31 08/2007Damien Buckley Setting a Web Design Budget

This excellent article from James Archer is a great guide on setting a budget for anyone considering a new website or re-designing an old one.

James explains different ways of looking at how to budget for a website; by Marketing Percentage – allocating a portion of your existing marketing budget or by Return on Investment (ROI) – allocating a specific percentage of your overall budget.

In particular James points out that Web design and development is an unregulated industry and as such anyone who wants to call themselves a web designer, developer or search engine optimizer can do so resulting in highly variable pricing. For the same project you might receive quotes for $20,000 and $200 but as James quite rightly points out, you’re always comparing apples to oranges!

How can I possibly make a decision when the budgets can be so widely variable and I may not know the difference, you may ask? The only answer to this dilemma is to look at the track record and portfolio of your chosen pool of potential designers – look at their work, do you like what they’ve already done – speak to their clients, are they satisfied? did they get value for money? was the designer open and supportive? Speak to your colleagues and business partners – when it comes to web design and marketing in general, a referral from someone who has already worked with a company is often priceless and could save you from spinning the roulette wheel.

I strongly recommend reading the full article but for those who don’t have time, here is the summary of James’ insight into budgeting for small business;

“Things are a bit trickier for small businesses, obviously, since their budgets are seldom as formal. Often, the “interactive marketing budget” is simply whatever is left after payroll and expenses! For small business owners, here are a few very rough guidelines that might help: please note, prices are in US$

  • In the current market, $5-10k is a good price range for a simple, custom-designed website. If you have unusual needs requiring custom software or configuration, that might get up into the $10-15k range. (If you’re on a tight budget, you may be able to get a decent site from a talented freelancer for a good amount bit less, though you’ll be trading one set of risks for another.)
  • If you’re looking to build a custom web application, expect the final pricing to land in the tens of thousands of dollars. The exact pricing will depend on the scope and nature of the project itself.
  • Logo design and web design can be two very different things. If you don’t have a logo already, consider getting that designed by a corporate identity designer before starting the web project.
  • Remember that you get what you pay for. Set your budget, and then find the best possible firm that can work within your budget. The bigger your investment is, the better (in theory) the return will be.”

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