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How much does a website cost?

How Much Does A Website Cost?

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This is naturally one of the first questions people have when they’re looking to build a website for the first time, or looking to upgrade from an entry-level solution to a custom-built website made just for their business. And it’s difficult to find answers, because there are so many variables involved–from the website size, to the features & functions required, to the level of design expected, to the level of knowledge and experience that your project team brings to the project–including the number of people on your team and the specialized skills they each bring to the project (photography, copywriting, SEO, marketing strategy, etc.).

Before we discuss each of those components, let’s establish some baseline assumptions:

First, the spectrum of available solutions varies widely–from pre-made templates and do-it yourself website builders that cost less than your Starbucks habit, to the big-name agency solutions that are sold to Fortune 500 companies for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The solutions discussed here fall in-between, and are aimed at fast-growing small-businesses and medium-sized businesses that need experienced branding, design & development help, but don’t have their own in-house team.

Second, even if this is a “basic” brochure-type site, building a custom website is going to take some time, and the cost will not be insignificant, so you want to make sure you’re building a foundation for future growth, rather than a temporary site that you’ll need to rebuild or drastically revamp in a year or two. In most cases, you should build your site on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, which will allow you to manage your pages and posts, yourself, and to design new “themes” (the front end design, that the user sees) in the future, without re-building the back end.

Third, your solution needs to employ responsive design, to ensure that your site looks good and works properly on screens of all sizes, from widescreen desktops, to tablets, to mobile phones. More than 50% of your website traffic will be from mobile users, so responsive design is a must.

With those assumptions in mind, let’s take a quick look at the main project components that will affect your cost:

Website Size

More important than the number of pages is the number of page templates to be built. A page template is a layout that will be shared by many similar pages in a section, like your blog–or a layout that may be required for a unique page, like your homepage, or for a special feature, like a photo gallery or job application. So your site might have 100 pages, but require only 8-10 page templates. The number of pages will affect your copywriting costs, SEO work, and maybe your testing process; page templates will affect your design & development costs.

Features & Functions

The next things to consider when pricing your site are the features and functionality required. Will you have an animated slider on the homepage? A section of photo or video galleries? A map and contact form on your Contact page? An opt-in form for your newsletter or white paper? A searchable product catalog? Will you offer event registration, purchases or donations? The actions and interactions that your site must provide for site visitors will impact design & development costs.

Level of Design

When estimating your project, don’t discount the value of experienced design. There is art & science involved in arranging your information in a way that is logical, streamlined, and intuitive for users to understand and navigate. This applies to the overall site map and menu structure, as well as to the layout of each page–the use of white space for focus, the usability of your site’s features & functions, and the ability of your site to visually communicate where users are, where they can go, and what they should do next. “Simple,” “clean,” and “intuitive” design can be difficult to achieve without an experienced project team.

Project Team

Your project team should also have the flexibility to pull in specialists, when needed. It’s rare to find a top-notch designer who is also a strong back-end developer, and vice-versa. It’s even less likely that a good designer or developer will also be the best photographer, copywriter, SEO consultant, or market strategist for the job. Know when it makes sense to bring in a specialist, and make sure that your project team is able to bring in the right people for the right roles. Specialists add to your project cost, but they ensure the job gets done right.

Putting It All Together

To employ an experienced team to bring all of those elements together, you can expect to spend somewhere between $8,000 to $15,000 to build a basic website, depending on the final specs. And of course adding to the scope or complexity, particularly with ecommerce or other specialized features, will add to that cost. A full-featured ecommerce site can easily cost $20,000 to $30,000 or more. But if you’re building your site on an expandable platform, you can choose to add those features in phases, to help spread out the cost over time–and you will be able to save money on future additions by using extensions and plugins, rather than paying for custom development of those features.

This is what a “typical” website project looks like at PixelPeople–but of course, your needs may be different, and that’s why we’re in the business of providing custom solutions. We would enjoy the opportunity to provide a free, no-obligation quote on your next project. We hope you’ll Request A Quote and let us know how we can help. We promise to take good care of you.

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