How much does a website cost?

If you are considering having a website designed and built, or perhaps commissioning a re-design, it is likely that you will ask for a ball-park figure of the costs involved.

The reality is that there is no easy way answer to this question. How much a website costs can depend on a great many number of factors, all of which must be ascertained before a price can be given.

A good analogy would be to imagine that your company is considering a move to new premises. You are starting with a blank sheet of paper, designing custom built facilities. What could be achieved would not only depend upon the needs of your company but also the budget at your disposal. These factors would impact on all aspects of the project, from the size of the building, to the location and so on. The minutiae of such a project would require a great deal of thought and planning before any building work could begin.

In terms of consideration and preparation, a website is a similar prospect. The price of it will depend on a large number of factors.

What are the some of the factors that contribute to the cost of a website?

If budgeting for a brand new site, these are a few of the fundamentals that you will need to think about. If you are considering a re-design, you may already have some these covered.

Content: the words, sentences and paragraphs are the backbone of your site. Whether writing a single page yourself or employing a copywriter to populate a multi-page resource, it all needs to be written, organised and proof-read.

Photos: you will need images to illustrate your written content. This may involve a photographer visiting your premises and/or taking pictures of your products. If budget is more limited, you may consider purchasing stock images that convey your business in the best possible light. These will have to be sourced, organised and web-optimised.

Design: this is a huge part of the project. For most people the word design denotes the process of making something appear visually appealing, in this case the website. That is an oversimplification. It also incorporates a vast array of other processes fundamental to the success of the venture. The written content and images must be formed into a structure that is easily digestible by the end user. Before this can be translated into a design, it will be presented to you as a wire-frame, a visual short hand for the layout of the site which is the equivalent of the plans that an architect would draw up for a building project. The ideas presented require consensus in order to be signed off. Once that is done the visual design process can begin.

Managing the content of your site yourself: content management facilities will increase the complexity and therefore affect the initial price of your web project but it will hand you a great deal more power from the outset. If you feel you don't need this functionality, you may only want to pay for updates to your site on an 'as and when' basis, or negotiate a maintenance contract. It's worth considering that you may save money in the short term but end up paying more if the needs of your site become more complicated later on.

Do you want to sell your products online? E-commerce facilities will mean additional programming and a higher level of security. Payment processing will also entail various setup and monthly fees with your bank and a payment gateway. Combining these elements together is a time consuming process but it can be highly profitable with the right marketing.

The above may sound like a bombardment of reasons why you can expect your web project to be expensive but this is not the case. It is merely a small insight into why giving a ball-park figure is not possible off-the-cuff. The practical reality is that pricing a website is a complicated process which can only be completed via the acquisition of information relating to the project, planning and meticulously working out the details.

Author Nick Tabram. First published Fri, 29 Nov 2013 13:00:00 +0000

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