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How much does a website cost?

How much does a website cost?
The cost to develop a website needs to take into account a range of items. Unless you are purchasing a fixed price solution, prices can vary widely depending on the calibre of the web design agency you have chosen, and the type and size of solution you are after. In this article we attempt to provide you with an explanation on how a website is costed.

Published: 10 Jun, 2010

I'm often asked, "How much does a website cost?" and quite simply the answer is "It depends on your website requirements".

How much or how little you require in the end solution will affect the website quote put forward by any web design agency.

And yes, prices do vary from one agency to the other.

Factors to consider when costing a website

There are many factors which determine a website proposal and like most business interactions, you get what you are willing to pay for. Some of them are:

  • Strategy, scoping, planning and documentation
  • Designing of the graphical elements (interfaces, screens, illustration, animation and more)
  • Developing the website code
  • Integration of this code into a Content Management System, E-commerce System (or any other software)
  • Testing and Quality Assurance
  • Project Management
  • Hosting/Infrastructure
  • Digital Marketing (Newsletters, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, Advertising Campaigns and more)
  • Ongoing support and maintenance

Other items that are built into the cost of the project (or quoted separately) are:

  • Domain name
  • Email hosting
  • Security certificate (SSL)
  • Payment gateway fees (Most providers have an establishment plus ongoing cost per transaction)
  • Royalty on images used on the design (These are usually once-off costs)
  • 3rd party software and license fees
Tip 1 - Budget for changes and variation to scope that arise during the course of the project
Tip 2 - Keep a track of when periodic costs arise e.g. domain and security certificate renewals

How to avoid cost blow-outs

When working with potential developers or a chosen partner consider the following:

  • Provide a definitive brief, or engage an agency for a fixed price to develop one
  • Get clear on what the goal of the website is
  • Give examples of websites that you like (and don't like)
  • Ask for individual pricing for the various features and functions of the website
  • Make sure you are aware of any ongoing fees (hosting, licenses, royalty)
  • Try and budget for ongoing maintenance - sometimes you’ll be give a price break for purchasing bulk hours upfront

Why do the costs vary so much?

You've done the research, picked a few agencies and have asked each of them for a proposal. You're reading the responses baffled by the lack of similarity in pricing. Why does one charge me so much while the other can get it done for next to nothing? This is because of two key characteristics of the creative industry.

  1. The industry is services based
  2. The industry is unregulated

What does this mean to you as a consumer?

Outcome Reason
You pay for what you get Without completely understanding your requirements and the process to be undertaken, mistakes can be made if the fit between web designer and client is inadequate.
How much you pay will be different from one provider to the next Industry rates are anywhere between $80 and $300 per hour depending on the web designer. Some 'agencies' are work-at-home developers (your uncle's friends daughters son) while others are your 'bricks-and-mortar' type businesses. This translates to different costs to run their respective businesses.


So which creative agency/web designer do I choose?

Your website is the online face of your business. It has the ability to speak directly to your target audience, providing information exactly as they need it, giving them an experience that convinces them to become your customer. It's up to you to choose which web agency can deliver this to you within your budget and time frame.

Essentially it boils down to one deciding factor and that is; Is our value proposition and your overall need a good fit?

If the answer is a resounding 'Yes!' then Bob's your web developer.

So, it pays to shop around and remember, you do get what you pay for.