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While talking to my clients I get few of the questions a lot and at times it gets difficult for me to explain the whole procedure of the website development and the website cost over a call.

So, to make it simple for my prospects I’m writing down this blog in which you’ll learn about how web companies charge for their services. I’ll also dig into what different types of websites cost.

I’ll also explain how to prepare for an efficient, cost-effective website development process.

This article is based on over seven years of experience in this field.  

Starting with How Do website development agencies charge?

What I think there is only a single strategy that is used to setup the price of a website and that’s what every other agency is doing you decide a certain amount for your service and then compare it with what other agencies are offering in the market.

This cost strategy is exactly the same to how other experts are charging in the market be it any profession and there are some other components that add up the price.

Like the labor cost, office expenses, location rent, insurance, bookkeeping, taxes, etc. Based on that, our hourly rate (as of December 2016) is $125 for most services.

Web agencies that work with third party, have limited team and resources and they might offer lower prices but then you have to compromise on the quality.

Freelancers, one-person shops and website brokers can also be more affordable on price but may have other challenges such as communication, reliability and quality.

When a client brings their project to us, we determine how many hours it will take and charge accordingly.

So if a website takes 75 hours to build, that translates to a cost of $9,375. 

My web agency also offer several website packages which starts from as low as $300 but yet again not to forget there are several limitations of features which can be customized according to the client’s requirement as many services you add will add up the website cost.

There are many other companies out there who offer websites on much low prices but then they tend to look very templated so your website and online brand probably won’t stand out in the crowd it will end up resembling every other website that company produces.

Finally, some interactive agencies will look at website cost based on what they think the value is to your business. For example, if they see you are a $5 mil business, they may calculate a value of the website at X% of your total sales. This approach would never work with our client-base. 

What are the various levels or types of websites and what do they cost?

When we estimate website cost, we look at the overall complexity in order to calculate the number of predicted required development work.

Although every website vary from one another like (different brand, different design, different content, etc.), there are certain levels of effort required for certain types of websites.

There are some common websites based on the demand of my client but yet it has to differ because if you’re not being unique you are not winning the challenge.

Note: All of our websites are mobile-friendly and have Google Analytics installed. Most of our websites come with a content management system (CMS) so that clients can update their content themselves. Cost includes strategy, original design, programming, testing, SEO-readiness and client training.

Types of Website

Simple, Informational, Business Website

These types of websites are among the simplest in our repertoire and typically include the following specifications:

  • Client provides logo and text content and possibly some photos
  • Website consists of approximately 4-6 pages
  • Other features we can include:
    1. Social Media links and feeds
    2. Blog
    3. Email newsletter signup
    4. Other minor features: calendar, gallery, slideshow, etc.

Cost: $1,000 – $3,000

Mid-size, Informational, Business Website

These types of websites are primarily informational and have all the components of the simple website option above but with additional sub-pages and options. These websites typically include following specifications:

  • Client provides logo and text content and possibly some photos
  • Website consists of approximately 10-20 pages
  • Other features we can include:
    1. Social Media links and feeds
    2. Blog
    3. Email newsletter signup
    4. Other minor features: Calendar, gallery, slideshow, etc.

Cost: $3,000 – $5,000

 Simple, E-commerce, Business Website:

These types of websites typically include the following specifications:

  • Client provides logo and text content, product info and photos
  • Website consists of approximately 4-6 pages
  • Website has a shopping cart with 1-100 products
  • Other features we can include:
    1. Social Media links and feeds
    2. Blog
    3. Email newsletter signup
    4. Other minor features: Calendar, gallery, slideshow, etc.

Cost: $3,000 – $7,000

Mid-size, E-Commerce Website:

These types of websites include all the components of the simple E-commerce website option above, but with additional sub-pages and options. These websites typically include the following specifications:

  • Client provides logo and text content, product info and photos
  • Website consists of approximately 10-20 pages
  • Website has a shopping cart with 100 – 500 products
  • Other features we can include:
    1. Social Media links and feeds
    2. Blog
    3. Email newsletter signup
  • Other minor features: Calendar, gallery, slideshow, etc.

Cost: $7,000 – $15,000

Note:  My web company also deals in CMS websites which are further categorize as Magento, Woo Commerce and Open Card and if you’re looking for a totally custom made website then there is no definite price for that as here the website cost will depend on the requirements you need.

Free Template Website Vs Custom Made Website

After the website cost the second most common question I get is why should we hire a web development company and get a custom website made when we can get a template which is cheaper and less time consuming.

Well, for all my clients especially the startups it is very important for you all to know that your website creates the first impression of your brand and obviously it has to be good no matter how many advantages a template website has but some limitations and self work (If you do not have the experience and skills) can really damage the image of your brand. Let’s have a look.

  • Not exclusive and unique.

Website templates are downloaded and used by many hundreds of users.  So they are not exclusive and unique to your own company. You may end up with a website that is a copy of many others.

If you want to ensure that no-one else buys the same website template, you will have to pay many times the price.  Besides, the same template may have been used by customers who downloaded it before you got there.  You may need to custom-design your website if you want a design exclusive to your company or for your personal use. 

  • Limitations on customization.

A website template cannot be operated after a certain point, so it may end up being non-specific to your requirements. If you have a lot of website content but have chosen a web template with limited space for text, the additional text may change the look of the layout by dragging it making it look very confusing for the visitor.

At this point you may decide that the template doesn’t really work for you but you are     stuck with it as you have already paid for it and downloaded it.

  • Specific software required for customization.

While some website templates are easy to customize, edit and update, using readily available web authoring software like Microsoft FrontPage, others are more complex and require knowledge of photo-editing and website-building tools and coding.

Whether it is Macromedia Dreamweaver or Flash or knowledge of HTML code, you may not have the perfect software or skills to customize, edit and update your website. In this case, you may need to use the services of a web developer to customize and/or update your web template for you you’ll end up double paying the cost

  • Image optimization requires skills.

You have to be familiar with optimizing images for the web so that your pages load quickly.  If you don’t have the required skills and photo-editing software for image optimization, this will slow down the website loading process and yet again you’ll need to engage the services of a web developer.

  • Search engine optimization is your baby.

Website Templates will only give you the outer layer of your site. They are not well optimized to attract search engines.  You will need to do this with your website content. Keep in mind that search engines are more attracted to words than to pictures.  A website template with a lot of graphics and Flash animation effects may look attractive to you, but may take longer to load and will not draw the search engines to your site. So despite the good looks of your Flash website, it may end up lower on search engine rankings.  

Bonus Tip: According to a survey conducted mostly people open a website through their mobile and their purchasing decision depends on the performance of the website if your website is poorly developed it may take long to load ultimately resulting in losing the customer

4 Things that can add up the Website Cost

  • Content writing

If you have a lot of content like blog articles, PDF files, products, even a customer list, this qualifies as content that needs to be entered into the website somehow. If the content already exists in a database, it may be possible to migrate it within an hour or so. But if the content needs to be manually entered and checked for accuracy, this would count as additional effort and additional cost.

  • Custom made features

There are thousands of “features” which can be added to a certain website such as photo galleries, video players, online directories, forums, social media, marketing, E-commerce, etc. These features are encapsulated in plugins, modules, and extensions that can be purchased or licensed for under $100, and these can be added to your website.
The issues occur when you want to modify or customize the custom feature and/or the plug-ins do not work well together and break the website. It’s easy enough to install an out-of-the-box plug-in BUT modifying it can be time intensive.

  • Additional creative exploration: 

I usually provide 2-3 website different design options to my clients so they can choose a design direction. Some clients have a difficult time deciding and request additional design work. Some clients point to websites that they exactly want that without realizing that those example websites have spent thousands of dollars (up to six figures or more, depending on the brand) on custom animations and infographics.  Within our budgets, we have to set expectations with clients that what we’re building won’t be a copy of a website that was built for over $100,000.

  • Integration with an existing client database or software application: 

This scenario is typical of building a new e-commerce site to replace an existing site. We may be required to connect the website with some other third-party online solution that’s in place. It could be a database of customers, products, custom shipping rules, inventory systems, accounting software, marketing systems, etc. For many of the major software solutions there are known methods to connect them with a website but many times this is more complex than anticipated and can spin into many hours of additional effort.

Conclusion

Before calling any company for getting the quotes a prospect should know that each of the web development company is different from one another so is their website cost never compare the prices since each of the company has their own phases, functionalities and the number of team which they work with.

The main purpose of writing this blog was to explain my prospects about the process through which a website go through, different types of websites and their specialties and how does a certain company decide the cost these above mentioned costs are just to give rough idea it is not necessary that this is the definite amount.

Christene Joseph is a blogger and social media marketer at Startup Bug. She specializes in social media, blogging, and enjoys creating marketing funnels.