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Picture of Tim Jones, CEO + Founder
Written by Tim Jones, CEO + Founder
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A website is the best marketing asset for any business. It functions as a brand promoter, product and service advertiser, customer service representative, and sales associate; it travels the world and never sleeps.

Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What would be your performance expectations of the individual, responsible for collaborating across multi-functional environments while leading all strategic initiatives of your business?
  2. What would be the salary requirement for such a valuable asset to your company? 

It may surprise you that the minimum standard recommendation is to spend only 10% of your business gross yearly revenues on all marketing, which includes budgeting for a website.

A business website is an investment. Focusing your efforts to optimize its performance will result in maximum returns. Consider this, small businesses with websites yield high revenues, "averaging $1.07 million more per year in sales versus small businesses that are not online." 

How much will web design cost for your business ?

Link to Web Design Made Simple: Tips in Web Design,SEO, CRO, Conversion Rate Optimization, Video, and more

To start, let's break web design into two separate categories; building a website and promoting a website. Building a website includes: Developing a new website; Redesign an existing website; Creating online applications for a website; Making upgrades or modifications to a website. After the completion of a website build promoting the site begins. Promotion of a website is vital. If no one knows a website exists, it will not be successful. For the various steps and strategies that go into optimizing a website for the best return review our Step By Step Guide to Web Design.

What does this have to do with your question of how much to spend? Depending on the age and size of your business, you will benefit from allocating more funds to either web development or marketing strategies.

For a startup - the goal should be focused on building something minimal under $15K depending on the business industry — a standard quality website averages between $3K to $5K. If having only an online presence is the goal, spend no less than $1K. However, be careful of going below $2K for a website. Keep in mind that a business website will be the best advertising asset and number 1 salesperson for all companies alike.
For the "small" small business - for a company projected to generate between $250K to $500K in revenue annually; I recommend investing the industry standard of 10% revenue to the total annual marketing budget. The allocated funds will be enough to cover the development of the site as well as any ongoing advertising needs. With a marketing budget between $25K to $50K, I advise clients to opt for a 30/70 split: Using 30% of the budget for web development, and using 70% of the budget for marketing strategies.  Strategies should focus on optimizing the site for conversion, landing pages, SEO, and paid ads to maximize traffic.

For the small business - Businesses generating $500K to $1M a year. A continual website improvement process is needed to remain competitive. I recommend investing $3K to $6K monthly, which would include website projects and promotion. The complete marketing strategy should involve adding new pages and applications to improve the user experience. In addition to all the bells and whistle to optimize performance for the maximum profits: Creating marketing assets, capturing and nurturing leads, tracking conversions, blogging, SEO, PPC, and social media.

Why is a complete marketing strategy relevant to your company? A good ROI when executing a successful marketing campaign is 5:1. Meaning, companies can receive a $5 return for every $1 spent (a 20% increase). Of course, other factors can impact outcomes. 

Link to Growth Driven Design page: Tips in Web Design, Agile development, GDD

For medium and large businesses - it's not uncommon to spend over $100K on the site alone. On top of that for a website be competitive, $7K to $20K per month should be allocated for improvements and advertising the site. A growth-driven design process, along with inbound marketing, would be the best approach in our opinion. This strategy would help create the best possible website with the best possible performance for your business.
If all else fails - remember the minimum recommendations, no matter the business size is to invest 10% annually in marketing. After establishing that budget, allocate funds based on your goals and the complexity of the website project. If the growth-driven design process is not in the budget, follow the traditional method of web design. A traditional approach would set an annual budget on building or improving your business website and the following year promoting the site.

While there is no set amount of money to invest in a website, using this information will assist in better estimation of web design expenses.