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How much does a website cost?

20-08-2014, Category Web Design

And how much is a house? This question is just as general and also can’t be answered without lots of additional information. ‘Universal’ cost of making a website is what people ask interactive agencies, individual website creators and Google about.

plan
Photo by: Timothy Allen

WWW like a house

It was not without reason that I used an allegory of the house. Frankly speaking, it happened to me several times that I used it when talking to a client. It’s just because building a house – putting it in simple terms – is very similar to making a website.

First of all, a building can be used in various ways – it can be a residential (single-family or multifamily) house, office building, store, warehouse, sports facility etc.

Secondly, the size of the building and its components (rooms, devices and equipment) can be very different and are always a choice of a person who orders them. A constructor can only recommend solutions they find themselves optimal.

Thirdly, the process itself is very similar. Knowing their client’s needs and requirements the constructor develops a building design (plan). The client oversees selected construction stages and accepts them.
And after the final acceptance the client moves into with their own furniture and starts receiving guests. 🙂

After the construction is finished the constructor is obliged to perform any warranty repairs and the house owner may want to continue expanding it or to improve it.

Price range

While on the search for the lower limit of website construction cost let’s assume that the ordering party isn’t going to create the website on their own using popular creators – otherwise we’d have to set the limit to 0.
Let’s also assume that we don’t take into account any static websites that don’t have any CMS, i.e. a panel making it possible to administer the content on your own.
Under these assumptions, the cheapest option is a simple website composed only of ordinary content pages without any additional functionalities (well, maybe excluding a contact form) that is built on an open source CMS (e.g. WordPress) and uses a ready and free (or inexpensive) template.
The cost of such a website is up to a few thousand dollars, depending on the contractor you choose (freelancer/agency).

The upper limit practically doesn’t exist – one moment an online project may no longer be a website but an extensive portal or a complicated application that has been built for a number of months and now costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But most probably you are interested in the prices of company websites with individual graphic design, based on good and safe CMS’s, functionally tailored to the needs of your client and target group and built by teams and not freelancers.
Here prices range from 5 to 20 thousand dollars, with the upper limit being of course more fluid as more developed additional functionalities (such as e-commerce or extranet) can move it up.
Anyway, if your needs don’t differ very much from standard needs, ten to twenty thousand dollars will be enough.

Bargains

If you receive a valuation that is unusually low, you may expect it probably comes from a new agency that is concentrated on building its portfolio and would very much like your brand to appear on the list of its clients.
Then remember about the risk connected with new companies that a lot of them go bankrupt and you may end up with no support from website authors. And it’s painful to accustom another agency to handling someone else’s project (we took over websites made by someone else several times).

Payments

In the case of complicated and longer projects payments are usually divided into a few instalments and synchronised with the stages of implementation. With more typical implementations there are usually two payments, with the first being an advanced payment of 15 to 25% of the services value made after the contract is signed. The rest is paid after the website is accepted.
Should you change your mind while your website is being built about any elements already accepted or should you wish to add anything and thus make the project more laborious, don’t be surprised when the agency reviews their valuation (upwards).

Competitive bids

If you select your contractor through a competitive bid process and ask bidders to prepare graphic designs, don’t be surprised if they ask about remuneration for taking part in the process. If we look at costs borne by agencies, graphic creation is essential part of the services and so not everybody wants to take such a risk.

Maintenance

The website is not just a one-time cost of making but also certain fixed costs. The most obvious costs are the internet domain (from ten to less than a hundred dollars per year) and hosting, i.e. renting space on a web server.
Hosting costs for a company website that is moderately popular are a few dollars per month.

You’ll find cheaper offers on the Internet but they will most probably be special offers valid for the first year; afterwards the price will get higher to the level I’ve mentioned.

Greater traffic on your website means monthly costs of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Your fixed costs may also be generated by various additional services such as:

  • SSL certificate used to secure data transmission – from $49 per year
  • website availability monitoring (finding and reporting downtime) – from $5.99 per month
  • brand monitoring in social media – from $19 per month
  • monitoring of search engine positions – from $19 per month
  • advanced traffic statistics (if free Google Analytics is not enough) – from $150 per month
  • administering content and development works – from twenty and more dollars per month.

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