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What Does a Website Cost?

There is not an easy or simple answer to the question “how much does it cost to professionally design and develop a website”.  The answer is usually  “well …it depends.”  A website isn’t a commodity and what a website costs depends on factors regarding the size and scope of the website or project. In very general terms, the bigger and more complicated the website is, the more the cost will be.

Think of pricing a website in a similar way to pricing a car.  When buying a car, there are many factors and options that you can select based on your needs and wants. Those options, along with a base price, determine the overall price.  For example, the type of car you select (compact vs luxury, etc.),  the brand your select (BMW vs. Ford), the bells and whistles and accessories you add to the base model, where you buy the car (location, reputation and experience of the dealer), the warranty and on-going maintenance packages, etc.

Just like cars, websites can come in all shapes and sizes and can range from something very simple to extremely complex.  Size, scope, bells and whistles, specific functionality, databases, e-commerce, and special programming can add to the cost mix.

Factors that can affect the cost of a website:

  • The overall size of the web project
    How many pages are needed on the website?  Building a 10 page website is different than a 25 page site, a 50 page site is different than a 100 page website etc.  Generally speaking, the more pages a site needs, the higher the total cost will be. 
  • Who will be providing or creating the content & text
    The content or text of a website is often the most overlooked part of the project.  If a client is submitting the content or text for the website, the overall cost will be much less than if the web design firm’s copywriters needs to develop and/or edit it. 
  • Advanced elements, programming, and “bells and whistles”
    Databases, animations and flash, e-commerce, search engine optimization, social media, streaming video, scripting functions, calculators, games etc. all can add to the overall development cost of a website.  When it comes to websites, the “devil is in the details” and the more bells and whistles added to a project, the more the overall cost will generally be. 
  • The company making the website
    The experience, level of expertise, location, and often size of the company making the website can affect the cost of the project.  A student or beginner web designer will more than likely charge much less than an established, professional web design company.  Of course, they also have less experience and often less expertise too.  Often times a designer or design company in another country will charge lower rates.  However, there may be language, communication, and even cultural issues when working with a web designer from another country, and time zone differences can cause delays both in the project as well as in communication.

  • Timeframe needed for completion
    Most small, professional, custom websites take a minimum of 4 weeks to design and develop. Many take much longer.  If you need your site up and running in a short amount of time, you’ll often be charged for it.  If, on the other hand, you can afford a longer timeframe for completion than is standard for the web design company, you may be able to have the overall cost reduced somewhat.
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