I stare at him, shocked. $30,000?
Did I hear wrongly?
$30,000 to design a website?
Sure, I understood that he was studying computer science in a famous university like the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), but this was a little too much.
If you’ve ever tried sourcing for a quote for website design in Singapore, you would be surprised by the range.
|Type of website
|What you’re paying for
|Simple website with about 5 pages (usually being the main-age, blog, about, contact, and products/services)
|$600 for someone on Fiverr
$1200 to 1800 for your average agency
$2800 for top-end agencies like First Page Digital.
|This is one of the easiest jobs in the industry, with most web designers able to get this up and running in a week. The higher end of the market comes because they are able to design fancy elements.
|E-commerce website with multiple products
|$2000 for an average agency
|You’re paying for the time that will be spent uploading your products, and making sure the prices are right, and that all the details are there.
|Charity website with donation portal (reference a site like Charity:Water)
|$2800 for an average agency
|The donation part is probably the most complex part, with the payment integration being difficult, if you’re not familiar with it.
|School website with about 12 pages (usually talking about the school programmes, vision, mission, staff team, enrolment details etc.)
|$3000 for an average agency
|You’re paying for the design of multiple pages. Some schools also want a feature video, which can be done if your agency is familiar with video work.
|Complex, custom code website
|Usually it will be charged based on the degree of functionality you need, but prices usually start upwards of $10k
|You’re paying for the developers’ expertise to code from scratch.
Longer term costs yearly
But what people usually also forget is that there are longer term costs of renewal that need to be factored in. These are usually paid on a yearly basis.
|Type of service
|What you’re paying for
|$12 to $20 depending on where you get it from. The cheapest is often Namecheap and Cloudflare.
|Your domain name on the Internet
|Often seen as the most expensive part , which can range from $197 on places like Siteground
|Your space on the internet
|If you’re using WordPress, you would normally pay for a theme plug-in that will allow you to design a nicer website than the one done by a child.
|To look professional
|If you want your email to be much more efficient and effective, people usually use Google Workspace, or Outlook, rather than the lousy webmail that comes with your hosting provider.
|To find your email – you would not believe how bad webmail clients are at finding your email. Don’t believe me? Just try typing a keyword into your webmail’s search box. Google Workspace is hands down the best at finding your email in the haystack, with Google incorporating their expertise in search into their email client.
If you don’t understand why you need these, here’s an analogy.
Analogy for hosting
You need the street sign so that people can find you (which is the domain name under Exabytes).
This is usually cheap, under $20.
The expensive one is the land your virtual home will have, which is the hosting. This commonly costs $300 per year.
Then you need the interior design of your virtual home, which is under Wix. This often costs about $200 per year.
|Usual yearly cost
|So that people can find your site on the Internet
|$9.90 on Namecheap to $21.60 on Google
|So that your site has a virtual home to sit on
|$299 on Siteground
|So that your site can look nice
|$240 on plug-ins like Thrive Themes
But hold on.
Why shouldn’t you go to the people on Fiverr, rather than getting an agency?
If you look at the range of prices on Fiverr, it does certainly look like it’s worth taking a shot at those people, who are so much cheaper.
But having used Fiverr myself, here are some caveats you should take note of.
Quality can vary based on the freelancer you get
Whilst Fiverr is no doubt great for a budget website, you need to know that the quality can vary.
It’s like how you wouldn’t buy a phone from a brand you don’t know. It’s the same. Your website is going to represent you, and that’s why I’d argue it’s probably the most important investment you can make.
Why use a web design agency?
Well… I can’t tell you about the rest, but I can tell you about us. The rest probably do something similar.
In a web design agency, the most important things you are paying for are:
- Expertise to carry out the job, having done countless other websites before
- Project management skills to see the work from start to end, manage timelines, and make sure you get what you need
- Reliability to answer your messages as they come in
- Execution ability to get things done, and not just talk
Here’s a story that might help.
Recently, we had a client who faced problems with her website. She ran a nonprofit, but was still quite savvy with websites.
She tried to do it herself, but ended up breaking some parts, so that the website was entirely down.
This was 9pm, Singapore time, on a Sunday night.
When she told us, we immediately got onto it, and got the website back up at 3am.
This is the kind of service you get from a typical agency. Agencies are professional, and know how important a website is. Think of it as something that works with you as you sleep, being your salesman that sells your services, without you being physically there.
How should you choose the web design agency?
Whilst the right budget does matter, the most important thing is an agency that
says what they do,
does what they say.
But how do you tell, before you’ve bought them? After all, agencies and freelancers will be on their best behavior before the sale is closed.
After the sale is closed, and they get their initial deposit, that’s when all hell breaks loose.
Try interviewing them first
You could try interviewing them to see if you can ‘vibe’ with them. If something feels off, listen to it.
It might be telling of what the future partnership will be.
Test them with a task
Some businesses set a task for agencies to pitch, to see the quality of the work. If they put in that much effort for their pitch, where they aren’t paid, you can only imagine how hard they work, if they are paid.
The site really, really matters
Whilst sites can initially look expensive, spread the cost over 5 years, and you would slowly see why it’s worth it.
Its your invisible hands and feet.
And if you still don’t believe it, here’s a final story for you.
In June 2023, we were close to broke. We had spent an incredible amount on our product business and failed to focus as much on our agency business.
But one day, a sudden email landed in my inbox. A CEO was asking me to write his book.
And I slowly realised that it was from an article we wrote a few months ago on publishing.
We had done nothing to get that CEO.
But he approached us.
Because of our website.
It can do the same for you, if you allow it.