In Our Opinion

What is the cost of creating a website for your business?

By October 30, 2014 October 27th, 2015 One Comment

So, really, what is the cost of creating a website for your business?

The epic question that everyone who has a business, wants an answer  to. The short answer, anywhere  from free to $100,000

There are so many determining factors that will  affect the cost of a website; and everyone out there is bound to give you a different price for what seems like the same list of requirements. So, it’s on the client to figure out what’s going to work best for them and what can they really afford.

Below we’re here to help educate you a bit about your options and give you a sense of what your costs may be depending on your needs. We’ve collected an overall average of pricing from different agencies and designers around Vancouver.

The basic website cost scale

In my professional opinion and after speaking to other design / development agencies here is what I’ve come up with as a basic price scale:

  • Less than $1,500 – You’ve probably hired a friend or someone fresh out of school. This doesn’t mean the website will be bad, but it (or “the results”) probably wont be that great. Let’s face it —  you get what you pay for. The timeline for this website could be months rather than weeks, based on the experience of the designer, and  will come with very little, if any, custom design and no strategic input – which means a cookie cutter website that isn’t in tune with your brand or your offerings.  Don’t expect any optimization or extras either.

  • $1,500-$3,500 – usually a template-based website with some design input is included, but done’t expect  them to supply you with graphics or stock pictures. You should, however, expect insight and guidance on structure and social media marketing and Search Engine Optimization.

  • $3,500-$10,000 – This is the sweet spot for most small businesses because you get more bang for your buck. You’ll receive comprehensive input on the design and functionality of this website.  The graphics and design will support your business’s  goals and brand.  The designer will farm out or produce images and graphics to suit your site and will also set it up for optimization and social media marketing, if this is a service you require later on.

  • $10,000 + – Usually, this price range is dictated to larger websites, websites that are fully customized and lots of user interaction and/or have e-commerce functionality.  These sites may also include SEO and incorporate Social Media marketing.  The site is based around the strategic input of the agency and will be directed towards the goals of your business.

What Every Website Will Need:

Below are a few components that every company will be paying for when the create a website:

  • Domain Name – $10 – $20 year
  • Hosting – $80 – $150 a year (depending on traffic & hosting services)
  • Email Services – Free – $100+ a year
  • Continued website Maintenance – $500 a year and up (depending on number/type of updates required)
  • Marketing and SEO – $750 a month and up

Factors that Contribute to Website Cost

When trying to budget for your website be sure to consider these factors:

Do you need a brand new site or is it a redesign?

Often new sites cost more than a redesign, because both you and the designer are starting from square one. There is also a lot more strategy that will need to go into your site as well as a “brand discovery”, where the designer can research your brand and your brand’s personality and goals. If you’ve worked with an agency to establish your brand and are also having them do your website, then this process will be taken care of.

Do you have all your branding and graphics for the site or will your designer be creating these as well? Do you have an idea of how you’d like your interface to look?

If all  you’re bringing to the table is your logo and a colour scheme expect the price of your site to go up accordingly. Creating and sourcing graphics for your site can not only take up a great amount of time, but creating custom graphics to suit your brand can be costly.

The look of your site is referred to as interface design. If your website doesn’t have a good interface design you can bet your bottom dollar that visitors won’t stay long. Be sure to invest some time and money into the development of an effective interface design. This should include the navigation and interactivity. Expect to pay anywhere from $1800 – $4000 for your interface design, and keep in mind you’ll still have to bring on programmers and developers after the design is established.

Do you need a content management system (CMS) where you can update content yourself?

This is usually our top recommendation to all of our clients. Not only can a client update, add and change their content but a CMS such a WordPress is very user-friendly and more effective when optimizing for SEO. A CMS will also give you an option of having a blog for extended SEO and distribution of information.

To create a custom template it can cost anywhere from $3,000 – $15,000. This should include your blog as well as training and documentation on how to use your website. If you are familiar with CMS or choose to learn it yourself, you could save some money.

Do you want a site that is responsive (ie. It will resize for a mobile device)?

Expect your website to be viewed on a mobile devices, as it seems that everyone is doing everything on their phones now. Creating a mobile friendly website could make or break your success online.  Whether you decided to create a mobile site separately or have a responsive website,  you will want a site that will display well on a mobile. You’ll be paying about 25% more for a responsive website; however the nice thing about this type of site is that it only needs to be built once. If you later on decide to build a separate mobile website you may be paying for a whole new site.   I’d recommend forking out the money for a responsive, program,  as all of our newer projects  support this.

How organized are you?  Do you have a list of requirements and strategies  or is this something you’ll be working on with your designer?

One of the best things a client can do is get themselves organized so that their website needs and the functionality of their site is crystal clear to both parties. Do you have a business plan or a marketing plan you can give your designer? Have you prepared your list of requirements and do you have a well outlined strategy for your website– or is this something you’ll be working on with your designer?

If you’re not sure of your needs, I’d recommend you check out our blog: Five Key Steps to Take Before You Hire a Web Designer. We also have a downloadable checklist you should check out: Website Prep Checklist.

Have you prepared your content?

It will be much less costly if you’ve created and proofed all the content yourself and will be inserting it into the site yourself.  For clients who desire to do this, I will usually create a template for them to use as reference. However if you have many pages and you want different, interactive and attractive layouts of your content, you’ll want to have your design agency do the insertion and layout for you. If this is the case, you can expect to pay $150 – $300 per page.

If what you need is strategic planning and a copywriter to produce your content for you expect to pay anywhere from $1000 + depending on the amount of content you need and the time it takes to produce it.

How interactive is your site?

User interface and interactivity is becoming very populars. Things like animated pictures, buttons and sliders are becoming more advanced and sophisticated. Depending on your needs and goals, you may want to have some interactive features on your website. These features can cost $1000 and up, depending on how complex they are.

Do you need other features, such as social media, SEO, eCommerce?

There are a lot of features that can improve your online business and can be integrated while your site is being built. It’s often less expensive to integrate these features while your site is being built , rather than wait until later. Below I’ve given you an estimate of different features that can be added to your site.

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) –is the most commonly needed feature for any site, and depending on: how high you want to rank, what your competition is, and what your business is, it can cost anywhere from $500 – $5000 monthly!! Yes, monthly.  Maintaining SEO is like fitness, if you want to stay on top you have to work at it.  If you’d like to keep your costs down, I recommend you enroll in an SEO course that will teach you how to manage your keywords and write content and blogs that will boost your SEO.
  • Social Media Marketing –is one way to drive traffic to your site, but you’ll need a solid campaign and consistent content in order for it to work.  You’ll also want to display feeds on your site and have social media buttons so that your audience can access all areas of your online business. Social Media platforms include Twitter,  Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Marketing plans and  campaigns for these platforms can cost between $500 – $2500.
  • Google Analytics – you’ll want to know who’s visiting your site and receive custom reports. You can either have your designer set this up and then it can be managed by yourself, an SEO company, or by your designer Expect to pay between $150–$1000 (one time cost?) for this service.
  • Media Channels – Do you require media, such as video, on your site? One of the best ways to display your videos and drive traffic is to upload them to YouTube or Vimeo and have them embedded onto your site. To set up a video channel and embed videos into your site can cost between $300 – $1000.

Will you be maintaining the site once it’s complete or will you be hiring someone?

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with clients who want to maintain their own website. If you’ve taken the time to educate yourself or an employee properly on using your website, there is no reason why you can’t maintain it yourself. However, there have been many times I’ve received frantic calls from clients who have deleted or broken their website. In the end, it costs more when I have to dedicate 10 hours to restore the site.

The other great thing about having your web design and developer maintain your site is that you will be guaranteed that design will remain consistent. There is nothing worse than destroying the look of the beautiful site you’ve paid for.

Most designers and developers offer monthly maintenance packages that usually cost around $200 – $500 / month. Things like content or graphic updates can also be written into the budget.  To learn more about hiring someone to update your website, check out our blog article : Why’s it important to have a professional update your WordPress website monthly?

The bottom line

If you want your business to succeed online, you’ll need to invest in your online platform. Let’s face it– people DO judge a book by its cover. If your site looks like you’ve not invested in your online “first impression” or it is not functioning well, it will drive business away, rather than attract it.  Do yourself a favour and invest in a good agency with a reputable background and spend a little extra on your website. A good ballpark figure would be around $6000 for a stunning, fully functioning website. Question and assess  your business needs and goals and base your budget around that.

Jaime

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