How Much Should A Website Cost?

By on 07/1/2014

If you are planning for a new website or a website redesign, and you are getting quotes from companies, you may be wondering how much should a website cost due to a largely varying cost.  There really is no average cost of a website, although there is logic to why you are receiving a wide variety of quotes. Here is the website cost graphic I was showing in the video.

Video Transcript:

Hi, I am Joel Black with Black Bear Design and welcome to another 2 Minute Tuesday

Today I am going to talk about how much should a website cost and why am I getting so many varying prices when I get proposals from different website development companies? So I have an example here that I want to share with you that I have had for a year now; it is on our website and you can search for it on our blog.   This will show, it is one example, of the cost differences between a Freelancer and a Web Design company.   Now I will touch on freelance vs. web design and this, but also, even the different levels of website design companies makes a difference in the cost structure in how much you are going to make for a website.

Marketing Cost

Let’s go through this list and I will bring up some points, but the first thing to consider is the marketing costs.  We don’t just get to work with clients because they just “show up” out of thin air, in most cases.   A freelance project may be found through a referral; they may say, “Hey, you need to talk to my web guy”.  In most cases, you are searching online for web design companies and those web design companies have to do such things as search engine marketing, search engine optimization, and content creation and online advertising: a lot of things that cost money just to get the chance to work with a prospect.

So, marketing costs are something to take into consideration, and some companies spent more money than others; that factors into the cost a bit.  The next thing is Planning and Research and this isn’t to say that a freelancer isn’t going to research your company; the point of it is, that the freelancer may do the research on his own, whereas, the company may have several people involved in the research.  In this industry, we know that that time is money, literally!  So, an example is in ours, we have an Audit meeting with our clients at the beginning of every project.   We can discover business objectives and goals, target audiences, and we have our whole team who can talk through the project; people like web designers, business development people, programmers, internet marketing people, SEO, and graphic designers because all these people have different expertise and they all hear different things.  After the Audit meeting, we bring all those things together and come up the project plan.  So, whereas a freelance company/freelancer may be one person or something like our company with 6 people involved in that meeting, which generally lasts about 2 hours, or with an even a larger company, they may have more people involved and so when you break that down into the time and money, that is going to have a varying difference of cost associated to the company and obviously, rolls down to the web development project costs.

Website Design

So the next thing is Design.  This could be a wide range of costs, as well, because there are a lot of options, here.  You may use a template, something that is already designed, or maybe the design is structured after something from another company whose website you might really like; with our company it is a little bit more unique as far as the design process.  We start out the design process with architecture and make sure all the pieces fit where they are supposed to, within the site and then go to style tile, almost brand guidelines, with colors and fonts, and then we move that into the design phase, where some people may just put all that into one phase of the design.  We like to take “baby steps”; we like to walk our clients through one step at a time, so we don’t miss any big pieces. It is easier to make a correction on a small piece, than to see a big correction that you need to go back and make.

Project Management

So the next step is Project Management.  Our example here is our freelancer is managing the project himself; he is doing the project management, the design, programming, and taking on new prospects, emails, and phone calls all himself.  But in our company, we have a dedicated project manager that talks to you on a weekly basis and is in communication even more than that.  He will walk you through the process and will tell you what you need, when you need to have it and what we are presenting to you.  It is a dedicated contact that you can call.  In a larger company, you may have an account manager, a project manager or multiple people you are working with you on the project that you are talking to, and that may make the difference in the costs, as well.

Website Development

In Development, there is a large fluctuation of costs, as well; if you are using a Template, maybe it is already developed and so there are not very much development costs involved.  We are a WordPress company; we develop everything on WordPress and it is custom developed.  Because of that, it may take a little bit longer, so the costs may be a bit more; the benefit in the end is far greater because it is a robust system that is updated regularly and you have access to update pages and content as you see fit.    So you may see a lot of fluctuation in the development costs.

Testing And Launch

Testing and Launch is another phase; as a freelancer or as a smaller company is developing the site, they are also testing, which happens much of the time.  A company, like us, has a dedicated testing phase at the end of the project; we are all testing and have a third party that is testing to make sure that we don’t miss any obvious things.  You know as a web developer and you are in “hands on” on a project, you know how the system works and use as it like it should work, but then, a third party comes in and uses it completely different and finds mistakes.  We like to have a dedicated testing phase so we don’t miss any of the obvious things.

Website Maintenance And Support

Another phase is Maintenance and Support.   There may be companies that just do web development or that is their main concern; when they are done, they just hand it off!  A company like us is looking for that long term relationship with companies and we see the website as the beginning of that relationship; you are going to need internet marketing and we want to help you grow and you are going to need a partner to walk with you and do that, so there may be a little costs sometimes or there may be some dollars included in your web development project for support for (x) amount of days or months after the project is over or may be completely separate.  So that may be also, the difference in price.  You can see, by our example here, there is a huge difference in price; this could be a real world scenario.  You could get a website development project, just a basic website with 20 pages and get 3 quotes.  You could get a $2500 quote, a $10,000 quote and a $25,000 quote.  Does that mean that the company with the higher quote is ripping you off, or the company with the lower quote doesn’t know what they are doing?  No, but what it does mean is that everyone has its own price structure and their own process and this may be the illustration why the prices are so different.  You want to make sure that the experience of whoever you choose is in line with your industry; you don’t necessarily want someone that focuses on your industry, because if the website developer does 10 sites for the exact same industry, he is mostly doing his websites the same-the same process and structure.  How will you ever stand apart if you are doing something that everyone else is doing and is all being done by the same person?  So, you want to make sure they have experience in your industry, but you don’t want your industry to be all their experience.  The other thing is communication; you want someone that has good communication, because web design is a process.  It I not a start and finish thing; you are going to be involved in the whole process and you as a business owner, or the marketing department, or whoever from the customer side that will be managing the process.  You are going to be managing the process and you are going to be involved; there are going to be a lot of things that you will need, and you are not going to want to spend those 2 hours that you have during the week to make some things happen and not be able to get in touch with anyone.  So, communication is key; ask them how they communicate: do they have weekly phone calls, is there a project management system, and do you have access to that system-those are all important things.  The third thing is make sure their design is in line with what you like if you go to their portfolio and you don’t like any of the design, then, really, don’t even bother.   It’s your website!  We like to look at it from the prospective, of, yes, it is the client’s website. We have our own expertise, and we are going to do the right thing for our client, but you still have to like the website or you are just going to be unhappy.  Make sure they have the experience you need, that they have the communication that you are looking for and the design is in line with what you like.

So, I hope this helps you clear up if you are searching for how much does a website cost, and you should come across this, I hope you find it informative enough to make a decision on what company and price point you want to go with.



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