Series Introduction: How much does a website cost?

The question “How much does a website cost?” may seem straightforward so it can be frustrating when a designer or agency responds, “It depends on what you want the site to do.”

There are a number of factors that go into determine how much a website costs. It might be helpful to liken the question to asking, “How much does a wedding cost?” In the wedding situation it becomes clear that there is a price discrepancy between heading to city hall on a weekday afternoon, and planning an event that entertains a few hundred guests.

Some numbers for costing a website are very easily identified, such as the cost to register a domain name. Other figures are better described in terms of hours. One hour of work from someone who has a high level of expertise in a given area may accomplish more than 5 hours from people who are learning by trial. That one hour, however may have a higher cost. Additionally, there is some work that a company executive could absolutely do if he or she invested time in it, but maybe that time could be better spent elsewhere with the work delegated.

Defining the basic requirements for your website

In this series of articles, we will take a look at what is needed for a basic small business website using a common scenario that we often see. The common scenario: a business wants a professional functioning website which establishes an online presence and provides useful information to potential and existing customers. This site fulfils a defined set of needs and typically does not exceed 10 pages. For the sake of simplicity, this scenario does not include automating sales and does not require ecommerce, which would add to the cost of a website.

When defining the basic requirements for a website, most businesses include similar goals. They want a website that will:

  • Provide information to new and existing customers
    • Who are you?
    • What do you do?
    • Where are you located?
    • When are your hours of operation?
    • Why would I choose to do business with you?
    • How can I contact you?
  • Increase the likelihood of new customers finding your business
    • Show up in search results
    • Open up the ability to advertise online
    • Have a destination your other marketing materials direct to
  • Get information about your market and potential customers
    • How many people are visiting your site
    • What types of things are your users doing or looking at
    • How are people discovering your business online

Over the next few weeks, we will look at each of the areas that need to be considered when costing a website – everything from registering a domain name, to the design and structure of a website, to developing the content, to ongoing operations and maintenance after launch. We aim for this series to answer any questions that you may have regarding how much a new website will cost, and everything you may need to consider when looking at what the best website solution will be for you.