Digital Marketing

How much does an average website cost?

This is a question often asked by companies trying to quote companies for web design and development. Before I begin, I want to point out that there is a difference between website design, website development, and web marketing. The differences are listed below:

  • Web-page design – create the overall design, layout/look and feel of a website. Develop the flow of what a page will look like or where content will be placed on the site.
  • website development – Taking the design of the website and bringing it to life through HTML/CSS and/or other programming languages/web scripting. Also, website development is the process of adding additional functionality to an existing website, such as e-commerce, content management systems, etc.
  • web marketing – take the designed and developed website and promote it through the web. Using media such as social media, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click, etc.

These services are usually intertwined when a company or person explains that they need web work done. With that out of the way, let’s look at the reasons web companies/freelancers charge what they charge and how they calculate the price.

How is the price determined?

There are many aspects to consider when pricing a project, but the main one is timing. A freelancer/web company will listen to you (the prospective client) explain your dream website and from there they will base the price on what was discussed.

Some things that will increase the price are the time frame in which the project will be completed, support, consultation, or deviation from the original scope of work.

Other factors that go into creating a price quote for web services are the amount of resources, experience, and knowledge of the professionals. The more value that can be offered, the higher the listing price will be. For example, freelancers are often only equipped to perform one or two services, while a team of web professionals is equipped to deliver in all areas.

Solutions like ready-to-use templates, website builders, or other services can be quite cheaply priced due to the lack of customization. Also, keep in mind that some of these services have recurring monthly or yearly fees.

How will I be billed?

There are a couple of common ways to bill; one is to demand half in advance and the other half at the time of delivery of the project. Let’s say your project grand total is $2000.00 before any work can be started you will be required to pay 50%. The other 50% is due after the agreed scope of work is completed. Other variations might be 50% up front, 25% on the first set of deliverables, and a final 25% at the end of the project.

Another way is to be billed by the hour. Being billed by the hour seems to be the least popular way when developing a website. Most of the time, hourly billing comes into play when providing advice or after a project takes longer than expected. Monthly fees usually occur with web hosting packages or if you agree to some type of maintenance plan.

What is included in the standard website package?

This will depend on what you have explained to the professional and what he can offer you. If you express that you need a website redesign, you will get a website design. If you say you need to rank higher on Google or Yahoo, then web marketing will be the main focus.

As said before, each scenario and each company or freelancer is limited to the skills they have acquired. Generally speaking, if you don’t have a website at the very least, you should be offered a domain and hosting package (to keep your files and make them visible to visitors). Although the company you choose to take care of your web project may not have in-house servers, they usually know of or work closely with a web host.

Should I budget my web project?

The answer is yes, however if you have never built a site before it may be wise to ask other website owners how much they spent on your website. Ask others how the process went and what items/materials you need before calling every web company in town. Please note that websites must be built with room to scale with the growth of your business, unless otherwise specified. Today your need may be just to have an online location to display information about your products or services and tomorrow you may need to provide a way for your customers to order online. A well thought out website will be able to handle this transition.

Determine what you need your site to do for you: do you need to tell others about the services or types of products you sell? Do you need to sell items online? Do you need to create an online community around a topic or set of topics? Write down how a website will help boost your business, or if you are doing business solely on the web, further explain the process of how you will earn money or see a return. It’s always good to give a brief explanation to a web specialist so they can have a bit of guidance and insight into what’s valuable to you, it will also allow them to make suggestions based on what has worked for past clients.

Show me the numbers… What can I expect to pay?

If you’re like me, you want to have a general idea of ​​how much something costs so you don’t have to waste time calling and finding out it’s not ready. So I’ve put together some generic numbers to help illustrate how much you should expect to spend. Please note that these prices are not in relation to any company, they are just the ranges from what I have seen or heard. Also, remember that each company/freelancer charges differently, you may have to pay all up front, half, 25%, or make some type of deposit to start working.

Us with the prices!

Simplistic brochure website (next to no functionality/no dynamic content)
This is a great place to start if you’ve never built a website before. Typically included services are custom web design and HTML/CSS coding to bring the design to life. If there is something like a contact form, animations or anything extra outside the scope of design and development, you will be charged an additional fee. Please remember these are the lowest prices I’ve ever seen or heard, I’m not claiming you’ll receive superior craft at these prices, but it will certainly get you a website.

Autonomous price: $200.00 +
Firm website price: $1000.00 +

Expert Tips: Always strive to have the work done by the most professional and friendly people in the service. The highest price does not always reflect the ability or, more importantly, the skill of the people. Many of my clients are the ones who have switched from a company that never answers the phone or doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. Dig beyond the portfolio, don’t ignore it, just dig a little deeper and see how you run the business.

e-commerce website (add/edit/delete products or information)
Ecommerce websites can and should be used in addition to your physical store. The only difference is that the physical location will most likely close at night and the online location will stay open day and night, year-round. When looking to build an eCommerce website, you should consider ease of use (add/remove/edit items in inventory), stability, and how well it integrates with your current site (assuming you have one).

Autonomous price: $750.00 +
Web company price: $4000.00 +

Expert Tips: If you don’t have a budget of more than $4000.00, I suggest you go with a freelancer or student. Start small and upgrade! There is no point investing tons of money in something that you have no idea where it will lead you to. If you are a new business, focus on generating revenue first and go back and get the bells and whistles. However, make sure you end up with a professional and presentable site; no one will buy if the site doesn’t look legit. Remember, money does not automatically go into your bank account if you spend $4000.00 on a website. Take stock of where your business is now and think about where you would like your website to help take it in the near future.

interactive website (add/edit/remove content, post articles, visitor engagement)
Interactive websites are websites that hold your attention and keep you coming back every hour, day, week, month, etc. These sites are the ones that showcase your favorite celebrity gossip, catch up on sports scores, or watch funny videos online. These sites are database driven and have a lot of dynamic content. Because these sites are tied to a database and require extensive back-end programming, the prices skyrocket. Also, these sites are often found by search engines and have a way of promoting themselves based on their content.

Autonomous price: N/A
Web Firm Price: $10,000.00 +

Expert Tips: If you’ve never built a website before, I suggest looking into free or low-priced alternatives. There are plenty of out-of-the-box solutions that will get the ball rolling, you can always update later. Also, if you’re just getting started on the web, creating or finding new content can be overwhelming at first. Sites like these tend to snowball into a frequently visited site unless you have tons of marketing dollars to back it up.

No matter which direction you plan to go, always think ahead and prepare for the amount of time and money you’ll need to invest to get your business to the next step, or to serve your customers better and faster. As I said earlier in this article, take stock of where your business is now and think about where you would like your website to help take you in the near future. Set your goals up front and make sure you don’t go over or under and if you’re not sure always get a second opinion.