How Much Should a Website Cost?
The cost of the website can vary dramatically based on the size functionality. I often compare it asking how much building a Home would cost; it’s possible to build a tiny home for $12,000 while at the same time you could spend multi-millions on just a small piece of land on the coast in Santa Barbara California. You might think that’s an extreme analogy, but I have had people call and ask me to build a combination of Amazon, Facebook, eBay and craigslist with the budget of $2500. The reality of making a website is that you should let the business needs (based on actual customer asks and requirements) dictate the features and functionality that you invest in.
Size of the website
One of the most significant driving factors in the cost of web development is the actual scale of the project. Just like building a five-bedroom house is going to cost less than building a 50 bedroom house, the number of pages will add price to the bottom line. Luckily in most cases, you can use elements from pages or duplicates instead of developing 50 unique layouts, which will save costs and time. When scoping your next website take a look at the analytics to determine which pages are being viewed and engaged by visitors and which pages are you either not converting or being overlooked so you can make an educated decision in determining the information architecture (sitemap) that will have the most significant impact.
Features & Functionality
The second significant part of the website that will cause the budget to increase is the functionality. The more complex a website becomes the time to develop and maintain goes up. In parallel with determining the number of pages, your website requires taking note of all functionality so it can be communicated to your developer. A feature is everything from a contact form to search field. In most cases it’s best to take a lean development approach spending time and resources on the functionality, I will have the highest return on investment. By taking a hard look, I will have the most engagement and conversion you can create an MVP (minimal viable product) then continue to add additional functionality based on actual customer requests.
Hosting and Maintenance
The third piece of the puzzle when it comes to determining the cost of the website is the hosting and upkeep. The cost of hosting can range from $15 a month to tens of thousands. The security, redundancy, and bandwidth required for your website or industry can vary as much as our original house analogy. The difference between 99.99% uptime and 99.99999% can be significant. If you think it’s not that big a deal the difference is almost an hour or 3.2 seconds. More importantly in an hour of your site being unavailable, it needs to be secure. Having HTTPS in the URL ensures visitors they can safely make an online purchase without risking identity theft. Hosting is also only part of this puzzle. Once the website is launched, it needs to be maintained. Changes to browsers or continuously evolving cyber security threats mean you cannot update the Content management system powering the site.
Many other factors impact the cost of the website like language and accessibility requirements to Intranets and dashboards that could affect the price of development. But the big three are the actual size of the site, what the site needs to do and where it’s cannot live and be maintained. Want to kick off a project? Contact us here.