This post will be a bit longer because it is a question that is not easy to answer. I once saw a very clever post from a website developer who explained creating a website with buying a car. He explained in his example that you can get a cheap car or a luxurious car with a lot of extras and depending on what car you need or want you will pay for it either a little or a lot. I think that this example was very true and to the point. In my post today I would like to help you to get a better understanding for website development, how much you can expect your project will cost and will try to mention some prices so that you can do your own calculation.
The first question you will need to ask yourself is what kind of website do you need? The second is how much can you do yourself?
If you have a business where most of your costumers will visit your real store and not buy your products online, you most likely will go with a very simple website and use one of those “Do it Yourself” tools, to have at least something like an online business card.
But as soon as your business is growing you will see the need to present yourself a bit more professional and this will be the moment where you will start looking into the available options more closely. You will also see the need to look into someone with SEO knowledge and experience with social media tools as well as someone who can help you with internet marketing solutions.
You as successful business owner will have your experience with the fact that finding a good partner can be a challenge and you will know how important it is to have good partners on your site. Knowing that your online presents is an ongoing project and not just a tool you buy and use until it is broken is also a very important fact, because this will make you aware of securing the right partner on your site. To get back to the car example, you most likely will go to the same mechanic every time your car is broken, if you like and can trust this person. The same rule applies for sure for a doctor or dentist. If you do not feel comfortable with your doctor or dentist, you most likely won’t get back to that person.
Picking the right developer is also important for your business and “shopping” around is something you will have to do. But how much does such service cost? A mechanic, doctor and dentist are profession we know for a long time. Website developer are still new to us, even if they do exist for quite some time now. Another problem serious developer have to face is the fact that everyone can say they are a web designer or website developer. A dentist, doctor or mechanic are professions where people need to get a diploma or certificate first before they can work in that field. And last but not least there are so many tools claiming that you can create a website yourself in a short period of time.
To explain the problem with the “Do it Yourself” tools, let us look at the car example again. If your car is broken and you have a basic knowledge how to fix it, you most likely will do it yourself instead of going to a mechanic. But if the problem is more serious you will ask an expert and you will gladly pay for it, because you will know that the problem is solved or that you can at least go back if the problem still exist. Same applies for a website. Of course you can create your own website and it might be cheaper for you to do so in the beginning, but at some point you will need to get to the next level and you want to have someone who knows how to create a much more efficient site for you.
A good developer will for sure guide you to the best solution for your business and if one of those simple tools will do it for your business a good developer will tell you that. This may surprise you at first, but a serious web developer or web designer will have your best interest in mind, knowing that it will make more sense to provide you with a good advise instead of taking your money that you could have spend elsewhere. A good partner will look after your interest, with an eye into the future and will try to build a solid basement. If your business is indeed ready for a more complex website, you will most likely go with a CMS based website. CMS stands for Content Management System and can provide you with a powerful platform that allows you to do certain updates yourself. You most likely will also be in need of some basic SEO services as well as social media integration, therefore the following details will include those services too. But we also would like to mention that all prices mentioned here will vary since there is no real price structure. Some developer will offer certain services for less, but others for a higher price. But we think the following details are a good and solid guideline that allows you to do your own calculation.
If you go with a CMS based website, the first step is to secure that the CMS will work on your webserver. You will need to create a MySQL Database for your future CMS. To setup a MySQL Database, to upload and install the CMS you can calculate between $200 to $500. The next step, and most developer will have that in their packages, are things such as a basic configuration, installation of add-ons, the template and so on. Now those steps are complicated to calculate and will depend a lot on the complexity of the site you have planed. The template alone can cost you between $150 and $1,000. Each Add-On between $200 and $350.
After having a basic structure for the site we are now talk about images, animation, videos and of course the articles. Many developer will ask you to provide them with the necessary content to implement them into your site or they will ask you to add them to the site yourself to save money. Another option is to let the developer generate the content with small guidelines from you. Or you use any kind of combination. For adding an article to your site, including layout, you will look on a price range from $20 to $150 per article. For images you can calculate between $50 to $200 per images, animation will cost you between $150 and $600, this depends very much on your needs. An animation can easily be much more expensive, if is is getting more complex.
To integrate a video into your site you will look into cost between $50 up to $1,000 and this does of course not include the video production. Video production can start at $500 per production day and depending on your needs can add up quickly to much higher costs.
We talked about the structure, design and the content. Now we have to come up with a system to secure that visitors can fill out an online form to ask questions. Each online form will cost you between $300 and $500 depending on the complexity of the form. In case you are looking for an E-Commerce solution with a shopping cart system you can calculate between $500 and $5,000+ depending on your needs. You want a membership solution, maybe a Forum and/or chat function? For those you can calculate between $200 and $1,000 for each platform you want to add.
Let us know look into thins such as SEO, Analytic tools as well Social Media integration. Having a website is just one part, another is to secure that people can find your site. SEO Services can vary from $500 up to $5,000, integrating analytic tools to keep track of your visitors can vary from $200 up to $3,000 and integrating social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google + and else can cost you between $500 and $2,500.
Last but not least I would like to mention how much it will cost you to get your site mobile friendly and also how much you will have to pay for maintenance. Since many modern CMS have already a solid base for creating mobile friendly site, the prices for developing a mobile friendly site went down a little and I see many developer offering this as an option for just $500, but of course this depends also a lot of the rest of your site, the modules and add-ons you have integrated. So don’t be surprised if some developer will charge you up to $2,000 to get your site mobile friendly. Having a more complex website, with many great add-ons and tools that benefit your business, will lead to a long term relationship with someone who needs to look after your site. This person need to secure that the tools integrated are up to date, that security updates are made frequently and also if there is a problem that you have someone who can easily make the changed you need. The most logical solution is to have the same developer looking after your website who also created it. Many developers will therefore offer maintenance packages and depending on your wishes and needs those packages will cost you between $50 to $500 per month and will of course not include mayor changes of your site, but important support if you are in need of it.
At the end we would like to provide you with some examples and calculate for you how much in our experience a simple, an average and also a more complex website will cost. Let us start with the simple site and let say you want to have a few articles, a contact form and some basic SEO integrated. You have some images you want to add, but nothing to complicated. The installation on your server was nice and easy, no surprises or complications. To save money you want to add the content to the system yourself, but need a bit assistance with the images. Such website will most likely cost you about $1,800 and the maintenance will be about $50 per month.
Now let us go with a more complex website. You have many pages, want to have social media integrated, want to have a more customized template, an animation and of course your SEO needs are much higher. Some of your content from your previous website can be rewritten, but you want the developer to take care of that. Beside that you want to have 3 different online application forms. Such website will cost you about $5,000 and the maintenance will be at about $100 per month.
Now we talk about a very complex website with a simple E-Commerce integration, mobile friendly shopping system, advanced SEO needs, customized template, animations and a lot of content. Such website will easily cost you about $12,000 most likely even more. The maintenance for such site will start at $300 per month.
Now some may think that the prices here are very high, others that they are way to low. Like mentioned before it depends very much on your needs as well as the developer providing the service. A freshmen, for example, can not offer the same services for the same price as someone with many years of experience. Using an excising CMS instead of programing one from scratch will also change the price a lot. Therefore, all prices mentioned here are only to help you to get a better basic understanding and we hope you find them useful.
Some last tips:
- A good developer will take time and talk with you about the project to find the best solution for you.
- Many developer are specialized, but will most likely have strong partner to provide you with more complex solutions.
- Keep in mind that you will work with your developer for a long time, even after the site is done
- Look at the price for the website, but also how much maintenance will cost you
- Keep in mind that your website is the platform you communicate with your audience
- Seek a developer who is interested in a long term relationship and keeps an eye on the future
Hopefully this post was useful for and we appreciate your comment. Please feel free to check out our website http://teccrab.com to see how we can help you.
R. Simon Kaebe