We get this question A LOT. By a lot, I mean, every day. It is often the first question people ask.
Short answer: it depends on what you need and want.
Background: I always chuckle a little when people ask this question before we have the specifics of what they want or need. Imagine this scenario: someone walks into an Autonation dealership (a franchise of car dealerships, mainly in the south that sells many different brands of cars) and says “how much does a car cost?” They haven’t explained what kind of car they want. Do they need a Ford F150? That isn’t a car I guess, but I’m sure the delaership sells them too. Do they want a Toyota Prius? A minivan? A used sub-compact? Or are they looking for a Rolls Royce? The sales person will probably laugh or be bewildered by the question.
That’s how it is with Web sites: a lot of choices. Instead of number of seats, number of optional accessories, we price Web sites based on the amount of work involved. We’ll ask some questions to try and figure what is necessary and what the client wants. Key questions:
– Is there a logo for the business or are we creating one?
– How many pages will be on the Web site?
– Is there a shopping cart? There are several follow up questions if the answer is yes.
– Do we need to write the content for the Web site or will it be provided?
– Will the content need to be edited?
– Does the client want a Content Management System installed?
– Are there other calculators or interactive sections of the Web site? Several follow up questions if the answer is Yes.
Also, it is important to know that the same answers to these questions can generate vastly different prices from different providers. There are at least 4 different types of Web site development providers, in order of pricing:
– $ Templates: There are many providers who will provide a pre-designed template and put your content into it. This is a great way to save money, but often the design of your Web site will suffer.
– $$ India: There are many firms that do most of the work in places where labor is cheap. Keep in mind that design is subjective and linked to a designer’s culture, so a design made by an expert in India may not be great for your audience.
– $$$ Freelancers: There are many people who work for themselves from home. They can do great work on a budget. One downside can be reliability: if the designer gets busy or something happens to them, you may be on your own.
– $$$$ Firm: This is what we are, a company of Web site developers. Naturally, we think this is the best approach! But seriously, this approach is great, but not as inexpensive as the others. Note also, even among firms, there is a wide variety of quality and pricing.
That’s all from me, I’ve invited some other Web site developers to comment below.