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June 18, 2018

How to understand website pricing

By NOW Marketing Group
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Finding a quote for a new website is complicated, confusing, and can be frustrating. Prices can be drastically different. Often, it’s hard to know how much your project is really worth. When searching for quotes, it’s not uncommon to receive several that are thousands of dollars apart.

There are several reasons why there is no universal pricing sheet for websites. The main reasons is that:

  • Every project will be unique in some way
  • There is no standard for features or functions, they can be coded numerous different ways
  • The scope of work may change as the project develops
  • There is a broad range of skill sets in the market, from not very skilled to highly skilled

Websites can cost anywhere from $3,000 to upwards of $100,000. There are so many intricate pieces and parts when it comes to designing, coding, and building a website, the more detailed and complex the project is the more it will cost.

Building a website isn’t a product, after all. It’s a service, one that is usually provided by multiple people who specialize in different parts of the website building process. There may be a designer focused on the look and feel, a content strategist who works on the writing and search engine optimization, and the coder who builds the website and deals with the technicality of the project. A project manager is often used to keep the project on-time and in-budget while he or she works on the moving parts– coordinating all parties and acting as the main point of contact for the client.

One-time fee versus ongoing monthly retainer versus hourly

Not all website developers and agencies price their services the same. There are several different ways you may get quoted.

Some developers work by the hour and will give you an hourly price tag. If their fee is $100 an hour and they quote you 20 hours but end up going over that, you’ll have to keep paying until your website is complete.

Some companies charge you a small starting fee and then will charge you a monthly retainer. In exchange, they provide ongoing services and maintain the website’s domain and hosting. These companies will typically “own” your website and its basically on a lease to you. Sometimes it’s difficult for you to get your hosting and domain back, in the case you would want to go to a different company and build something different.

Lastly, there are agencies who provide a fixed bid, which can vary dramatically depending on the technical aspects required to build the website. These companies will provide a quote, like $5,000, and then work on the project until it is complete. Then they turn your website over to you. They will provide you with the means to access your own account and should set up everything in your name.

Things that affect website pricing

The details of a website are a crucial aspect of a website and its cost. A five-page, copy-focused website will be much cheaper than an eCommerce site with thousands of products. The latter takes many, many hours and it is much more technically complex.

In addition, website projects that require creative solutions, like 3D imaging, graphics, and stand-out designs, will take up more hours and be more costly.

Generally speaking, the larger the website, the bigger the project scope, and the more money it will cost to produce the website.
Lastly, the company’s or developer’s skill level will also impact pricing. The more expertise, the more expensive the website, however, more skill also means more capacity to get the job done right. Overall, experts can provide better solutions and find answers when something isn’t working as it should.

As we said earlier, oftentimes there are many people collaborating together to design, build, and produce a website, and the bigger the team the more costs associated. This only increases the skill level of the company, though. Multiple people specializing in their own respective areas mean they are the expert. Conversely, a one-person team may have broad knowledge but lack the detailed familiarity to provide solutions when specific problems occur.

How to get an accurate quote

Alright, so you want a new website, but now you’re not sure what to do.

First, you need to start by researching a couple companies. Take recommendations from colleagues, search online, and dig into both local and long-distance options. For every company you’re interested in, make sure you can look at some sort of portfolio. If one is not available on their website, reach out and ask for examples of recently completed work.

At the same time, determine what you will need on your website. This includes what pages you would like to see and what the site hierarchy is. Additionally, figure out if you need any special features. Special functionality includes things like calendars, menus, eCommerce, MLS feeds, galleries, or resource centers.

Look up some websites and find ones you like. Look at the design, colors, content, page flow, and functionality. Take notes and grab the URLs to share.

Once you have found a company you like, ask them for a quote and provide the examples and notes of features you’d like to see. Typically they will get back to you with questions, and even set up a discovery call or meeting to talk about the specifics of your project and to learn about you. It can be helpful to discuss your budget so they can decide if they can help you. Once this dialogue is complete, they should provide you with the price estimate.

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Tags: Web Development

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