How much does a website cost?

September
17
2009

Each website is unique in content, functionality, and overall design. As such, it’s pretty much impossible to list prices with any real precision without examining the scope of a project in more detail. I used to offer some general package ideas on my old pricing page, but a true gauge of what your project might cost can only be assessed after a detailed analysis. At the very least, a conversation should take place regarding your needs.

How much do you charge for a website?

I’m asked this question all the time, so I just had to write about it. Without trying to be cheeky, the most truthful answer is, “it depends”, as it really does depend on a myriad of things. Don’t mistake that answer as an evasive maneuver on the part of a shady salesperson. It’s anything but that, and frankly, it should be expected.

The question is so common and I’ve become so dismayed with the eye rolling, that these days I just go ahead a blurt out, “About five thousand dollars”. Now that’s not terribly accurate, It’s just a pretty average price for the type of website that most of my clients have come looking for. It either stops the conversation, or gets them asking more of the right questions. Either way, I end up learning where the question comes from, and more importantly, where the conversation is likely to lead.

Sometimes, the price of a web project has to change dramatically at the last minute. Of course, a good web professional will never spring this on you, and you should be helped to understand why it’s necessary. Before you holler something about how that should never happen, read my example of how it can happen in “Keep your friends close, but keep an egghead closer”.

How much does a new automobile cost?

If you weren’t very familiar with car prices, you might ask the question. A quick answer might be, “About fifty thousand dollars”. Again, that’s not really accurate. There are less expensive and more expensive cars than that, but that’s probably a pretty average price for the typical consumer, in general. Wow, that’s a lot of safe, middle-of-the-road adjectives.

Imagine asking an auto dealer a blanket question about price. Even if one did ask that type of open-ended question, most of us wouldn’t expect the sales rep to shoot us a number straight away. As a matter of fact, some of them might even answer that question with one of their own: “What are you looking to spend?”

We would actually have already considered pretty carefully what we might want in a car, and be ready for the ensuing questions. Chances are, the sales person will ask whether you’re looking for a sport sedan, a luxury sedan, a compact, an SUV, a cross-over, a truck, or a van – and we would already have an answer or two ready. After that, the questions would come fast and furious, ranging from colour preference to warranty choices. In most cases – if not, all – our answers would be predetermined. We’ve thought about this, maybe even a lot.

This makes sense, because we’ve driven a car before. We’ve also been in a passenger seat several times before. We’ve come to know what we enjoy, or loathe in an automobile. Answering a salesperson’s questions is therefore relatively easy.

Yeah, well, I’ve never driven a website smart guy!

Of course, when people begin their search for someone to create their web presence, one of the first things they do is price shop. The biggest pitfall with that, is that your average consumer won’t always be comparing apples to apples, and oranges to oranges. They’ll only be searching for a company that looks budget-friendly to them.

Another big problem with price shopping, as with most consumer goods, is that you get what you pay for. This couldn’t be more true than it is in the web industry.

Having your twelve-year-old nephew create your company’s new website only makes sense if your nephew is a professional web designer and developer. If he’s not, and you’re enlisting his help because he’ll do it for a new baseball glove, my guess is that you just don’t take your business seriously enough.

If that statement offends you, ask yourself why that same nephew isn’t allowed to interview prospective employees, execute your payroll disbursements, or do your company taxes every year. The answer is simple – he isn’t qualified!

Not everyone can afford a professionally-built website

My answer to this is that nobody can afford to be without a professionally-built website. I could go a step further, and discuss what “professionally-built” should mean to you, but that’s covered in my article entitled, “Is your web developer ready for next year and beyond?”

We are in the midst of another internet boom. More and more, people in business are coming to understand how integral the internet will be to everyday life for all of us. Those who put themselves in a position of strength now, will only get stronger, while the others will get winded just trying to catch up.

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