Whenever I’m asked how much a website costs, I always respond with the question “How much does a car cost?”.
The answer, of course, is “It depends”.
Websites come in all shapes, sizes, options, functionalities and price tags. Just like cars. The cost of a website can range anywhere from $50 to $50,000. Most business websites that we build end up between $3,000 and $8,000.
How To Calculate The Cost Of A Website
The process of calculating the cost of a website should include:
- A Q&A session about goals, strategy, budget
- Research about what the competition is doing
- Specific functionalities needed
This process, when done well, will result in a crystal clear blueprint outlining, in high def detail, everything that will go into the web project.
At this point it’s easy to provide an accurate price tag for the website project.
If this process is skipped or ignored, it could end up costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unnecessary (or just wrong) elements and components.
It’s not uncommon for web projects to be abandoned just prior to launch due to lack of proper planning and research.
Asking The Right Questions
Some necessary questions to be discussed and answered include:
- Does the business have a registered domain name?
- Does the business currently have a website?
- Does the business have a logo?
- What does the business do?
- Sell physical products?
- Sell digital products?
- Provide a service?
- Who is responsible for making top level decisions in the company?
- What is the budget for the website project?
- Why is a website needed?
- What are the short and long term goals for the website?
- Are there any media?
- Staff, building, products, services
- Is there any content already created that can be used on the website?
- About Us
- Staff Bios
- Product descriptions
- Pricing table
- Past newsletters
- Who is the ideal customer?
- How old are they?
- What gender are they?
- Where do they hang out online?
- What are their interests?
- What are the reasons for someone to visit the website?
- To buy something
- To learn something
- To be entertained
- Who is the online competition?
- What specific functionality does this website need?
- Who will be responsible for updating the website?
- What is the best platform for the website?
- A content management system or HTML
- Where will the website be hosted?
- How will the website be promoted?
- Online and/or offline marketing
Doing The Research
Once these questions have been discussed and answered, the web developer should engage in a research phase which examines the following:
- Any third party software and/or subscriptions necessary for specific functionality
- Email auto-responders
- Shopping carts
- Premium themes and plugins
- The best hosting/server environment
- Monthly maintenance and management
Creating The Website Proposal
Finally, the work summary and price is compiled into an easy to read and understand document and submitted to the website client.
This document should outline in PLAIN LANGUAGE (not tech speak!), exactly what the website developer is going to do and how much the client is going to pay.
A period of discussion, clarification and modification can happen, if needed.
Once the work summary and price is approved by both the developer and the client WORK BEGINS!
If this process is done well, by a well-qualified and experienced web developer, the project will result in a website that meets all the required needs. In addition, the experience will be easy and frustration-free for both the client and the web developer.
Beware The Amateur Web Developer
You say someone will build you a website for $100?
My neighbor’s son offered to tune-up the engine on my car for $15. It cost me $700 to get my car working right after his “tune-up”!
There is a reason why professionals charge more than amateurs. Because they know what they’re doing and they’re good at it!