Websites built by an agency can range from $750 to $30,000+. While this is a large range, a good rule of thumb is to say that the more customization and pages a website has, the more expensive it is. For $750, you can get a website built on a basic template that is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. For $30,000, you'll get an extensive site, e-commerce functionality, and custom code.
Your website should quickly pay for itself. Considering the average customer can't tell the difference between a custom site and one template, you're probably safe spending less than $5,000 for a beautiful website. Doing it yourself using templates and drag and drop builders decreases that price to just a few hundred.
The time it takes to build a website varies from just a few weeks to months, depending on the agency and the scale of the project. A templated website with a basic structure and pre-written content will be ready much faster than one that needs to be created from scratch.
Content, photos, and product/service information is usually the biggest hurdle when designing a website. Since your business is unique, the agency will likely need help imagining these, so it will dramatically quicken the process if you have them ready beforehand.
When looking at agencies, we recommend verifying that you will own the website after completion and that their pricing model makes sense (Our rule of thumb is that if a pricing model isn't easy to understand - it's that way on purpose.)
You should also consider timelines, pricing, whether you'll get a dedicated point of contact, and look at their portfolio of work.
The agencies below we have personally vetted to be transparent, ethical, and accessible. So you'll just need to determine your budget and timeline!
If there's a web design platform out there, there is a developer for it. WordPress has been around the longest and most agencies have experience with it. Some agencies focus on design and not building your website, but those are now few and far between. You should consider that WordPress usually requires technical knowledge to make significant updates, while drag and drop builders can be easily updated and managed yourself.
WordPress, SquareSpace, Shopify, Wix, and Webflow are the most popular platforms to build a website in 2021. WordPress is the oldest and most versatile, while Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix make it easy for anyone to build a site. Webflow is a new platform that is quickly rising as a favorite because of its ease of use and functionality.
The debate of what is the best platform depends on your unique needs.
Yes, absolutely. If you have the time, you'll end up saving thousands. Sites like Wix, Squarespace, and Webflow allow you to build your website using themes and drag and drop builders for a small monthly fee. WordPress is technically free, though you will probably have to shell out $10-$25/month for hosting.
However, if you're not confident, we recommend working with a professional.
You don't necessarily need to know the ins & outs of website design. However, you should know the basics to protect yourself from being taken advantage of. Here's a hint - if they're charging you $25,000 for a website, it better be wrapped in gold and served with avocado toast.Read Our White Paper
You don't get to be featured on Small Business Mentor if you settle for mediocre. All of the agencies featured on our site have incredible results with case studies and reviews to support them. Whether it's incredible design or getting their customers a massive return on investment, success is the number one goal. They put in the extra effort to make sure you're successful, and they don't stop until the job is done. If the results don't blow us away, or they settle for "good enough," they don't make the cut.
Contracts shouldn't be 40 pages long with a bunch of fine print. Agencies should give friendly and clear reminders about upcoming renewals, deadlines, and results. If the agency messed up, they should make it right. Your ad budget shouldn't be increased just because the agency wants to make more money off of you, and they should audit their work regularly. We believe you shouldn't have to watch over an agency's shoulder to make sure they aren't ripping you off.
You should be able to ask for specific pricing for each service that is being given. Retainers are okay if they can specify how many hours they spent on each of the services they delivered to you. That way, you and the agency can make data-driven decisions on how to spend your hard-earned money. Any agency that can't give you specific pricing or help you calculate an accurate return on investment isn't looking out for your best interests.
Any business owner knows that the customer isn't always right. However, if you need help with something small and the agency starts referencing the contract you signed, we don't think that's fair. Even better, if the agency is proactive and you don't even have to ask, they get a gold star. The agency should be there to help and support you (within reason) to help you accomplish your goals. Additionally, the agency should include all services needed to perform the job well in the original contract. If they knew they were running your advertising, didn't include landing page design in your contract, and then blamed poor results on not having landing pages - they aren't looking out for you.