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How Much Does It Cost To Build A Professional Website Design in 2015?

#EspressoMonday Episode Nr.8

Clients and Coffee

Like the #EspressoMonday episode last week, this episode goes in-depth with one question. It is still about clients. This time, however,we will be talking about long-term and short-term clients as well as the difference between a professional and professionally-looking website. Sounds interesting? Grab your cup of coffee and learn precious nuggets in just a few minutes.

How Much Does A Website Design Really Cost?

Free website builders are one of the woes a professional web designer or developer faces. These “free” web services have beautiful predesigned templates which allow you to create a beautifully-looking website in a matter of minutes. It can even make a non-web designer look like a professional with hundreds of templates to choose from and easy installation process. Or does it really? So….

What do you do with “free” web services, like WIX or Weebly, which claims that anyone can build a professional website for no cost?

Why pay a thousand dollars for a website design when you can have one for free? Why should I pay that much? Isn’t it easy to design a website?

These are oftentimes the questions web designers/developers face from clients and critics alike. Questions that seem to mock or belittle the effort and value you put into your website design. The question is reminiscent of the parable of the $100 nail which you will soon read here at one of our future articles.

Like the carpenter in the parable, you don’t need to turn tail and run. Instead, you should be able to clearly communicate to your clients the value of what you’re doing because once they understand it, how much they invest won’t be a problem anymore. Never mind the critics. And before we completely digress from the topic, here are some tips and pointers to address our question for this week.

Professional and Professionally Looking Website

Is there any difference at all or is it just a play on words?


Professional is an adjective while professionally is an adverb 🙂

On a serious note, there is indeed a difference – A professional website design lets you build what YOU want to build, whereas a professionally looking website lets you build what THEY want to build within the confines of their rules and regulations.

Now, there is of course nothing wrong with a professionally-looking website since they offer you various tools and blocks to make your website look good. Furthermore, there are also businesses that need these types of websites, specifically self-employed freelancers and small business owners.

For example, a freelance photographer who needs a beautiful website where he can add his portfolio and contact number. Or a small business owner who needs a simple shopping cart in his website. However, there is not a lot of interaction going on in these types of websites.

A professional website, on the other hand, is something that you can customize and build upon. It is something where you can weave your magic as a designer/developer to make it unique and fit to your clients needs. Furthermore, these websites are open source allowing you to tap into the code source and change it according to your preferences.

Long Term VS. Short Term Clients

People who usually go for these free website builders can be considered short-term clients who are trying to drive their website design cost as low as possible. As mentioned earlier, they are the self-employed freelancers and small businesses who are looking for a quick fix. They build a website, launch it, and forget about it until they want to change something after a few months. They think that by building a website, they will be able to establish an online presence without too much of an investment.

Here at 1stWebDesigner, however, we teach and encourage you to look for long-term clients instead of short-term ones. There is no problem with such clients but focusing on the short-term might be too taxing and time consuming for you as a professional web designer. Your mindset SHOULD be focused on building long-term professional relationships with your clients.

Long-term clients are the medium to large-sized business enterprises as well as public figures. Conversely, the self-employed freelance photographer could become a public figure and when he becomes one, he will need a monthly maintenance for his personal brand. Instead of just a personal portfolio, his website becomes bigger and more complex with landing pages, separate pages which features his work by category, videos, case studies, and more. In short, it becomes a marketing website to promote and advertise his personal brand.

The same goes true with medium businesses and large enterprises which need daily, weekly, or monthly maintenance and management. Once a business reach these scales, they understand that they have to invest more money in order to generate more profit. In these cases, free website builders which offer a quick fix will not suffice anymore.

We actually just released the training course to help you get the skills you are looking for on the way to become a professional web designer.

It is The Ultimate 2015 Web Design Learning Course, where in 9 hours we will teach you how to Build Your Own WordPress Site – 100% Responsive Flat.

You will learn how to build website from scratch in Photoshop, then convert PSD to HTML and CSS. Finally using Bootstrap magic, we will convert the website to become a fully responsive and functional WordPress website. We throw in some business lessons, interviews, and many bonuses to amplify your learning and help you get some clients as well!


To sum it all up, small businesses and self-employed freelancers are those who usually champion free website builders and there’s nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, medium to large  business enterprises and public figures are those who do not hesitate to invest more in a professional website. They understand that value begets value – that in order to gain more, you also need to invest more.

The difference, therefore, is the scale.

What does it mean to you as a web designer?

Well, you don’t have to be a Math wizard to figure the numbers out. But surely, you would want to pursue those who belong to the larger scale. It will definitely save you the effort and time plus, of course, great returns.

Remember don’t think about the cost, think about what results you can create to your clients. Good clients know, that website builders will not magically give them a website, that converts and drives sales to their business. You can help clients to solve hard technology-related problems by improving their website and not just make it professionally looking, but to become the website that drives results your client desires.

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