Every company should aspire to have a strong online presence – and the most fundamental requirement is a great website that tells your brand’s story. Having seen the effects of the pandemic more businesses than ever have increased their online presence and are enhancing their client’s relationships through their websites.
A website visitor will judge what they see within 1/10th of a second -today’s society demands quality information, and wants it swiftly. But to get the best possible web design for your company, how much will it cost you?
Web design costs can vary enormously. If we go back to basics, every website must meet these three criteria:
Website must load quickly
Look professional and promptly explain what the company is all about
Be easy to navigate and consume content that users are looking for
Have easy ways for users to connect with the brands directly
The design should entice the visitor to stay and, by intuitive navigation, enable the visitor to seamlessly become a client – one that requests more information or purchases online.
There are two main options for creating a new website and they have different costs.
1) Building through Web design templates
Browse the internet and you’ll find numerous companies offering website templates such as those based on WordPress, Joomla and ThemeForest. Some will also offer templates that are responsive and modify themselves depending on whether the viewer is using a desktop computer or mobile device.
At first glance, the prices are attractive and the fact that the providers boast you don’t need a professional web designer to implement them sounds very attractive if your company doesn’t have any IT support. However, there are a few important details to be aware of so we outlined the main pro’s and con’s before you commit below.
Designs: Many templates offer nice designs. They look professional and are pleasing to the eye.
Complexity: The templates create simple websites which have the advantage of being user-friendly. However if you want a more sophisticated set-up, dynamic pages or an online purchasing system, they cannot rise to the challenge. Another good note to keep track of is that if you go into customizing the design of the template the costs can skyrocket to high a coder to go in and make the customizations for you.
Updates: A web template allows you to directly change content so you stay in charge. But if you don’t have the time or inclination, you have no web design support team to undertake the maintenance on your behalf.
Website Performance: Since building off your own template usually involves only your resources when building the site it is very common to see businesses making poor decisions that ultimately end of hurting the site speed and general performance which results in poor user experiences and SEO performance. This can includes improperly sizing images, missing important structural components for SEO, and not testing the site’s functionality.
Lack of Unique Components: If you use one of these templates, your website won’t be unique – any other company may be using the same template.
Capacity: there is a maximum amount of space per page. If you try to force in more content, it can alter the page and ruin the designs.
Costs vary from template supplier to supplier. But don’t think you’ll be getting something for nothing. Here’s an example of costs.
This company charges $75 and up for a single site license. Add in the template and installation and you’ll be paying another $100 to $200. And if you want to use the template exclusively, you’re looking at $4500 and rising.
Some other companies will vary anywhere from $49 to $300 for the templates, installation, and a few months of support.
2) Hiring An Expert Web Design Agency
This is a whole new ball game. When you work with a professional web design team, the fundamental advantage is that you gain a customized website – one that matches your requirements precisely. Furthermore, the professionals will take time to understand your company, your objectives, and how best to promote your services or products. This is crucial in building a website that will convert and produce more business in the long term. In short, they will guide you through the project, from initial ideas to a final website that appeals to the right target market by following these 4 key steps:
Research: investigating your market niche and website options
Design: preparing the web design options
Programming: finalizing and optimizing the site to the design brief
Testing & Launch: This step is critical to ensure that all your conversions are properly firing and that your website is functional.
So let’s compare the pros and cons of hiring a professional web design agency below:
Designs: Your web design will be tailor-made, unique, and will easily surpass any website template visually in terms of the ‘wow’ factor.
Complexity: If you want dynamic pages, you’ve got them! An online purchasing system? No problem. A professional team can design a website to suit how you want to market and sell your products.
Updates: You can use a web design company to perform web maintenance on your behalf at a cost. Alternatively, they can create a website with a CMS (Content Management System) which will allow you to make simple updates to text on the main web pages and upload blogs etc.
Capacity: there are a few limitations when you have a customized website.
Results Driven: A proper agency will build the website with the main goal of driving your business results. Whether that means
Costs: The main con to hiring professional web designers is that they are not as cheap when you compare this option to using a website template.
Estimating Your Website Cost
A professionally designed website for a small business may cost anything from $5,000 to $50,000 from the beginning of the project to the website launch. Below is a summary of the many factors involved in the design and implementation of a unique website to match your needs:
Web design time
The more web design hours involved, the higher the cost. A small business should expect to pay about $2000 for several design options: one of which can be chosen and taken forward as the overall look of the final website.
The importance of this stage should not be underestimated – this is the make or break stage: get it right and visitors will stay on the website; get it wrong and they will bounce off almost immediately.
Don’t skimp on images. Non-professional photos will give the wrong impression about your company. If you don’t have photos or graphics, professional web designers can source appropriate stock images. Depending on the number of pages on your site, you will need to pay around $150 as a minimum for good stock photos. And if you’d like a photo gallery, that can add approximately $200-$1000 to the price.
Wherever possible provide your web design team with final content. However, if this isn’t feasible, add in around $75-125 per page if you need compelling content created – dependent on word count of course.
A customized contact form is desirable on any professional website to enable you to collect enquirer information efficiently. If you are looking for more advanced contact forms that are more functional than the standard form you can expect to add in around $250 for this.
Any website design that requires an e-commerce feature, such as a shopping cart and payment processing, will bump up the cost by $1000-$5000 depending on requirements. No surprise really when you consider the additional design and security elements in the coding of the pages.
A well-built eCommerce platform should be able to show you your orders, shipping costs, and product popularity in a clear and easily navigatable system for shop owners.
All websites needs to be responsive (and who wouldn’t want one nowadays?) the overall price of its development may increase by 20 to 30%. Why you may ask. A truly responsive website goes beyond sizing for smaller screens and is built to truly offer an amazing experience on mobile.
CMS “Content Management System”
Incorporating CMS to your website offers you the great advantage of being able to make your own updates and saves costs in the future. However, the setup costs for the customization and integration of CMS may be upwards of $10,000.
It really is no surprise that the cost of a tailor-made, professionally designed website is more expensive than using a web design template. A simple template may be sufficient in the short-term but its limitations may hinder the expansion of the business.
If a company is serious about competing with the big boys in its niche market, it is far more cost-effective to invest in a professional web design at the launch of the company; any other decision is short-sighted. The numerous advantages of having a unique website that can sell the company’s products should be paramount in defining the company’s web development budget.
Update 24 Nov 2023
Estimating web design prices in Toronto 2023
Estimating web design prices in Toronto, or any other location, can depend on various factors such as the complexity of the project, the features required, the level of customization, and the experience of the web design agency or freelancer. As of my last knowledge update in January 2023, here are some general guidelines to consider when estimating web design prices in Toronto:
Type of Website:
– The complexity and purpose of the website play a significant role. A simple brochure website will generally cost less than a complex e-commerce site or a web application.
Number of Pages:
– The number of pages on the website can impact the overall cost. More pages generally mean more design and development work.
– Highly customized and visually complex designs will often result in higher costs. This includes unique graphics, animations, and intricate layouts.
Functionality and Features:
– The inclusion of specific features, such as e-commerce functionality, content management systems (CMS), user authentication, and integrations with third-party services, can increase costs.
– Ensuring that the website is responsive and functions well on various devices will contribute to the overall cost.
– If the web design project includes content creation, such as writing copy, creating images, or producing videos, this can add to the overall cost.
– Implementing SEO best practices during the design process may impact costs. This includes optimizing site structure, content, and meta tags for search engines.
– The timeline for project completion may influence pricing. Urgent projects or those with tight deadlines may incur additional costs.
Agency vs. Freelancer:
– The type of service provider you choose will affect costs. Freelancers may offer more competitive rates, while established agencies may charge higher fees but provide a broader range of services.
Experience and Expertise:
– The level of experience and expertise of the web designer or agency can impact pricing. More experienced professionals often charge higher rates.
Maintenance and Support:
– Some web designers or agencies include ongoing maintenance and support in their pricing, while others may charge separately for these services.
– The level of involvement required from the client can also affect pricing. If the client provides all content and assets, it may reduce costs compared to a project where the designer is responsible for everything.
– Additional services such as branding, logo design, and marketing may be offered by some web design agencies, and these can impact overall costs.
– Local market demand and competition among web designers in Toronto can influence pricing. In-demand professionals may charge higher rates.
– Consider industry standards and average pricing for web design services in Toronto to ensure that the estimates align with the market.
To get accurate estimates, it’s recommended to reach out to several web design agencies or freelancers, provide a detailed project brief, and request quotes based on your specific requirements. Additionally, consider reviewing their portfolios and client testimonials to gauge the quality of their work. Keep in mind that prices can vary, so it’s essential to find a balance between your budget and the level of quality and service you expect.