How much does it cost to build a website for a small business?

Whether you sell products online or not, websites are a must in this era of technology. A web address is one of the first things a potential customer looks for after being introduced to a new company. A website’s presence (or absence) influences purchase decisions for many customers. However, 40% of small businesses in America still don’t have a website. Why? The top 2 reasons are – one, we don’t need it; two, it’s too expensive. In either case, the argument is hugely flawed. And this article will explain why. 

This article will discuss the key benefits of having a website, the costs involved in building and maintaining it, website pricing models, and the proper pricing range to help you make an informed decision. 


Why do small businesses need an optimized website?

It takes only 0.05 seconds for people to form an opinion about your website. Well, that’s snap judgment, but that is the reality. This means having a website is not enough. An optimized website is vital. There are 269.5 million mobile internet users in the United States, including your target audience. An optimized website for small businesses is essential because:

  1. It makes your business discoverable for potential customers seeking solutions on the internet.
  2. An optimized website is integral for small business digital marketing since it is the final destination to redirect your prospects from other marketing channels.
  3. More than 80 percent of the users won’t return to a website after having a poor experience. 
  4. Over 85% of the users demand a seamless website viewing experience on mobile devices.
  5. Poor design leads to 94% of the users forming a negative opinion about the website.


What are the top prerequisites for a successful website?

It is not uncommon for agencies to offer websites at meager costs devoid of essential features crucial for driving conversions. If you ever decide to approach a Web Design Agency in Los Angeles, ensure the agency builds one with the attributes below. 

  1. Aesthetically pleasing – Hook customers’ attention with an attractive layout blends text and visuals perfectly. 
  2. Seamless navigation – Allow visitors to flow from one page to another in the most effortless way possible.
  3. Value-rich content – Your website must have unique content that addresses customer pain points. 
  4. Optimized for search engines – The content must be optimized to appear among the top search results. 
  5. Intuitive design – You must have an intuitive web design that helps customers find what they are looking for without having to rack their brains. 
  6. Interactive and user-friendly interface – A website must be easy to use and interactive to engage and encourage repeat visits. 
  7. Conversion-centered design – Your small business website design must convert casual visitors to paying customers with persuasive design and positive psychological triggers. 


What are the different pricing models?

Before approaching a web design agency, you may want to brush your knowledge about different web design pricing models. It is essential to opt for a customized website no matter which agency you choose. Web design agencies most commonly follow the two below-mentioned pricing models. 


1. Monthly pricing model

If you opt for a monthly pricing model, you will access different packages with various combinations of features and benefits. Most agencies have basic, advanced, and premium packages, which you can avail of at a monthly fee. The basic plan will deliver a website with limited features, whereas a premium plan will unlock a high-end website for small businesses

This pricing model is great for small businesses since they offer enough flexibility for owners to choose a package that suits their budget. Make sure that all the plans accommodate the customized needs of companies and include maintenance and support. 


2. Project-based pricing model:

website designers quote a flat rate after understanding the project details. Some small business owners highly prefer this because it is easy to budget for the project. Since the rates are fixed, you don’t have to worry about any additional costs cropping up in the future. The website will be delivered to you within the mutually agreed-upon deadline. 


What are maintenance charges?

Website maintenance refers to regularly checking a website to ensure it offers the best experience to visitors. Signing up for any plan that doesn’t include maintenance wastes time and money. That is why it is essential to team up with a website design agency since freelance designers don’t have the resources to provide ongoing maintenance. It is imperative to keep your website up to date to maintain rankings and boost traffic. Website maintenance typically includes:

  1. Domain name renewal
  2. SSL certificate renewal
  3. Hosting plan renewal
  4. CMS updates
  5. Content check and updates
  6. Technical support 


What is the proper pricing range for a website?

Several costs are associated with small business website design, from purchasing a domain to incorporating a host of features. Going down the DIY route might be a bad idea since website development demands time, patience, and expertise. Here is a quick overview of the right pricing range under different pricing models.

Monthly payment model – Under this model, the monthly subscription fees may hover around $350 to $500 for a basic plan. Different agencies or website designers have different pricing strategies. Be sure you sign up for one worth the money and include all the features necessary to achieve your business goals. 

Flat rate model – A flat rate model would mean that you buy a fully customized website by paying an upfront fee. The rate depends on the number of pages you need, the features you wish to integrate, and the overall complexity. Website design companies may charge $5000 to $15,000 for a customized small business website to give a rough idea.

Maintenance charges – They are recurring costs that need to be paid every year. If you have hired a Web Design Agency Los Angeles, the agency will take care of these recurring charges from time to time. If you are wondering how much the maintenance is precisely going to cost, here is a breakdown of the expenses:

  1. Domain name renewal – Prevent someone else from purchasing the domain, which costs around $2 to $20 per year.
  2. SSL certificate – Maintain the website’s security at $10 to $200 per year. 
  3. Website hosting costs – This fee is incurred to host the website on the server and keep it live. It may fall somewhere between $120 to $600/year.
  4. CMS updates – CMS updates include optimizing site speed and updating the latest patches, which may cost $200 to $40,000 per year.
  5. Technical support – Regular security updates, removing outdated plugins, debugging, and website backup may incur $200 to $2500 per year.


What is the price of website technology?

Website technology integrates chatbots, online ordering systems, appointment booking engines, and email marketing into the website. There are around 31.7 million small businesses in the US as of 2020.

It was found that a third of online consumers in the United States relied on the internet to search for local businesses daily.

Integrating technology can get you ahead of the competition and capture more conversions, as the above statistic indicates that consumers today have become tech-savvy. A Digital Marketing Company in San Diego with web design as its core specialization will be better positioned to help.

Online order placement – You can include an ‘online order’ button to prompt customers to place orders on the website before changing their minds. This means customers can place orders at any hour of the day, and the system will handle bookings and payments without manual intervention. You may be required to pay a one-time setup fee and a monthly fee of $90 to $500. 

Chatbots – A basic chatbot integrated into your website to handle customer support can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500 as a one-time fee. You can also go for a monthly subscription to a chatbot service from an agency that includes on-demand support and troubleshooting for $50 to $5000 per month. 

Email integration – Prospective customers visiting your website can be asked to fill out sign-up or subscription forms to capture their email addresses. Email integration in websites can help shoot personalized communication to your customer base. There are three different types of email integration:


  • A standard email box with free hosting and maintenance

Email services that come for free with the web hosting and maintenance plan can be referred to as standard email inboxes. While you won’t get a customized address, you can still target the customers in your email list with a paid plan. 


  • Monthly fee-based professional email services

Google Business Email or G Suite is widely used for conducting business communication. You can have your business domain name extension at $6 per user per month, while the premium plan may cost you $18 per user per month. It gives access to the Google Vault helpful feature to retain, search, access control, and audit and export users’ Google Workspace data.


  • Free and paid plans for email marketing integration

This service helps users choose a free or paid version depending on their budget. As a small business owner, you can initially start with a free version that offers basic features and slowly upgrade to the paid version as your profitability increases. 

Some email marketing services permit unlimited emails, and some limit the maximum number of emails. A paid plan can cost around $8 per month with reporting, analytics, and several advanced features. 


Call tracking

Integrating call tracking software with website analytics can accurately present all phone call data logs. Call tracking gives insights into callers’ phone numbers, source, and location and helps fine-tune your small business’s digital marketing strategies with flawless ROI reporting. The factors that contributed to customer calls and conversion are recorded to help you enhance the overall effectiveness of your web marketing efforts. A monthly investment of $100 to $600 may be required depending on the number of features included in the plan. 


6 red flags to look out for when choosing a marketing agency

After understanding the several nitty-gritty details involved in website development, you might be convinced that an agency is the right choice to handle your website needs. However, before sealing the deal, there are several red flags to watch out for. Back off immediately if the agency fits into any of the below categories:

  1. Companies that claim to provide customized services but in reality provide template websites. Template means readymade designs that aren’t tailored to your needs. 
  2. Companies that include unrelated services in the website design package extract more money.  
  3. Companies offer website design services at extremely low prices. Be sure that quality would be compromised. 
  4. Companies that can only add cookie-cutter, plagiarized content 
  5. Companies with poorly designed websites for themselves
  6. Marketing companies that flood your inbox with spam mails 


Freelance designer or web design agency – which one’s better?

As a small business owner, you may be tempted to hire some local designers and get your job done at the lowest price possible. Never chase low prices and make a hasty decision. Here we have listed some critical differences between the options to help you choose the best. 


Freelance designers Web design agency
Freelance designers may not necessarily have the skills to handle a web design project for your business niche.  Website design companies have a team of experts with accumulated experience in dealing with multiple clients, which helps them deliver a customized website for your small business
Since a freelance web designer handles everything single-handedly, any unexpected emergencies mean your project is stuck till the designer can resume work An agency relies on a team, and the unavailability of one or two team members will not impact your project.
Can’t verify the credibility of freelancers since there are not many reviews or ratings available online A web design agency will certainly have a solid online presence utilizing reviews, website, social media accounts, etc. 
Limited testing and optimization capabilities and inability to offer ongoing site maintenance  Access to sophisticated tools to test and optimize the website for multiple devices along with on-demand support and maintenance


Questions to ask before signing the contract with a web design company

It is not uncommon for bogus agencies to get you to sign contracts with lucrative offers and take refuge under hidden terms and conditions. We have prepared a list of questions to help you avoid such traps.

  1. Will I get complete ownership of the website after launch? 
  2. Are maintenance charges included in the package?
  3. Do hosting charges need to be paid separately?
  4. What is the company’s policy on changes and revisions?
  5. Will the website accommodate third-party software integrations?


Final thoughts

Small business owners need a performance-driven website to stand out of the clutter and compete with big shots in the industry. If you haven’t yet invested in a website, now is the time to tap into the power of digital channels, with websites being voted as one of the most successful business channels by small businesses in a 2020 survey. 

Word of mouth and other traditional methods to amplify reach just don’t cut it anymore. Today small businesses can leverage digital platforms to their advantage and boost visibility and conversions without spending exorbitant amounts of money. This article aimed to familiarize you with the pricing models, a rough idea of the costs, and how different technology integrations can boost customer experience. 

While costs may vary according to individual needs, you can always refer to this article to ensure agencies are not deceiving you, as we have covered all the factors that determine the cost of the website in detail.

Marketing Revive

Marketing Revive is a full-service marketing agency specializing in web design and development for small businesses with over 20 years of rich experience.

Book a free 30 minutes consultation to discuss your needs and check out our Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles to know more about us!