Cost of Website Development

David KauffmanCost of Website Development

What does a website cost?

By Nancy Herbert, Super Cool Sites, Inc.

We often get the question of “How much does a website cost?”,  I decided to do a little research around the country sampling various website design companies to come up with a current cost estimate.  Based on my research, the following information is current as of December 2012.  If you have any comments please let me know, I would love to get your input.

Every business needs a website. It doesn’t matter if you are a national corporation or a small local business. Just like different businesses, different websites can serve various purposes and can vary in cost and quality depending on design and functional complexity.

With so many website design companies out there, a lot of design variety and skill diversity is available. With this comes a variety of pricing structures.  Here are my findings:

Basic Website – $1,000-$2,000

A basic design website acts as an online brochure. It is not advised to go for less, or the quality will suffer. It will usually be a template site and will have the same look as many other sites on the web. This type of site will showcase your business. It will work for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will answer potential customer’s questions, and offer information about the company’s products and services. A basic website doesn’t allow you to interact via social networking or blogs, carry out business transactions on your site, or allow you to change or update your site pages without hiring a professional to do it for you. Search engine optimization (SEO) will be included for ranking success, and web analytics is provided for tracking web success.

Custom Website – $2,500-$7,000

A custom website is beautifully designed to meet your marketing needs. Design elements are created and designed specifically for your company and site. You will usually not find features of audience interactivity, ecommerce or content management. There will be an increase in cost due to the amount of hours needed to create a one-of-a-kind design. This type of site will take more time to build because it will include CSS and XHTML coding in order for the website to look the same on every computer or interface. It will also be search engine optimized (SEO) for ranking better in keyword searches, and web analytics will be included to track and insure web success.

Content Management  System (CMS) Website – $3,000-$8,500

The average cost of a CMS website is $5,700, depending on the needs and customization. These websites have fantastic custom design and functionality, including the ability to manage and update content, photos and text within site pages. They are designed to be “user friendly.” Instead of paying someone else to make these basic changes, a CMS system allows you to do so without coding or web design knowledge. This type of site also can include the ability to become “social” through blogging.  Some ecommerce sites can be created in this dollar range as well. This price range also includes CSS and XHTML coding, search engine optimization for better ranking, and web analytics tracking.

Additional Custom Website – $15,000-$100,000

These are highly customized, complex, functionally advanced sites. They include social networking, advanced blogging, ecommerce and leading design features. There are a limited number of web design companies that can accomplish this type of website and they will charge premium fees. These sites are coded from scratch and require months of analysis, research, consulting, database design, and implementation and site testing. Sites like Facebook.com and BestBuy.com are good examples.

Website design truly is a service in which “you get what you pay for,” and it is not an area in which you can afford to cut corners. The decision to hire a web design company should not be a price focused one, but return on investment focused.