Small Business Website Cost Ultimate Guide 2018

Every year more than 800,000 businesses will start in the United States alone. 90% of these small businesses will not survive beyond 2 years. The primary reason these businesses fail is their inability to acquire customers at a cost effective rate.

One of the best ways that a small business can boost their customer acquisition effectiveness is through a compelling small business website that is well optimized for their industry, location and target customers.

However, as it stands today, small business owners do not have a clear roadmap on how to obtain such a compelling website. We have written this comprehensive guide to ensure that small business owners have a good understanding of what type of small business website they need to build to be successful, and have a transparent and detailed understanding of their options to getting such a website.  

small business website cost guide

This small business website cost guide has 3 main parts

Chapter 1 & Chapter 2:  Before we can talk about small business website cost, we need to understand what kind of website a small business needs.

Chapter 3: Discusses in detail the options that small business owners have, and what drives small business website cost.

Chapter 4: Summary and Tips

Features Of An Effective Business Website

Components Of An Effective Business Website

Small Business Website Cost & Options

Small Business Website Cost Using DIY Builders

Small Business Website Cost Using Freelancers

Small Business Website Cost Using Design Agencies

Small Business Website Cost Drivers

Best Website Store

Summary & Tips

Chapter 1: What Type of Website Does A Small Business Need

Many small business owners are under the impression that they need a website and that any website will do.  Nothing is further from the truth.  While a compelling business website is essential for the success of any small business in our increasingly digitized world, a poor website can actually be detrimental to the business.  

A poor website tells prospects that this small business isn’t professional, isn’t safe and shouldn’t be trusted.    

On the other hand, a compelling business website will give a great first impression to prospects indicating that the business behind the website is credible, professional and safe.

Your small business website should be more than just a page with your logo, address and contact information.   Your website should be the nerve center of your entire digital marketing strategy, where it all comes together in terms of brand, marketing and customer experience right on your website.  

A highly effective small business website has 12 features

Load times

Every page on your website should load in under 6 seconds.  A good way to test is WebPageTest.ORG.

Clear navigation

One of the most overlooked, yet most important features of an effective small business website is clear navigation.  Users should be able to understand in an instant where to find the relevant information they are looking for.

Design For Mobile Users

Designing for mobile users is much more than just making your website responsive and fitting on a small screen.  In many instances the content of each page must be rethought and reorganized specifically for mobile users.  It is also important to remember that mobile networks are on average slower than typical home WIFI networks and therefore it is important to remove clutter such as big images to ensure mobile users have optimal user experience.

To learn about the 9 additional features of a highly effective business website please download our ebook from the form below.

Small Business Website Cost ebook download arrow

small business website cost guide ebook cover page

Chapter 2: Components Of A Compelling Small Business Website

In Chapter 1, we talked about the features that make a small business website highly effective.  These features are typically intangible features such as load times, security, etc.  In addition to these important features, an effective website needs to have 9 components. 

We describe some of these components here:

High Quality Images

If you want to inspire your prospects it is important to have high quality images on your website.  It is important to strike the right balance between good quality stock images and image size to ensure fast load times especially for your mobile users.   There are a few great places where you can find high quality images.  Pixabay is a free resource, another is Shutterstock 

Testimonials

When prospects visit your website they will be looking for credibility signals such as good design, but also previous customer testimonials go very long way to achieve that trust.  Most testimonials today sound fake because they sound so generic.  Have your customer write you a testimonial that is in a short story form like

“We really needed help painting our house, and we hired Jack and his crew who showed up the next day on time, completed all the work within 2 days, cleaned up and were on their way.  Thank you guys for an amazing job”.  

Include the name and image of the customer (and please make sure the customer approves your testimonial before it goes on your website).

Optin Forms

Optin Forms are forms that a customer would fill in and their email would be saved into a mailing list.  This is one of the best ways to build leads of prospects who are interested in your business.  Why is this better than normal contact forms?  Because emails can sometimes be lost, or not delivered.  Optin Forms are more reliable in that it saves the email of the sender independently.  You can setup email marketing automation to further nurture those leads until they are ready to become paying clients.

 

Many small business owners are under the impression that need a website and that any website will do.  Nothing is further from the truth.  While a compelling business website is essential for the success of any small business in our increasingly digitized world, a poor website can actually be detrimental to the business.  

A poor website tells prospects that this small business isn’t professional, isn’t safe and shouldn’t be trusted.    

On the other hand, a compelling business website will give a great first impression to prospects indicating that the business behind the website is credible, professional and safe.

Your small business website should be more than just a page with your logo, address and contact information.   Your website should be the nerve center of your entire digital marketing strategy, where it all comes together in terms of brand, marketing and customer experience right on your website.  

To learn about the other 6 components of a highly effective business website please download our ebook from the form below.

Small Business Website Cost ebook download arrow

Effective websites ebook cover page

Chapter 3: Small Business Website Cost and Options

So now that you know what type of business website you need, it makes it easier cost. A typical small business will have one of four options to get their website built:

  1. Do it yourself builders (Wix, Weebly, Shopify, tilda)
  2. Get a freelancer to do it through (upwork)
  3. Get a local design agency to do it.
  4. Best Website Store

Each of these options has its pros and cons and may make more or less sense depending on the business.

Chapter 3.1: Typical Small Business Website Cost using DIY Builders

DIY (Do It Yourself) option is a choice for a small business owner who is willing to try to build their small business website themselves.  The drawback of this option is that the business may end up with a website that is not compelling (or worse detrimental to the business).  Creating a compelling small business website that grows revenue and business is part art, part science and experience.

The leader in that DIY Website Builders market is WIX. They managed to create a platform that makes it relatively easy to build simple business websites and host them. If you are looking for limited functionality you can get away with their free option.

Why is WIX good?

  • You can get your website up and running very quickly if you know what you are doing.
  • They have great automation to expedite website creation
  • They have tons of templates you can start from
  • They take care of performance, security and other management aspects of your website

Why WIX may not be a good fit for a small business owner:

  • Support is very limited unless you are on their top tier plan
  • Learning curve
  • You have to build your website yourself
  • It is a closed platform, so your website is really owned by them, and you can’t take your website else where

Recommendation: Do it yourself builders is not recommended for small business owners.  A small business website design must be based a solid technical principles to be effective at acquiring customers.

Other players in the DIY website builders market are Weebly, Squarespace and Tilda.  While there are differences between the different platforms in terms of pricing, features and quality, most platforms are very similar to each other in that the customer uses the platform to create the website themselves. 

Small business website cost summary

WIX: A Small business website on WIX will cost between $5 and $30 per month with a limited features free account available (although it is not suitable for small businesses).  Click here to view WIX pricing plans.

Weebly is similarly structured as WIX with a free option going up to $30/month.  Click here to view Weebly pricing plans.

On Squarespace there doesn’t seem to be a free option with a personal use website costing around $16/month and a small business website cost around $30/month.  Click here to view Squarespace pricing plans.

Using Tilda, you can built your small business website with accounts that are free with limited features going up to $25/month for the top plan.  Click here to view Tilda pricing plans.

Click The Images To See Their Pricing

Wix Logo - Small Business Website Cost
Weebly Logo - Small Business Website Cost Guide
Small Business Website Cost with Squarespace
Tilda Logo - Small Business Website Cost Guide

A Word About eCommerce

eCommerce is the ability to sell products online by accepting online payments such as credit cards or paypal.  Most services based small businesses do not require an eCommerce component, however, small businesses that sell products can generate a lot of revenue using eCommerce.  In terms of DIY online builders for eCommerce there are 2 main players in this market.   Shopify and BigCommerce.

Shopify Logo - Small Business Website Cost Guide
Big Commerce Logo - Small Business Website Cost Guide

A Word About WordPress

WordPress is one of the most powerful content management systems for building websites ranging from the very simple to the very complex.  The problem for small business owners is that WordPress on its own is complex.  Around 1 of 5 websites around the world is built on WordPress which has evolved from a simple blogging content management system to a very powerful website creation tool

WordPress has a steep learning curve that most small business owners are too busy for.

What is good about WordPress?

  1. Its Free!
  2. Thousands of free applications to help add functionality to your website.
  3. Its portable.  Unlike closed platforms such as WIX, Weebly, Squarespace and Tilda, WordPress is portable and you can take your website to be hosted anywhere.
  4. It is designed to rank well on google.  One of the most important tools for a small business to generate revenue is to be easily found on google.  WordPress was designed with high google ranking in mind. 
  5. There are thousands of free and premium themes to help super charge your website’s look and feel. 
  6. Secure. WordPress has A lot of great security modules are available to ensure your website remains secure.
WordPress Logo - Small Business Website Cost Guide

A Word About Best Website Store

All best website store websites have a versatile built-in visual builder as well as a drag and drop page builder that makes it extremely easy to extend your website.  Therefore, the option is available for a small business owner to make modifications to the website themselves. 

Jump To the Section About Best Website Store.

Best Website Store Logo - Small Business Website Cost

Chapter 3.2: Typical Small Business Website Cost using Freelancers

Another option that many small businesses go with is hiring a freelancer to build a website for them from scratch. This can be a good option if the business needs things a DIY builder cannot provide or they have special requirements in mind.

One of the best places to find freelancers is upwork.

Features of upwork:

  1. Post jobs that are public or private
  2. Invite freelancers to your job posting
  3. Converse through the site with the freelancer (or talk directly on Skype)
  4. Track the hours of your freelancer through their work diary

Working with Freelancers from all over the world means that you will likely get very wide price ranges for the same project. Part of the reason is that cost is different by geography. A freelancer from India has much lower living costs than a freelancer from Sweden, and therefore will be able to offer a much lower cost. Another reason for the disparity in quotes will be experience, and quality of work. Freelancers who are just starting out look at upworks.com as a place where they can connect with customers. However, they try to compete on price (always a bad idea as any small business owner would know).

Should you get a freelancer for your small business website? It depends. If you work with the right freelancer you can create a very good small business website without having to worry about learning how to build it yourself which can be very time consuming with mixed results.

Why a Freelancer is a Good Idea:

  • A freelancer, will likely be much cheaper than an independent design agency.
  • A freelancer will do the work for you, so you don’t have to worry about building your website yourself.
  • Typically a website built by a freelancer will be on an open source platform which can be easily extended over time and can be hosted in many compatible enviroments so that you are not locked into a prropirioty platforms of a DIY builder.

Why a Freelancer may not be a good idea:

  • Freelancers come in all shapes and forms. While some are really good, the majority are just trying out their luck.
  • Project continuity problems. A freelancer is by definition someone doing this work independently and/or temporarily. Who will handle support or add features in the long term?
  • In general custom made projects take longer time than other aaliable options because of the back and forth nature of the communication on project requirements.
  • Once a design is set in place, most freelancers will be very rigid and any design changes will be met with either “It can not be done”, or “that will cost extra money”.

A small business website with the standard features we talked about in chapter 1, should not cost over $800 (as per 2018 pricing). A freelancer quoting less than $200 should also be challenged.  

Main tips for dealing with freelancers

  1. Interview multiple freelancers before making a decision.
  2. Beware that some freelancers will fake good rantings.
  3. If you hire through upwork, be sure to monitor the work idary carefully. Its been known some freelancers will fake working hours, but it should be easy to know through the work diary.
  4. Make sure to understand all costs associated, including the cost of design changes when and if necessary.
  5. Make sure you understand who will support your website after its live and in the long term.

Chapter 3.3: Design Agencies: Typical Small Business Website Cost.

Another option that small businesses go with is hiring a professional design agency typically in the same locality as the small business.

Does it make sense to hire a design agency?

  • Like freelancers, a design agency will also likely use an open source platform to develop your website.
  • A design agency will be around to support your project once it is live.
  • The agency will always be there to help scale your website as your business grows.

Problems with most design agencies:

  • Expensive: A typical custom small business website cost in North America, Europe and Australia will be anywhere from $1500 to $5000 and beyond. Designing a business website from scratch is expensive, and good design agencies tend to be busy and expensive.
  • Time consuming: A typical project will take 4-6 weeks and beyond depending on the agency and client.

Chapter 3.4: Understanding Small Business Website Cost Drivers

Understanding small business website cost is a difficult task driven by multiple elements. Building custom websites from the ground up is a service that is driven by primarily three things:

  • Cost of software components to the designer.
  • Cost of time to develop the website.
  • Cost of post project support, if any.

The thing that seems to frustrate customers so much is the wild differences between quotes they get for very similar projects. These differences can literarily range from a few hundred dollars, to a few thousand and beyond. This creates a sense of anxiety for customers because they find it hard to evaluate the differences between the different bids. In this article, we try to explain what typically drives small business website cost:

Small Business Website Cost Driver 1: Number of features

An obvious one: The more features you ask for, the higher the likely cost of your small business website is going to be.  In the era of great open source platforms such as WordPress, no one should be developing websites from the ground up.  That would be too costly to the designer and customer, would take a long time, and would be full of software bugs.  More features typically mean more software licenses that the designer has to get, and more time to configure those software components.  Also a designer needs to figure out the cost of future support if something breaks down.

Small Business Website Cost Driver 2: Number of pages

Another obvious driver of cost. The more pages your website has, the more time the designer needs to spend to design those pages, customize them, optimize them for mobile views, and support them in the future.

Small Business Website Cost Driver 3: Images

Something that customers don’t usually think about, but it does cost money to legally get high definition, stock, high quality images for your website that make your website look amazingly professional.   Although such images are not free, they should not cost a fortune either. Allow for a $10-$15 per image.

Small Business Website Cost Driver 4: Capabilities of design team

This can go either way. If the team is extremely capable, then they probably would be able to cut down the time to develop the website, and pass on those savings to you. However, it could also go the other way. A highly sought after website design house will likely be able to command higher fees than a little known website design company with little design experience.

Small Business Website Cost Driver 5: Location of the design team

A website design company based in India will not charge the same fees that a website design company in the U.S. would. In a globalized world, you can get real bargains when it comes to website designs with great website companies based in India. However, beware of difficulties in communication, project management, post project support, and a long term presence and commitment.

Small Business Website Cost Driver 6: Your location

Unfortunately, an unethical behavior by some website design houses, is that they will charge customers what they believe customers would pay. This maybe based on the location of the customer, or their profile.

Small Business Website Cost Driver 7: Post project support

Reputable companies ensure that their customers remain happy with their products and services after the sale is complete. This means a strong commitment to quality, and support. This of course drives cost, and typically that cost is reflected in two different ways, the initial cost of the project, and a monthly cost for support that maybe lumped together with the hosting cost of the website.

So, the answer to the question on how much a custom made small business website should cost: It depends.  It would be wise to get at least 4-5 different quotes.  There are great over seas web developers who can do a good job for a significantly smaller cost than their western counter parts.  

Chapter 3.5:  Best Website Store: Small Business Website Cost

The Best Features Of Best Website Store:

  1. Designed specifically for busy small business owners.
  2. Personalized support.
  3. One stop shop for all the digital needs a small business would require to grow their revenue.
  4. Your website is not locked into a specific platform such as WIX or Shopify.
  5. Almost instantly ready.
  6. We help you port all your content and information to your website.
  7. No setup fee
  8. Monthly subscription, and cancel anytime policy.
  9. Worry free, with our team managing all aspects of your website including software, security, and performance.

A typical small business website cost on Best Website Store is $33 – $41 per month.  Additionally, because our platform is open source you can take your website with you.  

Best Website Store: A Complete Digital EcoSystem for Business

Best Website Store falls between the DIY website builders and fully-fledged design agencies. The idea is to provide an option for small and medium businesses that want a professionally built business website, but at a price point that is much more affordable than freelancers or design agencies.

More importantly however, Best Website Store is a one stop shop complete digital ecosystem. In order for a business to succeed, it needs to acquire customers at a cost effective rate. In order to do that, a business needs 6 digital elements to work really well together. Those elements are:

  1. A compelling business website
  2. Effective communication tools
  3. Security
  4. Insights
  5. Lead Magnets
  6. Lead Conversion

Best Website Store was designed so that a small business can have access to all the above tools from a single platform.

Pros of Best Website Store

  • Professionally designed business websites
  • Much more affordable then freelancers or design agencies
  • All the digital marketing tools available from a single platform
  • Personalized Support For Small Business Owners
  • Subscription model
  • DIY option available
  • Much more affordable then freelancers or design agencies

Cons of Best Website Store

  • Early stage startup
  • Not as much automation as other builders
  • A little more expensive than the DIY option

Summary

In summary, a small business website cost will be different depending on the approach you take, who works with you, and what features you need in your website.  Our advice is make sure you minimize the number of initial features you start out, work with a reputable company / platform, and ensure you set yourself up for success.  Get multiple quotes for different vendors, and compare different options.  Lastly, make sure you ask your designer as many questions as you can think of and make sure you understand the level of support you will be getting from your website designer after the project completes.

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