Finally, Website Magazine published an article by Michael Garrity, Associate Editor of Website Magazine regarding "The Value of Design". I'll touch on the highlights.
The average estimate for a professionally designed multi-page website is approximately $8,000-$10,000. In a recent poll by Website Magazine, the majority of respondents said that the cost of their Web design project was between $3,000 and $10,000.
Something you need to assess before you run out and hire a web designer is the skill level and value of the designer you want. More experienced designers will obviously be placed higher up on the pay scale. You can start by identifying the five categories of designers:
Obviously, the least costly of this list would be students and offshore/outsourced labor. Typically, these resources charge approximately $20 per hour for Web design projects. Also known as "discount" designers.
Freelance professionals (this is where Elemental Maze fits in) in the U.S. can cost closer to $50 an hour, but these designers will also be able to provide you with a much larger body of their work so that you can better assess their skills. Freelance professionals may also have access to many different talent resources in order to deliver a wider range of solutions than if they acted simply on their own. For example, a freelance professional might be able to call on a graphic designer, programmer, or marketing specialist in order to fulfill a clients needs.
The next step up are small or independent firms. They will likely offer a fixed rate or package deal rather than by the hour, although they may offer both. Sometimes it can be difficult to chose between a small firm and a freelancer. Independent firms may be able to offer more diversity, but freelancers can offer a more personal touch.
For a considerably higher fee, you can turn to a high-level professional firm. These firms will likely charge a flat fee or package pricing, and on average, it's going to cost about twice as much to a have site designed by one of these companies. It should be noted that if you happen to find an experienced freelance designer, the cost could come close to a professional firm, but the general expectation is that individual designers tend to run cheaper.
Without question, the most critical area when it comes to pricing a website design project is the actual need of your site. What does your company's website require? A custom CMS system? A shopping cart? Blog, Flash, Forum? How many pages will you need?
You must be aware of these needs before you even look into hiring a designer. So first and foremost you should sit down and decide what your site is going to look like and what it will be able to do.
As of December 2010, there were over 266 million websites in existence on the World Wide Web. Simply having a website will not likely get you noticed. If you require that people find your website on search engines such as Google, then you will want to spend a bit of money on Search Engine Optimization. This is another subject within itself, however, I felt it absolutely necessary to note this here. Optimization will help Google catalog your site and be more effective when rendering search results based on keywords that are related to your websites content