How much should a website cost?

How much should a website cost?

This question is akin to asking, “How much will my home remodeling cost?” The answer is: It depends. It depends on the architectural plan, size of the house, materials used to build it, any custom work, like a jacuzzi, etc.

Let’s start at the beginning. A website is first and foremost a marketing tool. So the first phase naturally is to determine your online marketing strategy. Your web consultant should take time to understand your business, its goals, target market, value proposition, etc. so these can be effectively addressed in the website design. Understanding the business and its goals fully is important to not only ensure that the website is built to the needs of the business, but also that there are no surprises down the road that would incur additional costs.

 If content is king on the web, then a well organized content is the emperor! The content on the website should be easily navigable, useful and easy to maintain. Depending on the size of the project, the following phases would follow: user profiles, use cases, information architecture, wire frames, sitemap, etc. The purpose of these is to ensure that the content is clearly organized, easy to find, and relevant to the end user. More content generally means more cost.

 Copywriting is the least valued in the development of a website even though it is one of the most important aspects of a website. A well written copy is vital to conveying the benefits of working with the business. Conversely, a website with sloppy text that has grammatical errors or spelling mistakes loses credibility and lacks authority. Use your web redesign agency to edit (or write) your copy even if you consider yourself to be a good writer.

 Pictures on the website speak without words. You can either use images of your work and team members or buy appropriate stock photos to help convey your message. These images will need to be processed before they are used on the website. This essentially means: more images, more cost.

 Next, list and describe all the features you would like on the website. These are features such as social media integration, ecommerce, SEO, calendar, forms, slideshows, blog, etc. Again, the more the features that you want on the website, the higher the cost of its development.

 Finally, let’s talk about the design itself. There are 2 routes you can take: the template route or a custom website design route.

 Templated websites are cost effective and perfect for a tight budget. What you gain in dollars though, you lose in flexibility. You will have to massage your content to fit into the template. The template would be personalized with your marketing messages and images that can give your website a custom look without the higher price.

 A custom design route is best if you want to integrate with other platforms, need your website in multiple languages, or other features that add complexity to the development of the website. If cost is a concern, let your web consultant know. They can steer the project to stay within your cost parameters.

 So, what should a website cost?  If this question is foremost in your mind when you are thinking about building a new website, that means cost is an overriding issue for you. There are a host of services, such as Wix and Squarespace where you can build a website for your immediate needs for free.

 If you are serious about building a website that serves your business goals while delivering a great user experience, then talk to your local web design agency.

 Questions? I’d be glad to talk to you about your project.

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About the Author:

Sujatha is the founder and principal at PureLynx, a web marketing firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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