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How much should a website cost?


Web design is a vast arena not unlike many services that are offered to business owners. There are novices and there are professionals, there are great developers and there are hacks, there are extremely expensive websites and there are low cost alternatives. The idea of this article is to give the audience an idea of what to expect in service, price and expertise.

First we should talk about small business. What does that term mean? For the sake of this article “small business” means any business that has an annual revenue of $400,000 or less and an employee base of less than 50 employees.

For web development terms,  This means a basic, CMS driven website that may include some e-commerce capabilities and is generally within the 5 to 14 page range. There is no need for custom plug-ins or databases. For e-commerce solutions we use PayPal or a hosted cart solution like Shopify integration.

For a large sized business with an annual revenue of over $400,000 and more than 50 employees, a larger more function driven website may be necessary with perhaps a matching intranet for employees or an online meeting area.

Whether large or small, here is a list of several common reasons that first time website owners fail and how we can help you to avoid those pitfalls:

  1. Inexperience. – You may have a great business idea based on a huge market void which has made you rich beyond your wildest dreams but you still have no idea how to begin to plan, project, develop, launch and market your web presence. This is the number one reason businesses fail with “fresh builds.” Our experienced developers and designers use all of the proper steps in completing your project. Steps that are proven effective time after time and that are currently being used by successful enterprises to outrank and out-perform their competition.
  2. Financial Constraints. – Whether you have a large budget or you have very little to spend, not knowing how much to spend and where to place those funds can shut your online hopes down in a hurry. Knowing what a website costs and how to budget for it is an essential tool set when venturing out. Our team has experience in all of the many business identity, branding and advertising methods available on and offline and can advise you on the method sure to result in the highest return on investment for your company.
  3. Sharks, Con-Artists and Pitfalls. – Not unlike any other profession web development is loaded with amateurs, con-artists and pitfalls that can set you back. There are people who can look as though they know what they are doing, who can dazzle and impress and yet are just a money pit when it comes to making a productive, successful website that will suit your needs. In our over twenty years of developing we have heard enough horror stories to fill a book. Staying away from these situations is a very good idea and we can teach you to recognize the red flags you need to watch out for along the way.

In ALL our estimates below we assume the following:

  • Estimates are based on our hourly rate as professional.
  • Estimates include planning, design, programming, marketing setup and launch.
  • All new websites will be mobile/tablet-responsive.
  • All of our websites are built in a CMS framework such as WordPress to empower your non-technical staff to edit most content themselves (unless otherwise requested).
  • Clients will provide most textual content but the web firm will provide some. (body copy, product/ team images). Royalty free images are always available and included with new web builds.

The Cost of Cost and the Who of Who.

A website’s budget is determined by the estimated number of hours required to design and build it. An offshore web company  may charge anywhere from $10 – $40/hr while an established US web agency may charge between $60 – $200/hr or more. You may find a solo web developer in the US charging between $25 – $200/hr or may also find free services to build your web presence.

  1. The One Person Show. – Generally speaking, most web developers started out as a one man band but as we gain experience, we branch out and group with other professionals. The internet is a very large place and a successful website requires the following skills to publish and market it properly:
    a. Back-end developer (PHP Developer)
    b. Front-end developer (HTML, sass, less, css)
    c. Art director / UX designer (layout and functionality)
    d. Search Engine Optimizer
    e. Social Media Marketer
    f. Project ManagerAlthough we have a few developers at Eliyahna Creative that come close, as you can see, one person possessing all of those skills is unlikely and one person being an expert in all of those fields is extremely rare. Most one stop shops will give you a mediocre build and marketing that is highly lacking at best. Steer clear of those places.
  2. The Off-shore Solution. – Offshore developers are hard to reach and you never know quite what you are getting. Do they understand your goals or what you are trying to convey to customers in your country? Do they understand your instructions?

In many cases the inexpensive cost of off-shore and one man teams seem like they have a great appeal but the bad far outweighs the good. In short? You get what you pay for, as with anything in life. Like all great endeavors, planning is essential. A great place to start should be writing down the purpose of your website. What do you hope to achieve with your web presence? Make a list. Do you wish to sell a product? Do you want to network with other business owners? List all the functions you require on paper.

So how much will your website cost?  Here’s our breakdown for the website described above:

Website Breakdown:

UX (sitemap, wireframes)
Visual Design
Content Support
Client Training / Documentation
Testing and Launch

Total Cost: $3,700 – $11,400  *and up, depending on Requirements

Programming for e-commerce or complex websites will be more time intensive and could increase costs substantially. Post-launch we definitely recommend a minimum of $500 per month for ongoing, proactive maintenance, marketing efforts and SEO.  If you have further questions please contact us for a free, detailed consultation. Call 530- 683-5463 or contact us via our Inquiry Form. We also have many more articles in our blog that will help you become more successful online.