This is a common question I get asked and while the question is fine, the timing is often not. This is because people interpret a website as a commodity rather than the complex service that it is.
No two sites are the same, so the idea that website pricing should conform to uniform pricing is flawed. So while we can provide a rough estimate based on a couple of questions over the phone, the exact price can only be determined by understanding your needs and objectives.
To put this in the form of a metaphor, asking a website designer how much a website costs without explaining your requirements is no different from going to a Toyota dealership and asking how much it would cost to buy a form of transport. We need to understand your requirements before providing a price estimate. Are you a single male with a small budget who only drives every now and then or the owner of a landscaping business that needs three 7-ton trucks?
So what contributes to the cost of a website? Here are the main contributors:
- Volume of content
- Speed of completion
- Overall quality
- Level of ongoing support & training
In addition, there are other fixed costs as well as ongoing costs, these include hosting ($60-300 per year) + domain registration ($5-24 per year). You also need to factor in the cost of images, you can provide your own or you can buy stock photography ($10 per image).
Perhaps one of the main causes of confusion that lead to the commoditisation of website development in the customer’s mind is the pricing approach some design agencies take, which is to create packages. The benefit of packages is that it enables the client to find out the price as soon as possible and to make the complexity of the price ‘chewable’. However, making the pricing ‘chewable’ results in misconceptions about what really contributes to the cost of a website.
The primary one is directly associating the number of pages with the total cost of a new website. It’s important to note that for the majority of small businesses by the time a website is at a stage where pages are being created the vast majority of the work on the site is already complete. There are exceptions to this, but these exceptions only serve to highlight the ineffectiveness of the packaged pricing approach to communicating the cost of a website.
For example, one studio may offer an 8-page website for $4500 while another may charge $2500 for a 16-page site. The majority of potential clients would wrongly interpret this as a signal that the first business is overpriced. In reality, each studio is talking about two different approaches. The first is saying that it will design 8 pages with separate layouts around the content they are given. While the cheaper one is saying that they will create 16 pages with identical layouts and paste your content into them. Some developers may even defer populating the website with content to the client.
So how much do you charge & how much should I pay?
I normally charge around $1300-2000 for a typical small business website. However, a small business can pay up to $4500 and potentially receive good value. Why the difference in pricing between mine and this figure? I normally use a base theme and then customise it for the client to fit their required functionality and brand. The easiest way to think about a theme is to compare it to buying a house plan and then having it customised.
While my price may seem high to some, it is comparatively low to the average in the industry. Advertisements on Gumtree and alike for $300-600 websites may seem like good value. But they will do the absolute minimum to get paid. A website is like an iceberg, with only a portion of the website visible to the average person. So even if a website does look good, it could have poor performance, poor SEO and a poor User Experience.
These bargain-basement prices offered by some developers suggest some serious corner-cutting. A decent website developer requires preliminary and ongoing communication with clients. In addition, a sitemap, contract and a proposal all need to be created. Plus images and content need to be collected/purchased and research also needs to be undertaken about competitors in your industry etc. This planning and communication phase with clients alone could cost more than what some people are charging, and yet these things have critical functions.
In addition, in the case of myself and many professional developers, we take responsibility for our work and when a flaw becomes apparent it will be fixed 5 weeks after you have paid or 8 months later. To put it another way, these super low price point developers trade on price, not brand so they have no interest in maintaining a favourable reputation.
Ultimately the important thing to remember is to ask questions and to contribute to the creation of your site through providing high-quality content and feedback. While when it comes to price, if the studio or individual you are looking to hire is **just** going to build you something, find another developer that wants to actually take the time to understand your requirements and to research your problems. And remember, lower prices do not necessarily represent better value, particularly in the long term.
The other key consideration is that from your perspective, you’re not investing in a new website, you’re investing in a desired outcome or objective i.e. more sales. But a bargain-basement website is not going to be designed to meet these objectives, it’s going to be designed to take money out of your pocket into the developer’s hand, the long-term effectiveness of the website is not a consideration for them.
If you would like to receive an obligation-free proposal and fixed price from us, please get in touch and we can send through a questionnaire specific to your industry for you to complete. We will then develop a solution and price specific to you and your needs.
Do you need help upgrading your current website or developing an entirely new one? We really do love helping people reach new customers online and grow their businesses.