“How much does it cost for a law firm website?” Good question. I’ve got the answer.
I am asked this question at least three or four times daily. The requests range from formal RFP’s, email inquiries, phone calls when people ask, “what does it cost to put a page on the internets?” Yes, I was asked “internets,” plural [insert sad head shake]. We even have various competitors call and try to get our information.
I am going to outline my answer by going over various pricing models and then our specific law firm web design costs. At PaperStreet, there is a big difference in cost associated with “ready-to-go” websites and custom design websites.
As a side note, the majority of web design companies also have additional expenses such as web hosting, content, SEO, pay per click , photography, content management, database, and design fees. This article mainly deals with web design fees, though we offer the gamut of other add-ons and plans. We offer all of the above as well as unique features such as podcast services, email marketing and more.
Our article will break down the world of web design costs into its two primary areas: Templates/Themes vs. Custom. We will then dive into the intricacies of custom pricing. Finally, we will note our overall pricing as a guideline to compare.
Law Firm Template & Theme Costs
Template, theme, or ready-to-go designs are pre-existing websites that are modified to fit your law firm. You can find these templates pre-installed with various design programs and web hosts. There are also design companies who have already created a standard design and sell it for a reduced rate.
Template designs are a good choice if you have a limited budget. Typically you can pick up a template design ranging from free to several hundred dollars. You can then get the template modified by a web designer for some additional costs ranging from $500 to several thousand dollars depending on the customization.
All in all, the cost of a template design usually is in the $1,000 to $5,000 range for a good law firm website design. It’s a great entry-point for a solo attorney branching off from a bigger firm, or for an attorney starting their own business from the ground up. “Ready to go” designs can also be ideal for small firms with just a few attorneys.
PaperStreet has a line of these “template” layouts They were designed to help lawyers that are starting a new practice in the midst of a recession.
Pros of a Template Website
- Speed – Designs are usually ready in 1 to 4 weeks depending on the level of customization.
- Cost – Template designs are usually much less expensive than custom work.
- Design – Design quality can be good, if you find a good theme to work with and a good agency that can update to your needs.
Cons of a Template Website
- Customization – Most templates do allow for customization. But often it is WYSIWYG (What you see, is what you get). If you like the theme you chose, then you are set. If you want heavy modification, then customization may be difficult or impossible.
- Bloat – Most themes come with a lot of add-on plugins, especially in WordPress. This could cause the site to run a bit slower than a custom theme.
- WordPress Setup – Most themes are setup for default WP use and not specifically for a law firm with Offices, Attorneys, Practice area cross linking.
- Support – Sometimes themes run for a set number of years and support upgrades for the code lapse. You need to make sure you have a web dev on hand to help with support.
Overall template, or theme, websites are great to start out your law firm. They can even be effectively used for small and mid-sized firms too. Usually once the firm has a significant enough attorney base, they want more customization than a template can offer, thus it is easier to go custom.
Learn more about our Essential Web Designs – PaperStreet’s solution for template “ready to go” websites for lawyers. Next, let’s talk about Custom designs.
Custom Web Design Costs
If you want a unique design – something completely different and tailored to your firm – you need to go custom. Custom designs take time, because well … they are customized for your law firm. Custom web designers pricing models range from flat, hourly and per page rate. Let’s discuss each below.
Custom Design Pros
- What you Want – The best part of custom, is that you get exactly what you want.
- Speed – Custom sites usually load faster, as the code base is cleaner than a template that has extra code to cover everything you may need (but don’t use).
- Extras – Custom websites come with a lot of advanced features.
Custom Design Cons
- Price – Typically custom design is going to be more expensive than a template.
- Time – Typically custom designs take longer to produce.
- Involvement – Usually custom designs will require more involvement from the firm with approvals and rounds of review.
Now let’s review the specifics of each type of custom pricing.
Custom Option 1 – Flat Rate Project
Flat rate projects are pretty straightforward. Designers will quote out $3,000, $5,000, or $30,000 to create a website. Typically design firms base their rates on their costs plus the profit they want to make. So, if their cost is $2,000 to create the site, they may charge $3,000 to sell you a design. The key here is that the web designer must know how long the site will take to design, what their actual costs are, and factor in enough time for any uncertainties. For a flat rate design project, web design teams will have a specific deliverable list for design, code, meetings, writing, etc. You will know before you start what is included or not included.
Pros of Flat Rate Pricing
- Customization – As the name implies, you are getting a custom site.
- Budget – The biggest pro of this style of budgeting is everyone knows how much the site is going to cost.
Cons of Flat Rate Pricing
- Included / Not Included – The key to this project is having a detailed list of deliverables.
- Change Orders – Often design or dev changes can create havoc to the initial estimated cost.
Custom Option 2 – Hourly Rate Pricing
The hourly rate model is essentially “pay as you go.” A lot of freelancers use this model for projects. Freelancers or web teams quote out an estimate of 60 to 70 hours to produce a website and then state that their hourly rate is $50 per hour. Now you have a budget of $3,000 to $3,500 for the website.
The pro of this model is that the designer gets paid for their actual time. The con is that the designer gets paid for their time. Yes, it cuts both ways. It is a fair pricing model if the designer is quick and good. However, billing is always tricky under this model and people’s expectations of time can cause issues.
Additional Pros of Hourly Rate Pricing
- Fairness – Everyone pays for the time invested (from the point of view of the designer)
Additional Cons of Hourly Rate Pricing
- Fairness Also – You may end up paying more for the design, if you change your mind a lot or are not clear on the deliverables.
Custom Option 3 – Per Page Rate
Page rate is simply charging a fee for every page created. In this pricing model, each page is assigned a cost, such as $100, $150, or $200 per page. Depending on how many pages your site needs, you can calculate your budget. So, if your site is 10-pages and each page costs $150, then your budget would be $1,500. If you have a 50-page site, then your cost would be $7,500.
Additional Pros of Per Page Rate
- Upfront Cost – Theoretically everyone knows how much the site will cost
Additional Cons of Per Page Rate
- What is a Page – There will be arguments over pages and what constitutes a page. Also, large sites may end up costing more and on small sites, designers may end up doing more work than the project generates.
How We Price Law Firm Design Projects at PaperStreet
At PaperStreet we use the flat rate option for most of our projects. We base that flat rate on our hourly rate times the estimated number of hours for the project.
“Wow, this is it?” Yup, this is the entire formula.
It’s not rocket science and the formula has been successful for over a decade. We use this model because it simplifies our billing process and creates fewer hassles.
We do not charge by the hour because it always makes clients uncomfortable. Client’s don’t know how long it should take to design a law firm website, so there could be a lot of mystery in the billing.
No Surprises or Hidden Fees
We believe that if you are a professional designer or a professional in any industry, you should be able to provide an exact estimate on how long it will take you to do a project. If you provide an hourly estimate on the design that includes specific deliverables, then, in essence, you are charging by a flat rate. However, a lot of freelancers and even web companies still charge by the hour. We find that the flat rate model appeals to more clients as they know exactly what they are paying for our designs.
We don’t charge by the page because it creates a variety of logistical and billing issues. One issue, “what is a page?” Is it a Microsoft Word page? An HTML page? A pop-up page? A confirmation page? What happens when one page is really short and another page is really long? It just becomes a mess explaining to the client that two sentences on this extra .html page just cost them $150. We prefer simple over the complex. Another issue is that we have never had a site launch based on the original page count. Web designs are always in flux, so the pricing could change and you end up with billing disputes. Finally, if you are offering a package of 5 pages or 10 pages, sometimes clients are forced into cramming content onto one page when it really belongs within its own separate category.
So, What is Your Law Firm Web Design Cost?
We have four tiers of web design. It is our opinion that these four tiers help every lawyer get a new website, from a solo practitioner just starting their business to a renowned law firm with 300+ attorneys, we have a package to suit the needs (and budget) of every kind of legal professional.
$3,000 to $5,000 (ish)
$8,500 to $15,000 (ish)
The Plus level allows clients to focus on the home page design. Our designers will create a custom home page but instead of designing custom subpages you choose from our gallery of best practice layouts. Our Plus packages start at $9,500. The cost can be greater than $15,000 if the firm has an extensive current website that we need to account, build and plan. For example, photo galleries, data searches, custom video galleries, extensive contact forms, advanced functionality, and predictive search are some elements that can cause this base price to be greater than the $9,500 starting price.
Custom Web Designs
$15,000 to $25,000 (ish)
A custom PaperStreet web design includes a custom design of the home page and two interior pages of your choice. Some common pages that law firms choose to have custom designed are the biographies and the about/firm overview pages, but we can also design custom blog pages, practice pages, attorney landing pages, resource hubs, and career pages. We leave this to your discretion (and our experts) to pick the two pages that will have the most impact on your brand.
We have custom design packages starting at $18,000. The number of attorneys at the firm, functionality requirements, search features, branding needs, and blog transfers from a non-WordPress website can all increase the cost beyond the initial $18,000.
$25,000 to $100,000 and beyond (ish)
An Enterprise project is ideal for large law firms and includes a custom home page design and eight subpage designs. Enterprise projects are ideal for law firms with 50+ attorneys and multiple office locations. Our Enterprise level includes advanced functionality like a proposal generation for the in-house marketing department.
We start projects at this level at $40,000 and they are usually highly customizable to include other add ons like formal partner presentations, mood boarding, client/employee interviews, biography writing/editing, and custom data systems. You can check out some sample designs here.
Flexible Solutions for Your Law Firm Web Design Cost
We pride our business of providing flexible solutions and we are more than happy to work with your firm to create a budget and deliverables list that is agreeable to all parties. If you want to talk about custom solutions to your design needs, get in touch with us and check out the links below for more information. We’re happy to also discuss your marketing needs and any other ideas you may have for your legal marketing campaign.
Most theme and custom web designers will have a set list of deliverables. You are getting the website and perhaps support/hosting. As needed, you may also need these services:
- Internet Marketing
- Content Writing & Content Marketing
- ADA Compliance
- Speed Optimization
- Hosting / Support
- Social Media Management
- Logo, Branding, and Corporate Identity
- Proposal Generators
Related Articles and Pages
- PaperStreet Pricing
- Our Award-Winning Team
- Law Firm Website Design Portfolio
- Learn more about Law Firm Essentials Websites