“I am interested in building a website. How much does a website cost?….Why would I pay over XXX for a website? That just seems high!”
Back story: I’ve been in the online marketing and web development industry since 2003. I built my first website completely from scratch as a project for a class and have been hooked ever since. So my knowledge extends beyond just inserting plugins and clicking buttons. I say that because in today’s time a website is seen as a todo list than an investment.
The opening line is something I encounter on a regular basis. Proper education of the in’s and out’s it takes to build a website is not done frequently. From the outside, it looks like a quick fix and boom…you are online. But the age old saying always fits here–“you get what you pay for”. To help business owners break down the misunderstanding I decided to write on this topic:
“How much does a website cost?”
Websites are an integral part of a business now. In this day and age of digital dominance, everyone is trying to take a piece of the online space. Every time you look there is a new app, social media network, smartphone, SnapChat lens or some new automation that needs access to the internet. So why is it crucial for businesses to have a website? Because all these avenues will eventually link back to a repository of information about your business (aka your website). So let’s break down the many different factors that go into the cost of a website:
When you hire a freelancer or agency, there is project management included and it is crucial for businesses to thrive. Someone must keep the team accountable, on schedule and (most importantly) on budget. If you research the hourly rate of a project manager on Payscale, you will find that the median rate is $46 per hour.
Usually, the first person you speak with is a project manager or someone who has assumed the project manager role in the organization. This person’s job is to help you create the scope of your website. This session can last anywhere from 1-2 hours or more depending on your needs. Quality agencies and freelancers have spoken with you initially to determine some of your needs. A great discovery session deep dives about what goals need to be set, technical requirements and marketing research. It can be overwhelming but a good project manager will make it an easy process.
Next, you must create the branding and layout of the user interface. Web Designer is a broad term and it can specific such as User Interface Developer or User Experience Developer but that’s beyond the scope of this blog. After reviewing the results of the discovery session from the project manager, then they will employ their research skills to create a design. Hopefully, the client has provided a wealth of information including their likes, dislikes and other examples to steer the design in a certain direction. Research shows on PayScale that the median hourly pay is $28 per hour. Of course, the more skilled the higher this rate will be.
Before you ask, yes there is a difference between a web developer and web designer. Yes, there are people who operate both roles. These two lines can be blurred and it gets deeper than that when you consider UI Designers, Front End Developers and more but I won’t get that deep. A web developer’s main responsibility is to take the design of a website and integrate it into a functional web application based on the technical requirements. Websites are pieces of software that exist online for the purpose of making a business process more efficient. Think about it, instead of going to a local Walmart or Target you can shop online to buy the same thing. For a business to have a website, instead of customers calling you or coming to your office and do a simple task (file paperwork, complete applications, etc.) they can go to your website instead. Researching PayScale will show that the average hourly wage for a web developer is $32 per hour. Once again this is higher when you factor in skillset.
Let’s Do The Math…
Assuming you are building a basic website of 5 – 8 pages with a contact form and the allocated time is 4 weeks. Here is what it would look like (based on a standard Mon – Fri week with 8 hour days):
- 20 hours Project Management per week – 46 x 80 (4 weeks times 20 hours) = $3600
- 30 hours for Web Design per week – 28 x 60 (2 weeks x 30 hours) = $1680
- 40 hours for Web Development per week – 32 x 80 (2 weeks x 40 hours) = $2560
The total project cost comes out to $7840. This doesn’t factor in the cost of materials, software, revisions, and SEO. For most small businesses, this a substantial amount of money in your budget. An argument would be that a business could assume one of these roles. The short answer is no. Once you employ a freelancer or agency, you should go with their process from start to finish because it is fine-tuned to ensure your success. Agencies have spent a substantial amount of money on training, software, valuable time and more to make sure the services and products they provide are of great quality.
A consistent statement I’ve heard is ‘You can go to Fiverr for cheaper. What about Wix or Squarespace? That just seems too high for something simple.’ You may be right but always keep in mind the value of what you are investing in. A website is an extension of your business and sells your brand 24/7, even when you are sleep. If you make $10,000 in profit last month, investing 20% ($2000) of that on your website is a great investment. Then building a website that can automate the work for you and scale your growth is worth more when you can triple that profit in two months. In closing, website development takes a lot of work. The goal of a team is to take a problem and create a simplified solution. That’s one of the reasons Apple has become a popular brand, simplification. Remember, the next time you speak with a developer–‘you get what you pay for’.