How Much Should a Website Cost?

Many people ask me “how much should a website cost?”. Here are some tips and suggestions.

Basically, the cost to develop a website essentially comes down to the time taken to design, develop, test and maintain the website. Unless you are purchasing a fixed price solution, prices can vary widely depending on the calibre of designer, and the size and type of solution you are after.

It depends on your requirements

Typically, a small business website can range from $3,000 for a basic website, to over $40,000 for an integrated e-commerce and business resource planning tool. Larger projects usually begin at around $20,000 and quite easily reach six-figures as these projects often require integration with existing (legacy) IT systems or core marketing functions.

How long is a piece of string? Remember that the more features and options you want – just like a car – the price will go up.

Consider your Return On Investment (ROI)

If your project has the potential to increase revenue or reduce costs, then work on a Return On Investment (ROI) basis. A website that costs you $40,000 to produce, but creates more than $40,000 in value to the business within the first year, is entirely feasible for any business.

All businesses should seriously consider powering their website with a Content Management System (CMS), especially corporate clients. A CMS website has a built-in database and web editor, which enables your staff to manage your website content directly, rather than going through a 3rd party agency who would normally make the changes on your behalf.

Look at areas where you can streamline the website processes. After all, labour overhead is one of the greatest cost to any businees, so any savings can accumulate significantly over the lifespan of the website. To illustrate, take the simple task of adding email addresses to an e-Newsletter distribution list which is done manually once per week, takes 1 hr on average, costs $25 p/hr. If the developer integrates this function by automatically adding the email addresses to the list, then you would save $3,900 in just 3 years ($25 p/hr × 1 hr/wk × 52 wk/yr × 3yrs)!

Work with your developer to discuss the ROI potential for your project during early discussions.

The journey’s just begun ….

Building your website is the first step towards achieving your online goals. You’ll need to attract visitors and drive traffic to your website – these activities, such as online advertising, email campaigns, competition websites, etc can cost between $3,000 and $10,000 to implement.

Your website will need to be maintained and serviced periodically – just like your car. You may wish to enter into a maintenance contract with your developer – this ensures that your website is kept running in tip-top shape, and usually you can get a discount if you ask nicely!

Be prepared

Planning is essential. When dealing with potential developers or a chosen partner consider some of the following:

  • Provide a definitive brief
  • Get clear on what the goal or goals of the website are
  • Give examples of a website that you like the look and feel of
  • Request an itemised breakdown of hours and rates
  • Ask for individual pricing for the various features and functions of the website
  • Ensure that you will have ownership of the code for the website after completion
  • Make sure you are aware of any ongoing fees either monthly or annually

Without fully understanding both your requirements and the process to be undertaken, mistakes can be made if the fit between developer and client is inadequate.

Haven’t got a developer or still researching? Then you should read our post: How to Select a Web Development Partner.

Time is money

Industry standard rates are anywhere between $100 and $200 per hour depending on the agency / individual. Senior team members charge more than juniors, however, they usually get the job done quicker and the results are far better polished – experience really does pay.

Remember, you do get what you pay for.

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