Web Costs Website Design Website functionality

The phone rings.......

"hi, can you tell me how much a website costs?"

That's generally the first question I get asked. It's a valid question because you will need to make smart choices for your investment in your business and you have to consider everything. But asking how much a website costs is a bit like saying, "I want to build a house. Can you tell me how much that costs?" The builder would have a ton of questions such as how many rooms do you want, how many floors, what type of windows etc. Building a house is similar in many ways to building a website especially when you consider the many layers involved in both. A website domain name is your street address and your website is your house. Hosting is like the property tax you pay for your house. They both need strong foundations, upkeep, and need to be built to the current standards.

When looking around for a website developer you will find huge cost differences between them. Why is someone offering a website for $500 while someone else is asking $5000? How can this be possible?

So "How much does a website cost?" There really isn't one answer here. One size DOES NOT fit all. Each business is different with very different needs. There are many things that need to be considered and a few things to know about how pricing works.

So how do we put a price on a website? With a world of templates and do it yourself websites, a non developer would most likely not understand the work that goes into actually building a website that reflects your business, your goals and your brand. I'm talking about a custom designed website that will add value and strengthen your brand. I'm talking about one that is optimized for search engines. I'm talking about one that works across different operating systems and browsers.

Let's talk about what goes into building one.

The Design Concept We have to consider color, fonts, graphics, photos and how they will work with your brand if you already have one. If you don't, then we will need to consider something that will represent your brand.

The Website Content We have to look at the amount of information that will need to go into the website. Does your company just need a basic profile or does it need to have pages of information? We will need to organize and keyword optimize, spell check, and proofread..

Photos Will they be stock photo or will they be supplied. We will need to organize, source, retouch, and properly size your photos to output them to the web.

The Website Structure We will need to think about the pages, the way you will navigate the website to go from section to section, we need to consider usability and make it user friendly.

The Layout We will need to consider which images are prominent, what info goes into the footer, where to put the social icons, where the opt in boxes will go, all in a usable way.

Functionality Newsletter signups, contact forms, shopping carts, content management are some of the things we might need to implement. Behind the way it looks comes all the coding to actually make it work.

Website Optimization We will need to put together keywords, meta tags, site titles, image titles. There is much more to consider beyond a list of keywords.

Compatibility There are literally dozens of browser types (ie internet explorer) and even more versions of them that run across different operating systems. We need to make sure they work across all platforms.

Launching your Website After all is done it still isn't done. We need to configure your hosting, setup your email accounts, install google analytics, put in a site map, a robot text, we need to get it verified by google, we need to test the functions.

These, of course, are just a few things to think about. Then there is all the other stuff.

So what are some of the reasons the prices vary from developer to developer?

Location If you are looking at a web developer in the city most likely their costs will be higher than one that does not work in the city. Simply being that there is different overhead involved. Sometimes decisions based on cost is not necessarily the way to go. You have to consider the developer, their portfolio, their experience and so on.

Experience Someone coming out of school (and I've heard this a million times "my neighbors niece" or "the bosses cousin") with less experience will offer a cheaper rate perhaps because he is keen to give it a go. I find that in most cases the developer will be working another job and eventually will find that he can't make a living from webdesign because of the amount of time it takes to do a professional job versus what he is charging. This generally puts the website owner in a crisis when they need to update the website and can't find their developer. Experience can be everything in a long term relationship for your business and a good investment for the future of it.

The Client What type of client are you? Clients can vary with the amount of time they want to put into getting the website done. Will you want to be involved in every aspect or do you want the designer to just put it together. Will the site be done all the way through or will there be many pauses because the client always has a busy schedule? Does the client need to see the developer more often through the process or do they prefer to communicate by email? What level of computer literacy is the client? The type of client will influence on the cost because of the different amounts of time that will need to be dedicated.

So now that you know a bit more about what is involved and what needs to be considered when putting a website together, let's talk about the COSTS.

There is no calculator for pricing websites. It is the cost of good business + the value of expertise x the amount of experience. We work on a basic formula and go from there.

Under $2000 This is most likely an entry level range. You will not get many features but the website would be professional. You wouldn't get features like content management, content sliders, galleries, opt ins, blog or a branded design. Most likely template like solution.

$2000 - $5000 In this price range you can expect more features as the price goes up. Each feature requires a specific amount of time to implement so the more features the higher the cost. Closer to the top end of the scale would be a highly customized solution with content management or ecommerce, op ins, blogs, galleries etc.

Over $5000 Here you would be looking at a complete custom system with interactive solutions such as admin panels, memberships, member functionality (such as listings) and other highly functional websites. This cost bracket would need to be discussed in depth to understand how the site would work. Quoting can be a quite bit involved and also time consuming.

What a website should NOT cost Anything under $1000 should be looked at carefully. Unless you have gotten a mate's rate from someone you know then I will bet that you will find many things lacking in the structure, design, optimization etc. A website cannot be put together and optimized, functional, and professionally branded in a small amount of time.

Hopefully this sheds just a bit more light to the question!!