mistakes before they create your site.

You’re paying for their thousands of hours of research in their field… someone who reads the newest Facebook algorithm updates and Google Optimization changes and how that affects your web presence before they’ve had their morning coffee.

You’re paying for an expert to go back over the website they just created for you 10 times before sending to the quality control team.

You’re paying for hours of tweaking, optimizing, and improving their creation over and over again. You’re paying for time.

You don’t ask for the cheapest doctor when something is wrong, do you? So why would you choose the cheapest professional for a tool that will exponentially grow your business?

If you have confidence in your business, its products or services, your leadership, and your staff, then practice your confidence by putting trust in other professionals who have been working their entire lives to work with you and help your business succeed.

So How Much Should One Cost?

So back to our original question: How much should a website cost? If you ask a company or a freelancer how much they charge for websites and they respond immediately with a cost, run for the hills.

Whether you choose GrowFly or someone else, make sure they are grilling you about your business before they give you a quote. Make sure they ask about your goals, your challenges, and truly understand the inner workings of your strategy.

If they jump to a number without understanding what you really need to succeed or say, “All of my websites are $1,000,” or “There’s no reason for a website to be over $500,” walk away.

The truth is, no one should give you a quote before they understand your needs. You don’t need a pretty digital billboard. If your goal is to bring in revenue, which it should, you need to invest in a designer that will optimize the site to work harder for you.

You may be just fine with a $1,000 website or you may need a $10,000 website. There are too many factors without knowing more about your business.

Invest in your future by investing in expertise. If you’re ready, give us a call and we’ll start asking the right questions to take your website to the next level.

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