How much does a website cost?

The first question a walk-in client here at the T324 office usually asks is, "How much does a website cost?"

We wish we had a quick one-size-fits-all answer to that much does a website cost?

Does the walk-in client want a single page personal website or a seventy-five page e-commerce site that gets fifty thousand visits a day?

Does he or she want a generic design from a commercial template or a custom design that involves logos, branding and video production?

Does the client want all the latest social media interactivity, email signup and a blog or just a landing page with a phone number?

It’s a fair question, one I get asked time and time again. The infuriating response, “Well… it depends.”

The better question to ask is, “What kind of website should I expect to get with my budget?” You should have some sort of idea of your budget before you even begin asking for quotes from website vendors.

The very first thing we do with a client is find out what they're looking for and what their budget is.

For example, T324 works mainly with clients who have established businesses and need multiple-page sites with sophisticated functionality. The client looking for a simple personal-page site will probably find that a free-lancer who can build their site within a micro-budget is their most affordable choice- if they're willing to take the risk of working with a freelance web designer. There's no union, guild or registry for freelance web designers; freelance web designers can disappear as if they never existed, and do so surprisingly often.

Knowing what you want in a website is the first step to finding out how much it will cost you.

The article below is a terrific one and gives an excellent breakdown of price ranges for site design and the factors (like geography) that affect those ranges. It also covers things that can influence your choice, like your ability to provide content yourself, your business needs and how much customization you want.

What A Website Should Not Cost:

$500. If that’s what your site cost, I bet you’ll find at least one fuzzy pixelated photo, at least one mis-programmed form validation, at least one missed optimization opportunity. Maybe you can get your blog set up for $500, but you cannot build a professional web presence for that little. Even an unskilled developer charging $50 an hour can’t put together an optimized, functional, professionally branded site in 10 hours. Please do not tell me how you know someone who did it because I promise you won’t want me to look at that site and pick it apart.

Once you've found a site developer or company to work with, carefully consider the repercussions of having a website.

Once you have a website, it's everywhere and it's forever. Obviously, this is a wonderful thing for your business. Just remember there will be cached copies of your home page floating around til the end of digital time. So you want it to be up-to-date as much as possible, functioning properly as much of the time as possible, and looking good as long as possible.
It's helpful for a prospective website design client to view having their site built as an ongoing process, not a single-stage operation where they make the decisions and pay for it once.

A website has a lifetime, and it's pretty short.

It used to be around five years, but today, with communities like the Wordpress and Drupal developer bases innovating 24-7 around the globe, better technology solutions are continually being devised. You can make all the best choices for efficiency, stability, and security today, and yet it will still save you money to review those solutions and implement new ones a year later.

T324 specializes in ongoing relationships with our website design clients, offering monthly and yearly support programs; this means our clients can just pick up the phone or send us an email when they need something. Or when something goes wrong.

The plain truth of owning a website in the 21st century is that something will go wrong.

No matter how well-built your site is, there are server issues, software updates and fifteen-year-olds in Iowa and the South China Sea with nicknames like "The Death Hacker".

So budgeting for a website means figuring what you need, what your budget will buy you, and how much you can invest in your site per year going forward.

Don't let the hard facts scare you off.

A good website is like paying movers; you'll never regret the money you spent, and when you see others suffering horribly from not making the same choice, you'll smile to yourself with profound satisfaction. A well-designed, optimized website is a smart, friendly advocate for your brand, out there every minute of every day across the planet. While you sleep like a baby.