Water Cooler
Back to All Articles

5 Elements of a Great Website Estimate

What to Look for When Comparing Proposals … Hint it’s Not Price

Maybe it’s been a few too many years since you last refreshed your website and you’re finally deciding to tackle the challenge. Maybe you need a new website to launch your new brand. Either way, starting can feel like a momentous task. You could roll up your sleeves and try to design it yourself or accost the family member who also happens to be a web developer. But, you don’t want to cut corners and or start a family feud.

So, you decide to seek out a marketing agency or web design company and you get a wide range of options, in price and functionalities. How do you know which one to go with? We’ve put together a few must-haves to help you pinpoint the partner that’s most likely to help your bottom line in the end.

1. It Should be Collaborative

There are a lot of talented agencies and designers that can execute what you tell them you want and make a good-looking website. Getting real results, whether qualified leads or traffic to your business, though, takes more than a great design. A website estimate gives you a valuable window into who will be a strategic partner vs. who will simply carry out a task. The right partner will go beyond asking what you want for the nuts and bolts of the site; they’ll look at your immediate and long-term sales and marketing goals along with your needs and assess how your website can be used as a tool for meeting them.

In a nutshell, you should look for a partner that comes to the table with expert recommendations rather than one who takes orders. Although we all like to have a little authority sometimes, the right web builder can help you build authority where it matters—on the internet, and in your industry.

2. It Should be Customized to Fit Your Business Needs

It’s easy to treat your website like a business card or go with the economical one-size-fits-all option. In our digital-first environment, though, your website is usually the first interaction you have with your customers, and it’s an important way to build the reputation of your business. And, reputation matters—70% of B2B buyers cite reputation as the most influential factor when choosing which company to do business with. That means you’ll want to make your website do more for you and your customers than provide information (though that’s certainly important too). A strategic website will be aligned with the path to purchase, as half of B2B buyers make up their minds before talking to sales representatives.

The ideal website development partner will help identify ways to create an ideal user experience for your unique customers and while also helping you accomplish what you need to, as well. For example, say you want to be able to sell products online. An expert will not only help you find a platform that allows you to do that, but also one that integrates seamlessly into your website and provides a smooth experience for your users.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you need a Cadillac website to attract and convert customers. “Customization” can mean bells and whistles, but the bells and whistles should fit. If you need a Cadillac, go with the Cadillac. But if you need a Kia, go with the agency that tells you that you need a Kia and is happy to build it for you.

3. It Should Be Detailed

A new website is a big investment, and something you’ll probably be using for the next 5-7 years. A good estimate will provide a detailed breakdown of everything that goes into building a website, from clear, defined objectives, to add-ons such as SEO services and in-person trainings, to how many rounds of copy and design revisions are included. This not only gives you a thorough understanding of exactly what you’re getting for the price, but also reflects the strategy and expertise behind your site build.

4. It Should Begin Tech Agnostic

From content management systems (CMSs) like WordPress to custom coding, there is no shortage of means for building a website. But, each has its own benefits, unique functions, and customization opportunities.

While some agencies may default to selling a specific CMS such as HubSpot or Sitecore, it’s important to make sure the CMS you choose will work for you—and we don’t mean “work” in the literal sense, such as loading properly, etc. (although that does affect the user experience). You’ll want to take a number of factors into consideration: does the CMS support site growth? how much customization do you need? Is there an annual fee? Do you have internal capabilities to manage website content? Do you need CRM integration?

website cms options

The agency that truly has your best interest in mind will look at the answers to these questions and compare them with your goals holistically to make a recommendation for your CMS. They’ll also have experience in working with a number of content management systems to help inform their recommendations and accomplish your goals.

See our related article:

Why the Best Hubspot Inbound Agencies Use More Than One Platform

5. It Should Empower YOU

Last but not least, the website estimate should ultimately do what any estimate should do—help you make an informed decision about how much you want to invest and what you’re investing in. It should be transparent and include clear disclaimers, an estimated timeline, and whether the budget is or is not to exceed the cost listed on the estimate. It should establish whether it allows for modification and includes a maintenance period following site launch. In short, it should cover all the bases and give you a clear road map of what’s ahead.

Do it Right by Trusting the Experts

If you’re looking to build a website for your business, take out the guesswork by partnering with an agency with the digital marketing know-how for boosting your bottom line. Get in touch with us to talk about your next website design project or browse all the digital marketing services we have to offer. We’ll get you on your way to connecting with the audiences you want to connect with on the web.


Be the most enlightened person around the water cooler.