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How much should a website cost?
An exploration into how much a website should cost and break down of why.

What is our definition of website

A website is your digital reperesentation of you entity weither that is you a person your business, charity, advocay or social group it serves to comunicate and recive information between you and your audience.

It is not a high functioning "web app" that performs specific actions.

I felt this definition was important for this article not to be misinterprited so to keep thing simple for the rest of the article we will be referencing a small bussiness website built to comunicate there services and field enquirys.

What is the cost?

Yet again this is not a straight forward answer as members of the world wide web we tride in a global economy where anual wages and living expenses vary dramaticly so insted of dollar (or whatever currency applies) i will break everything down to hours as thats what the cost is anyway time for $$.

Case study

page breakdown (sitemap)

Lets assume the businessĀ is fairly typical and just requires 4 main pages:

  • Home
  • About
  • Services
  • Contact

With an additional 4 sub pages for there main services and finally a couple of what i like to call misc pages:

  • 404 error page
  • thank you contact form confirmation
  • privacy policy
  • maintenance page

and something else i have probably missed.

The total coming to 12pages
8 unique and 4 base on a template.

How long does a page take?

For the designer the first page is the longest as it involves investigating the branding and establishing the look and feel and element structures that correctly communicate the business to the world after all you don't want you professional service to come across as childish or overpriced or cheap for that matter, depending on the guidance and clarity from the client this page should be in the ball park of 4hrs and with the benefits of a modular build system (page builder) a good design should take no longer than 2hrs to build and make responsive (to a base functional level).
Additional page should flow from this structure and be roughly half this so let's say 3hr to design and build.
Sub pages running from a structure would be a similar situation the first the template taking a bit longer than a standard page around 4hrs and then the rest a bit quicker around 2hrs each to design and build.
Misc pages shouldn't take more than 2hrs to design and build based on the established design.

Please bear in mind this is for a basic design with minimal photo manipulation all content being provided and no client meetings/changes.
Tallied up it comes to:
36hrs or an average of 3hrs a page.

How long will the site take?

A site this size would generaly require three 1hr meetings (inital, progress and handover) plus there would need to be 20% margin for client feedback changes (usualy limited to two rounds).

So the total for this basic site would be around 46hrs or in Australia where im from and the base rate form web development is $100/hr $4600.

That sounds like a lot?

These figures often come as a shock to website clients as there is no physical components involved but the reality is that you are contracting a highly skilled professional to represent your business to the world, these days your website will be the first thing people experience about your business and i think its a bargain that shouldn't be skimped on (how much do you pay your reception staff?)

Should i contract an overseas worker?

The short answer is no (About a third of our work is bailing out companies that have tried this)
I firmly believe that you should contract local not just in your country but in your local area if possible (nothing beats a face to face meeting).
Don't get me wrong there are talented developers in every corner of the globe but the cultural differences can lead to big issues in the final product after all your site needs to communicate to your market.

Should i make it myself?

How much is your time worth?
as a rough guide if you are fairly good with computers and have some design knowledge you can probably produce a good result if you multiply the time required by 3.