The simple and redundant saying, “you get what you pay for” actually holds a lot of truth, most of the time. When you’re on the search for a web designer to help execute your web project, you will do the normal browsing of competition to find the best blend of expertise, pricing, and customer service. Usually, most customers will turn to Google to search for designers, while some may surf the Craigslist market, as well as referrals from friends and colleagues, etc.
Although pricing will vary, there is a general bracket of practical and “common price” among most web design firms. Most design firms will charge between $800 and $2500 for a small business website, and e-commerce websites will tend to be even pricier due to the complexity.
With this being said, it is still not uncommon to find a web designer or design company offering a website for $200 or $300. This can be extremely tricky and mean quite a few things. First off, some companies, who build legitimate websites will build in monthly costs that pad their “too low to believe” pricing. So you may only be able to spend a few hundred dollars on a website setup, but you may be spending much more over the course of a year. Some customers prefer this route, and it does work for some. Others would rather pay a lower monthly rate and pay more up front.
Be very careful of web design listings where the designer offers professional and optimized sites for $200, plus very low hosting and maintenance rates per/year. If they are a beginner or a student fresh out of college, this could be beneficial to some. If the designer is just trying to undercut the competition, odds are that they are offering a below-par product which is not recommended.
(Figure A.) Design firm who charges a one-time development fee, then monthly hosting & maintenance.
Example: $1,800.00 for website development, $30/month for hosting and maintenance.
(Figure B.) Design firm who charges a minimal setup fee, then a costly monthly/yearly fee.
Example: $200.00 for website development/template setup fee, $600/month for hosting and maintenance.