WHAT DOES A WEBSITE COST?
The following is a list of the questions we get asked about for each project. In addition to breaking the cost down based on company type and website “size,” we thought it would be helpful to define specific items involved so you can better understand the cost of a website.
BASIC COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH WEBSITE BUILDS
This is the price for new domains. CAC charges $100/year for domain and DNS management, but you can purchase your own domain at any registrar on the web for around $10/year.
This depends on the type of hosting you choose (dedicated, shared, free). Additional fees may be required for additions like SSL (Secure Socket Layer Certificate) or static IP Address.
What kind of functionality do you want on your website? Shopping carts, paid plugins, and custom feature development can cost extra, but the benefits of a fully customized website can outweigh the costs.
You can write your website’s content yourself, outsource it, or use a content writing firm that cost $100-$200 per page. You get what you pay for when it comes to content creation that will rank your site high in search engines and engage your audience.
We want to help you and your website succeed, and that means creating a line of communication between you and your key stakeholders. This price includes initial consultations, phone calls, and any time that it takes to obtain the information we need to get your site going.
While most websites are built on an easy-to-use CMS nowadays, not everyone knows how to get started with them. This price point includes the time spent training you how to use your new site, as well and ensuring that everything works properly and giving you the chance to make any necessary changes.
Having a team that understands digital marketing (particularly SEO) and your website’s role in helping drive this for your business is vital to success. For every project we work on, we have 40+ step process to ensure the final site is SEO friendly and communicating to the search engines properly.
Managed services can include blog writing, post-launch testing, and content maintenance. It may also include marketing and advertising services including PPC marketing, ongoing content creation, social media marketing, and more.
WEBSITE PRICING BREAKDOWN
BASIC WEBSITE COST
Small businesses and individuals benefit from this type of website. Wix, Square Space, and others, are best broken down into the DIY route and the Developer route.
The DIY website route is a path many freelancers and small businesses take. They are quick, convenient, and cheap. We’ve seen some amazing tools over the years and watched them improve; Wix, Square Space, Weebly, etc. all offer some advanced customizations that might be a good fit for someone starting out.
However, it’s important to note that these tools are often more complicated than they seem, and our general audience is not comfortable learning and using these tools. They offer customization, but they still require some coding, graphic design, and other knowledge to fully take advantage of their features. If you are a business or freelancer, and you are ok with working within the platforms templates and not working to configure custom options, then these DIY tools might be a great fit for you!
Small to Medium-sized businesses that have a smaller web or marketing budget overall and are willing to adhere to the limitations of a WordPress (WP) template. WP is the most popular CMS on the web and over 90% of websites built with a CMS use WP. Over time, developers have created millions of WP templates that allow companies to create attractive, user-friendly websites quickly. However, it’s important to note that templates are somewhat strict in their customization capabilities.
With a template, you can easily edit your logo, colors, and the general look, but to keep your budget small, you would be confined to the overall structure that a template provides. Some other web agencies will say that they can implement a WP template for as little as $500-$1,000, but we often find that those companies do a quick and dirty job. Moreover, they don’t consider the time to communicate with you, their client, to see what your needs might be. Our pricing reflects time for planning, communicating with our clients, the actual work, and launch/post-launch support.
We establish our pricing for WP templates based on the number of hours it will take. This is not a guesstimate; these are hours that we’ve recorded while working on WP template websites in the past with actual clients. One of our most common experiences is that a client is willing to use a WP template simply because it costs less than a custom website, but often, clients want to make changes to the template that defeat the purpose of using it. By making additional changes, the end cost (after change-orders) becomes close to the amount it would have taken to build a fully custom website.
Online stores in its simplest form could be a PayPal button that allows users to donate online. Non-profits benefit most from that type of functionality. If your business is selling multiple products -with multiple styles, variants, etc.- that’s where e-commerce websites increase.
Online consumers have great expectations: their shopping experience needs to be easy and fast. Building a website that gives consumers the experience they want is just the opposite: complex and slow.
In addition to the Custom Website Costs, CAC will ask questions like:
- What is the existing website built on?
- What customer data do we want to track?
- Do you want customers to receive automatic emails as they take actions on the website?
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Our pricing is based on the steps required in planning and development. Within each of these steps there are mini step taken internally.
- Server Setup
- SSL purchase
- Merchant account setup
- Payment processor setup
- Shipping setup
- Transactional emails – thank you emails, etc.
- Ongoing maintenance
A basic designed website acts primarily as an online brochure, establishing a necessary presence online. Questions your potential customers may seek to answer are:
- Do you exist?
- Are you professional?
- What do you do?
- Have other people worked with you before?
- Have you worked in my industry?
- Where are you located?
A basic website would typically include up to 10 pages. The content should cover all the information about your business, your team, your services, and a way to contact you. If you’re working with a web development agency, this website might also come with the ability to update your website through a Content Management System (CMS). Utilizing a CMS is more time-consuming than coding HTML from scratch. Also, training a client and their team adds time to the budget.
A basic website will serve to help brand and market your company, showcase your products and/or services, and become a lead generating tool for your company. The design of your website will be a template to keep the project affordable. This means that your website will likely look like others on the web and if that is ok with you, then it may be the right fit.
Custom websites are best suited for medium to large sized businesses that have a larger budget, want full control over the look and feel, and may require more functionality.
We are frequently asked: “who knew this could be so expensive?”
Much like any professional endeavor, a new website requires research, planning, consulting, design, implementation/development, and quality assurance/testing. Most clients won’t blink an eye at $50,000 for a well-produced TV commercial that airs on local news stations but will see $15,000 for a website and consider that as “too expensive.”
A sitemap, wireframes, and designs are a sample of what goes on behind-the-scenes. At CAC, we employ 8 full-time team members with each person having his/her expertise in various areas of digital. A custom website build requires input from our technical team (hosting requirements as an example), our designer, and our marketers (for SEO/digital marketing guidance). Every item we present for approvals has been carefully thought through with your goals, preferences, and overall best practices in mind. And this all takes time (and money).
Other cost contributors are:
- Tighter timelines
- More meetings
- More people/approvals
- More content creation for more pages
- Additional security concerns related to hosting
- Governmental or other requirements (such as ADA compliance or HIPPA)
None of these are extreme or extraordinary, but when required, the costs will increase.
This is not to be confused with a mobile app, like one you purchase on your iPhone or Android. Web apps are software that can be accessed from anywhere through the web.
Custom web applications are a little trickier to price because the needs will be exclusive to the project and how the web app should function. If you are unsure of what a web application is, consider a tool like Mint.com. Mint is part of Intuit and allows regular people (not businesses) link to their bank information to track their spending. It’s quite a simple tool to use, however, it certainly was not a simple tool to build. Mint is a perfect example of a custom web app and one that I can guarantee cost millions of dollars to build and thousands to maintain and update each year.
Custom web application pricing varies because each application need is totally different. If you have an idea you want to bring to life through a web application, there are hundreds of hours required to make that idea turn into a reality.
Custom web applications can vary in size. At CAC, we prefer to begin with a project scope and have a set pricing of $4,500 for an initial scope. This time includes discussing the idea in general and helping you connect the dots from a technical perspective. Once a project scope has been defined, more planning takes place, this time related to the look and feel. To summarize, custom web applications are the hardest to really “price” and require a ton of communication between you, the client, and your web company to ensure that the needs are being met from a design and most importantly, a technical perspective.