What Does a Website Cost?
Generally when a potential client contacts us initially, that’s the first question they ask. But believe it or not, it’s actually a tough question to answer. Not because we don’t want to provide a fixed quote to build a website but because websites are like cars – you can get a nice reliable Ford Escape for about $20,000 or you can get a state-of-the-art Tesla for well over $100,000. Each one will get you where you’re going, but the way you get there and the impression you leave along the way are significantly different. So, asking what a website costs is like asking what a car costs. Broadly speaking, we build websites that start at $2,250 and go up to, well, tens of thousands of dollars.
What Factors Affect the Cost of a Website?
Website Design: Custom vs. semi-custom. A custom website, like a custom home, will cost more because you work directly with the designer to create a wholly unique and one-of-a-kind website. With a semi-custom website, the overall design framework is chosen from a professionally designed template, then that design template is modified by a full time web designer to use your logo, colors, fonts, imagery, etc., which yields a website that looks unique, but doesn’t require the time and costs of a true custom design.
Website Features: For instance, does the website need features such as slide shows, photo galleries, events calendars, a shopping cart, etc.? While many features that used to be built separately are now integrated into modern website content management systems, the more features a website needs, the more time the web design team needs to build and groom those features so they integrate seamlessly with the website. A significant part of our process to estimate the cost to build a particular website is defining features in a detailed manner. Adding a slide show, for instance, my only add one hour to the time needed to develop the website, but adding in a shopping cart and importing products can add many hours. There is a direct relationship between hours and costs.
Custom Functionality: Over the years, we’ve done an awful lot of custom website programming. Custom programming is for clients who need their website to perform certain functions that can’t be achieved with out-of-the-box features (see above). Custom programming can add more to the cost of a website than any other factor, so the key to keeping the costs down on custom programming is to go through a process of “Technical Solution Discovery” which documents the functional requirements in detail so that we can deliver an accurate cost proposal and timeline.
3rd Party Integrations: There are a host of 3rd party web applications that perform a myriad of web based functions. For example, event registration systems, customer relationship management systems, payment processing systems, etc. In many cases it’s less expensive to integrate a 3rd party system into your website than it is to build a custom function, but every 3rd party vendor has a different mechanism for integrating their systems into your website. Like the custom functionality described above, we have to do some discovery work on a 3rd party vendor’s integration systems before we can accurately quote the work.
So, you can see that estimating the cost for a new website is not like reading from a menu and adding up the costs. Our website experts will spend time with you (at no charge) to fully understand your goals and needs before recommending a direction and cost for your new website.
What are the Base Costs to Build a Website?
The easiest website to price out is a small business website that will be used to market the business and drive leads to the business. In this scenario, we recommend our SiteWorks Lite website package. SiteWorks Lite uses professionally designed templates that are professionally modified and installed on a very powerful, yet super easy to use website content management system. The cost to build a SiteWorks website is $2,250 or $3,250 if you need a shopping cart to sell products and services online. For more info, check out www.siteworkslite.com. Be sure to visit the portfolio page so you can see examples of other websites we’ve built on the SiteWorks Lite platform.
One of our most frequent requests is for a WordPress Website Design (www.wordpress.org). WordPress is the most popular website content management system in the world, so it’s well known and widely used. Because of its popularity, WordPress is the “weapon of choice” for amateur web developers and it’s also frequently targeted by hackers and spambots. Every month we get several calls to fix WordPress websites from people whose website was abandoned by the amateur developer who built it, or their site was hacked because it wasn’t maintained or built properly. Most of the time, we determine that the cost to fix the website is greater than the cost to build a new one, so it’s vitally important that the WordPress website be properly built and maintained to ensure it performs as expected and doesn’t get hacked. While WordPress is well known for its free or low cost themes and templates, we only use WordPress for custom designs. This is because most of the free or low cost WordPress themes were built by amateur designers and are rife with inefficient code and security holes. The custom WordPress websites we build start at $5,995.
For organizations that need a more robust website platform we recommend Sitefinity Content Management System as our 1st choice (www.sitefinity.com). Sitefinity is a commercially licensed platform that offers a fantastic drag and drop, multi-user content management system that is world class in its features, power, flexibility and elegant user interface. Because it’s built on standardized Microsoft web development technologies, it’s frequently the choice for corporations who need integration with their Microsoft back office systems. The starting cost for a Sitefinity website is $8,400 + $2,995 for the Sitefinity license.
For custom programming, we would need to conduct a process of Technical Solution Discovery. We can do custom programming using a variety of web development platforms and languages.
Contact us today for a free consultation to help us define your requirements and start working on a cost proposal.