It’s a question I’ve been asked numerous times and I’m always tempted to answer with another question: How much does a car cost?
Of course the answer depends on what you want. Brand new or second hand? Small little run around or top of the range? Family car with lots of space or sporty little number designed to impress? The options are multiple and the cost ranges from relatively cheap to outrageously expensive.
So the answer to the original question – How much does a website cost? – depends upon what you want from a website? How big does the site need to be? What kind of functionality is required?
When I first started designing websites quotes were based on an per-page basis. Websites were built a page at a time, the more pages you had the more time it took to build the website. With the introduction of content management systems (CMS) this way of working is pretty much obsolete.
Rather than quoting for pages I now quote per-template. Content management systems allow users to add as many pages as they want. Templates simply determine how these pages are displayed. Typically even the most basic sites will have two templates – one for the home page and the other for all the internal pages. Extra templates may be needed to display blog entries, news items, galleries, etc.
As well as giving users the ability to add more pages as desired CMS’s open up the possibilities for extra functionality – blogs, message boards, event calendars, password protected areas, shop, etc.
The more functionality you require on your website the higher the cost will be.
Who will build it?
One of the other factors that influences the price of a website is who’s building it. As with the car example the options are multiple and the cost can range from nothing to a lot, lot more.
Online website builder
Truth be told you can pay absolutely nothing for a website. Type ‘Free Website Builder’ into Google and you’ll have options galore, including Google’s very own alternative. There are also online website builders where for a very small fee you can create your very own website. As with all of these ‘do-it-yourself’ options you get what you pay for.
Relative or friend
Someone you know, knows someone who does something with computers and they would be happy to ‘knock something together for you at the weekend for £50’. But who is this person? Are they reliable? What happens if something goes wrong – are they available to help ‘after the weekend’?
Even with this option the price can differ drastically. What one designer might do for £500, another might charge £2000. A newbie just starting out and desperate to build a client base will likely charge a lot less than an experienced, in-demand designer.
When I’m asked for a quote to design and build a website I ask the person to fill out my Website Enquiry form – this can be done online or I can send a PDF. The information provided gives me an understanding of exactly what is required so I can quote as accurately as possible. The quote I provide is always a project price, I don’t charge an hourly rate. This means that the potential client knows exactly what they are going to pay, so there won’t be any nasty surprises. If during the process the client wants to add something then this will be quoted for.
Following this I will send the prospective client a proposal. If they are happy with this proposal then the journey of designing and building the site can begin. To facilitate this I’ll ask them to fill out another form. The purpose of this form is to create a design brief which will guide me in producing design templates for the site. I’ve learnt from experience that time invested at this stage saves a lot of time later on.
A better question
The question how much does a website cost is valid but maybe we’d be better asking what’s a website worth. The cost of a website always needs to be measured against its value to your business or organisation. A poorly designed website with out of date content that isn’t mobile-friendly can actually have a negative effect on your business (I wrote about this based on personal experience).
If you’re interested in finding out how much it would cost for me to design and build a website for you fill out the form and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.